How the food stamp program should be handled has been a subject of debate, with some people arguing it is too easy to obtain the benefits. Be that as it may, those who need help ought to get it as quickly as possible.
That isn't happening in some areas of Ohio, according to the state Department of Job and Family Services.
Twenty-three counties have been asked to speed up processing of food stamp applications. Some are doing an absolutely deplorable job.
The worst appears to be Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located. Just 45 percent of food stamp applications filed in November were processed within 30 days, as required by state rules.
Officials often blame high numbers of applications, combined with not having enough staff to process them. But that does not explain situations such as the one involving Louise Harris, of College Hill. After filing an application, she called her local DJFS and was told her paperwork had been lost, she told a reporter.
State officials say it is difficult to force local agencies to toe the line. Cutting off their funds just hurts those who need help. How about disciplining DJFS employees who aren't doing their jobs? Has that been considered?
Last month the U.S. government spent $84 billion it didn't have, continuing a period of deficit spending that encompasses all of President Barack Obama's administration.
That works out to about $268 for every man, woman and child in the United States, or more than $1,000 for a family of four, during just a single month.
And there is no end in sight. Even the most optimistic predictions for reducing federal spending call for deficits stretching long into the future.
Many of us overspend during the Christmas season. But the government's binge continues throughout the year. Clearly, it needs to be brought to an end.