Minnesota is leading the way. Our Rethuglicans have figured out how to end poverty: by making it illegal to have money if you're poor? Wait, that makes no sense.
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.
Lest you think our most contemptible lawmakers have no heart at all, consider that this is the generous version of their earlier plan.
This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.
I'm not sure what they're thinking. If they're so poor, the only way they could have any money is if they stole it from a rich guy? Or something? Maybe they're just setting up a perfect Catch 22: now the police can roust someone who looks poor, and if they've got no money, send them to jail for vagrancy; if they've got more than $20, arrest them for possession of illegal currency.
Some people don't believe me. Here's the link to the proposed legislation. They want to give all benefits via a debit card so they can restrict and monitor purchases. And if this is their sole source of income, that means they're only allowed a cash allowance of $20/month. Control, control, control.
Section 1. [256.9870] ELECTRONIC BENEFIT TRANSFER DEBIT CARD.
Subdivision 1. Electronic benefit transfer or EBT debit card. (a) Electronic
benefit transfer (EBT) debit cardholders in the general assistance program and the
Minnesota supplemental aid program under chapter 256D and programs under chapter
256J are prohibited from withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine or receiving
cash from vendors with the EBT debit card. The EBT debit card may only be used as a debit card.
(b) Beginning July 1, 2011, cash benefits for programs listed under paragraph (a)
must be issued on a separate EBT card with the head of household's name printed on the
card. The card must also state that "It is unlawful to use this card to purchase tobacco
products or alcoholic beverages." This card must be issued within 30 calendar days of
an eligibility determination. During the initial 30 calendar days of eligibility, a recipient
may have cash benefits issued on an EBT card without the recipient's name printed on the
card. This card may be the same card on which food support is issued and does not need
to meet the requirements of this section.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), EBT cardholders may opt to have up to $20
per month accessible via automatic teller machine or receive up to $20 cash back from a vendor.