Open Thread: Jeb Bush, Looking to Reduce the Surplus Population

Catherine Rampell, in the Washington Post: “Jeb Bush’s welfare reform plan would only make life worse for America’s poor”

Jeb Bush claims that, unlike that charlatan Donald Trump, he’s a proven political leader.

How has he chosen to illustrate such brave leadership? By joining the storied tradition of ducking responsibility for tough decisions.

Last Friday, Bush unveiled his grand welfare reform plan. He promises it will reduce waste, fraud and abuse while simultaneously empowering millions of poor people to stop being poor.

His magic formula: completely destroy established anti-poverty programs such as food stamps, cash welfare payments, rent subsidies and public housing. He’d then replace them all with “Right to Rise” grants (yes, named after his super PAC). These would be lump sums of federal money that states could apply for, assuming states would even be willing to create entirely new social safety nets out of whole cloth…

Here’s the usual sell: These are bloated, wasteful, one-size-fits-all programs that hook Americans on the government teat. If only we handed the money directly to the states, poverty could be eradicated on the cheap. It’s win-win, for both makers and takers!

In reality, block-granting is just a way federal politicians can strip poor people of much-needed services without actually taking the blame for the resulting suffering…

The real issue is that rooting out waste, fraud and abuse (actually pretty rare in programs such as food stamps) is really, really hard — especially if you want to avoid accidentally cutting off deserving children and families from food security, affordable health care and stable housing in the process. Federal politicians don’t want to make the kinds of tough choices required for this cost-cutting, given the inevitable sob stories that will result.

So instead they just freeze spending and dump the responsibility for figuring out how to make do with less onto states. Not that states are any better equipped to make these decisions. But federal politicians nonetheless (quite literally) pass the buck anyway.

If history is any guide, block grants also make it easier for the feds to cut spending on the needy, regardless of whether the needy actually have reduced needs…

Or, as Jeb and his fellow Repubs see it: Win-Win!

53 replies
  1. 1
    jl says:

    All the same defective civic product, rammed into different packages with different marketing, is all.

  2. 2

    If only we make poverty sufficiently miserable, people will stop wanting to be poor!/wingnut

  3. 3
    Mike J says:

    It’s only fair after the muslin usurper named his bill Obamacare.

  4. 4
    Mike J says:

    @Mike J: Grr, forgot to paste in the quote above:

    There’s something poetic about naming your plan to end federal food stamps after your billionaire-funded super PAC

  5. 5
    bemused says:

    “This will work out quite well for them” said Mumsy Bush to Jeb patting him on his head.

  6. 6
    Goblue72 says:

    They’re sociopaths in service of the plutocracy. We don’t need squishy liberal reform in this country, we need a revolution.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    Memo to Jeb? Bush: Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” was satire, not a policy guide.

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:

    It’s Hammer Time for starving children, bitches!

  9. 9
    Hungry Joe says:

    A Grand Welfare Reform Plan from a guy who’s polling about 8%. Somehow I’m … unconcerned.

    About Jebbers, anyway. No doubt Cruz has something nastier in mind. Trump, of course, has nothing in mind, while Rubio is waiting to be told what’s in his mind.

  10. 10
    Gimlet says:

    Perhaps Bobo can give us some insight on Jeb by telling us about Cruz.

    Ted Cruz is now running strongly among evangelical voters, especially in Iowa. But in his career and public presentation Cruz is a stranger to most of what would generally be considered the Christian virtues: humility, mercy, compassion and grace. Cruz’s behavior in the Haley case is almost the dictionary definition of pharisaism: an overzealous application of the letter of the law in a way that violates the spirit of the law, as well as fairness and mercy.

    Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

    But Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.

    Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. America is heading off “the cliff to oblivion.” After one Democratic debate he said, “We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day, and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously.”

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @Gimlet: What Bobo doesn’t realize is they are all the same. Most just put a little frosting on their ideas to rape the country.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    @Goblue72: The only way a revolution helps is it starts at the local level. If a repub wins the presidency, there will not be a country worth saving.

  13. 13
    Goblue72 says:

    @JPL: That’s why I volunteer with my local county Democratic Party and volunteer on local campaigns. Sadly, have only once had opportunity to vote for an actual socialist. She did win though – handily.

  14. 14
    Gimlet says:


    Often there is a flash-point and things quickly go out of control with that.

  15. 15
    Mike in NC says:

    Christ, what a clueless asshole! First he said that Americans need to work longer hours, then he complained about the minimum wage being too high, then he talked about phasing out Medicare, and now this 1%er bullshit. The welfare overhaul we really need would affect millionaires in Congress who collect fat agricultural subsidies year in and year out.

    JEB! really is the moron we all thought he is. Too bad he stands no chance against Der Trump.

  16. 16
    jl says:


    ” Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. ”
    Not like Graham!

    Looks like somebody requested a genteel and deeply carnsarned Brurkesian hit piece on Cruz. Tired hackwork in the nation’s paper of record ensued, to general very mild amusement.

    Edit: is there a blog that tries to figure out how much of each column is fed to Brooks and he just plunks it into his columns? Take a real character to churn out that kind of thing.

  17. 17
    feebog says:


    What Bobo doesn’t realize is they are all the same.

    No, they are not all the same. Trump is a raving loon, while Cruz is a true believer who’s ideas would truly bring ruing to this country. Jeb? and Rubio are empty suits who really don’t make policy; they have people to do that. Evil, stupid people to be sure, and I’m quite certain Jeb? would spit out anything his handlers put in front of him.

  18. 18
    GregB says:

    Brooksie must have forgotten the “let them die” cheers when Ron Paul was asked about the uninsured in 2012.

    Too bad these knaves can’t see that they will be among the many up against the wall if the religious Jacobins get their way.

  19. 19
    trollhattan says:

    Has RtR been permanently cut from the payroll or permabanned here? Haven’t seen his mewlings for awhile, but maybe he’ll pop in tonight to mock the SOTU. That’s always welcome.

    Brinks trucks of wise tortoises bearing hammers. Or somesuch.

  20. 20
    cmorenc says:


    @Goblue72: The only way a revolution helps is it starts at the local level.

    Unfortunately, the Bundy and their toxic klown militia have figured this out as well, and are a bit ahead of us on the curve to put this into action.

  21. 21
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Jeb! can promise each voter the sun, moon and stars since he’ll never be President and most likely won’t even be his Party’s nominee.

    His plan to get rid of a program which actually helps poor children is just sauce for Rightwingers who will never vote for him because he’s not Trump or Cruz.

  22. 22
    Gimlet says:

    OK, which one of you guys sent the Militia boys a bag of “dicks”?

    a week ago he and the Bundy Militia put out a call for backup in the form of supplies they somehow forgot to bring with them

    Well, over the past 24-hours, apparently, those packages have begun arriving. Which brings us back to Jon Ritzheimer — who’s not too happy about being laughed at by the entire country. Earlier today, he posted a video to Facebook telling everyone as much.

    But along with that mail we got an abundance of the hate mail and it was just, it was really mind-blowing to me that people would actually spend their money — you know, this box right here, 17-dollars and 90-cents. They spend and waste their money on all this hateful stuff to send out here to us and buy this ridiculous stuff. It’s really ridiculous, even the — this one was really funny, a bag of dicks.

  23. 23
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If only we make poverty sufficiently miserable, people will stop wanting to be poor!/wingnut

    I actually had a RW Xtian tell me something very much like that. yes, he was an idiot.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    @feebog: IMO, the political products are not all the same: some are defective, some are not, some will explode immediately others will merely create dangerously inflammable off-gassings, and others will create long term simmers.

    But the civic product is all the same, and all completely defective.

  25. 25
    Dread says:

    There is something deeply perverse in the notion some people have that poverty is something people aspire to. It’s not.

    I’ve been there. I’ve had to scrounge through my couch to scrape enough money together for food for the night. I’ve had to choose which bills to pay and which ones to float. I’ve had to screen calls to avoid collectors.

    It’s not fun. It’s not a happy go-lucky, “WEEEEEE!!! I don’t have to work and you do!” time. It sucks. The feeling of failure. The sense of worthlessness. The recognition that in the grand design of capitalism your value is ‘shit not worth hiring that should crawl into the gutter and starve’. The constant shame.

    And I was single without kids at the time. God knows (and forbid) that I ever find out what the fuck it’s like to hear my kids tell me that they’re hungry and I can’t do anything about it.

    Jesus, these people.

    Here’s my new policy proposal, before you decide to make any cuts or changes to welfare policies, you have to live and pay bills and rent for six months off of the salary of the minimum wage in your state.

  26. 26
    Enhanced Voting Techinques says:

    Makes it pretty clear why Trump is in the lead with GOP voters. For all his faults, class warfare on the poor isn’t one of them with Trump so I can see why he appeals to the white, working class, concerned about their job and would rather die than vote Democrat demographic.

  27. 27
    trollhattan says:

    Confess I don’t know what any of these guys (and lone gal) would do, policywise if elected, beyond just killing laws, arms of government and random stuff.

    All Dubya had to do was tell us “Amh, going to cut your taxes and give you your money back–it’s your money, not the gummint’s–and then go cut some taxes and by the way, gurgle, gurgle Social Security. How you like me now?” Platform? He barely had a foundation and still was elected.

    These guys don’t even have that, beyond killing them some Obamacare.

  28. 28
    wilfred says:

    A few words about David Bowie. Just got back from the hospital, 6 hours for blood transfusions, listening to some international sat radio that played a lot of his hits. This in Brazil, where he was never that popular.

    I’m 59. In 1972, I was a lower working class Italian kid living in a slum that was just starting to become Park Slope – we called it South Brooklyn. Even we were with the times – faded jeans, sequins, long beautiful hair. Mine was jet black, thick, curly and bounteous – a guinea helmet. Irish chicks dug it, but my father didn’t. Marine Corps – Saipan, Iwo, Okinawa; his greatest ambition for me was passing the sanitation. First chance I was sure to make it and leave my mother in one piece I was gone, just like most of us. But until then I had to suffer the usual humiliations – mainly that when my hair reached his limit, I was hauled off to his wop barber for a fucking crew cut: 1972. Looking back, people were intrigued, but this was before punk, when glam rock was still coming on, which leads me to David Bowie. Was it Ziggy Stardust, where he’s on the alum cover all made up? I had borrowed the record and the old man saw it and went apeshit: “Who the fuck is this….?!” Draw your own conclusions.
    Fast forward, I don’t know, 20 years? I’m in LA and my girlfriend, good friend and me are leaving the Cineplex – they were kind of new then – I remember the movie “New Jack City”. A couple gets on the down escalator just ahead of us -stunning black woman and a scrawny little guy wearing, iirc, a leopard print blazer. Of course, it’s Bowie and Iman – but we didn’t know her, though my friend did as he was a huge Bowie fan. “It’s him, no it ain’t, can’t be”. We get to the parking lot and my friend is all over him and he was just the nicest, most decent friendly guy you could meet. Took his time, asked our names. I ran into plenty of celebrities in LA in 6 years but he was the most natural and humble.
    I’m 59 and lung cancer and got my balls in a fucking vise. I’ve had it I guess a little bit longer than he did and it’s just starting to spread, already cost me a lung and a year to this fucking vile chemotherapy – hence my blood transfusions. I don’t like sentiment very much but his death moved me.

    He was 69, concealed his illness worked to the end and went out like a man – a lesson for the company. I add my prayers to those who hope a merciful and beneficent G-d grant him a peace without pain.

  29. 29
    WereBear says:

    I guest I’m just a dumb ol’ liberal pinko, but I fail to see how making states reinvent their programs from scratch saves any money.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:


    Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us.

    Oh, that Bobo! Always with the jokes!

    Moron. They’re all Dominionists, you fucking half-wit – if not in name, then in deed.

    If there really were a just and vengeful God, he would smite you for being terminally stupid, and would smite the Rethug candidates for their evil.

    As Sammy J said: I refute it thus.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    Luvvie!!! #TeamPetty

    Why I hope Pres. Obama goes full #TeamPetty in his final SOTU speech

    When President Barack Obama began his second term, I was excited because he was officially on lame duck status, and that meant he could take more risks. He could be bolder, and he could give the absolute minimum about people’s feelings.

    Being the first black president of the United States of America ain’t been no crystal stair for him, and he has faced more death threats than any other president ever, a record level of hateration from the public and complete disrespect from the people who should honor the office the most: Congress.

    So the fact that Michelle’s husband still has ANY decorum and behavior left is a testament to his upstanding character, and to a high level of patience. Even the biblical Job is like “you’ve done good.” However, in this last year, we’ve come to see that everyone has a limit, because Barack has had a good number of “f*ck your feelings” moments, and I’ve been so proud. From last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he says he now has a list that rhymes with “bucket,” to talking about how folks keep “popping off” to basically calling the Republicans immature.

    I need Petty Barack to come out ALL THE WAY, and tonight’s State of the Union address might be that opportunity. It is his last SOTU, so he has to make it count. He knows that, too, because the official publicity photo for the address is of President Obama in an untied tie, with his mouth in the air looking like he’s saying “COME AT ME, BRO.” I think it might be safe to say that he’s going to leave a couple of dambs (yes, with a B) on that stage, making sure he has none left to give.

    First of all, I want our President to be unapologetically black on that stage. He should walk in as Kendrick Lamar performs, since they’re besties now, and he had him come to the White House for a private meeting in December. Kendrick gotta make sure his cornrows are freshly done though, and we won’t even mind that they don’t touch his neck. We’ll just pray and hope they don’t stay that same length for years, like that dude Brian from Day 26.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Ksmiami says:

    Christ what an as$hole. At least Trump (god forbid) won’t mess around with this piddly stuff as he will be working on yuuge classy projects

  34. 34
    WereBear says:

    @rikyrah: That Luvvie. She always brings it.

    Wanted to thank you, come to think of it, because I found her blog because of you.

  35. 35
    beltane says:

    @wilfred: My thoughts are with you. Bowie once said in an interview that his music was all about pain, fear, and isolation, which I guess it was though I’ve never consciously realized during the 30+ years I’ve been mesmerized by his work. Anyway, he somehow managed to conquer pain, fear, and isolation with his death. There is something heroic about this. I could go on…

    Strength be with you.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @wilfred: What a nice story and what a treat to meet him. Please take care and accepts my thoughts that you live your life without further pain. Did you read Kevin Drum’s story in Mother Jones? LINK

    also.. I second beltane strength be with you. or maybe continue being with you.

  37. 37


    I fail to see how making states reinvent their programs from scratch saves any money.

    Making the states reinvent their programs isn’t what saves money; that’s just a byproduct. The way we save money is by giving less money to the states. To hide how heartless and evil that is, we tell the states that they have the freedom to redesign their programs at the same time. That way the bloody disaster from cutting funding gets blamed on the state redesigns rather than the gutted funding.

  38. 38
    beltane says:

    @Ksmiami: Trump’s ads are all about Fortress America, not about taking food away from the hungry.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    Damn. Fight the good fight and just maybe beat those odds. Lived through lung cancer via my dad (who had a similar path to your dad’s, but from a Navy flattop) so understand it’s the fight to end all fights. Pulling for you from my corner of the globe.

    Bowie, it seemed, was always gracious and humble, especially considering his decades of success. Just watched this compilation Conan pulled together of some of the visits to his show. What an interesting fellow. I made it to the story of his daughter discovering the moon before choking up.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    Just in case anyone missed it two years ago, the real story of Reagan’s “welfare queen”.

    Spoiler alert: she was white. And her welfare frauds were the least of her crimes.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    BTW, Iran has seized two small Navy boats and crews totaling ten, so there’s your wingnut SOTU distraction, right on schedule. Thanks, Iran.

  42. 42
    MomSense says:


    What a thoughtful and moving reflection. Very sorry to hear about your cancer.

  43. 43
    Goblue72 says:

    @wilfred: Godspeed. The Evil Fuckface Known as Cancer just took my mother in law at age 56, and my father last year age 70. Surround yourself with loved ones and savor everything.

  44. 44
    Zach says:

    It’s the same thing Romney proposed. It’s the same thing Paul Ryan’s proposed a few times. Sometimes modifying Medicaid in the same way is also proposed. It’s the go-to policy for Republicans who want to pretend their proposed economic plans are revenue neutral. It was frankly pathetic on the parts of the Obama campaign, Obama administration, and news media that no one ever took these stories seriously and asked Romney/Paul/etc if they were serious about reducing anti-poverty spending by over a hundred billions dollars per year relative to current policy. If I were Sanders’ campaign manager I’d use this as an opportunity to say he’s not going to continue the status quo of ignoring attacks on the poor.

  45. 45
    Anoniminous says:


    What on earth possessed you to think Evangelicals practice Christian virtues? They jettisoned Love, Hope and Faith for Ressentiment, Ignorance, and Bigotry many a decade ago.

  46. 46
    Dave says:

    @rikyrah: I’d be perfectly happy with 12 months of actual angry black Barrack. The pearl clutching amongst the media and R’s would be endlessly entertaining.

  47. 47
    RaflW says:

    So Republicans are always talking about how churches should pick up more of the charitable slack in our country. I wonder how these folks, who often run food pantries and soup kitchens, feel about Jeb’s amazing idea?

    I mean, kicking people of food stamps, that can’t possibly sink various overburdened faith-based anti=hunger programs, could it?

    This genteel form of poor-kicking is no better really than the brand of rabidness David Brooks was nattering about this morning.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I saw it. Truth is always stranger than fiction. Actually its unclear what her ethnic background was. She passed herself off as white, African American, Hispanic, and Filipino – among others.

  49. 49
    pea says:

    @Dread: well said.
    been there, doing that.
    and am i deluded or is it true that, like feds “borrowing” trillions of $ from social security to fund things like …oh, say, wars, states take money from the feds, use them to balance their budgets, give tax cut to the rich, and still cut programs for the strapped? (pun intended. or, if you will, unstrapped, as in, lacking boot straps…).

  50. 50
    pea says:

    @JPL: if a democrat wins, i expect a civil war.

  51. 51
    pea says:

    @feebog: they’re all spitting out what their handlers want the gun toting, homeschooled, racist, zenophobic misogynistic masses they’ve spent at least the last 30 years dumbing down to hear.
    only trump is his own “handler”, evolving from an ’80’s “master of the universe”, to “king of the world” to wannabe “God of the universe”, a caligula for the 2ist century.

  52. 52
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @SFAW: Bobo’s not stupid. He’s a propagandist, he’s in on the con, and he doesn’t believe his own bullshit.

  53. 53
    chopper says:


    I wish to add: fuck cancer.

Comments are closed.