Anecdotally, a financially comfortable person told me that once they saw someone they think was poor who was wearing what appeared to be an expensive accessory. Therefore all assistance to the poor is used unwisely and it is morally acceptable for society to allow its most vulnerable members to wallow in humiliating misery.
Florida’s brand new Tea Party-approved law requiring all food stamp and other public assistance applicants to pass a drug test before accessing aid has been temporarily blocked. It seems Federal Judge Mary Scriven was concerned it violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
Before signing the law, [Governor Rick] Scott made several references to people on welfare using drugs at a higher rate than the general population. Maria Kayanan, of the ACLU in Florida, called the law “patriarchal, racist and mean-spirited.”
Pre-judicial block, while the law was in operation, over 99% of applicants passed their tests. (6,968 out of 7,000)
This Tea Party-approved measure is estimated to cost the Florida government $178 million a year.
Sounds like a small-government, cut-wasteful-spending, fiscal-conservative type of measure to me. That’s why I’m certain it has nothing to do with poor-bashing, stereotypes, or racism. Just the cold hard facts!
It’s not like we need myths about the good-for-nothingness of the poor to prop up the solid truth of our tots meritocratic capitalist economic system.
Oh, and FYI, Gov. Scott founded the company, Solantic, that has the sole government contract to do this testing.
Between 1920 and 1970, the United States government forcibly sterilized 60,000 Americans because they were poor and/or people of color. The justification was that there would be future savings for welfare programs.
Elaine Riddick was 14 years old when she was raped. When she gave birth 9 months later, the government labeled her “promiscuous” and “feeble-minded” and had her sterilized.
When Elaine Riddick gave birth to her son 43 years ago, doctors sterilized her on orders from the State of North Carolina.
“They cut me open like I was a hog,” says Elaine Riddick, a sterilization victim.
Riddick was only 14 at the time, a victim of rape. She didn’t realize until years later, when she was married, that she would never again have children. The state had deemed her too feeble-minded to have them.
“I am not feeble minded, I have never been feeble minded,” Riddick says.
…”The people who were the focus of this movement were the dispossessed of society, the poor, common criminals and in some cases, simply people of color,” says Paul Lombardo, Georgia State University.
It seems like somebody knew what they were doing was probably wrong…
Most of the sterilization laws, including North Carolina’s, were written to give states immunity from lawsuits.
LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE!!!
“Not unsurprisingly, social policy regularly turns out to be a welfare project for the rich and powerful.”
-Noam Chomsky, Year 501, The Conquest Continues, 1993
I love it when American leadership poor-bashes!
South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer was speaking at a town hall meeting when he felt the urge to discuss poor people who receive government aid:
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
The news media have pointed out that 58% of school-age children in Bauer’s state qualify for free or low cost lunch.
But that hole was not deep enough by Bauer’s exacting standards. So he kept digging.
“I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina. You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s there, period.”
“So how do you fix it? Well you say, ‘Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.’ “
“They can continue to have more and more kids, and the reward is there’s more and more money in it for them.”
Where to start? The suggestion that starving poor people will stop them from “breeding”? The suggestion that while the well-off classes are thinking people who make love, the poor are thoughtless “animals” who “breed”? The weird idea that receiving free lunch makes you a bad student? The suggestion that the poor have to pay back their aid to the government?
It’s not like food is a human right or anything. It’s not like it’s morally reprehensible to suggest starving children based on what class of society they were born into.
How is Bauer not transparent as he blames all of our problems on a despised, disenfranchised minority?
Racewire has some great analysis:
Sarcasm aside, it’s real easy, regardless of background, to buy into the ‘welfare queen’ racialized stereotype — the Black mother popping out kids and living well on the taxpayer’s money, because she has the morals of a common animal. That image has been complemented in recent years by the ‘illegal immigrant’ having ‘anchor babies’ and refusing to learn how to speak American. Call it one of Reagan’s many gifts to the nation he hated so much: a method by which amoral rich white men can change the subject away from themselves.
The truth is that poverty, and everything connected to it, is a systemic issue, not an issue of choice. It’s a lot easier to make it to that parent-teacher conference when you have a good job with benefits and child care. And it’s a lot easier to have that good job when your parents could afford to get you into a good college, and when your family’s lived for generations in a neighborhood with access to public transportation and grocery stores — when you never had to learn about redlining. When the ground you walk on doesn’t make you or your kids sick, because your neighborhood has always had the political clout to keep that oil refinery from being built next door.
The AP writes:
Police said Thursday they will investigate death threats against octuplet mother Nadya Suleman and advise her publicist on how to handle a torrent of other nasty messages that have flooded his office.
Word that the 33-year-old single, unemployed mother is receiving public assistance to care for the 14 children she conceived through in vitro fertilization has stoked furor among many people.
Wow, do people hate low income families so much that they would threaten to kill a poor woman just for having a big family? I would like to hope that isn’t the case, but even in my own comment section a shocking amount of hate has been expressed towards Nadya Suleman. Words have meaning.
My previous writing on this topic.