[M]any employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them.Right ... Now, I am willing to bet that he is not talking about jobs in the finance industry. No, the people he is likely talking about are low income, likely a darker skin tone than the governor, and applying for minimum wage jobs. Of course he has not asked for a study to be done. He is just going by what employers have told him. Which is that poor people just don’t want to work because they spend their time doing drugs.
Pennsylvania is not the only state where this is happening. Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), who is trying to repeal affirmative action in her state, said:
[M]inorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them. [W]omen earn less than men because they tend to spend more time at home with their families.Of course, not letting people of color who live in poverty starve is a horrible thing. It is evidently okay though for whites receiving assistance.
The scapegoating does not end there. In Wisconsin, Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) has put forth AB 110 which is directed at the states Foodshare (Known as SNAP on the Federal level) program. AB 110 states:
the department shall conduct a pilot program under which the department allows the benefits under the food stamp program to be used only for foods, food products, and beverages that have sufficient nutritional value. The department shall identify specific foods, food products, and beverages, or general categories of foods, food products, and beverages, that do not have sufficient nutritional value and shall prohibit the use of benefits under the program for those foods, food products, and beverages.AB 110 was later amended to state:
The list mentioned in the text of the amendment to AB 110 is the same list used today for Wisconsin’s, “Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program, or WIC. The WIC list is a pretty restrictive list. You can purchase canned tomatoes, but not spaghetti sauce. You can have mild cheddar cheese, but not sharp cheddar cheese. You are not allowed to purchase white bread or white rice. The purpose of the WIC program is totally different than that of the SNAP program. WIC is to ensure that low-income women and children get the nutrition they need to be healthy either during pregnancy or during the formative years of their lives. Foodshare is for any who may need assistance with purchasing food. What this bill amounts to is that someone was in line at the grocery store and rightly or wrongly assumed that the person in front of them was purchasing items that they should not have been with Foodshare benefits.
1. The department shall require that, of the benefits amount used by a recipient in a month to purchase food, not less than 67 percent is used to purchase only any of the following foods:
a. Authorized foods on the list published by the department under s. 253.06 (9).
b. Beef, pork, chicken, or fish, whether an authorized food on the list published
under s. 253.06 (9) or not.
c. Fresh produce, including white potatoes, whether an authorized food on the list published under s. 253.06 (9) or not.
2. The department shall publish on the department's Internet site the following lists:
a. A current list of the foods for which 67 percent of a recipient's monthly benefits amount must be used.
b. A current list of the foods for which 33 percent of a recipient's monthly benefits amount may be used.
Again, this is the party of less government adding more bureaucracy to the mix where it is not needed. For a family of four the average Foodshare benefit for a two-parent household is approximately $384 a month. I highly doubt letting that family buy a jar of spaghetti sauce or some sharp cheddar is going to bust the bank.
Rep. Kaufert states that this is to make sure that those in poverty eat healthier. If he was really concerned about the health of these families maybe he would work harder at getting healthcare for them and maybe making sure that the benefits they do get can actually feed a family of four. This is just one more hoop that those living in poverty have to jump through. Instead of treating them as human beings they are treated as a sub-class of humans that do nothing but mooch and leach off of society. Instead of degrading statements and punitive bills that demean the poor maybe we should be focusing on ways to end poverty. You know, stuff like funding schools, providing daycare, healthcare, and having an economy that favors the less fortunate rather than those at the top of the food chain. A system where children can have spaghetti for dinner and the elderly do not have to choose between medication and food.