First it was Obama Care, Obama Phones, Obama Weed and now Obama Gas. Yes, you heard that right. The White House has quietly used a provision in the law to roll out a nationwide program of free gas for the poor. According to The Detroit News, the Obama administration is using its authority under the Affordable Care Act to “improve transportation routes to hospitals”. This would make it possible for welfare recipients to receive these preloaded gas cards.
This is a $2 billion a year program that will distribute 40 million gallons of gasoline for FREE each year. It will be dispensed at any gas station that participates in the program by accepting this form of payment. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be operating the network. Over 3,000 gas stations in 38 states have been approved to accept this payment in their stores.
Dori Salcido, assistant DHHS Sec. for Public Affairs explained, “It is not something we are publicizing very much, for obvious reasons. But under the law we are well within our rights to offer this service and we think it’s good public policy. How are people supposed to get to the doctors office if they don’t have gas in their cars? Health insurance is worthless if you can’t make it to your appointments. This is just another fine example of government stepping in and solving big problems.”
This type of program has worked well in oil-rich nations like Venezuela and Indonesia where they subsidize gas for the poor. However, this practice has never been tried here in the United States. This is causing much controversy with some taxpayers who are upset to see their money subsidizing others. One taxpayer, Ross Blake, shared his thoughts, “So basically I’m being punished for not living in the ghetto. I have three kids and a mortgage. Life isn’t cheap for me either. I could use some free gasoline too.” A person like Blake will unlikely be able to use this service.
“Access to this gas card is determined by income,” says Ebony Jackson, a caseworker at he Department of Health and Human Services. “If you are receiving food stamps or cash assistance from the government, you will be approved. All you need to do is apply. The card will supply anywhere from $50 per month to $150 per month in free gas depending on the individual’s income. If they have no income, benefits will max out at $250 per month. This will help the unemployed person go to and from job interviews.”
The gas card scandal was uncovered by Nolan Finley, a conservative Detroit News columnist widely known for his groundbreaking exposé on Obama Phones. Finley says, “There is a blatant economical bias in the program and that is only one of its many outrageous aspects. The President is only trying to increase his popularity. This is something you normally only see in Third World countries. I’ve never been more scared for our democracy.”