New Assault on the Poor

(call to action/updates here) This morning, the Senate President, the Senate Chairs of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities and the Senate Ways and Means Committee announced in a press conference at the State House a “welfare reform” bill that will add more humiliation to being poor, restrict exemptions to the work requirement while spending millions of taxpayer dollars on photo IDs for EBT cards that serves no legitimate public purpose (read ACLU’s testimony against, here).

At the same time, the bill takes only limited steps to help poor families learn skills or build assets that will lead to an improved standard of living, the only fair and proven way to lift people out of poverty and reduce taxpayer expenditure.

Progressive advocacy groups from across the state will undoubtedly be speaking out against several of the bill’s most onerous provisions as well as against the process by which the bill was brought to the Senate.

This appears to be just the latest in a series of assaults on the poor here in Massachusetts.

Laughably called An Act to Foster Economic Independence, the bill requires welfare recipients to:

  • Prove they are actively seeking a job before getting any cash assistance
  • Secure a Photo ID EBT card that must be checked by store owner
  • Not be out of state more than 30 days (currently 60) before losing benefits

In addition, it:

  • Limits work exemptions to those individuals meeting SSI standards (very onerous)
  • Limits work exemption for pregnant women to one month before birth (currently up to 4 months)
  • Reduces benefit extension from 6 months to 3 months
  • Raises age of work requirement from 60 to 66

My question – what problem are we solving??

We know that the right typically hypes the amount of fraud – or the number of people who are sitting on their asses enjoying the largess of the government.  Whoa – want to have a cushy life – live on welfare and food stamps!!

But why do we have democrats doing this?

In the last few state-wide elections, the most progressive candidate won. What does that tell us about where our policy and our priorities need to be?

More to come in another post on the hideous process used to move this bill so rapidly.

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