Arizona’s Stupid, Privileged, Punitive GOP Lawmakers Throw Families Off Welfare After 12 Months

Turns out Arizona is the coldest state in the country — cold-hearted, that is. Welfare recipients will have their benefits cut after just 12 months, and that’s a lifetime limit.

As a result of new legislation, at least 1600 families with 2700 children will be given the boot on July 1, 2016, when the law takes effect. Arizona will have the harshest limit of all the states, most of which offer benefits for five years.

As if that isn’t cold-hearted enough, the legislature also passed a law requiring anyone applying for Medicaid to have a job. And Republicans are suing the state to stop the expansion of Medicaid that was prompted by the Affordable Care Act. The GOP can celebrate full-on when they’ve succeeded at snatching healthcare coverage from 300,000 poor Arizonans. Nothing gets the old adrenaline going like pounding the poor so far into the ground that they are effectively buried.

There are two factors at the foundation of such legislation — stupidity and punitiveness. Those are the same two factors that motivate most of  the laws created by Arizona’s Republican-dominated government. Punishing the poor, many of whom are mentally ill or otherwise disabled, is a GOP priority.

The absolute lack of brains is epitomized by Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City. During the debate on the welfare bill, she said:

“I tell my kids all the time that the decisions we make have rewards or consequences, and if I don’t ever let them face those consequences, they can’t get back on the path to rewards. As a society, we are encouraging people at times to make poor decisions and then we reward them.”

Because poverty is a choice, you know, and welfare is so rewarding. The privileged kids of this lily-white, conservative asshole no doubt have so-o-o much in common with the disadvantaged, for whom life itself is a constant struggle, that they can totally relate. Totally.

In an indication of just how smart and efficient this legislature is, the state of Arizona currently has a $1 billion deficit. That’s why the poor must pay the price. The deficit was built on, and will continue to be built on, their backs.

The new governor, Doug Douchey Ducey, was made to order for these officials — fashioned by the Koch brothers themselves. Ducey has promised not to raise taxes, so what else can they do but slash every social program they can get their hands on? After all, they have $100 million in corporate tax cuts, due to take effect this July, to make up for.

The slashing and burning goes on and on, to the detriment of the people. In recent years, the legislature has cut university funding by 50% and is poised to cut even more.  Good luck getting that college education that might lift you out of poverty, Arizonans! And Corporate America, good luck finding an educated pool of potential employees if you locate in the Grand Canyon state.

In 2013, according to Feeding America, 17.5% of the state’s population already weren’t getting enough to eat. That’s well above the national rate and one of the worst records in the nation. But starvation is an effective population control method, right?

But enough of blaming elected officials. People voted for these morons, and keep returning them to office.

That leaves just one question: Arizonans, WTF is wrong with you?

Feature photo, adapted from Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikipedia.