Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bill Crawford: Mississippi needs every federal dollar it can get.

Let’s get real.

Ignore political ideology for a moment.

Mississippi is a poor state, persistently landing near the bottom on income, health, and education rankings. Many families depend heavily on federal benefits to survive. So, too does state government (44% of total spending). Many small businesses’ survival depends heavily on federally subsidized families and government.

Yes, federal spending is out of control. Yes, we have too many people on the dole. But, the reality is we desperately need every federal dollar we can get.

So, how smart was it for Mississippi to cut off SNAP (food stamp) benefits early?

Mississippi chose not to extend a waiver allowing us to pay extra SNAP benefits to unemployed, unmarried, able-bodied adults age 19 to 49 without children. Thousands will lose $190 a month unless they get a job.

Sure these people should be working. But many live in areas where there are no jobs, others where there are no jobs for their limited skill sets. Still others are paroled criminals or former drug users whom employers refuse to hire. For those with no job options, why cut them off early?

“Anything that would reduce or eliminate the means by which some customers pay for their needs couldn’t be anything but harmful,” a spokesman for Vowell’s Cash Saver grocery told Jackson’s WAPT News, adding that up to 75% of his business comes from SNAP users.

Meanwhile, these federal dollars continue to pour into other states.

Yes, a smart Mississippi might leverage every available federal dollar and use the taxes they generate to operate programs that will make future generations and governments far less dependent federal funds.

So, how smart is it for Mississippi not to go after billions of Medicaid dollars?

State officials mired in anti-Obama ideology insist we can’t afford it. But, independent studies show a smart expansion of Medicaid would more than pay for itself, generate thousands of new jobs, and put billions more federal dollars into Mississippi’s economy, not to mention improving healthcare for thousands of low-income, hard working Mississippians and their families.

Kaiser Family Foundation research also shows Medicaid expansion states had higher rates of economic growth than non-expansion states.

Medicaid is a major magnet for federal dollars. This year Mississippi taxpayers are projected to put in $949 million (down from last year) plus $521 million from providers like nursing homes and hospitals to attract $4.6 billion in federal funds. That’s terrific leverage for taxpayers.

A smart Mississippi might implement plans like Republican governors Mike Pence did in Indiana and Asa Hutchinson supports in Arkansas. (Yes, Trump’s Mike Pence. His Healthy Indiana Plan is touted as the nation’s most conservative Medicaid reform plan.)
“We’re not going to leave 220,000 people without some recourse,” said Hutchinson.

“We are expanding access to care for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers and we’re doing it the Indiana way,” said Pence.

Perhaps it’s time to set aside ideology, like Pence and Hutchinson, and honestly ask if the current Mississippi way is the smart way.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

Republicans in MS response:

Up your's.

If you can't get a job - move.

If you can't afford health care - die.

Government is not here to coddle you while you have sex and kids.

Cut it the bone...let it die.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the post above!

Anonymous said...

Mississippi Medicaid program is the most legislatively dictated program in the country. What qualifies, who gets benefits, amount of benefits, etc all are specified by legislature. This started early in program as a way to control costs. Continued thru the decades (yes, including your term Bill) of Democrat control because legislature thought it knew more than a Governors Medicaid director and staff. AND so that legislators could take care of their favored constituants.

To manage the medicaid costs would mean legislature reducing their role and some things no longer getting reimbursed. If we in MS did this then we might could consider Bills suggestion - because we could have a Mike Pence type plan. But have to get them old time Dems in legislature (Holland, Hob, and black caucus) to quit blocking and get out of the way of progress.

Anonymous said...

Daddy, is that you?

Anonymous said...

You're exactly right, the government shouldn't be there to coddle people. Can't afford to have kids? Don't have em. They shouldn't have to pay for irresponsible people who don't use birth control or condoms. Or better yet, get an abortion. They also shouldn't pay for people who refuse to get off their asses and work like everyone else. The government shouldn't have to be a safety net. Maybe that will force people to think twice before becoming criminals and ruining their own lives rather than relying on hard working people to pay for them to sit at home.

Anonymous said...

there is probably a lot of merit to this, but then the Mississippi Legislature occurs......

But then I have to turn around and ask, where does the federal funding come from? More deficit spending?

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi needs every federal dollar it can get"

..........seems someone has forgotten that federal dollars are also TAX dollars; It amazes me that some people think that "federal dollars" come from a money tree.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, what Gun, Reeves and Bryant are going to find out with all these committees is that the hospitals have been writing the healthcare legislation and state medicaid rules for decades and the legislators put in place to oversee it don't have a clue how any of it works. They just get their check every 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Most of the Republican Governors around the country have enacted Medicaid expansion or are moving in that direction. This state remains the only one with the NEVER EVER attitude. Medicaid expansion is a PRO-BUSINESS move that would stabilize our healthcare system and make the state a more desirable place for businesses to consider.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Bill. You're a big KKKGOP'er so talk your buddies into it. Their base will have no part of it. They'd rather curse the darkness than turn on a light.

Anonymous said...

5:50 - wonderful way to cite some statistics that you can't back up. "most have, or are moving toward..."

Since you can't by any stretch of the imagination find anything to back up the most (a defined number and easy to analyze) you include "or are moving toward". Please tell me and the other interested readers here what your basis is for knowing what those remaining states are doing that meets this wonderful analysis.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi receives more federal dollars than it returns in taxes. For the State economy, it does make
sense, at least in the short run, to expand Medicaid. The long term answer is more complicated.

Anonymous said...

Federal money has only created a culture of dependency in MS for the last 50 years. We'd be in much better shape without all the "help" because we would be self-reliant. It's human nature either way.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi is a welfare State. With the coming economic collapse and the expansion of AI and robots taking 50-75 million jobs nationwide by 2020, the rolls will only swell. Generally these are people in the $40k or less trap with falling wages and buying power. All my classmates from Ole Miss (2003, 2006), save a few that landef at Butler Snow, ran for greener pastures of other statew long ago. Just look at the current homes for sale $900k + and the sales for that same demo for 14 and 15. The owners are moving out of state. Ridgeland is on it's way to rapid decline. Madison might have five good years left. By 2020, with more than two thirds of the state population on public assistance, all hope is lost. Case in point, look at the collection totals for large area churches over the past three years. More often than not they are in the red. Soon they will no longer be able to afford their campus or multiple campi. Private schools have already taken a hit. Get out while you still can. I hear Georgia and Texas are lovely.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi receives more federal dollars than it returns in taxes. For the State economy, it does make sense, at least in the short run, to expand Medicaid. The long term answer is more complicated.

Right, screw the long term implications including that expansion will break the already struggling state treasury. Shoot up the heroin now and let's all feel better. Short term fixes always "make sense" to addicts.

Anonymous said...


Have you read Atlas Shrugged? In summary, the productive people of the world quit (like moving out of state) and let those advocation bigger government (progressive democrats) run the remains into the dirt until there is a total collapse. It's almost what you are predicting.

Me? I live in MS and work out of state because there aren't high paying jobs in my field here. Eventually I will move away, save for retirement and might move back because the cost of living is so much less here than in other states.

/as an out of state worker, I get the joy of paying income tax in both states. gotta love the greed of governments

To Summarize The Summary said...

He calls the government stupid yet lives in one state and travels to another to work. That makes a helluva lot of sense. Oh, but my roots, family and favorite craft-beer bar are all here in the area, he replies. And the low cost of living in a third world country is always a bonus.

Anonymous said...

6:33 am I'm not 11:53 I have read Atlas Shrugged . I read it the first time when I was 12. I knew then and now that it is a novel by a woman educated in Stalinist Russia who did not major in economics!
You do not describe the book accurately.
I agree with Rand that "group think" and conformism and burgeoning organizations are bureaucratic in nature ( she and you should realize that is true of businesses that are " too big too fail" as well) are all obstacles to progress, innovation, creativity and merit.
What we are already moving towards is an oligarchy and since the 14th century economists have understood the risks of monopolies. Didn't you play the game? Everyone else goes broke!
I appreciate Mr. Crawford's pragmatism.
I would also suggest that pragmatism suggests a planned , gradual move away from the negative effects of welfare and invests in a future that reduces the number of dysfunctional and dependent citizens.
Extremist thinking is destroying this Nation. We need rationalist and pragmatists who understand that ideologues have never , ever created the perfect states they imagine but rather have brought anarchy and destruction whenever they have succeeded.

Anonymous said...

People like our columnist here around the country are the reason we are facing such a huge national debt and continue to spend money we don't have, creating a deficit. These chickens will come home to roost one day. Washington is spending all of our tax dollars recklessly.

Anonymous said...

@ August 29, 2016 at 7:05 AM

Well said!

The same ones b*tching about medicaid expansion, should be just as outraged at the state giving out the corporate welfare too!

Selective outrage at its finest.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely dumb to pay (with SNAP or whatever) able bodied people not to work. It's also pretty stupid to essentially give people cash so that they can buy whatever food products they want to buy, regardless of the economics of their food choices. The soup in soup lines? Not the best soup. Good incentive to work. You can buy a lot of rice and beans for not much money and if people get tired of eating rice and beans, they can perhaps work. And if they won't or can't work, we have done what we need to do to prevent starvation. Food stamps should be about eliminating starvation, not about equalizing food buying power between the working and the non-working.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments, 9:47. But, and you already know this, it's all about equalization, Bernie style. Everybody 'deserves' the same food available to everybody else. All of us need to have our self-concept stoked by the knowledge that our grocery buggy contains the same high dollar meat and other stuff as the people who work for a living, nothing less.

I believe that there should be food pantries for 'food stamp and SNAP' recipients, not cards or vouchers or any other method of trade. If I don't work and am dependent on the state to not starve, let me get a way to the distribution point and pick up a cardboard box of a week's rations for myself and my family.

Anonymous said...

11:22, It used to work that way. Commodities were given out once a month. Real food. People who needed it were thankful. Some people wanted what was in the grocery stores, which at that time, wasn't the same quality as commodities.

Anonymous said...

I love Atlas Shrugged, but if you read it when you were 12, you have got to be a weirdo.

Anonymous said...

@6:55- 6:33 here. Istill own property in the Hospitality State. My spawn attends University here and the instate tuition recoups commuting fees. When said spawn graduates, Mrs. 6:33 will quit her poor paying job and move to 71105. Until then, I get to see the best of all worlds as long as 71105 isn't drowning. As I tell my coworkers, "MISSISSIPPI is a great place to be seen in the rear view."

Since you asked, I trace my family back to when the state was a territory....craft beers? Can't say I imbibe.

/might retire near Pass Christian in a few years, or not.

Anonymous said...

4:49 - if he read it when he was 12, it was probably the comic book edition. And still would have been a weirdo.

Invasion said...

Can't decide whether 5:01 is employed at Herrin Gear, Whattaburger or The Hilton.

Mentions spawn but not the sperm donor. The claim about in-state tuition is bullshit. Does anybody actually believe moving to Shreveport from 39201 is a social-step-up? The only positive thing about 71105 is the ability to get to Dallas or Monroe from it.

Anonymous said...

Dear invasion: 5:01 here. Had I wanted a typical jorb in MS, I would work at your mentioned locations. But I don't,. Regarding social advantages of 71105,'s a town run by democrats. So you have a point...however, compared to the cesspool in Jaclson, it is 10,000 better, safer, cleaner, better off.

And paying LA and MS income taxes, well, somebody's gotta do it and the po folks in Jackson don' they.

Sign me: waiting out the years until I can retire.

Perhaps the public university would allow us to pay instate tuition if I didn't own property there and my child only attended up through 11th grade. I didn't ask, but it's not an issue as Mrs 5:01 isn't quite ready to quit her low paying high demand professional jorb (making less than $30k a year). What's sad is that our neighbor and his wife make so little, their kids are on CHIPs. I'd rather commute from anywhere than stay in the crappiest state in the union.....where some thug killed two nuns trying to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

These comments prove that racists and bigots are still very vocal in this state! You people have no love or compassion for your fellow man. God forbid that you rich folks may lose your job or homes one day. God forbid if one of your precious children have a kid before marriage. The God I serve is one of love, peace, and acceptance! Instead of judging someone for their situations, why not put yourselves in their situation? Everybody was not born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth! Uplift, don't tear down someone when you don't know the whole story.

Some people are really struggling, and want a better life! It's "PEOPLE" like you who are so mean and hateful, that make poor people feel less than nothing!! Why don't you talk about corporate welfare that all of these businesses receive? If it were not for SNAP benefits, many businesses would not survive!! FYI, THE STUCK UP SAM'S CLUB IN MADISON TAKES SNAP!! SO DOES EVERY WALMART!!! WHY DOES IT BOTHER YOU RACISTS SO MUCH ABOUT WHO GETS WHAT TYPE OF BENEFITS? I hate mistreatment of any person. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!!

Invasion 2.. said...

Parent of Spawn: When you retire, y'all come on back now, ya heah? Cause over here in Mississippi, we don't have a state tax on your retirement.

And you might recall 'some thug' over around your preferred location murdering six college girls a few years back, at least one of them from our fair state of Mississippi by the name of Pace. Course she wasn't a nun. She didn't live quite long enough to decide on a career path. But most of us think she too 'made a difference'.

Anonymous said...

Some of the racists pay taxes that support these things. Have you ever paid taxes?

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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