MY WTF MOMENT

I came upon a couple of items last week; both had to do with the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and the State legislator,

ITEM ONE.

A couple of weeks ago the state legislator voted to ban welfare recipi¬ents from spending money on liquor, tobacco products and the lottery. Also, store owners are not allowed to accept EBT cards to pay for said items.

Now hold on, do you mean that just because the state forks over money for these folks they have a right to tell them what to spend it on? Isn’t that a violation or something? The State Legislator, who are unable to keep their own members from taking bribes, are now going to tell people how to spend their money. Oh wait, I stand correct¬ed, they’re going to tell poor people how to spend their money, because no self-respecting voter would stand for this bullcrap.

As always it’s to demonize the poor. I know what you’re going to say, “Well James, they should be spend-ing their money more constructively.” I know that, but that’s not the point. How would any of you like it if I told you how you should be spending your money? You’d be surrounding the state house with pitchforks and torch¬es. This is just another case of those in power trying to stamp out the rights of those less fortunate.

But wait, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just how are these geniuses going to make sure this ban is adhered to? Just what are you going to do people, have the police moni¬tor stores, have social workers pay visits to their client’s homes to make sure that the home is smoke free? No Budweiser in the fridge? No torn up or discarded lottery tickets in the trash? Wait wouldn’t you want them to play the lottery? Think of it, if someone hits big then you would have one less on the rolls. Oh and one more thing guys, recipients can take money out of an ATM so they don’t have to use their EBT cards to purchase anything, DUH.

ITEM TWO

Also, brought to you by those bright minds at the State House, one propos¬al that has been making the rounds is to do drug testing on all welfare recipi¬ents. Yes you heard me, drug testing. Now, I know this may seem like a great idea to some of you folks, but let me tell you why it’s not.

First of all, it’s a violation of peo¬ple’s right to spend their money as they see fit. Forget the whole wasting taxpayer’s money argument. It’s just not right. Why do they need to be drug tested? Is being on welfare some kind of crime?

Also, this stupid proposal perpe¬trates the myth that all people who are economically disadvantaged are all substance abusers. This is an ignorant myth that this organization has fought against for the last 19 years. Again, I ask why these ignorant proposals are being forced upon those who have no voice, and why are those who fight for them silent?

But again, there’s that light. Just how much will it cost the taxpayer to see that these tests will be adminis-tered, and who exactly is going to be in charge of seeing that these tests get done?

DPW case managers are already overburdened. I hardly think chasing down people for a urine sample is on their to do list. And what exactly will happen if one has a positive test, will you kick them of the rolls? This will lead to homelessness and the state will be forced to take care of them any¬way, Maybe you boys and girls in the golden dome had better stick to polic¬ing yourselves instead of others. After all, your record with that isn’t all that healthy either.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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