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Archive for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback reiterates arguments against “marriage penalty” for those receiving welfare

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

January 4, 2011

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— In May 2008, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and David Blankenhorn wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal calling for an end to what they described as the “marriage penalty” for people receiving welfare.

Brownback and Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, argued that poor people receiving public assistance were encouraged to stay unmarried because their combined incomes would make them ineligible for those benefits.

The research for the piece was done by the Institute for American Values and was part of a series titled “The Future of the Black Family.”

Brownback and Blankenhorn proposed allowing newly married couples to be allowed to receive all their benefits for the first three years of marriage.

“This adjustment should give newly married couples a sufficient grace period to realize the economic benefits of marriage — and save money to stabilize their financial situation — before government benefits cease,” they wrote.

Brownback and Blankenhorn then asked, “What’s the next step? We need to test this idea.”

If Brownback has his way, Kansas will be the place to test this idea.

Brownback, a Republican, will be sworn in as governor next week.

On Monday, Brownback reiterated his arguments to remove what he called disincentives to marriage.

“Studies show a healthy, loving family unit benefits not only the parents, but, more importantly, the children,” he said. “We will work to remove disincentives to marriage so more couples can marry without the fear of losing crucial state support during difficult financial times.”

Brownback spoke about the issue as he introduced the leaders of his health services team that will try to enact this effort. They are Robert Siedlecki, whom Brownback picked to be secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, and Dr. Robert Moser, tabbed as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

SRS provides financial support to poor Kansans with cash assistance, child care help and food aid. In the last fiscal year, an average of 277,000 Kansans received food stamps each month, 37,000 received temporary assistance during an average month, and 20,300 received child care assistance.

SRS has been hit hard by state budget cuts over the past couple of years as tax revenues tanked during the recession. The agency hasn’t worked on the issue proposed by Brownback, according to SRS spokesman Steve Mock.

“I don’t know if we have identified it as a policy issue, but I’m sure we will be doing some work on it if it’s a priority for the new administration,” he said.

When asked to quantify the problem, Brownback said he didn’t know how many people were forgoing marriage to maintain welfare benefits. And, he said, he didn’t know how much it would cost taxpayers to continue those benefits.

Kansas Action for Children, which advocates on behalf of children and low-income families, said it wasn’t aware that the problem was a big deal.

In his op-ed piece, Brownback said the problem may be greater than many think. “Knowledge of the marriage penalty in poor neighborhoods is typically spread word of mouth,” he wrote. “This informal learning might actually increase the antimarriage impact of the penalty, by convincing nearly all poor couples that they will lose income if they marry, even though some (due to the complexity of regulations) will not.”

Comments

none2 3 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps Brownback will fund a new TV show for Kansas residents -- called the Kansas Dating Game. Contestants are young girls/woman with little or no education who want to start a family as soon as possible. Their must pick one man from the three that are available. The only criteria for them is that they too have little education, that they have no motivation to go to vo-tech or back to school, and that they also want kids.

Whomever she chooses, Kansas will wave the marriage fees as well as provide them a free upgrade to a covenant marriage. Brownback will also see that they get a free lot in a town in rural Kansas as well as a free trailer house

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weeslicket 3 years, 3 months ago

you people are just too dang-nab-anably funny. perhaps our governor is describing the manner in which he eats warm, oatmeal and raisin, chocolate chip cookies. just too damn funny.

but i am here to ask a different question (side thread awaits) did anyone else notice that the ljworld did not post yesterday's lead story online? kobach's voter fraud plans were the topic. can someone please identify this link, as my googlefoo seems lacking in this endeavor.

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ralphralph 3 years, 3 months ago

Like it or not, we undoubtedly have provided substantial incentives for young women to have children out-of-wedlock, where they remain unemployed and dependent on State benefits, and ... like it or not ... that effect is most prevalent in minority communities. Well-intentioned, but without understanding, we have doomed those communities to become the fatherless and hopeless havens of unwed mothers and their futureless children.

... but we just wanted to help.

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justanotherface 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, don't know if this will solve much. I know of a person with 3 little bastards, all by different dads of course, within a short period of time. This person now wears a wedding ring and calls her third baby daddy "husband", yet they aren't married and probably won't get married because of the marriage penalty and all of the tax breaks they receive now because, like I said, all the kids are bastards. So, he can do what he wants with this law and it still won't stop the abuse of the system by the likes of the low life people I described in this post. Why not just get rid of the marriage penalty all together?!

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Agnostick 3 years, 3 months ago

And in looking at the photo above... it seems like our governor was in the process of bringing together the tips of his right index finger and right thumb... forming a crude circle... to then use his left index finger to make an even cruder demonstration of... well... you get the idea. ;)

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Agnostick 3 years, 3 months ago

Without pulling too much judgement on this, one way or another, I'm reminded of a movie that pops up every so often. The name of the film is "Claudine."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071334/

I admit to only seeing the second half of the movie--I've never been able to catch it from the beginning. Even though the movie was made during the "Blaxploitation" period of the early 1970s, it's not really that type of film. Diahann Carroll is Claudine, a single woman trying to raise six kids (!) in Harlem. At some point, she meets and begins a relationship with a garbageman named Roop, played by James Earl Jones. Claudine does have a job (or two), but she also receives public assistance for the kids. A very, very nosy social worker frequently makes unannounced visits, wanting to make sure that Claudine isn't getting any extra income on the side, living with someone else, etc. Roop occasionally buys something for the kids, and IIRC, he even buys a new toaster or hair dryer for the household at one point. Well, of course, "Miss Busybody" shows up one day, "Claudine, this is a new toaster. Where did this come from? How were you able to afford this? And whose shoes are those on the floor, by the closet? They're way too big for one of your sons! Is someone living with you?" Meanwhile, Roop is making a somewhat comedic getaway, trying to sneak out half-dressed through the bedroom window, etc.

I didn't get the impression that Roop and/or Claudine were trying to cheat the system--but they were painfully aware that if Roop were to marry Claudine and move in, his meager salary wouldn't be as much as the public assistance $$ Claudine would lose.

Now... we can throw on all kinds of moral dressings on this salad. We can talk about "responsible reproduction," casual sex, taking responsibility, yadda yadda yadda. Good points, but when I read the above article, and the above comments by Brownback, I immediately thought of this movie, and especially the scenes of Roop trying to sneak out of the apartment without incurring a financial penalty on Claudine. I think in Brownback's world, Roop and Claudine would get married, and Claudine would still get her assistance $$ for three more years, presumably so Claudine and Roop can get their finances together, etc.

The question is, can Brownback, Roop, and Claudine be trusted to stick to the script the governor has written for this scenario?

Looks like "Claudine" has been uploaded, piecemeal, to YouTube. There's nine or ten parts, and I'm sorry but I don't know exactly where to find the scene(s) I described above. I can only suggest starting your search about an hour into the movie.

"Claudine" Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L__VjF7JSC0

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Success 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm all for supporting healthy committed relationships. I like the idea of finding out how much of a problem this really is in KS and wonder if there are more cost effective ways to support families.

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edjayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like he again wants government to control your personal life, just like government controlled abortion.

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Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 3 months ago

Maybe Brokeback will allow this along with gay marriages.....

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jehovah_bob 3 years, 3 months ago

I thought being married was "The Marriage Penalty".

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tolawdjk 3 years, 3 months ago

"I'm staying pure until someone puts a ring on this."

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

alternative photo caption:

"Govornor-elect Sam Brownback explains new discovery of right index finger."

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beaujackson 3 years, 3 months ago

IF A SINGLE PARENT HAS TO GO ON WELFARE MAYBE IT'S TIME TO THINK "ADOPTION".

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beaujackson 3 years, 3 months ago

IF A SINGLE PARENT HAS TO GO ON WELFARE MAYBE IT'S TIME TO THINK "ADOPTION".

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beaujackson 3 years, 3 months ago

IF A SINGLE PARENT HAS TO GO ON WELFARE MAYBE IT'S TIME TO THINK "ADOPTION".

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beaujackson 3 years, 3 months ago

IF A SINGLE PARENT HAS TO GO ON WELFARE MAYBE IT'S TIME TO THINK "ADOPTION".

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onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

WTF....Our welfare system is broken PERIOD! Fix the system FIRST and then worry about the people who really deserve to be on it!

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ksriver2010 3 years, 3 months ago

Glad to see that Brownback is focusing on the economy first...

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Jimo 3 years, 3 months ago

“Studies show a healthy, loving family unit benefits not only the parents, but, more importantly, the children."

So this policy will have an age cut-off? Maybe 60?

Or is the State going to be providing welfare to septuagenarian love-birds who pervert the God-given purpose of marriage: to procreate? Isn't this just a scheme to shift the marital responsibilities of a 90 year of man to his wife onto the taxpayers?

Will this policy have an age minimum? Maybe 22?

Or is the State going to encouraging irresponsible behavior by the young who aren't responsible enough to get their affairs into order before undertaking the holy and sacred duties of marriage? Isn't this just a scheme to make it easier for a 25 year old man to marry a 16 year old girl he got pregnant and send the tab to the taxpayers?

Seems to me Sam's social engineering plan is rife with unanticipated consequences and perverse incentives. Will Sam only be happy once Kansas has Bible-belt levels of divorce for temporary, 'scam the system' marriages?

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

So a single parent who takes in a roommate or gets a second job loses benefits, but that same person, if they marry their roommate, doesn't? This doesn't seem fair, and may not be legal, since welfare programs are means-based.

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

So a single parent who takes in a roommate or gets a second job loses benefits, but that same person, if they marry their roommate, doesn't? This doesn't seem fair, and may not be legal, since welfare programs are means-based.

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parrotuya 3 years, 3 months ago

Is this the real Sam Brownback? I would expect the real one to try to get rid of all welfare for everyone! Is this a body double? Has the real Sam Brownback been abducted by "alien body snatchers?" I full expect bigoted, closed-minded conservatives to be cold, heartless, and uncaring. I expect any good conservative to be a shill for corporations and billionaires. I expect any good conservative to be racist, sexist and homophobic. And to have no sympathy for the poor. Does the RNC know that Brownback has been taken over by alien forces? An investigation would be in order!

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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getreal 3 years, 3 months ago

I am certainly not for penalizing poor people for marrying, however this simple minded plan solves nothing. Skip three years down the road, the couple is married with a child and now we yank half their income out from under them and say look three people can easily live on nothing. Is he serious? Financial issues is one of the leading causes of divorce.

How about creating some jobs, investing in our public school system, making health care affordable and accessible, and helping the disabled and elderly.

Those are long lasting investments that allow people to succeed in happy homes on their own terms, married or otherwise.

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 3 months ago

"Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says… Here comes the nanny state, sponsored by your favorite 'small government' types..."

Ding, ding, we have a winner!

How come it's "social engineering" when Dems increase welfare benefits, but it's "family values" when the GOBP does it? It still wastes our tax dollars.

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 3 months ago

Puggy (anonymous) says… "..."to realize the economic benefits of marriage" ... Don't let the gays hear this opinion...ooohhhh lordy, don't let the gays read this!!!"

They already know it. Two men have more earning power than a man/woman, especially when the "family values" types demand that the woman stay at home. Drives the fundamentalists crazy with jealousy to see gay folks with a bigger house and nicer cars.

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 3 months ago

"..."to realize the economic benefits of marriage"

So you are saying that there are other reasons for marriage other than the religious union of man and woman??? Don't let the gays hear this opinion...ooohhhh lordy, don't let the gays read this!!!

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

Here comes the nanny state, sponsored by your favorite 'small government' types. Sam is in a bit of a pickle and trying to triangulate a la Clinton in the mid 1990's. "Hell hath no fury like a Tea Partier scorned?" Trying to prove he's reasonable and still attractive to these types in the same sentence presents some interesting linguistic challenges. Good luck, Governor. You're gonna need it.

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Gandalf 3 years, 3 months ago

I think the best solution to unemployment, lack of benefits and low paying jobs would be to have madantory retirement with full SS benefits at 60. That would free up jobs and shrink the unemployment problem!

I volunteer to be a test case!

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George_Braziller 3 years, 3 months ago

"When asked to quantify the problem, Brownback said he didn’t know how many people were forgoing marriage to maintain welfare benefits. And, he said, he didn’t know how much it would cost taxpayers to continue those benefits."

Ahhhh, yes. Let the rabid "moral" agenda begin.

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Carol Bowen 3 years, 3 months ago

SB has said that he will remain focused on the economy. The initiatives are rolling out, but what about the economy?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 3 months ago

“Studies show a healthy, loving family unit benefits not only the parents, but, more importantly, the children,”

Sadly, Brownback's definition of what constitutes a "healthy, loving family unit" is quite narrow.

If he were really interested in encouraging marriage and healthy, loving family units he wouldn't be such a full-throated opponent of gay marriage.

But I suppose a healthy, loving family unit made up of a loving homosexual couple is worth talking about.

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mrbig 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't think this would fix the problem, because if they manipulate the system by not getting married now- what is to stop them from getting divorced right before the three years is up to not lose benefits again?

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tolawdjk 3 years, 3 months ago

Problem might be bigger than people think.

Problem might be smaller than people think.

But by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, they are going to use Kansas tax dollars and turn the state into a social engineering laboratory!

Can't pay for the education of the kids they are putting into happy married homes. Haven't put a plan on how to bring jobs to the state. Can't fund the state retirement plans. But by all means make it easier for people to stay on the welfare line longer.

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mrbig 3 years, 3 months ago

I personally know of more than one person who is staying unmarried to not lose state benefits. I think this has merit.

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Bob Forer 3 years, 3 months ago

For once I gotta agree with Brownback.

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