William Jennings Bryan, Principal Speech Against Unconditional Repeal (16 August 1893).
Let’s make sure we have the law straight: If you’re a poor mother, you can be arrested for child neglect if you leave your kids alone while you go to a food bank so you can feed them, go to a job interview (so you can feed them), or work (so you can feed them).
These arrests are part of the terrible trap we’ve set for impoverished parents:
In the mid-1990s, President Clinton signed welfare reform legislation into law that changed welfare in America profoundly. One of the major changes welfare reform brought about was the work requirement. Now, even women with young children were required to be working, or looking for work, in order to receive benefits. In a radio address after signing the bill, Clinton promised that if poor people went to work, “we will protect the guarantees of health care, nutrition, and child care, all of which are critical to helping families move from welfare to work.”
We broke that promise. State and federal childcare spending last year fell to the lowest level since 2002. Much of the money available for childcare comes to states through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or today’s version of welfare, but TANF hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 1996. It’s lost a third of its value since then. The money spent on childcare has declined from a high of $4 billion in 2000 to $2.6 billion in 2013. That means fewer and fewer children get subsidized care. The number of children served by subsidies is at the lowest level since 1998. In [Shanesha] Taylor’s home state of Arizona, childcare spending has been axed by 40 percent, dropping 33,000 kids. In [Debra] Harrell’s, it was cut by more than 30 percent, dropping 2,500 children.
We’ve also taken the rug out from under any mothers who might need assistance because they can’t find work or the work doesn’t pay enough. In 1996, welfare reached 72 percent of poor families with children. That had dropped to a mere 26 percent by 2012.
So when a homeless mother needs to go to a job interview or a mother making less than $8 an hour needs to go to work, what options have we given them? Few, if any.
— Michael Rivero (via lapalomanegra, fucknobigbrother) (via femmewolfprince) (via navigatethestream) (via solidarityforever) (via mommapolitico) (via truth-has-a-liberal-bias) (via kogiopsis) (via yawniambored) (via aliaisqueen) (via caffeinatedriot) (via official-mens-frights-activist) (via rainforest-rusalki) (via commodifiedsouls)
— Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director for the Center for Community Change
…The “discussion draft” submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the House Budget Committee on potential solutions to poverty in America includes the proposal that low-income Americans would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps, or SNAP. The contract would include: benchmarks, such as finding a job, enrolling in employment training, or even meeting “new acquaintances outside circle of poverty”; a “timeline” in which individuals are contractually-obligated to meet those benchmarks; bonuses for meeting benchmarks early; and “sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract”:
I’m sure giving the impoverished even more paperwork to deal with will help them not be poor anymore. As with almost all libertarians, Paul Ryan is secretly a major fan of big government—as long as it’s used to crush people other than him.
It’s funny that Ryan is so hellbent on ‘reforming’ entitlements like Social Security. It seemed to work fine for him. You all remember that he paid for college using Social Security survivor benefits, right?
Matt Bruenig on the brilliant ways Gaines-Turner, a woman who testfieid about her experiences with poverty at a congressional hearing, responded to Republican assholery. Democratic leadership could learn a thing or two from her!
To be fair though, outsmarting a congressional Republican is probably easy compared to the rigors of dealing with poverty on a daily basis.
Steadfast conservative = Teabagger, Christian theocrat
Business conservative = plutocrat
Young “outsiders” = libertarians, more accurately described as young Republicans
When our donors met the actual people they were helping they often didn’t like them. During our Secret Santa drive, volunteers sometimes refused to drop gifts at houses with TVs inside. They got angry when clients had cell phones or in some other way didn’t match their expectations. Other times, the donations we got were too disgusting to pass along—soup cans that bulged with botulism and diapers so dry rotted they crumbled in our hands. One Thanksgiving, a board member called from the parking lot, requesting help carrying a frozen turkey from her trunk to our office. “Can you find a deserving family?” she asked. I lugged the bird up three flights of stairs. Somewhere near the top, I noticed the expiration date. It was seventeen years old.
This is really good. Read it when you get a chance.
Crawling out of poverty still might not convince you to get that “has to crawl everywhere” looked at.
#5. You Only Go to the Doctor if It’s an Emergency
When you’re below a certain income, a social benefit kicks in to make sure you and your kids aren’t riddled with disease and then spreading it through public Twister competitions. It’s a medical card, and in the most basic terms, it provides free or discount medical treatment. I grew up with that benefit, which means that I went to the doctor so often that I could shoot vitamin lasers out of my eyes. At one point, they were using my sweat to cure hepatitis.
Just kidding — I only went to the doctor when I broke a bone or needed stitches. Sometimes not even then. See, there’s a problem with having a medical card that borders on paradox: In order to get one, you have to be poor, and the poverty-stricken people who do have them often don’t have a means to actually get to the doctor in the first place.
This is pretty good, except hatred of rich people is not at all irrational.
The first one (#5) is what hits closest to home for me. I didn’t have health insurance until I was in my 20s and I still have trouble making regular appointments for things like check-ups.
I have a coworker who kept refusing to go to the doctor for days after falling and hurting herself because she thought it would be a waste of time and money. I finally convinced her to go and it turned out she had a fractured rib. My mother did the same thing after she fell and hurt her arm. When she finally went to the ER, it turned out she had broken her wrist.
It’s not perfect, but thank fuck they managed to pass the ACA. Maybe we’ll have fewer doctor-avoiding adults someday.