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Slash-happy Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett seems to have screwed up and appointed a Department of Public Welfare secretary whose chief goal isn't keeping people from getting nutrition assistance. DPW Secretary Beverly Mackereth told the Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board that she is "rethinking" an asset test her "waste, fraud, and abuse"-obsessed predecessor imposed on food stamp applicants.

Whatever you think of the idea of an asset test for food stamps, the reality was that it imposed a significant barrier to many people who were eligible for the assistance even under the rules of the asset test:

During the first year of the asset test, 4,000 households lost or were denied benefits because they had too many financial resources, according to DPW figures.

But during that same time, 111,000 households were denied benefits because they failed to provide proper documentation for the test.

Advocates said that by weeding out a relatively small number of people with too many assets, DPW made getting SNAP benefits so complicated that deserving low-income people became inundated by paperwork and lost their benefits.

There's your Republican sense of proportion in action—let's create a policy that ferrets out a few low-income people who have nonetheless managed to accumulate some assets, or people whose income has nosedived who haven't yet lost all their assets, while denying aid to more than 25 times as many people who just can't quite jump through all the hoops. It also forces DPW workers to spend a lot more time on the paperwork involved in applications.

An asset test is a great way to disguise the real goal of kicking as many people as possible out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though, and one that's totally consistent with everything else Corbett has done. Mackereth hasn't yet taken action to remove the asset test, but the simple fact that she's publicly talking about it must have Corbett steamed—unless he's decided he needs to moderate a few of his more extreme edges in preparation for 2014.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and Daily Kos.

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