Michigan GOP Set to Kick 11,000 Families, & 29,700 Children Off Welfare

Some time ago, I remember mentioning that the  state of Michigan (and Detroit in particular), was ground zero for what the GOP has in store for America. From Detroit closing schools, giving teachers the boot, and introducing the for profit charter school model, to taking over entire municipalities and leaving elected official like mayors and city council persons without power. Well, check out what their latest piece of awesome is all about; remember, they want their country back:

Lansing— The state Legislature on Wednesday passed a 48-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits expected to cast more than 11,000 families off the welfare rolls on Oct. 1 — including more than 29,700 children, according to state officials.

The cumulative time limit will save $77.4 million in the budget year that starts Oct. 1, but Democrats and child advocates said they fear it will cause a humanitarian crisis as social agencies are flooded with families who can’t pay for rent, utilities or other essentials.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who proposed the cap as part of his 2012 budget, is expected to sign the bill into law.

Judy Putnam, spokeswoman for the Michigan League for Human Services, said: “The impact is going to come … when families lose a key source of income and may not be able to pay the rent just as the school year is getting started and kids are settling into classrooms.”

She added that many nonprofits and charities also have been slammed by the recession.

Wayne County will be most affected, with 6,560 families losing the cash assistance. Genesee County will see 1,533 families come off the rolls, with 600 in Muskegon, 385 in Oakland and 371 in Saginaw.

Statewide, 11,188 adults and 29,707 children will lose their benefits in just over five weeks. By September 2012, there will be 13,789 families to drop off the rolls, said Sheryl Thompson, acting deputy director of field operations for the Department of Human Services.

Thompson was not able to give a breakdown of adults and children by county, but she said the average family includes one adult and two children.

DHS Director Maura Corrigan announced earlier this month that the agency would no longer grant extensions to clients who have exceeded the five-year federal limit on cash assistance.

Thompson said most of the families who will lose their benefits Oct. 1 have been on the rolls five years or longer.

Republicans said Michigan no longer can afford to allow families to stay on the assistance plan for four years or more.

And of course, here’s the usual rhetoric:

Republicans said Michigan no longer can afford to allow families to stay on the assistance plan for four years or more.

Rep. Kenneth Horn, R-Frankenmuth, noted that food stamps, Medicaid and child care payments will continue for those kicked off cash assistance.

“This should be a strong statement for Michigan residents that (cash assistance) should not be a lifestyle,” Horn told members of the House before Wednesday’s vote. The measure passed largely along party lines in both chambers.

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said the governor intends to review the legislation.

“As always, we need to do a final review,” Wurfel said. “He believes it’s an important step in helping ensure public assistance is a bridge to family independence while also striking an appropriate balance with exemptions for hardship or incapacity.”

WNow isn’t this ironic? Didn’t we just have this conversation a few

days ago when I highlighted that awful “It’s Free, Swipe Yo EBT” music video?

Is This Michigan Or Somalia?

Classic GOP politics; screw the poor. While it’s not a problem to kick thousands off of state assistance, it is completely OK to extend welfare to corporations as governor Rick Snyder has, in the form of tax breaks. Yeah, nothing wrong with giving businesses a free ride. Hell, they’ve already cut unemployment benefits. What’s next? Putting a tax on poor people for oxygen consumption?

Oh well, I guess the hope is to motivate those lazy bums on welfare to find employment, or maybe even create jobs. After all, if corporations are people, I suppose the same can be said that people are indeed corporations, and thus, capable of the obvious. That would be, being the benefactors of government favor, no? On that last point, in the eyes of the GOP, I’m sure I’m wrong.

Democrats and child advocates said Michigan’s high unemployment rate means parents removed from the rolls won’t be able to find jobs.

Rep. Fred Durhal, D-Detroit, told House members that Oct. 1 is being called “doomsday” by many in his impoverished Detroit community. He pleaded with Republicans not to pass the 48-month limit.

“Children cannot make it on their own,” Durhal said. “To disarm a parent by eliminating the ability for them to supply milk for a baby is something every member of this chamber should weigh on their conscience.”

Durhal was heckled and booed by Republicans when he added, “God will get you if you don’t do the right thing.”

Dave Maluchnik, spokesman for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the group is concerned about the tens of thousands of children whose parents rely on cash assistance.

“These are families, and families mean there are children involved,” Maluchnik said.

Maluchnik said the number of children in poverty is listed as an indicator of economic strength on the “dashboard” Gov. Rick Snyder is using to chart Michigan’s economic recovery.

“I don’t see how booting tens of thousands of people off cash assistance is going to move that needle on the dashboard,” Maluchnik said.

The DHS’ Thompson said most families will receive two more checks before payments are stopped.

The department will offer two months of emergency rent assistance to clients who are actively seeking jobs and also will provide two more months of help through the state’s Jobs, Education and Training program.

“On Aug. 8, we mailed letters to potentially everyone who was going to be affected by the 60-month (federal) limit,” Thompson said.

“We will send out a subsequent letter letting everyone know they will be affected by either the 48- or 60-month limit.”

The state has notified the counties that some people in their communities will be in need of assistance after Oct. 1, Thompson said.

The department also plans events in heavy-hit counties for residents to connect with local social services agencies and charities.

“These are able-bodied adults,” Thompson said. “They have had between four and 15 years to reach self-sufficiency.” (source)

As you can see, this is going to amount to something catastrophic for poor folks in the state of Michigan, which I’m sure there isn’t a shortage of. Catastrophic for the city of Detroit that is two minutes away from becoming a third world country. Which if you think about it, might not be a bad idea. I mean hell, give Sally Struthers a call, film a few commercials with native Detroit kids with flies on their faces soliciting “sponsorship” at the cost of pennies a day. I’m sure that since the GOP run state government doesn’t care, that this idea should work out fine. But yo: see how that opens up an opportunity for someone to make money? Hey, maybe this’ll become the norm in America.

Feed The Children commercials with American kids with flies on their faces?

Wouldn’t that be nice?

(h/t The Urban Politico)