Taxing the Poor

The mostly Republican state government of Kansas is certain that people who receive food stamps and other assistance are lazy moochers who throw the taxpayers’ money away. For that reason, the destitute of Kansas can no longer  use their benefit debit card on cruise ships or at movie theaters. But the greater indignity is that they are limited to a $25 a day cash withdrawal.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas. …

… Since most banking machines are stocked only with $20 bills, the $25 limit is effectively a $20 limit. A family seeking to withdraw even $200 in cash would have to visit an ATM 10 times a month, a real burden for a parent who might not have a car and might not live in a neighborhood where ATMs are easy to find.

The Kansas legislators and governor think that poor people can’t budget. They should look to themselves.

Update: See Kansas keeps on bleeding: Sam Brownback’s tax-cut miracle still hasn’t arrived, and won’t any time soon.

This is what Sam Brownback, Art Laffer and the state Republican Party have turned Kansas into: an economic policy trash fire that channels all the benefits to the top, produces no shared prosperity, is bankrupting the state, and deliberately makes the lives of the less fortunate even more difficult. But don’t worry, they say, just be patient – the economic miracle is just around the corner.

15 thoughts on “Taxing the Poor

  1. I read about this yesterday, and was about as pissed-off as I can get!!!

    Conservatives love to kiss-up, and kick-down!

    I feel sorry for the people of Kansas, but, after all, they DID reelect him – and put in a ton of GOP state legislators.

  2. cund gulag is right. The poors in Kansas (and elsewhere) helped elect a government from hell. Talk about licking the boot that kicks you.

  3. Why, the poor would be well advised to simply open an account with a major discount brokerage which will refund their ATM fees. Problem solved!

  4. What kind of nation are we becoming where this isn’t being roundly called out for what it is?

  5. csm
    A nation where the rich are gobbling-up all of the money, and the rest of the people are desperately holding onto whatever little they have, before the ever-more greedy rich look at them, and decide to take what they and their still have!

    In those conditions, who looks out for other people?
    No one wants to raise their head, lest they bring attention on themselves.

    Our major strides as a country, happened after unions gained strength, and our economy was the last one standing after WWII.
    That, and the threat of Communism loomed, so our rich figured they’d better share via taxes, lest there be a revolution here.

    Our middle class grew and grew back then. And it was then, when people were fairly comfortable, that they looked at the TV’s and saw how black people were being horribly treated in the South.
    And then there was the useless Vietnam War.
    And women wanted right, too.

    And that is when the super-rich decided to start to slowly kill the middle class.
    People were too comfortable.
    And comfortable people look our for the comfort of others.

    Now, who has the time, the money, or the sense of security, to look out for others?

  6. Thinking about my last comment, a hopefully funny yet not so funny, I realized this points to a big problem we’re facing in the USA. We’re losing our sense of who and what we are. I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada, and they’ve had a problem with this because too often they define themselves as “not Americans”. Then they get all vague about being good, polite, and terrific and all, but tend to forget just why. In being so diligent about differentiating themselves, they tend to do it by a negative, and that’s not good for them.

    We’re doing the same, as much of American discourse is centered around being “not Sweden”, “not France”, etc. it’s been nice to hear Bernie Sanders call out this rhetoric directly, with a forceful “why not” when asked if his ideas will make us more like Scandinavia.

  7. Jack traded his cow for some magic beans, but Brownback traded the financial welfare of millions of Kansans for a magic political panacea. I think Jack made shrewder deal.

  8. It’s simple, they think being poor is a crime. This is part of the punishment.

  9. One of the flaws in the human mind is that if we have a set of beliefs and reality begins to contradict them, we tend to search for some external reason for the failure.

    When you apply your economic theory and your expectations for a miracle run aground, the poor are a living proof of the failure of your model. You have to throw something overboard, either your theory, or the people whose circumstances contradict it. One of these is far easier than the other, especially since the failure of a belief system produces frustration, doubt, insecurity and anger, which can all be focused at a scapegoat and used for political gain. For the theory to survive, the poor have to be turned into malicious outliers, a mere bagatelle when you have deep pockets and a good public relations team. But, there comes a time when there are too many outside the curve to be “outliers.”

  10. Goatherd: Yeah, it’s that pesky ego that keeps prodding us to be right. Or maybe it’s that little devil on our left shoulder whispering in our ear. Or maybe there’s no difference.

  11. I don’t think there is a difference either, Granny. I’ve been slacking off on my interest in comparative traditions for other pursuits lately, but, I often thought that Coyote, or the Trickster was most often just our self-centeredness in disguise, distorting the real world and engaging us in Maya or a world of illusion. The names and terms change, but most of the time, we are the ones who trick ourselves.

    JDM: That certainly rings true to me. I got a kick out of it when I heard a commentary about the Irish referendum on “Gay Marriage” soon to be known simply as “marriage.” He was proud that Ireland was “a beacon” of freedom and civil rights. He was right in this case. It seems that the role has been vacant for some time. We have lost “our sense of who and what we are,” so someone had to step up to the plate.

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