Last week, Russell Pearce, a top Arizona GOP official had some interesting things to say about low income Arizonans (Arizonians?):
Tuning into The Russell Pearce Show on Saturday nights on Phoenix talk-radio station KKNT 960 AM can be illuminating.
For example, on one recent episode, the recalled former state Senate president got off on the subject of public assistance in all its various forms.
He suggested that if people would just give him the authority, he’d set things right with all these here gub’mint programs.
“You put me in charge of Medicaid,” Pearce told one caller, “the first thing I’d do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”
Down deep, Pearce really is an old softy. This is just his version of tough love.
“I know there’s people out there [who] need help, and my heart goes out to them, too,” he explained that same evening. “But you know what? That should never be a government role. That’s a role for family, church, and community.”
So generous. So thoughtful. Why, if only we had more people like him in the world, all our problems would be solved!
::we interrupt this post because I need to go find a bucket to puke in…ah, much better::
Anyone remember the Count? From Sesame Street. Imagine his voice as we say:
One, one fail!
Two, two fails!
Three, three fails!
Four, four fails!
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Fail the first- He’d “get” low income women birth control or tubal ligations? What does that mean? You’d force them? You do know that’s a violation of their privacy and their bodily autonomy, right? What’s that? You don’t care? Oh, silly me. I forgot we’re talking about the women folk. In this country, they get different, and fewer rights, than men do (at least according to the GOP assbigots). Oh, and is he going to “get” these to the women folk free of charge?
Fail the second- Drug testing low income government assistance recipients. ::Le sigh:: This. Again. How many times must reality smack these Republican nincomfucks upside the head before they will listen (yeah, yeah, I know)? Here is yet more evidence that Republican views are divorced from reality:
The testing is meant to assure taxpayers their money isn’t being “wasted” on the less desirable, those who would somehow manage to buy drugs with the assistance. But in Tennessee, where drug testing was enacted for welfare recipients last month, only one person in the 800 who applied for help tested positive. In Florida, during the four months the state tested for drug use, only2.6% of applicants tested positive. Meanwhile, Florida has an illegal drug use rate of 8%, meaning far fewer people on services are using drugs than their better-off counterparts. The drug testing cost taxpayers more money than it saved, and was ruled unconstitutional last year.
Then there’s the lovely state of Utah:
Utah has spent more than $30,000 to drug test welfare applicants after it passed a new law last year. But in that time, just 12 people have tested positive for drug use, according to state figures.
Utah doesn’t randomly test applicants or require them to all undergo a drug test, but instead requires them to complete a written questionnaire that is meant to screen for drug abuse. Those who have a high probability are then given drug tests. The state spent nearly $6,000 on written tests for 4,730 applicants, 466 of which had to take a drug test, which cost more than $25,000. The law doesn’t disqualify those who test positive but instead requires them to go into a substance abuse treatment program.
And in Virginia:
Virginia Republicans are reviving plans to force welfare recipients to take drug tests before receiving benefits, saying they have found ways to reduce the price tag that doomed the proposal earlier.
“We got hung up last year on the cost, and it seems that we determined the costs aren’t as great as we were told last year,” said Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, the bill’s sponsor. “There are new methods of screening and testing used other places, and some are practical and could be applied here.”
Bell hasn’t introduced drug test legislation yet for the 2013 General Assembly session. The bill he introduced in the last session would have screened all state welfare recipients and then administered drug tests to those suspected of drug use.
The legislation failed, however, after the state estimated it would cost $1.5 million to administer the tests, compared with the estimated $229,000 that would be saved by stripping benefits from those who test positive.
I’m starting to see a pattern: Republicans are idiots. Drug testing welfare recipients is a waste of taxpayer dollars because there are insufficient numbers of low income Americans who are doing drugs. Stop trotting this bullshit out.
Fail the third-Pearce’s comments make use of the GOP talking point that welfare recipients are not working. A large number of them are working:
Over the last two decades, large shares of SNAP households have become working households. In 1989, 42 percent of all SNAP households received cash welfare benefits and only 20 percent had earned income. By 2010, over three times as many SNAP households worked as relied solely on welfare benefits for their income.
Despite the large jump in unemployment during the recession, the share of SNAP families with earnings has continued to increase in recent years. This suggests that for a growing share of the nation’s workers, having a job has not been enough to keep them out of poverty.
(via Media Matters)
Another thing that many Republican officials fail to realize is that many of the people who benefit from government assistance are children and the elderly. You know, the people who don’t/can’t work or are retired.
Most SNAP recipients were children or elderly. Nearly half (48 percent) were children and another 8 percent were age 60 or older. Working-age women represented 28 percent of the caseload, while working-age men represented 16 percent. (source)
That ties in nicely to fail the fourth-that the government shouldn’t assist low income families. It’s funny, to hear the arguments from opponents of marriage equality, it is in the government’s best interest to forbid same sex marriage because think of the kids. If the government has a vested interest in thinking of the kids as a reason to make same sex marriage illegal-don’t they have an interest in supporting those families with kids who are struggling to put motherfucking food on the table?! But no, think of the kids is a refrain only trotted out to oppose marriage equality (and of course, it’s not about the kids in that case either, otherwise, they’d see the many LGB families with kids that would greatly benefit from having their parents in a legally recognized marriage).
The fail is further added to when you recognize that private charities are not up to the task of providing for the millions of Americans who require financial assistance and they NEVER were (libertarians, take note).
The power of the fail is strong in Russell Pearce. Thankfully, he has since resigned.