Welfare name game

| Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

In response to the letter “Rename it ‘Human Services'” (April 3 and TribLIVE.com) from five former Pennsylvania governors stating that since the state Department of Public Welfare does so much more than pass out welfare checks, it ought to be given a more precise name: They aren't calling for any reforms; they just want to change the name to the Department of Human Services.

If what we want is an accurate description, we should call it the Department for Giving Money to People Who Don't Work. Further, in the spirit of accuracy, let's split the department into the Bureau for People Who Can't Work and the Bureau for People Who Won't Work.

The first would take care of all the “can't works” — old folks, needy children, the mentally and physically handicapped, and people in a temporary jam. A society as wealthy as Pennsylvania's can easily afford to take care of every “can't work” in the state and to do it in style — except for the fact that we must also support the “won't works.”

It's unrealistic to pretend that politicians will ever cut the loot that is now being mooched off the rest of us by the “won't works,” so forget about welfare reform. The Bureau of Won't Works will continue to pay their rent, electric bills and gas bills and to provide them with pocket money for their bar tabs.

As a fan of strict linguistic accuracy, I'd like to know: What word best describes Ed Rendell?

C.J. Rapp


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