The Liberal Side of Block Grants

Dylan MatthewsI am no fan of so called welfare reform. On the large scale, it sucks because we make it very hard for the poor to get welfare even as we make it easy for the rich to get it. For example, there is the trivial paperwork required to get billions under TARP. And on the small scale, there are countless cases of evil nonsense. For example, there is this whole idea that rich stay-at-home moms are doing real work, but poor ones aren’t. As Nicole Colson puts it, “So, poor women with children need to know the ‘dignity of work’—but rich women like Ann Romney should be respected for their ‘career choice’ to never hold a paying job.”

Dylan Matthews, who is annoying the hell out of me most days, has a great catch. The Congressional Research Service looked at Obama’s changes to the welfare-to-work requirement and found—What a surprise!—that it is legal. What’s great is that the CRS also found that a recent Republican bill that would block grant a bunch of state funding would remove the welfare-to-work requirement. I like this because it isn’t surprising at all. The Republican push for “states’ rights” does come along with relinquishing the power to control how those states spend their money.

While I’m on the subject of states’ rights, I have a question: why is government oppression on the federal level “Tyranny!” but on the state level, “Democracy!”? It’s like we didn’t live through Jim Crow or something. Oppression is oppression, whether it is your husband or the federal government who keeps you locked inside your house. So I find these “states’ rights” and “block grant” arguments—and I hear them often—very perplexing.

Of course, I know all these claims that we should let the states decide are just a first step in their ideological march to fascism. They are only interested in the states being able to decide on the legality of abortion while none of them can. Once they overturn Roe v. Wade, they will want to take the choice away from states and force every state to make abortion illegal.

I suppose what most bugs me about the conservative “states’ rights” push (among many, many other things) is that it is dishonest. They will turn against the states the moment it is politically convenient. Their arguments have nothing to do with states or rights.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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