Are there no workhouses? Are there no poorhouses?

Clearly, the GOP neighbors of Wisconsin’s Scott Walker intend to outdo him for meanness and humiliation. Republican legislators in Minnesota have introduced a bill to criminalize carrying cash for anyone on public assistance.

St. Paul, MN – 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.

This is what today’s GOPs mean by compromise: they introduce a totally punitive and rights-violating measure, then sweeten it ever so slightly when public outrage ramps up.

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.

The bill also calls for unconstitutional residency requirements, not allowing the debit card to be used across state lines and other provisions that the Welfare Rights Committee and others consider unacceptable.

In Oregon, my unemployed friends have told me they must be very careful where they use their state-issued debit cards for goods or cash — many banks charge large fees, as does the bank that manages the assistance debit card program for the service, depending on where the card is used. Banks are usuriously sucking fees from people who desperately need the pittance the state is willing to provide families for their laid-off breadwinners.

{h/t Susie Madrak, C&L}

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge