Your recent welfare editorials have missed completely both the substance and reason for some federal food stamp proposals while wrongly attributing faux reform initiatives to the states. This comes from your Indiana Policy Review Charles Murray-type welfare “experts” along with your own narrow right wing editorial dependency.
In light of the loss of Indiana’s case against IBM and the substantial arrogance uncovered by the trial, you typically ignore history, don’t do your homework but more importantly, you and other policy makers ignore those of us who now can keep saying “we told you so,” except we’d get fired if we said it before we retired, especially those currently enslaved by the private contractors who engineered the ongoing mess and now are playing the same “centralization” route with our abused and neglected children, abandoning local control and expertise.\
Food stamp abuses have their origin in three places: fraud, where it is the currency of the underground for drugs and smokes and booze; poor in need of cash for rent, utilities or medicine because of less-than-poverty-level benefits (Indiana cash is $229 per month for one parent and one dependent child, set in 1969 and then reduced to this level in 1973); and, finally, and least, trading for toilet paper and soap. Unreported income is the most common other fraud issue, often due to ignorance by clients of the generous work incentives in our welfare programs for working poor if they would simply report employment.
However, absolutely none of this is possible without conspiring private business cooperation and often illicit profit, drug cartels and lax government oversight. Additionally, with electronic card issuance, identity is never verified and even substantial out-of-state usage is not tracked except by accident. Card and benefit trafficking is almost never discovered, let alone prosecuted. State “crackdowns” are voter pandering often by welfare-hating Republican lawmakers who don’t go near those smelly poor people. Social service workers are equally ignored as self-serving government workers, or even worse, union hacks. We rarely prosecute business.
Federal waivers are a symptom of failed state systems and a hopeless economy. Welfare work programs were gutted early in the reform bills under Clinton, then Bush, and the conservative state-based block grant systems that became largely corporate welfare systems. Indiana abandoned state worker job search about the same time they privatized welfare but did it quietly.
In 2005, Carl Moldthan recommended changes based on visits to workers in all 92 counties. These would have cost some millions, mostly new computers. No privatization was recommended. Most of the system hardware by IBM fixed much of the problem, but the multiple contract competitive mess that ensued is based in Daniel’s and Roob’s hubris and complete abandonment of oversight that now is also infecting the Department of Child Services. IBM was never the problem. Ongoing change/call centers and document failures remain the core of the problem — all possible with the oversight abandonment.
No Republican governor will ever fix this. Sick needy people get sicker, kids go hungry, good workers find no jobs and now abused and neglected kids will be truly food for the dogs. The statutory DCS oversight committee has not even been formed.