It’s Finally Time

Last week, residents of Massachusetts found out that they are worth more dead than
unemployed in the Commonwealth.  An audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) released by State Auditor
Suzzanne Bump found a
significant amount of irregularities within the department that is costing
taxpayers millions of dollars.  The cries for change of the state’s
welfare system are beginning to ring loud, and this time I don’t think it can
be ignored.  It remains to be seen if the rumbles from the state house are
calls for action or just noise to pacify the constituents.
If you have not heard by now the State Auditor’s office in
their investigation of the DTA found that $2.4 million was paid to people on assistance that
had been dead for at least six months.  Also discovered in that audit was $120,000
paid to people who began to receive benefits, after they were dead.  How
did they apply?  This is what made the news and created the cries for
change, rightly so, but there were other issues with this audit that should not
only result in reform but people losing their jobs.Oversights like that can happen; I get that, but $27 million worth?
 To make matters worse, in order to correct this mistake by the DTA, they paid their
employees $3.4 million in overtime.  How do I get one
of those jobs?  Make a mistake then get paid more to fix it, living the
The most common complaint of the welfare system in
Massachusetts is that there are no boundaries or restrictions of what the
assistance is used for.  This too was brought to light in the audit and no
it was not the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at Tattoo
Parlors or Liquor Stores, it was the amount of money being accessed out of
state.  Apparently using Massachusetts EBT cards out of state is not
illegal.  The top cities where the monies were
being accessed were Myrtle Beach, Orlando and Las Vegas.  Hmmmmm, sun, fun
and gambling on the taxpayers’ dime.  They must be getting the essentials
while at Disney World.
So Massachusetts, now is it time for reform?  The system has
been broken for so long that it cannot be fixed without it being completely
gutted.  Do our elected leaders have the intestinal fortitude to do this?
 The problem is that the recipients are not using the DTA for “assistance”;
they are using it for a source of income.  The abuse of the system is
outrageous and it’s a slap in the face to the taxpayers of Massachusetts.
 How is it that someone who works twenty years for a company and loses his
job gets twenty six weeks of assistance?  But someone who has never
worked, and has no intention of finding a job gets permanent assistance?
 I think it should be the same, don’t you?
I want to believe that these findings by the auditor are
the exception rather than the rule, but these numbers are staggering and they
have been ongoing.  I don’t doubt that there are people that need the DTA,
but the agency should not be used as a source of income.  When asked about
these finding by the state auditor Gov. Deval Patrick essentially said that he did
not believe the report.  Talk about being part of the problem and not part
of the solution.
If there is genuine outrage over this audit on Beacon Hill
as the politicians claim then reform now; reform to a point that the
“Welfarer”-in-Chief of Massachusetts cannot veto.  EBT cards
were created to help; the DTA was created to help, so let’s reform this program
and this department so that they are doing just that.  Itemize expenses so
each month rent, utilities and transportation costs are automatically paid from
their account and deducted.  Whatever is left over can go on an EBTcard with the recipients picture on it.  EBT cards should only be
accepted at grocery stores and pharmacies.  If there is a way to do it,
make sure the transactions happen in Massachusetts and not the U.S. Virgin
Islands, as the audit reported.
It is finally time to make these reforms.  Come on
Massachusetts, let’s make them.
If you don’t take it from me, ask my wife

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