Authorities recently raided the home of a Seattle woman who allegedly used federal subsidy vouchers reserved for low income families to – get this – pay for her million dollar Lake Washington waterfront home.
Unsealed court documents revealed that since 2003, a woman who has social security benefits, welfare and food stamps, had been getting a monthly $1200 tax-payer subsidized check to pay towards her gorgeous, picturesque 2400 square feet home with big bay window valued at $1.2 Million.
The woman, Lyudmila Shimonva – a Russian native – and her Chiropractor husband David Silverstein (who drives around in luxury cars) have been scamming the American tax payer for the past eight years while traveling to places like Moscow, Turkey and Tel Aviv.
When news first broke, officials had not yet revealed the woman’s name. But, by the names of the places she and her husband traveled to, folks may have held their collective breath hoping she wasn’t Black.
Had she and husband been Black, though, it wouldn’t take long for some enterprising presidential candidate (*cough*) Newt Gingrich (*cough*) to use her as an example of what’s wrong with our welfare state. He probably will – irrespective of her race – but it would get more mileage if she was a sister.
Clearly using racial code language, Newt has already called the President the “food stamp” and the “welfare” president because he says more people have signed up for it during Obama’s presidency. The truth is, in this economy, more people have had to turn to the government for help. Blacks are indeed on food stamps in disproportion to their race and, sadly for many, the phrase “low income,” “poor” and “urban” are synonymous with the term “Black” to many people.
It sure makes it easier to appeal to that fallacy than the truth in the minds of some people who have that misconception planted firmly in their brains, anyway.
It would align with Gingrich’s latest campaign rhetoric. Newt hasn’t held back in his attempt to dig deep and pull at the emotional strings of his conservative base who are fed up with subsidizing all these entitlement programs for poor people (*cough* of color) who don’t want to work but lay around all day having babies and collecting welfare checks. No, he didn’t say it so bluntly, but string together all his explosive talking points of the past week or so and that’s, in sum, what he’s saying.
Last week, he caught some heat for suggesting that poor children have poor work ethic because they are surrounded by lazy adults who don’t want to work.
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices.
“So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”
While touting the Leave it to Beaver virtues of having a paper route and lemonade stand (because Newt had it), the former Speaker suggests easing child labor laws so poor kids can be janitors and clean toilets and scrub floors. Ah yes – going back to the time of Charles Dickens. Let the kids of wealthy connected people apply for and get $80,000 cushy gigs as Congressional pages while the poor kids clean their toilets. (The House has dismantled its program, citing that email has obliterated the need for pages to run bills back and forth to Members’ offices. The Senate’s program remains)
It’s reminiscent of Ronald Regan’s welfare queen, a fictional conjured up reference to the Black woman bilking tax payers of money collecting welfare while driving a luxury car and living in a lavish home. Reagan referenced this made-up woman of 80 names, 30 addresses and 12 social security numbers during a speech in 1976 in the middle of the Republican primary. The effect was to convince voters that Democrats were letting these enterprising and scheming lazy Black folks bilk them out of millions while living better than they do. In the Seattle case, this welfare queen’s landlord was her doctor husband who used his office address as his home on forms as she used her maiden name.
And they would’ve gotten away with it longer had the husband not slipped up and put his correct address on a passport application and the whole plan unraveled. Cue the Scooby Doo villain reveal reel now.
Raise your hand if you learned that the villains in this case were not Black because had they been, it would only be a matter of days, no hours, before some candidate seized on the opportunity to capitalize on it as a campaign talking point.