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Truth About Meals on Wheels, the Democrat Party Giveaway Program

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By S. Noble

Meals on Wheels is not a federal program. A small percentage of the money [3%] comes from a Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] program which is known for waste, fraud and abuse and goes to Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is the selling point but the program it comes under – CDBG – is ripe with cronyism. It’s a crony Capitalist program that oftentimes funds the Democrat Party candidates.

People should really be angry with the politicians who take the money out of the funds for the poor and elderly and use it to fund people who Turn around and fund them.

Meals on Wheels Is Not a Federal Program

The Meals on Wheels program is not a federal program and the President didn’t end it. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said in a recent press conference, “Meals on Wheels is not a federal program. It’s part of that community that CDBGs — the block grants that we give to the states, and then many states make the decision to give that money to Meals on Wheels.”

 Meals on Wheels is funded from a number of sources, many private and only a very small amount is funded by the federal taxpayer.

Conservative Review added that the federal can’t cut Meals on Wheels if it wants to, it’s part of the CDBG block grant given to states and it’s up to them to cut or not cut.

Erik Sherman at Forbes wrote: only “approximately 3.3 percent of [the national Meals on Wheels] funding comes from government sources.” Most, in fact, “is from corporate and foundation grants, with individual contributions the second largest source.”

White House budget Director Mick Mulvaney argued we can’t continue duplicate and fund wasteful programs. “We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good and great.”

When states take the money, they use it for other things. “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they get better in school,” Mulvaney said. “Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that — that they’re helping kids do better in school.

How the money is used is up to the states who are facing cuts in HUD and HHS funds which in turn fund Meals on Wheels to a small degree, among many other programs.

Most of the funding for Meals on Wheels comes from a separate program run out of the Health and Human Services Department, said Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications at Meals on Wheels. It doesn’t come from the duplicated HUD funds.

“The FY 2016 budget level for the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (through HHS) was $834,753,000,” Bertolette said. “The 2017 ask (proposed by the House) is $848,557,000.”

“There’s no nationwide breakdown of how these block grants are allocated within each state. Some programs will be hit hard and some might not be affected. It really depends on the state.”

Programs are being turned over to the states. That’s the point.

The CDBG Program Is Corrupt

Three days ago, Reason Magazine described the Meals on Wheels program as a selling point but it operates very differently.

 “The CDBG program is chock full of cronyism and corruption and should be eliminated. Much like the corrupt city redevelopment agencies, what actually ends up happening is that this money gets funneled by politicians to friends with connections for various projects that aren’t really about helping the poor at all.”

In 2013, the congressional financial services committee wrote of the fraud and waste in the program.

Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said HUD’s management of the CDBG program is of particular concern.

“Over the years, HUD has failed to adequately account for how taxpayer funds are being spent in the CDBG program, leading to wasteful spending on frivolous pork barrel projects,” Chairman McHenry said. “Although one of the three national program objectives for CDBG is that projects principally benefit low and moderate-income persons, critics have noted that CDBG funds often end up being used for parks, pools, street signs, and community centers, diverting dollars from those communities with the greatest need, particularly housing.”

Also in 2013, Victor Nava described the program at Reason Magazine as a breeding pit for “waste, fraud, and corruption.”

“Instances like this happen all too often when it comes to the CDBG program, as private interests jockey for every last bit of taxpayer money from the hands smarmy local politicians who are in charge of distributing it,” Nava wrote.

The Examples Are Plentiful

In the Twin Cities, one employee set up phantom contracts, costing the Meals on Wheels program a nearly $200,000 loss.

In Arkansas, Pine Bluff improperly spent more than $200,000 in 2013 alone. The city is accused of spending more than 20% of CDBG funds on “administrative costs”, purchasing properties without redeveloping them, disbursing funds to contractors before receiving bids, and not following federal project documentation guidelines.

Four years ago, HUD called on the Mayor of Honolulu Hawaii to return nearly $8 million in CDBG funds that he gave to Opportunities and Resources Inc. (ORI), a nonprofit redevelopment organization in central Oahu. Instead of helping the elderly and displaced, the money went to the public as venues for weddings, parties, banquets, fundraisers, corporate retreats, conferences and family reunions. City ranking officials running for office put pressure on and exacted funds from the program in a crony capitalist scheme. While ORI was giving the officials campaign donations, the officials were forgiving ORI loans.

In 2011, Comstock Township, Michigan decided to grant Bell’s Brewery $220,000 in CDBG funds to help pay for a two-year expansion project.

Then there are these examples: $588,000 went for a marina in Alexandria, Lousiana. Another $196,000 was allocated for the construction of an auditorium in Casper, Wyoming. The art museum expansion isn Allentown, Pennsylvania received $245,000 from the funds. Continue reading

“They looked at it [federal funding for Meals on Wheels], it did not work,” Larry Kudlow told Newsmax TV Friday.

“They looked hard at it, and like so many of these programs, the intentions may be good, the reality is they did not work and you just can’t keep going on year in and year out.”

“These things become Democratic Party giveaways, that’s all they are,” Ludlow argued. “You’ve got eight years of Obamacare and they’re just giving stuff away, there’s numerous examples of that, community healthcare grants, all this stuff, community block grants, stuff doesn’t work. So why stay with it?”

These cuts will not affect Meals on Wheels if the states do the right thing and cut the waste, fraud and cronyism, but don’t count on it.

We already spend a fortune on food stamps, with 48 million people on them. What does that tell us?

First published at the Independent Sentinel

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