Sunday, January 12, 2014


Among the thing Fox Nation is covering while desperately trying to downplay the Chris Christie story is this (via Breitbart):
... Colorado Republicans have introduced a bill that if passed, would prevent food stamp recipients from withdrawing EBT cash inside pot dispensaries....
More, from the AP:
There haven't been any reports of public EBT cards being used at marijuana dispensaries. But lawmakers say pot shops should be added to the law to make clear it's not legal.

"We need this bill, if for nothing else, as a statement," said Rep. Jared Wright, R-Grand Junction.

... The bill would also prohibit public EBT use at adult-oriented entertainment establishments, something already banned under federal law.

Electronic cards that contain money for food assistance can't be used to withdraw cash, or for non-eligible items such as tobacco or alcohol. But public EBT cards that contain Social Security Disability benefits or other benefits can be used to withdraw cash, a provision that has led to prohibitions on using public EBT cards at establishments like strip clubs and casinos....
I'm fine with a prohibition on using EBT food aid to buy weed. But I bring this up mostly because, elsewhere on the right, I'm reading that the problem with government social services is that they're needlessly bureaucratic (that damn liberalism again!) and ought to be replaced with straight cash grants. Se Jonah Goldberg's recent column "Escaping the Rat Maze of the Welfare State":
... Charles Murray, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute and a legendary libertarian social scientist, wrote a wonderful book a few years ago, In Our Hands, in which he proposed an annual grant from the federal government of $10,000 for every American over 21 who stayed out of jail and still had a pulse. He was building on arguments made by two titans of libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, who also supported some version of a UBI [universal basic income]....

For 50 years, we've run a massive experiment around one approach: that bureaucrats and social planners can fix the lives of others by telling them how to live. For some it's worked, for others it's been an abject failure. But few can claim it's all been a smashing success.

Perhaps a compromise can be worked out. Why not give poor people a choice? They can stay within the rat maze of the current welfare state, or they can cash out. According to Rector, 100 million Americans receive aid from the government at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. Surely some of them are equipped to spend that money better than the government. Why not give them a shot at proving it? ...
David Brooks also wrote favorably about this idea on Friday, citing a receint National Affairs article that advocates an "income support grant" in lieu of the current forms of benefits.

So when we impose conditions on poor people's government aid, we're evil big-government nannies whose heavy-handed liberal attempts at behavior modification are inevitably doomed to failure. And when we don't impose conditions on poor people's government aid, then it's a scandal that those damn liberals are letting beneficiaries use benefits on strip clubs and pot.

Lt's be honest: If we ever do what Murray and Goldberg and Brooks want us to do, the main result is going to be an endless succession of stories about what those takers are doing with their universal basic income/income support grant checks. Am I right, righties?


Carol Ann said...

Easy fix: give everyone a guaranteed income, from day of birth on, and have a good progressive tax system in place. That way everyone is a moocher.

Ten Bears said...

A ten thousand dollar ($10,000) annual grant certainly sounds like a guaranteed base income to me.

Food stamps is not cash, cash cannot be withdrawn from food stamps. EBT cards may indeed be used as a payment conduit, i.e. "welfare", SSI or BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) payments which are indeed "cash", not "food stamps". Cash cannot be withdrawn from food stamps. I wish I found it hard to believe these Retards are that stupid.

No fear, only contempt.

Victor said...

Reich-Wing POV:
If you take ANY SINGLE THING besides Federal, state, and local tax exemptions, then you're a "mooching" "parasitic"

merlallen said...

Nixon himself favored something like that. I think he called it the Living Wage Bill or something. If I remember right, every American worker would get X number of dollars a year. If you earned less than that, the Government would make up the rest. In those days, people understood that other people spending money grew the economy. Which now that I think about it, that's isn't really anything like what those morons propose. Never mind.

aimai said...

Its not the fault of the liberals that we have a byzantine system of welfare benefits--its the fault of the blue noses and scolds on the right who want to means test everything--including school breakfasts and lunches for kids. Most progressives, certainly, and liberals would prefer a guaranteed minimum income, laws regulating wages and work hours so everyone who wants a job can have one, free (nutritious) breakfasts and lunches for kids up through highschool and, of course, free prenatal and pediatric care for all kids. No means testing at all. We're all about trusting people to make their own rational choices with their income.

Glennis said...

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a young relative about the old "buying king crab legs with food stamps" canard.

She was of the opinion that food stamps purchases should be strictly limited to only certain kinds of food, defined (by her) as non-luxurious, excluding certain items like cakes, crab legs, steaks, and sugary sodas.

I asked her how, if she was truly an advocate of small government, she though the government would manage the tricky issue of determining which baked good met the criteria of "cake" and exactly how she thought that would be administered. I asked her how many government employees it would take to keep the EBT coding current with the per-pound price of various protein sources she thought should be allowable (i.e., chicken thighs) vs. those she felt were not allowable (i.e., prawns.)

I also asked her how she thought the CocaCola Corporation would feel about prohibiting people from purchasing its products with their food benefits - did she think that would go over unopposed?

She was unable to answer these questions, apparently they hadn't occurred to her.