In which Kansas reveals our Id

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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119 Responses

  1. Avatar zic says:

    My question is if Kansas, in crafting this law, actually bothered to investigate how people spend public assistance money. Did they do any due diligence at all?

    I also have some issues with some of the restrictions; pools, for instance, might be a necessity for summer-time recreation, particularly for children kept indoors by asthma or some other physical disability. A pool membership doesn’t strike me as the epitome of vice. But not knowing Kansas, perhaps I’m only imagining that.

    Men, obviously, aren’t poor, unless they’re drug addicts or whatever. It’s only women who are poor and make poor spending decisions and just want to spend their children’s food and rent money on looking hot. Did you not know this?

    /sighReport

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      My question is if Kansas, in crafting this law, actually bothered to investigate how people spend public assistance money. Did they do any due diligence at all?

      This.

      A *lot* of the populist-driven government aid restricting bills seem to be just that… driven by populist impressions of anecdotes, rather than any systemic evaluation of the system and how the money is spent.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      IIRC, states have ready access to where the card was used, but not to what it was used for. There is a possibility — I don’t know one way or the other — that gaining access to the “what” would require federal law to be changed.

      This page points at a variety of EBT fraud investigations, but most appear to be cases of people (sometimes with the help of state government insiders) lying about eligibility. I would prefer to see states getting the eligibility problems straightened out first.

      Back in 2012 Congress passed and President Obama signed legislation requiring states to block the use of EBT at liquor stores, strip clubs, casinos, and gaming establishments, under threat of losing 5% of their federal funding. That’s a pretty hefty penalty. Presumably all states have conformed to the law in one fashion or another, including compiling lists of places where the cards are not to be used.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    These debates are nothing new and they are not even uniquely American. Ben Wilson shows this in his great book, The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain. The book shows the transition from the generally hedonistic and debauched Georgian era to the very suppressed Victorian era. One of the concerns of the proto-Victorians was how the poor and beggars lived. There was a widespread and popular belief that many beggars lived like Kings and Queens at night from their earnings during the day. The sides of the debates sounded the same with the liberals/left either saying “This is absurd” or “So what?” to the the Conservatives proposing serious laws, regulations, and restrictions on the jobless poor especially the dreaded Workhouse.

    The purpose of these restrictions in to put a tax on poverty and to punish people for falling on bad times or having the unfortunate luck of being born into poverty. They make us feel smug and morally superior and are supposed to incentive people to either not take welfare (to avoid the restrictions) or to get any job quickly no matter how horrible, poorly paying, and mind-numbing.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      But but but…”democracy” did this, so it HAS to be ok.

      Oh wait, so you’re NOT ok with this type of paternalism, but you are with others? Kindly point out why?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @damon, during the late 18th and early 19th century, the British franchise was very limited. These decisions are more fairly called oligarchic than democratic because of that.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      One problem was that during the late 18th and early 19th century, the old Parish system for handling the destitute in England that was established during the Elizabethan era was falling apart. There were simply too many people to take care of because of a rapidly growing population and urbanization. A modern welfare state wasn’t really in the political imagination back than and probably beyond the administrative capacities of the British state anyway.

      Still, the idea of poor beggars living like royalty seems to be a near universal bugbear in humans. Nearly every society seems to have a fear of there being a large class of poor people that are enjoying generosity and not pulling there weight while everybody else has to work for a living.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @leeesq

        This is true even in liberal San Francisco. SF has a large homeless population because of generally temperate weather and because we are a very liberal city. We especially have a large population of street kids in their teens and early 20s.

        There are a lot of debates about this street kid population. This includes debating the demographics and how many kids are legitimately fleeing bad situations at home (especially among LGBT street kids) and how many are middle-class and above surbanites from the outer Bay Area who are trying to pretend that is 1967 and play-acting at being hippies in a way that goes from merely annoying to actively harassing passerbys who don’t give them money.

        A lot of people think that a good chunk (maybe even a majority) of the street kids are just suburban kids play-acting and other people will call you evil for even suggesting that one of them is play-acting.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Most humans imagine themselves as the ants in the fable of the ants and the grasshoppers, the one where the ants take pity on the grasshoppers and take care of them.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Most humans imagine themselves as the ants in the fable of the ants and the grasshoppers, the one where the ants take pity on the grasshoppers and take care of them.Report

  3. Avatar j r says:

    First off, I should probably note that the idea behind Kansas’s HB 2258 — that the use of public assistance dollars should be restricted in their use — is one that I actually do support. If a state is offering dollars to assist with basic necessities, I believe, it should also be allowed to have reasonable expectations that those dollars go to pay for basic necessities.

    Once you’ve decided to be paternalistic, why stop with the soft paternalism?

    I admit this is a bit of a slippery slope argument, but it is really difficult to see at which point you can make a principled argument that we ought to be providing poor folks with a basked of A, B and C goods, but that we should absolutely forbid them from buying X, Y and Z.

    As your post alludes, all this does is create another battleground in the eternal culture wars. And that’s only the half of it. The other half is that there is a significant cost to administering and monitoring these restrictions.

    If you want to do something to make sure that people are on the right track and that public assistance is actually assisting, it’s much better to put in place controls that make receiving assistance incumbent on some form of positive behavior.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @j-r “If you want to do something to make sure that people are on the right track and that public assistance is actually assisting, it’s much better to put in place controls that make receiving assistance incumbent on some form of positive behavior.”

      I could get behind that, I think.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Yes, one way to do that is to offer a base amount of support and then you qualify for additional support if you do things like job training programs, etc.

        “We will help you out. We will help you out more if you show more initiative and drive to get yourself going.”Report

        • Avatar zic says:

          This is what we did for my mother.

          I come from a conservative family (NE traditional, not modern TP conservative.) During my childhood, liberalism lifted my family out of poverty, and put in place the regulations that cleaned up the river on which I didn’t get to have a Tom Sawyer childhood, though we owned a mile of its shore. You can swim there now, which is no ending of miracle to me; it gives me faith that if we become better stewards, we might have a brighter future. Seven generations.

          We’re putting that land up for sale now. There’s eleventyone acres, more or less; 100 or so forested; the rest pasture; on the south slope of a hill; the mountain behind has a windmill farm going up on it. Antique cape, post and beam, of hand-cut oak beams, two garages, a barn, and various other outbuildings. Clean, pure drinking water that flows through sand for a quarter mile before it’s tapped.

          I will miss it.

          And I have to admit that the social safety net we used — CETA — probably saved that land for my family. That’s something I hadn’t considered before. It’s been in our family since the early 1900’s.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      As your post alludes, all this does is create another battleground in the eternal culture wars. And that’s only the half of it. The other half is that there is a significant cost to administering and monitoring these restrictions.

      Every time the right comes up with rules like this, three things are rapidly revealed:

      1) Not that many people actually do game the system. There might be professional defrauders who shouldn’t get welfare at all, or get it for multiple people (These people need to actually be *arrested*, not have goofy rules added they have to work around), but the people who ‘legitimately’ receive welfare are using it quite reasonably
      2) Thus, enforcing the rules actually costs more money than they save.
      3) Despite these attempts to squeeze this stone continually not working, the right insists on trying over and over again instead of going after blatantly obvious fraud committed elsewhere against the government.

      If you want to do something to make sure that people are on the right track and that public assistance is actually assisting, it’s much better to put in place controls that make receiving assistance incumbent on some form of positive behavior.

      I would argue it would be even better than that to just *give them the things we want them to have*.

      That is the theory behind WIC, after all. And food stamps. We just give them food, or, rather, coupons for food.

      I will mention, as I do every time we start talking about the poor here, the idea of actually operating hotel-ish homeless shelters, so the poor don’t lose all their stuff and they have a place to sleep and eat and shower.

      But, of course, stuff like that would actually be *helpful*. Better to make the poor (and only the poor) jump through hoops to get government assistance. Which we them give them in a form of cash, so we can berate them for not using it correctly.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I have a tendency to see as complicated things other people see as simple, but this one strikes me as remarkably simple.

    Is the government assistance meant for food? Then you have to spend it on food. On limiting food choices, I could only see going so far as eliminating things that are completely devoid of any nutritional content (like soft drinks, say), but even that I’m not really enthusiastic about and it seems like an awful lot of trouble to micromanage people’s choices and I don’t particularly trust the government to get it right or to not expand the list to “things that are more bad than good” which leads to more micromanagement and other trust issues…

    Is the government assistance not meant specifically for food? Then they can spend it on whatever they want. Period. Their choices aren’t above private reproach, but if we want them spending it on specific things, then we should outline what specific things we want them to spend it on rather than coming up ad-hoc lists of no-nos. (We should, in essence, own the micromanagement.)Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @will-truman I might possibly be persuaded to agree with the former, but not the latter.

      My wife’s church works with a non-profit that works with homeless people to find jobs where they can succeed. It turns out there are a whole lot of things a lot of impoverished people need that cost money just to attempt to try to not be impoverished — say, a new shirt for a job interview, or even just money for a laundromat and detergent for the clothes they have. Having some degree of flexibility to allow people to “learn to fish” seems like a potentially necessary step to not needing help to eat every week.

      That being said, I think allowing someone who suffers from, say, alcoholism to use public money to feed that habit is something we can reasonably say, “well, maybe not *that*.” To say otherwise seems to me to be an amalgam of the very worst instincts of both liberalism and libertarianism.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        What percentage of people on government assistance are alcoholics? A disproportionate number, I’m sure, but I would assume a minority (even excluding teetotalers) . Which makes me skeptical of blanket prohibitions.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          I’m not even sure it is a disproportionate number. Studies have confirmed the rates of of other drug use are much lower among those on social assistance.

          Probably a disproportionate number of people on government assistance are alcoholics who can ill afford to maintain their addiction on their present income, but that’s a very specific subset of all alcoholics.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        That being said, I think allowing someone who suffers from, say, alcoholism to use public money to feed that habit is something we can reasonably say, “well, maybe not *that*.”

        Personally, I am content to let people do with their lives what they will. If they want help, I’ll help. If they want to speed headlong into self-destructive behavior, that’s cool as well, so long as they take appropriate steps not to implicate other people in their destructive behavior.

        I am willing, though, to put the libertarian label on my preferences and concede that they ought not be universal or even particularly desirable. That being said, the word “allow” is doing a lot of work in that sentence.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        @tod-kelly
        That being said, I think allowing someone who suffers from, say, alcoholism to use public money to feed that habit is something we can reasonably say, “well, maybe not *that*.” To say otherwise seems to me to be an amalgam of the very worst instincts of both liberalism and libertarianism.

        Yeah, alcoholics should not get any assistance and end up on the street, like God intended!

        I always wonder what, *exactly* is the reason we’re supposed to frown on substance abusers getting public assistance.

        Clearly they also need *other* help, I won’t argue that, but as we’re not giving them *that*, it seems the least we can do is give them the same amount of help as other poor people.

        I just find myself completely baffled at the logic here. Is the theory that does a substance abuse problem make them superheros, able to live without food and shelter? Or is the idea we *want* them on the street? How exactly is this logic supposed to work?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          He’s not saying that he shouldn’t get any benefits. Just that the benefits should be drafted so that he can’t but alcohol with them.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            Well, that’s reasonable then. I’m sure people addicted to alcohol will just stop taking it if they can’t get it.

            Well, I mean, like 90% of them will either trade their benefits away for alcohol (At a very bad exchange rate) or will turn to crime to support their problem….but like 10% will maybe quit!

            This is much better than a world where alcoholics could, uh, buy alcohol and slightly less food using their benefits, and, you know, live on that. We…wouldn’t want that?

            What are we trying to do again? I lost the plot somewhere. We’re worried about stopping alcoholism, first and foremost, and only *then* helping the poor, right?

            Okay, here’s an idea. How about, before getting on food stamps, if they’re alcoholics, they’re required to go through those free government-run rehab clinics and get help that…

            …oh, wait, I see the problem there. Goddammit.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Yeah, this touches on the other issue, which is that when you give people money for food and specify that it’s for food, they’ll use their food money for alcohol. This isn’t an argument against food money, but that it’s really pretty limited in what can really be done.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                @will-truman @davidtc @j-r

                Like so many other stances people feel strongly about when arguing stuff like this, that’s a swell position to take on paper.

                Not-on-paper, what happens is this:

                Step 1: You set up a financial assistance program for people who can’t make ends meet to help them get by.

                Step 2: Some guy goes and spends all of the money on his public assistance debit card getting drunk and getting lap dances at a strip club.

                Step 3: Someone in the press reports on said guy.

                Step 4: The public decides it doesn’t really feel like using tax dollars to fund some guy’s binge drinking and lap dance habit.

                Step 5: Much if not all of the budget of the program is eliminated.

                Yay freedom of choice.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                My preferred solution is some form of universal guaranteed income. Universal, because that’s how you keep programs funded. And a guaranteed income, because you want some form of means testing.

                That’s not in the cards now, but there is no saying that it might not be in ten or twenty years.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                And a guaranteed income, because you want some form of means testing.

                Logically, means testing would be smart, but in actuality, I think if we means tested, we’d basically be saying ‘Only certain people deserve this’, at which point we’ve back to faffing around trying to figure out who deserves it, and what they’re allowed to use it on, etc, etc.

                And you also run into the problem that means testing provides both incentives to lie about income (Although that always exists if taxes do…it will make it larger, though.) and incentives to keep income below a certain level so you don’t get means-tested out.

                This argument is basically what liberals have been saying about social security for ages. No one has any actual problem with the concept of means testing, but once we start means-testing things, they stop being things everyone expects, and now they’re special things that we argue how much certain people deserve. And they can go away.

                It’s easy enough to just give *everyone* a basic income, and then use taxes where the people who don’t need the money end up paying it back anyway. Yes, this is dumber than just giving people less money, but it’s basically the only way to keep the system intact in the future. And probably the only way to *start* such a system.Report

              • Tod Kelly,

                Tod, I think what you’re describing in that comment is not an argument about the right or wrong of strings-attached assistance, but its feasibility from a political standpoint. Politically, if poorer people can get assistance only on condition that they not use the money on alcohol, tobacco, and anything that might have something to do with sex, then you’re right.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Tod, I don’t oppose directed benefits. Sometimes, for the reason you outline, benefits have to be so directed. However, I don’t think that all benefits should be directed. Ideally, there’d be non-directed benefits where there is no failure, and then directed benefits where necessary.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        My wife’s church works with a non-profit that works with homeless people to find jobs where they can succeed.

        That’s all well and good, but hiring is a zero-sum game. The job that the non-profit helped the homeless person get is the job that someone else didn’t get.

        So, I would say that their work is more feel good than do good.Report

        • Avatar Murali says:

          ScarletNumber,

          That’s all well and good, but hiring is a zero-sum game. The job that the non-profit helped the homeless person get is the job that someone else didn’t get.

          Not necessarily and probably not even likely to be true. Here’s why: one of the features of the so-called joblessness situation in the US (as well as in many other places as far as I understand it) is not so much a complete absence of jobs to be done, but a lack of awareness of suitable openings that are actually available. Homeless people are among those least capable of finding those openings even if those openings are there. This is primarily because they are least able to absorb the transaction and frictional costs of searching for a job. This problem gets exacerbated in larger cities like the one Tod lives in. Tod’s wife, like many other middlemen match supply to demand and thus reduce those frictions. She’s essentially doing something similar to real estate agents. They perform a service by matching buyer to seller. Same thing here.

          In addition, the kinds of jobs that homeless people could do is not necessarily the kinds of jobs that non-homeless people would desire. That is one reason why that job will often remain vacant and not be filled by homed people.Report

  5. Avatar Chris says:

    Cigarettes are for closers!Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    “While I agree with A, B, C, D, E, F, and see how G, H, I, and J make sense, I think that K, L, and M go too far!”

    We’ve established what you are.

    Now we’re haggling.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      As I vented on Twitter the other day, it’s particularly annoying that it’s supposed to be out-of-bounds to dictate how the targeted beneficiaries should use the benefits bestowed upon them by the government… and yet benefits bestowed upon the government (health care particularly) are used to justify dictating what everybody should do (transfats, cigarettes, large soft drinks, etc.).Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      You say that like it’s a bad thing.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think that the bad thing is that it can easily be interpreted that I’m saying that like it’s *NOT* a bad thing.

        While I’m one of those “just give them money and depo/vasectomies” folks, I can easily understand how someone might say “hey, you live under my roof, you live according to my rules. You want to be treated like an adult with adult liberties? Take on some pre-req adult responsibilities first.”

        I know that madness lies at the end of that particular road, but I totally understand how someone might see that the end goal of Public Assistance is to create a moral agent who not only no longer requires Public Assistance but is capable of paying into the Public Assistance coffers. Hell, I see it as downright reasonable.Report

        • Avatar Zac says:

          The problem with this argument is that it assumes poor people are only poor because they’re irresponsible.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The degree to which that people who need paternalism/maternalism require being treated like adolescents is a very troublesome argument indeed.

            I think that it goes deeper than assumed irresponsibility. I think it’s worse than that.Report

            • Avatar Zac says:

              It usually is.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              When you’re giving someone an allowance, the “treat him like an adult” ship has already sailed.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                I’m sure the millions of seniors living on pensions and social security will love finding out they’re not really adults.Report

              • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

                Love it or not, but most senior citizens are child-like in their helplessness and their entitlement and their ability to be annoying.

                Disclaimer: I have admitted to my ageism before.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, if I had known that we were talking about senior citizens, I would have specifically mentioned my ideal policy of deliberately sending them drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as part of my “So Now You’re A Senior Citizen” government policy.

                But I’ll admit to not knowing that we were talking about seniors when I was talking about the suspicion that “the end goal of Public Assistance is to create a moral agent who not only no longer requires Public Assistance but is capable of paying into the Public Assistance coffers”.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                We weren’t talking about senior citizens specifically, we were talking about people who live on a government stipend, of which seniors are often a subset. I thought Brandon’s use of the term “allowance” was rather telling; clearly, in his eyes, anyone who benefits from such an arrangement is not an adult. I was trying to provide a counterpoint to that narrative.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Oh, if I had known that we were talking about senior citizens,

                You offer a ridiculous interpretation then defend it by ridiculing someone else’s comment about why the original interpretation is ridiculous. Full closure apriori QEDity. Amazing!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Eh, not really. It’s more that I make distinctions between the following:

                1) Children
                2) Adults who are not yet Senior Citizens
                3) Adults who are Senior Citizens
                along with all kinds of other little distinctions such as “adults with children”, “adults with senior citizen dependents”, “adults with disabilities”, “adults with mental illnesses”, and so on and so forth.

                When we’re talking the theory behind “drug testing recipients” (along with other Paternalistic/Maternalistic requirements for access to the social safety net), my assumption is that we’re talking about “Adults who are not yet Senior Citizens”.

                I mean, I oppose (though am sympathetic to the point of view that supports) drug testing for Adults who are not yet Senior Citizens who want access to the social safety net. I’m not only opposed to the drug testing of Seniors, I support Government Subsidy of Marijuana for them. (I was kinda kidding about cocaine and heroin… let them buy their own.)

                I’m open to arguments about the random testing of children in households that have access to the social safety net insofar as it is evidence of neglect/abuse but I also see issues of privacy at play so I could swing either way, there.

                I mean, given that we’re not going to run with “give them all cash and depo/vasectomies” here. (Which, I suppose, *STILL* assumes under a certain age.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And more to the point, it seems like the fundamental issue goes back to the whole “what strings are appropriate” question, and if we’re asking about that, it seems to make a lot of sense that you make distinctions based on who is getting what.

                I mean, in the most blantant thumb-on-the-scale example, we make distinctions between youngish/middle-aged adults who are healthy/fully capable of working and members of other groups (children, disabled adults, senior citizens).

                If we’re discussing stuff like the appropriate degree of paternalism, it seems to me to more than appropriate to make those distinctions.

                Perhaps we should have spent a few more minutes talking about what we were talking about.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                What I understood us to be talking about was the inaccuracy/insufficiency of the narrative that says that anyone who needs financial help getting by is being given an “allowance” and is not a “real adult”. Was I mistaken?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There are, of course, examples we could come up with of people who need financial help getting by from every end of the spectrum. This guy might come up with the example of a man who was wrongfully arrested by the police and lost his job and, because of that, lost his house when an autosigned foreclosure wrongfully took his house away, and, because of that, got divorced and lost access to his kids and all he needs now is some help getting back on his feet.

                This other guy might come up with an example that relies heavily on a person who is cheating to get benefits not otherwise needed.

                I think that our acknowledgement of “Paternalism/Maternalism” hints at a very particular relationship dynamic and if you see yourself as the Pater/Mater in that dynamic, you’re going to make assumptions that the person on the other end of that dynamic won’t be making.

                So to answer your question, the narrative that says that anyone who needs financial help getting by is not a “real adult” is, indeed, *WOEFULLY* insufficient. The example of senior citizens alone makes that clear.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                It’s more that I make distinctions between the following:

                Just like you make distinctions between the “right” kind of conditions under which nations have economic growth without skyrocketing income inequality, yes? Hmmm. Lots of conditions. It’s almost like nuance always comes to the rescue of “principles” rescuing them from a resounding and ignominious defeat …

                I know that madness lies at the end of that particular road,

                How do you know that? Apriori? Empirically? Emotionally? Politically (because statism is fucked up and bullshit)?

                I seem to recall an argument where you said welfare shouldn’t cover the purchase of yachts. Why are you so resistant to restricting its use for that now?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                How do you know that? Apriori? Empirically? Emotionally? Politically (because statism is fucked up and bullshit)?

                Well, let’s first hammer out the “that”. I think that the “that” you’re referring to is where I said I can easily understand how someone might say “hey, you live under my roof, you live according to my rules. You want to be treated like an adult with adult liberties? Take on some pre-req adult responsibilities first.”

                It seems to me that that particular road leads to people harboring deep-seated resentments and othering the ever-living shit out of each other. The people who see themselves as Pater/Mater will see themselves as entitled to a handful of non-monetary rewards and the people who are at the recipients of the meager benefits from the social safety net will resent the Pater/Maters like you wouldn’t believe.

                We got into this argument here, if I recall correctly. (There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I think I still stand by most of it. There’s interesting stuff worth reading all over the thread but that’s where I think the argument you’re talking about took place. I couldn’t find any reference on the site to me talking about yachts, though.)

                But, for the record, you say this: I seem to recall an argument where you said welfare shouldn’t cover the purchase of yachts. Why are you so resistant to restricting its use for that now?

                While I cannot recall saying that and can’t find a link to where I said that, I suppose I could see myself saying such a thing and I’ll just say that, since I said that, my thinking on this topic has evolved and now I’m at the position where I think we should, and I’ll cut and paste this from above, “I’m one of those “just give them money and depo/vasectomies” folks”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh! It was Hanley who argued that welfare shouldn’t be used to provide yachts.

                And if you’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday night, you can flash back to that here.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                No. It was this thread. You opposed hookers, blow and yachts being part of social welfare.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, then, let me say that I now support just giving poor people money and depo/vasectomies and they can purchase whatever goods and services they want with the cash.

                We should offer some protections for the workers, of course. I don’t know how to discuss the question of the allowable grounds for which workers should be allowed to refuse service. That seems like a minefield.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Really? And you gave me such principled reasons back then for opposing it. Fucking principles, ya know?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                OK, that was a bit of a cheap shot since the context of that discussion was a bit different. You did, however, oppose welfare for hookersblowandyachts. I just wanted to take a shot at all this “principled” nonsense I keep hearing about. (Which isn’t cheaply shot at, just … cheaply delivered? (Maybe.))Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I just went through the whole thread and I couldn’t find the quote where I said what you say I said (and I’d like to read the reasons I gave! Maybe I think different thoughts about them now!) but, hell. I’ll just say again: “my thinking on this topic has evolved”.

                I regret the inconvenience.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Government purchases morphine for seniors when they need it.

                And as to the whole helpless bit; it varies by the individual. My step-father was 92, and lived on his own until he was hospitalized with pneumonia two weeks before he died.

                I’ve friends who are in their late 70s and started sheep farming after they retired; they have about 70 animals; sheer them by hand, and clean the fleeces all by hand; make maple syrup and log their farm (with a horse,) run all sorts of classes including dye workshops, and run guest weekends where they board people, feed them, run classes and worhshops, etc. They also attend a full slate of fairs and festivals summer through fall to sell their yarns, fleeces, sheep skins, lamb, maple syrup, and crafting kits. And this is after they each retired at 65.

                Another friend is working on doing the 4,000 footers of New England as an octogenarian; a pretty exclusive club with a surprising number of members. I’m too old and feeble to climb some of the more remote mountains already; I’m incapable of backpacking enough weight, even if I purified stream water along the way.

                So the whole senior = incompetent child boggles the mind.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I will cheerfully concede that the government should also buy morphine for seniors if they want it.Report

              • That’s what I though, but apparently if it’s enough money (say, $700 billion), people treat it as a reward.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
                – VoltaireReport

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            Some dogs have three legs. When deciding policy, it’s best to assume the four-legged variety.Report

  7. Avatar Murali says:

    I’m pretty sure that the jewellery thing is aimed at more than just women. There is at least a stereotype of poor African American males (who often are lower income) wearing jewellery.Report

  8. Avatar LWA says:

    Its yet again an example of how we have often contradictory desires.
    We want to live in a highly integrated community and enjoy all the benefits that accrue to a deep engagement with each other.
    We also want to be left alone to pursue our happiness however we define it.

    To put it in more stark political terms- I want to reach into your pocket and take out some of your money, and spend it on a legal and physical infrastructure which benefits my business.

    But I don’t want you to put limitations or regulations on my business, and I certainly don’t want to cede control over the terms of this arrangement to others.

    I want to reach into your pocket and take out some of your money, and use it to create art, because art is valuable to many people.
    But I don’t want those people to tell me what sort of art to make based on their ideas of what is valuable.

    I want to reach into your pocket and take out some of your money and use it to buy food/ medical care/ rent, but I don’t want you to make moral judgments about my lifestyle.

    Of course this is a slippery slope- but the way out of slippery slopes is to avoid absolutes, to recognize negotiation nuance and compromise. This is why I have so dim a view of the framing of everything in terms of rights.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Of course this is a slippery slope- but the way out of slippery slopes is to avoid absolutes, to recognize negotiation nuance and compromise. This is why I have so dim a view of the framing of everything in terms of rights.

      Disagree. Rights are exactly how you reach nuance and compromise. You recognize people’s rights to self-determination and let them negotiate with each other until they reach a suitable equilibrium.

      The problems with imposing that equilibrium from above is that no central authority can gather and process everyone’s preferences in a way that gets it right. And that’s when it’s working properly.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        What does that mean in this context, “negotiate with each other until they reach a suitable equilibrium”?

        Who would I negotiate with, for example, to take money out of your pocket to create a legal system?

        Who are “we” the stakeholders? You, me, and who else?

        How would “we” go about negotiating? Take a vote?Pistols at dawn?

        If “our” equilibrium legal system is used to defend my property from competing claims, isn’t that equilibrium being imposed on the competing claimants? What if they never agreed to this system? Do they have any rights?Report

        • Avatar j r says:

          It’s not necessarily about taking money out of anyone’s pocket. It’s about ceding a bit of individual sovereignty, because we think that it will benefit us in the long run.

          The point, however, is that individual human rights and human worth precedes the collective. The collective exists almost solely for the purpose of recognizing human human worth. The moment it stops doing that, it becomes something oppressive.Report

          • Avatar LWA says:

            I don’t even disagree wholly, I just think that framing everything in terms of rights doesn’t give us the ability to reach agreement.
            Or maybe I should clarify to mean that very strong definitions of rights makes the space for compromise very small.
            Rights themselves are flexible, with boundaries that are often cloudy and changing.Report

            • Avatar j r says:

              And I disagree. Keeping the focus on individual rights is one of the ways that we make sure that the people who claim to exercise central authority are doing so in a manner consistent with respect for the individual. Otherwise, we end up with situations where the powerful do obviously self-interested things while claiming to be acting in the best interests of the collective. And that happens much more often than the types of abuses that can be blamed on too much individualism.Report

              • Avatar LWA says:

                OK fine.
                I have an individual right not to pay for or recognize your regime of property rights
                My right is absolute, preceding political authority, and not subject to majority vote.

                I’m not really seeing how this is helpful. Not wrong, just not helpful in getting to a place of agreement.Report

        • Avatar Cardiff Kook says:

          @lwa and @j-r

          Interesting discussion. I agree with some of what both of you are saying.

          To jr I would ask how do we determine rights from desires? It seems like you are assuming we already have a list of rights we completely agree to. But what if some are assuming rights to non interference and others rights to have others pay for their birth control? The rights can now be mutually contradictory, and much of the value in talking in rights is the inviolability of said rights — their essential nature to be beyond compromise.

          So to restate the question, how do we go about getting consensus on what are rights and what are desires?Report

          • Avatar Road Scholar says:

            Cardiff Kook: The rights can now be mutually contradictory, and much of the value in talking in rights is the inviolability of said rights — their essential nature to be beyond compromise.

            So to restate the question, how do we go about getting consensus on what are rights and what are desires?

            I also dislike discussions framed around rights-talk for exactly the reason you state above. Because if you can successfully frame the question as a rights issue then you’re about 90% of the way to winning the argument or at least putting your opponent in a very tight position.

            For instance, many of my ideological fellow-travelers like to claim a right to healthcare. I avoid that framing because first, the assertion isn’t likely to be accepted by someone who doesn’t already hold it, and second, I would support UHC regardless of the success of the claim, so it’s a little (or lot) dishonest. Basically it’s a cheat to avoid the more difficult task of convincing you that it’s a good idea for more practical/consequential reasons.

            It’s also confused from an historical perspective. Prior to the enlightenment, “rights” were more akin to what we would think of as privileges. People like you and I didn’t have rights; such were reserved for those deemed worthy, i.e., the aristocracy. The central premise of the enlightenment is contained in the preamble to the DoI, “… that all men are created equal.” Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were already enjoyed by society’s elites. The revolution was in extending those to everyone; to universalize what had heretofore been exclusive privileges. And those privileges were political in nature and really what should probably be more accurately thought of as immunities, as actions the government was forbidden from taking against you.

            If it sounds like I’m signing on to a more libertarian conception of rights, that would be correct. For the “squishy liberal” stuff I support I turn to the more communitarian concept of societal duties as the complementary “flipside” of rights. I don’t support public welfare because the poor have a right to claim such, but because society has a mutual duty to provide it. And I don’t expect you to necessarily be any more accepting of that premise than the other, but at least the argument is properly framed.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe says:

    There’s a good arugument for allowing bail bonds. Many anecdotes tell of people with a tenuous hold on the job market get caught up in the criminal justice system, and if they were improperly charged, they’re still going to be out of a job because they missed their shift do to being in jail and not being able to afford bail.

    Edit – though I don’t know how much bail 25 bucks will get you from the bondsman.

    Edit2 – I find your take on the psychic/fortunetellers interesting, because a good government consumer protection liberal (not saying you are one) should be doing everything to regulate to the point of extinction the sleaziest scammers who ever sleazy scammed.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      There is also a good argument for allowing swimming pools. Swimming is one of the most effective ways to improve and maintain fitness. It is low impact, it trains your cardio and it involves most major muscle groups. My own weight loss efforts really took off once I took up swimming (coupled with me basically going on the subway diet). It has also improved my stamina so that I am able to run faster and for longer distances too. Given the obesity epidemic among lower income groups, preventing the use of swimming pools seems counterproductive.Report

    • Avatar James K says:

      @kolohe

      a good government consumer protection liberal (not saying you are one) should be doing everything to regulate to the point of extinction the sleaziest scammers who ever sleazy scammed.

      True, but I wouldn’t try and solve that through the welfare system.Report

  10. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    If you’re going to attempt to ensure public assistance funds are spent on the types of things taxpayers intended, not allowing recipients to withdraw large amounts of cash makes sense.

    Yeah, we sure wouldn’t want poor folks to spend public assistance funds on nasty things like, for instance… rent? In my town the water/sewer/electric bill is basically payable by check only (maybe cash). The local thrift store also doesn’t accept credit cards. Neither does your neighbor who can fix your car for $50 vs. the repair shop for twice that much.

    One aspect of poverty that most people overlook or simply don’t think about is that the poor operate in a much more cash-centric economic environment. The first cash withdrawal in a month doesn’t carry a fee. But any more after that costs, IIRC, $0.85 / transaction, plus any fees for the ATM itself.Report

  11. Avatar greginak says:

    I think the Financial Management thing could be a huge problem. Is there a cost to for each withdrawal? If so making the person do many small withdrawals actually could cost them more money. Why should people have to go to an ATM that often? What benefit is it to make people make multiple small trips instead of one large transaction. If people live in a rural area ( hello Kansas) then an ATM might not be just done the street. People with various disabilities might not easily be able to make all those trips.

    This is just controlling BS to hassle people.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      greginak,

      Thing is, it’s not even really $25. Almost all ATMs dispense only twenties. The only exception I’m aware of are the ones at Wal-Mart. And yeah, each withdrawal is going to cost anywhere from $1.50 (again, Wal-Mart) to as much as $3.95 in ATM fees and then each withdrawal in a month after the first is charged an addition $0.85. That’s close to a 20% surcharge just to get the cash. That’s why the limit is $25 instead of $20; to cover the ATM fee. It’s literally the most expensive possible way to get cash.

      The point of course, is that there’s no way to systematically monitor cash transactions to make sure they’re not spending the money on verboten items.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @road-scholar That is what i thought. Its a nice giveaway to businesses that run ATM and give less money to people on benefits. It would be a bit cynical of me to say that Brownback considers that a win/win.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      @greginak Hey, this has nothing to do with Kansas, but on Twitter we have a question for you:

      Why is Alaska’s unemployment rate so high? The first thought was dropping oil prices, but unemployment remains low in other oil states (specifically Texas and North Dakota) which makes me think that it hasn’t hit the official numbers yet.

      So what’s going on?Report

      • It’s all the Palin shows on Fox getting cancelled at once.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @will-truman Actually there have been layoffs in some of the oil related companies up here. That is mostly due to the drop in prices. Plenty of companies are shedding jobs and delaying projects. My bosses husband just left his job before being laid off and found work in Omaha. He is an electrical engineer so he has plenty of skills but there wasn’t work up here. So that is part of it. The drop in oil prices has hit some companies hard up here. That is partly due, i imagine, to how far away the projects are and how much effort it takes to develop fields in the far north arctic and at sea.

        Another part is that Ak weathered the great recession pretty well but are unemployment rate hasn’t always been better than the rest of the US like it was for the last few years. Seafood processing/commercial fishing is a big industry and they have taken some hits in the last few years. Tourism is generally a good industry for us and is growing. So we have industries that have weakened due to outside forces and are susceptible to weather affects.

        Some areas of AK, mostly the Bush areas, have always had high employment. I actually wonder about some of the unemployment stats for AK. A lot of people who work in the oil patch live out of state but work 2-6 weeks on then off for a few weeks. So they will live all over the country and fly up here for their shifts. I’ll bet a bunch of them have been laid off but that wouldn’t necessarily show up in our numbers.Report

  12. Avatar Damon says:

    This post seems awfully similar to this one

    https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2015/04/13/a-partial-defense-of-strings-attached

    Wasn’t the first post enough?Report

  13. Avatar Loviatar says:

    I wonder where Tod and others of the “hey, you live under my roof, you live according to my rules” crowd would have handled the AIG situation. They were given a government handout and then they turned around and handed out million of dollars of bonuses to executives.

    Is the shaming and controlling BS only for the poor or should it also be applied to the wealthy?Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    Imagine if, to claim the mortgage interest deduction your home (or second home), you had to go through what people who receive public assistance go through. Maybe you’d need to pass a drug test. You’d certainly need to go to a government office, and wait in line, and answer a whole lot of personal questions. Perhaps, a social worker would have to come to your home and inspect it, and be required to report anything that they saw that might endanger your children.

    Just imagine that.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Ah, but Zic, how would you deal with this argument:

      “Imagine that if you wanted a job, you had to pass a drug test, go into an office with a bunch of people sitting across from you (judging you), and answer a whole bunch of questions about your life (including your personal life).”Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        When it comes to job applications, to credit applications, etc., I don’t have much issue with the paperwork/interview/examine-your-life; you are having to establish trust.

        With the drug tests, I think it depends on the job; some do require levels of alertness, and there are probably some prescription drugs that should be tested for, too. But unless it’s a requirement to perform the job, I do have a privacy-invasion issue. Plus way too many drugs are illegal; and if they’re legal, there’s no reason an employer should be testing for them outside of job-performance requirements.

        Applying for public assistance is, by design, humiliating and invasive of one’s privacy. We intend it to be that way; we feel good that it is that way, too. Puritan work ethics demand it.

        Someday, I’m gonna have to write a post about one of the first forms of public assistance we had here, thankfully gone: the town farm (aka poor farm).Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I think the argument is something to the effect of “it was appropriate for me to receive this level of scrutiny when I was trying to establish trust, therefore it is appropriate for you to establish this level of trust with me before I give you this aid.”

          Most of the arguments that I come up with when I argue against this position happen to rely on the same crazy ones that got me to my other crazy positions.Report

        • Avatar j r says:

          I always assume that much of the justification for drug testing has more to do with liability than with caring all that much about drug use. The last thing an employer wants is to hire someone with a substance addiction who is now eligible for rehab on the company dime.

          I once head an anecdote about heroin addicts getting jobs at Starbucks to take advantage of a generous substance abuse treatment policy. I have no idea if there was any truth to the story, though.

          I am fully supportive of legalizing all drugs and believe that a certain level of recreational drug use is compatible with a normal productive life. If I were an employer, however, I might still drug test on the belief that if you don’t have the will power to get clean long enough to find a job, I’m not sure that I want to hire you.Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott says:

            Employee drug testing–especially pre-employment drug testing, is just as much a violation of employee dignity as benefits-related drug testing.

            When I get my teaching credential, I’ll be working a job that required more than a year of grad school, pays a middle-class wage, and trusts me to look after the welfare of a room full of minors. But I won’t have to pee in a cup.

            But for the summer job that paid 50 cents above minimum wage, didn’t require a HS diploma, where the most I could do to violate trust was to grap a couple of twenties from a cash register? That one I had to pee into a cup for. Twice.

            There are legit reasons to test folk who operate vehicles or other heavy machinery, and those folks tend to be subjected to pretty rigorous spot checks. But for most jobs, asking new employees to supply bodily fluids as a condition of hire is pretty much just a way to put those employees in their place.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I’ve worked places that gave me the root password so I guess I saw peeing in a cup as part and parcel with that. I’m somewhat surprised that teachers aren’t required to do so.

              There is a part of the back of my head that is asking “WHAT THE HELL?” about that. I try to stamp it down and instead say that it’s good that teachers aren’t and they need to spread that out among the general population.

              I mean, I had to take a hair test for Blockbuster. You’d think that a doob would *HELP* when it came to working there.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                @jaybird
                I mean, I had to take a hair test for Blockbuster. You’d think that a doob would *HELP* when it came to working there.

                My assumption has always been that any job that required a drug test was a job that employers thought *could* be done while stoned without anyone noticing, so they had to put in a drug test for that. Jobs where people would notice obviously didn’t need a test.

                This theory is excluding the classes of jobs where there was a huge amount of possible liability, or there was almost no employee/employer contact. You have to drug test pilots because of risk, and you have to drug test truckers because no one is observing them work 95% of the time. I’m not talking about that.

                My theory is just to explain why we drug test gas station workers but not receptionists…because it is perfectly possible to be a stoned gas station attendant and yet manage to do your job perfectly. Whereas a stoned receptionist will screw up and get fired anyway. (In theory, at least.)

                Of course, I never really figured out, if druggies could do the job as well as anyone else, why anyone actually cared. I assume it was just discrimination.Report

            • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

              When I get my teaching credential … I won’t have to pee in a cup.

              Don’t be so sure. In New Jersey new hires are specifically allowed to be drug tested by state law.Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                Sure, it’s not illegal to drug-test teachers. It’s just not especially common, certainly not in places like California where teachers still have a decent amount of professional clout.

                I suspect there are parts of the country where it’s really common–for the same reason that there are parts of the country that pay teachers 25k and don’t provide tenure.Report

  15. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Wait, so poor women can’t buy *underwear* anymore? But just poor women?Report

  16. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    First of all, I think you meant Delta Airlines lavatory, not laboratory, but I’m enjoying the idea of people sweeping away the beakers and test tubes to get it on.

    I want to second @zic. I don’t believe we should disallow adults to spend money on anything (heaven forbid) enjoyable. But let’s just take kids, who are clearly not at fault if their parents are poor, even if their parents just refuse to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, etc. etc. The entertainment stuff: pools, zoos, museums, fairs, etc, are frequently entertainment for families. Don’t we want people to expose their kids to a variety of experiences?Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      Rose Woodhouse,

      Right. The pools thing in particular just strikes me as nothing but mean-spirited. Pools are a pretty cheap, wholesome, and healthy activity for kids during our god-awful hot summers here.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      My guess is that for many people the answer is no. Lots of people hold to a sins of the parents idea when it comes to poverty. They think that poor kids should suffer just as much as their parents in order to scare them straight or something. The Victorian workhouse was no easier on children than it was on adults. I suppose the idea is that if you deprive children living in poverty of all elements of childhood happiness than that will encourage them. During the early days of the Great Recession, a Missouri state legislator proposed cutting school lunch programs on the grounds that hunger can be a great motivator for work. Never underestimate the ability of some people to be mean-spirited and punitive in the name of morality.Report

  17. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    FTR my big problem against most if not all of these restrictions is that they directly and unfairly punish the children of the poor. No one chooses the circumstances of the births and childhood and we should recognize this in law and policy.Report

  18. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    The first two categories are likely no-brainers. If you’re going to attempt to ensure public assistance funds are spent on the types of things taxpayers intended, not allowing recipients to withdraw large amounts of cash makes sense.

    Taxpayers want public assistance to be spent on frequent bank withdrawal fees and bus fare to get to the bank? If you say so.Report

  19. Avatar zic says:

    So I wonder what this means for Kansas’s adjunct college professors?

    Pg. 3 suggests 25% receive public assistance.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      If we want any adjunct college professors at all, I think that we should be willing to waive the drug test.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        When I signed on to teach at the local community college as an adjunct in Colorado, there was no peeing in a cup. Of course, at the orientation, they acknowledged that without the adjuncts accepting on the order of minimum wage to teach, the CC system would be out of business.Report

  20. Avatar J_a says:

    A friend of mine, a very successful woman that has risen to be CFO and then CEO of a Power Generation company, is very active in a charity called Dress for Success.

    She will tell you how important is for a women applying for a job, even to deep fry onion rings in McDonalds (TM) , to look as polished and nice as possible. This includes proper hairstyle and proper nails in addition to proper clothes.

    A man just needs a shave (no limitation in KS) and a haircut (no limitation either). But our society requires more of women. It might be good or bad, doesn’t matter. It just does.

    My friend Ingrid would be appealed that Kansas is making it more difficult for women to apply for a job. And feeling morally satisfied to bootReport

  21. I don’t quite get your point about our “collective id.” I don’t live in Kansas, and if I did, I probably would not have supported the law. I prefer fewer strings attached over more. I won’t say that I never indulge judgments against poorer people’s choices, but when I do, I think that’s a personal failing on my part. I don’t think it’s my province to say much about it, even if it is “my” tax money that helps pay for their assistance.

    Also, this isn’t something “Kansas” did. It’s something the Kansas legislature did, probably for a wide range of reasons, some that I consider more legitimate (fiscal problems) and some that are probably more like signalling. The cruise ship ban is part of the latter. A legislator can say, “You oppose the bill?! You want to pay for other people’s cruises?!” But that’s it. I’m not sure I see an “id” in there.

    By the way, I didn’t realize TANF had a cash component (I thought it was basically just food stamps). How does the state know the money is spent on verboten things?Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      By the way, I didn’t realize TANF had a cash component (I thought it was basically just food stamps). How does the state know the money is spent on verboten things?

      @gabriel-conroy
      TANF and SNAP (formerly food stamps) are two completely different programs, with completely separate funding, and different eligibility requirements. The TANF block grant (and required state spending to qualify for it [1]) is flexible and can be used for almost anything providing direct assistance to the poor, including simple cash payments. I don’t know if they still do it, but the National Conference of State Legislatures used to have a clearing house that kept track of all the things TANF funds had been used for and the specific regulatory language that had been blessed by the feds for each thing.

      [1] You may recall that at one point when Schwarzenegger was governor of California and their cash shortfall was particularly bad, Schwarzenegger suggested that California might need to not participate in TANF for a year because they couldn’t meet the required spending level. SNAP, which has no state spending requirement, was never threatened.Report

      • Thanks for the explanation, @michael-cain . That’s something I should’ve known, but didn’t.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Back in the days when I was a budget analyst for the state legislature, much of public assistance was in my portfolio. Even doing that full time, I regularly consulted my ever-expanding set of notes about all of the different programs and how their funding worked.

          Related to ScarletNumber’s comment below, there are significant portions of all states’ budgets where money isn’t fungible — there are combinations of programs where, under the set of constraints, it’s impossible to shift funding and make up for a shortfall in one area with a surplus from another.Report

  22. Avatar Zac says:

    “Whatever happens between consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom, couch, floor, kitchen counter, dining room table, elevator, S&M dungeon, or Delta Airline laboratory is their own business as far as I’m concerned.”

    Sex in a wind tunnel is pretty mind-blowing.Report

  23. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    Apparently in Kansas money isn’t fungible.Report

  24. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I think a lot of the restrictions fall under the LBJ “make the bastard deny it!” category of political slander. Sure, we know that the poor don’t actually use the money to go on cruises, but now the idea is out there that’s it’s a serious enough problem that the state needs to act. Movies, they check out for free from the library. Strip clubs? At the least, they seem higher on the hierarchy of needs than food or shelter, which assistance barely covers from what I’ve seen. Mostly, this just sounds like Mencken’s line that Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be happy.Report