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Alright, folks, I’ve got a real rib-tickler for you. You ready? Okay, what do Brett Favre (the retired quarterback), Paul Lacoste (retired linebacker), Brett Dibiase (retired professional wrestler), Marcus Dupree (another retired football player), The University of Southern Mississippi volleyball stadium, Prevacus (a drug company that Brett Favre holds shares in), John Davis (former director of state welfare for the State of Mississippi), Austin Smith (John Davis’s nephew), Phil Bryant (former governor of Mississippi), Noah McRae (Phil’s felonious great-nephew), Nancy New (non-profit director, friend of Bryant family), Zach New (Nancy’s son), and Tate Reeves (current governor of Mississippi) have in common?
They’re all some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in Mississippi history! What we have here, folks, is a lineup of jerks stealing from the poor to spread among the rich.
Let’s look at Brett, for example. Brett managed to receive more than $1,000,000 in TANF funds for public speaking engagements that he never attended. Of course, he paid this money back once he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, alleging he never knew it was from TANF funds.
Word’s still out on the money that went to The University of Southern Mississippi volleyball stadium, which it just so turns out to be exactly where his daughter played that same sport. I for one didn’t know that volleyball called for an indoor stadium.
Between that and the money that went to Prevacus, I guess Brett Favre is probably the number one beneficiary of this government program. I know most folks only get about two to three hundred bucks a month from the program. He must have really needed it. I guess modeling for Wrangler doesn’t pay like it used to.
Overall, the most recent article I’ve read on this issue reported that apparently $93 million was funneled out of Mississippi’s TANF program into Phil Bryant and Tate Reeve’s associates. Let’s do a little math, shall we?
If we were to divide that $93 million into $300 for each TANF recipient, that could have been the monthly allocation for 310,000 families. This money was taken from more than a quarter of a million families while they were denying families from receiving TANF funds because of not having enough to give those that qualified for it.
To quote from the State of Mississippi, to be eligible for Mississippi Family Assistance, “you must be a resident of Mississippi, and a U.S. citizen, legal alien or qualified alien. You must be unemployed or underemployed and have low or very low income. You must also be one of the following, Have a child 18 years of age or younger, be pregnant, or be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household.”
This story makes me think of one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite characters. Of course, not one he played, but one he spoke of quite often: Linda Taylor as the Welfare Queen, the woman who snagged an extra $150,000 from the welfare system throughout her life.
He trotted out this familiar story of a woman who abused public assistance, making up numerous names and identities in order to continue to over-receive benefits. Of course, he didn’t describe the mental illness that she suffered from that led to her being such an outlier. But then again, no story is quite so simple, is it?
We still hang on to the Welfare Queen story down here. We’re all quite susceptible to the typical song and dance of pitting the middle and lower class against one another, all in hopes of protecting the highest caste.
I say all this to say – I wonder when we’re gonna’ start calling Brett Favre, Phil Bryant, Tate Reeves, and so many others mentioned above what they are:
The True Kings and Queens of Welfare