IF YOU LIVE IN KANSAS BETTER NOT BE POOR
KANSAS LEGISLATURE IMPOSES $25 LIMIT ON WELFARE DEBIT CARD WITHDRAWLS
Included in recently passed legislation in Kansas outlawing the spending of welfare money on beauty parlors, race tracks, sporting events and manicures, was a small amendment that limited to $25 per withdrawal transaction for welfare debit cards. Now in addition to the $25 limit, recall that every ATM where such withdrawals are made, also charge a fee for each transaction. Also each debit card includes a fee for its use. In essence, then, the $25 withdrawal amounts to about $20 in actual cash that the user gets. That folks, amounts to a 20% fee. Let’s say that a typical welfare family needs $200 per month for food, not luxurious amount by any stretch of the imagination. Each month, then, the welfare moocher is paying $40 bucks and nets $160 out of the $200 total. Basically, it amounts to a tax, that third rail term Governor Brownback refuses to voice, using the term “fee” as a cover. And here I thought there were laws against those weekly payroll check cashers you see lining the streets in our nation’s poor neighborhoods. I guess not for poor Kansans. They don’t seem to have any rights like the rest of us have.
I’ve noticed a very slight shift in the attitudes of ordinary Americans of late. It seems that a slightly larger – although still miniscule - portion of the public are catching on to the criminal antics of conservative Republican Governors – Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, Bobby Jindal, to name a few – in their efforts to protect corporations and the rich from any limitations on their activities while slashing funds for public schools, state universities, pensions, and welfare. This slashing of funds has been accompanied by increases in “fees” on cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, public recreation, and a host of other revenue producing measures, otherwise known as TAXES.
But here’s a couple of sobering statistics I recently ran across:
1. Between 1977 and 2010 the annual number of jobs creating start-up businesses fell by 53%. (The New America Foundation)
2. The poorest single parent families receive 35% less in 2010 than they did in 1980. (Johns Hopkins University)
3. During the Clinton Administration, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was revamped into the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program with the result of reducing the number of poor single parent families receiving funds by 63% between 1998 and 2008.
4. Contrary to “Entitlement Society” right wing rhetoric, over 90% of entitlement benefits go to elderly, disabled and working households. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
So in essence, Americans, and particularly those holding public office, get to choose their own version of reality, one that most suits their view of the world irrespective of what the facts of any given issue might be. Governor Brownback gets to choose his reality that the poor are lazy moochers undeserving of public assistance while you and me chose a data and statistical reality that belies Brownback’s version.
It is the defining issue of our day, this “what is really real,” and one that conservatives have been extraordinarily adept at convincing vast swathes of the public that their version of reality (cutting taxes creates jobs) is the only real one. Despite, I might add, every bit of data and evidence to the contrary.
Methinks it’s going to be one hell of a bumpy ride between now and November 8, 2016. What follows, however, could be one hell of a bumpy disaster for all of us.