Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Noble

What a piece of work:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) explained on Tuesday that a new policy that could cut off food stamps for thousands of people in his state would be “ennobling” for poor people.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced last month that beginning in 2015, it would no longer request a waiver to the federal work requirement for certain people who use the SNAP program. Up to 65,000 single Hoosiers could lose food stamp benefits unless they are working 20 hours a week or attending job training.

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Pence argued that 50,000 people had joined the Indiana workforce since 2008 so it was time to return to a “core principle” of welfare reform.

Not everyone who gets food stamps is able to work; many of them are children or the disabled or the elderly.  Not everyone who collects food stamps is sitting on their ass watching Wheel of Fortune and snickering at the minimum-wage shlubs who flip burgers.  A lot of the minimum-wage workers can’t work 20 hours a week because they have other obligations such as taking care of an aging or disabled parent, raising children (remember: family values!) or can’t find a job that gives them enough hours to work to pay for the food.

So not everyone who collects food stamps really wants to hear how Gov. Mike Pence is doing them a favor — “ennobling” them — by forcing them to give up one of the safety nets that any civilized nation or society should provide for those who are least able to help themselves.  And it’s hard to feel noble when you’re stealing food from the cat.

To quote Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof:  “I realize it’s no shame to be poor.  But it’s no great honor, either.”

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