2011-09-21 "Need Food? Michigan Says Sell Your Car" by Robin M.
Do you have a car? Do you have money in the bank? Then you may already be disqualified for food stamps in the State of Michigan. Ed Brayton at the The Michigan Messenger reports that [http://michiganmessenger.com/52607/state-to-count-assets-to-cut-food-stamps], “Beginning next month, many Michigan residents now receiving food stamps will likely lose their benefits as the state begins to look at assets as well as income in determining eligibility.”
While this may appear to be a common sense way to deal with the mythical “Cadillac driving welfare queens,” the real effect of this will be to make it harder for the temporarily unemployed and the newly poor to ever get back on their feet.
Now, in order to qualify for government assistance in Michigan, the unemployed will have to first sell off assets (likely at a fraction of their value) and drain their savings before receiving any assistance from the State. Additionally, if they do land new employment, they will not only need to rebuild their savings and rebuy their assets, but they will be discouraged from doing so by the threat of taking away their benefits. This puts them at an even greater risk of poverty again if they lose their jobs in the future.
Thus the bar of entry or reentry to the middle class is raised a little more out of reach and the cycle of poverty is reinforced. But at least they won’t be quite as hungry while they wait for the bus to commute three hours for a job interview.