Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kansas Welfare Restrictions

I thought this was somewhat interesting.  Thoughts?

CNN Kansas Welfare Restrictions

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor Kansas.

--Hiram

John said...

That is kind of sad that:

"welfare recipients cannot spend their government aid on body piercings, massages, spas, tobacco, nail salons, lingerie, arcades, cruise ships or visits to psychics.

The bill also forbids spending the funds at theme parks, dog or horse racing tracks, a "sexually oriented business or any retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment, or in any business or retail establishment where minors under age 18 are not permitted."

What are they going to do with that money they are given by their fellow Americans?

Laurie said...

I am more concerned with helping welfare recipients have sufficient funds to meet their family's needs rather than trying to control them.

There is a $25 limit on the amount of cash they can withdraw from an ATM each day. Over the course of a month’s transactions, families receiving the maximum benefits that Kansas allows would find 12 to 13 percent of their benefits eaten up by fees, if they relied exclusively on ATM withdrawals.

John said...

Can't they use those cards at stores for free?

Why do they need so much cash?

Laurie said...

maybe cash is needed to pay the rent.

jerrye92002 said...

Cash probably is needed to pay the rent. The truly poor don't have checking accounts and can't get a credit card. The welfare card is the only thing they have.

Hard-liner that I am, I think the question of how much fraud is going on, or the less-serious (IMHO) misspent welfare checks, is a reasonable one. I do know than when Minnesota's Welfare cash cards were audited, a lot of it went to casinos, and to spending in all 50 states that "poor folks" should not have the money to travel to. I also think there could be a better approach. The article mentions that welfare rolls have already been halved due to work requirements (and, I assume, additional "life education"). More carrot, less stick.

jerrye92002 said...

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
--Benjamin Franklin

John said...

More from the Left
TP Limits

DK Limits

By the way, I love Ben's words of wisdom.

Sean said...

"The truly poor don't have checking accounts and can't get a credit card."

This is a major problem. (And, one, incidentally, where we could kill two birds with one stone by allowing the U.S. Postal Service -- like postal services in many other countries -- to offer simple banking services. It would be a great revenue stream for the USPS and they would be able to offer more reasonable rates than payday lenders.)

jerrye92002 said...

Interesting idea, Sean. I'm thinking a better approach might be to get these folks a job and a regular income that might give them enough cash to put in a checking account and qualify for a debit card. That could be supplemented with cash assistance while they got the training and education for better jobs down the road.

I remember that when Wisconsin instituted a work requirement, 20% of recipients dropped off the rolls rather than work. Our government welfare system is working about as well as our government schools at producing productive members of society.

Sean said...

The reality is that these sorts of bills are really just poor-bashing. Numerous studies have shown that the folks on these programs aren't wasteful, and the amount of actual fraud is very low. Drug use among people on these programs tends to be the same or lower than the rest of society, too.

Provisions like these also tend to hide the fact that middle- and upper-income taxpayers or corporations benefit much more from government programs.

For instance, the average household with income of more than $200,000 received 4x as much in federal housing subsidies and the average household with income of $20,000 or less in 2010. Yet, we're not asking the rich folks to take a drug test.

(Data source: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4067)

We don't ask farmers who get crop subsidies to stay out of the casino, and we don't ask Pell Grant recipients to avoid that creative writing major that may be career-challenged after graduation. We don't tell CEOs who feed at the corporate welfare trough where they can or can't spend their money, either.

We should be vigilant about avoiding actual fraud and some limits (casinos, etc.) are reasonable, but for the most part we should treat people on these programs like, you know, actual human beings.

John said...

CBPP Link

John said...

Sean,
Your logic is interesting...

But people get Pell Grants to support their education. The grants stop if the schooling stops.

The farmers get money to manage their land and businesses in a certain way to ensure the stability of the USA food supply. If they don't follow the rules the money stops.

The home owners get money to encourage them to buy homes and support the economy. If one sells the property, the money stops.

What exactly is the purpose for welfare spending other than to ensure everyone is fed, clothed, etc? Do you expect anything from the people receiving these payments that are funded by those who pay income taxes?

Sean said...

"Do you expect anything from the people receiving these payments that are funded by those who pay income taxes?"

Sure, there are already all sorts of requirements that these folks have to follow. And I have no problem with saying you can't spend your money at the casino or the strip club (or similar). But suggesting that they can't buy any seafood or steak or use their card in another state is going too far.

jerrye92002 said...

Sean, I'm going to ignore the "rich-bashing" in your previous comment so that I can agree somewhat with the rest of what you said. First off, I think government programs should, but greatly fail to by their very nature, "treat people like actual human beings." One of my greatest criticisms of our current welfare system is how dehumanizing and impersonal it is. It is a lot like our education system, where the bureaucracy exists to sustain and enrich itself, and it can't do that if it succeeds in its supposed mission. Get too many welfare recipients jobs, and what happens to the welfare bureaucracy? Simply put, the incentives are backwards. Private charities are much better at serving these individual human beings, but of course lack the vast funding that comes from forced taxation.

You say that micromanaging these people's spending is a bad policy, and I would agree. It would be far better to teach them to be more responsible with the money given. I don't think we should look the other way when there is fraud and abuse, though, even if it is "small," unless it is negligibly small which I don't think it is. A recent Minnesota Legislative Auditor's report found 17% of the recipients sampled were either "ineligible or in the wrong program."

I also should point out that the private charities I work with put some pretty high expectations on the people they serve – to stay off drugs and alcohol, to take training and/or look for a job, and to be a little grateful rather than feeling "entitled" to a blank check. That attitude is dehumanizing.

Sean said...

My comments above were not meant as "rich-bashing", but meant to draw contrast between what we expect of some people who get government assistance versus what we expect of other people who get government assistance.

John said...

"all sorts of requirements that these folks have to follow"

Please explain.

I think there are qualifications that must be met to get welfare, however I am not sure they are required to do much to "earn / justify" the money that is given to them. But I know little about the topic.

Sean said...

For TANF, for instance, there's work/education/job search requirements, reporting requirements, and a time limit. SNAP recipients have restrictions on what they can buy and where the buy it. Other programs have other requirements. This is all easily researchable.

jerrye92002 said...

Part of the problem with any and all government welfare programs is that they are NOT private charity. They set up all sorts of rigid rules and those that fit through the funnel get help, of some kind. I was a member of a church group for a while that found people who had been rejected by the welfare system, and helped them "get back on their feet." We gave them food, clothing, shelter, and found them a job. Then they were on their own. Government welfare is supposed to do that, often says they do it, but it just doesn't seem to be happening with enough regularity or success. The number of poor people should be going DOWN.

John said...

And if those poor people took more responsibility for their behaviors, we would...

But some guy here keeps giving them a pass...

Sean said...

"But some guy here keeps giving them a pass..."

Um, I'm the one here who posted accurate information about the requirements for folks on these programs, not you.

John said...

I was talking about Jerry. He thinks it is the government that is keeping the poor in their place.

""You seem to be arguing that society needs to hold a special carrot in front of these folks…"

Not quite. I am arguing that society needs to allow these folks to actually GET the carrot. They all want it, naturally, and they're willing to work to get it, but even donkeys are smart enough to recognize an orange-painted stick that they can never reach.

And your pointing out those few people who are exceptions to the rule only point out the need to change the rule so that more people can succeed. Your exemplars, you must admit, succeeded in SPITE of the government system, and not because of it.

I will grant you that those with drive can climb out of poverty, but what do you do with those who have been made hopelessly dependent by years of captivity in a failing system?" Jerry

jerrye92002 said...

Just like the education discussions, I need for you to prove to me that our current welfare "system" is "leading or driving" people out of poverty. Seems to me that the vaunted federal "War on Poverty" is over, and poverty is winning.

John said...

"I need for you to prove to me that our current welfare "system" is "leading or driving" people out of poverty"

Again with "the government is responsible for leading/forcing people to take responsibility for their own lives".

Back to Urban's Lifes Greatest Lessons which individuals personally need to learn, sanction and practice if they want to get ahead.

jerrye92002 said...

Again with "the government is responsible for leading/forcing people to take responsibility for their own lives".

Yes, again. What is the purpose of a welfare program, if not to equip/train/help people to overcome poverty and escape it? Based on results-- the "failure rate"-- It is not working. If it WAS working, poverty would be going down, not up. You're asking people who haven't taken responsibility-- don't know how-- to suddenly figure it out on their own and then do it, despite the massive obstacles for even the most motivated? Aren't you blaming the victims?

No, OK, there are some people abusing the welfare system and should be "driven off" of it. The rest deserve to be "lead off."

John said...

"What is the purpose of a welfare program, if not to equip/train/help people to overcome poverty and escape it?"

Two words: Safety Trampoline.

When people fall, it is to keep them from hitting the ground. But then it is up to the people to start climbing again.

jerrye92002 said...

OK, great. What in the current welfare system "trampolines" people? Somebody goes on welfare because of some financial crisis outside their control or, according to you, makes an irresponsible decision. What does the system do to help them make better decisions, and to regain their financial footing?

Or, what do you do with a second-generation welfare individual, with a public school (failed) education, who never DID know what it meant to have a job, to be there at a certain time, to do the job as it needed to be done to stay employed, or any of the million little skills that would get them out of poverty?