Chris McKinnon’s letter (April 8, “Problem we face is poverty, not imaginary layabouts”) critical of Sen. Roger Katz’s column addressing the need for welfare reform — specifically to improve enforcement provisions to address abuse of EBT cards at gambling facilities, strip clubs, etc., including $8,000 in transactions at a liquor store in New Hampshire — has me scratching more than my head.

I’m 82, oldest of eight and the Depression of the 1930s lasted long enough for my brothers and sisters to come along. I remember meeting my dad at Peter’s Store, after his work at the shoe shop, and he would buy me a Walnetto. When he lost his job, us kids would go to the welfare office with mom on Mondays, for our 18-by-24-inch welfare box of raisins, corn meal and canned goods. No Walnettos, though.

My growing up involved working a potato farm, dairy farm and pig farm, my parents with their high school educations managed over years. I was a sixth-grader when my dad bought his first car. Us kids sold bagged potatoes, door to door, in Portsmouth, N.H., to help the family get by.

Some of today’s EBT card holders, about 224,000 in Maine, get more than corn meal and raisins; some get to party and taxpayers get to foot the bill. McKinnon’s letter decries cracking down on the fraudulent use of these cards, calling Katz’s article, a “cheap shot that scapegoats the poor.” Benefit card users can get cash instead of having to haul around a big cardboard box. When the cards are used without oversight addressing fraud and abuse, every taxpayer becomes a victim in the process. I believe evidence is ample regarding the need to get fraud and abuse out of Maine’s welfare system.

Card abuse is easier to practice than box abuse — and they can have lots of Walnettos.

John BenoitManchester

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