Removing the Stigma of Food Stamps by Substituting Cash

The article ``Program Gives Cash for Coupons,'' Oct. 3, quotes proponents of this plan who suggest we make welfare more palatable to recipients by removing the stigma of food stamps. Since welfare recipients do not want to feel like ``charity cases,'' many would like to receive cash dollars in place of stamps and be trusted to use the money appropriately. The welfare system is, after all, an institutionalized charity system. Many tax payers won't support the idea of transferring their wages directly into the hands of non-wage-earners. Welfare has become a way of life for some recipients. They seem to have forgotten that charity is provided by others.

It is important that we offer a system of support for those less fortunate than ourselves. But are some of the recipients of the current system less fortunate or do they just have different values? There has been a recent increase in the number of people signing up for welfare, particularly food stamps. Researchers seem baffled by the increase but do not attribute it entirely to economic difficulties.

There have also been recent calls to raise the poverty line so that an increasing number of working poor who find they cannot support themselves may increase their standard of living.

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If we make welfare more appealing by changing the food-stamp program to a cash handout, how many more people will opt to receive charity? At one time, the values and morals of much of the population prevented them from accepting welfare charity. Today, for some, easy money is worth more than moral considerations.

Clearly, the working population does not wish to be swindled. We must carefully reconsider our laws and traditional government systems. Claudia Stomberg, Fairfax, Va.

Racism and religious hatred The article ``Duke Shows Surprising Strength,'' Oct. 9, raises a chill.

Yes, David Duke has a constitutional right to voice his opinions and run for Senate. But our country was not built on the hatred of other races. Racial and religious hatred may have been here when our nation was born, but it is not a cornerstone of this country.

Hate and slavery, both mental and physical, are tyrannies that only morality, the building block of society, can crush. Jonathan H.C. James, St. Louis, Miss.

Justice in the courts Regarding the opinion-page column ``The Legal Monopoly,'' Oct. 9: I saw a classic case of this problem when I was a volunteer for RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) in Missouri, where judges and trial lawyers in the county courts popped up as legislators in the state capital.

How can the same people who made the laws be the regulators and beneficiaries in a fair system of justice? They can't. Pat Billingsly, White Oak, Pa.

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