Jeb Bush may have started the week looking like an incompetent nebbish, but he wrapped it up with a strong appeal to the GOP’s deranged sociopath wing, proposing that the federal food stamp program be eliminated and replaced with block grants, if states even decide poor people deserve help. The proposal would kill off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (microscopic cash payments to families with children), as well as federal housing assistance. Now before you start posting memes of Jeb asking “Are there no workhouses?” remember, he’s got a plan to replace them, and it just happens to have the same name as his superPAC:
Instead, state governments would be able to apply for new federal “Right to Rise” grants to pay for programs launched to assist lower-income residents.
“I know that giving states more flexibility will open the door for transformative ideas to eliminate poverty and increase opportunity,” Bush wrote in a document outlining his plan released Friday morning.
Oh, “flexibility” and “transformative ideas”! In other words, whatever the hell states want to do, as long as it sufficiently shames people for being poor. Before speaking at an anti-poverty forum in South Carolina named for Jack “Cut Everything” Kemp, Bush released a document outlining why it’s time to simply kill off the chronically underfunded federal anti-poverty programs:
“We have spent trillions of dollars on the ‘War on Poverty,’ but there are now still more than 46 million Americans living in poverty,” he wrote in the document. “Economic mobility is also far too low.” He added later, “The current broken system not only fails those on welfare, but it actually encourages fraud, misuse and abuse.”
We couldn’t end poverty by not spending enough on the poor, so now we’ll try ending poverty by spending even less to help them. God knows eliminating assistance to the poor should eventually start eliminating the poor themselves, as long as the states get serious about it. As far as we can tell from the coverage by WaPo and Reuters, while SNAP and TANF are available in some form to all Americans, the “Right To Rise” grants appear to be something the states could choose to apply for, or not. (Honestly, we don’t know. Would that even be legal?) Somewhere in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage may have soiled himself in joy.
The Bush plan would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, so Fox News can complain even more loudly about all the poors who don’t even pay income tax, but would also mandate that the IRS more tightly screen applications for the EITC to check for fraud. And of course, all able-bodied adult recipients of “Right to Rise” benefits would be required to work, though where the jobs would come from, who knows?
Yeah, go ahead and post those Dickens memes whenever you want. We’d truly be disgusted with Jeb Bush if we thought he had any chance of becoming president.