Free money in Motown yesterday? What could possibly have gone wrong?

Detroiters were trying to pick up 5,000 federal assistance applications from the city at Cobo because Detroit received nearly $15.2 million in federal dollars under the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which is for temporary financial assistance and housing services to individuals and families who are homeless, or who would be homeless without this help.

They called it a “Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program” because “booze and cigarette sales stimulus” was a little too accurate.

The odds are already bad that the truly needy will get anything at all, but then the government ran out of forms, and… well, you can guess what happened next:

By early morning, the applications had run dry. But some hustlers got the bright idea to photocopy the original and sell the copies for $20 a pop. They were doing a brisk business. The desperate are easy prey. The white original applications stated clearly on the bottom: “Do not duplicate — Must Submit Original Application.”

By late morning, however, volunteers from the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department were handing out yellow photocopies themselves.

“I’m not even sure the government will accept those applications,” said Pam Johnson, a volunteer. “But it’s almost like they had to pacify people. There was almost a riot. I mean, they had to call out the gang squad. I saw an elderly woman almost get trampled to death.”

“As soon as we work our way though this huge pile of unpaid Cash for Clunkers claims by car dealers, we’ll work on getting you your check, Gladys… now sit down and wait!”

You know, it’s disturbing but not surprising that those who were dumb enough to fall for the “here’s a copy of the application for $20″ trick weren’t at least bright enough to tell the app. peddler to deduct the fee from their assistance check.

And the ridiculous quote of the day:

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Firefighters Association Local 344, was looking down from his office window across from Cobo.

This absolutely is representative of the struggling middle class in America,” he said. “We’ve been betrayed by the government, Realtors and those who’ve got. The promise has been broken.”

I’ve gotta disagree, Mr. McNamara. The “struggling middle class” weren’t at Cobo Hall — they are the ones who are paying for the handout and cleanup of the subsequent madness you just witnessed.

But some people have no idea where the money comes from anyway — like it matters:

Here’s a local news report. You’ll notice that quite a few of these poverty stricken Obamaniacs seem to be able to afford cell phones.

“Thank you, Barack Obama!”

Looks like it got pretty crazy. I hope Peggy’s okay!

When everything is free, look for this scene to go national. “Thank you, Barack Obama!”

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