Being poor in America is an unforgivable crime that deserves no sympathy

When Congress reformed welfare in 1996, states were allowed almost total discretion over how to use federal funding for the poor. Clinton proudly declared that welfare as we knew it had ended. He was more right than anyone could have guessed.

They could demand welfare recipients find work before receiving cash assistance. They could also use their federal “block grants” to fund employment and parenting courses or to subsidize childcare.
Twenty-five years later, however, states are using this freedom to do nothing at all with large sums of the money.

According to recently released federal data, states are sitting on $5.2 billion in unspent funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF.

With all the poverty and suffering going on in this country, state governments would rather do NOTHING at all with a pile of money, than alleviate the suffering. Think about that.
How is that different from a hostile foreign nation or terrorist group?
But the real kicker is which states are the most guilty.

Nearly $700 million was added to the total during the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, with Hawaii, Tennessee and Maine hoarding the most cash per person living at or below the federal poverty line.


Hawaii is one of the most liberal states in the nation. Maine is more conservative, but is leans Democrat.
That doesn't mean the Republican states are any better. They may be spending the money, but it's not on the poor.

In the state of Texas, there are almost 4 million poor people, by one recent count, but apparently few are penniless enough to meet the Lone Star State’s qualifications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. To qualify for TANF in Texas, a single caretaker with two children must have less than $1,000 in assets and bring in less than $188 per month. For a person working full time, $188 a month amounts to an hourly wage of $1.18. Such stinginess helps explain why, according to a report Wednesday from ProPublica, Texas ended its 2020 fiscal year with $281 million in federal TANF funds unspent.

Texas, one of four states that denied at least 90 percent of its 2020 TANF applicants, had the lowest approval rate in the nation, approving only 7 percent. That means successfully applying for such welfare funds in Texas is as rare as successfully applying for admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Yale University.
...those states are choosing to dispense TANF on things other than on welfare: including child protective services, anti-abortion clinics, Christian summer camps and programs to help people addicted to gambling.


People with gambling addictions deserve help in Texas, but not people who can't feed themselves. How f*cked up is that?
It doesn't end there.

In an email responding to my questions about the ProPublica report, he wrote, “Alongside this $5.2 billion, there is over $40 billion in federal rental assistance that never reached renters in need. Pandemic unemployment insurance ended on Labor Day, and the last child tax credit payments went out before Christmas, with no additional relief in sight. Yet over $2 trillion has gone to the wealthy and $778 billion was approved for the Pentagon without any obstacles, obstruction, or delay.”

$40 Billion in federal renters assistance never spent by the states. Almost 90% of the funds allocated.
It appears obvious that the most unforgivable crime in America today is being poor.

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of discussing the absence of humanity in our leadership is that we don't have words for it. It's foreign to us so fundamentally that we're at a loss to describe it or to even recognize it when we see it.

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@Linda Wood
You know. That socialist carpenter?

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unspent, tucked into the budget. Makes it look like good fiscal conservative government, unless you look under those bridges or under those tarps.

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QMS's picture

has become the state of the union for most people
the cost of living goes up, wages stagnate or go down
the value of the dollar has jumped off the cliff

why are workers striking? they can't afford to live
why does the gubmit not help the 99%?
the war machine and Wall Street don't share

why does congress not fight for the workers, the poor
and disenfranchised? No payola to their incumbency.

poverty is the consequence of misguided legislation
the wealthy own the rulers, the rulers represent the wealthy

it is the rest of us that suffer. Class welfare is only beneficial for
the haves. It will become warfare for the have nots if we are to
survive. This is being forced on us. Not exactly a choice.

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Shahryar's picture

Chuck Berry: "arrested on charges of unemployment"

The Band: "for the crime of having nowhere to go"

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In the three years since he was diagnosed with cancer, Burhan Chowdhury has had a difficult time maintaining his yard and keeping his property in suburban Detroit in good shape. At a recent Michigan state court appearance over Zoom, the 72-year-old man struggled to breathe as he explained to a judge that he was "very weak" and unable to clean up the grass that had overtaken the home over the summer.

But 31st District Judge Alexis G. Krot had no sympathy for Chowdhury. Instead, she shamed the cancer patient for the neighborhood blight in Hamtramck — and told him the punishment she wished she could have given him.

"You should be ashamed of yourself!" Krot said on Monday. "If I could give you jail time on this, I would."

After issuing Chowdhury a $100 fine for failing to keep up with home maintenance, Krot called the amount of grass on his walkways "totally inappropriate." When Chowdhury reiterated that he was "very sick," Krot said his inability to keep up with his property was inexcusable.

"The neighbors should not have to look at that," she told him. Krot repeated: "You should be ashamed of yourself!"

A video of the court exchange was shared on social media, with many critics blasting the judge for how she handled what should have been a routine hearing. Among those was Shibbir Chowdhury, who joined his father for the court hearing this week.

"It's been difficult," the son said, adding that the cancer treatments have affected his father's mobility.

Though Shibbir Chowdhury and his mother were diligent in cleaning the yard since the cancer diagnosis, the family faced challenges when the son traveled to Bangladesh for three months last year. With his parents unable to keep up on the maintenance, the grass and weeds grew out of control in front of and on the side of the house, Chowdhury said.

After ordering him to pay the $100 fine by Feb. 1, Shibbir Chowdhury asked if she understood that his father was suffering from cancer. Krot answered his question with another question: "Have you seen that photo?"

Toward the end of the exchange, Burhan Chowdhury was heard saying, "Oh my God."

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@gjohnsit Law enforcement, lawyers and judges who are not beneficial to us but rather to the wealthy.

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@humphrey Very cruel indeed.
She is playing Karen here - "how dare he brings the home prices down - that sacrosanct suburban thing?" .

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The United States government—whether controlled by Democrats, with their love of too-complicated-by-half, means-tested policy solutions; or Republicans, with their love of paperwork-as-punishment; or both, with their collective neglect of the implementation and maintenance of government programs—has not just given up on making benefits easy to understand and easy to receive. It has in many cases purposefully made the system difficult, shifting the burden of public administration onto individuals and discouraging millions of Americans from seeking aid. The government rations public services through perplexing, unfair bureaucratic friction. And when people do not get help designed for them, well, that is their own fault.

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@Funkygal And another one: read this few years back in Mother Jones. Their interns tried filling a welfare application form it took atleast 4 hours. Contra the bank bailout (TARP) form - the form was 2 pages and half of page 1 was FYI (no fine prints - how cool is that).

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I remember it well. I had become a recent widow with two children and they cut my food stamps down to zero, because I was going to school at the time. Hated him so much for that I did not vote for him the second time. Nor would I vote for his wife all those years later.

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zed2's picture

We eliminated welfare and got so very rich off of insanely overpriced drugs We're using trade policy to force other countries to dismantle things like the UK's NHS and the developing world's public education, hospitals and water. Dont people know that?

Suppose that in 1930 we had declared that there "was no unemployment in the US" and "Uncle Joe" simply started organizing long trains and rounding up the homeless shipping anybody who appeared to be poor away to some unknown place. Never to be seen or heard from again.

Well, that could happen. And if you read history you'll realize how often it does in countries like our own today.

In the politics of today just like in Russia in 1930 and in Mao's China in the 1960s, when entire generations were just shipped away because they were getting in the way of a propaganda fabrication. its all about optics. And itnot about poor people, at all. Nor is it about voting rights because GATS has removed the power of voting. Its not connected to anything at the top, that button. IF it was it would be illegal to vote.

Within the next few years, suppose they gave the better jobs away "to people that want them" and literally drove a large number of other Americans out, everyone who was older who the surveilance state estimated was not spending enough, And the working poor whose need for jobs was holding back our global agenda.

in other words, the losers of trade liberalization. everybody who was poor. forcing them out of homes with foreclosures, and poor voters out of the country with healthcare bills. I dont see that as being impossible or even unlikely. Its where we are headed, if we stay on the paths we are on today. And we wont have any choice, either. Its not negotiable. We dont live in a democracy now and we have not in a long time.

Sorry to be so blunt.

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zed2's picture

You wanted to go to school while poor without becoming buried in debt? Like a rich person would and could? And you had children? Do you remember how they treated poor families with children back then?
I used to live near a shelter for homeless families and remember how their line just kept growing longer and longer. People had to sign up earlier and earlier to get a bed that night.
It was truly horrible. Families with kids thrown out of work by NAFTA. Lots and lots of families living in their cars. It was heartbreaking. Expect lots more of thatnext year, it will be like NAFTA for the rest of the jobs, the services jobs. Its coming soon. The PR campaign right now is telling people that Americans dont want their jobs because they are about to be traded away. People who want jjobs here, may have to become citizens of other countries and work at very low wages to get jobs here. They will be sent here.

I don't think Bill Clinton, who signed away our rights so they could do this all, legally, in 1994 was a Democrat, I think he was secretly working for the other side. And quite possibly still is.

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zed2's picture


Its money that they and their fellow elites cannot steal.

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