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Put the Poor in Prisons!

Not only are America's poor people poor by choice, but they're filthy, too! And Carl Paladino, a Republican hopeful vying for New York's governorship, thinks he has just the answer. According to a recent Associated Press article, Paladino said,

"Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes."

Right. Because all poor or unemployed people come from dysfunctional environments. Paladino proposed putting New York's welfare recipients in old underutilized prisons where, in exchange for instruction in hygiene and welfare checks, they would live while performing various public works duties for the state. Presumably, this would be a step up for most people who enter the program because many of the facilities are situated in beautiful rural settings and feature things like working toilets and basketball courts.

Paladino's ideas seem to be consistent with the very Republican attitude that if you're poor, it's your fault, or if you lost your job, it's your fault, and anybody who takes government assistance of any sort is just a lazy sack of shit. However, the AP article also noted that Paladino based his idea of housing New York's poor in prisons on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Now, the CCC was run by the federal government as a means of putting people to work during the Great Depression. The CCC, of course, was the brain child of Franklin D. Roosevelt, perhaps the single most vilified American President among Republicans. The goal of the CCC was to put people to work at a time when jobs were scarce, sort of like President Obama's stimulus plan that was enacted last year, and almost universally derided by Republicans as part of some kind of socialist plot to destroy America.

So, Paladino simultaneously toes the Republican line by assuming all poor people are borderline criminals while endorsing a Big Government solution to the problem that, except for the housing people in prisons part, resembles some of the Democrats' efforts to create jobs by putting people to work for the greater public good.

Oh, the irony.

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