Food Stamp Crackdown Is No Way to Celebrate MLK

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Annette John-Hall says it's an affront to Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy that public workers in charge of food stamps took his birthday off as they are poised to cut subsidies.

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In her Philadelphia Inquirer column, Annette John-Hall takes the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to task for being closed on the Martin Luther King holiday. At a time when food stamp recipients are having their benefits cut, the agency does not deserve a day off in recognition of a man who worked to lift up the poor.

As of May 1, Pennsylvanians under 60 with more than $2,000 will no longer be eligible for food stamps. For people over 60, the limit would be $3,250.

Talk about trying to turn Dr. King's dream into a nightmare.

The DPW's Anne Bale told my colleague Alfred Lubrano that the test was a way to assure "that people with resources are not taking advantage of the food-stamp program."

You would think, based on Bale's explanation, that scores of welfare queens are pillaging the commonwealth, using their SNAP cards to buy up every Cadillac in stock.

In truth, not only does Pennsylvania have one of the lowest food-stamp fraud rates in the nation, at one-tenth of 1 percent, the state was recently  recognized for running an efficient program.

If the DPW is so committed to "breaking the cycle of dependency," as its website trumpets, why would it punish folks who are trying to become self-sufficient by saving?

It makes no sense to senior citizens like Irene, either. The divorced retiree (who doesn't want her last name used) suffers from a heart condition and depends on her $200 per-month food-stamp benefit to supplement her fixed income.

Read Annette John-Hall's entire column at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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