Minn. to Make it a Crime for Poor to Have More Than $20
March 18, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)–The mean-spirited assault on the poor in this country, by Republicans, has taken an even more odious turn in Minnesota. Republicans in the state House of Representatives are sponsoring a bill that would penalize welfare recipients for having more than $20 in their possession. So-called “cash” welfare assistance would only be distributed through state-issued debit cards, and cash withdrawals would be limited to just $20 per month. And just in case the dirty poor think they can walk into any supermarket where the rest of us shop, they should think again. To further stigmatize the poor and make their lives more miserable, the bill would limit the use of the EBT card to a few authorized retailers equipped with a special poor people’s terminal. And if they have to travel out of state, they better hold on to their $20 monthly cash stipend, because the EBT card can only be used in the state of Minnesota. Take that you poors!
The odious bill is House File 171. Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee lambasted the mean-spirited measure, saying it’s “based on knee-jerk, ignorant, bias and a desire to stigmatize the poor.”
The original bill did not allow for ANY cash withdrawals, leaving the poor without money to pay their utility bills, use public transportation or wash their clothing at a laundromat. Now, the bill makes it illegal for welfare recipients to have more than $20 cash in their wallets.
“The cost to small businesses and landlords all across the state of having to get an EBT hook-up would be huge. The burden on families would be worse. You can’t pay a parking meter, buy postage stamps, do laundry, ride the bus, set up bank account or pay your medical co-pays without cash. Considering that MFIP families are already living 60% below the poverty level and need to scramble every day for survival, this provision is not just ridiculous, it is cruel,” said Buechner during an appearance before the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee.
Buechner ended her testimony by denouncing the racially tinged hatemongering of the poor. “It is not right to use racist, bumper-sticker hate to inflict human misery for political gain,” she added.
Measures penalizing and stigmatizing the poor and unemployed are appearing in state legislatures across the country. And in a further assault on the unemployed, some Republican controlled state legislatures are proposing the refusal of federal funds to pay for extended unemployment benefits. Why? Because they consider the unemployed lazy freeloaders.
A case in point: Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke wants to stop providing “perverse” extended unemployment benefits funded by the federal government, because he says the thieving jobless don’t deserve the help. Lembke demanded that the unemployed “quit stealing from their neighbors.” And he attacked the jobless as “freeloaders.” Never mind that millions of Americans are unemployed through no fault off their own. Their freeloading ways didn’t cause one of the worst recessions in history, the greedy unregulated Wall Streeters did.
Watch Lembke’s disdain for the no-account unemployed:
Photo Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Library of Congress/Public Domain.