Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Easier Just To Make Poverty Illegal?

Hey all you poors out there. Yeah, you poors who were poor before being poor became a thing. You know who you are. Yeah you. Listen up, you've ridden the gravy train of faint hope long enough and it's time someone reminded you that your life is an endless series of unfulfilled wants and deferred dreams, and you need to be reminded of that by your betters every day.

State lawmakers are being asked to prevent any person receiving welfare from winning major Michigan State Lottery prizes. If signed into law, the proposed legislation would prohibit a person getting welfare, food stamps or Medicaid from collecting a lottery prize of more than $600."I'm tired of these people thinking they've got as many rights as I do. This is America, they're poor and I'm not which means I get to run their lives," said state Rep. Tom McMillin who introduced the bill.

"The lottery is a bad gamble for a lot of people," McMillin said. "Some people play it for recreation. One too many times, I saw people standing in line who appeared to be ethnic and they were buying tons of lottery tickets." When asked what he meant by "appeared to be ethnic" McMillin said corrected himself and said "appeared to be poor."

McMillin said his goal is to keep people in need from wasting money. "They should save it and buy some clothes and food -- and make sure they're looking good when they go out for a job interview." When asked if he thought unemployed people could be identified by their clothes, McMillan said he was fairly certain people without jobs were forced to "buy off the rack," and that people going out to the grocery store should make a point of wearing the same clothes they would wear to a job interview.

"If they're on welfare," he said, "they've got no business spending their money on the lottery," said Tom Bachman. "What makes them think they can do what they want with their money?" Bachman's view was echoed by Najib Kakos, who owns Buscemi's/Beverage Barrel  where lottery tickets are sold. He said the legislation would have his support regardless of its impact on lottery sales at his business. "If you're barely making it, you shouldn't be gambling," Kakos said. "The money should be used for liquor and cigarettes because that's got a higher profit margin for us."

McMillin said enforcement would occur at the state level because $600 is the maximum amount that can be paid out at the store where the winning ticket was bought. For any greater prize the winner has to come to Lansing to get it," he said, "and they can match up the name and ensure that they're not on state assistance." When asked why a winner couldn't just give the ticket to someone not on assistance to cash in for them McMillin replied "because if you're poor, you've got to be dumb too."

McMillin said he knows of no other state that has adopted such a plan but said a similar bill was considered -- and rejected -- in Tennessee. "Well, Tennessee is one of those bleeding heart liberal states," McMillin said. "In Michigan we know poor people deserve to be poor and should be reminded of their poverty by their betters."

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