A decades-old state program that provides cash assistance in $200 monthly payments to 60,000 Pennsylvanians is ending this week.
It is a textbook case of why it is so hard to cut government programs once they are enacted.
In a perfect world, it would be great to keep the assistance program, which benefits vulnerable Pennsylvania residents, including the disabled, people undergoing addiction treatment and domestic violence victims.
Like many of the assistance programs of today, this one was hatched during the Depression.
But there are other programs, some of them federal producing aid under the same terms.
And the state is operating under stricter spending guidelines in the Corbett administration. While the Department of Public Welfare is still serving 2.2 million people, "The cost of our public assistance programs is growing at an unsustainable rate," according to Kelli Roberts, a Corbett administration spokeswoman.
So the state is trying to help recipients find ways to get other assistance through county and federal programs while it saves $150 million annually.
It's easy to criticize moves such as this as heartless and opponents of the administration are doing plenty of that these days.
Left out of the conversation is the fact that the Rendell administration raised state General Fund spending by 36 percent during eight years in office, pushing the state into debt while not addressing big-ticket items to come in the future such as an underfunded state pension system.
Maybe if there had been more spending discipline and less looking past the big obligations during those eight years, this program would still be funded.