Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Punishing the Poor

Who among us hasn't boarded a cruise ship bound for a leisurely two-week crawl around the Mediterranean only to find the ship overbooked and stuffed with—horror of horrors—poor people?

Kansas governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas state legislature evidently have, and being in a position to do something about it, have. People receiving public aid in Kansas may no longer use those monies to take two-week cruises around the Mediterranean. Or the Caribbean. Or South America. Or even to Alaska.

Yes, poor people of Kansas, your globe-trotting days are over.

If not for the fact Republicans are involved, you, the informed and highly intelligent reader of The Square Peg, might think I was heading off on yet-another excursion of mirth. Or that I had pilfered this story from the good people at the Onion.

Sadly, the answer is no.

This is true. This is real. This is what constitutes an urgent and critical issue for the elected representation of the Great State of Kansas. On the ever-increasing list of crimes the citizens of the United States can be accused of, poverty is the newest entry.

It isn't enough that you suffer a sub-standard education, or endure insufficient housing, wide-spread discrimination and the insidious effects of growing up in a place as bereft of hope as the ghetto.


Every cent you spend will now be subject to approval by wealthy white guys (i.e. the Kansas state government) who are in a snit because the money earmarked for your selfish and inconsiderate need of food and shelter might have been used to purchase another share of Google stock.

The great irony is that these small-government adherents are somehow going to monitor each and every purchase each and every poor person in the state of Kansas makes to ensure no forbidden camisoles or illicit Snickers bars are purchased.

Never mind cruise ship tickets.

Perhaps I'm a libtard after all, because this doesn't make any sense to me on any level. In a state as strapped for cash as Kansas, how is this even going to be enforced?

Is Brownback is going to ask cashiers to deny these purchases? 

You will kindly ignore that most of them are a paycheck away from being on public aid themselves, and aren't likely to be sympathetic with the governor's punish-the-poor agenda.

Is Kansas going to demand that small business owners and retailers purchase and install the technology necessary to ban the sale of blacklisted items once a public aid debit card is swiped?

Neither sounds very business-friendly or small government-y, Governor. In fact, they sound remarkably similar to the invasive, business-choking regulation you regularly blame Democrats for.

Perhaps Kansas taxpayers will be on the hook for it.

Brownback claims this will make people self-reliant at the same time it makes Kansas more business-friendly. 

But like the poor trapped in Brownbackistan, I'm not buying it.

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