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March 31, 2012

Massachusetts: No Deadbeat Left Behind

The Bay State got a black eye last Fall when it was reported that certain people, let's call them "deadbeats", were abusing the Massachusetts Electronic Benefits Transfer card, which we will refer to as "welfare".

A Team 5 Investigation found more than $2.3 million in Massachusetts welfare money, meant to help the needy buy food, pay their rent and clothe their children, has been spent in locations outside the state in a three-month period, including pricey vacation destinations like Hawaii, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In response to learning that deadbeats were abusing the welfare system, the Commonwealth did what you'd expect it to do: it formed a commission to study the problem. That commission released its report and recommendations this week.

Strip clubs, tattoo parlors, nail salons, gun shops and casinos would be banned from accepting taxpayer-funded EBT cards under a blue-ribbon panel’s report slated to be unveiled today — but Republicans warn the so-called reforms will hardly put a dent in rampant abuse of the taxpayer-funded system.

“The report is woefully inadequate to address any of the problems we were charged with addressing,” said state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton), who originally called for the commission’s creation.

It’s probably the least reform we could do and say that something got done. (emphasis added)

Wonderful. The boning of the Masssachusetts taxpayer continues apace.

If you're wondering why O'Connell is so down on the reforms, here's your answer:

Republicans argued the reforms don’t get to the root of the problem, because EBT card recipients can still use their cards at ATMs to access cash, which is then nearly impossible to trace.

That's right, a Massachusetts EBT card doesn't have to be used For The Children™ at all. It's a direct cash payment.

I honestly don't know why they're bothering to put any restrictions on where the cards can or can't be used if they're going to allow the deadbeats to make welfare ATM withdrawals.

Also keep in mind that a Venn diagram of the deadbeats and people the Democrats say would be disenfranchised by a voter i.d. requirement basically looks like this: O

Anyone who thinks people whose occupation consists of sucking money out of the taxpayers won't beat down the doors to get the photo i.d. needed to vote themselves a paycheck is delusional.

Which brings up an interesting idea. Why not put a photo on the EBT card?

Deval and his gang would like to crack down, they really would. But there’s no money, don’t you know.

Like two years ago, when the Democrats said they couldn’t afford to run a check on every welfare recipient to see if they were in the country legally — not at the outrageous cost of $7 per illegal.

This time the state considered photo IDs for the EBT cards. It was the same old story: “The Department did not have adequate staff to process the necessary volume of photo IDs, and did not find that photos were a deterrent for fraud.”

You just can't make this stuff up, folks.


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posted by Andy at 11:41 AM

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