Minnesota Republicans Want to Criminalize Poor People Carrying Money
Minnesota GOPers Want to Criminalize Poor People Carrying Money
By Joshua Holland; March 18, 2011 - AlterNet
Well, not all poor people -- only those receiving public assistance!
Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.
On March 15, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee testified in front of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on House File 171. Buechner told committee members, “We would like to address the provision that makes it illegal for MFIP [one of Minnesota’s welfare programs] families to withdraw cash from the cash portion of the MFIP grant - and in fact, appears to make it illegal for MFIP families to have any type of money at all in their pockets. How do you expect people to take care of business like paying bills such as lights, gas, water, trash and phone?”
House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.
This is in line with the GOP's successful brand of dog whistle politics. The inner-city "young buck" on welfare eating $20 t-bones while you work your butt off for that suburban McMansion is a staple. It's not subtle -- this is being spun as a way to keep recipients of public assistance from blowing it on beer and lotto tickets.