The Best Thing That Happened This Week
It seemed logical at the time, at least to then-governor Tom Corbett: Why not make the state’s recipients of federal food stamps prove they really are dirt-poor? So in 2012 he instituted a test: Not counting a house, retirement benefits and one car, stamp beneficiaries under age 60 couldn’t have more than $5,500 in assets. And sure enough, in the test’s first year, 4,000 households fell off the rolls for not being sufficiently destitute. Unfortunately, 111,000 other households fell off, too, for not properly filling out the complex sea of state paperwork the test required on top of already arduous federal documentation. And checking on that sea of paperwork set Pennsylvania back $3.5 million a year in administrative costs — part of what led Mayor Michael Nutter to call the test “mean-spirited” and “asinine.”
Now Governor Wolf has struck down the assets test, which penalized the thrifty poor and elderly people hoping to pay for their funerals in order to catch those millions of devious, conniving food-stamp cheats that some people just love to hallucinate about.