Newt says that the road to victory for the GOP is based on food stamp demagoguery:
[…] Gingrich more than most people knows that Washington tends to lock itself in intensely wonkish policy squabbles–need one say more than “budget reconciliation”?–that simply don’t resonate with the rest of the country. So to make it simple, Gingrich and his political action committee are sending a“close the deal” memo to Republican candidates, spelling it out in über-simple terms. What do you want more of: paychecks or food stamps?
In addition to the obviously inhumanity of making the poor the scapegoats in every election, this stupid demagoguery is actually contributing to long-term poverty.
I mentioned the McDonald’s $2,000 health “insurance” plan that ED wrote about last week to a friend of mine who works with poor inner-city single moms. My friend noted that it really does suck to transition from being poor enough to receive social services to being a member of the working poor, and many of her clients avoid the transition by working under-the-table jobs.
She pointed out that the unemployed poor mom can stay home and take care of her kids, and she and her kids will have a relatively good health insurance program (Medicaid), as well as food stamps and other programs. If she gets a job, she’ll either go without insurance, or pay a good percentage of her salary to buy an almost useless “mini-med” policy. She’ll also need to find daycare for the kids, and subsidized daycare is the always getting cut (as it was this week in Rochester). She might lose her food stamps, and depending on her income, she might have to pay a co-pay for her kid’s S-CHIP, since that’s also income-based.
I don’t know if there’s any research on this, but I have to assume seeing their mom hold down a job will create an expectation in her children that they should get a job. My friend is convinced that most of her client’s kids would be better off in a decent daycare, where they’ll get away from the TV for a while, be exposed to reading, and have a nutritious meal. We’re probably better off as a society paying more to have a poor mom work than to have her remain unemployed. Of course, great conservative thinkers like Newt don’t buy this, so they’ll continue to support a system that gives poor single moms an incentive not to work.