The Mayor of Lewiston, Maine, has figured out the answer to society’s ills, and it comes in the form of public shaming.
Upset by the fact that Maine’s government maintains a website that lists the amount of money received by pensioners in the state, and angered by the existence of welfare recipients, or the “victimized, protected class,” Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald devised a plan.
The Tea Party-backed conservative, who is currently seeking re-election to a third term in his town of 36,000, announced a bill to create a website would list the names and addresses of welfare recipients publicly online.
“We will be submitting a bill to the next legislative session asking that a website be created containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole. After all, the public has a right to know how its money is being spent.”
Macdonald also said he would push for a bill that would bar the state from paying benefits to families for additional children born after a recipient has been receiving welfare payments and cap welfare payments after a certain time period.
Of Maine’s $2.7 billion budget, $100 million goes to state welfare benefits, Maine Democrats have already pointed out. And despite Macdonald’s most fervent hopes, they also note that such a law would be illegal, anyways.
It’s not the first time he’s faced backlash — in 2012, residents called for his resignation after his xenophobic remarks advising Somali immigrants to “accept our culture and you leave your culture at the door.”
But the Lewiston mayoral election is coming up in November, and a young progressive challenger has already broken the state record for mayoral campaign fundraising. If Lewiston’s lucky, Macdonald will never even get a chance to see his bill fail.