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March 4, 2014

Might Obamacare end up reducing prison populations "more than any reform in a generation"?

The question in the title of this post is drawn from the headline of this new Newsweek article that purports to explain "How Obamacare May Lower the Prison Population More Than Any Reform in a Generation." Here are a few highlights:

[The] the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) ... may be the biggest piece of prison reform the U.S. will see in this generation.

On the face of it, there’s no direct connection between the ACA and what experts refer to as the “justice-involved population.”  There’s no mention of prisons or jails or even crime in the language of the law.  However, in what proponents of the act are considering a happy public policy accident, the ACA may inadvertently change the makeup of the U.S. prison population by getting early help to those with mental health and drug abuse issues, ultimately reducing recidivism rates and saving states millions, if not billions, of dollars annually....

The last major study on mental health in prisons, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 64 percent of inmates in state and federal prisons met the criteria for mental illness at the time of their booking or during the twelve months leading up to their arrest.  For comparison, the rate of mental disorders among U.S. citizens stands at around 25 percent, according to the NIH.  Sixty-nine percent of the country’s prison population was addicted to drugs or alcohol prior to incarceration....

Health and crime have become inextricable in the U.S. Health issues such as drug addiction and severe mental health disorders directly lead to illegal activities and eventual imprisonment.  A high percentage of those incarcerated are guilty of crimes directly related to medical issues, such as illegal drug use or theft to support an addiction.

This population — the poor, homeless, addicted, and mentally ill — has never had any health safety net.  With no jobs or income, they are highly unlikely to have private insurance, and Medicaid — the federally-funded health coverage option meant to protect the poorest Americans — is actually only available to a select group of individuals. Though it varies state by state, eligibility is always categorical, which means besides having a low income, Medicaid is only available to five types of people: pregnant women, children below a certain age, parents of Medicaid-eligible children, the disabled, and seniors.

Essentially, Medicaid left out poor, single, male adults without dependant children – the same demographic most likely to end up arrested and incarcerated.  Starting in January 2014, however, the categories have been eliminated (at least in the states that have chosen to take the medicaid expansion — it is an optional aspect of the ACA).  “That means that a lot of people who are going to jail for mental illness or substance abuse related crimes could potentially avoid jail,” says Marsha Regenstein, a professor of health policy at George Washington University.

Of course, these people are hard to reach, and eligibility doesn’t ensure coverage or healthier behavior.  That’s why the bigger opportunity, according to many health and justice policy experts, is to reach and help this population at the points where they do become involved with the justice system....

[T]he right to health care only applies to the length of a person’s sentence.... [A] 2013 report in California, for example, found that 90 percent of prisoners had no health care upon release. Once released, prisoners are likely to discontinue their meds, delay seeing primary care doctors (out of concern for costs), and, as a result, end up in emergency rooms — where high treatment costs are passed on to everyone else via insurance premiums.

This is not just a public health issue; it’s a public safety concern. Lack of care for chronic conditions creates additional long-term problems, like being physically or mentally unfit for employment. In conjunction with a lack of appropriate care for their drug problems and an inability to effectively medicate their mental health disorders, the formerly incarcerated are likely to return to a life of crime.

Many hope and believe that change is on its way. The Justice Department estimates suggest that with the expansion of Medicaid, 5.4 million ex-offenders currently on parole or probation could get the health care they need.  (It’s important to note that 25 states plus Washington, D.C. have implemented the Medicaid expansion as of 2014. However, many policy experts expect the remaining states to fall in line, citing the historical example of how CHIP was initially rejected by many states when it rolled out in 1997, but is now utilized in every state in the country.)

Even with coverage, those ex-offenders will still need to actually utilize those health, and the key will be making the connection at the time of release. The biggest challenge will be getting state justice systems and health systems — not exactly happy bedfellows in past years — to work together to create coordinated discharge planning between jails and community healthcare....

The cost savings associated with keeping former prisoners out of the ER and out of prisons will likely lead leadership at the highest levels — state governors, for example — to push for the types of collaboration that will keep ex-offenders healthy and out of trouble....

Ultimately, because there is no precise directive in the ACA, the choice on how to handle these issues will be made independently in every state, and in every county. In some cases, reform will be swift; in others, life may go on as though Obamacare never happened.

March 4, 2014 at 07:15 PM | Permalink

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shhh, the ACA is a key component of the "anti-incarceration movement." Intervention--medical or psychological--before they are incarceration material makes sense dollar-wise.

Posted by: ? | Mar 4, 2014 9:00:31 PM

The idea that people wind up in prison simply because they're sick is absurd. They wind up there for by far the most part because they want stuff without working for it, think rules are for suckers, and have no empathy for the people they victimize.

You want "intervention?" Fine. We already have intervention. It's called P-A-R-E-N-T-I-N-G. You know, a mother and father who follow fascist, Puritan, stuffed shirt values like caring about their kid, using discipline mixed with love, insisting that he do his homework, stay away from drugs, resolve his disagreements without violence, revere his country, respect his elders and those in authority -- you know, stuff like that that the Advanced Thinkers on this blog (and many other places) miss no opportunity to ridicule.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 4, 2014 9:54:28 PM

Bill Otis is absolutely right that parents make a huge difference in whether their children end up in the criminal justice system. The solution is clear--children need to be held responsible for policing the diligence of their parents.

Posted by: Stephen Hardwick | Mar 5, 2014 5:05:34 AM

Stephen Hardwick --

The solution is indeed clear. People like you need to quit making excuses for bad parenting and expect parents -- and other adults -- to be responsible. We can start with respecting law and the rights of others.

If we keep making excuses (and paying subsidies) for irresponsible behavior, generation after generation, guess what's going to happen.

Hint: Someone will show up on an Internet site and point out that this generation of children (and the next and the next) aren't responsible for their parents' misbehavior, so let's just do some rehab when the children get convicted of, say, the Knockout Game, and hope for the best!

Far out!!

And of course, when society keeps finding ways to blame the poor behavior (e.g., drugs, child abuse, assorted criminality) of parents on someone else, the cycle of bad -- because never punished -- behavior will continue.

What a surprise!!

P.S. When I was an AUSA, I never held children responsible for policing the diligence of their parents, or for policing anything. I did, however, hold ADULTS responsible for their behavior, over the anguished cries of the defense bar that their behavior was The Fault of Big, Bad Society.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 5, 2014 9:09:55 AM

Children cannot control the misconduct of their parents. However, all of us should be controlling the all out attack by the feminist lawyer on the patriarchal family and other sources of authority competing with government, schools, religion, self help. These are internal enemies who must be crushed before they destroy us. So bastardy rates explain all racial disparities in social pathologies. The bastardy rate is rapidly rising in whites, a national catastrophe.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 5, 2014 9:35:47 AM

"This is not just a public health issue; it’s a public safety concern."

Yes, ACA has a range of interests that address various federal general welfare issues.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 5, 2014 11:39:33 AM

//From a co-presentation of mine for an Incarcerated Education Conference in 2010//
▼ Predictors of Re-Arrest for Felons on probation ▼
The most consistent variables were:
“Marital status (unmarried)”
“Prior substance abuse convictions”
“Employment Instability”
“Prior criminal record”

Typical results from a sample of 2,850 felons on probation in North Carolina. {Sims & Jones, 1997}
Variables ranked by significance:
1. Marital Status (unmarried)
2. Prior Criminal Record
3. Type of Offense
4. Employment Instability
5. (Younger) Age
6. (Lower) Education
7. Sentence Length
8. Race

 Johnson, Correlates of Re-arrest…Fed. Probation Dec., 2008  Olson & Stalans, 2001
 Sims & Jones, 1997  Morgan, 1994

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 5, 2014 11:41:40 AM

Bill: You assume that many of those who end up in prison have responsible parents who engage in responsible parenting.

Many of my clients do not have responsible parents who engaged in responsible parenting. In fact it seems like many parents go out of their way to create psychopaths of varying degrees. See, e.g. www.acestudy.org, look at ace study score, English version for a laundry list of child abuse and adverse exposures that have the potential to turn kids into monsters. Many of my clients have never been exposed to parents who value and implement caring about kids , using discipline mixed with love, insisting that he do his homework, stay away from drugs, resolve his disagreements without violence, revere his country, respect his elders and those in authority. If my clients go to school they are exposed to some positive values -- but that is no substitute for positive familial enculturation.

Posted by: ? | Mar 5, 2014 11:58:11 AM

actually, the best thing to do is to dispense with all the pretense and just put babies with "bad" parents in jail when they're born.

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 5, 2014 12:00:53 PM

? --

"Bill: You assume that many of those who end up in prison have responsible parents who engage in responsible parenting."

No, I don't assume that. You proposed the ACA as helpful "intervention." I responded that we already have vastly MORE helpful "intervention," that being responsible parents.

It is quite true that not everyone has responsible parents. But what this fact suggests is that we do more to punish, and thus discourage, irresponsible parenting.

It does not suggest more government involvement and spending. Been there, done that.

Let history be your guide. Starting in the mid-60's we got (1) the beginning of the increase in mother-only households, (2) the beginning of the Great Society and its massive social spending, and (3) the beginning of the great upsurge in crime.

If your theory of the effectiveness of government social spending were correct, then over the next generation -- into the mid-80's or early 90's -- we would get less crime, right? You know, with all that government social spending?

Is that what happened?

No. The opposite happened. The more we spent on social programs and income support over that period, the more crime we got.

Society cannot spend its way out of crime, because lack of social spending is not the cause of crime (see, e.g., the 50's, when government social spending was a fraction of what it has become, but crime was relatively low).

What society can do is try to encourage two-parent families. We cannot do this with, for example, AFDC, which literally pays the mother to keep the father out of the house (even if he had an actual interest in being there other than to use as a drug den and rape the 12 year-old).

But mostly, the government can't do this. It's efforts have been counterproductive and quite damaging.

It's up to the culture. And the good news is that a healthy culture doesn't cost a dime. All it takes is devotion to the kind of values I was talking about -- devotion rather than the ridicule they get as Puritan Foolishness from your allies on the liberal/defense side.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 5, 2014 3:04:34 PM

When people are questioning the significance of parenting on incarceration rates, the nation has reached a tipping point.

The info provided by Adamakis is correct. People of color were by far the most over represented group in prison and within that group, they had illegitimacy in common.

The Douglas Bermans and others on this website are all for "evidence-based" solutions until the evidence points to traditional values and social dynamics. Suddenly, they can only clam up or provide sarcastic comments.

Liberalism turned us into "incarceration nation." Since the 60's, marriage is just a "piece of a paper" (well, until the homosexual lobby decided in the last decade that they wanted that piece of paper and then it conveniently became important again). LBJ willingly destroyed the black family with forethought. The Great Society was the most successful government program of all time in achieving its goal.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 5, 2014 3:12:45 PM

"until the homosexual lobby decided in the last decade that they wanted that piece of paper and then it conveniently became important again"

Hard to take someone who says sort this stuff seriously. I'll let Ted Olson know though.

I wonder how come crime was high in the inner cities before the '60s. Broken families correlating with crime isn't something that started c. LBJ though it might be interesting, when we are done knee-jerking, what worsens the situation.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 5, 2014 4:12:55 PM

Joe --

"I wonder how come crime was high in the inner cities before the '60s."

I don't know that it WAS high, certainly by today's measure. Do you? What are the statistics?

And I don't think it does much good just to sniff at TarlsQtr rather than substantively take on his observation that liberals "are all for 'evidence-based' solutions until the evidence points to traditional values and social dynamics."

Relatedly, if you dispute my response to ?, emphasizing responsibility, discipline, and self-restraint, I'd be interested to hear on what basis. Or do you agree with my response?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 5, 2014 6:55:55 PM

Bill:
Is emphasizing responsibility, discipline, and self-restraint, learned or is it biological or is it epigenetic i.e., nurture shapes nature?

The ACA certainly a poor excuse for responsible parenting. But, it is, better than nothing if it keeps children from becoming dysfunctional to the point of criminality.

I am please that you recognize Government efforts have been counterproductive and quite damaging. Government studies show that punishing parents in the criminal justice system does incalculable damage to children. So it seems to me the answer is not letting irresponsible parents get a free pass but instead focus on the positively maintaining the children while the parent is incarcerated and on getting the irresponsible parents to adjust their behavior before they become restored citizens and restored parents.

Finally, if "a healthy culture doesn't cost a dime" then why do we spend inordinate amounts on law enforcement, prisons and the like? Focusing on traditional social values and dynamics alone, is not enough. With apologies to Dirty Harry, we must recognize and understand our limitations if we are to overcome them.

Posted by: ? | Mar 5, 2014 9:49:00 PM

? --

"Is emphasizing responsibility, discipline, and self-restraint, learned or is it biological or is it epigenetic i.e., nurture shapes nature?"

I don't know, but I know that that if you don't learn those things as a kid, you'll learn them as an adult, less pleasantly.

"The ACA certainly a poor excuse for responsible parenting. But, it is, better than nothing if it keeps children from becoming dysfunctional to the point of criminality."

Big "if." But if indeed the ACA will be so wonderful, why does the President keep deferring key parts of it?

"Government studies show that punishing parents in the criminal justice system does incalculable damage to children."

Then parents need to think twice before they commit serious crime. They will be more encouraged to do so if people stop making excuses for them.

"Finally, if "a healthy culture doesn't cost a dime" then why do we spend inordinate amounts on law enforcement, prisons and the like?"

We spend what we do because law enforcement kicks in AFTER the culture has failed. No one thinks law enforcement per se, and by itself, can build a healthy culture. But it can keep some bad people out of your neighborhood, and it has.

"With apologies to Dirty Harry, we must recognize and understand our limitations if we are to overcome them."

If only this correct sentiment were directed to the ACA and other gargantuan social programs, we'd be a lot better off.

Bottom line: Responsible, disciplined families work. Government social engineering doesn't.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 5, 2014 10:29:14 PM

Bill:
Do you appear to recognize that there is a portion of our culture that doesn't have "responsible, disciplined families"? If that is true, then do we write them off as damaged goods or do we do something other than inevitable incarceration about it? Seems like the line you draw is give up on them, early and often.

Posted by: ? | Mar 5, 2014 10:45:29 PM

? --

"Do you appear to recognize that there is a portion of our culture that doesn't have 'responsible, disciplined families'? If that is true, then do we write them off as damaged goods or do we do something other than inevitable incarceration about it?"

Incarceration is hardly inevitable. Indeed, only a minority of those even from one parent families wind up in prison.

Parents are the best source of the values that make a productive life possible. Government is the worst. In between are a large number of institutions such as schools, athletics, churches, Scouts, and other relatives like grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. (like a particularly giving teacher or coach).

Here is what I think you're missing: Failure is not inevitable, not at all, even to those who start with the least. Human beings have an inborn desire to succeed, to achieve, to become their own person, and to earn honor, respect and affection from their fellow creatures.

Here's something else you're missing: If you treat people as if they're responsible, they become responsible. I have seen this happen again and again.

Government programs fail (a fact I illustrated with the statistics from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, and you conspicuously do not dispute) not because they are underfunded, but because they send exactly the wrong message. They tell their recipients, "You aren't responsible; we're responsible."

When teens start to believe that, they're on the road to jail. When they start to believe the opposite, they're on the road to success.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 5, 2014 11:54:05 PM

TarlsQtr: You are 100% right that I am all for 'evidence-based' solutions, but you are 100% wrong that I shy away from evidence that "points to traditional values and social dynamics." If you download the paper available at this link: http://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/faculty_publications/413 , you will see that I criticize other academics who fail to consider crime data relating to traditional family values and social dynamics.

I urge you to read my short piece here in full, though I can quote its main criticism of the book I was reviewing: "Unless and until we have a deep understanding and full appreciation of the interplay of family connections and crime, accounts and assessments of family-affected criminal laws will be incomplete and potentially distorting. My concerns are driven by extant data and research concerning the dynamic and consequential relationship between families and criminal
offending, especially as these issues intersect with gendered realities."

As seems too often true for you and Bill, rather than actually engage with what I actually say, write and think, you instead invent a version of those you disagree with to serve your own world-view. When you do so, please try to avoid misrepresenting my views or beliefs. Thanks.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 6, 2014 12:13:15 AM

Doug,

What I would prefer to see is a list of posts that push for SPECIFIC programs which are family-based and not huge government centered boondoggles.

Those are much more useful than general platitudes.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 6, 2014 7:31:25 AM

Joe stated: "Hard to take someone who says sort this stuff seriously. I'll let Ted Olson know though."

Is the above intended to be an argument?

The number one mantra regarding marriage since "The Most Selfish Generation" came into power has been that marriage is "just a piece of paper." Do you actually doubt that? Who brought on "no fault" divorces? I did not realize as a kid growing up in the 70's how lucky I was to be in an intact family while the parents of friend after friend were getting divorced because it was so important that one or the other parent had to "find him/herself." Suddenly, in the last decade, it is IMPERATIVE that everyone be allowed to get the "piece of paper." It is a "Civil Right" you know.

As far as Ted Olson. I have a great deal of respect for him, not because I know him personally, but because people I respect know and respect him. He is a bright man but that does not make him right. That is, of course, unless you want to go along with Garry Kasparov (one of the 5 smartest people in the world) who believes that Obama should be thrown off a cliff. Is that a legitimate argument? Of course not.

You stated: "I wonder how come crime was high in the inner cities before the '60s. Broken families correlating with crime isn't something that started c. LBJ though it might be interesting, when we are done knee-jerking, what worsens the situation."

If you can show me where 1 in 3 African-American males were going to prison in the 1950's and before, I'd love to see it.

Neither LBJ specifically nor the Democrats (the most racist President in history is probably Woodrow Wilson)in general have ever given a rat's a$$ about AA's. They were just a group to destroy and manipulate. LBJ summed up the Dem position best:

“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again.”

And, “I'll have those n!ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 6, 2014 8:56:18 AM

TarlsQtr: I was responding to your claim that I turn away from crime/social science evidence that "points to traditional values and social dynamics." If you have read my linked article, I trust you now realize that you are incorrect on this score, and I hope you will in the future try to avoid making demonstrably false claims about my views.

As for your request for "SPECIFIC programs which are family-based and not huge government centered boondoggles," I will note two that support that I hope can/will reduce crime in various ways over time: (1) legalization of medical marijuana for any and every responsible parent/spouse seeking to provide help to an ill child/partner, and (2) legalization of gay marriage and adoption in all states so that all have equal opportunities to create sound and stable legally-approved family units.

Item 1 should help reduce a part of the "huge government centered boondoggle" that is the modern war on drugs; Item 2 should help restore traditional family connections among those who realize they are not oriented to heterosexual pairings. Notably, I favor Item 1 not only because pot prohibition seems to me like a big govt boondoggle, but also because federal pot prohibition has long thwarted needed research on cannabis as a potential medicine/remedy for various conditions. I favor Item 2 because I always advocate for laws that provide equal opportunities for all persons unless/until there are sound evidence-based reasons to treat persons differently.

Are these two recommendations satisfactory? Because this is a sentencing blog, I only discuss Item 1 a little and I do not discuss Item 2 at all. But I do try regularly highlight all evidence concerning all matters that seem to impact crime and punishment.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 6, 2014 10:03:47 AM

Doug,

Lamenting that more research has not been done is different than pushing specific proposals to fix a problem. You have one approach to incarceration nation. The evidence suggests that you fight against the War on Drugs, which is admittedly costly but has reduced crime, but have shown virtually nothing to push back against the real driver of incarceration (and debt), the so-called "War on Poverty/Family."

1) How will legalizing medical marijuana (I suspect you are being coy and propose going MUCH further than that) reduce the crime rate in any meaningful manner? How many people are being held in prison on charges of buying pot for a sick spouse? Thin gruel, Doug. Do drugs in the home make a child eventually going to prison more or less likely? Are they more or less likely to grow up poor if there are drugs in the house?

#2 especially shows how weak you know your argument to be. Gay marriage? Really? So, the dismantling of the traditional/only definition of a concept thousands of years old is somehow a grand show of your dedication to it? Interesting.

Even if we take your measures as a specific approach that will put the family at the center, they are reactionary and do nothing to fix the core issues at hand.

Nearly everything the government has done over the last 50 years has been done to break down traditional families and values. I suspect you supported the Great Society. I suspect you support(ed) increases in food stamp recipients, the loosening of regulations governing disability benefits, "no fault" divorces, increasing "free" lunches (and breakfasts) at schools, etc. When you did everything over the last half century to make parents obsolete, it is silly to lament that they have become obsolete.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 6, 2014 11:15:41 AM

Again, Trls, you are discussing issues with a fiction, not me. I was not born when the Great Society was roled out, and I have a general disaffinity for all FEDERAL government programming and thus am suspect about "increases in food stamp recipients, the loosening of regulations governing disability benefits, "no fault" divorces, increasing "free" lunches (and breakfasts) at schools, etc." unless and until there is solid evidence that they do more good than harm. (CRITICALLY: I have a distinct view about STATE/LOCAL government programming --- which always has MUCH more market/budget/political accountability, and which enables Americans to "vote with their feet" and enhance the diversity of local experiences that help make this the greatest nation in the world. Some of the items on your list involve state laws, though often influenced by federal realities.)

On the drug war front, I know my home has lots of alcohol and (prescription and over-the-counter) drugs in it. It does not have any illegal drugs. I do think illegal drugs in a home can create a bad family environment and sow disrespect for the law, which is why I think more drugs should be legal/regulated, not prohibited. Just like alcohol Prohibition, I think/fear/worry the modern drug war has INCREASED crime of all sorts (especially violent crime), not reduced it, and much evidence from 100 years ago and now supports my view. What evidence shows the War on Drugs has reduced crime, as you assert, especially as it is fought at the federal level?

On other fronts, you keep moving the discussion. I suspect you are drawn to socially conservative positions and so your moral views, not empirical evidence, may matter to you more than other matters concerning the pros and cons of various government policies. That's fine, and this great nation give you a voice and vote to express you perspective.

In contrast, I am drawn to libertarian positions, which creates for me a general presumption having government programs and government agents (especially federal govt programs and agent) --- rather than the market and individuals --- determining "winners and losers" absent a strong evidentiary justification for those choices.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 6, 2014 11:33:01 AM

What is the "homosexual lobby" to which TarlsQtr refers?

TarlsQtr sounds like an excellent name for a competitive male ice skater.

Posted by: Brian B. | Mar 6, 2014 2:12:59 PM

I agree with some of you above that Parenting would be the very best method of reducing criminals in our population. When the government pays some woman for having a kid but predicates payment on the father being out of the house, well, we have a government imposed recipe for disaster. End welfare as we know it.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Mar 6, 2014 10:30:39 PM

“End welfare as we know it.” –Liberty 1st.

Are you one of those racist, flat-earth creationist Republicans?
Do you just hate the poor?

|Why Can't Republicans Get Rid of Welfare for Farms?|
|By David Weigel | 9/20/13 | David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.

Jonathan Chait's take on the farm bill/food stamps votes is far smarter than my own….
“I’d prefer … keeping in place (or boosting) food rations for the poor. … What possible basis can be found to justify … cutting them for the poor?
What explanation offers itself other than the [Republican] party’s commitment to waging class war?”

|Why do Republicans hate poor, hungry people? |
| ANDREW LEONARD | 1/11/12 | Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon.

It’s almost as if Republicans are actively striving to get a reputation for being mean to poor, hungry people. … Specifically, the state is imposing an “asset test”
— anyone under 60 years old with savings of more than $2,000 is no longer eligible for assistance. …

[Granted,] Pennsylvania’s proposed asset test conforms to federal guidelines for SNAP and doesn’t include the value of a recipient’s home, retirement savings or car.
But what’s troubling is that the nationwide trend has been headed in exactly the opposite direction. … Just four years ago, in fact, Pennsylvania’s
Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, abolished the state’s asset test. …

Or is it the racial angle — the intersection of poverty and race that encourages people like Newt Gingrich to call Obama “the food stamp president.” …
there’s also a deeper, darker level that connects the classic conservative antipathy … We should be thankful that Obama is the food stamp president;

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 7, 2014 10:53:55 AM

Wow, each day my fascism grows at how many allegedly intelligent people still don't get it. There's is NOTHING Obama will do that will benefit the main in a meaningful and lasting way... and, in fact, the opposite. This is not a garden variety loser but the grand daddy of all losers.

I get it, though, you still want to dream. I don't blame you... but you're still going to be held accountable.

Posted by: Sam Freedom | Mar 19, 2014 8:41:51 AM

Lol someone is gonna have a comedic field day with my aggressive autocorrect changing "fascination" to "fascism".... :(

Posted by: Sam Freedom | Mar 19, 2014 8:43:55 AM

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