Minnesota’s Welfare Rights Committee yesterday protested that the state hasn’t increased its cash grants to the poor in 26 years — meaning that accounting for inflation, Minnesota has cut welfare grants by more than 50% — and did so by targeting one really big obvious example of something that the state might have chosen not to fund and instead to have helped its impoverished residents. And the project they chose to protest was … oh, come on, you known damn well what blog you’re reading:
The Minneapolis-based Welfare Rights Committee says Minnesota could have doubled welfare grants to poor people with the money the state banked on a new Vikings stadium just this year…
“It’s chronic for people on welfare. We want these grants raised now, and stop giving our money out to people like Zygi Wilf and others who are hanging around, trying to be grifters… We want Gov. Dayton, let him see that this is very important. Show these people a way out of poverty,” said Verdella Ena, one of about a dozen protestors at the gate of the Governor’s mansion this morning.
This is one reason I try to steer of the term “corporate welfare” for stadium subsidies: Getting welfare in the U.S. is actually a pretty grueling process, and subject to constant reassessments and requirements that you prove to the state’s satisfaction that you’re trying to earn a living yourself. Whereas getting stadium money is … well, I guess it’s kind of grueling for the lobbyists who have to wait out the legislature for year after year, but at least they’re getting paid for their time. And as for checking on whether recipients of stadium money are deserving of public aid, I suspect any welfare applicant would be thrilled with the “if you’re going to get fined for racketeering, just be sure you have more money left over afterwards” rule.