SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 5, 2013

Letter: Don't rush welfare reform

To the editor:

Historically, welfare reform has been an issue that brings forth emotional reactions from even the most thoughtful people. The Salem News’ recent editorial (”Time to begin reforming welfare is now,” June 4) is a perfect example of this. As they note, the recent audit uncovered $2.4 million worth of “questionable public assistance benefits” during the inspection. This seems like a large amount at first glance, but keep in mind that the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) oversees a budget of $1.7 billion. In other words, this “big problem” amounts to 0.0014 percent of the department’s budget.

The editorial then goes on to suggest that EBT cards require a photo ID in order to “make it harder for the heirs to cash in grandma’s EBT card.” Did it ever occur to them that this would also make it harder for her dedicated grandchildren to help out grandma by going grocery shopping for her in the winter when she has trouble getting out of the house? Many grandchildren do the grocery shopping for their infirm grandparents. Why would EBT beneficiaries be any different?

Any “quick action” will not come without cost nor innocent victims. It would be a shame if we let our zeal to punish a few bad apples inadvertently punish those good people who need our help the most. Real reform will take time, but it is worth the wait.

Josh McCabe

Beverly

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