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.Well, that's one sure way to make sure that millionaires don't get food stamps—make sure the thousandaires can't, either!
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.
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.