I’m a little late to this party, but I was following the news of Kansas’ proposed House Bill 2258, which pretty much bans folks on public assistance from visiting “swimming pools, see movies, go gambling or get tattoos on the state’s dime”, and from withdrawing more than $25 at any ATM.
If you’re nodding your head at these restrictions, read on. While fucking yourself.
I’ve already mocked the idea that people on public assistance aren’t supposed to act like ‘normal people’ with needs and wants and shit before, but this bill – and the fact that it passed – makes me ill. And confused.
And then I made the horrible mistake of reading the comments, and the ignorance of the people who have no fucking idea how public assistance even works made my ill and confused turn into anger.
Full disclosure for anyone who didn’t read that second link: I am on public assistance. I receive $180 a month for SNAP and $200 a month for Cash Assistance. That’s $380 a month for a single woman with no children. I’m exactly rolling in the dough, and neither are families with children.
The myth that folks on welfare are just lazy bums living it up on the taxpayer’s precious dime is ludicrous and always has been. People keep repeating these myths over and over again, or even worse, repeating the same shit people have been saying since the 80s-90s that prompted that bullshit Welfare to Work law Bill Clinton signed way the fuck back when.
Firstly, I really wish people would update their info. I can’t discuss shit with people who repeat the “welfare folks buying steaks and lobster and cheating the system” myth. It’s like trying to work on someone’s computer today and finding out they’re still using Windows 3.1. It’s ridiculous and more work than it’s really worth.
Secondly, the shitty lie that lead to this bill doesn’t even make sense. In Kansas, the maximum benefit a household with one adult and two children is $518 a month. Some of that goes into a card (usually the same card as your SNAP benefits) and can be withdrawn into cash. How exactly are they going to enforce this if, for example, I use $20 from my Cash Assistance to pay for pads, toothpaste, deodorant, and two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups if even the cashier can’t tell the different where the cash came from?
Thirdly, and this is important, unemployment is still at a pretty shitty rate and will never be 0%. So that leaves people who have been unemployed for long periods of time or sporadically employed up shit creek once their 36 months lifetime limit is up (Thanks, Bill). What are they supposed to do then, starve? Be homeless?
The only reason bills like this are popular, and most people won’t admit it, is that we’re not seen as people if we aren’t able to work for any reason. It’s that Protestant work ethic “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” bullshit, where people will merrily allow those less fortunate to be even less fortunate, so they can feel better about themselves. They’re good people. They contribute to society. THOSE people are leeches, sucking the rest of us good working people dry.
These are the same people who slap bumper stickers on their cars that say “Work harder, thousands of people on welfare are depending on you!”. Because that thousand, none of them are human.
These are the same people who are on the lookout for anyone committing the crime of whipping out a SNAP card while looking remotely nice or possessing something that looks nice or buying something they “shouldn’t” be buying. How dare THOSE people have nice things on my dime?
We poor folk, to these people, don’t deserve happiness, and our children deserve even less. I’ve read a comment that complained about someone using their SNAP card on a birthday cake. We’re not even good enough to buy a premade cake. We’re not good enough to buy sodas or candy. We’re not good enough to get manicures, or buy cheap ass makeup, or maybe splurge a little and go to a fucking movies once in a while. Unless we’re magically conjure up a job or better circumstances where we can get a job, we are worthless and unhuman to these people.
And that’s while bills like this make me sick. That’s why attempts to fish out druggies that are on welfare (that have failed over and over again, and waste taxpayer’s precious monies, but you won’t hear them complain about it) make me sick. People gleefully snatching food out of the mouths of poor adults and children in the name of urging adults to ‘get a job’ in a society where working people make so little that they are also on welfare make me sick. Treating poor people like foolish children incapable of making the ‘right decisions’, therefore requiring limits like this bullshit bill make me not just ill, but angry.
We are people, damnit. Poverty is a trial and a burden. We don’t want to be in this situation. Treating us like shit doesn’t help us get jobs, it just makes the burden worse.