It was sad to read "In Maryland, it pays not to work" (Aug. 14). Author Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute expended a lot if ink on his attack on the poor.

He cites all of these statistics, including that a poor family in Hawaii could reap $49,175 per annum in "welfare" benefits. He concludes that Congress and state legislatures must reduce welfare dependence and reward work.

Instead of dealing with the serious problems facing Baltimore and other cities, such as the immense poverty bewildering our legislators or that 50 percent of the federal budget goes to making war, Mr. Tanner sees the poor as a major problem. We are living through the Great Recession and jobs are at a premium. College graduates, some of whom have an enormous loan to pay off, are having great difficulty in finding work. Those who lost their jobs face tremendous hurdles in getting back in the employment sector. And Mr. Tanner wants to poor to find work and get off the dole.

How about dealing with the lack of jobs, despite the fact that all cities need major infrastructure repair? How about questioning why our economic system allows for such income and wealth stratification?

If the Cato Institute is concerned about public expenditures, it should note Congress is beholden to military contractors. The poor are the ones who suffer the most from this misguided budget priority. Cut the bloated military budget, end the great gap between the haves and the have-nots and restart the Works Progress Administration. Attacking the poor is uncalled for and unproductive.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore