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Fired Up! Missouri - TANF http://www.firedupmissouri.com/taxonomy/term/856/0 en Post-Dispatch: Missouri's New TANF Drug-Testing Law is "Mean-Spirited, Useless and Expensive" http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/post-dispatch-missouris-new-tanf-drug-testing-law-mean-spirited-useless-and-expensive <p>The Post-Dispatch <a href="http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/article_b61ad2c0-257e-598e-ad58-b37f9c4aaaa6.html" target="_blank">rightly criticizes</a> Missouri&#39;s new law (<a href="http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB73&amp;year=2011&amp;code=R" target="_blank">HB73</a>) that targets the poorest among us for drug testing, but imposes no similar drug testing requirements for wealthier recipients of taxpayer assistance. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote><p><strong>There is no evidence &mdash; none &mdash; that welfare recipients are any more likely to be on drugs than other classes of people &mdash; such as lawmakers or corporate executives &mdash; who receive taxpayer funds. </strong>The law, like dozens of others considered by state legislatures in recent years, simply is another front in the class war started by the Republican Party...</p> <p>Today, the poor are under attack by the GOP, and drug-testing laws for welfare recipients are a weapon of choice. They are mean-spirited, useless and expensive wastes of time...</p> <p>Missouri&#39;s GOP lawmakers, and the handful of Democrats who joined them, were wrong to follow Florida&#39;s example. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon was weak-kneed not to veto the bill. We look forward to the courts ending this unconstitutional farce.</p> </blockquote> <p>The General Assembly and Governor Nixon really missed the mark on this bill.&nbsp;</p> Drug Testing Misplaced Priorities TANF Mon, 31 Oct 2011 13:59:43 +0000 .Sean 14812 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com Ridgeway Wishes America Had More Hungry Children, Less Imitation Hamburger http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/ridgeway-wishes-american-had-more-hungry-children-less-immitation-hamburger <div class="rightbox"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5553925386_8e81d10b1e_m.jpg" class="noside" alt="" />Luann Ridgeway, pictured here imagining a story for next week's &quot;Capitol Report&quot;</div> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2011/03/sen_luann_ridgeway_still_belie.php">Hey look</a>, <strong>Sen. Luann Ridgeway </strong>is making stuff up for her weekly newsletter:</p> <blockquote><p>How many times have you been in line at the grocery store counting pennies to pay for imitation hamburger and off-brand pasta, only to see the person in front of you unload a cart full of steaks and then whip out a welfare EBT card to pay for it? It happens to me and I bet it happens to you as well. The program that provides for your hard earned money to be spent in this fashion by people as able-bodied as are you and I is called TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families...</p> <p>There was a time when being on public assistance came with a stigma. Now the government goes out of its way to sign up more people. Where public welfare used to be a measure of last resort, it is now considered normal since that is what their parents did and what so many of their friends continue to do. Young unmarried women have actually been heard saying they want to have their baby before marriage as then the birth and maternal after-care will be &quot;free.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>A few quick questions while I clean the coffee off my keyboard:</p> <ol> <li>What is &quot;imitation hamburger&quot;?</li> <li>Where did Luann Ridgeway hear &quot;young unmarried women&quot; saying they want to have a baby before they get married so that &quot;the birth and maternal after-care will be 'free?'&quot;</li> <li>What ethnicity do you think the fantasy steak buyer was when Luann Ridgeway imagined this story?&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2011/03/sen_luann_ridgeway_still_belie.php">The Pitch's Nadia Pflaum</a> has a much better dissection of Ridgeway's offensive &quot;Capitol Report&quot; than I can muster, so you should <a href="http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2011/03/sen_luann_ridgeway_still_belie.php" target="_blank">just go read what she wrote</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; In summary, &quot;Welfare queens don't exist. Most informed adults have come to accept -- along with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny -- that the welfare queen (a term coined by Ronald Reagan in a 1976 presidential campaign speech) is <a href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/stories/9435/">a big ol' myth</a>. &quot;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=fa6386a617fc8b6eeec652eac&amp;id=2860a46394&amp;e=7a42857207">Ridgeway's entire entirely offensive rant</a> can be read below the fold.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><blockquote> <p>How many times have you been in line at the grocery store counting pennies to pay for imitation hamburger and off-brand pasta, only to see the person in front of you unload a cart full of steaks and then whip out a welfare EBT card to pay for it? It happens to me and I bet it happens to you as well. The program that provides for your hard earned money to be spent in this fashion by people as able-bodied as are you and I is called TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If you get upset watching someone buy groceries with your money, hang on because you are about to get boiling mad.</p> <p>Because welfare benefits are now delivered with a plastic debit card, where and when these benefits are spent is easily tracked. Chris Nagus, a St. Louis television reporter requested these records from the Missouri Department of Social Services (<a href="http://images.bimedia.net/documents/Out-of-State+Activity+Summary+1-31-2011.pdf">click here for a link to the DSS data</a>). What he found is unbelievable. Keep in mind, this is just one month of spending.</p> <p>Since most of Missouri&rsquo;s population lives near a state line, it is not unusual for some benefits to be spent in adjoining states. However, some states were further away, much further away and not even connected to the mainland.</p> <p>Over the course of one month, in Florida, Missouri welfare recipients spent $84,061 on food and withdrew $9,737 in cash from ATMs. In California, the month's totals were $69,672 for food and $7,818 in cash. In the biggest insult to taxpayers, during one month welfare recipients spent $2,737 for food and withdrew $175&hellip;in HAWAII!</p> <p>I am sure many hard working Missourians would love to take their families on a vacation to Florida, California, or Hawaii. However, it now appears they cannot since they are busy working to pay for someone else to go who isn&rsquo;t working. Personally, I would like to see any transaction that takes place more than one state away red flagged for inquiry. If there is not a valid reason for the person to be there, benefits should be terminated.&nbsp; The assistance is intended for needy families to survive, not for freeloaders to travel on someone else&rsquo;s dime.</p> <p>There was a time when being on public assistance came with a stigma. Now the government goes out of its way to sign up more people. Where public welfare used to be a measure of last resort, it is now considered normal since that is what their parents did and what so many of their friends continue to do. Young unmarried women have actually been heard saying they want to have their baby before marriage as then the birth and maternal after-care will be &ldquo;free&rdquo;.</p> <p>Maybe this discovery will serve as a wakeup call that the program is out of control and must be reformed. Despite what the liberals will tell you, personal responsibility and charity are pretty good things, for everyone.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><a href="http://www.kccommunitynews.com/media/468x263/26613488.jpg" target="_blank">Image credit: KC Community News</a></em></p> Fiction GOP Extremism Luann Ridgeway TANF Wed, 23 Mar 2011 19:27:03 +0000 .Sean 13779 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com Should Bill Stouffer Be Drug Tested? http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/should-bill-stouffer-be-drug-tested <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><img width="288" height="229" class="rightside" alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_qFYHPlHedgY/TXu80kUy4vI/AAAAAAAAEzs/ybGa3i7x7BU/s288/Bill%20Stouffer%202.jpg" />Last year, Republican State Senator <strong>Bill Stouffer</strong> (R-Napton) introduced legislation to require drug testing for Missourians on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because, as he put it, &ldquo;<a href="http://lafayettecountyrepublicans.blogspot.com/2010/02/missouri-senator-bill-stouffer-promotes.html">those receiving help from the state should help themselves</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp;As it turns out, Stouffer knows something about receiving government assistance, as he has been the beneficiary of over <a href="http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A07335297">$700,000 </a>in federal farm subsidies since 1995.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">The issue of farm subsidies is a classic example of the fact that many Republicans really only object to government spending when it&rsquo;s aimed at the most vulnerable in our society.&nbsp;The GOP is more than happy to shower billions in subsidies on oil companies, unscrupulous bankers, and wealthy farmers, but balk when it comes to a living wage for Missouri workers or health insurance for children.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt">Direct payments to farmers have averaged around <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/10/us-usa-congrsss-farm-idUSTRE7082ND20110110">$5 billion per year </a>since 2005, and some of these payments go to individuals who are quite well-to-do.&nbsp;Now, five billion dollars a year may not be a budget busting sum on its own (extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is costing about $60 billion per year) but as long as we&rsquo;re <a href="http://firedupmissouri.com/content/time-put-tracking-devices-ankles-working-poor">scrutinizing </a>TANF recipients who happen to cross state lines, we may as well leave no stone unturned.&nbsp;</div> <p><strong>Small Government Lawmakers on the Government Dole (Partial List)*</strong></p> <ul> <li>State Sen. <a href="http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A07335297">William Herbert Stouffer </a>- $768,154.45</li> <li>State Rep. <a href="http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A07335111">John&nbsp;W Cauthorn</a> - $435,920.99</li> <li>State Rep. <a href="http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A07256393">Thomas L Loehner</a>&nbsp;- $104,891.99</li> <li>State Sen. <a href="http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A07395558">Robert Mayer </a>- $ 38,963.01</li> </ul> <!--break--><!--break--><p>*Subsidy total from 1995-2009</p> Bill Stouffer Farm Subsidies GOP Hypocrisy TANF Sat, 12 Mar 2011 18:16:50 +0000 Polly 13670 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com Parkinson Responds to Stupid Story With Stupid Bill http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/parkinson-responds-stupid-story-stupid-bill <p><a target="_blank" href="http://missouri.watchdog.org/12661/lawmaker-wants-welfare-benefits-spent-in-missouri/"><strong>Rep. Mark Parkinson</strong></a>&nbsp;(R-St. Charles) thinks the working poor and their children should go hungry when they travel to other states looking for better deals, looking for work and visiting family. After all, nothing says freedom and limited government like mean-spirited proposals to limit movement and choice. &nbsp;</p> <p>Kudos to <strong>Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford</strong> for standing up to Parkinson's mean-spirited and half-baked proposal.&nbsp;</p> <div class="nobox"><img class="noside" alt="" src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3626/4562702083_1ebe55be62.jpg" />Parkinson, pictured here being totally awesome, is giving up all that claptrap about the poor for Lent. &quot;Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.&quot;</div> <p>----------</p> <p>UPDATE: This great photo has inspired a fair amount of reader feedback this morning, along with alternate caption ideas. A few early submissions:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Almost looks like a real beard, don't it?</li> <!--break--> <li>Charlie Sheen, you're my hero, man, but you gotta come down outta that tree so we can talk. I got some ideas weirder than yours.</li> <li>I'm going to shoot that damn pigeon if he does that again.</li> </ul> <p>Have more ideas? &nbsp;Please leave 'em in comments.&nbsp;</p> GOP Extremism Jeanette Mott Oxford Mark Parkinson TANF Working Families Thu, 10 Mar 2011 14:22:52 +0000 .Sean 13649 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com Tribune on TANF Drug Testing Proposal: "Its Very Premise is Wrong" http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/tribune-tanf-drug-testing-proposal-its-very-premise-wrong <p><a href="http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/jan/29/demagogues-on-parade/" target="_blank">The Tribune's <strong>Hank Waters</strong> weighs in</a> on the proposal to drug test TANF parents for whom the DSS determines there's &quot;reasonable suspicion&quot; for illegal drug use:&nbsp; &quot;The problem with this law goes beyond its difficulty of enforcement. Its very premise is wrong. Supporters say welfare recipients should not receive government money to fund a drug habit, but on this basis anyone receiving government money should be subject to testing...Supporters try to cast this bill as a way to save money, but that&rsquo;s a crock...Once the legislative demagogues have cast their votes, the parade will be over and the law soon forgotten. This sort of moralistic knee-jerking is too common these days in Jefferson City.&quot;</p> Drug Testing TANF Sat, 29 Jan 2011 15:58:15 +0000 .Sean 13357 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com Rep. Brandom To Reintroduce Bill Requiring Drug Testing for TANF Recipients http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/rep-brandom-reintroduce-bill-requiring-drug-testing-tanf-recipients <p><img width="240" height="160" align="right" class="rightside" alt="" src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2764/4173688457_c0f77a4e9a_m.jpg" /><strong>Rep. Ellen Brandom</strong> (R-Sikeston) plans to reintroduce legislation this session that would direct the Department of Social Services to set up a drug-testing program for participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.&nbsp;&nbsp;The tests would apply only to people for whom the Department decides there is a &quot;reasonable cause&quot; to investigate. If a person fails, they would be ineligible to receive benefits for one year.</p> <p>Brandom says the bill she'll pre-file for the 2010 session will be be identical to the perfected version from last session (<a target="_blank" href="http://house.mo.gov/content.aspx?info=/bills091/bills/HB30.htm">HB30</a>).</p> <p>The legislation received bipartisan support last year in the House, passing 109-45 (who wants a campaign ad saying they don't care about illegal drug use?).&nbsp; But this whole idea strikes me as a cruelly-targeted bit of public policy. Using illegal drugs is against the law&nbsp;&ndash; and we have police departments and drug task forces&nbsp;and a legal system set up to prosecute people who break the law.&nbsp; So why single out low-income individuals and parents, while ignoring all of the middle- and upper-income individuals who might be the beneficiaries of different government programs, but breaking the same drug laws?&nbsp; And what happens to the children who get caught up in their parents' mistakes? &nbsp;</p> Drug Testing Ellen Brandom TANF Working Families Thu, 10 Dec 2009 14:53:44 +0000 .Sean 10294 at http://www.firedupmissouri.com