CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- TAXPAYERS paid $156 million in 2011 to federal workers who did no federal work at all, according to Americans for Limited Government, which cited responses to its Freedom Of Information Act requests.
Under a union-friendly federal law, taxpayers must pay for shop stewards who actually work full-time for unions rather than the government.
The Obama administration did not disclose in 2011 how many shop stewards it was paying, but thanks to Americans for Limited Government, some information is emerging.
The U.S, Department of Veterans Affairs pays more than 250 people who work full time for unions.
The Department of Transportation paid 35 shop stewards an average of $138,000 in 2011 for not working.
The National Labor Relations Board pays two union representatives more than $100,000 apiece.
The Environmental Protection Agency pays more than $1.6 million a year to employees who work full time for the union.
What an outrage. Members of Congress will please explain why they are bucking these costs to taxpayers rather than the unions that lobby for taxpayers' funds.
THE number of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) has jumped by 50 percent under President Obama. Taxpayers shell out $80 billion a year for this vital program.
But not all food purchases are nutritious. The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimated that food stamp recipients - one in seven Americans - use the program to buy $4 billion worth of soft drinks each year.
Food stamps also are used to buy potato chips and other snacks. Lobbyists from the snack industry are very good and have thwarted proposals to change that.
Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., wants the federal government to report online what products are being purchased with food stamps. That kind of data was generated when the program began more than 50 years ago but was scrapped because of all the paperwork.
But computers should make it easy to revive the program. Merchants must keep records of purchases for three years.