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Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:35 AM

Georgia’s Hunger Games: How Georgia declared war on its poorest citizens

In states like California and Maine, which have focused on getting their poor citizens into jobs programs, about two-thirds of those eligible still receive welfare. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Georgia, which over the past decade has set itself up as the poster child for the ongoing war on welfare. Even as unemployment has soared to 9 percent and 300,000 Georgia families now live below the poverty line—50 percent higher than in 2000, for a poverty rate that now ranks sixth in the nation—the number receiving cash benefits has all but evaporated: Only a little over 19,000 families receiving TANF remain, all but 3,400 of which were cases involving children only. That's less than 7 percent, making Georgia one of the toughest places in the nation to get welfare assistance.

What's Georgia's secret? According to government documents, interviews with poor Georgians, and those who work with them, it's a simple one: Combine an all-Republican state government out to make a name for itself as tough on freeloaders; a state welfare commissioner so zealous about slashing the rolls that workers say she handed out Zero candy bars to emphasize her goal of zero welfare; and federal rules that, regardless of who's in the White House, give states the leeway to use the 1996 law's requirement for "work activities"—the same provision that Republicans have charged President Obama wants to unfairly water down—to slam the door in the face of the state's neediest.

What's Georgia's secret? According to government documents, interviews with poor Georgians, and those who work with them, it's a simple one: Combine an all-Republican state government out to make a name for itself as tough on freeloaders; a state welfare commissioner so zealous about slashing the rolls that workers say she handed out Zero candy bars to emphasize her goal of zero welfare; and federal rules that, regardless of who's in the White House, give states the leeway to use the 1996 law's requirement for "work activities"—the same provision that Republicans have charged President Obama wants to unfairly water down—to slam the door in the face of the state's neediest.

It's a state of affairs that's left an increasing number of Georgians with nowhere to turn. Teresa, a single mom of a 2-year-old living in a domestic violence shelter, tells of how she broke down and applied for cash benefits after fleeing an abusive relationship—only to be chastised by state welfare officers who asked, "Wouldn't you rather work?" Eventually, Teresa says, "I was sitting there crying—I just didn't know what else to do. I said, you've gone from letting people sit on their butt and collect money to the very opposite of that."


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/12/georgia_s_war_against_the_poor_the_southern_state_is_emptying_its_welfare.html

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Reply Georgia’s Hunger Games: How Georgia declared war on its poorest citizens (Original post)
Redfairen Dec 2012 OP
Hoyt Dec 2012 #1
NewJeffCT Dec 2012 #2

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:45 AM

1. That's what happens when callous bigots elect the same govern a state.


In Georgia callousness and bigotry are considered criteria to hold office. Maybe it will change some day.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:53 AM

2. Obama lost Georgia by less than 8%

it could be winnable in 2016 with the right candidate.

Of course, that doesn't help people at the state level... but, it could lead to Democrats being more viable statewide in the long-term. Not sure what to do in the short-term, however.

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