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GOP mayor wants to build a website to publicly shame welfare recipients in his town

Maine Republican hopes to make poor shaming go viral


Sophia Tesfaye
September 24, 2015 9:35PM (UTC)

Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald has had enough. The Republican executive of the second-largest city in Maine wants to publicly shame the recipients of welfare in his state with a website listing every individual's name, address and length of time on assistance.

Writing in an op-ed titled, "Enough is Enough: Mainers have a right to know how their money is spent," Macdonald proposed "a major overhaul of the many laws and policies dealing with confidentiality" and called for a website listing the personal information of every Maine resident receiving public assistance -- or as he referred to it, "on the dole."

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Privacy laws, Macdonald contended, were an impediment to Maine residents' right to know how their tax dollars are being spent, pointing to the "the fear they strike into the average law-abiding citizen."

Macdonald, who writes a regular column for the Twin City Times, is running for reelection and promised to submit a bill for consideration to the state legislature that is model after an existing website listing recipients of state-funded pensions:

In Maine there is a website that lists the pension amounts received by everyone who is issued a monthly check by the State of Maine. No privacy here because this is being paid out by the State; accordingly, taxpayers have a right to know.

Yet other recipients of state revenues are shielded. Yes, I am referring to those known as welfare recipients.  Why are they treated differently than pensioners? (A rhetorical question).

The answer: our liberal, progressive legislators and their social-service allies have made them a victimized, protected class. It’s none of your business how much of your money they get and spend. Who are you to question it? Just shut up and pay!

Well, the days of being quiet are gone. We will be submitting a bill to the next legislative session asking that a website be created containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole. After all, the public has a right to know how its money is being spent.

But that's not all. Macdonald also promised to introduce a measure cutting off public assistance to low-income Mainers for any child born while the mother is already receiving welfare as well as a 60-month lifetime limit on benefits.

Macdonald ended his weekly column by promising to "talk about our progressive liberal friends’ war on the elderly" in next week's edition.

(H/T: Sun Journal)


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye

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Gop Maine Poor Shaming Robert Macdonald Welfare

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