The poor are treated like human ATM machines, and our politicians are actively encouraging their exploitation
In the 1960s, the Lyndon Johnson administration launched an official War on Poverty. Needless to say, poverty has emerged victorious. The noble and necessary aim of poverty reduction might have helped millions of people create lives of decency and dignity, and it might have helped America assimilate into the developed world as a fiscally responsible and morally honorable nation. But since they fail to widen the profit margin of the corporate class running America’s political system, poverty reduction programs are basically doomed.
As poverty worsens and spreads, with 25 million Americans constituting the working poor, poverty relief programs face elimination from austerity policymakers on the state and federal levels. In the absence of any war on poverty, America has demonstrated dedication and determination in its war on the poor. In a cruel combination of exploitative profiteering from poverty, and unapologetic hatred for the poor, state governments continue to pick the pockets of the impoverished, relegating low-income earners to a vicious cycle of punishment and recompense; life without parole in the poverty prison.
The war on the poor exposes the tyrannical turn of political administration in the United States – a country committed to mutating its criminal justice system, already more criminal than just, into an apparatus of assault against its most defenseless citizens.
The following laws and policies give painful illustration to America’s attack on the poor in which the impoverished receive perpetual punishment for their poverty. This compilation does not include the mile-long list of policies that harm the poor, such as difficulty acquiring health care and child care, regressive taxation, or the cost of college. The following are policies in which state governments are actively levying the legal system against the poor.
1. Limits on ATM Withdrawals for Welfare Recipients in Kansas
Governor Sam Brownback and his supporters in the state legislature of Kansas have turned their state into dystopian inspiration for a post-apocalyptic thriller, slashing social services, and leaving the poor to suffer — and in many cases actually die — for lack of basic essentials. In April, Brownback signed a bill making it illegal for welfare recipients to withdraw more than $25 from an ATM at one time. Although the policy might violate federal law, state officials have recently expressed steadfast commitment to its implementation and enforcement. The policy manages to achieve the trifecta of mean-spiritedness, dangerous negligence of human needs, and Orwellian intervention into the private lives of citizens from the state.
2. Revocation of Driver’s License in Montana and Iowa For Missing Student Loan Payments
Failure to make student loan payments in Iowa and Montana will result in delinquent borrowers losing their driver’s licenses. With student loan defaults on the rise, and rates of poverty, even among the college educated, increasing, states are developing punitive measures to damage the lives of those already buried in student debt. Tennessee, for example, will revoke the nursing license of a nurse who fails to make student loan payments. Iowa and Montana are the worst offenders, however. Losing the ability to drive, especially in largely rural states without sophisticated public transit, will reduce the potential for poor people to work, take children to school, and take any step toward escaping poverty.
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