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Originally published June 15 2011

The entitlement economy: $2 million lottery winner still collects food stamps

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Once upon a time in America, people were embarrassed to accept hand-outs, especially from the government. Depression-era heavyweight champion boxer James Braddock, when he finally began earning money again in the ring after a long draught, actually paid back the relief money he was given while he was out of work for a few years.

Not anymore. Nowadays tens of millions of Americans make their living with taxpayer-funded handouts, and unabashedly so. In fact, the entitlement mentality has gotten so bad that a Michigan man actually defended his continuing to receive food stamps even after he had won a $2 million lottery.

Leroy Fick, 59, won the jackpot last month in the state-sponsored television show, "Make Me Rich," a year ago this month. But despite the prize, the state's Department of Human Services said he's still eligible for the benefits - that's according to his attorney, John Wilson.

Yes, we know. How is it that a man on public assistance has an attorney?

Nonetheless, the state made its decision based on intractable guidelines that seem just plain goofy given the size of Fick's prize. According to reports, Michigan rules state that eligibility for food stamps is based on gross incomes and in accordance with federal guidelines. Lottery prize money is considered a liquid asset and therefore doesn't count. So, the rules say, as long as a person's gross income stays below the guidelines, he or she can continue to bilk taxpayers and receive food stamps - even if, in Fick's case, that person is a millionaire.

But perhaps the real crime here is Fick's attitude. When a local news team showed up at his house to ask him how he felt about receiving food stamps while sitting on about a million dollars in the bank, he replied, "If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it."

In some quarters of America, where the entitlement mentality is alive, well and growing, shame is as unfamiliar a word as earn or justice.

"For Leroy Fick to continue to use a Bridge Card, paid for by the taxpayers, after winning the lottery, is obscene," said Republican state Sen. Rick Jones. "What a waste of taxpayer money."

To its credit, Michigan is, at least, trying to get a waiver from the federal liquid-asset rule, just as it did when it applied for, and received, a waiver to prevent college students from qualifying for food stamps. But the fact that the state even has to - and this "gentleman" isn't stepping up and doing the right thing himself - is a testament to what we've become, thanks in large part to an overarching government filled with cradle-to-grave proponents who have used your tax money to hook generations of Americans into relying on them for everything.

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