Missing: 19,000 Massachusetts welfare recipients

That's the bad news. The good news, says Governor Deval Patrick, is that it's "only" 4% of the total.

Yes, he really said that.

Governor Deval Patrick is downplaying the Department of Transitional Assistance admission that it could not locate 19,000 people who have either been receiving welfare benefits or have applied for them, saying the number represents a "broader class of people than those who are actually on the rolls today."

At a news conference, the Governor kept referring to the number of people whose addresses could not be located as just "four percent" of the mailings. This was discovered after nearly half a million letters were sent out to settle a lawsuit filed against Massachusetts last year in part by the liberal think tank, "Demos." The Department of Transitional Assistance says 19,000 letters came back, marked "Return to Sender."   

A spokesman for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services says 11,262 people were either already off the rolls or had never been approved for benefits. It also says 7,738 were returned with forwarding addresses. Still, Governor Patrick says people should continue to have confidence in the state's ability to oversee welfare benefits.

What reason would people have to lose confidence in the ability of the state to oversee welfare benefits? What's 19,000 missing people between friends?

Patrick should be marked "Return to Sender" and moved out.