Minnesota millionaire collected food stamps to prove point

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minnesota State Capitol

Breaking: rich person has little trouble manipulating American system to own advantage. The Fargo Forum’s Don Davis reports:Millionaire Rob Undersander sat at a Minnesota House witness stand saying he received food stamps for 19 months to prove a point: Not everyone who gets the aid needs it. … Democratic legislators did not like his Wednesday, April 11, testimony, particularly Rep. John Considine, D-Mankato. … ‘You knew this was wrong and you did it anyway,’ Considine said while staring at Undersander. ‘I find it pretty despicable. …. I am just sorry there is no way we can prosecute you.’”

Nice preview of this weekend’s Eighth District convention from Aaron Brown: “Starting at 9 a.m. this Saturday, April 14, delegates will gather for the Eighth Congressional District DFL convention in Duluth. Their task: endorsing a candidate for Congress to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan. The outcome is far from certain. … Five candidates are running for this Northeastern Minnesota congressional seat. They include North Branch mayor Kirsten Kennedy, former news anchor Michelle Lee, State Rep. Jason Metsa, former homeland security analyst Leah Phifer, and former State Rep. Joe Radinovich. … Having five candidates isn’t even the complicated part. Nolan was in the process of being challenged by Phifer for the endorsement when he decided to retire after precinct caucuses. As a result, a slew of candidates jumped into the race while many bigger political names abstained. Candidates slogged over county unit conventions for a couple months, producing a messy political picture.” MinnPost is sending our Washington correspondent, Sam Brodey, up to Duluth to cover the convention. You can follow him on Twitter: @sambrodey and look for his stories from the convention later this week and next.

Fun new wrinkle. The Rochester Post-Bulletin’s Hannah Yang writes:Eminent domain may throw a twist into a dispute between the city of Albert Lea and Mayo Clinic over the hospital in Albert Lea. … The Albert Lea City Council met in closed session Monday night. … City Clerk Daphney Maras declined to share any details of that meeting with the Post Bulletin, but she confirmed that eminent domain was discussed. … Eminent domain allows governments to purchase private property for public use when the property owner does not want to sell.”

Cool project. MPR’s Regina McCombs reports: “David Sherman makes his living photographing some of Minnesota’s most elite athletes. But it was a small group of Twin Cities senior citizens who taught him lessons on power and grace. … They were Holocaust survivors. Sherman said he felt compelled for years to get the aging survivors to tell their stories and be photographed. He recalls as a child witnessing a sorrowful dedication of a Holocaust Memorial in Sioux City, Iowa.”

In other news…

Data on Minneapolis’ disappearing starter homes:Starter Homes Are Dead, Long Live Starter Homes” [streets.mn]

Yikes:2 Linwood firefighters attacked by man who started fire” [MPR]

Oh come on, at least let the snow melt first:Tick season already underway as spring slowly heats up” [Fargo Forum]

Nice feature about the Major Taylor Bicycle Club:Pioneering coach reflects on storied career” [Spokesman-Recorder]

Sounds interesting:National women chefs conference will bring culinary all-stars to Twin Cities” [Pioneer Press]

Lots going on:Every great Prince-related event happening in Minneapolis-St. Paul next week” [City Pages]

Related:Music News: Unfinished Prince memoir expected this year” [The Current]

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 04/12/2018 - 02:00 pm.

    What was his point?

    Being rich in the US means never having to say you’re sorry for anything. I take it Rob Undersander really resents that people get SNAP (food stamps). The fact he was able to qualify doesn’t mean that other rich people are signed up for the program. Shame on them if they are. Isn’t that how one gets rich in the US? by force or fraud and not getting caught? Food in the US is all highly subsidized in one way or other. It’s done in ways that remain opaque so that respectable people don’t have to feel like they’re getting “welfare.” Still, the farmers in this country manage to produce a surplus which we must sell overseas to countries like China. Rob Undersander is not alone in his resentment of poor people and the programs designed to help them. What Undersander and other poor bashers don’t understand is that where is a food surplus, allowing poor people to avoid hunger in a land that rejoices in overabundance has nothing to do with morality. Shaming the less fortunate and saddling them with needless bureaucratic obstacles to qualify is the worst sort of Phariseeism.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 04/13/2018 - 10:08 am.

      Thank you Mr. Kingstad,

      and thanks too to John Considine (Mankato) for being outraged at the smug arrogance displayed without any apparent conscience. Some Republicans missed the malicious selfish sociopathic cheating recipient and saw bad Democrats instead.

      Yes, there should be a punishment for those who abuse our safety net for any private purpose. Giving to HIS charity and HIS church and acting for HIS politics at the expense of those who need nutrition programs is disgusting.

      Some economists have pointed out the actual benefit in the short run of putting even children to work paying their own way. Later in life, someone will need to care for them, when they cannot read, write, think or perform at a high enough level to be productive in a modern society. That’s why we help out young and poor.

      The Farm Program used to pair surpluses with food stamps. Now reactionaries consider school lunch and SNAP some kind of soul-crushing assault on the recipients. It’s mythological but loyalists can recite it..

      Paul Ryan economics:
      1) Pretending to strengthen the poor by cutting them off from any form of government support
      2) Lavishing the corporations and the wealthy with money they don’t need in vast amounts.
      3) said money borrowed by issuing Treasury bonds

      WHY? To force work for food? To “save money”? To “drown government”?

      It appears they do it with NO conscience and NO objective reason except their shared value, “greed”.

      UNKNOWN Why they seem so vindictive and angry while hurting people they don’t even know.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/12/2018 - 04:48 pm.

    What Mr. Undersander Proved

    Is that there are loopholes for wealthy people such as himself that are big enough to sail a super-sized cargo container ship through,…

    loopholes which allow such folk to AVOID the taxes that lower class working folk pay,…

    many of whom still qualify for S.N.A.P. benefits despite working full time because their wages are so low.

    Those working folk pay taxes ANYWAY, even though they get SNAP, because they pay S.S.I…

    (which our conservative friends use as a piggy bank to fund tax cuts for the wealthy),…

    and Medicare taxes.

    Somehow, I feel ripped off by Mr. Undersander (although he seems to have been trying to prove that OTHER people rip off the S.N.A.P. system.

  3. Submitted by Barbara Skoglund on 04/13/2018 - 12:58 pm.

    Cutting noses to spite the poor

    The rich GOP consistently advocates for burdensome paperwork, applications, poofs, and rules that are NOT cost effective in their ongoing effort to make poor people poorer. All of the federal benefit programs have very low income limits – far below a bare bones living wage. 100% FPG is NOT the poverty level, it is far, far below poverty. A single person needs to earn around $34,000 in the Twin Cities to meet basic needs. No tv, no entertainment, no books – cheap food, used clothing and substandard shelter. (See DEED cost of living studies.) 100% FPG for a single person is $12,140! True poverty is much higher than that.100$ FPG is DEEP, DEEP poverty. It isn’t even called the poverty level anymore – it is guidelines.

    Few people who meet the income guidelines for public programs have tons of assets. This dude must be so rich that he doesn’t even get Social Security! Only the very wealthy who just OWN stuff, but don’t work or never worked enough to get SS can get through the multiple hoops to qualify for public aid. The removal of asset limits reduces the administrative burden, staff time needed, reduces hoops people in poverty are expected to demean themselves to jump through before they can get aid. The cost of benefits for the VERY FEW who have no income and tons of assets is much, much less than the cost of administering an asset limit.

    Arizona – a big time republican state, even removed the asset limit for Medicaid for aged, blind and disabled years ago. People with that low of income rarely have assets. They only have an asset limit for long-term care (nursing facilities.)

    Conservatives who walk the walk would never advocate for expensive requirements that cost more to administer than they’d ever save in tax dollars! Asset limits, work requirements, drug tests, 6 month renewals, and other barriers to coverage only serve to hurt the poor, not save money.

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