Outliers in the field

February 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Blog

An open letter to the editor submitted to The New York Times

For 17 years, I have represented clients in both “blue” and “red” areas of the country in accessing public benefits programs.  The overwhelming majority of these individuals are grateful for the government programs that lift them out of poverty, and are sympathetic to others who need assistance too.  The recent pieces, Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It (Feb. 11)  and Moochers Against Welfare (Feb.17), might lead people to believe otherwise.  When the 8th District of Minnesota elects the conservative Representative Cravaak, some leap to the conclusion that the District must be overrun with people like Mr. Gulbramson, who disparage public benefit programs while relying on them.  We cannot do this without analyzing how many of the District’s public benefits recipients actually voted and how they voted.   Until I see this, I will continue to believe my first hand experience, which is that Mr. Gulbramson is an outlier, and such hypocrisy is not the norm, even in the “red” states.

John Coburn, Director of Training, Health & Disability Advocates


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