No job? No income? No problem. Massachusetts will give you a car

by editor on May 11, 2009

A few months ago we were appalled by a government program that gives a free cell phone and free minutes to the loosely-defined poor. Well, not to be outdone, Massachusetts is now giving them free cars.

Here’s how the Boston Herald explains the details of this welfare fiasco:

Immensely unpopular Democrat Gov Deval Patrick, may soon qualify for this program because he's going to be unemployed after the next election.

Immensely unpopular Democrat Gov Deval Patrick, may soon qualify for this program because he's going to be unemployed after the next election.

Gov. Deval Patrick’s free wheels for welfare recipients program is revving up despite the stalled economy, as the keys to donated cars loaded with state-funded insurance, repairs and even AAA membership are handed out to get them to work.

But the program – fueled by a funding boost despite the state’s fiscal crash – allows those who end up back on welfare to keep the cars anyway.

“It’s mind-boggling. You’ve got people out there saying, ‘I just lost my job. Hey, can I get a free car, too?’ ” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

The Herald added:

The state pays for the car’s insurance, inspection, excise tax, title, registration, repairs and a AAA membership for one year at a total cost of roughly $6,000 per car.

The program, which started in 2006, distributes cars donated by non-profit charities such as Good News Garage, a Lutheran charity, which also does the repair work on the car and bills the state.

Free cell phones! Free cars! Free food! Free medical care! Free houses!

Not working is almost as good as getting elected to congress.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray May 11, 2009 at 8:03 am

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I love the closing remark.

MAS1916 May 11, 2009 at 8:11 am

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Well… with release of the new deficit figures this morning, liberals at the national level are going to have to cover a lot of ground. By failing to reign in spending, interest rates and inflation are set to skyrocket – killing off any employment recovery.

So what is being done in MA may be repeated nationally.. the government leader will be proven to be an economic imbecile. And voters realizing it can only be a good thing.

Conservatives need to be optimistic. For a list of ten reasons for optimism, you can hit:

Mia May 11, 2009 at 8:37 am

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I’m certainly not one to defend a liberal Democrat on anything, but you aren’t telling the whole story. From what I’ve read of the program, they give the cars to people who don’t have access to public transportation. They also cut the person’s Welfare by, I believe, $6,000 per year. These are used cars that have been donated.

Granted, I haven’t seen any stories on anyone who has benefitted from the program and actually turned their lives around, AND I don’t think the government should be involved with this – or any other – charity. If there’s a bad side to this story, that would be the angle I would think is most likely to turn up some dirt. What exactly is the relationship between the Gov. and this charity and how do they benefit.

I’m not saying that this program is “good” or without flaws. However, I think when someone reports on something they should lay out all the facts and not just the ones that benefit their spin. That’s why all these liberal rag newspapers and alleged news networks are going in the toilet.

Administrator May 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

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Thanks for the info Mia, but I’m not certain that is exactly what it means. Here is the quote from the article you are speaking of:

Kehoe defended the program, saying the state breaks even by cutting welfare payments to the family – about $6,000 a year.

My thought is that it is some tricky wording by Kehoe. The application for the program can be read in the PDF of the application. It outlines the rules and the responsibilities of the recipient. I think Kehow was saying that this program can get people off welfare, the result of which therefore saves them $6,000 a year. If the welfare payments were to be cut, it certainly would say so in the application.

Mia May 11, 2009 at 9:42 am

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Thanks for clearing that up. Now I have to go amend a blog post…great. Thanks for the link to the application and the information on the tricky wording. I suppose I’m still naieve because I sort of expect people to say what they mean.

BTW, love your web site, and I subscribe to your RSS feed.

Margaret Daley Strano May 13, 2009 at 8:28 pm

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Re; free car, AAA, free cell phones…what can we do about this

Rob May 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

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IS THIS COUNTRY OUT OF IT’S MIND?! Something Should be done! This kind of stuff has got to be stopped! This was once a great and proud country. Look at what this government is turning it into, a bunch of lazy people who think that hard working people should pay for them to sit around and do nothing, and get everything they want for free!!

Charles Marinelli, Sr. September 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

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please explain to me why someone should have to die in a car accidentbe raped,robbed,trappedin a confined space with a limited air suply or even be stuck on the thrown withought S**T PAPER with no way to call for help becuase they are either a single parent who cannot hold a job alone and raise a child properly AND CAN BERELY AFFORD RENT AND UTILITIES THAT THE GOVERMENT DOESNT EVEN GIVE,add it up social security and disability both together is 800. dollars a month in the state of ma. the lowest rent is 500.+ electric is around35-50 if your conservative,then gas is is around 25. in the summer and up too 150 in the winter becuase they go up on gas prices due to usage and higher demand in the winter? then just a regular land line in your home is roughly 35. and if we all have our own computer and fortunate enough not to have to schedule time to go to the local library just to check your e-mail is another 50 to 80 dollars a month for internet ,and if your even fortunate enough to have a car and not have to dish out you childs grocery money for bus fair then you are still left with car insurance and gas…BAM..i have magic jack by the way which is voip its twenty dollars a year but still hooked in to internet fees and if that goes out so dont my phone but its the same thing if your going through comcast,cox or verizon they bundle everything so if you dont pay on one everything gets shut off,point being even people on ssi and disability which is a higher dollar amount then welfare only difference is welfare is designed for newly started unplanned families and in any case NO ONE need not die becuase they cannot call for help rich or poor freeloader or saint,

flashingscotsman December 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

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You sit on a THRONE, not a THROWN, Charles. Go back to HuffPo.

danybhoy December 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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I was thinking an actual mental institution myself.

John May 24, 2009 at 8:24 pm

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Yea you all will be complaining until you lose your jobs and find out that you would need hand outs for your family to survive as well. I used to be the same way. I worked at a local hospital,then got laid off and cant find any work. If you paid your taxes when you had a job and was a law abiding citizen there is nothing wrong with asking for help when really needed!

John May 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

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by the way, with this program there is more money put back into the state if the people did not have the cars. The article forgot to mention that huh?

Carlene June 5, 2009 at 5:25 pm

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Being from MA we see alot of those welfare recipients who take take take and give nothing. What’s sad is the people who work are trying to pay mortages and utilites and may need a little extra help and can get NOTHING. There is no shame in asking and receiving help when needed BUT when you take all you can get and then spend 3 months in another state in your beautiful home there is a problem. The only way to get any help is to be a non productive citizen in this state and that is SAD!!!!

Beaten but not Defeated July 14, 2009 at 5:45 am

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Well, if you’re really in a slump and in need of a car but you don’t think you qualify for welfare, dont want to apply or can’t get it, or even if you’re on it, then you can check out this site:
be sure to enter:
as your referal.
Add me as a friend, I vote for all my friends!

8ighty1 January 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

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Point blank, the economy would boom if them changed the federal refund to mid year…before the holidays!! Heck, in some states, the goverment determines when to turn the clocks back an hour. Just a suggestion

Jay Reber February 5, 2010 at 9:48 am

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I live in Mobile, Alabama and, I am on section eight housing through The Mobile Housing Board and also, I receive food stamps as well and, I receive free cell phone service through safe link wireless and, I was wondering if, I can get a car through you because, I need one real bad for going to the doctors office and the grocery store. You see, I been without one now for two years. Please help me. Call me at 251- 662- 7826. God Bless You Always.

Beaten but not Defeated February 6, 2010 at 6:28 am

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Check out
A legitimate charity for people who are hard on their luck.
Must have a driver’s license and some sort of job to pay for insurance.
but there are real people who get real cars. My friend in New Jersey got her car just last Winter.

sailcatstuff February 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

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OPEN YOUR EYES ————————–
WHERE IS MY JOB————————–
TUESDAY FEB.16th,2010——————-

Beaten but not Defeated February 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

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I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve gotten a phone and minutes from Safelink and when my phone got lost, they replaced it.

KimmyQueen February 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

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The govt doesn’t make its own money. It is getting it from the people that live in the country, hence that car is not really “free”. Someone is paying for it and it is being paid without the people of Mass permission.

Karen Mathews March 2, 2010 at 2:36 am

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As far as Safelink goes, my daughter was injured in a serious accident that was not her fault, but she was hit by an uninsured, unlicensed driver so she will never see a dime. Her dad, who was well employed went blind a couple of years ago and can’t help me help her. She will eventually get SSDI because she was employed full time while she spends several years in rehabilitation therapy to hopefully get her out of her wheelchair. I filled out the SafeLink app for her. She got a refurbished cheap phone that retails new for $9.99 at Walmart and gets 80 free minutes a month as long as she qualifies or the program lasts. Tracfone pays for most of the program. I live in a middle to upper middle class town in MA and we now have a food pantry because of the high unemployment. I volunteer there and see people I know who are mortified that they need a hand. This isn’t a black and white or racial situation, it is economics. Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, and so many of us are one paycheck from living in our cars, if we have one. Karen

CurtisHx March 2, 2010 at 5:24 am

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If a state wants to run a communist type government, that’s fine. The national government, on the other hand……..

Point being that a state should be able to do pretty much whatever they want INSIDE their lines.

Ernesto Giro July 2, 2010 at 8:57 pm

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I truly commned the STATE OF MASSACHUSSETS for such a wonderful and FANTASTIC initiative and my hats off to governor Deval Patrick. I happen to be one of those people who is very poor and in dire straits RIGHT NOW as I write without no car and living on my last months rent about to become homeless soon! My unemployment comp has run out and withouta vehicle finding work has been nearly impossible here in Florida where I reside. I wish Mr. Patrick’s plan could serve as a model for other states to follow suit. As an ordained minister, I’m not ashamed to say YES I’M POOR VERY POOR AND I NEED THIS TYPE OF PROGRAM!

Pastor Jeshua Giro

Notsosilent September 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

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I thought this state spent millions on PUBLIC transportation???? Where the hell is that money if you gotta give people a car? Dirty democrap deeds done dirt cheap (at our expense)

Khadim Hussain December 12, 2011 at 4:22 am

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Hello. sir\madam
I m 20 year old. and i dont have any thing and i like eduction. My father is very poor man. so plz Help me and suport me in eduction plz.. i m very poor boy..
Thanks for you

Khadim Hussain December 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

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Hello. sir\Madam
My age is 20 year. and I m very poor boy. I dont have any thing here in pakistan . so plz help me n care me. Here is Taliban so plz help me… in my eduction, plz plz plz n care me

danybhoy December 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

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Outside of the sport of cricket, what does Pakistan produce that the rest of the world cares about? Another worthless nation.