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Grapevine: Gov't wasted $125 billion in improper payments

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…

Billions Wasted

The pile of cash shelled out -- improperly -- is staggering.
The Government Accountability Office -- reports waste for 2014 was $125 billion. That’s a $20 billion jump from the year before.
Nearly three quarters of the errors were from Medicaid -- Medicare -- and Earned Income Tax Credit payments.

Government waste is not new news -- especially in the Grapevine.
But it adds up.
This is GAO's graphic of improper payments since 2003 -- when it was $35 billion.
In 2009 -- the total topped $100 billion.
Add it all up since 2003 -- the government has wasted nearly a trillion dollars of your money.

Working the System

Moving from waste -- to fraud.
A Massachusetts woman is pleading guilty to a $3.5 million food stamp rip-off.

From 2010- to 2014 -- convenience store owner Vida Causey --  bought SNAP benefits from customers at half price in cash -- then charged the government for the full amount.
SNAP benefits are only supposed to be exchanged for food.

Besides the charge for fraud -- Causey also faces counts of conspiracy and money laundering.

Underdog Story

Finally -- an upset for the ages.
Three Harvard undergraduates were beaten in a debate -- by three violent criminals from Eastern New York Correctional Facility.

The inmates are part of the Bard Prison Initiative -- which offers prisoners an opportunity to earn a College degree while serving their sentences.

The Wall Street Journal reports-- The Harvard debaters accepted their defeat gracefully-- saying they were impressed by their opponents' preparation-- and unexpected line of argument.