America

CA Welfare Recipients Cut Off From Casino ATMS

One of Thursday's most interesting stories was the Los Angeles Times' eye-opening piece about the use in California of welfare cash-benefit cards at casino ATMS. (All Things Considered spotlighted the story.)

Needless to say, in a state whose budget difficulties are constantly in the headlines, the information that welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million from casino ATMs was the kind of story likely to get a lot of attention.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was true to his promise to act as he said he would when he talked to the LA Times for the original story.

As the LA Times reported in a follow-up story:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also issued an executive order Thursday requiring welfare recipients to sign a pledge that they will use their cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs” of their families. It gave the state Department of Social Services seven days to produce a plan to reduce other types of “waste, fraud and abuse” in the welfare program.

This is the kind of story that demonstrates the continued importance of investigations by media outlets. Clearly, the state wasn't able to or didn't care to police this issue. So it took newspaper reporters asking questions to reveal a flaw in California's welfare debit-card problem.

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