Unemployment Problem Solved Dept: Tea Party Candidate Wants to Bring Back ‘The Poor House’ and Expand Prison Jobs

Oliver Twist Asks for ‘More’

Tea Party Candidate Says Move The Poor To Prison

From The Raw Story and the AP

via Beaver County Blue

[ Note from John Leonard: When I was growing up for many years, Pleasant Drive in Potter Twp. Beaver Co.  Pa was  called Poorhouse Run Road because the Poorhouse was located on what is now the property of Horse Head Industries.   Looks like some Republicans want to resurrect some bad parts of history.  Their families should be the first to enter into the new ideas they seek. ]

If elected governor of New York, Tea Party Republican Carl Paladino wouldn’t criminalize being poor, per se.  That would be unconstitional.  He’d just rather see them “voluntarily” move into state prisons where they could work on improving, among other things, their “personal hygiene”.

Paladino is competing for the Republican nomination with former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio.  The primary is Sept. 14th and Paladino has campaigned hard to the right of Lazio.  He’s routinely argued that New York’s social services encourage illegal immigrants and the poor to come to live in New York. 

According to Paladino his poor-to-prison plan is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal program that paid young unemployed men during the Great Depression to plant trees, build roads and develop parks.  Paladino’s program would be open to long-term welfare recipients and to people who had lost their jobs during the recession. 
Paladino is proposing to consolidate prison facilities and using the vacant ones into dormitory style housing where they could work for the state in some military or public works capacity in exchange for a receipt of benefits.


If Paladino’s plan sounds familiar, it should.  Prior to the enactment of Social Security, government run poorhouses were the norm, often located outside of cities on “poor farms” where the able-bodied residents were required to work. 
So here it is folks, the Tea Party Republican platform, brought to you courtesy of Charles Dickens.

While I appreciate the irony in Paladino giving credit to the CCC for his idea, I’m more than a little disturbed by his overall misunderstanding of poverty in this country.  For a large percentage of the population, poverty is not simply a function of a lack of skills or poor hygiene.  Those who do receive some kind of public assistance already work in exchange for those benefits.  They have to. 

New York, like most states, receives a federal block grant to provide much of the social assistance it administers and federal law requires recipients do some form of work to receive benefits.  But without pressure to lift minimum wages out of the poverty table, pulling oneself out of poverty is simply and functionally impossible, a fact totally lost on the wealthy Paladino.

This country is in desperate need for a jobs program.  We have thousands of skilled workers currently existing in poverty because their industries abandoned them.  We have a failing infrastructure and a critical need to transform an entire industry into a sustainable and renewable platform.  But Paladino is calling for a 20% across the board cut in social services, so while it may sound like his “poor farm” is a new government program, it’s likely not.

We’ve seen this with the move toward privatization of corrections, especially in places like Arizona and the South.  Conservative “reform” means really siphoning public benefits into the private industry where they can exist free from public scrutiny and oversight.  Profits swell and services suffer.  Paladino does not say who will staff these facilities.  He does not say who will provide the “skills training”, nor does he say who will create the new jobs to place the freshly de-programmed poor, but with those kinds of cuts it’s safe to assume these will not be government jobs and they will not be helping life people out of poverty. 

3 thoughts on “Unemployment Problem Solved Dept: Tea Party Candidate Wants to Bring Back ‘The Poor House’ and Expand Prison Jobs”

  1. John Leonard brings forth a valid point. While the general population suffers from 10% unemployment, the skilled workers from the Building Trades suffer a much harsher 25% unemployment. The United States has more prisoners than China.Why do we need more? Where are the Americans that want to run for office with common sense? Samuel Gompers, father of the labor movement, once said when asked what does Labor want, Labor wants more Jobs and Less Jails.Lets take a history lesson from him. If the Tea Baggers want to really help America “Ask for a Raise”. The money they will spend will create business and jobs.Don’t put more people in Jail! That is just plain STUPID.

  2. It would so much better and easier for the elite if just everyone else not in the circle of the elite, not just the poor but the middle and upper-middle classes too were just locked away and told what to do and did as they were told. Society would be so much easier to govern and so much money could be saved and redirected to the elite. Look at North Korea! A perfect example of Tea Party style progressivism.

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