Saturday, September 14, 2013

Let's fuck the poor people some more.

Yeah, because that will make them become more responsible.

The state lege in NY is trying to pass a law requiring drug testing for people on TANF. I just talked to a county rep's wife about this.

Her husband is for it and so is she. She says that hurting these people will make them straighten up and fly right. So, basically, what she, her husband and others are saying is that punishing all poor people because some percentage of them might be using illicit drugs is okay. Apparently meting out that punishment is preferable to their being angry and feeling impotent about "welfare abuse". It's just that simple. That they are willing to suspend people's 4th amendment rights--if it even occurs to them that they are doing so--is not a problem. That the primary recipients of the punishment will be defenseless AND blameless children is also not, for them, a problem.

Having dealt with a fair number of irresponsible assholes in my life I have seen numerous instances where punishment for wrong doing was simply "rolled downhill" to someone with even less power than the person who was being punished in the first place.

I could be mistaken about what I think are the motivations (anger about their powerlessness to make people behave is the primary one, imo) that drive people to think withholding benefits to dependent children will be sufficient to drive their parents into the job markets/stop their being addicts. I am willing, however, to bet a case of beer that not one person that advocates for this sort of nonsensical "solution" to what is perceived as a pervasive problem (and it is not, actually) would be very uncomfortable if they were told that THEIR drug use (alcohol is, after all, a drug) should bar them from holding public office, taking a government paycheck or being given benefits like medicare and social security. We need, also, to bear in mind, that the drug testing is not to identify drug addicts but simply drug users. Whether a person shoots Mexican Brown, snorts meth or coke, tokes a doobie or hits a crack pipe is immaterial. All/any drug use is grounds for disqualification from the programs under discussion.

I truly understand the frustration of people who have to deal with a permanent underclass but it doesn't mean that I must agree with them. Their prescription for eradicating welfare fraud/drug use amongst welfare recipients is the opposite of a panacea.

The way I see it is this. If it's okay to make people on TANF or unemployment piss in a cup to collect their enormously bloated checks (I think they get, like, $5,000 a month and vouchers for Cristall and a Lamborghini) why not the crazy old fuckers on SS and the people on SSI and the people on ANY sort of gummint assistance, including--and most especially--all of those millionaires and billionaires who were forced to accept low or no interest loans from US as punishment for stealing or losing $T's?  I mean sauce for the goose and all that noise.

Why are people who use drugs while they draw government checks for their work or as subsidies any less likely to be drug addled or have their drugging affect their performance?


The video at the Gawker link is from a Congresswoman who's more of a man than most of them:

The headlines I've seen say, in a variety of ways, that she "shamed" her congressional colleagues who voted against food stamps. I doubt that happened, those people are impervious to shame. She may have alerted a few non-braindead voters to the fact that their representatives are not, in fact, that.

H/T to Southern Beale's "Good News Friday" column of today.


Southern Beale said...

We've got one of those here in TN. Of course we do. We are the petri dish for "kick 'em when they're down" legislation. Of course, the fact that the husband of Rep. Diane Black, newly-minted GOPer Congressmonster, formerly state senator, owns a major testing company -- and that Bill Frist is on the board? Just a coinky-dinky.

Sorta like how Rick Scott is getting rich off of Florida's drug testing law, because certainly the state isn't.

Meanwhile, there's this hilarious story. Turns out Vandebilt Medical Center has been hit with a huge Medicare fraud suit! I thought maybe we should require hospital administrators to pee in a cup before submitting paperwork for federal reimbursements.

So, Demo, I have a brand-new Libertarian troll at my place. He's adorable. Named George but as soon as we started talking about abortion he became a she, with two kids and two miscarriages. No shit! Anyway, I thought you might want to have some fun with him.

democommie said...

Southern Beale:

Sorry not to get your comment up sooner--it's the first one I've had since about the time the Hindenburg blew up.

Yeah, I remember you talking about Masha and her ReiKKKwing KKKompassionate KKKonservatizzies. FL's testing has been in abeyance since the lawsuit, I think.

I find it almost impossible to think of pols as anything but elected lobbyists these days. Even the few that I thought were relatively decent are all about feathing their own nests (or lining their own pockets). I'm guessing that if the lege gets this one passed then they'll be looking to do the same for people on food stamps, medicare and unemployment.

What could be frustrating (if I wasn't convinced that the pols simply don't give a fuck about passing laws that hurt those from whom they get no campaign contributions) is the obvious failure of the people who "craft" these laws to have any sort of understanding about how addiction actually works. It's not like it's hard to figure out. Addiction is a condition wherein the addict gives not a fuck about anything beyond getting their next fix. They don't care about the laws against using/selling drugs; they don't care who they have to steal or hurt to get them and they really, Really, REALLY don't give a fuck about the children (a view that is mirrored by the assholes that pass draconian laws like the one in the instant case).

democommie said...

I meant to add that "George" or "Georgia", whatev, lost any credibility with me about the third sentence into the first comment heshe made.

Southern Beale said...

I'm reading Margaret Atwood's "Oryx & Crake" right now which is a chilling and all-too-plausible view of where we're headed with this corporatist crap.

democommie said...

I read "Oryx and Crake", started it in 2008 and finished it about six months ago. It is dystopia with extra dystopianess.

Just saw the comments from "George" that you were referring to. Sockpuppet, all the way down.

Southern Beale said...

You'll be pleased to know that the other two books in the series are out now. Maybe if you start on "The Year of The Flood" and "MaddAddam" now you'll finish them before you die.


Me, I've torn through the first one in 3 days.

Anyhoo, back to hating the poors. You'll love what Paul LePage of Maine has done. Such a fiscal conservative!

Despite spending $700,000 a year on eight additional fraud inspectors who fielded about 1,100 leads, the governor reported that only 45 cases of alleged fraud were referred to law enforcement.


But the governor still touts his record in this arena as if it were a great accomplishment. In his radio address, he proudly noted that only 10 fraud cases were referred to law enforcement in 2010 — before he took office — and the number immediately rose to 32 cases in 2011, growing to 45 cases last year. But the governor does not say how much the state avoided paying out in fraudulent claims or how much money Maine recovered in return for its $700,000-a-year investment.

southern Beale said...

George is using at least 2 IP addresses -- maybe a work and home computer, who knows. Haven't had a chance to see if it's a dupe of anyone we know. I got a lot of newcomers after Wonkette posted my League of the South item.

Anyway if George/Georgia is a sockpuppet, I'm not sure who for. I think he/she is just an annoying smug troll.

democommie said...

What LePage also doesn't talk about is how many of those "referrals" to LE result in convictions or plea bargains. IF they all go to trial, there's another pile of money for state legal people and public defenders plus whatever it costs to warehouse people who likely cannot pay any fines or make restitution. Yeah, win/win.

Georgie reminds me of a troll who used the name "Isabel" over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars. Endlessly annoying and I think perhaps into getting abused. I try to accommodate people's wishes.