I was jolted by the story I heard last week on Oregon Public Broadcasting about Washington state paying substantially higher fees than some other states, including Oregon, for management of our electronic benefits transfer cards. Although the extra insurance, emergency services, and a call center available in eight languages are nice, I don’t understand why they are necessary. In this time of economic insecurity, it seems like our government could find more deserving recipients of our tax dollars than JPMorgan Chase. Perhaps those few extra dollars could be used to secure state-funded jobs, or even be filtered down to the needy families themselves.
Having gratefully received food stamps in time of need, I am not against welfare as a whole. However, I believe our community would benefit from more careful management of taxpayer dollars in this instance. I commend the Department of Social and Health Services for seeking a rate reduction, but I would like to see them explore alternative ways to manage benefits for the needy. If Michigan is paying one-fourth of what Washington pays, maybe we should take a look at what they are doing right.