Daily Show host Jon Stewart slammed Kansas as the true “welfare queen” in a cutting segment highlighting some of the Midwestern state’s newest proposals.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently signed a bill into law that will remove the current eight-hour training course required for gun-owners in the Sunflower State. The new law means that Kansas gun owners will be allowed to carry concealed weapons without any need of permit or training. It goes into effect in July, and will make Kansas the sixth state that allows so-called “constitutional carry,” meaning anyone aged 21 or older will be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Brownback claims that Kansas gun-owners have proven they are responsible, but Jon Stewart criticized the rollback of restrictions sharply.
“The state that believes eight hours of gun training is too much for its gun owners requires 1,000 hours of training for its professional estheticians. I tell you why: You can never be too careful with hot wax and butt hair.”
But as Kansas works hard to make it easier for anyone to carry a concealed weapon, the state’s lawmakers are also making it harder to be poor in the state. Another new law restricts those in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program from spending the benefits they receive on “lingerie, cruises, tattoos, piercings, and movie tickets.” Welfare recipients will also be restricted from activities such as swimming.
If Brownback signs the measure, it will become one of the strictest welfare laws in the United States. Supporters of the measure claim that the purpose of the law is to reduce fraud and remove people from the welfare rolls, while opponents of such measures claim that the laws are mean-spirited and meant only to shame those in need of help. Since the average recipient of TANF gets less than $300 per month in Kansas, opponents say that most families are simply struggling to make ends meet rather than planning a cruise.
Jon Stewart also took issue with the new measures, pointing out what many feel is the hypocrisy of a state restricting how financial aid given to needy families is spent while receiving so much governmental financial aid itself. Drawing from the fact that Kansas has what is described as a “yawning deficit” that is being blamed on deep income tax cuts enacted by Brownback, Stewart claims the state of Kansas itself is the true “welfare queen,” and not its poorest citizens. After all, Stewart was quick to highlight, the state of Kansas receives $1.29 from the federal government for every dollar residents pay in federal taxes.
But despite getting the money from the federal government, Kansas is still being forced to cut funding to museums, cancel necessary highway repairs due to lack of money, and has now even been forced to close public schools early this year because the state simply cannot afford to keep them open.
With discrepancies like that, Jon Stewart slammed Kansas and its lawmakers for their willingness to restrict what families using federal aid can buy while receiving so much federal aid itself and still being unable to provide basic necessities like public education for its citizens. Perhaps, Stewart suggests, there should be restrictions placed on how Kansas spends the federal dollars it receives.
“Kansas, these rules may feel petty and unnecessary and quite frankly, insulting. But maybe they’ll motivate you to escape your culture of federal dependency. Until then, let’s see how you like being treated like the welfare queens you are.”
Watch the video below and let us know — is Kansas on the right track? Or is the state itself the “welfare queens,” as Stewart says?
Kansas’ next-door neighbor, Missouri, has been trying to pass similar restrictions on what people receiving federal benefits can purchase, but some claim the restrictions Missouri is trying to implement are both unnecessary and odd. To see what unusual restrictions that state is trying to implement, click here.
[Photo by Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images]