Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pennsylvania goes after food stamp millionaires

I've been noting all fall and winter the growing Republican rhetoric against millionaires receiving food stamps. Now that rhetoric is translating into action in Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania plans to make the amount of food stamps that people receive contingent on the assets they possess - an unexpected move that bucks national trends and places the commonwealth among a minority of states.

Specifically, the Department of Public Welfare said that as of May 1, people under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings and other assets would no longer be eligible for food stamps. For people over 60, the limit would be $3,250.
Well, that's one sure way to make sure that millionaires don't get food stamps—make sure the thousandaires can't, either!

Conservatives, I know, want to ensure that people who use the safety net actually need the safety net. And hell, I don't want the well-to-do to abuse the system, either. There's not much evidence of abuse, though, which makes Pennsylvania's move appear to be more anti-poor than anti-abuse. I don't mind having an asset line to determine eligibility—but the line set by the state doesn't even pay two months' rent in parts of Philadelphia. In essence, the state now requires you to fall all the way through the safety net—to destitution—before being saved. Republicans are pretty good at demanding people lift themselves up by their bootstraps; it would help if they let food stamp recipients keep their boots.

1 comment:

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I now plan to keep all my savings in a coffee can buried in the backyard.