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Friday, October 26, 2012


A bill under consideration in the Pennsylvania legislature would reduce food-stamp benefits for women who become pregnant while on public assistance.  Not that these legislators are completely heartless: They would allow for exceptions if the woman in question became pregnant as a result of rape.  Sounds suspiciously liberal to me! But I guess if you carry your rapist's baby to term, you've earned that extra $150 a month!

Let's set aside for the moment the more disturbing rape-related aspects of this proposed legislation.  I would like to address those members of the benighted right who presumably consider this bill a good idea.

You there?  OK.  Ahem.


Look, as a taxpayer, I get it.  I understand your indignation.  If I heard of a woman intentionally getting pregnant in order to game the system, I, too, would be incensed: How dare she!  But here's the thing: I've heard of no such woman.

Oh, I'm sure women do become pregnant while receiving public assistance. But I doubt they become strategically pregnant to suck more money from the public teat.  And in this case, we're not even talking about "real" money; we're talking about food stamps. Not much of a "net benefit" to have more children in order to get more food stamps: Those additional kids'll eat all the profits.  At any rate, unless some significant number of women IS getting knocked up for the privilege of more food stamps, then this legislation is ONLY a mean-spirited cost-cutting measure that will not save much money but that WILL cause women and children to go hungry.

Ultimately, I suspect this legislation is just so much red meat that arch conservatives want to toss to their base, much like the seemingly ubiquitous laws that have cropped up recently to combat the supposed epidemic of voter fraud.  While legislators (for some inexplicable reason almost exclusively Republicans) claim voter fraud to be a veritable cancer on the body politic, statistics suggest that less than one ten-thousandth of one percent of votes are cast fraudulently.  I suspect a similar percentage of women get pregnant as part of a nefarious scheme to drain public coffers.

Don't legislators have better things to do than to criminalize Fucking While Poor?

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