The Ceanneidigh Case
“You don’t have a paycheck, you don’t file taxes, you have no income.”
You can’t say that welfare caseworkers aren’t helpful. A man calling himself Ted Ceanneidigh walked into a Maine welfare office and presented his problem. He worked for himself. He had a lucrative, cash-only business and didn’t pay taxes. He had plenty of money and drove a Corvette. He showed his business card, which incorporated a certain well-known leaf as a distinctive symbol (and it wasn’t Canada’s maple leaf). Interestingly, he said he operated his parents’ fishing business, though that was going under — all they knew was that the boats were going out and money was being placed into their bank account. He was requesting the state’s subsidized medical assistance, though he had enough money to be able to afford private insurance —but that, he said, “doesn’t matter.”
That’s when the Maine civil servant advised Mr. “Ceanneidigh” to keep his income hidden. And offered him government assistance in medical care. After all, it made a sort of bureaucratic sense: The man couldn’t show a paycheck, didn’t file taxes. Obviously no income!
It showed something interesting: The narrow focus of Health and Human Services caseworkers. They are there to give out “welfare.” Even to criminals. Even if it bankrupts the state.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.