Trust Kansas to find a new way to screw the poor

Is Kansas screwing over the poor this way just a measure of lawmakers’ distrust and hatred of poor people, or yet another handout to banks:

For these reasons, cash is one of the most valuable resources a poor person in the United States can possess. Yet legislators in Kansas, not trusting the poor to use their money wisely, have voted to limit how much cash that welfare beneficiaries can receive, effectively reducing their overall benefits, as well.

The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits.

Since there’s a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families will get substantially less money.

Could be both. One of the dirty little secrets of late capitalism is how much it depends on an endless supply of poor people nickled and dimed out of their money through tricks like this. Being poor is so often so much more expensive than being middle class and the reason is there’s good money to be made off off keeping people in poverty.

The culture of poverty does not exist

The importance of the culture-of-poverty approach is that it allows for recognition of the accumulated history of racism and inequality, but posits the ongoing effects of these as mediated through black cultural pathologies. It therefore permits American liberals to identify with opposition to racism while pushing them towards policy solutions geared towards the transformation of black people, and not American society.

With every crisis in Black America the same pathologies the Black community supposedly suffers from — veneration of the criminal lifestyle, lack of proper family structures, abhorrence of education as acting white — are trotted out as an explanation, by conservative commentators as that’s just how those people are, by supposed liberals as the unfortunate end product of Black history in America. There’s just one problem: they’re lies. The culture of poverty does not exist.

Non-consensual technology

Deb Chandra on non-consensual technology:

This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected ‘surprise and delight’ was really more like ‘surprise and delete’. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.

It’s the deliberate hollowing out of the economy, stupid

“Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches?” and Eight Other Critical Questions for Americans:

But aren’t there small-scale versions of economic “rebirths” occurring all over America?

Travel through some of the old Rust Belt towns of this country and you’ll quickly notice that “economic rebirth” seems to mean repurposing buildings that once housed factories and shipping depots as bars and boutiques. Abandoned warehouses are now trendy restaurants; a former radiator factory is an artisanal coffee shop. In other words, in a place where a manufacturing plant once employed hundreds of skilled workers at union wages, a handful of part-timers are now serving tapas at minimum wage plus tips.

Of course the thing about looking at any individual unemployed person is that you can always find something they can do to get a job, even more so when you don’t care what job they get. However, doing so for all of them is impossible in a situation where there are more unemployed than there are job offers.