M. Fraser: They should have known better


Recently, I received a disgusting political advertisement showing an overweight young man slouched on a couch with a pizza slice aimed toward his gaping mouth. The ad focused on welfare reform.

Was the young man supposed to represent a typical welfare recipient?

No one else was in the ad.

The ad stated Maine EBT cards had been used in other states. Do Maine retailers accept non-Maine EBT cards?

The ad indicated welfare funds had been used for bail. Why would someone knowingly accept welfare funds for bail? How inappropriate is that?

The ad relayed that “welfare abusers … easily collect taxpayer-funded benefits.” If true, why can’t the executive branch of state government remedy the “easily collect” problem?

Suggestions: 1) Emphasize enforcement of existing regulations; 2) Prioritize thorough and timely eligibility evaluations; 3) Educate retailers on appropriate and inappropriate uses of EBT cards; and 4) Ask staff and retailers for suggestions for improvement.

The authors did not acknowledge the people of Maine who need assistance and do not abuse the system. This ad lumps recipients into a negative stereotype. Possibly the authors will say this was an unintended consequence. They should have known better.

I think they did.

Margo Fraser, Lewiston