Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wiener of the Week

There are government policies that can make you scratch your head. There are policies that can make you irritated. And then there are policies that can elicit just one response: WTF?!?!?!

Gov. Deval Patrick’s free wheels for welfare recipients program is revving up despite the stalled economy, as the keys to donated cars loaded with state-funded insurance, repairs and even AAA membership are handed out to get them to work.

But the program - fueled by a funding boost despite the state’s fiscal crash - allows those who end up back on welfare to keep the cars anyway.

“It’s mind-boggling. You’ve got people out there saying, ‘I just lost my job. Hey, can I get a free car, too?’ ” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).
Am I hallucinating here? Did I just read that financially-strapped Taxachusetts is giving away fully insured cars complete with AAA and free repairs?
The state pays for the car’s insurance, inspection, excise tax, title, registration, repairs and a AAA membership for one year at a total cost of roughly $6,000 per car.
I did read that right. But why?
Kehoe defended the program, saying the state breaks even by cutting welfare payments to the family - about $6,000 a year.

“If you look at the overall picture, this helps make sure people aren’t staying on cash assistance. It’s a relatively short payment for a long-term benefit,” Kehoe said.

But Kehoe admitted about 20 percent of those who received a car ended up back on welfare, and while they lose the insurance and other benefits, they don’t have to return the car.

“Given the state’s fiscal condition, paying for AAA and auto inspection costs is outrageous,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield). “There are so many families out there trying to deal with layoffs and pay cuts. You have to wonder what the state’s priorities are at this point.”
[emphasis mine]
Talk about fiduciary irresponsibility! Free cars. No strings attached. No responsibility. It's so typical of what passes for Progressive thought.

I'll let Representative Jones have the last word, which I'll second:
“I just don’t see this as a core function of government.”
Amen to that, brother.

Taxachusetts, you're the Wiener of the Week