“My allegiance isn’t to an unrestrained free market, but a deeply-held position that everyone is entitled to a roof over their heads, food to eat, a solid education and good medical care as a moral right. If we cannot be guaranteed basic dignity under the law, what’s the point of the whole enterprise?” the preceding is a quote from a self-described democratic socialist who wrote a piece for Salon.com describing why he is done with Bernie Sanders and voting for Hillary Clinton; his expressed idea penned just before calling out Bernie Sanders as a Jonny come lately to many of today’s defining issues. An idea starkly worth reading and rereading in light of the latest GOP attack on poor people slashing food stamps benefits for 30,000 in Missouri alone, that state leading the charge in reinstating the ‘welfare to work’ restrictions enacted by president Clinton 20 years ago, relaxed during the recession to compensate for cratering job opportunities and en-masse job loss. It was the same debate conundrum pre-passage of Obama care is healthcare a right whether guaranteed under the constitution, under other government guidelines or is it a citizens responsibility to take from their wages earned and pay for their own healthcare; GOP of course ascribing to the latter either citing its non- presence in the constitution or the ‘realistic stance’ the government isn’t designed to, forget capable of, taking care of people on that level. Mirroring the supposedly fiscally responsible evolving attitude on social security versus individual retirement plans also championed by the GOP admonishing people, some of whom have paid into social security for decades and are a hairs breath away from retirement, for being too dependent on social security and not minding their own post work finances with an IRA, 401k, savings anything but counting on the government set up stipend social security for their wellbeing in old age; even after seeing what the late 2007, 2008 stock market dives did to 401k and money market accounts people planned to depend on once in their golden years, seeing persons, families dipping into that 401k through extended bouts of unemployment lasting a year, 2, perhaps longer. Bringing us full circle back around to what is happening in Missouri and Kansas both echoing various measures around the country slashing so called welfare rolls, the majority of which is food stamps to get people off public assistance and back to work, back on their feet. Sadly like jailing men for unpaid child support, another asinine brainchild of conservative politicians virtually ensuring the state and the child will never see the funds they’re supposed to, because, you have cut off any means for them to find work, continue working the job they have and make their payments, request more hours from their employer, seek a second job to catch up, they rarely achieve the goal in mind and have a nasty recurring habit of coming down on the people they were never meant to. In the interest of clarification, the latest cuts apply only to childless, no dependent households ages 18-49, excluding disabled persons, pregnant women and nutrition benefits will continue to persons in the designated age bracket if they work, complete job training, select volunteer venues for a minimum of 20 hours per week, so there will be no little old ladies with walkers, little old men with canes going without groceries and the GOP haven’t sunk low enough yet to throw children under the bus, at least not that way, they have enough wherewithal to understand the public would, and justifiably, flay them alive particularly during an election year. That in no way cancels out the wrong of doing it in the first place, spearheaded by largely republican governors representing states knowing all too well the limits of the economic recovery; so thin in some places prompting people to say what recovery a full 7 years after Washington declared the recession over. Interest rates are still bargain basement low and have remained there throughout the post-recession recovery years, federal reserve reluctant to raise them, recovery isolated to only pockets around the country, and while the number of available jobs has increased dramatically, good solid jobs have been overwhelmingly replaced by minimum wage retail, fast food positions at a fraction of workers former wages. These are facts born our by hard data and statistics along with the real unemployment numbers of those out of work longer than the calculation period used to determine the national unemployment rate, simply dropped from the workforce all together discouraged by the lack of prospects, opportunities. Still they do this, feeding tired tropes on laziness, unwillingness to work, racial politics harping about which minorities are on food stamps, generational cycles of persons on public assistance while reassuring hawkeyed tax payers monies culled will go to other services like additional funding for head start, as if that makes what they’re doing perfectly ok, all the better. Interesting for Judeo-Christian bible thumpers they appear to have conveniently forgotten charity, that Jesus said to look after the poor, fatherless and widowed, reminded crowds and his disciples the poor would always be among them and proscribed kindness. That whole do unto others as you’d have done unto you thing, as you’ve done it unto the least of these you’ve done it unto me idea lost unless you are ‘living right,’ unless you fit their mold of a good, moral person, never having made a mistake or been placed in a bad situation; though reading my bible, I don’t remember any of those stipulations attached to the paraphrased passages.
It wasn’t enough for Missouri senator Rick Brattin to introduced a bill last year baring food stamp money be used for ‘junk food,’ cookies and potato chips along with ‘luxury’ meats i.e. stake or high end sea food like lobster, crab legs, adding insult to injury so poorly worded it could potentially target canned tuna and fish sticks; additionally proving a fool’s errand having no support in the Missouri legislature essentially going nowhere legally. Although going viral with lightning speed nationally putting a black eye on the state for merely considering it; irony of irony recent chastisement of the food stamp program has been hardworking taxpayers don’t pay taxes, support supplemental nutrition programs for people to buy unhealthy foods, then Mr. Brattin comes along trying to criminalize eligible persons for buying good quality meats. When anecdotal evidence garnered from people actually out there, in the supermarkets, standing in line behind food stamp users tell a very different story than the hypotheticals generated by Brattin based on his current family size and assuming he received full allotments; many don’t instead receiving the minimum of $16 in his state. Testimonials resembling quotes as follows, “As a man and a husband who does 90% of the grocery shopping I’ll tell you what I’ve seen. I’ve seen women break down and cry in shame when using their food stamp card. One woman actually fell to the floor. I guess it was her first time. I’ve had a woman apologise to me as she spilled out her coin purse trying to come up with the change to pay the tax on her taxable items. Not one coin was larger than a dime in her purse. I gently put my hand on her shoulder and said Maam this is America, all I see is American money on the belt — no need to apologise. I’ve never seen lobster, or steak but I see a lot of bologna,chicken legs, and beans in their carts. I’ve even stood behind women who asked the cashier to take stuff out of the bags because they didn’t have enough money on their card to cover the food they purchased. When the cashier pulled enough out so the card could cover it I told her to complete the sale and I would buy the rest of it for the womwn. She said no but I insisted that I couldn’t go to bed that night knowing her children didn’t have enough to eat for the rest of the MONTH. After all this is America.” [Sic] Or countering the rare, few and far between ‘beach bum’ stories that seem to point to pride in the use of food stamps, abuse of food stamps while you simply refuse to work buying extravagant foods most average Americans don’t consume— though Fox News’ beach bum obviously lived on a cost where such things are cheaper due to abundance, ready availability, less travel and shipping costs to the middle of the country, to a state like Missouri and he pointed out to cameras following him, despite sounding perpetually high, the items he bought were on sale– are situations embodied in the following Huffington Post article comment. “…That is the reality of families who use food stamps. They don’t proudly pull out their food stamp cards and buy crab legs. They are embarrassed and have hot dogs, rice, ramen noodles and canned vegatables in their carts. And they try to get their kids a few treats, how is buying some cookies or popcorn hurtingbsnyone?” [Sic] Outright ignored or utterly dismissed is the fundamental, mathematical fact the ‘junk’ foods cost significantly less than healthy foods before getting into the food wars on organic versus non-organic vegetables, free range opposed to regular meats; full allotments for single person or couple households mean buying lots of soup, Ramen noodles, beans, canned versus fresh/frozen vegetables. On man using a calculator and skipping meals to stretch his single person allotment through the month after the rescission snatched his job one year away from when he hoped to retire; he was 64, no hope of that and slated to lose his home once his unemployment rant out. And now that the worn out lines of “allotments are so extravagant people are buying filet mignon lobster, crab legs, shrimp with food stamps” and “people are misusing, abusing food stamps, when they buy sweets, cookies, candy, potato chips soda, energy drinks” isn’t flying with voter constituencies, news watchers and people who’ve seen differently with their own eyes nor the “the card has a man’s name but it’s a woman at the checkout counter” definition of committing fraud (conservatives ought to know the origins of this one since it’s their arcane parameters of family that cause the program to designate a head of household, put the card in the husband’s name) we’re seeing them resort to a new old gimmick hiding behind the law to continue people’s hatred of welfare, even when whittled down to food assistance, and perpetuate the shaming of those desperate and destitute enough to use it. Hiding behind the law too fixated on the president Regan identified ‘welfare queen’ to recognize that’s decades old and rules, ability to forge/fake documents changed exponentially in favor of the program not the criminal. Hiding behind the law too busy squawking about the man who tried to buy a BMW with food stamps, fervently painting him as the same old ‘detestable, degenerate face of welfare’ to pay any mind to the reality he was caught, will be barred from the program maybe for life, if not that strictly monitored, if he was receiving food benefits for dependents, to where it will not happen again; meaning the system works, the safeguards to taxpayer dollars work.
One of the problems with the current restrictions is the grossly mistaken, misshapen concept everyone 18-49 can work moving from imagination, theory to real world practicality; disregarding my piece last week on millennials trials and tribulations in the workforce based on arbitrary stereotypes of their clothes for the moment, let’s tackle the 40-49 year old crowed who may be battling a physical injury, hip, back, knee problems, a limp, from decades in construction, previous on the job accident, chronic health problem drastically impacting their ability to work, at present, the types of jobs they are capable of doing but are not classified disabled, since the parameters are identical to persons deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration, receiving social security or supplemental income (SSI). What about people who have cases pending with SSA, who have applied, been denied yet can’t afford a lawyer, legal counsel wasn’t enough to procure them benefits; still they cannot work, are extremely confined in the category of work they can do, hours they can work without damaging their body? Case in point, 48 year old man, diabetic, suffering from high blood pressure who has consistently kept working through repeated mini strokes and heart attacks complications from his diabetes, still in trouble with child support prompting the state to remove his driving license and place him in county jail. His refusal to take insulin after a medical error that threw him into a rage, nearly harming his infant firstborn and prompting the state to hand down the ultimatum his wife split from him or they would take the child contributing to his poor health. His stint in jail making it harder to obtain a job forget a good paying one, compounded by a future error his then employer, on a job he had managed to obtain, made direct depositing his paycheck causing his then girlfriend to write bad checks resulting in a felony and more jail time, increased job restrictions; later losing a job at the local paper due to layoff, paper moving to an adjacent town. Denied disability, SSA apparently not believing him disabled enough, and when he was a single person, before marrying his current wife and her having his 4 youngest children, we think eating all that high salt food was good for him, would improve his health, enhance his ability to work? But food stamps are too extravagant, he is to blame for spending time in jail, ‘shacking up’ with the wrong person, having 4 more kids when he can’t afford the ones he’s already fathered; we’ll come back to the saga of the 4 kids later. Furthering the negatives of his situation, he was excluded for the Medicaid his doctor was able to wrangle from the government for him helping to pay for his medications that would extend his life, his functionality and perhaps, perhaps let him work; had to turn down a job driving his housing complex’s food pantry truck for want of the diving license the state took from him. But these are good deterrent polices; these policies should stay in place. Also the Florida woman diagnosed with cancer, unable to work, forced into not working because of her diagnosis, resulting treatment now asked to stretch her food stamp dollars farther as they change when during the month stamps are sent out as part of their austerity measures toward welfare rolls. Mental health issues are notoriously difficult to obtain disability benefits because of owing to politicians, authors of bill’s like Barttin’s, crafters of the original welfare to work initiatives believe clamming debilitating anxiety, depression exc. another way to game the system. A significant looming problem for my friend’s 11 year old son diagnosed with autism who, attends a specialty school because mainstream public school refuses to handle him any longer and his angry outbursts. Inarguably high functioning, completely verbal, on a mood stabilizer he still tends to run out of the classroom when angry, upset, feeling confined due to his claustrophobia. He has all the potential in the world to be a functional, employable citizen provided he gets the targeted autism help he needs; problem, he’s not getting that help because the local autism center refuses to test him, boils his problems down to a problem parent, lack of discipline, his previously diagnosed learning disability, even though he is white and this is a common theme among African Americans. The family counseling center closest to his home has cycled him through 2 counselors, about to be a 3rd, within the last year as staff has left the practice; the adjacent behavioral health facility, in the state of Missouri, in her very town, wants a diagnosis from the autism center and treats him like he’s a normal child with particular behavior problems, which will not serve him in the long run. Translating into, by the time he is 16 eligible to work a first job in fast food, retail he can’t be running out of the room, leaving people in line because something bothers him. Or finding himself charged with assault, vandalism, destruction of property while he tried to obey his boss, keep his job and just lost it, but probably will, not qualifying for disability either. His failure at entry level work derailing his chances of moving beyond it should he be able to go to college, major in a STEM intensive field; an emerging problem for the employment system as 1-45 boys are diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum. My friend is learning disabled, not diagnosed dyslexic until a teacher reviewed her records as a senior in high school, has profound hearing loss in one ear due to a burst ear drum complications of life long ear infections, has been fired from jobs for being too slow, taking too long to catch onto routines and dealt with every kind of bad boss. Including one who kept calling her Rachel (not remotely the letter her first name starts with), another who was the real life incarnation Mr. Spacely prone to yelling, firing persons on a whim at a dishwashing job where she was the best employee, let go when the final straw was she wouldn’t go into the back, into his office to discuss some unspecified topic fearing sexual harassment, assault or rape. Signed up for salvation army bell ringing one year and was taken advantage of for her learning disability, had to keep fighting abysmal management over hours even the store she stood in front of vouched for her having worked. Despite all her problems, things remaining easily documented, though she is an adult, with the proper testing she couldn’t get help from the local vocational rehabilitation let alone apply for disability, pushed there by a labor market that doesn’t want her. And there is never an in depth conversation about how we treat persons with disabilities be they physical, learning, developmental delay or mental health issues, the differently abled in the workplace. The fact that the ADA (Americans with disabilities act) needs a 21st century makeover to compensate for all the ways employers have concocted to get around accommodations, avoid hiring varying disabled persons, persons who clearly have physical, learning or developmental problems yet are not labeled disabled. Opting for the quick fix of removing their food stamps a lifelong judgment of supposedly bad choices, tough love in saying deal with it.
After that is the hugely overestimated effectiveness, many times so much as availability, of job training/placement, volunteer options people can, conservatives hope, parlay into a job, use as a vehicle to enhance their job skills toward employment, increasingly gainful employment reducing their need for assistance, getting them off such rolls altogether the right way. Having chronicled my own harrowing stories with job training, job placement and the supposed aid given to people with disabilities on multiple occasions, regular readers are well aware and well versed in their limitations; ordinary people are facing larger, more uphill climbs to any such assistance, facilitation in getting a job. Volunteer options, though available, are poorly advertised something I found out when a friend reported from her housing complex food pantry volunteer work the complaints of clients. While staff there complained there weren’t enough people down at the large central pantry to inventory donations, yet no one had posted flyers, given out information seeking volunteers. When they did, they got an abundance of volunteers, food selection increased, complaints stopped. Job training programs nationwide are relatively few and far between compared to need and too expensive to be feasible for persons already on food stamps, currently out of work; one in the central part of Missouri, top state where cuts were felt this month, has programs for in demand jobs CNA, medical and legal administrative assistants, office technology teaching clerical skills, construction skills for high school students, HVAC heating and cooling is popular with young men for the hands on work and good paying jobs it leads to. However tuition, for someone not aided by vocational rehabilitation, other community resource referral, agency to defer costs is in the thousands of dollars before you get to the consistent $1,000 for books/ supplies; the local career center has classes for both hobbies and purportedly career advancement exponentially more affordable from a dollars and cents perspective remaining out of reach at $99 to 175. But the more professional oriented ones in HVAC, CNA, Inpatient/Outpatient Medical Coding & Billing are comparable to the other job training facility at around $3,000; cheaper choices in computer software exc. are only hours long, don’t cover enough material to be utilized in the workplace and can be hard to absorb going so fast, it can take 2, 3, 4 classes to sufficiently expose someone to all features. Missouri, like most states across the country, has rural pockets where job training, vocational classes, volunteer venues are scarce let alone information about them; reality there may not 20 hours a week of volunteering/job training available especially competing on the volunteer side with public housing dwellers who must also complete X hours per month volunteering under much the same circumstances, in small one horse town communities, store a stoplight and that’s it. Physical mental, emotional ability to work, availability to work, updated skills doesn’t mean it’s as simple as actively pursuing a job, persevering, putting your best foot forward; coming back to the prevailing trend of condemning millennials for their clothing highlighted several underlying old issues creating barriers to employment. The stubbornly high unemployment numbers for blacks and Latinos predicted to persist regardless of a program to help them succeed, racism and perceptions that will dog them no matter how well put together their suit, how polished their skills. When you can change your name from José to Joe on your application, potential employers never seeing your face only your application materials, and Joe gets the job you don’t need a PhD, require a social sciences degree to know what’s going on. 3 years ago a cosmetic ad and ABC news exposed the gender bias hounding women seeking management jobs, hint—it’s not limited to management jobs. Gender, any minority status anywhere along the employment spectrum will do, popular in the lower spectrums where no one seems to care or be paying attention. Shocking is how many young adults who should be prime age to work, those just starting out are on food stamps, millennials who didn’t have a parents couch to fall back on, drowning in student loan debt, working as a barista, if they can get work at all, never going beyond because we never gave them a chance to get started in a career field. And contrary to popular opinion floated by the likes of Fox news hosts and political comedians vis-a-vis Dennis Miller, it isn’t their major in Peruvian bongo drums and lesbian dance theory. Young starters comprising one group limited in their job search, their job possibilities because they don’t yet own a car and rely on the confined hours of public transit, cannot travel, commute to neighboring towns for work. One of the long term unemployed, employers with vacant positions don’t want you; worse even those reporting on the issue are prone to falling into the trope trap reiterating the monolog on hoping people get back on their feet, as if those who are on food stamps ever wanted to be off of them in that sense. All trickling down to recipients who buy into it as well providing lock step, trope entrenched comments like this ungrammatically correct quote “The longer people stay on food stamps, the more lazier they get,” from a woman out of work 3 months confident she’ll find a job soon. We can here the people who’ve been down this road echoing call me when it’s 3 years, you’ve done hundreds of applications per day, applied for every job in your town and still no luck, been out of work 6 months plus and discover that’s why you are not getting calls back. Putting on stark display the cruelty of implementing it now, they did this just as one area had a plant close down seeing multitudes in Missouri suddenly out of work through no fault of their own; smaller towns where plants employ the lion’s share of the adult population. States like New Mexico with a 6.6% unemployment rate refused to apply for a waiver to defer the new old rules until their economy picks up and could be applauded for offering job training if it didn’t seem like a case of ‘it took this for you to offer job training.’ Our 48 year old male with the health problems, 4 young children and the ‘self-imposed’ felony record eventually got a job at his housing complex food pantry after showing up weekly to unload the truck as a volunteer. Managing it when the current manager quit, has received multiple community awards for ‘getting his life together,’ being an example of the right track, showered with complements from pantry clients, but what you wanna bet were he a single person, half of a couple whose children have moved out, they would cut off his food stamps entirely, at minimum reduce them because he’s only working 18 hours a week, his employer cutting his hours due to budget cuts? Never mind he’s the exception not the rule volunteering, even dedicated, long term volunteering usually doesn’t translate into a job; never mind he’s so successful because his wife is his volunteer and she can take over when he gets dizzy for heat sensitivity, begins having minor chest pains or a migraine.
If 45% of those on food stamps are children, another 20% are disabled and another 17.5 % are elderly, you have approximately 17.5% comprising this nebulous other of childless persons on benefits possibly committing fraud, more likely committed to simple, basic survival; food stamp participating households steadily going down over the past 2 years before states re-implemented the welfare reforms of 2 decades ago. Repeatedly attempted to impart into politicians, ‘welfare haters’ undeniably thick heads, working doesn’t preclude you being on food stamps since 31% are earning an income, another 23.6% are persons drawing social security. 19.9% SSI payments deemed disabled by the social security department, SSI for disabled persons who’ve never worked, been able to work, 20 % have no discernable income, finally another 9% are rounded out by those on TANF or general relief; shouldn’t the people in the last 3 groups especially be able to get 3 square meals a day? And rather than talk about the tangible, palpable discrimination going on in the employment world, business’ growing, outlandish demands, their purple squirrel, candidates have to be prefect before hire problem, concurrently screaming they can’t find workers, republicans are carving out laws virtually sanctioning discrimination against the LGBT community. Making it harder for them to get jobs, support themselves, not need assistance; blowback felt by anyone who doesn’t fit their gender stereotype, women who don’t wear makeup and have a religious minded employer, Kim Davis in the reverse. The second biggest apex of a solution in search of a problem since no religious institution, private business owner has once cried persecution stemming from their faith unless you count that chiefly manufactured uproar over complete access to birth control, effected entities given their exemption well before the dustup, only sighing in relief they now have this blatantly unnecessary protection. And contrary to the dooms day surrounding ‘bathroom bills,’ no one has been harassed, raped, sexually assaulted or severely traumatized by a person pretending to be transgender to commit sexual violence, voyeurism, a transgender person using the bathroom of the gender they feel represents them. First being voter ID laws touted to get a handle on rampant voter fraud based on the then Maine RNC chairman stunned speechless by sheer numbers of African Americans who turned out to vote and similar nonsense examples; oh except we know what that’s all about, the only way they can win is to cheat, create obstacles making it harder to vote. Third being the assault on food stamps, feeding hungry people; program fraud at record lows not penetrating the barrier of GOP ideology. Public shamming of people on welfare remains in vogue rarely losing them a vote as largely conservative senate, house members locally and nationally simultaneously chant the mantra deregulation, getting government, red tape off businesses back so it can grow. Not which regulations, public ostracizing corporate style, cajoling, legislation needs to be added ensuring that people are capable of finding out how to get into career fields opposite the tight lipped secrecy we have now, next to non-existent informational interviews, accurate informative knowledge should you manage to land one. Silent on easing the transition between education and jobs facilitating internships, apprenticeships, places where biology majors can do lab work for certification countering people coming directly out of college unemployable due to a lacking in practical experience. How about ending the ability to not hire persons out of work 6 months or longer, certainly not during a recession, putting a full stop to dismissing persons on welfare looking for a job to get off welfare, the common tendency to view them equal to former prisoners and parolees, remove the earned income tax credit questioners tacked onto job applications used at major universities (Missouri’s famous MU hospital, school or both) several other major employers like them asking invasive questions about your receiving benefits, days of work missed last year exc. Employers not supposed to see those answers rather the IRS yet with online, electronic job applications you can bet they do and make judgments accordingly, but we want to talk about cyclical, generational dependence on benefits, welfare ignoring getting on assistance carries the same general knowledge quotient of getting an entry level, minimum wage job; ‘everyone knows how to do that.’ Getting into a career field is a whole different animal, a gaping mystery thanks to above practices; practices turning on the job training into a vulgar, 4 letter phrase welfare haters inside and outside the political arena routinely give the audience cricket responses to. The very same law makers nearly giddy at getting their way who when they weren’t decrying minimum wage increases, the ‘fight for $15 movement’ on the grounds of destroying business, jobs that would disappear from our weak enough as it is economy, chose blazing indignation someone would dare suggest elevating low skilled jobs. Challenging supposedly lower skilled workers: to raise their skills if they want a raise in pay all while vetoing job bills left and right, out of spite for president Obama mostly. Though children aren’t impacted by the recent welfare to work rules reset, GOP pet projects singling out women, centered around abortion give us a preview of what’s next; in addition to incentivizing the long held welfare trope of women having children, more children to keep welfare benefits, recycled here in the exemption for pregnant women (though there is no evidence anyone has done that, gotten pregnant solely for assistance in decades and we shouldn’t bar pregnant women from healthy food) is the all-out assault on birth control before we even get to a minimal discussion of abortion. Among the past 8 years, since the tea party became a political force, many of the same states gung ho to get back to the welfare to work rules are the same states that passed personhood bills banning abortions after a few short weeks, chafed against birth control methods suddenly classified by their pastor, not their local college’s science professors, abortifacient including select IUD’s. Insisted on furtherance of the abstinence only education failure, extending it to anatomy and physiology taught to high school students in Ohio; West Virginia hiring religious motivated Pam Stezel to lecture kids on sex ed. using fire and brimstone, outdated cultural references and almost zero fact. Then co-opting in the medical profession imposing restrictions on when women can have their tubes tied before age X, still getting flack if they are childless and want to do it before marriage. The former how my friend and her husband (I said we would get back to the saga of his 4 kids) ended up with 4 children ‘they couldn’t afford,’ because after 1&2 doctor claimed she was too young, after 3 they promised to schedule it, never did and after 4, doctor having completely missed the pregnancy, she blatantly refused suggesting Mirena. Yet instead of talking about the GOP’s illogical positions on issues contributing to the problems they say they want solved, ultimately increasing the spending on welfare, refusal to give women control over their own bodies so they need less welfare for themselves, unwisely had children. Talking about them taking steps to criminalize abortion weaseling around Roe V. Wade with fetal protection laws mandating women report a miscarriage, charging her with murder for actions that purportedly harmed her baby as ridiculous as falling down the stairs, Donald Trump implying women should be behind bars for an abortion. We (conservative consumers of Fox News) will give the TV anchor a pass (while mainstream media sensibly fired her and critics called her broadcast exactly how not to speak on race) because when she talked about a black shooter who has siblings from multiple fathers she was reporting the facts, telling the truth. And call the story of one man behind bars making excuses for him raping women before we talk about the lack of services he needed that lead him to his eventual fate. Call the mother with a Coach purse (a Christmas gift from her father) whinny and entitled, another one of welfare’s chronically shown poor decision makers because she and her husband are grad students, teaching ‘getting degrees in fields with no money,’ got pregnant and had a baby with no health insurance naive for wondering why she gets the evil eye at the grocery store, tying them all together in a neat ideological bow.
Salon links are right on target, we would rather pay for prisons, the back end of mental health warehousing people who can never leave in psychiatric hospitals designated for the criminally insane when they aren’t languishing in jail cells, the prison psych ward, as opposed front end mental health involving diagnosis and treatment, help before a crime is committed. We would rather commit our tax dollars to long term consequences of poverty than engage in an ounce of prevention; we would rather pay for the long spanning burden of poverty than the, less over time, expenditure of alleviating it. We would rather stick to our mythology of the self-made American, tout the protestant work ethic of one religion as how it’s done, regardless of it never working for society for a host of reasons only a few listed here than abandon our prejudices against types of work, kinds of people, namely the poor and provide them a living wage by which to support themselves. Than give women equal pay for equal work instead of pretending they don’t deserve it because they dared take off during their child’s infant, toddler and preschool years, they are somehow less than because we took away their negotiating power through ignoring them, not taking them seriously in the workplace, then didn’t negotiate, salary, maternity leave, raise, whichever, or holding them back because they dared act like a man in trying to move up the employment ladder and women are supposed to do that. Forget equal pay for equal work would cut the poverty rate in half, especially for children, those ‘destined’ to be stock minority news headlines for all the wrong reasons. Conservatives refusing connect clearly correlating elements; the reason people need so much assistance, when it’s not TANF, general relief, food stamps, it’s child care assistance (so that both parents can work), housing assistance, affordable housing initiatives keep being a recurring theme, a cheered necessity. Is because, both things cost exponentially more than they should, more than a person can make, pay utilities, buy food, afford healthcare premiums, deductibles without said assistance. Frustratingly, give it time and they’ll be saying children have to be thrown off welfare rolls, because we’ve got to get these people off the government dole, we’ve got to send the message you can’t indiscriminately have kids and expect someone else to take care of them. It’s precursor was filtered through the Illinois legislature, again going nowhere, and would deny birth certificates, trigger a lifetime ban from public assistance to children/parents who do not name the father on said certificate or name a suitable relative to be financially responsible for the child. Forgoing the lack of exemption for victims of rape and incest, the problems of getting an ID later in life for children born to women who patently refused to be manipulated that way, there is a blatantly financial component to this on the part of the state. These are the kinds of austerity measures that lead to poison water in Flint, has left lead pipes carrying drinking and bathing water to thousands if not millions across other regions in America. It assumes that parent will need assistance, bucking trope trends not all single parents do, it assumes the naming of the father is accurate or that naming the father will mean he is capable of paying child support, providing for the child should the parents be together, that the family doesn’t require assistance ever, see the Coach purse story for why that simply isn’t true. You just created more ‘degenerates’ you will despise cutting innocent children off from basic food and medical care to punish their parents. We would rather hold fast to our warped perception government assistance, government insurance of minimum health makes people dependent, gives them no incentive to work, no work ethic, inspires laziness than adopt this also sane view. “…Does the government service of bringing water to your house make you dependent on not taking a bucket down to the stream or something? Does a road make you dependent on not walking your donkey through the woods to town? Do police and courts make you “dependent” on not having good swordsmanship or carrying a large club?” Piggybacking off the question in the opening quote, promoting the ‘radical’ idea it is the responsibility of any beyond third world society, democratic society to see to that insurance of minimum health. European countries have done it for decades providing low cost healthcare, free educations, food assistance where applicable and they still have a majority of persons working in their societies, people who take pride in their work, are profoundly productive because of, not in spite of, extended vacations. Understanding we would be nowhere without the periphery government structures we take for granted; look at the above video for what happens when fundamental government mechanisms break down. Guaranteeing minimum heath is no different and tends to have the opposite of imagined effects; lost is food stamps is more effective than we ever knew at what it was intended for, preventing starvation, staving off malnutrition. “If we cannot be guaranteed basic dignity under the law, what’s the point of the whole enterprise?” Funny many thought, have run for office with a genuine desire to help the country, started social movements for rights and equality given to hitherto marginalized citizens on the foundation that was the point, the whole point and the only point.