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(22,336 posts)
Sun Apr 3, 2016, 05:10 PM Apr 2016

The double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits [View all]


But the logic behind the proposals is problematic in at least three, really big ways:

The first is economic: There's virtually no evidence that the poor actually spend their money this way. The idea that they do defies Maslow's hierarchy — the notion that we all need shelter and food before we go in search of foot massages. In fact, the poor are much more savvy about how they spend their money because they have less of it (quick quiz: do you know exactly how much you last spent on a gallon of milk? or a bag of diapers?). By definition, a much higher share of their income — often more than half of it — is eaten up by basic housing costs than is true for the better-off, leaving them less money for luxuries anyway. And contrary to the logic of drug-testing laws, the poor are no more likely to use drugs than the population at large.

The second issue with these laws is a moral one: We rarely make similar demands of other recipients of government aid. We don't drug-test farmers who receive agriculture subsidies (lest they think about plowing while high!). We don't require Pell Grant recipients to prove that they're pursuing a degree that will get them a real job one day (sorry, no poetry!). We don't require wealthy families who cash in on the home mortgage interest deduction to prove that they don't use their homes as brothels (because surely someone out there does this). The strings that we attach to government aid are attached uniquely for the poor.

That leads us to the third problem, which is a political one. Many, many Americans who do receive these other kinds of government benefits — farm subsidies, student loans, mortgage tax breaks — don't recognize that, like the poor, they get something from government, too. That's because government gives money directly to poor people, but it gives benefits to the rest of us in ways that allow us to tell ourselves that we get nothing from government at all.
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k and r dembotoz Apr 2016 #1
Do not tell me Bernie's candidacy has no impact on the discussion du jur angstlessk Apr 2016 #2
WaPO,is the Paper of the 1%ers. Wellstone ruled Apr 2016 #3
I did not know so I checked and it's actually not a rare topic gollygee Apr 2016 #4
The WP is an excellent newspaper that has long covered topics such as poverty, Nitram Apr 2016 #9
I now have to agree... angstlessk Apr 2016 #10
I think they get confused sometimes around here... Wounded Bear Apr 2016 #25
Agreed, Washington Times and the New York Post angstlessk Apr 2016 #26
K&R silvershadow Apr 2016 #5
I asked an agent about this at our local public assistance office Orrex Apr 2016 #6
i hope there were others hopemountain Apr 2016 #13
We need to drug-test the people who approve the forms ... eppur_se_muova Apr 2016 #17
+1 n/t warrprayer Apr 2016 #71
Getting the middle class to attack the poor instead of the rich is a winning strategy Major Nikon Apr 2016 #7
+1 daleanime Apr 2016 #20
+2 classykaren Apr 2016 #40
+1 n/t Nevernose Apr 2016 #44
The small number that abuse the system get the press and encourage more restrictions. FLPanhandle Apr 2016 #8
This is a well established MSM propaganda tactic. Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #45
I "love" the hot coffee lawsuit logic of tort reformers. "but she spilled coffee" - "yes but it was MillennialDem Apr 2016 #50
^^^This^^^n/t Gormy Cuss Apr 2016 #64
It's not as if right wing hatred of the poor is rooted in any sort of common sense... MrScorpio Apr 2016 #11
It makes sens to the Right Wingers Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #66
"jump thru hoops" redruddyred Apr 2016 #75
A divisive tactic used to take even more away from the poor...feeds into stereotypes as well. Jefferson23 Apr 2016 #12
K&R Solly Mack Apr 2016 #14
If Ms Badger Needs to Invoke Masalow's Hierarchy: On the Road Apr 2016 #15
No, sounds like she's working hard.... daleanime Apr 2016 #21
K&R Paka Apr 2016 #16
Regarding the first ... eppur_se_muova Apr 2016 #18
Every white suburbanite has an anecdote Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #19
Sorry, this is as offensive as anything. Socal31 Apr 2016 #27
YMMV Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #28
Blanket an entire race of people... Socal31 Apr 2016 #29
I have no idea where you normally see anything Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #31
You know exactly what I mean. Socal31 Apr 2016 #32
"Good Day?" It's between 8:30 and 12:30. The continental US is covered in darkness. Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #33
If it helps I've seen Suburbanites of color that are just as bad, I've lived poor Dragonfli Apr 2016 #55
As a white suburbanite ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #43
By "every" I really meant "a large majority" Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #56
I knew exactly what you meant ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #58
And the point was that these legends play direcly to what the OP is saying Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #62
Stop trying to quantify it based on anecdotes. Gormy Cuss Apr 2016 #67
"Every" seemed simpler than the more accurate "disturbingly pervasive" Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #70
Yep, I've heard that stuff for years treestar Apr 2016 #79
I'd pretend it's offensive too if my agenda required as much LanternWaste Apr 2016 #61
Sorry, it's way less offensive. Gormy Cuss Apr 2016 #65
I just regard them as Republican Anecdotal Conveniences: HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #46
Yes, I've heard all of them Algernon Moncrieff Apr 2016 #51
OH THAT too!! HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #63
this list is perfect and very familiar ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #57
Which was never... scscholar Apr 2016 #77
My point, exactly ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #78
this should be its own OP, by the way ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #59
K&R rpannier Apr 2016 #22
I say we subject CEOs to drug screenings before they get our money. Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2016 #23
HELL, every congressman who serves at the state or fed level should be drug tested FlatBaroque Apr 2016 #53
Lots of straw men and red herrings. Igel Apr 2016 #24
So if a poor person gets a gift and pays rent with that gift and then uses his food card JDPriestly Apr 2016 #37
this is equally stupid redruddyred Apr 2016 #76
Turns out the guy who used food stamps to buy lobster... Human101948 Apr 2016 #41
I can guarantee this CA lobster guy was a James O'Keefe type plant... Human101948 Apr 2016 #42
Hmm. davidthegnome Apr 2016 #69
One of the best posts I've ever read on DU in all my 15 years. Avalon Sparks Apr 2016 #80
Sure, a scattered few abuse the system quaker bill Apr 2016 #82
K&R... spanone Apr 2016 #30
Tax breaks need to be replaced with subsidies and grants. It would be more honest and simpler Bernardo de La Paz Apr 2016 #34
K&R. JDPriestly Apr 2016 #35
Wherever homeless are giving FREE HOUSING, overall costs go down a lot. Bernardo de La Paz Apr 2016 #36
Thank you. There are no hard and fast rules, but simply giving housing to the homeless JDPriestly Apr 2016 #38
Drug testing is a scam. blackspade Apr 2016 #39
I would say it's a scam at work and should be illegal as well. I don't use drugs, so the only MillennialDem Apr 2016 #49
Line of "what we don't do" is more blurred than you think? lostnfound Apr 2016 #47
Interesting. So when the economy tanks and there is a huge recession, ProfessorPlum Apr 2016 #60
Because if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true. The poor are spending their MillennialDem Apr 2016 #48
Most poor people cannabis_flower Apr 2016 #52
Like Skeletor's drug testing in FL Doctor_J Apr 2016 #68
Teachings of Christianity. If someone is a victim, they are somehow at fault for their own Amimnoch Apr 2016 #72
The rich get more welfare dollarwise, they need daily drug testing. Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #73
surprised to see this from WaPo redruddyred Apr 2016 #74
Excellent Liberal_in_LA Apr 2016 #81
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