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April 24, 2011 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Children in foster care in Michigan get an allowance for clothing. Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell wants to limit their clothing purchases to thrift stores only.
posted by helloknitty (241 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
That way, the other kids in school know how to spot 'em.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2011 [59 favorites]


Next up, only one bowl of gruel per meal.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:08 AM on April 24, 2011 [34 favorites]


I'm a big fan of shopping at thrift stores, but there's definitely plenty wrong with this idea - not the least of which is that you wouldn't be able to reliably shop for something in the children's size. Are you supposed to drive around to a million different stores looking for that one random thing that fits?
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:08 AM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


“… and when he planned to steal our sunlight, he crossed that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy.”
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on April 24, 2011 [37 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole...
posted by Windopaene at 11:12 AM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Yeah, on top of the obvious hatefulness, this creates a ton of work for foster parents. Shopping at thrift stores takes a fair amount of work, because the stuff isn't standardized. You can't just find a t-shirt that works and get it in several different colors.
posted by craichead at 11:12 AM on April 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.
"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"
"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.
"Both very busy, sir."
"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."

posted by nj_subgenius at 11:13 AM on April 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


In completely unrelated news, a second hand guillotine can be just as sharp as a new one and once your head is rolling around in a wicker basket nobody's even looking at the blade anymore.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:14 AM on April 24, 2011 [84 favorites]


You wanna know something scary? Before this guy was a politician, he had a long career as a high school teacher and coach and then school superintendent.

Chew on that for a minute.
posted by craichead at 11:15 AM on April 24, 2011 [73 favorites]


(Some) people want to project their experience on everyone. So, Rep. Caswell didn't have things when he was a kid, they shopped at the Salvation Army, and "look at me, I came out alright." Well, he wasn't in foster care, his experiences were a long time ago, and maybe he didn't come out alright.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:16 AM on April 24, 2011 [160 favorites]


It's pretty hard to find things like team, band and Scout uniforms at thrift stores.
posted by box at 11:17 AM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


My understanding is that more often than not, social workers in MI had to go around basically begging local stores for gift cards to help get clothing for foster kids. And even then, they were lucky to get $10 or so.

I don't know what the state is spending on this but clearly it isn't enough.
posted by HostBryan at 11:17 AM on April 24, 2011


So this man hates the free market, eh?
posted by boo_radley at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


I thought thrift stores were COOOOOOOL
posted by ReeMonster at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2011


...maybe he didn't come out alright.

I suspect he didn't. There's that whole "other human beings" thing he doesn't seem to get.
posted by marxchivist at 11:19 AM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tomorrow's news headline: FOSTER KIDS ARE STEALING OUR PRECIOUS RETRO FASHION.
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2011 [41 favorites]


Happy Easter from Senator Caswell.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's pretty hard to find things like team, band and Scout uniforms at thrift stores.


Heck, in great swathes of rural Michigan, it's pretty hard to find a thrift store. This is really just the sort of publicity our fine state needs right before tourist season. Thanks a million, Bruce, you fucking pinhead.

Yes, Michigan, the feeling's forever marked down for clearance.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:21 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bruce Caswell just wants kids from Michigan to look like hipsters! ;)

Really, though, this is kind of worrying. If thrift store sales increase, wouldn't that have some kind of ripple effect where their prices would also increase? Also, a thrift store's inventory is solely dependent on donations and that kind of thing, isn't it? Donations aren't standardized for fit or finish, so I can foresee a lot of parents having a difficult time finding clothes for their kids, as blaneyphoto mentioned.
posted by raihan_ at 11:22 AM on April 24, 2011


What does it take to constitute for "thrift," out of curiosity?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:23 AM on April 24, 2011


"Foster kids with new clothes? I suppose you want to let poor people into Wal-Mart, too, or gays in the military, or women voting. Where does it stop? You're not gonna be happy until everyone has the same rights and oppurtunities as everyone else, are you? Don't you
realize what kind of hell that will be for the rich?"
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:24 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yay Republicans!
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's nice to see an obvious sociopath can become a duly elected state Senator. Gives hope for us all, really.
posted by Bromius at 11:25 AM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Foster kids really need to feel that they're different and less valuable than other kids, is all. Right now, the foster kids and the cripples are getting all the breaks! Free clothes! Convenient parking! Where does it stop?
posted by Mister_A at 11:27 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, it means that money isn't going into the states clothing stores, putting more jobs at risk. Bruce Caswell: bad for business, bad for children, bad for Michigan!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:28 AM on April 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


The less fortunate get all the breaks. It's not like the government pays a hard-working State Senator any money.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:31 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, if we can just make being poor extremely unpleasant, then people will stop being poor.

This is what passes for reasoning among some right-wing elected officials.

Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:36 AM on April 24, 2011 [51 favorites]


Some kids have disabilities that place various restrictions on what they can wear -- they may not be able to use buttons and zippers, for example. I suspect that the clothing allowance doesn't go very far to begin with if you have to special-order accessible clothing, but it's even worse if you have to go looking through a thrift shop hoping you'll find something that will work.
posted by Jeanne at 11:37 AM on April 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell wants to limit their clothing purchases to thrift stores only.

Damn hipster senators.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


What about underwear?
posted by KathrynT at 11:40 AM on April 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Help me out here -- is this based on 'Compassionate Conservatism', 'Get Government off our Backs', 'Family Values', 'Won't Someone Think of the Children', or 'Let the Marketplace Decide'?
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:44 AM on April 24, 2011 [63 favorites]


Underwear is for winners.

NONE FOR YOU
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:44 AM on April 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


What about underwear?

What, you're too good for second hand underwear?
posted by indubitable at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, I dunno about making it mandatory. But a strong recommendation to shop at thrift shops wouldn't be a bad idea from many different PsOV. There's some really great stuff out there and a welfare dollar spent at a thrift shop helps needy people more than once.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do we define "thrift store" legally? Cant Halliburton claim to be a thrift store and get in on a no-bid contract?
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


And this has gotten almost NO media attention in Michigan. Definitely one for the "compassionate conservatives" I'd say.
posted by leslies at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Caswell says the gift card idea wouldn’t save the state any money.

All right, then, so even on their own putative terms, there is no point to this?

Oy gevalt.
posted by droplet at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


My local school has a good system. If your kids have grown out of their school uniform (basically just a sweatshirt, polo shirt and trousers), and if it's still in good shape, you donate them to the school. If someone needs some school clothing and can't afford to buy them new, they can go to the school office and pick up what they need for next to nothing. It really just takes the hand-me-down ethic and makes it more organised.

So on one hand, you can add useful choices for poorer people. On the other hand, you can legislate because as everybody knows, the poor are too dumb and irresponsible to make sensible choices for themselves.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those whining about 'what if they don't have the right size?'... well a burlap sack with a few holes cut in it for arms and head fits everyone and it's unisex
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:46 AM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


What about underwear?

To ensure its provenance, thrift underwear will need to be worn outside all clothing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 AM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


So he is against the Free Market? I have such a hard time understanding what republicans stand for.
posted by srboisvert at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good column here about this. Worth listening to the audio - Jack Lessenberry is always on the mark.
posted by leslies at 11:50 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bruce Caswell: bad for business, bad for children, bad for Michigan!

Can we googlebomb this somehow?
posted by KathrynT at 11:53 AM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


If these children don't want to be poor I'm sure the GOP will be happy to repeal child labor laws so they can stop sucking on society's teat

Keep on winning the future, America
posted by crayz at 11:54 AM on April 24, 2011


I have such a hard time understanding what republicans stand for.
They stand for fuck you, I got mine.
posted by Flunkie at 11:55 AM on April 24, 2011 [87 favorites]


He's not trying to be punitive. He's just trying to send a message to the welfare queens foster children that their free reign of driving Cadillacs near Ronald Reagan wearing clothes that fit is over.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:57 AM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


They stand for fuck you, I got mine.

For most of their base it's actually more like "fuck you, I'll get mine. right, right? I get mine soon right? fuck you"
posted by crayz at 11:58 AM on April 24, 2011 [109 favorites]


I-i-i'm confused about something (honestly). I wasn't ever in foster care nor have we been foster parents, but the foster parents we have known were people who took in foster children mostly out of the goodness of their heart. Generally people who couldn't have children or were empty nesters. They'd receive some pittance from the state to assist with expenses, but they pretty much bought the kids what they needed, not expecting the check to cover everything. Maybe it works differently in different states, but I can't imagine it's by all that much.

I'm sure there are awful foster parents, and I know there are foster parents at all income levels, but my point is - being a foster parent isn't generally a money-making deal - it's more money out than comes in, from a dollars and cents standpoint. So who the hell is he to say this about where foster parents can shop, other than being a grandstanding asshole playing to the talk radio crowd?
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


The new War on Poverty: the State shall issue Licenses allowing the Hunting of the Poor. These Licenses shall cost $1 million annually. Bag limits shall also be set annually, with seasonal limits in place for Women of Child-Bearing Age and Children under the age of 14. To limit uninsured Hospital Visits, bonuses will be offered for Clean Kills, such as Headshots, Heart Shots, and Gut Shots resulting in Swift Death. Families of the Bagged Poor will be hired to clean up Hunting Grounds, formerly known as subsidized housing. Their Wages will be paid through Monies generated by License Fees. Anyone found hunting the Poor without a Proper License will become an immediate target of a Licensed Hunter. All Law Enforcement Officials will be automatically issued a License.

In this way We shall Eliminate Poverty in Our Time. Praise Jesus.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:03 PM on April 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


A lot of foster parents do rely on the money they get from the state, randomkeystrike. Also, this isn't just for foster kids. It's for any kids who are receiving welfare independently of their parents, so it would also cover kids in group homes and other institutional settings.
posted by craichead at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe this is part of his "Keep the Government of the Taxpaying Stores' Racks" plan.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2011


So the Michigan foster care children will be the ones in the vintage bowling shirts and army jackets?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2011


If you're in Michigan, you might want to consider the rally that is happening next saturday, just outside the Big-House where the CEO Fucking Idiot Governor of the State is giving the commencement speech for the U of M grads. If you want to change this shit, get your walking shoes on... (and I don't care where you bought them!) Meet at 8 am at the Pioneer HS parking lot.
posted by tomswift at 12:08 PM on April 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


"I never had anything new," Caswell says. "I got all the hand-me-downs. So I aim to ensure that no fostered child escapes the misery and humiliation which has made me the pea-hearted unpleasant, sad and lonely mass of seething self-hating neurosis that I am today. Perhaps then they too will turn out just like me, and at the end of my worthless life I will know that at least I won't be the only one to die alone, unloved and unmourned."

I paraphrase, slightly.
posted by reynir at 12:08 PM on April 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


Turns out foster kids get the government the Tea Party assholes deserve.
posted by maxwelton at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Paging Senator Caswell. Senator Caswell. Please pick up the white courtesy phone. Charles Dickens is holding for a chat with you.
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


randomkeystrike: there have been a couple of highly publicized cases of people taking in a ton of foster kids and then abusing them and misusing the money. It's kind of the "welfare moms with Cadillacs" idea applied to foster care. My parents have done high-risk foster care (in New York State, not Michigan) since I was twelve, and while the money the state provides actually is a pretty good amount (I'm 27 and no longer live at home, but my folks still do it - they can afford things like "taking the kids to a water park" in the summer, which they couldn't afford when I was little), it's not really "wooo now we're outrageously rich" or something.
posted by titus n. owl at 12:11 PM on April 24, 2011


Well, OBVIOUSLY the only reason these children are in foster care to begin with is that they aren't able to manage their money properly. So if they can't manage their own money and end up in the foster system, it's a good thing the government can step in and give them valuable life lessons in how to manage money given to them by the public. Right? Because this will help them grow into well-developed adults who will be contributing members of society. Right?
posted by hippybear at 12:13 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This man has failed to learn the most important lesson students in the children's law clinic where I practiced learned. "How not to exacerbate and contribute to the depersonalization of the poor families we serve" was always the hardest thing to teach them (and usually the most interesting thing to watch them learn). It was part and parcel with "how to recognize ways in which lack of autonomy can demoralize and cripple an individual." and "What a barrier to decision-making, to self esteem, to self improvement, to basic human dignity poverty is in the U.S."

Sure, there is no shame in a hand-me-down. I have many--some I was excited to get. What this man is proposing is not a hand-me-down and it takes blinding tunnel vision to believe that it is no different.

More than anything, for the future, I want us to stop putting into power people so lacking in understanding of the lives other people, so incapable of seeing the damage wrought by a failure of empathy.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2011 [71 favorites]


Anyway, if the foster parents fight against this too hard, they'll just use that new "declare your local government null and void" law and install state-funded jackboots in every foster home to make sure the money is only spent as the government has dictated.
posted by hippybear at 12:15 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only are the cards limited to thrift stores, they can only be used to buy bootstraps.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


A lot of foster parents do rely on the money they get from the state, randomkeystrike.

Not saying they don't, in that many of them who are middle class or lower in income couldn't afford to do it otherwise. Just pointing out that it's particularly unconscionable (and stupid) to talk about stipulations when these people are relieving the state of an even greater expense, to say nothing of providing kids with at least a bit more normal home life than they'd have in some kind of institution. There may be foster parents who are trying to do it to add income to their household, but I can't imagine that's a majority of them.

I guess to make a (possibly lame) analogy - you ask me to cut your grass because you're not able to. Let's say the going rate is $50, but since I'm feeling generous I take the $10 you offer. And then you stipulate I have to do it with a manual push mower... It's not exactly going to serve as an incentive for me to continue my generosity.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think I read an article posted here a while back that said the goal of the Tea Party was to focus on making everyone else as miserable as the Tea Partiers. Hence the animosity towards people who got good pay and benefits because of a union job.

The fact that this seems to be pure spite based on a state senator's thrifty childhood which will do nothing to fix the state budget and actually reduce the freedom of choice for the less fortunate seems to show an ideology very different than anything any free-market/neoliberal economists came up with.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:18 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


i'm trying to figure out just how they're supposed to find shoes that fit at a thrift store - i'm also trying to figure out how plain colored t-shirts at walmart or meijer's wouldn't be cheaper than buying ones with random logos for 3 bucks a piece at goodwill

i'm also trying to figure out just who all the hordes of shoppers with carts full of second hand clothing are at the thrift stores i visit

and what if the foster parents find a good garage sale to buy clothes at? - i don't believe those are usually set up with card swiping machines, are they? - and yet, you can often find better deals there than you do at goodwill or salvation army

and underwear - he does know that one can't sell used underwear in this state, right?

actually, i don't think this ignorant son of a bitch ever bought clothes for children in his life - it would explain a lot
posted by pyramid termite at 12:19 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is our distinguished Senator. I wish I was making this up
posted by crayz at 12:19 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


well, at least he's practicing what he preaches by driving an old car.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:22 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd just like to point out that he complained how foster kids have it to good by saying that his dad was cheap and would shop at thrift stores. Hey Asshole, you know what foster kids would like more than fancy clothes? That's right: parents, even cheap ones. you dick.
posted by slapshot57 at 12:27 PM on April 24, 2011 [99 favorites]


What a dick.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:27 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


he's from adams township in hillsdale county, a few miles from hillsdale and the world-famous hillsdale college, famous as a "citadel of american conservatism" that refuses all government money

his district is significant in that it exists to make my drive to indiana longer than it should be
posted by pyramid termite at 12:28 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, to hell with it. Bypass all this "card" business.
posted by droplet at 12:30 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Children in foster care in Michigan get an allowance for clothing. Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell wants to limit their clothing purchases to thrift stores only. (Bolding mine)

The summary misleads the reader in a critical way - Caswell doesn't want to ban foster kids or their foster parents from shopping wherever the hell they want; He wants to give them state money, in the form of gift certificates to thrift stores.

If a foster family can afford designer threads, they can still hop over to Italy once a month and pick up the latest Versace has to offer. If not... Their clothing budget will go a whole lot further at the Salvation Army than it would at a Gap. And for the realistic middle-ground, they can at least use the allowance to get their "staple" clothing for a pittance, then perhaps have a bit more to spend on other things they really want.

I also don't get the "insulting" part of this - Hey, when you can get decent jeans for $2 vs $20+, why the hell not? I dare say that many people in this discussion (myself included!) have most likely shopped at second-hand stores; so why would I consider it demeaning to encourage others do something that I myself do to save money?


pyramid termite : and underwear - he does know that one can't sell used underwear in this state, right?

I've seen that brought up over and over and over on other sites discussing this, and consider it something of a red herring - First, re-read my first paragraph, above. And second, you can get new underwear and socks for under a buck each.


Overall, randomkeystrike made the best point so far in this thread - Foster kids don't count a scam to get Uncle Sam to pay you to raise a family - Foster parents still basically need to pay what anyone else does to raise those kids. A few extra bucks for the food and clothing budget don't hurt, but if someone can't afford socks and underwear, they probably shouldn't take in foster kids.
posted by pla at 12:31 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


also, there is one salvation army thrift store in hillsdale and the nearest goodwill is in coldwater, 15 or so miles away

as if every foster parent in hillsdale county is going to find enough clothes for their kids at two lousy stores - 3 if he counts the "consignment gallery" in quincy

it's bad enough he doesn't consider the effects on foster children state wide - he's utterly ignorant of what goes on in his own fucking county
posted by pyramid termite at 12:36 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite : as if every foster parent in hillsdale county is going to find enough clothes for their kids at two lousy stores - 3 if he counts the "consignment gallery" in quincy

Do you have a rough idea of how many kids you refer to here? Serious question, I don't even know the ballpark number. I would tend to agree that three stores for a few thousand sounds problematic; For a few dozen, not so bad.
posted by pla at 12:40 PM on April 24, 2011


Government regulation: bad for business, great for kids with no parents.
posted by contessa at 12:41 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


If your kids have grown out of their school uniform (basically just a sweatshirt, polo shirt and trousers), and if it's still in good shape, you donate them to the school. If someone needs some school clothing and can't afford to buy them new, they can go to the school office and pick up what they need for next to nothing.

This is what my Boy Scout troop did, and I think the band and other organizations that require uniforms typically did in the town where I grew up. It really wasn't just for the kids from poor families either; there wasn't any stigma attached. If there was an extra used uniform in your size available, you took it. If there wasn't, then you had to buy one ... but it was pretty rare.

IIRC there was a certain cachet to having a worn or old-style uniform, too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:41 PM on April 24, 2011


Their clothing budget will go a whole lot further at the Salvation Army than it would at a Gap.

A few weeks ago, I needed to shop for some new pants. These pants could not be very expensive, because I'm not going to be wearing them for long (I'm losing weight, my old pants don't fit me anymore, and I'm not yet at my target weight). Checked out some thrift stores: found nothing that a) fit b) was appropriate (I'm not wearing dirt-washed on-purpose ripped jeans to work or anywhere else) and c) was less than $20.

Next stop: Target. In ten minutes at the sales racks, I had three pairs of pants that fit and can be worn pretty much anywhere for about $50.

No Gap necessary! Also, I like how you presume that that's where foster families shop.
posted by rtha at 12:43 PM on April 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


The purpose of this is to eliminate government spending on foster care. Making it so onerous to take advantage of these programs will mean fewer do, which saves money and eventually makes it justifiable to eliminate the program entirely.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Their clothing budget will go a whole lot further at the Salvation Army than it would at a Gap."

That almost made me gag...

hell, the budget would go on friggin' forever if they just made the damn kids go to school naked.
posted by tomswift at 12:46 PM on April 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you're going to do this, do it right and force all these foster kids to go freegan across the board- dumpster diving for meals, squatting in abandoned buildings, ect..
posted by nowoutside at 12:48 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


rtha : No Gap necessary! Also, I like how you presume that that's where foster families shop.

I assume, as fairly unexceptional members of American society, they shop the same places everyone else does. So yeah, that includes Target. And Gap. And Walmart and Old Navy and TJ-Max, etc. I didn't refer to Gap as some sort of elitist expression of disdain for the poor, believe it or not.


c) was less than $20.

Then WOW do you have some serious rip-off second-hand stores in your area. With the except of some of the "luxury" items (prom dresses, suits, nicer jackets), the ones in my area don't tend to price anything over $5.
posted by pla at 12:51 PM on April 24, 2011


I would tend to agree that three stores for a few thousand sounds problematic; For a few dozen, not so bad.

except that many other parents shop there, too - in fact, a couple of weeks ago, i tried to visit the goodwill in three rivers, which is in this senator's district, and literally couldn't find a parking space

that ought to tell you something right there
posted by pyramid termite at 12:55 PM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Pla, I find it fascinating that you, and the Honorable Senator, both seem to assume that the foster families don't already do their utmost to stretch the limited clothing budget given to them by the state and that rather than relying on their judgement they must be coerced by the state into a very limited and narrow set of options.

Isn't it better to assume that the foster parents know what they're doing?
posted by sotonohito at 12:56 PM on April 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


If a foster family can afford designer threads, they can still hop over to Italy once a month and pick up the latest Versace has to offer. If not...

Impressive. Usually a false dichotomy that big collapses into a black hole.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:59 PM on April 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Next up, only one bowl of gruel per meal.

No... Imitation Gruel. Nine out of ten orphans can't tell the difference.
posted by y2karl at 1:01 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


The protest for this is obvious; massive donations of t-shirts in kids sizes with anti-Republicans slogans to thrift stores.

Well, not really, that would be incredibly cruel to kids whose parents shop there and not just the foster kids. But it is funny to think about.
posted by Mitheral at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The summary misleads the reader in a critical way - Caswell doesn't want to ban foster kids or their foster parents from shopping wherever the hell they want; He wants to give them state money, in the form of gift certificates to thrift stores.
Foster children, as wards of the state, are entitled to state support. Their foster families are not expected to support them financially. Sometimes foster families do pay for extra stuff, but the expectation is that their needs will be provided by the state.
If a foster family can afford designer threads, they can still hop over to Italy once a month and pick up the latest Versace has to offer.
Er, no. Foster families can't just hop over to Italy. It's a pretty involved process to travel with a foster child, because foster children are wards of the state.
And for the realistic middle-ground, they can at least use the allowance to get their "staple" clothing for a pittance, then perhaps have a bit more to spend on other things they really want.
Using what money?
I also don't get the "insulting" part of this - Hey, when you can get decent jeans for $2 vs $20+, why the hell not? I dare say that many people in this discussion (myself included!) have most likely shopped at second-hand stores; so why would I consider it demeaning to encourage others do something that I myself do to save money?
I do not consider it demeaning to choose to shop at a second-hand store, as I sometimes do. I do consider it demeaning to be forced to shop at a second-hand store, because you're not considered capable of making your own shopping choices or worthy of first-hand clothes.
And second, you can get new underwear and socks for under a buck each.
And I repeat, foster parents are not expected to support foster children financially. So where's this dollar going to come from, if it can't come from the money that is provided by the child's guardian to buy the child clothes?
posted by craichead at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2011 [33 favorites]


This reminds me of the scene in "History of the Word Part 1" where the Roman senate votes, "F*ck the poor!"
posted by azpenguin at 1:06 PM on April 24, 2011


No... Imitation Gruel.

no, soylent gruel
posted by pyramid termite at 1:06 PM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hi? Yes? Okay: one statement and two questions for the distinguished gentleman from Michigan.

1. That's a nice suit, Senator Caswell.
2. Mind if I ask where it was purchased?
3. Thanks. Now, who pays your salary?
posted by Ratio at 1:07 PM on April 24, 2011 [47 favorites]


Yet another data point in support of my theory that the right is comprised of broken people. Something just ain't right in their heads.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:08 PM on April 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Every time that I think the right has come up with some amazing lunatic to draw attention away from the rest of them, so they all look relatively sane by comparison, they move the fucking goal again. I think this one moved right off the field and out into the parking lot.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:11 PM on April 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


if someone can't afford socks and underwear, they probably shouldn't take in foster kids.

You've got no fucking idea about any of this stuff, have you? No idea how much it costs the state to take care of a child who is in the care of the local authority? And no idea how much cheaper it is to have a foster family care for that child in its stead?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:13 PM on April 24, 2011 [48 favorites]


To be fair to State Senator Caswell though, aside from this proposal he has come up with a serious plan that both tackles youth unemployment and re-energises the economy by drawing on the dynamism and creativity of the industrial revolution.

So, if you own a filthy, dangerous industrial chimney of some kind that could be best cleaned by sending a child up it, please email Senator Caswell now with the details. Industrial accidents not a problem, as any child left disabled as a result can enter the Senators new Beg-Fare programme.
posted by reynir at 1:18 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jesus, why don't they just go ahead and get to this part already:

"A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragoust." - Swift
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:22 PM on April 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


PeterMcDermott : You've got no fucking idea about any of this stuff, have you? No idea how much it costs the state to take care of a child who is in the care of the local authority? And no idea how much cheaper it is to have a foster family care for that child in its stead?

Without going into details about my past, I actually have a whole lot better idea about it - from experience (no, not a foster child myself) - than you might expect; And if you go into fostering expecting not to have to pay a good chunk out-of-pocket for the kid(s) you take in, you'd damned well better move along.

Strangely, though, it almost sounds like we've reversed our normal sides here - You see this as a business arrangement, and I see it as a "family-lite" scenario. Interesting...
posted by pla at 1:24 PM on April 24, 2011


I see it as a "family-lite" scenario

so that would make the foster kids "human-lite"?

i see
posted by pyramid termite at 1:30 PM on April 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


I actually have a whole lot better idea about it - from experience (no, not a foster child myself) - than you might expect;

MY GOD I THINK YOU MIGHT KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS SUBJECT THAN WE CAN POSSIBLY IMAGE!
posted by dersins at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


OR IMAGINE, EVEN!
posted by dersins at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2011


Then WOW do you have some serious rip-off second-hand stores in your area. With the except of some of the "luxury" items (prom dresses, suits, nicer jackets), the ones in my area don't tend to price anything over $5.

What's to stop the thrift stores from jacking up the price of everything when they realize every foster family around is going to be forced to spend money there?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


I also don't get the "insulting" part of this - Hey, when you can get decent jeans for $2 vs $20+, why the hell not? I dare say that many people in this discussion (myself included!) have most likely shopped at second-hand stores; so why would I consider it demeaning to encourage others do something that I myself do to save money?

With the exception of socks and underwear, I shop exclusively at thrift stores for my clothes. Here's what's insulting about it: it doesn't "encourage" anything: it just forces a certain portion of society to do something. If this is such a good idea, why stop at just foster kids? Why not force EVERY kid to shop exclusively at thrift stores for their clothes?
posted by 23skidoo at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wards of the state—foster children, orphanages, juvenile detention homes—will be used the same as adult prisoners: slave labour.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2011


Strangely, though, it almost sounds like we've reversed our normal sides here - You see this as a business arrangement, and I see it as a "family-lite" scenario. Interesting...
I don't find it particularly strange, actually. I think that a lot of conservatives are fundamentally in favor of humiliating and hurting people who they think deserve to be hurt and humiliated, and they'll use whatever language allows them to justify that. They're all about "family values" when family values justify hurting and humiliating poor people, gay people, uppity women, or what have you, and they're all about the market when the market justifies cruelty. The cruelty is what's fundamental, and the rest is just window dressing.

Anyway, if you really do consider fostering no different from any other family, then I'm wondering why you support any clothes vouchers for foster families. Shouldn't you either give thrift store vouchers to all families or not give them to anyone at all?
posted by craichead at 1:49 PM on April 24, 2011 [46 favorites]


Sometimes I think my own dear state --- let's hear it for Virginia! --- is the National Home of the Nuts..... but then something comes up, like the Honorable Sen. Caswell, that makes me realize we're losing ground.

Nuttiest cop? Easy, that's Sherriff Joe from Arizona!

Nuttiest religious zealot? Well, we HAD Jerry Falwell, but he's gone to that great church in the sky, and now it's gotta be either Phreaky Fred Phelps from Oklahoma or Koran-burning Pastor Terry What's-his-name from Florida.

Nuttiest politico? I THOUGHT we were in the big-time with either our AG Ken Cucinelli or Gov. Bob McD: both give ultra-conservatives a bad name. But noooooooo, here comes Michigan and Caswell, and Virginia's in the back of the pack again.

C'mon, Virginia, we can beat 'em!
posted by easily confused at 1:51 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fosterhood told the story of her attempts to buy clothes in the NYC foster clothing voucher system. http://fosterhood.tumblr.com/post/313740841/note-if-you-can-only-read-a-short-line-of-this
posted by k8t at 1:51 PM on April 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


And as I've tried to explain to my mother in law dozens of times - thrift store clothes are more expensive than Old Navy or Target clothes and at the infant stages I don't care about the durability. At older ages I want durable and I'm willing to pay for it.

And while some folks are great at finding clothes in thrift stores, there is such a large secondary market for kids clothes (e.g. hand me downs) only the shitty stuff ends up in thrift. Most parents I know have regular recpients of their kids hand me downs.
posted by k8t at 1:54 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know why everyone is acting so outraged. Like the Bible verse goes, Whatever You have done for the least of these makes you a weak liberal pussy, nay...I say I was hungry and you did not feed me and I said "Good job Bro!" And Lo! You must love your neighbor like yourself provided thy neighbor belongs to a golf club thy wish to join. And truly blessed are the poor, for they need not worry that such cut of tunic is so terribly last season. Amen"
posted by Ruby Stevens at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2011 [29 favorites]


That is in the Senate. In the house sub-committee they are proposing to eliminate the back-to-school clothing allowance for orphans entirely.
About 160,000 kids wouldn't receive their back-to-school clothing allowance under the Department of Human Services (DHS) budget passed by a House subcommittee. That saves $9.9 million (which will go a long way to pay for the $1.2 billion tax break we're handing businesses).
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:00 PM on April 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


So, just to inject a few actual facts into the situation, this pdf gives the current foster child payment rates in Michigan.

And here is a brief overview of how the state says it views foster child payments.

We're not talking a lot of money for clothing, folks.
posted by hippybear at 2:05 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some childhoods are so poor that even such a small token of dignity such as new clothing is cherished. I remember when I was six I was bought a new shirt for my uncle's wedding, which was the first time clothing had been bought just for me. I felt so happy wearing it, especially the first time I put it on and it felt so new and smart compared to the old hand-me-downs I usually wore. I had to wait another two whole years before a different uncle gave me money for my birthday and I could buy another piece of clothing.

Of course, I often had new clothes for school, but that didn't count. Not just because they were awfully boring and I had to wear them to that place, but because they were bought with a voucher. Even as a young child I knew a voucher was an indignity, even if just a small one. But I hated that small indignity just as much as I loved my new shirt.

But I came from a loving and pretty stable home. I doubt many foster kids have enough dignity left after years of faster care merry-go-round to see it frittered away just because Bruce Caswell wants to score some points.
posted by Jehan at 2:07 PM on April 24, 2011 [47 favorites]


(even more shocking -- it looks like there hasn't been a cost of living increase or anything to any of those payment amounts since... 2004?)
posted by hippybear at 2:08 PM on April 24, 2011


You could save even more money by phasing out senators...I mean, if this is the very best idea this guy can come up with on that salary, then he's really not helping matters any...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:11 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I never had anything new," Caswell says. "I got all the hand-me-downs."
and it's made him a bitter, bitter man.
posted by DaddyNewt at 2:16 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


All right, then, so even on their own putative terms, there is no point to this?

No, the point is to further punish kids who have already, one way or another, lost their parents.
posted by orthogonality at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I see where this is going...

Dr. Byron Orpheus: [after examining Dr. Venture's latest invention] What the hell is this thing made out of?
Dr. Venture: [suspiciously] Nothing.
Dr. Byron Orpheus: Come on...
Dr. Venture: All right, fine, I might have used a few unorthodox parts.
Dr. Byron Orpheus: Just tell me one.
Dr. Venture: [mumbling] An... orphan.
Dr. Byron Orpheus: A what?
Dr. Byron Orpheus: [clearing his throat] An orphan?
Dr. Venture: Did you say... an ORPHAN?
Dr. Venture: [weakly] Yeah, a little orphan boy.
Dr. Byron Orpheus: It's powered by a forsaken child?
Dr. Venture: [defensive] Might be, kind of - I mean I didn't use the whole thing!

posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


The Gospel According to Luke:
And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
Clearly Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell is no Christian.
posted by orthogonality at 2:39 PM on April 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


[Please do not post contact info here. People can google it themselves if they feel the need. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 2:42 PM on April 24, 2011


Then WOW do you have some serious rip-off second-hand stores in your area. With the except of some of the "luxury" items (prom dresses, suits, nicer jackets), the ones in my area don't tend to price anything over $5.

My god, could it be that different second-hand stores in different parts of the country/county/city charge different amounts for clothes, depending on what the market will bear? Could it be that some thrift stores in Michigan will carry clothing that is more expensive (and less appropriate) than can be bought at a Target?
posted by rtha at 2:44 PM on April 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Bruce Caswell
Currently Elected Michigan State Senator District 16
Party: Michigan Republican Party
Contact info: (redacted)
Legislative Assignments: Wearing bad suits and screwing the poor.
posted by T10B at 2:46 PM on April 24, 2011


There is also a vast difference between a "thrift store" and a "resale shop".
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:49 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My money is on this being another brilliant output from the Republican Cauldron of Oligopoly & Greed-Head Evil idea factory
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:54 PM on April 24, 2011


k8t has linked it, but here's the first line to make you go read it.
"Note: If you can only read a short line of this post, I want you to know that there is ONLY ONE PLACE in in all of NYC for foster parents to participate in the ACS clothing voucher and it’s off the Morrison Ave Station (6 train) in the Bronx. Don’t know where that’s at? Neither did I. It was a 6 hour commute total (minus baby and stroller)."

and an update, in which the total of stores that can be used with foster clothing vouchers in NYC has increased to three.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:57 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I worked a job recently for which I was required to bring multiple sets of clothing daily, as they might be destroyed intentionally on the job, and was provided a small clothing allowance to account for this. I've got plenty of grungy old t-shirts and shorts that I'd be happy to ruin for free, but it was winter, and I didn't have many ruin-worthy warm clothes. So I tried the local thrift stores.

None of my local thrift stores charged less than $5 for long pants of any sort, and most of those weren't appropriate for this job anyway. No price differentiation between sweatpants and work-appropriate slacks, which just makes you feel as though you're getting ripped off when you buy the ugly stuff there. I found $3 sweats at K-Mart, and felt bad about buying new clothes to intentionally ruin, but they fit and were warmer and cheaper than anything I'd been able to find in the thrift stores (Goodwill or local charity-run).

I'm glad I had the freedom to spend my clothing allowance as I wished.
posted by asperity at 3:07 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


orthogonality: Clearly Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell is no Christian

For shame, ortho. From the same St. Luke's Gospel:
So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.
/yeah, yeah, outtacontext etc.
posted by hangashore at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republican State Senator Bruce Caswell you have earned my enmity, my REPUBLICAN enmity.
And you sir live in my state, you will not be re-elected.
posted by clavdivs at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Some one outta photoshop this fuck with some blue jeans, ear muffs and a tutu.
posted by clavdivs at 3:19 PM on April 24, 2011


I wonder if Caswell has any family members who own thrift stores. Maybe Value Village is to Caswell as Haliburton is to Cheney.
posted by hippybear at 3:19 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


For most of their base it's actually more like "fuck you, I'll get mine. right, right? I get mine soon right? fuck you"

Close. I'd say it's more like "Since I say fuck you, I'll get mine".
posted by telstar at 3:26 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


'Bruce Caswell (born October 20, 1949) is a Republican asshole from the U.S. state of Michigan, currently serving as a member of the Michigan Senate from the 16th district, representing..."

heh.

Good work people.
posted by clavdivs at 3:44 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


No one ever said their was room for children in an objectivist world.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2011


*there! (edit)
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2011


I struggle to understand this. I grew up poor (welfare cheese, used-clothing, etc). But it never occurred to me that this was somehow a state of grace to inflict on other people. How could one experience this and not learn from it?
posted by SPrintF at 3:49 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You have to understand, SPrintF, he doesn't believe it is a "state of grace", he has to define his deeds as such to live with them. Someone upstream called him "bitter", I think that was spot on.

Teacher, Coach, Superintendent...damn...I have to wonder how many lives this idiot has ruined in the past 62 years.
posted by tomswift at 3:59 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would say it is a really bad sign when legislators feel they can fuck with orphans. No politician is going to do something guaranteed to get himself kicked out of office therefore they must truly believe that the majority of voters don't care about orphans. They may be right. And that is what scares me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:07 PM on April 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


So much money for little stupid things and so little for other that are far more important
posted by juanillogg at 4:10 PM on April 24, 2011


I take contention with everyone taking this one issue and expanding it to the entire Republican ideology (fallacy of composition...). It's a neat comparison and it likely holds true but we're missing that is a single person, although influenced by his party, makes decisions on his own. That said, I agree bad policy.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the additional overhead that would be introduced by implementing this fuck-the-poor-policy. How does one define a thrift store? Are we going to require thrift stores to register? Will there be any oversight into compliance by the thrift stores selling second-hand goods? In what form will the allowance take shape? Can this new form be easily implemented without a large cost to the state? The bill likely attempts to address these issues but I don't have the time (nor interest to read through it).

On a more personal note, as someone who grew up on the state teet, this can be devastating to a child's self-esteem. When I was younger (~9 years old) the thought off shopping in a thrift store frightened me to no end. Wearing a shirt that is two sizes too big to school results in the child being the "poor kid" at school. Alienation at that age can have rather severe effects on socialization later in life (I don't have any sources for this, simply intuition but if anyone does I'd be very interested). I had tantrums as a child over such trivial things. In hindsight I recognize my peers may not have cared as much but introducing the idea to a child that they are an other to their peers becomes self-reinforcing. To be more direct, do those of you espousing Pla's beliefs disagree with my premise or think that the effects simply aren't harmful (or something else ;) )?

On a final note, I know several middle-aged women surviving with state foster stipends taking care of 4-5 children. Not in glamor but they own their house and they are doing a service to the state. Is that acceptable? I think so but I feel that a significant majority would disagree.
posted by EsotericAlgorithm at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't realize the Thrift Store Lobby had that much clout.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:18 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Esoteric--- I've got about fifty, give me a minute.
posted by xarnop at 4:18 PM on April 24, 2011


I actually have a whole lot better idea about it...

One would hope it's greater than your understanding of the range of options available when shopping for clothing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that this proposal is completely stupid for a variety of reasons, but I'd like to point out that I grew up upper-middle-class and my dad always took me shopping for clothes in thrift stores -- his frugality is one of the big reasons that he accumulated the wealth that he did. It never occurred to me that not buying new clothes was any sort of indignity. So the people arguing that this is somehow dehumanizing might want to contemplate how much of their own consumerist brainwashing they're bringing to their perception of thrift store shopping!
posted by Jacqueline at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jeeze I have so many this will take a while to sort through them to your point, but my understanding of what's been found is this-- there are numerous studies which point to early life poverty and adversity and poverty correlating with disease, inflammation, cognitive difficulties and poor health. There are also many studies that find social isolation alters the brain and in depth studies of this on a molecular level have been done on animals. The inflammatory markers associated with disease can in fact be found in higher levels immediately after a rejection exercise (in humans). Further more higher levels of social interaction buffered this affect. Meaning the more friends and social respect and positive interactions at home you have, the more buffer you have against the negative impact of rejection.

It's neat stuff. (That we can research it, not that it happens.) It tends to take me like 45 minutes to sort through all my disorganized links to pull out something specific like this so sorry for the unlinked reporting.
posted by xarnop at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2011


but we're missing that is a single person, although influenced by his party, makes decisions on his own.

You didn't read the link that I posted earlier. It isn't a single person. The Michigan House of Representatives has a subcommittee that has voted to eliminate the funds for orphan Back-to-school clothing allowance. The Senate subcommittee has voted to make the orphans use thrift store vouchers. Next month the final budget will have to be agreed upon so there will be some attempt to hammer out a deal. The bottom line is that the Republicans want to balance the budget without raising taxes on anybody so the services for the poor are going to be taking a beating. Services like burial for paupers, breast and cervical cancer screening for low income women and monthly stipends for the disabled are all up on the chopping block.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:27 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


jacqueline: I would say it's not the "not being able to shop in normal stores" that's dehumanizing, it's being denied the autonomy to choose whether to "shop in normal stores" and being told that "if you're going to get this benevolence of our social safety net, you're going to use it exactly how we tell you to use it" that's dehumanizing.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:31 PM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]






"I grew up upper-middle-class and my dad always took me shopping..."

Growing up as child for whom neither of those things applied, I remember exactly how humiliating it was to withstand the ridicule of kids at my school who came from upper-middle class, two-parent households (where they apparently did not learn empathy or etiquette) for wearing hand-me-downs and sneakers from the cheap shoe bin at the grocery store. I had a paper route at age ten so I could have the small dignity of owning a new pair of jeans or a pretty shirt that wasn't years out of style once in a while. Thrift store shopping is a blast when it's a choice, however, when it's a financial necessity, it can be demoralizing and dehumanizing without consumerist brainwashing entering into the picture at all.
posted by Heretic at 4:39 PM on April 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


The problem is this. Poor people, in order to maintain dignity, choose certain areas in which to demonstrate that they're "really not poor" and have "class." One of these areas, for kids, is often branded clothing. This is why you'll see kids from poor areas with very expensive sneakers.

One can argue about the merits of this; I would say it's a bad thing. But the reality is that for kids in these neighborhoods, having the "right" clothes is a sign of being someone who "isn't ghetto" and who has some status. Forcing kids in foster care—who already, as many have noted—have self esteem issues, etc., to have their parents shop in stores where they will necessarily get "last year's" stuff, is to deny them access to this. I agree that it shouldn't be this way. However, it *is* this way— and forcing this on foster kids is mean as a result. A foster kid may get more happiness out of one $70 dollar pair of forbiddenly expensive new sneakers than he would out of the entire rest of the allowance.

If *everyone* was forced to shop at second hand stores for their kids, they'd find different and possibly cheaper status markers and that would be a good thing. But somehow I don't see Republicans mandating that.
posted by Maias at 4:48 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


You didn't read the link that I posted earlier
Ah I did miss that link! I was wrong in assessment of it being a single person, thanks for clarifying. I'll still hold that part of the polarization of politics is due to associating individuals with groups instead of on their own merits, although that is an admittedly unhelpful assertion as it's impossible to avoid.

Thanks for the link xarnop I'll definitely hit you up for biblio if it's not too much work for you.

As for Jacqueline's comments: I don't think it's fair of us to exclude you simply because you didn't have the same experiences as I do think you're able to empathize with the situation, but I'd parrot the same responses of others. While when I was young I never associated a loss of autonomy with any increased anxiety or frustration it was likely a cause. While it may be less traumatic in more socio-economically homogeneous schools there was definitely a stigma against the poor. Most who had subsidized lunches in school or used any sorta visible state food assistance (food stamps, ebt, etc) have almost assuredly experienced the same feeling. There is a rationality of this that is easy to argue against feeling in such a way (like Maias argues) but it exists nevertheless.

TLDR All schools needs cheap uniforms (and if anyone has any studies that examine the effects of school uniforms on self-esteem, link!).
posted by EsotericAlgorithm at 4:52 PM on April 24, 2011


Esoteric and Xarnop—and anyone else— if you are interested in the way stress from low SES can lead to ill health and the way that social support modulates this, my book, Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered, co written with Bruce Perry, MD, PhD, has a lot on this, including stuff on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study and on the links between empathy, trust and inequality. Just out in paperback ;-)

[Please excuse self promo]
posted by Maias at 5:14 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compassionate Conservatism didn't work* so they're trying it the other way?

* or exist

I have one of Maias' other books. I would count myself a fan. Of course, YMMV.
posted by jtron at 5:17 PM on April 24, 2011


I bought my daughter a whole bunch of shirts at Old Navy last fall, on sale for $2.50 apiece.

You can't typically buy used clothes for that, even at goodwill or value village. Usually shirts are more like $3 each. Sometimes you can find stuff for $1 or $2, but I wouldn't rely on it.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:28 PM on April 24, 2011


But the reality is that for kids in these neighborhoods, having the "right" clothes is a sign of being someone who "isn't ghetto" and who has some status. Forcing kids in foster care—who already, as many have noted—have self esteem issues, etc., to have their parents shop in stores where they will necessarily get "last year's" stuff, is to deny them access to this. I agree that it shouldn't be this way. However, it *is* this way— and forcing this on foster kids is mean as a result. A foster kid may get more happiness out of one $70 dollar pair of forbiddenly expensive new sneakers than he would out of the entire rest of the allowance.

By the time I reached ten or so clothing had come down so much in price (because of manufacturing moving overseas and changes in purchasing power) I had new clothes regularly if not often. I know my mother was always willing to buy me "nice" things if she could stretch for them, and I probably would have ended up doing something similar to what you describe. But I must have been too conscientious as I knew how much that stuff cost and that we couldn't really afford it even if I wanted it. When I was 13 or so I told my mother that I had objections to branding, and wouldn't wear anything with a logo knowing that it ruled out many expensive items. Although it saved a lot of money in the long run, I took it to such extremes that I only reluctantly agreed to a piece of clothing I needed if she covered over the (tiddy) logo with a patch. I guess making a political stand came with a dignity of its own, even if I was keenly aware of how much more other people had (not just clothing, but so much else).
posted by Jehan at 5:38 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


asperity : I worked a job recently for which I was required to bring multiple sets of clothing daily, as they might be destroyed intentionally on the job

Okay, story time! I want to hear more about this job. No sarcasm or vitriol intended, that sounds like either a pretty neat (or damned dangerous) job.


Heretic : Growing up as child for whom neither of those things applied, I remember exactly how humiliating it was to withstand the ridicule of kids at my school who came from upper-middle class, two-parent households

Yeah, welcome to childhood. I fell into the same category as your tormentors, and it made little difference in their meanness. Perhaps they chose different angles of attack, but little monsters will do as they do - Children universally count as miserable little bastards to each other, no exceptions.
posted by pla at 5:51 PM on April 24, 2011


People can be so heartless.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:52 PM on April 24, 2011


For a while I've been thinking of doing this webcomic with heavy Dickensian influnences, like, Kids going door to door raising money for asbestos removal for their school, and originally I was going to read a bunch of Dickens books, but I have a feeling the Tea Party and Republicans are providing enough inspirations and after this election cycle, I'll have plenty of material.
posted by hellojed at 5:55 PM on April 24, 2011


There was a time when decent republicans (about 7) would offer a choice, as in free market. Regardless, if someone had proposed: Hey, folks can use these funds at a thrift store if they want. Choice, a variety, even sell the proposal as putting funds back into charitable services and fostering the market of second hand goods, an abundant resource , but no.

The man is limiting choice with his proposal. Thus he is a bad republican, BAD.
posted by clavdivs at 6:03 PM on April 24, 2011


Children universally count as miserable little bastards to each other, no exceptions.

....So that makes it okay to pile yet more misery on kids who are already carrying more misery than many, because hey, childhood sucks anyway and extra suckage isn't going to make any difference!
posted by rtha at 6:03 PM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I take contention with everyone taking this one issue and expanding it to the entire Republican ideology (fallacy of composition...). It's a neat comparison and it likely holds true but we're missing that is a single person, although influenced by his party, makes decisions on his own."

In the case of Michigan, I would assert this is not true. Our CEO Fucking Idiot Governor has tremendous support from his legions, you'll find few, if any, republicans with the inclination or balls to speak out against Rick Snyder.
posted by tomswift at 6:14 PM on April 24, 2011


pla: if someone can't afford socks and underwear, they probably shouldn't take in foster kids.
As someone who works in child welfare (and considers myself fairly economically conservative), I have to say that this is the most heartbreakingly misguided thing I think I've ever heard someone say.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 6:15 PM on April 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


" little monsters will do as they do - Children universally count as miserable little bastards to each other, no exceptions"

heh...THAT statement explains a lot....
posted by tomswift at 6:16 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]



Heartless piece of shit politician panders to his "I got mine" conservative constituency.
posted by notreally at 6:21 PM on April 24, 2011


pla: Okay, story time! I want to hear more about this job. No sarcasm or vitriol intended, that sounds like either a pretty neat (or damned dangerous) job.

Civilian casualty victim for military training purposes. Lots of fake blood and real mud!
posted by asperity at 6:30 PM on April 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


you'll find few, if any, republicans with the inclination or balls to speak out against Rick Snyder.

They don't dare. If they do, he'll dissolve their local government and install a handpicked viceroy to do his bidding with their town.
posted by hippybear at 6:30 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha : So that makes it okay to pile yet more misery on kids who are already carrying more misery than many, because hey, childhood sucks anyway and extra suckage isn't going to make any difference!

Sometimes, connecting seemingly-unconnected details provides a fabulous insight into a situation, a glimpse of genius that makes everything come together neatly.

And sometimes, it just makes you look like you either can't read, or have a hard-on for pet issues that you'll find a way to squeeze into the discussion regardless of what people actually say.
posted by pla at 6:36 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doofus Magoo : As someone who works in child welfare (and considers myself fairly economically conservative), I have to say that this is the most heartbreakingly misguided thing I think I've ever heard someone say.

Wait... So you'd rather see kids placed with people who can't afford them, because somehow "love" will magically make the fact that they need to eat dog-food to survive okay?

Seriously, WTF? Yeah, in an ideal world, every child has a perfect upbringing and loving parents who can afford them.

This ain't that world. And in this world, "can afford" beats "love".
posted by pla at 6:39 PM on April 24, 2011


pla: Wait... So you'd rather see kids placed with people who can't afford them, because somehow "love" will magically make the fact that they need to eat dog-food to survive okay?
DO you have any background in child welfare? If you did, you'd know that children placed with kinship have demonstrably higher rates of successful post-foster care outcomes, including not re-entering care, increased living stability and later involvement in the criminal justice system. The financial status of their substitute providers has no statistically significant correlation on these outcomes.

Children placed in their natural community (as opposed to a different community in the same state; somewhere else in the state; or another state altogether) have statistically significantly educational outcomes (controlling for the obvious child-specific issues that would impact both) than other children.

Study after study after study shows that the one thing that has the biggest impact on successful outcomes post-foster care is, yes, a loving and caring foster family.

I appreciate where you're coming from -- I really do. But you have to realize that you've set up a very large strawman ("magic love" and "eating dog food") that lies at the very outermost fringe of the issue we're actually discussing. You're setting up a dichotomy ("foster parents who can afford it" versus "poor people who love them") that often doesn't exist -- ask any case welfare worker in any county in any state if they have enough foster families. You might be surprised at the answer.

My point about your assertion being "heartbreakingly misguided" is that there is a SEVERE lack of foster families in this country -- further raising the bar to getting these kids decent families to help raise them to be productive members of society is not a good thing.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 6:49 PM on April 24, 2011 [30 favorites]


So you'd rather see kids placed with people who can't afford them, because somehow "love" will magically make the fact that they need to eat dog-food to survive okay?

Wow, you still don't know what you're talking about - foster parents get paid by the state to take care of kids. That's what the thread is about. It's not a situation where broke people are clamoring to take in kids and feed them dog food so this "afford to care for them" thing you keep harping on isn't relevant to how things actually work.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:50 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait... So you'd rather see kids placed with people who can't afford them, because somehow "love" will magically make the fact that they need to eat dog-food to survive okay?

It would be far, far cheaper to provide a theoretical starving family with enough assistance to maintain a foster child in their home than keep that child in a residential placement or group home. The minimum cost to put a child into Tennessee (my home state) state custody for one month is $5000. A residential placement here runs about $250 a day--around $90k a year. Group home placement is probably around $200 a day, but I can't find a cite.

Anyway, not saying that very low income homes are a place where foster care youth should be placed; however, refusing to put a kid in a foster home that could benefit from extra assistance is in NO WAY saving anyone money.
posted by Benjy at 6:57 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Michigan pays about $200 every two weeks in per diem expenses to foster families caring for children 12 and under, and $250 every two weeks for children 13 and up. Twice a year a clothing allowance is granted of between ~$200 and $500, depending on the age of the child. A holiday allowance of $25 is given per child every December. There are some other monies given to foster parents for special needs children or day care expenses and a few other things.

In all, a foster child in Michigan will grant the foster family something around $6000 per year, give or take a bit depending on the child's age.

That'll probably keep the kids from eating dog food. But how much else will that cover? Not a lot, I suspect. I lived for about 4 years on under $10K on my own as an adult making a lot of compromising choices about my food and such during those years, and it was a lot of really hard work and really sucked while it was going on. I know that shared housing and expenses can make money go farther, but really, $6K is probably pretty much only covering the VERY basics for any child in foster care.
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. I avoided clicking on this thread ALL DAY because I knew it was going to make me sad and fill me with GRAR. But this:

This ain't that world. And in this world, "can afford" beats "love".

is so wrong that I'm about to flip a table and burn some shit down. Pla, I don't know you or anything about you, but holy shit.

I would adopt 10 kids and feed them beans & rice and evaporated milk (like we drank when I was a kid!!) and sew all their clothes by hand if it meant that those 10 didn't have to be in the foster care system anymore.

We just had that AWESOME LOVING thread about Rebecca (?) and Jacket, and then this. Blech.
posted by polly_dactyl at 7:26 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, to be fair, the logical conclusions of pla's arguments -- namely, that tons and tons of additional money should be lavished on the foster care system in order to achieve desired outcomes -- do make some sense.
posted by kyrademon at 7:26 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps they chose different angles of attack, but little monsters will do as they do

Either you hate kids or Gaga fans, pla. You should talk to someone about that.
posted by jaduncan at 7:33 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


On a sidenote, do you have ANY idea how many used crutches and wheelchairs there are around? Why are we giving crippled people all this new shit? It's not like they can get mad at us and run after us...
posted by jcworth at 7:46 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of that story where people were outraged that people on food stamps were using them to buy decent ingredients to make respectable meals with, as opposed to mac & cheese and hot dogs.
posted by wondermouse at 8:12 PM on April 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


And in this world, "can afford" beats "love".

which, of course, is a terrible admission of the paucity and bankruptcy of our current world

but that's not how you meant it, is it?

---

In all, a foster child in Michigan will grant the foster family something around $6000 per year, give or take a bit depending on the child's age.

but, but, but ... isn't it more important that we can buy one b1 bomber for 283.1 million bucks then provide support for 47,183 foster children?

remember, in this world, "can afford" beats "love"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:31 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


but, but, but ... isn't it more important that we can buy one b1 bomber for 283.1 million bucks then provide support for 47,183 foster children?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
posted by hippybear at 8:34 PM on April 24, 2011 [26 favorites]


Entertainingly, the "people on foodstamps buying decent ingredients" thread was another one where pla extensively deployed their unique brand of hostile, wasteful, and badly informed quasi-conservativism. There's this weird thread in contemporary political culture where people mix up being "hard" (which generally takes the form of making other peoples' lives suck) with being fiscally responsible, even though making other peoples' lives suck frequently costs way, way more than being decent does.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:38 PM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


you can't tip a buick - what you don't realize is that if we all lived in company barracks working for companies, our sustenance would cost much, much less for the companies and we would all be less likely to live wasteful and indisciplined lives

it's a win/win situation
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


BREAKING: pla is a ... ah, fuck it. Parody is dead. Like the Republic.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:56 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Entertainingly, the "people on foodstamps buying decent ingredients" thread was another one where pla extensively deployed their unique brand of hostile, wasteful, and badly informed quasi-conservativism. There's this weird thread in contemporary political culture where people mix up being "hard" (which generally takes the form of making other peoples' lives suck) with being fiscally responsible, even though making other peoples' lives suck frequently costs way, way more than being decent does.

"Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people."
posted by jaduncan at 8:57 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife and I started the process to become foster parents. Here is an anecdote they shared during training to enable us to relate in some way to what it can be like for a kid entering the foster care system.

Your 6 years old and your 12 year old sister is the one really taking care of you. Mom has a drug problem and is not able to take care of either of you. The apartment is filthy and there is little in the way of toys etc. One day the Police show up arrest your mother and take you and your sister away. You arrive at a complete strangers house where you will stay for up to 2 weeks until a long term foster home is found. Think about that fist night alone, confused, literally the only thing that is yours are the clothes on your back.

Once in the long term foster home you may need to change schools, be split up from your older sibling (this is avoided if at all possible), have to adjust to new siblings, and so on. When you ask when you are going back with your mother no one can give you a strait answer. (They make every effort to reunite the families, but that an take time.) So lets add to that showing up at school in what ever is available at the thrift store?

Foster kids in Wisconsin get around $350.00 for clothing the entire time they are in foster care. the state requires documentation of how the money was spent so it's not wasted. After that the foster parents need to get creative. Kohl's does a great thing where they setup a warehouse right before school starts and foster parents can bring the kids to get brand new school clothes and shoes.

These kids have literally lost everything, and this asshole won't even grant them the solace of a pair of shoes of their own?

I am so angry at reading this I just want to jump in my car, drive to MI and tell this waste of DNA what a pimple on the ass of humanity he is.
posted by empty vessel at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2011 [23 favorites]


Please stop interrupting pla everyone. He is *this* close to perfecting that Neil Peart bit on the drum kit he built from his very own bootstraps and fop sweat and misguided sense of self-aggrandizement.

Seriously: fuck you. This is not an abstract Objectivist problem, asshole. These are our kids. Take the sociopathic bullshit to Galt Gulch and let the adults figure this one out. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:07 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Please drop the Peart/Rush Objectivist thing. They quit exploring that philosophy in their lyrics decades ago, and it's an overtired trope which shows those who use it have no knowledge of the group itself and cannot allow people to grow out of their youthful folly and into a more mature worldview.
posted by hippybear at 9:20 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apologies, hippybear, but it is a cliche because it is true. To paraphrase Sloan, it is not the band that I hate, but the fan(boiz).
posted by joe lisboa at 9:26 PM on April 24, 2011


And, frankly, I am pretty familiar with Rush and their aesthetic/philosophical evolution. There, I said it. So I know of what I (mis-)speak but yeah: could have picked a less formulaic way of ridiculing the sociopathy of pla. My bad.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:27 PM on April 24, 2011


This makes me so shaky angry that my thoughts are really scattered, so will I just list them in numerical order.

1) I am so glad that me and mine got the righteous fuck away from Hillsdale.

2) No thrift stores there. Coldwater's a decent stretch of road away, and their Goodwill is pretty small and generally sucks.

3) What the ever loving fuck is happening in this state? Taking over Benton Harbor, closing Catherine Ferguson, busting unions, taxing the poor and elderly to get rid of the SBT, and now this shit? I mean, WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK!?

4) You know what they call the white dude who comes in and takes over local stuff in 80%+ African American Benton Harbor and Detroit? His title is that of "overseer". Seriously.

I am almost never in favor of recalls, but you know what, I give up. I'm getting involved in this one. Because this just keeps moving from bad to worse.
posted by Leta at 9:35 PM on April 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


To paraphrase Sloan, it is not the band that I hate, but the fan(boiz).

Hrm. It's hard not to take that personally on some level, I think. I'm certainly not blind to Rush's lyrical proclivities in the 1970s because I was buying their albums on release date back then, but if you're going to be hating on me because 1) I have followed this group since my years were counted in single digits, and 2) because I let them as people grow and evolve across a lifetime of artistic expression, then I'm not sure what else to say.

Maybe you have a problem with letting your sense of humor and snark get the better of you sometimes and you're saying things you don't mean in order to earn cheap laugh points. I'd hope that's the case, because otherwise you got pretty ugly pretty quickly.
posted by hippybear at 9:41 PM on April 24, 2011


By all means yes let's ignore the issue at hand and instead concentrate on more important things. I mean, fuck the poor kids, let's discuss how deeply hurtful it is that someone has dared talk shit about a musical group that was last relevant more than 20 years ago.
posted by dersins at 10:14 PM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hippybear - I spent my morning listening to Moving Pictures and trying to expand my Rush sensibilities...trying to catch up on what I missed (or didn't appreciate) earlier in my life. Anyway, I didn't read joe lisboa's comment as a direct slam at you at all...just an easy jab that maybe poked an unintended target.
posted by victoriab at 10:25 PM on April 24, 2011


Oh yeah, this guy is a total jackass but it looks like he's backing away from the hard line a bit...hopefully the damage is done and he'll be voted out of office next election.

"Senator Caswell initially proposed issuing a gift card for the clothing allowance for resale shops in order to ensure the money would actually go toward purchasing clothing. After a suggestion from a constituent, he plans to draft an amendment to the proposal that would direct the state to work with major retailers to create a gift card program that would ensure the clothing allowance money only purchases clothing and shoes at their stores. Furthermore, the amendment will direct DHS to negotiate with the retailers for a discount on those clothing items purchased with the allowance in order to get the best deal for the recipients."


Emphasis is mine. "Suggestions from a constituent" = 8,000+ angry people emailing and calling his office from all over the U.S.
posted by victoriab at 10:30 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, dersins... did you miss my earlier comments in this thread? It's okay to have small tangents in discussions, and I've hardly ignored the issue at hand. Ctrl-F and look for my username.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 PM on April 24, 2011


he plans to draft an amendment to the proposal that would direct the state to work with major retailers to create a gift card program that would ensure the clothing allowance money only purchases clothing and shoes at their stores.

See, again... I find problems with this plan.

Personally, I've found that farm & ranch stores are THE place to buy jeans. They carry name brands at a fraction of the price of other stores. (Levi's 501 shrink-to-fits for under $30? They're over $50 at the mall.) They also tend to have pretty good prices on durable shoes and other clothing.

Will these gift cards be able to be used at ANY store that carries clothing? Or will there be a list of approved stores? And what will that list entail and how will it be determined? Will lobbying dollars be spent to convince Caswell that, say, Kohl's should be included, and Pennys not?

I love these conservatives who preach against the "nanny state" and then set up situations where the state is dictating someone's behavior. Just ridiculous all around.

Believe me... If you're a foster parent and you have a child in your house who is growing, you're going to use every bit of that $200-500 you get twice a year to keep that kid in underwear, shoes, pants, shirts and coats. Especially in Michigan. It's not like you're in Phoenix and could get away with dollar store flipflops for the kids year round.
posted by hippybear at 10:39 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty fucking sure that foster parents are aware of thrift stores as a place to buy clothing, thanks, Senator.

Now, how much does a loaf of bread cost? A gallon of milk? No cheating, Senator, tell me off the top of your head.
posted by desuetude at 10:47 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I spent my morning listening to Moving Pictures and trying to expand my Rush sensibilities

You should check out their Time Machine Tour this summer. They'll be playing that entire album as part of the show.

posted by hippybear at 10:50 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, the poor and orphans, we need to take more from them. Won't anyone think of th rich?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:56 PM on April 24, 2011


Are you guys seriously arguing about Rush?
posted by item at 11:22 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]




Minus expenses required for set up and enforcement.
posted by Artw at 11:42 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Senator Caldwell strikes me as a bitter angry man. Talk about dog in the manger behaviour - this is mine and I'll do all I can to make sure you can't get your fair share.
posted by arcticseal at 1:10 AM on April 25, 2011


Mandating how individuals - even individuals receiving state money - spend their money is generally a bad idea, I think. Sure, they might spend it on dumb stuff. But they need to make their own choices.

This seems a perfectly reasonable, right-wing idea. I'm always a bit surprised when stuff like this comes from Republicans (or my local variant). Isn't mandating that people should buy state-approved goods a bit, well, socialist? We could go further...

[parody] We have this a huge prison population, with their below-market-price labor, producing goods for consumers who can be mandated to buy it. I'm not saying prisoners make clothes for thrift stores, but hey, they could - we could have state-designed utility clothing for poor people, and make poor people use it, and reduce their cash benefits in kind. Efficient allocation of resources by the state! It worked well in the Soviet Union! [/parody]

But this kind of statism is coming from the Right? What a disconnect. It shows how class trumps economic theory, if you ask me.
posted by alasdair at 3:43 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick : Entertainingly, the "people on foodstamps buying decent ingredients" thread was another one where pla extensively deployed their unique brand of hostile, wasteful, and badly informed quasi-conservativism.

Why yes, yes I do see these as somewhat similar situations - Recipients of free money from Uncle Sam thinking they have some sort of right to spend it with no strings attached.

There's this weird thread in contemporary political culture where people mix up being "hard" (which generally takes the form of making other peoples' lives suck) with being fiscally responsible

Whether you agree with this or not, I can explain that in one sentence - Fiscally responsible people wouldn't need a handout (some medical situations excepted); trusting people, therefore, to spend those handouts without a few guidelines in place amounts to throwing good money after bad (queue someone quoting that back exactly how I don't mean that... "pla: Feeding orphans - throwing good money after bad").

I will admit, though, that I consider foster kids a much less clearcut instance of this, insofar as the state has accepted (in some cases, demanded) custody of them and thus has an obligation to provide for them. Still, if we let religious whackjobs insist the get to choose schools that prefer their personal flavor of lies, I find it hard to consider it all that bad to insist they wear cheap clothes.


item : Are you guys seriously arguing about Rush?

Yeah, sorry 'bout that. My fault somehow...


I can see that this has gone "all about me" again, and Jess will no doubt pop in soon enough to tell me to cut it out, so I'll proactively bid you all a good morning and leave you to your ever-so-productive Republican-bashing.
posted by pla at 3:45 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


""Suggestions from a constituent" = 8,000+ angry people emailing and calling his office from all over the U.S."

This makes me want to cry out of hope. The people in power will do anything they want to the poor/voiceless unless we speak up, but we have more power than we think we do.


You can ask most kids who've been through multiple foster homes-- there really are way more abusive and outright cruel foster parents than we would like to think. It's a heartbreaking reality. Trying to ensure that they really get the clothes they need is a good thing. Sticking in "must be from thrift store" was an extremely degrading thing.

The reality is, people who want to abuse the system are impervious to agendas like this. A foster parent who REALLY wants to skrew over their foster child can buy the clothes and go sell them. The one good thing about this law is that it might be easier to verify people who are fucking over the child. If they claim they bough xyz with the gift card, then why are the child's clothes in tatters?

But the foster system usually doesn't have a lot of time to investigate such claims because they are so busy seeing horrible stuff all the time, and kids do make up stuff about their foster families some times so it's very hard to verify what's going on. Working around so much really messed up stuff makes people, even good caring people, develop a distance that's hard to understand if you haven't worked around horrible things happening all the time. At least according to many of my friends who have worked there, and fostered. People working there often feel at the mercy of a beaucocratic system that tells them what to do and they are often overwhelmed with the emotions of during a hard job and it's harder to think creatively and come up with "exciting new programs!" when you're just drowning in sorrow seeing kids that on some level are in a level of pain that you can't do anything about and that may never get better.

Involvement from the outside is good. Reminding the country that kids in the foster system are human beings, have no business being used in the "pick yourself up by your bootsrap campain" and deserve everything that every other child deserves---- is a good thing.
posted by xarnop at 5:32 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Fiscally responsible people wouldn't need a handout"

LOL you're going to throw that down and then bow out? Ha!

People with no arms? People with downsyndrome? People with autism who can't speak? People who are blind and deaf? People with fetal alcohol syndrome? People with cognitive impairments?

You realize that conditions like this are on a gradient? There are some people who are more or less impaired than others. Many people can work but need some help. It's not a matter of "vegetable in a bed" vs "working person."

And disporportionately--- kids raised without healthy families face disabilities that impair their ability to be self sufficient and "fiscally responsible" as you say.
posted by xarnop at 5:47 AM on April 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why yes, yes I do see these as somewhat similar situations - Recipients of free money from Uncle Sam thinking they have some sort of right to spend it with no strings attached.

If the money's got strings, it's not free.

Money to foster parents is not "free" - it both comes with strings and is payment for services. Money to people on food stamps is not free - it also comes with strings.

I swear, sometimes it looks like you've got a hard-on for your pet issues, and it interferes with your ability to acknowledge facts already in evidence.
posted by rtha at 5:56 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure all states are different, but in Texas, foster parents get a a fee of about 22.00 a day, for a grand total of around $7400 a year to care for a foster kid.

I can't imagine that many people would go through the vetting process to become foster parents for the money. Sure, statistically, there's bound to be bad apples...but the vast majority of foster parents I know do it because they're good people.

I investigated doing it, but we couldn't accommodate our lifestyle to fit the rules. The things the foster system said we would have to get rid of included our ancient and non-aggressive dogs, trampoline, climbing wall, swimming pool and spa, and on and on. Despite the fact that we had an extra bedroom, and resources, and somehow my son has managed to survive the perils of living with us, there were just too many "dangers" in our house.

Which suggests that the people who are approved for foster care must REALLY want to be foster parents if they're willing to change their entire lifestyle into a padded room safe zone...so I doubt that profit motive is what is driving their decisions.

That said; I had the best time at the beginning of the school year "borrowing" my neighbors foster girls to take them shopping for clothes. I don't have girls, so it was fun to get to spend some time in the pink and sparkly section. I told them they could each pick out 3 outfits, and 3 pairs of shoes, but like any shopping trip...more stuff than that came home.

It's not like I took them to boutiques in the trendy areas, we went to traditional retail stores, and a lot of it was on sale...but the little pittance of money that the Senator is wringing his hands over...wouldn't have touched the bill.

To quibble over feeding and clothing the least fortunate amongst us is evil. It is not conservatism, it is not fiscal responsibility. It is cruel, and heartless, and evil. We must stop the Right from attacking those who cannot defend themselves, as the Right has proven itself to be a threshing machine fueled on the tears of the hungry, the cold, and the unheard.
posted by dejah420 at 7:12 AM on April 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Republicans in Florida hate Foster kids, too:

[Florida] Sen. Stephen Wise says everybody on death row was in foster care

(They hate foster kids so much, they can't even conceive of a world in which any random bad thing they might think to say about foster kids isn't true.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:19 AM on April 25, 2011


Another data point to prove that this is nothing more than a vendetta against the poor, here's some goodness coming out of Michigan:

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder Begins Rape of Michigan to Benefit Wealthy Cronies

Detroit EFM, Robert Bobb, Salary Paid in Part by Billionaire Conservative Foundation

Corporations Behind Michigan's Unconstitutional EFM Law, Including Amway and Koch Industries

The Corporatization of Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Republicans Engaging in Disaster Capitalism

Detroit Emergency Manager Closes School for Pregnant Teens, Police Arrest Protesting Students

The same "overseers" who are taking away public parks from Black communities to give rich white folks a new golf course, and forcing orphans to wear rags, and throwing pregnant girls out on the streets rather than keeping them in school...also closing the school for the deaf, and are now training HUNDREDS more "overseers to go take over any other city that didn't vote Republican.

How this is even legal is beyond me. The EFM law gives Snyder (Gov. R.) the power to hand-pick emergency financial managers, who then have the authority to take the following actions:

1. Consolidate or dissolve local governments and dismiss the officials elected by the people.
2. Consolidate or dissolve school districts, close schools, and dismiss elected school board members.
3. Sell off public property. Public. Property. Parks, buildings, licenses, permits, and so forth. All of it.
4. Privatize government services, with all that entails.
5. Shred all contracts agreed to by local governments and schools, including union contracts.

His list currently (as of Apr. 13) includes 174 municipalities...every single one of them, leaned Democrat in the last election.

This isn't just a play to punish the poor for being poor, or pregnant girls for being sluts, or orphans for being careless enough to lose their parents...this is all about making sure that there can be no challenge to the power structure. They will destroy anything that isn't Republican.

And Michigan, like Wisconsin, is a bell-ringer for the rest of the states. You watch, every state with a Republican governor is going to try to do the exact same thing, just like they marched in lockstep on union rights and labor contracts.

This is a war. They have openly declared war. What remains to be seen is how we respond.
posted by dejah420 at 7:43 AM on April 25, 2011 [21 favorites]


Detroit Emergency Manager Closes School for Pregnant Teens, Police Arrest Protesting Students

Rachel Maddow did a segment about this on Friday night. It's worth watching.
posted by hippybear at 7:52 AM on April 25, 2011


As a parent, I have found that sometimes a shirt at Target is cheaper than a shirt at a thrift store, anyway. And if it's not cheaper, it's comparable, plus I know I can get something in my son's size at the Target.

Thrift doesn't always mean cheapest option in terms of money OR time.
posted by zizzle at 8:02 AM on April 25, 2011


I swear to god, I wouldn't have a problem with this -- you know, government, as the agent of the people, spending money wisely in an effort to make sure that the basic material needs of every person are met -- if this wasn't so obviously coated in hatred of the poor, and yes, racism.

To me, there's very little logical difference between "we should get thrift store clothes on the backs of children without clothes because that's a low cost solution to a problem" and "we should tell health insurance companies that they need to play by some basic rules of fairness so everyone can pay their bills when they get sick." Only one of those statements is likely to get you accused of calling for class warfare or get you shot by a republican.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:04 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


does anybody have a racial breakdown of Michigan kids in the foster care system?
posted by liza at 8:24 AM on April 25, 2011


Fiscally responsible people wouldn't need a handout

As I said before, the ultimate goal of the plas and the Bruce Caswells of the world is to completely eliminate government spending on foster care. To them a system with fewer foster parents and no government oversight is preferable to one with more, but where some are paid a small amount by the government for their effort. Make the conditions for receiving the stipend as onerous and humiliating as possible (and that serves double duty, because there really is a visceral hatred of the poor coming from these people), and nobody will be able to "leech" tax money.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:27 AM on April 25, 2011


To those talking about the 'damage being undone by the next guy':
I don't think these fascist lunatics are going to drive away all the voters by next election. (or even that a Democrat will roll everything back.)

There's people in this country who are such pathological idiots, they see guys like Bruce Caswell drafting legislation like this and they give a thumbs-up and go "Hey, right on, man!". Actually, there's a lot of them. And they vote.

Hell, when Paul LePage, governor of Maine, told the NAACP to 'kiss [his] ass', a significant number of Mainers were horrified. But another significant faction of Mainers saw it and went "Yup, more straight talk from Paul! You put those porch monkeys in their place!". (Yes, they talk like that. You should listen to the CB band at 6 in the morning. A lot of these guys are town selectmen.)

So basically, I wouldn't expect the Republican Party to scare off its base by next election, because their base likes this shit, even if they wouldn't say it in public yet. The more we see politicians talking about this stuff, the more people get numb to it, the more it seems perfectly logical, the more hate and evil become institutionalized and spread throughout public discourse. It snowballs.


I wish I could give people some easy answers, but at this point it's really fucking depressing. All the opposition up here in Maine seems to be a crowd of people with signs ranging from "Free Mumia" to "Ban Clearcutting", people in peace beads beating a goddamn tom-tom on wheels, and a bunch of grey-haired Prius drivers swaying in unison singing "This Little Star of Mine" and handing out pamphlets on nonviolence. There's no coherent message (like "We Want Him Gone Now!"), no coherent action plan, no storming the Bastille, nothing.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick : Entertainingly, the "people on foodstamps buying decent ingredients" thread was another one where pla extensively deployed their unique brand of hostile, wasteful, and badly informed quasi-conservativism.

Why yes, yes I do see these as somewhat similar situations - Recipients of free money from Uncle Sam thinking they have some sort of right to spend it with no strings attached.


Of course, if you take into account the fact that most conservatives believe in the crazy notion that god loves them unconditionally but will send them to hell if they don't comply (love with strings attached, as pla would say) Pla's and the conservatives' opinion is far more understandable.

Anyway, I think that if the government was to attach any strings, they should be for the better (i.e. no shitty food with food stamps/good quality durable clothing items), not for sheer fuckthepoority.
posted by Tarumba at 9:40 AM on April 25, 2011


pla: I will admit, though, that I consider foster kids a much less clearcut instance of [where handouts are bad], insofar as the state has accepted (in some cases, demanded) custody of them and thus has an obligation to provide for them. (note my edit [])

Yes, but if we've accepted that Parents A and B are fit and proper people to foster a child in our custody, then we must surely accept that A and B should have authority over where they spend money on clothes? That A and B, rather than some faceless state bureaucrat, might know best where to get cost-efficient good quality clothing, and the needs of the child? You know, get the state off their back?

I mean, I'm sure you're right, in that for some non-zero number of families they are better off with tokens for food and clothing rather than cash. But, while that might be true, it flies for me completely against the basic right-wing idea that people are fundamentally individuals who know best their own interests. I mean, I make a massive exception for healthcare, but other than that I think individuals should be free to spend their money on goods and services, not have some unelected official control what they do. Even if they make poor choices, sometimes, and the kids suffer.

(Not saying this happens a lot, or at all, or ever, but you might have personal experience of this situation and I don't want to gainsay that. I'm just expressing my basic right-wing prejudice against state control, and my surprise that you don't share it.)
posted by alasdair at 10:06 AM on April 25, 2011


"Goddamit, this would be a great country if it weren't for all these poor and orphaned children sucking the lifeblood from us productive, self-sufficient entrepreneurs! We've got to stop coddling them, so the money can be properly spent on tax breaks for the wealthy and for increasing the size of the war machine. If there were only some way to make the cushy role of a poor orphan and make it more difficult..."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2011


Detroit Emergency Manager Closes School for Pregnant Teens, Police Arrest Protesting Students

My cousin Joe is a big Detroit activist, and was present when they were arresting those girls. He was HORRIFIED. They took those girls' kids away from them when they arrested them. In most cases they sent them to the children's grandparents, which is mostly the custodial home, so it's not the worst case scenario. But a lot of the mothers didn't know that when their kids were taken. According to Joe, the arresting officers verbally told some of the girls that their children were going to foster care and they'd never see them again, but of course they were running the sirens on their cars so none of the video picks up any of that.

I have family in Michigan; besides Joe, my mother grew up in Ann Arbor and my uncle still lives there, and we have a lot of folks living or vacationing around one of the lakes near Lake Michigan. It's a beautiful, beautiful state, I've visited nearly every year since I was born. But there is some super-ugly racism and classism going on, too.
posted by KathrynT at 10:18 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


""Suggestions from a constituent" = 8,000+ angry people emailing and calling his office from all over the U.S." - Bah...more likely a call from a corporate sponsor asking why he doesn't love [corporate clothing retailer] anymore.


I don't think these fascist lunatics are going to drive away all the voters by next election. (or even that a Democrat will roll everything back.) Color me cynical. I don't think they are worried about those pests, the voters, at this point.
posted by davismbagpiper at 10:38 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bah...more likely a call from a corporate sponsor asking why he doesn't love [corporate clothing retailer] anymore.

This. Turning what used to be available funds into gift cards amounts to nothing more than funneling state funds into specifically designated corporate coffers.

And don't get me started on all the states which are issuing tax refunds on branded debit cards which carry a fee (which goes to the issuing bank) to access the money.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone wants to float a conspiracy theory that Caswell is secretly a Democrat and is doing the stupidest things imaginable to discredit the Republicans, I might be willing to believe that. Until then, I'll just believe that most Republicans are suffering from one or more illnesses outlined in the DSM.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 10:46 AM on April 25, 2011


This. Turning what used to be available funds into gift cards amounts to nothing more than funneling state funds into specifically designated corporate coffers.

And if those gift cards can only be used at religiously-associated thrift stores like the Salvation Army, then it amounts to transferring taxpayer dollars to religious organizations that support discriminatory practices and legislation.
posted by KathrynT at 11:00 AM on April 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't get me started on all the states which are issuing tax refunds on branded debit cards which carry a fee (which goes to the issuing bank) to access the money.

I haven't heard about this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:04 AM on April 25, 2011


empty vessel is mr. desjardins, and like he said, we started the foster care approval process. I don't know about Michigan, but here in Wisconsin, they make damned sure you are financially responsible. There were reams of paperwork and documents we had to submit. I understand why they do it, but it's already tough not to be insulted by the inherent mistrust. This legislation just blows my fucking mind by taking it 1000 steps further.
posted by desjardins at 11:51 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I need to devise a drinking game for threads that have the word "Republican" in them on the front page.. something to do with how fast the word "hateful" turns up in the thread.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:14 PM on April 25, 2011


...first person to find a comment in support of the hateful have to finish their drink.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:16 PM on April 25, 2011


"I never had anything new," Caswell says. "I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was -- and quite frankly it's true -- once you're out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes."

This is true. How many of you shop at thrift stores regularly, besides? I certainly do.

Caswell says the gift card idea wouldn’t save the state any money.

And it sounds like it would ensure that the tax dollar was better spent-- it stretches the subsidized dollar for the foster children who are receiving it.

(Assuming you read the article), are you sure you're thinking about this issue and not just getting a seratonin release from whack-a-moling a hateful suit?
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2011


hippybear: "And don't get me started on all the states which are issuing tax refunds on branded debit cards which carry a fee (which goes to the issuing bank) to access the money."

Secret Life of Gravy: "I haven't heard about this."

That's how it works with my unemployment benefits. On anything other than a credit card purchase, I get charged anything from one to three bucks- debit transactions, cash-back, fees on top of existing ATM fees, all going to Chase Bank.

Someone made some campaign contributions somewhere.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:24 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hilarious how republicans get to not only be the worst monsters in existence, they also called dibs on 'dogwhistling calls for psychotics to murder the political opposition'. Really got all the bases covered!
posted by FatherDagon at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2011


it sounds like it would ensure that the tax dollar was better spent-- it stretches the subsidized dollar for the foster children who are receiving it.

No it doesn't. At best is dictates where foster parents can go to purchase clothing for their foster children, providing a revenue stream straight from the state coffers into some organization's bank account, whether it's the Salvation Army or Value Village or whatever.

At its most neutral, it offers a layer of insult to all the other things foster parents have to worry about, telling them bluntly that, despite them having cleared all the hurdles required to be chosen as foster parents, that the state doesn't trust them to make basic decisions about how money could be best spent in order to care for the state wards that are entrusted to them for care.

At its worst, it forces foster parent and their children to travel long distances to find officially approved locations at which the gift cards can be spent, and makes them work much harder to find what they want or need out of a random selection of clothing which may or may not come in the required sizes.

Plus: underwear & socks... They don't even SELL those secondhand that I've ever seen.

The whole thing is a huge paternalistic dump-taking on both those in foster care and those providing it, removing basic agency of decision-making from adults who most likely know better than anyone else where the best value for dollar can be found in their own community and placing it in the hands of wealthy white men who think they know how everyone should live their lives, even if it's a life they've never lived themselves.
posted by hippybear at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


What being a refugee looks like if you're rich - being rich is wonderful. America, this is your future (well, the non-rich people get something more like NOLA post-Katrina, but lets face it if you aren't comfortably upper middle class you aren't really human).
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am surprised there are places where socks and underwear aren't sold in thrift stores.
posted by jtron at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2011


The bigger thrift store I was in recently didn't seem to have much in the way of school-appropriate kids' clothes.

How many thrift stores should a foster family have to visit in order to find clothes for the 6-year-old, 8-year-old, and 12-year-old they're fostering in order to prove that they are not wasting taxpayer money? How much time and gas should be spent in order to prove this? If you're fostering kids in a small town or rural area, I guess it's better that you prove you're not wasting taxpayer money by driving [lotta miles] to a thrift store for clothes that fit your kids rather than rather than [fewer miles] to the Walmart or Target.
posted by rtha at 1:21 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


good job the gas for all that driving around is free.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on April 25, 2011


Clearly the thrift stores need the stimulus this would bring. I'm sure they're hurting for bucks in a down economy.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:35 PM on April 25, 2011


dunkadunc: "hippybear: "And don't get me started on all the states which are issuing tax refunds on branded debit cards which carry a fee (which goes to the issuing bank) to access the money."

Secret Life of Gravy: "I haven't heard about this."

That's how it works with my unemployment benefits. On anything other than a credit card purchase, I get charged anything from one to three bucks- debit transactions, cash-back, fees on top of existing ATM fees, all going to Chase Bank.
"

Same in Texas. Unemployment funds go to a Chase bank debit card. With fees. Even when you have a checking account into which it could be direct deposited.
posted by dejah420 at 5:49 PM on April 25, 2011


One thing that I think is being overlooked here is the amount of money we're talking about: $80. A year. That's it.

So...think about how much money it's going to cost to restructure the information architecture of the state payment system, so that instead of this $80 a year going to the existing debit card provided to foster parents, the state will create an entirely NEW card...for just this $80 a year.

Seriously...if you just think about what would be involved to implement it, it's insane from a fiscal perspective. Why spend money on a new system when the existing system works just fine.

Just one more reason Luddites shouldn't be allowed to define cultural policy.
posted by dejah420 at 5:54 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


One thing that I think is being overlooked here is the amount of money we're talking about: $80. A year. That's it.

Where do you get that figure? The .pdf I linked to earlier in the thread talks about twice-yearly allowances of between $200 and $500 depending on the age of the foster child. If you have other figures, I'd like to see them.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 PM on April 25, 2011


We should pray for him. He was an innocent child once too. Maybe he's seriously miss guided and horribly naive.

Maybe I'm horribly naive.
posted by Increase at 6:54 PM on April 25, 2011


Maybe the foster children of Michigan can be restricted to articles of clothing that were declined by The Salvation Army. Besides saving more money, this would prevent the rejected charity hand-me-downs from being thrown away and wasted.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
posted by knoyers at 7:00 PM on April 25, 2011


The $80 is from the senator's website. See my earlier comment. There's a good chance that the number on senator's website are wrong but those are the numbers he's basing his argument on.
posted by rdr at 8:19 PM on April 25, 2011


Color me cynical. I don't think they are worried about those pests, the voters, at this point.

Oh no, they're very worried about voters. So worried, the ones in Florida are rushing through a sweeping overhaul to our election law to ensure there are significantly fewer of them. Our election supervisor has said that he doesn't believe the new rules will pass the muster of DOJ review because they are so likely to disenfranchise voters, but then, who knows if our Republicans will let that stop them. They kind of own the place, and have for about two decades now.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:48 AM on April 29, 2011


We should pray for him

There is also the option of doing something that will have an actual tangible effect IRL
posted by jtron at 9:05 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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