The Unbearable Meanness of Conservatives: State Sen. Bruce Casswell's initial proposal only allowed the purchase from used clothing stores state’s for the state's foster care system.

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    Apr 25, 2011 1:07 PM GMT
    Under his former plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores.

    Casswell, a Republican representing Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties, made the proposal this week, reports Michigan Public Radio.

    His explanation?

    “I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”


    He's suggesting these kids should buy secondhand underwear, socks and shoes too.



    MEAN. CRUEL.


    The GOP always finds a way to stigmatize and degrade people....bullying.

    oliver-twist-gruel.jpg
  • TrentGrad

    Posts: 1541

    Apr 25, 2011 1:23 PM GMT
    Surely this doesn't surprise you though, does it?

    I mean, when conservatives attack the welfare system, the one truth to it that they frequently want to cover up is the fact that children are disproportionately impacted by cuts to welfare because generally, children are the largest group of recipients of welfare benefits.

    It makes you wonder how so many conservatives can be so against abortion, and yet still be so in favour of cutting government support programs whose chief beneficiaries are impoverished children!!! Do Republicans relish the opportunity to force misery upon people so completely????
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    Apr 25, 2011 1:47 PM GMT
    I had started to reply here with a slam against this guy, but I decided do a little research, since the OP contained no link or reference. I'm glad I did.

    Turns out this is about using clothing vouchers, to replace the current system of direct cash payments to foster parents of kids still under State care. It's to ensure the money goes directly for that purpose to aid the kids, and not into the pockets of unscrupulous adults. It's true at first the original draft proposal did call for using thrift stores only, but that's being changed, to include major retailers.

    http://www.senate.michigan.gov/gop/senators/readarticle.asp?id=3883&District=16

    April 18, 2011: (Admiteddly from Caswell's own news release, linked above): Senator Caswell initially proposed issuing a gift card for the clothing allowance for resale shops in order to ensure the money would actually go toward purchasing clothing. After a suggestion from a constituent, he plans to draft an amendment to the proposal that would direct the state to work with major retailers to create a gift card program that would ensure the clothing allowance money only purchases clothing and shoes at their stores. Furthermore, the amendment will direct DHS to negotiate with the retailers for a discount on those clothing items purchased with the allowance in order to get the best deal for the recipients.

    “My sole goal in this proposal is to make sure that children receive the clothing allowance that the state has provided for them and not have it used for anything else,” said Caswell.


    I'm not sure I see anything potentially wrong with this, and in fact I think it might reduce foster parent misuse of unmonitored State funds intended for clothing. Assuming the clothing allowance funds provided in the State budget aren't reduced, it's likely MORE foster children will get MORE clothing under this plan. Comments?
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    Apr 25, 2011 1:58 PM GMT
    thanks for following up and the clarification. The Thread title should be updated.

    I will say however, I heard that precise sentiment stated here last week about clients of AIDSPEI ( 4 "At Risk" populations who live with Hepatitis C or HIV:

    Men who have sex with Men (MSM)
    Intravenous drug users (IDU)
    Indigenous peoples
    Women.

    Funny how as soon as the speaker discovers they are included in the categories they are talking about their attitude changes immediately.
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    Apr 25, 2011 2:07 PM GMT
    in the same vein, WIC (the federal Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children) has food coupons only for designated food items - to insure the public funds providing this assistance go only for nutrition for the intended recipients and not for "other" purchases like junk foods, alcohol, cigarette purchases, etc. A good idea which has proven itself since the inception of the WIC program back in the 70's as (originally) a health/prescription program for a specific age group of infants and children and the pregnant and post-partem mothers. (I helped create this program back then while serving in the USDA's Food & Nutrition Service - it's one of the only federal assistance programs with scientifically proven positive outcomes and later-in-life cost prevention designs.)

    Keeping the funds going to the best uses for nutritious food for low income families (or in the OP article and as clarified by Art, for clothing items) is a smart move, IMO
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:21 PM GMT
    Upper_Canadian saidFunny how as soon as the speaker discovers they are included in the categories they are talking about their attitude changes immediately.

    The meaning of your last sentence above confuses me a little. I know of course about the heroic work you're doing up in Prince Edward Island (PEI) for the "at risk" populations you listed. I've seen the press releases and chatted with you about it in e-mail.

    Just for comparison with this story, the several HIV/AIDS & general charity organizations with which my partner & I are associated will only accept brand new clothing & toys for children, nothing second-hand. That's partly because it's mostly collected at Christmas time, so we go to Target and buy cart loads of stuff, and bikes.

    For our gay MCC church we always get specific first names of these otherwise anonymous kids we're helping, with their gender & sizes, so we know what clothes to buy, and a "Santa's wish" for the toy they want most. Though sometimes I wish myself we could just give them a gift card like this Michigan program, because I'm not the best at buying things for a 7-year-old girl I'll never meet.

    I also had a BF who brought a foster child into his home (actually illegal for gays in that US State, so he had to play "straight" and I could never be around when the social worker was visiting), and I remember he got a monthly allowance via State check for this kid.

    They didn't track it, and he could have been feeding the boy on bread & water and keeping the rest. Well, he didn't, and in fact, greatly supplemented the kid's official living allowance with his own money. But there have been cases of low-life foster parents who use this cash for themselves and shortchange the kids. So I can see this program as a safeguard against that.
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:33 PM GMT
    I update the title........

    but still doesn't take away his initial mean spirited attitude toward state foster children.


    “I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”





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    Apr 25, 2011 2:48 PM GMT
    LeanathleticDC saidI update the title........

    but still doesn't take away his initial mean spirited attitude toward state foster children.

    I think his METHOD with the thrift stores was a bit insensitive & naive. But his GOAL was BETTER care for foster children, less fraud by foster parents, not to be mean-spirited. And going to thrift stores will buy you more clothes than at most retail outlets. I think his statement about his own childhood might have been a defensive response to criticism, meaning to say: "Well, it didn't hurt me to wear hand-me-downs," not the actual reason for his plan.

    But apparently he got the message that his original plan looked insensitive, and that clothes solely from the Salvation Army are not the same as your big brother's old stuff. And his amended plan to also use retailers, possibly with a special State discount that gets the kids even MORE clothes for the money, sounds pretty good to me. That's real important for items like shoes, that should never be bought used, and need to be properly fit from a wide store selection, not to mention of the current style that means so much to kids.

    BTW, I suggest you read his bio on that site linked above. He was an educator and school superintendent. I don't much like Republicans (I'm sure most regulars here would consider that an understatement), but I'm not quite that knee-jerk that I don't first do some research. (Well, most of the time, anyway... icon_redface.gif )
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    Apr 25, 2011 3:23 PM GMT
    I really like the proposed model the with the refinements. We have the same concerns in Atlantic Canada about trying to make sure support money gets used by families best, without interfering with the parents' rights to make their own decisions on spending. Gift card with specific purposes are an ideal solution.

    Using the bulk purchase to obtain best prices is wise (and appeals both to capitalists and socialists.)


    At AIDSPEI we give clients gas cards