‘On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) released data on purchases made with state welfare benefits that he claimed exposed abuse, but they only add up to less than a percent of all benefit transactions’.
‘The data show that there were more than 3,000 transactions at bars, sports bars, and strip clubs made with EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards loaded with TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or welfare) and food stamp benefits between January 1, 2011 and November 15, 2013′.
‘The state doesn’t track what was actually purchased, and some transactions can be withdrawals from ATMs at those locations’.
‘Given that there are about 50,000 of these transactions every month, or nearly 1.8 million in that time frame, as the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesman told the Bangor Daily News, they only make up “about two-tenths of 1 percent of total purchases and ATM withdrawals,” the paper calculates’.
‘LePage still expressed outrage at this tiny fraction of purchases. “This information is eye-opening and indicates a larger problem than initially thought,” he wrote when the data was released’.
From : http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/01/08/3136631/lepage-welfare/
A new year with the same old Republican filibusters…….
(CNN) – ‘The prospects for passing an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed got significantly worse Wednesday after two Republican senators who voted with Democrats earlier this week said they will pull their much-needed support unless Democrats come up with a way to pay for the $6.4 billion bill’.
‘Without the votes of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who voted on Tuesday to begin debate on the bill, Democrats won’t be able to get over a 60 vote threshold needed to break a GOP filibuster and end debate on the measure, which would extend the benefits for the next three months’.
From : http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/08/prospects-worsen-for-senate-passage-of-unemployment-benefits/
‘One of the GOP candidates for governor of Illinois is proposing to roll back the state’s minimum wage by $1 per hour. That would put Illinois at the same level as the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Bruce Rauner made the argument for his ridiculous proposal this way’:
“I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage. I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois.”
From : http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/01/08/gop_want_to_lower_minimum_wage/
Republicans want to create jobs but only jobs they approve of :
“John Boehner: If federal jobs are lost, ‘So be it’
‘The Ohio Republican was asked at his weekly news conference about the prospect of federal job cuts if a House GOP plan to trim $100 billion in government spending passes’.
“Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it’.
@ : http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/15/AR2011021506858.html
‘The so-called three years’ worth of job creation legislation Republicans claim will eliminate the need for unemployment benefits is tantamount to their 2011 promise to focus on jobs; another lie and nothing but substantial gifts to their campaign donors’.
‘Boehner even had the audacity to list a few “job creation” bills in an ad campaign where he blamed President Obama for Republican inaction in helping grow the economy and get Americans working again’.
‘In Boehner’s ad, he cited five specific pieces of legislation the House passed as “job creation” bills, but like everything Republicans propose, they were gifts to corporations, the energy industry, and financial sector and would have created zero jobs’.
‘One of the bills Boehner claimed created jobs was approving the KeystoneXL pipeline’.
‘It also boosts John Boehner’s stock portfolio since he bought shares in seven Canadian tar sand companies prior to becoming Speaker of the House and pushing the pipeline as America’s greatest job program’.
‘However, for argument’s sake, if the permit to build the pipeline was approved, it would create no more than 2,500 temporary jobs for two years and fifteen (15) permanent jobs’.
‘Many of Republican “jobs” bills entailed rolling back or eliminating renewable energy standards and environment protections that are responsible for creating three times as many jobs as the dirty energy sector for each dollar spent’.
‘Eliminating renewable energy and environmental regulations is a gift to the dirty energy industry including the Koch brothers, fracking industry, and the dirty coal sector’.
‘Republicans also claimed repealing the Dodd-Frank financial reform and consumer protection law was a job-creating bonanza, but its real intent was giving banks and Wall Street the green light to crash the economy and get bailed out, rip-off consumers’ retirement accounts, and give credit card companies free-rein to charge customers for using their own money’.
‘The big “job creation” legislation Boehner boasted was the one House Republicans spent over forty times attempting to pass; repealing the Affordable Care Act’.
‘Republicans claimed businesses were firing employees because of the healthcare insurance reform law, but they have never cited how repealing the law creates jobs’.
From : http://www.politicususa.com/2014/01/08/john-boehner-tells-biggest-lie-claiming-obama-obstructed-house-jobs-bills.html
‘The official poverty line is a dated and crude statistical concept that in many ways fails to capture America’s historical success at fighting economic need’.
‘It was based on the cost of food in 1963, mostly because the Department of Agriculture had some idea of what a basic grocery budget should look like, whereas there wasn’t any real agreement on what families needed to spend on other essentials’.
‘Since then, it’s mostly just been adjusted for inflation’.
(Note – Not the ‘best’ part’.)
‘Keep that history in mind while reading this passage, which I found in a 1992 report by the Social Security Administration on how the poverty threshold came to be’:
“When the hypothetical family cut back its food expenditures to the point where they equaled the cost of the economy food plan (or the low cost food plan) for a family of that size, the family would have reached the point at which its food expenditures were minimal but adequate, assuming that “the housewife will be a careful shopper, a skillful cook, and a good manager who will prepare all the family’s meals at home.” (bold added)
‘Now, I doubt that the decline of full-time housewives slaving over their stoves has warped our poverty statistics all too terribly, given that food is now less of a concern for low-income families than healthcare or paying rent’.
‘Also, it should be noted that the economist who developed the poverty threshold used somewhat different methods for one and two-person households’.
‘What I think this passage shows, however, is that when we try to capture abstract concepts like “poverty” in a statistic, we inevitably end up wrapping a certain set of values and social expectations into the package, which can then become very outdated’.
From : http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-poverty-line-was-designed-assuming-every-family-had-a-housewife-who-was-a-skillful-cook/282931/
Republicans – Putting Government into your private life.
‘To set the pace for this year’s session of Congress, instead of addressing jobs, extending unemployment benefits, or crushing income inequality transforming America into a peasant population serving the wealthy, the House will debate legislation crucial to Christian fundamentalists effort to legislate by bible. The bill, H.R. 7, was introduced by fundamentalist Chris Smith (R-NJ)’.
‘Smith’s bill punishes every healthcare policy holder in America by disallowing a tax deduction on income tax returns for any medical insurance if the policy includes coverage for family planning that nearly all healthcare plans provide’.
‘It even punishes women who pay for an abortion with cash because it disallows a medical deduction on Schedule A of individual income tax returns whether it was included in a healthcare insurance plan or not’.
‘The bill does allow a sexual assault victim to take the medical deduction for abortion care in a case of rape, but only after an IRS auditor verifies the victim was really sexually assaulted and conceived her attacker’s progeny’.
From : http://www.politicususa.com/2014/01/08/house-republican-bill-requires-irs-investigate-sexual-assault-suvivors.html