Recent reports from the L.A. Times show that since 2007, nearly $4.8 million in welfare funds have been withdrawn from ATMs in California casinos. And a new report shows that more than $12,000 from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was withdrawn from ATMs in California strip clubs.
It’s high time California looked at ways to reduce “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the welfare program (although AEI’s Andrew Biggs would point out that Governor Schwarzenegger’s use of this cliché suggests he’s not taking this problem seriously). If those receiving the welfare benefits can afford to spend the money at casinos and strip clubs, they probably shouldn’t be receiving it. Schwarzenegger has already ordered the ATMs in question to refuse the state-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (a current list of ATMs accepting the EBT card can be found here), but it still makes one wonder how those ATMs ended up on the list in the first place. Perhaps it’s because, in addition to healthcare, some California lawmakers consider poker blinds and lap dances fundamental rights.
Michael Pratt is an editorial intern with The American at AEI.