Responding to Kansas State Legislature

This a response to this article:

So Michael Cantrell wrote an article on Youngcons earlier today about Kansas and the addition to Kansas’s “Successful Families Act”. It’s about restricting limits on what welfare is used for and I believe I can write an appropriate response to it. Going to use facts. Which he claims bleeding heart liberals don’t use. Odd all things considered.

“The new law will limit welfare recipients to $25 a day in benefits.”

Reducing the number of Kansans receiving public assistance isn’t the same thing as reducing poverty, said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children. The recent KIDS COUNT report compiled by KAC shows that Kansas’ childhood poverty rate declined by 2 percent from 2012 to 2013. But other economic indicators showed more Kansas families struggling to make ends meet.

The percentage of Kansas children receiving free or reduced-price lunches at school is a good barometer, Cotsoradis said. In the 2010-2011 school year, about 47 percent of Kansas children qualified for free or subsidized lunches. Now, for the first time, more than 50 percent qualify.

“So here we have more kids relying on free and reduced school meals, and at the same time we’re seeing significant declines in the numbers of families that are accessing TANF and child care subsidies,” Cotsoradis said. “I don’t see how that’s good news. It means fewer poor people are receiving services that are meant to lift them out of poverty.”
e for free school meals if they’re living in households with incomes below 130 percent of poverty and eligible for reduced-price meals if they’re in households with incomes between 131 percent and 185 percent of poverty.

Recently, the Brownback administration claimed in a DCF news release that its new welfare policies also had reduced poverty in the state.

Several days later the agency acknowledged it had made a mistake. The state’s poverty rate as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure remained essentially flat, inching up to 11.8 percent in 2013 from 11.5 percent the year before.”

So this means that the “Folks on welfare in Kansas are about to have their easy, breezy life of luxury at tax payer expense” are children who receive free lunches.

Poverty is already uncomfortable. Michael doesn’t seem to get this. Getting assistance from the government doesn’t even mean that someone is unemployed, it could very well mean that someone doesn’t make enough to make ends meet. People who are broke, need help, with a job or without one. Michael from this one article, really doesn’t seem to get this. Getting Welfare does NOT equate to being jobless.

“Our tax dollars shouldn’t be going to the poor so they can take high class vacations and get tattoos. That’s just not right, and anyone who attempts to justify such behavior lacks a true sense of right and wrong.”

Well man, I doubt many if any people on welfare use their dollars for vacations and tattoos.

It’s not easy to get agreement on actual fraud levels in government programs. Unsurprisingly, liberals say they’re low, while conservatives insist they’re astronomically high. In truth, it varies from program to program. One government report says fraud accounts for less than 2 percent of unemployment insurance payments. It’s seemingly impossible to find statistics on “welfare” (i.e.,TANF) fraud, but the best guess is that it’s about the same. A bevy of inspector general reports found “improper payment” levels of 20 to 40 percent in state TANF programs — but when you look at the reports, the payments appear all to be due to bureaucratic incompetence (categorized by the inspector general as either “eligibility and payment calculation errors” or “documentation errors”), rather than intentional fraud by beneficiaries.

A similar story emerges with everyone’s favorite punching bag, food stamps (or, as they’re known today, SNAP). Earlier this year, Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, both Republicans, introduced legislation to save $30 billion over 10 years from SNAP, purportedly by “eliminating loopholes, waste, fraud, and abuse.” Once you dig into their fact sheet, however, none of the savings actually come from fraud, but rather from cutting funding and tightening benefits. That’s probably because fraud levels in SNAP appear to be as low as with the other “pure welfare” programs we just touched on: “Payment error” rates — money sent in incorrect amounts and/or to the wrong people — have declined from near 10 percent a decade ago to 3 to 4 percent today, most of it due, again, to government error, not active fraud. The majority of food-stamp fraud appears to be generated by supermarkets“trafficking” in the food stamps. Beneficiaries intentionally ripping off the taxpayers account for perhaps 1 percent of payments.”

The reality is, that Michael Cantrell missed the mark. He was wrong. And is. And all it takes is an examination of the facts.


Responding to Kansas State Legislature

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