In an attempt to lift the people of Kansas out of poverty, Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill limiting where welfare money can and cannot be spent.
No strip clubs!
And of course no lingerie, trips to the nail salon, movie tickets, concert tickets, theme park tickets, dips into the local swimming pool, and of course psychic consultations.
No really, they’re serious.
The bill clearly points out psychic businesses.
“No TANF cash assistance,” the bill states, “is allowed for use in a liquor store, casino, gaming establishment, jewelry store, tattoo or body piercing parlor, spa, massage parlor, nail salon, lingerie shop, tobacco paraphernalia store, vapor cigarette store, psychic or fortune telling business, bail bond company, video arcade, movie theater, swimming pool, cruise ship, theme park, dog or horse racing facility, parimutuel facility, or an adult sexually oriented retail business or entertainment establishment.”
Okay, it make sense that people shouldn’t spend their welfare money at strip clubs, on alcohol, or on cigarettes, but to put a ban on psychic consultations?
The fact that the bill points out and bans spending at psychic businesses is both absurd and laughable. It leaves the impression that the bill is overly specific and petty as it attempts to curbs spending by banning everything down to psychic consultations.
While visits to a psychic business are rare or non-existent for many citizens on welfare, banning trips to the movie theater or the swimming pool is asinine and ultimately harmful to the happiness of the families relying on welfare. Trips to the movies and the swimming pool are probably few and far between for these families, but there will come a day when the parents may have a day off and want to spend it relatively cheaply, despite the price of concession, at the movie theater.
But wait, that’s not all.
“The law also forbids TANF beneficiaries from using their electronic benefit transfer cards to withdraw more than $25 per day in cash from ATMs,” wrote Arthur Delaney of The Huffington Post.
A daily limit of $25 is ridiculous, unrealistic, and impractical. The card essentially becomes useless when it’s the most needed. When Christmas season swings by for those receiving welfare, it won’t be very merry.
Luckily, at least those families won’t be relying on that electronic benefit transfer card for groceries.
“This isn’t a food stamp program, mind you. It’s a cash-assistance program that limits people to 48 months (now 36 months, under the new law) of support over the course of their lives,” said Philip Bump of The Washington Post. “It is money given out to help people get through their lives — but now with strictly defined boundaries for how that life will include various forms of entertainment.”
This money is a supporting pillar for those in need. While entertainment isn’t the most important purpose, it is undoubtedly an essential part of life. Stress relief can come in many reasonable forms: two hours in a dark room watching a humongous IMAX screen, a dip in the pool on a hot day, or screaming until your voice is hoarse as the rollercoaster drops. Although, not everybody can budget the money well, it is not warranted to enforce such extreme restrictions that can drastically reduces the quality life others despite what Brownback says.
“The primary focus of the bill is to get people back to work,” Brownback said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Because that’s where the real benefit is getting people off public assistance and back into the marketplace with the dignity and far more income there than the pittance that government gives them.”
Translation, we don’t want people spending the government’s money.
Those receiving welfare are already in a deep hole, themselves, welfare should cast a rope that allows those in need to pull themselves up. What this bill does is shorten the length of the rope by dangling it in front of those in need.
This is far from a bill motivating people to get back to work; it is a punishing bill that merely adds to the lists of worries to those on welfare.