Skip to comments.The Obama/Clinton Reparations: The enormous scam that is Pigford.
Posted on 04/30/2013 6:59:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Abraham Carpenter Jr., a farmer in Grady, Ark., has more insight into human nature than the average sociologist. Anytime you are going to throw money up in the air, he told the New York Times, you are going to have people acting crazy.
Carpenter is quoted in an astonishing 5,000-word Times exposé on the federal governments wildly profligate program to compensate minority and women farmers for alleged discrimination. The government rigged the game against itself and in favor of anyone claiming taxpayers dollars. It was like a gambling house that fixed its slot machines to always come up triple cherries (and pay out other peoples money).
The enormous scam was set in motion by a 1997 class-action lawsuit called Pigford v. Glickman, with black farmers alleging that the Department of Agriculture discriminated against them in allocating loans. The Government Accountability Office and the Agriculture Department found no evidence of ongoing discrimination, but that black farmers had been treated unfairly in the past. This injustice became the predicate for officially sanctioned fraud amounting to reparations for non-white, non-male farmers.
The Clinton administration decided on a $1 billion settlement, more a political decision than a litigation decision, one lawyer told the Times. The presiding judge expanded the definition of claimants to include anyone who had attempted to farm, and no written complaint of discrimination was necessary. The judge wanted to set up a mechanism to provide those class members with little or no documentary evidence with a virtually automatic cash payment of $50,000.
He succeeded brilliantly. Staff from lawyers offices filled out forms for claimants at mass meetings. People filled out applications for their kids. Entire families filled out applications. Most applicants had never received any loans, making it impossible to check the record to verify their claims.
The Times examined 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina, and found that the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997, the year the lawsuit was filed. Those applicants received nearly $100 million. In Little Rock, Ark., ten members of one extended family reaped a cool half a million dollars.
Tens of thousands of applicants missed the 1999 deadline of the original suit. Their claims were probably even weaker than the original ones. But as a senator, Barack Obama supported paying the late applicants, and as president, he successfully sought another $1.15 billion for the purpose.
Other groups felt left out of the bonanza. Lawyers at the Justice Department thought that they were winning a court battle with Hispanic and female farmers. That didnt matter. Political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments, the Times writes, engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court.
The government settled for another $760 million with Native Americans, even though it appeared to have a strong case. Even with the lure of this cash, the government could only give away $300 million. Another $400 million will go to Native American nonprofits, if appropriate ones can be found. And $60 million to the plaintiffs lawyers for the service of helping fleece the U.S. government.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Times that the blowout means at his department we celebrate diversity instead of discriminate against it. Couldnt he find a cheaper way to do it? The settlements altogether could cost more than $4.4 billion.
The Pigford case is like something out of a Tom Wolfe novel. It would be hard to invent a more damning fable of modern government. It is a tale of special-interest pleading and of the politicians who give in to it (at first, Barack Obama wanted to pander to rural blacks, then he needed to do catch-up pandering to Hispanics). It is a story of greedy lawyers and hapless bureaucrats. It is equally ludicrous and dismaying. Take a good long look, and then recoil.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review
Gee, I wonder how much SEQUESTER hurt the Pigford payouts?
Where are those mythical GOP “conservatives” while the Democrats are blatantly handing out billions of taxpayer monies to their voter blocs? Sucking their thumbs and thinking of how they will fool their constituents into re-electing them as “fiscal conservatives”, no doubt.
Someone should go to jail for this obvious theft of government funds.
Back in the 90s, a hispanic friend of my husband’s girlfriend for some reason wanted me to apply for a loan as a woman operated business. This was in CA. I really did not need or want the loan; but she said she would do everything. I said okay. We were both surprised when we learned the outcome. Apparently the fair and I say that loosely government turned me down for one reason and one reason only. I am married to a white man(still am 29 yrs later). They actually gave that as the reason. So much for fair.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.