In a display of naivete that is itself shocking, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reacted with apparent amazement to reports that California welfare recipients were using their state-issued debit cards to get cash from ATMs located inside gambling establishments. He, of course, promised immediate action to stop the abuses. Should California taxpayers hold their collective breath?
The first question one might ask of the governor is, “when you give welfare recipients a debit card that empowers them to make cash withdraws from ATMs, and some of them decide to withdraw cash at casinos, what the heck did you expect?” Are these government officials so naive themselves that they actually believed that in issuing virtually unrestricted debit cards to people on welfare, they would use the cards only for purchasing bread, milk and eggs?
Schwarzenegger’s spokesman Aaron McLear is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as concluding that the behavior exhibited by these California welfare recipients is “reprehensible.” In a well-known scene from the famous Humphrey Bogart movie, “Casablanca,” the local police chief expresses shock and amazement that gambling is taking place at a casino. If in fact officials in California truly are shocked and amazed that citizens would abuse the free money they can obtain from state-issued debit cards, then California is in deeper trouble than many people have already concluded.