RUSH: Dawn was reading the Palm Beach Post. I don’t read it but she does, and she sent me this most amazing story. The headline: ‘Hungry Palm Beach County Residents Failing to Claim…’ and Port St. Lucie is in Martin County, right? I’m sorry, St. Lucie County. St. Lucie County, yes, but it’s not in Palm Beach County. ‘Hungry Palm Beach County Residents Failing to Claim $83 Million in Food Stamp Aid.’ Now, the first thing wrong with the headline is ‘hungry.’ If they were hungry they’d be collecting the food stamps! And this stupid story goes on to lament:
Are you telling me that since 1964, 45 years, Americans — particularly in a 78% or 70% Democrat county like this one — don’t know where the food stamps are? Don’t know how to go get the food stamps? I got an idea. We like to bring solutions to things here at the EIB Network. The journalism business is in deep doo-doo, right? Newspapers are in bad shape. The Palm Beach Post has laid off workers. They have cut the size of the newspaper. It’s a tabloid. It’s just not printed that way. They still print it as a broad sheet, but there’s nothing broad about it anymore. So why not get some stimulus money and use that to buy advertising in the Palm Beach Post to tell these people that are hungry and starving that there’s $83 million worth of food stamps they haven’t claimed? Well, the reason is that the people who are hungry and starving (supposedly) probably don’t read the paper in the first place — or can’t, one of the two. This is just… Wouldn’t this tell a responsible government, ‘Maybe that’s money we don’t have to spend, then. Maybe we’re over budget by $83 million.’
Because the idea that a bunch of people who are totally dependent on food stamps don’t know where to go to get it is just unbelievable. The story is by Jennifer Sorentrue. ‘More than $80 million in food stamps available to Palm Beach County residents is going unclaimed, the head of the county’s food alliance told commissioners this morning. Alex Stevens, director of the county’s community food alliance…’ You know, I would love to go back and say, ‘Hey, Thomas Jefferson? Did you ever think you would live in a country — create a country, found a country — that ended up with things called ‘the county’s community food alliance’?’ The community food alliance. Alex Stevens. Can you imagine when Alex Stevens of was four years old or five years old?
‘Little Alex what do you want to be when you grow up?’
‘I want to run the county community food alliance, Dad.’
‘Good little Alex! Except there isn’t one, Alex.’
‘There will be, Dad, by the time I grow up. I want to found it.’
‘[T]he county’s community food alliance.’ This is the United States of America. We’re not talking about Honduras here. We’re not talking about Venezuela. We’re not talking about Afghanistan. We’re talking the richest country in the earth. (sigh) All right. Used to be. That’s right. Now we’re a banana republic, and we got a new national anthem. That’s coming up in a minute again, too.
‘Alex Stevens, director of the county’s community food alliance, said there has been a 30 percent surge in the number of people registering for food stamps with the state’s Department of Children and Families.’ Okay, so we have the county’s community food alliance which interfaces with the Department of Children and Families, and there’s been a 30% surge in the number of people wanting to be fed by the government, and ‘Still, he said, about $83 million in food stamps are going unclaimed,’ here. ‘Commissioners said…’ Get this. The commissioners of the community food alliance ‘said the number is unacceptable…’ (laughing) Damn right it is, but we’re not talking about the same reasons here. ‘Commissioners said the number is unacceptable and urged state and local leaders to do more to reach those who may not know they qualify for the benefit.’
Commissioner Burt Aaronson of the community food alliance, or maybe he’s a county commissioner, I’m not sure. Okay, so now three groups are involved. The county commissioners, the community food alliance, and the Department of Children and Families. Three groups, and they have failed to alert all the people. Despite a 30% surge in the demand for food stamps, they have failed somehow to get rid of $83 million. Why don’t just do what Democrats do and go take the money yourself and say you gave it away? You could give it to the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office or police. We’re always hearing about how these agencies are going to be ‘cut.’ Well, give it to them. Yeah. Give it to the sheriff’s department or give it to the fire departments. You can’t let $83 million slide off the table. It won’t. You still have it, right? If it’s unclaimed, it’s… (interruption)
I know. Budget-wise,’use it or lose it.’ That’s why they want to spend it be because they don’t want their budget cut for food stamps next year. ‘Commissioner Shelley Vana agreed. ‘If we are leaving $83 million on the table…” This is really going to improve my coverage in the Palm Beach Post, by the way. I just want to make that observation. ‘Commissioner Shelley Vana agreed. ‘If we are leaving $83 million on the table, that is just crazy,’ she said. ‘We need to figure out … what is it that we need to do. We need to do it now. Enough with the talk.” We are in the Twilight Zone. They have $83 million in unused food stamps. We have three agencies — the county community food alliance, the Department of Children and Families and the county commissioners — and they’re in a panic over $83 million in unclaimed food stamps thinking that there are people starving to death because of this.
Now, the market will tell us if people are starving. They’re going to find a way to get food. They’re either going to steal it or they’re going to find a way to get the food stamps. Can you imagine all of the Chicken McNuggets you could buy with $83 million in food stamps? You could open 25 brand-new McDonald’s in Port St. Lucie — and never run out of Chicken McNuggets, and never have to pay the expense of another 911 call…ever! These people make Barney Frank look responsible, and smart. Oh. Wait. Wait. You know what? ‘Calls for emergency assistance made to the 211 help hotline have increased by 30 percent, Stevens said.’ I would say, then, that you’re maxed out if you’ve still got $83 million unused food stamps. Did you know what 211 was? (interruption) I didn’t ’til I read this story. I had no idea. I guess this is the work of the community food alliance, the Department of Children and Families, and the county commissioners. 2-1-1. Hang on. Can I…? I’m going to call them. Well, you can’t hear because my microphone moves the phone. I want to call 211 and see what happens. Can you call 211 and put it on the air? Can you do it? (interruption) All right. You sure you can do this? I don’t want to sit here and have to vamp. All right. We’re going to call ’em up. I just want to see who answers.
TELEPHONE: (push-button tones) Beep…beep…beep.
RUSH: You know, I’ll report a starvation. You know, somewhere in Loxahatchee.
WOMAN RECORDING: Thank you for calling 211.
RUSH: A what?
WOMAN RECORDING: If you need information on community resources, or if you need somebody to talk to, please press 3. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please press 2. Calls to 2-1-1 may be monitored for quality control purposes.
TELEPHONE: (electronic squealing noise)
RUSH: What, did they hang up on us?
TELEPHONE: (electronic squealing noise)
RUSH: What is that? Oh, they’re waiting for a response? That’s what you get at 211 when they’re waiting for a response? Well, what was the suicide? Hit that. I feel like that after reading the…
TELEPHONE: (push-button tone) Beep.
RUSH: No, don’t hit that! Hang up. I don’t want to deal with that. I don’t want to deal with that. Because you know what they’ll do? They’ll send a fire truck out here and then all hell will break loose.
RUSH: One thing we’ve learned — and this is probably more applicable for Port St. Lucie than Palm Beach County, but it’s going to spread everywhere. If you go to McDonald’s and they don’t have McNuggets, call 2-1-1 not 9-1-1. That’s what they need to advertise is a 211 number. If people knew what the 211 number was. Obviously a story in the Palm Beach County is not enough to get it out to a lot of people. I’m doing more to help starvation in Palm Beach County right now than anybody else has, 211. Can you imagine the number of people calling them now just to play jokes? Ohhh. ‘Press 6 for McNuggets, 7 for food stamps — and do you want them FedExed overnight or second day?’ That’s what I’d do if I were on the community food alliance.