After dismissing Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to curtail EBT abuse and ridiculing him for being “political,” Democrats learned that the vast majority of Mainers actually support the idea.

So, under the “non-political” version they just passed, EBT recipients must agree in writing not to misuse their cards. The first time Joe Recipient is caught charging beer and cigarettes with his card, the harsh penalty will be? A warning letter. (Seriously.)

Let’s say Joe is recalcitrant after that harsh rebuke. Back to the beer store he goes, on the dime of taxpaying Mainers. If he is caught a second time? Look out — he loses his benefits for three entire months. And if that doesn’t bring Joe back into line, the third offense will force him to find his own beer money for six months. Oh, the humanity!

Democratic Sen. John Patrick of Rumford says we really don’t need a new law, but he reluctantly sponsored this toothless version because his constituents want welfare reform, and he wants them to believe he is doing something about it. Yep — he was against the law before he proposed the law, but not to gain any political advantage, of course.

Clifford EarleWinslow