Author Topic: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?  (Read 4437 times)

Offline Logicalman

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The following is how many States in the US deal with persons on Welfare (or Government handouts) including those unemployed. There is nothing of political intent in looking at this, purely from a moral standpoint.

I wonder, given that the UK has long been classed a Welfare State, whether such practices and restrictions could or would work, and what people's views on it were. Read on ....


Kansas bans welfare recipients from seeing movies, going swimming on government’s dime

There’s nothing fun about being on welfare, and a new Kansas law aims to keep it that way.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2258  into law Thursday. The measure means Kansas families receiving government assistance will no longer be able to use those funds to visit swimming pools, see movies, go gambling or get tattoos on the state’s dime.

Those are just a few of the restrictions contained within the law that aims to tighten regulations on how poor families spend their government aid. It will go into effect July 1.

The measure — called the HOPE Act by supporters — “provides an opportunity for success,” Brownback said in a statement after signing the bill. “It’s about the dignity of work and helping families move from reliance on a government pittance to becoming self-sufficient by developing the skills to find a well-paying job and build a career.”

The #HopeAct helps Kansans find jobs, self-confidence through work, and economic security. #ksleg pic.twitter.com/0o0S6gULmv — Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) April 16, 2015

State Sen. Michael O’Donnell, a Wichita Republican who has advocated for the bill, said the legislation was designed to pressure those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to spend “more responsibly.”

Missouri Republicans are trying to ban food stamp recipients from buying steak and seafood

“We’re trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended,” O’Donnell, vice chair of the state senate’s standing committee on public health and welfare, told the Topeka Capital-Journal earlier this year. “This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”

That, according to the legislation, means limiting spending on body piercings, massages, spas, tobacco, nail salons, lingerie, arcades, cruise ships or visits to psychics. The measure — which limits TANF recipients from withdrawing more than $25 per day from ATMs — also forbids recipients from spending money at a:

…theme park, dog or horse racing facility, parimutuel facility, or sexually oriented business or any retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment, or in any business or retail establishment where minors under age 18 are not permitted.

“I just think we are simply saying to people, ‘If you are asking for assistance in this state, you’re sort of less than other people and we’re going to tell you how and where to spend your money,'” state Rep. Carolyn Bridges, a Wichita Democrat, said during a House debate, according to the Associated Press.

The double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits

The Kansas House and Senate passed the bill April 2 with wide support from Republicans, who control both legislative chambers, according to the AP.


Since then, the measure has drawn national attention. Jon Stewart contrasted the bill with another Kansas bill Brownback signed that relaxes some restrictions on gun owners. “You’re poor, but you’re still an American,” Stewart said.

Under the new welfare law, TANF recipients can still spend their benefit money on guns, the Wichita Eagle reported.

“The list has attracted attention because it feels mean-spirited,” Shannon Cotsoradis, head of advocacy group Kansas Action for Children, told AP. “It really seems to make a statement about how we feel about the poor.”

The United Way of Greater Topeka had also come out against the measure, calling it “an extremely harmful piece of legislation that makes it more difficult for low-income families to achieve self-sufficiency.”

The United Way chapter’s chief executive, Miriam Krehbiel, told KCUR that while stories of money-mismanagement by TANF recipients helped drummed up support, there is some missing context. “People on public assistance shouldn't be spending what little money they have on things like cruises,” Krehbiel said. “But what I don’t get is how we think that someone on public assistance – as little as it is – would ever be able to save up enough money to be on a cruise ship?”

Brownback had been expected to sign the bill.

“We know that the most charitable act is not handing someone a check but helping that person get a job that sustains them and their families for generations to come,” he said Thursday. “Our focus is on helping people develop the skills to find and keep a job. Instead of focusing on a war against poverty, we will focus on fighting for the poor among us by offering them hope and opportunity.”

Under the Successful Families Program, an eligible family of four can receive as much as $497 per month in certain high-cost counties, but no more than $454 in lower-cost locales. The law now caps the number of months a family could receive those benefits over a lifetime at 36 months.

The new law comes at a time when TANF enrollment is on the decline.


During Brownback’s first term in office, TANF recipients dropped from 38,900 in 2011 to 17,600 in 2014, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. About 300,000 Kansans received food stamps, an increase of about 5,000 since Brownback became governor, the newspaper noted.

Republicans have hailed the declining TANF numbers as evidence that anti-poverty strategies are working, the Web site reports, but Democrats have argued the numbers are evidence of more families slipping between the cracks.

“We pat ourselves on the back that our TANF rolls have gone down exponentially, and we say it’s because all those people are now working,” Sen. Laura Kelly (D) told the Capital-Journal. “We don’t know that, and I’m guessing it’s not the truth.”

“Now what we want to do is take the same mean-spirited policies that we've implemented over the years and we want to codify them,” she added. “I can only assume that the motive behind this is truly malice of intent.”

Offline Oakeshott

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 04:52:57 PM »
Logicalman

Difficult to respond to the material and not violate the Forum's no politics rule!

On another thread there was some discussion about what constitutes "right" and "left" and the matter of the "welfare state" provides a nice illustration.

I would categorise those on the "right" as aware that there is no public purse per se but one that  exists overwhelmingly through the forced appropriation of individual or corporate earnings and assets, and preferring to keep such appropriations under control. 

Those on the "left" are aware of the difficulties many face in getting by, often though not always due to matters involving no personal culpability, and are more concerned with easing their difficulties through subventions than with controlling forced appropriations.

The US examples you quote are clearly examples of "right" administrations seeking to introduce policies to limit subventions to ensure that those receiving them do not enjoy a comparable (or better) standard of living than those funding the subventions. The UK Government's controversial benefits cap and the so-called "bedroom tax" are different ways of tackling essentially the same issue. Personally, while being sympathetic to the aims of both, I much prefer the UK Government's approach of setting subvention limits rather than the US examples which seem to be trying to micro-manage how individuals use theirs.

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 04:54:53 PM »
I know someone who gets food stamps here in Virginia and is not allowed to spend the money on pre-cooked or 'luxury foods' like steak, shrimp, lobster or caviar and venison hot dogs.


Offline Apprentice to the Maestro

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 05:02:46 PM »
I do regard it as political if you are going to use terms like "Government handouts" and phrases like "the UK has long been classed a Welfare State". These are terms used by the right wing press and politicians.

Most people I imagine never or very rarely are in receipt of government handouts. If you have paid your taxes and are made redundant then there should be no shame in receiving unemployment benefit briefly. Similarly if you have reached pension age there is no question that you are entitled to your state pension.

Today the election debate is around the record low level of unemployment and the high level of job vacancies and that competition for workers may cause wage inflation.

There will be those who try to abuse the system and they should be rooted out. Stopping those on benefits spendiing unwisely seems overkill and probably costs way more to prevent than it will save. And who is to say that going for a swim to keep fit isn't a good idea?

Most people in Britain would consider the National Health Service as part of the welfare system delivering free health care to all. A lot of rubbish is talked in the U.S.A. about that by politicians and right wing pundits. One of the most damning in its incompetence was the claim that Stephen Hawking wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for private medicines when the opposite is true. Here is what the right wing Daily Telegraph has to report:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6017878/Stephen-Hawking-I-would-not-be-alive-without-the-NHS.html
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 05:04:56 PM by Apprentice to the Maestro »

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 05:05:10 PM »
Logicalman

Difficult to respond to the material and not violate the Forum's no politics rule!

On another thread there was some discussion about what constitutes "right" and "left" and the matter of the "welfare state" provides a nice illustration.

I would categorise those on the "right" as aware that there is no public purse per se but one that  exists overwhelmingly through the forced appropriation of individual or corporate earnings and assets, and preferring to keep such appropriations under control.  

Those on the "left" are aware of the difficulties many face in getting by, often though not always due to matters involving no personal culpability, and are more concerned with easing their difficulties through subventions than with controlling forced appropriations.

The US examples you quote are clearly examples of "right" administrations seeking to introduce policies to limit subventions to ensure that those receiving them do not enjoy a comparable (or better) standard of living than those funding the subventions. The UK Government's controversial benefits cap and the so-called "bedroom tax" are different ways of tackling essentially the same issue. Personally, while being sympathetic to the aims of both, I much prefer the UK Government's approach of setting subvention limits rather than the US examples which seem to be trying to micro-manage how individuals use theirs.

You are quite safe, most of what is happening over here has nothing to do with politics or indeed the people.
Over here there's a lot more to the 'right' and 'left' politics than ever there was with straightforward Labour/Democrats and Conservatives/Republicans.

Almost all of these current topics are done and voted for to ensure as much as possible that the elected leaders look after themselves and maintain their power.
Gays, Abortion, Iran nuclear, Benghazi, IMMIGRATION, IS, Foreign aid, Israel, Military, Obama's legacy, Gay counseling, Toilet laws, Burgdorf, Guantanamo Bay.

Nothing has changed then.

Offline Jack Fulham

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 05:08:52 PM »
It all seems a bit too controlling to me.


Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 05:12:18 PM »
It all seems a bit too controlling to me.

Even though I can't vote I study and listen to a lot about all of this.
I can assure you it's not politics although it is politically motivated, if that makes sense.

Offline Jack Fulham

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 05:18:12 PM »
It all seems a bit too controlling to me.

Even though I can't vote I study and listen to a lot about all of this.
I can assure you it's not politics although it is politically motivated, if that makes sense.

I understand what you mean. It seems like this policy is attacking people who abuse the welfare state which everyone accepts is unfair. I don't know the figures in Kansas but surely the majority of people don't abuse the system. I do feel if you lost your job and had to claim welfare that being told what you can and can't spend your money on is a bit of kick in the teeth. A little faith and trust in humanity is required.

Offline epsomraver

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 05:27:33 PM »
Tony, this thread has no place on this forum, 1 it is political and in breach of the rules and two it means sweet Fa to most of the posters on here as they are UK based, I am surprised as a mod that you have posted it, it will only bring out the opposing views and end up getting locked


Offline ToodlesMcToot

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 05:45:24 PM »
It all seems a bit too controlling to me.

Even though I can't vote I study and listen to a lot about all of this.
I can assure you it's not politics although it is politically motivated, if that makes sense.

This is absolutely correct (that it isn't a political problem and that it will be politicized for "profit"). Both Democrats and Republicans will abuse and manipulate issues like this for political gain. The truth is that there is right and wrong in laws like these and a middle ground on an issue like this would probably be something that benefited everyone in Kansas to some extent. But, there is no political power to be gained in finding that middle ground. So very few will trouble themselves looking for it.

Offline McBride78

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 05:45:39 PM »
Living in the US, and seeing how politically divided we are, i would concur that this post has not place here.  A united, collaborative approach where we are all compromising and cooperating to solve societies problems is the biggest threat to politicians, here, in the UK or anywhere else.  This forum, FFC as a club, are proof that we can rally around something good and pure, regardless of our background or personal beliefs.  If only politics were as inspiring and uniting as footy. =)

Offline HatterDon

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 06:02:50 PM »
Tony, this thread has no place on this forum, 1 it is political and in breach of the rules and two it means sweet Fa to most of the posters on here as they are UK based, I am surprised as a mod that you have posted it, it will only bring out the opposing views and end up getting locked

I'm doing my best to allow it to keep going. As you've pointed out, as long as nobody posts views that oppose the prevailing right-wing positions, it'll stay unlocked.


Offline Oakeshott

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2015, 06:15:09 PM »
"I can assure you it's not politics although it is politically motivated, if that makes sense"

Actually I don't think that does make sense. Politics is at depth about laws - the laws under which people live and which the government will enforce, in extremis through police carrying guns. I do not understand how something can be politically motivated and yet not politics.


Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2015, 06:25:52 PM »
Tony, this thread has no place on this forum, 1 it is political and in breach of the rules and two it means sweet Fa to most of the posters on here as they are UK based, I am surprised as a mod that you have posted it, it will only bring out the opposing views and end up getting locked


One thing not being done on this thread is taking one side or the other, which would make it a political posting.
ie:  VOTE for Hillary Clinton   :0)

It's a pity it you say it means sweet "FA" to many UK posters because what happens over here affects what happens in the rest of the World, as does, to an extent what happens in good old Blighty.
A knowledge of world politics is a good thing, although there little or is sweet FA we can do about it.

I'd happily debate with you our upcoming elections and the +'s and -'s of Ed Millibrand who even if I was politically biased it doesn't matter if he is Labour or Conservative, he's still hardly a firebrand.

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 06:30:27 PM »
"I can assure you it's not politics although it is politically motivated, if that makes sense"

Actually I don't think that does make sense. Politics is at depth about laws - the laws under which people live and which the government will enforce, in extremis through police carrying guns. I do not understand how something can be politically motivated and yet not politics.




It's politically motivated predominantly for MP's, Cabinet Ministers, Senators and Congressmen own personal agendas and has nothing to do with the politics of making decisions and laws for the good of the people.


Offline YankeeJim

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2015, 06:35:12 PM »
This is a very real political issue here in the US. We have been in a major recession since the end of the Bush years and the only people who have come out of it are the very wealthy. People on both sides are put out about it. On the one hand all people involved in government assistance are tared with the stigma of the few who make a career out of it. That, and its tied up with our immigration issues as well since they are usually poorly educated and can't really compete in our economy. Still, welfare in the US is a dramatic improvement in life style over a gang infested village in Central America. The only answer is that there is no answer.

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2015, 06:37:23 PM »
We will win at Blackpool tomorrow  !

Offline Berserker

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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2015, 07:34:29 PM »
I'm sorry this articles makes me very annoyed.  I am not going to comment on it as I'm not well versed on the American economy or politics.

Offline Logicalman

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2015, 07:37:03 PM »
Tony, this thread has no place on this forum, 1 it is political and in breach of the rules and two it means sweet Fa to most of the posters on here as they are UK based, I am surprised as a mod that you have posted it, it will only bring out the opposing views and end up getting locked

I see your point, I apologize for my oversight.

My original intentions were to gage what people think of the concept of so-called welfare monies being controlled by government, rather than any political leanings of a government, but I can see the error of my ways, and will lock it.

Sorry if this offended anyone, appreciate all the responses though, and the thoughts behind them.

Offline LBNo11

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Re: NFR: The Welfare State: US Style - but can it work in Britain?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2015, 07:48:33 PM »
Tony, this thread has no place on this forum, 1 it is political and in breach of the rules and two it means sweet Fa to most of the posters on here as they are UK based, I am surprised as a mod that you have posted it, it will only bring out the opposing views and end up getting locked

I see your point, I apologize for my oversight.

My original intentions were to gage what people think of the concept of so-called welfare monies being controlled by government, rather than any political leanings of a government, but I can see the error of my ways, and will lock it.

Sorry if this offended anyone, appreciate all the responses though, and the thoughts behind them.


...incensed with this reply - it's GAUGE, you've been over there too long me old china..!