Archive for Monday, January 3, 2011

Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback: Current welfare rules discourage marriage

January 3, 2011


— Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback wants to change rules for state social service programs that he says discourage marriage.

At a news conference Monday, the Republican governor-elect promised to push for policies allowing people who participate in social service programs to keep their benefits if they get married.

Brownback says that under current rules, people lose their benefits because getting married increases their household income just enough to disqualify them.

Brownback later acknowledged that changing the rules could cost the state more money. But he says the state will save money in the long run if more children are raised in healthy families.


jafs 7 years ago

This is a good idea.

How will he pay for it?

notanota 7 years ago

Through the magic of tax cuts. You see, when the government takes in less money, it magically has more money. Or something.

Clark Coan 7 years ago

Unfortunately, the trend is in the other direction. Over 73% of black children are born to single mothers. That often means no father-figure in the household and only one income (which often means poverty).

Fossick 7 years ago

I didn't realize everyone got to have their own definition.

Realista 7 years ago

Most social service recipients are White: the minority population is extremely small in Kansas. Also in Lawrence, the wages are so low that married couples are in poverty. Please research stats before posting such damaging comments about a racial group.

CHKNLTL 7 years ago

Even married couples working full time can still be in poverty here. Lawrence housing market is partly to blame...overpriced dung-holes to rent or buy. Lots of people who get WIC and Vision Card need it, too. follow link for more info. sam needs to get some Reality Checks.

Stuart Evans 7 years ago

why do people have to be married to be considered a healthy family. as far as I can tell, marriage is a pact made in front of god. and if you believe in all that crap, then you're delusional, and will probably not add anything to a healthy relationship anyway.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Have you read any scientific studies showing what the lack of a male figure does for children?

Why do you folks come up with these ideas?

cozy 7 years ago

Just because a couple isn't married doesn't mean that the father figure isn't there. Cohabitation. Have you heard of it.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Yes I have heard of it. More professional couples are doing it nowadays. Prison studies reveal shocking figures showing absolute relationships between violent crime and not having a father in the household.

The knee jerk reactionary responses during our war on poverty had unintended consequences. We, with good intentions broke up the family of those who became dependent on the govt.

Everyone knows, have a child, get larger Section 8 housing, clothing, more money, and more food stamps. Have another, same. Have another, same.

But, never name a father as somebody who can pay. Heck, if I were in this horrid cycle of dependency, and a women I'd be doing it too.

cozy 7 years ago

I was responding to your response of "Have you read any scientific studies showing what the lack of a male figure does for children?" to areunorml's "why do people have to be married to be considered a healthy family."

Everyone knows about the missing father figure stats. I was pointing out that just because a couple isn't married, doesn't mean there isn't a father figure reference to cohabitation. It seemed that the conclusion was jumped to that if someone isn't married, there is no father figure there at all.

Stuart Evans 7 years ago

exactly. i never stated that a single parent situation was better. I merely wanted to know how being married was better than cohabitation.

And is it really about having a father figure that makes well adjusted children, or is it more about having two adults, who love one another, raising a person? I would argue that two well adjusted, loving lesbians could raise a child far better than a married heterosexual couple where one or both have dependency issues. Having a penis does not automatically make someone a great role model.

Fossick 7 years ago

The inclusion of the word 'could' in the last sentence leads me to believe that Governor Switchback really has no idea how many, if anyone, this change will affect. I can't imagine the number of people not getting married because their joint income is over while both single incomes are under is very large.

overthemoon 7 years ago

Switchback? Thats not his name. It's Sam Brownbackwards. And don't you forget it!

Fossick 7 years ago

Oh, no, he earned Switchback fair and square, not only for his Kerry-esqe vote on immigration reform, but for the multiple explanations of why he voted for it before he voted against it.

It's not just a cheap shot, it's a bargain!

nobody1793 7 years ago

"Current welfare rules discourage marriage"

Doesn't fewer marriages result in fewer divorces? Is Brownback in favor of more divorces?

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Really-wow!! Could people be avoiding marriage in order to qualify for benefits? Do eligibility requirements need to be changed to reward a visible committed relationship? Are people sucking on the rest of us? Real data would help.

jafs 7 years ago

It seems quite likely to me that when benefits are greater for unmarried people, that has the unintended consequence of discouraging marriage, which is unfortunate.

valgrlku 7 years ago

This really makes no sense at all. SRS already takes all persons' incomes into consideration who live with a recipient, when allocating benefits - doesn't matter if they are married, dating, or just roommates. I call poppycock, on this one.

jafs 7 years ago

Doesn't a single mother get more assistance than one with a partner?

It's an attempt to help those who need the most help, which is admirable, but has unintended consequences.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years ago

You make a strong point, valgrlku. Most laws hardly favor women and children--or anyone else outside the white, male mainstream-- to begin with. Kids do need to grow up in stable homes, but the state also really needs to keep the long arm of the law out of people's private lives and personal choices.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

No crossing fingers either. Do you really suggest if all a person has to do is lie to gig the feds fore more money a percentage of these people won't do it.

Would you like a link to how life really is in Section 8ville. Especially in urban areas?

equalaccessprivacy 7 years ago

Why engineer the laws to favor sexist -- and homophobic-- social institutions?

booyalab 7 years ago

I'm guessing marriage is sexist to you because research has shown that men benefit more from it in measurable ways. But why is it homophobic? Because nature decided that men and women can have babies together and society decided that it wants to encourage a stable family unit in order to foster population growth?

overthemoon 7 years ago

Now will the Governor support funding for family planning services (I'm talking birth control, not abortion, calm down) so that women can have more control over whether or not they have children? Or would that put him crosswise ( ! ) with the Pope?

deec 7 years ago

"Persons who live together and buy food together may be eligible. Household members do not have to be related to be considered part of the household. Any single individual, household, or group of individuals who live and eat together, whose income and resources are low and who meet certain basic program requirements can qualify." Doesn't appear that marriage has anything to do with it.

woodscolt 7 years ago

"Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback: Current welfare rules discourage marriage"

Not nearly as much as the cost of divorce does. Divorce court is government sanction theft.

Chris Golledge 7 years ago

I wonder if Brownback has noticed that there is a Kansas law/constitution that discourages marriage.

NoSpin 7 years ago

Poor Sam. He tries to help those who need it and he still gets the smackdown from the SanFran crowd. Two incomes are better than one- Math 101.

jafs 7 years ago

I think it's an admirable idea.

I just don't see how it'll be paid for, since he said himself it would cost the state more money, and he's talking about tax cuts, and the state doesn't have enough money to fund education, etc.

His platform of protecting education and social service funding, while cutting taxes, and balancing the budget, seems impossible.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

I thought libs were supposed to be for the children. Clearly Gov. Brownback is clearly concerned with the epidemic of crime/mental illness and the link of one parent families as it regards children.

I doubt very much the Gov. is concerned whether two people without children, any children as in none they can't afford so they don't have children are married or not.

Too bad so many adults do not consider how much it costs to raise children before they do the easy part.

Who pays for these sperm of the moment love children? We taxpayers do.

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

Good! and absolutely correct. over time healthy families will mean reduced costs in many areas from schools to prisons to work force.

now, Sam, how about campaigning to fix federal rules for SSI/SSDI and other programs which force people to lose money for being married? these have costs for the nation too.

Trail wrote: Unfortunately, the trend is in the other direction. Over 73% of black children are born to single mothers. That often means no father-figure in the household and only one income (which often means poverty).

---and much of this is in fact caused by "uncle Sam's plantation" that forces men out of families with rules for government support.
note the writing of Star Parker, and even Justice Thomas.

deec 7 years ago

"Brownback says that under current rules, people lose their benefits because getting married increases their household income just enough to disqualify them." People don't lose benefits because they get married. They lose benefits because the household income rises, the same as it would if a boyfriend/girlfriend moves in, a roommate moves in, a teenage family member gets a job, or the head of household takes a first or second job. It has nothing to do with marital status.

Fossick 7 years ago

Exactly right. Lost in the handwringing over marriage is the fact that if your income is high enough you don't qualify for welfare, then YOU DON"T QUALIFY FOR WELFARE.

Why should the state support people who by its own measurements and rules, do not need the help?

jafs 7 years ago

I think the problem is the definition of poverty.

For an individual, the poverty level is about $9,000/yr. For a family of four, it's about $22,000/yr.

That's despite the fact that children cost a lot of money.

Fossick 7 years ago

While that may be true, it's a problem that Sam's solution doesn't solve. This proposal only helps those who a) have such a low income singly that they qualify, but b) have enough income together that they do not. So single, below the line, but married, above the line. It is this circumstance that Sam alleges keeps people from getting married, lest they be above the line and lose benefits.

But if that's the case, then it does not matter where the line is, as there could always be theoretical people (and that's what we're dealing with here) who fall above any line together but below it separate.

jafs 7 years ago


But if the definition is so low that a married couple a little bit above it can't live on it, then they might easily be better off as two singles on welfare, rather than as a working poor couple.

For example, if the level for a couple is less than 18,000, that would make it better to be single than married.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Sadly the cycle is this. More often than not, and of course not in all cases. You have no doubt bumped into the following type people today.

Black, white, green it doesn't matter. Women becomes pregnant, drops out of school, or at the time is underemployed. A child is born.

Years ago of course grannie and grandpa would take on the responsibility. Not anymore in our nannie state and many know this.

Section 8 Housing, med and cash benefits along with food stamps are given. Some even play the game of job training, many become permanently disabled over the course of a decade or two. Disprove migraines for instance. For serious abusers they often know more inside info than the lib social workers trying to help.

The game of job training is a bit like the joke about the life long college student. School, or in the case of a young welfare recipient the job becomes staying "free" by milking the system. The welfare recipient finds a way to almost gain a skill only to become pregnant or use other excuses for not completing the program to fruition. Childcare is a great excuse. Work for a few months, then get fired. Think about this. Can't get out of the cycle due to children, and they keep having children.

Some states tried discouraging this practice by not increasing benefits for more children. Sadly it was not the adults who suffered. I couldn't enforce a law which made the children suffer, and the women know this. Somebody will step in.

How sad.

Some earn money off the grid. Unsavory jobs are common.

How sad for the children of this upbringing. Section 8 living is not fun, and often depressing. A sick system.

For a male to admit to being a father the process is often different. So, essentially a male tries to be a father finds he only jeopardizes the safe living condition of his wife, or life partner. Frustrating, for Section 8 is just a bit better than what low income can rent.

After a few years the recipients often become very unthankful and demanding. Ask anybody who runs Section 8 Housing.

What excuse can a male, often of low earning power give for wanting to "watch Oprah" all day and eat free chow?

You see many women with multiple children all born under welfare, and often with multiple kids by multiple fathers. By the law of the streets a man earning minimum wage is very very fearful of having anything official. Momma is doing fine, government taking care, kids are eaten free chow, food pantries, free clothes, free summer programs. Why would they want to pay anything from the meager amount earned in low pay jobs.

We can do better than this as a nation.

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

Ideally, we could encourage a prototype with a mother, a father, and 2.5 children. Realistically, I doubt this would work.

  1. Many parents (mostly mothers) do not have a significant other.
  2. Having a mother and father does not guarantee stability. In fact, it could create turmoil.
  3. There is an assumption that low-income adults avoid marriage because it affects their assistance.

"...under current rules, people lose their benefits because getting married increases their household income just enough to disqualify them."

SB should take another tack. People also lose their benefits if they earn or save a little extra money. The income ceiling is low enough to provide a miserable existence. If they try to work their way out of their circumstances, they are disqualified from assistance.

jafs 7 years ago


There should be a way to supplement people so that it's not better to simply not work.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

none2, unfortunately the facts do not support your argument.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years ago

Absolutely! My husband, mother, and father are all examples of people who thrived in their adult life after growing up in single parent families. There is more to it than just having another person around. After all, there are many dads (and moms, I dare say) who hinder rather than help their children's development with their influence.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

You came from a welfare mom, no father.

booyalab 7 years ago

Is there no way to encourage marriage without expanding the welfare state? Just a thought.

Fossick 7 years ago

Not with 'compassionate conservatives' like Brownback or Bush, because just like their progressive cousins, they seek to use the government as a molder of society. What better way to mold than to give people money for acting in ways you think best for them?

trinity 7 years ago

like switchback absolutely is and will continue to try pressing his personal beliefs on kansans. mr. holier than thou.

Fossick 7 years ago

Just think of it as a crown of thorns and you'll feel better.

jafs 7 years ago

The reason to allow same sex marriage has nothing to do with the KS economy.

But you know that, of course.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Can Brownback provide hard evidence or is this his opinion?

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

No he can't Merrill. Good grief, have you driven in an inner city, or walked through a welfare housing unit, or heard of armed guards at high schools?

Try pulling your head out of ..................... Observe instead of paste.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

Things get stranger by the day. It's gonna be a long, windy spring in the legislature. Hang on to your hats!

areyousure 7 years ago

Unless Mr. Brownback has some way to change federal regulations, it really doesn't matter what he believes. The guidelines for income maintenance programs are from the federal government.

jafs 7 years ago

Don't states have any input on that?

If not, you're right.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

areyousure, BRILLIANT BINGO, we need to gain our state rights back.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Full circle. California is penniless. California may not have enough money to pay public employees as early as Feb. California is no longer bleating follow us you morons. California has cities and towns turning off the lights and laying off police. California has a terrible school system.

California and Illinois have been lobbying Washington for keep the power on loans for months now.

California still passed 735 new liberal laws which took effect Jan. 2, 2011.

California is eating mac and cheese while sitting in a darkened barren mansion.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

Current welfare rules discourage employment.

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