Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has announced a major assault on the food stamp program that feeds 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, including 439,245 in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare announced that on May 1, people under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings or other assets will be barred from receiving food stamps. People over 60 would have a $3,250 cap…
Eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” is an old and recurrent refrain from those who seek to dismantle the country’s social welfare system. But it’s a cynical ruse: 30 percent of those eligible for food stamps in Pennsylvania don’t receive them. According to federal data, the Inquirer notes, Pennsylvania has a fraud rate of just one-tenth of 1 percent.
Updated, 10:07 a.m. | Security guards working for Brookfield Properties took down a cordon of metal barricades surrounding Zuccotti Park on Tuesday evening, but entered the park later that night to enforce rules forbidding anyone to lie down.
The police arrested three people late Tuesday, a woman and two men, and charged them with trespassing, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.
More than 200 Occupy Wall Street protesters milled inside the park past midnight, celebrating the removal of the barricades, which some lawyers had said violated city laws.
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, 34, a law student from Bedford-Stuyvesant, said that she was in a meeting in a public atrium on Wall Street on Tuesday when word began circulating that the barricades were being taken down. She said she rushed to the park and saw security guards stacking barricades that had ringed the park since the police cleared an Occupy Wall Street encampment there in mid-November, forcing protesters to enter single file.
“People flooded in, and there was a lot of jubilation,” she said. “There was so much joy because the park had been caged for so long.”
Vestiges from the park’s recent past emerged. Protesters brought crates of books left over from a library that had been established at the park before it was cleared. They also ladled out meals from large containers, something that Brookfield guards had prevented over the last two months.