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Welfare oversight an idea America should try
April 3, 2013 - Mike Maneval
One of those small stories that often slip by could be read last week at the website of the Bangor Daily News. In itself, the story likely is of little interest outside of the Pine Tree State, but as a model for an effort or initiative states and municipalities across the U.S. and in Pennsylvania should pursue, the story is important.
Robert MacDonald, mayor of Lewiston, Maine, has revealed an ongoing effort to investigate and criminally charge participants in welfare fraud. Eighty-four individuals were cut from welfare rolls, 50 explicitly for fraud, with 12 already facing investigation for fraud charges. Much of the fraud, the mayor of Maine’s second-largest town said, is related to requirements recipients pursue jobs.
Discussing the merits of such an effort is not about heartlessly turning our backs on the most vulnerable, but about many realities. It is about ensuring money isn’t diverted from truly needy working families to Americans who could work yet shirk, through deception, from available jobs. It is about reassuring the taxpayer that public money isn’t being spent carelessly and with minimal oversight. It is about not punishing the working, taxpaying families of Lewiston’s neighborhoods by serving as a magnet for the irresponsible. And it’s an idea more of America should try.
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