Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.
Casswell, a Republican representing Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties, made the proposal this week, reports Michigan Public Radio.
“I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”
Under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores.
Now..... Just for the knee-jerk-offs that call me a "liberal" and a "lefty" because I post stories critical of the Tea Party and the conservative right, allow me to demonstrate that I also have a conservative side by saying.... I agree with this proposal.
This story was originally posted on a blog that was titled, "The unbearable meanness of Conservatives." And while there are indeed many mean, nasty conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh (who recently suggested that children who receive free and reduced lunches at school should be taught how to dumpster dive during the summer months), I saw no such spite or meanness in Senator Caswell's proposal.
What I saw in his suggestion was actual, bona-fide, good-old-fashioned conservative thrift of the sort I myself embrace.
I can tell you that my own children get very few clothes that are brand-new-off-the-shelf... despite the fact that we could afford to do so if we chose. I find it a ridiculous waste of money to outfit children with expensive clothes that, more often than not, they will outgrow before they wear them out.
As for myself, I would estimate that 60 percent of my clothes are second hand... and a lot of it is very nice, designer label stuff. I have no shame about saving money... we take a very nice vacation to Mexico every year on the money we save by being cheap.
As a Foster Parent, I can also say with some experience that the majority of children in foster care situations are already well-accustomed to second-hand clothes and hand-me-downs from older siblings. I see absolutely no reason why extra money should be spent on brand new clothes when it could be better used towards stretching the budget for food and other necessities.
I can tell you that there is a well-intentioned desire in most foster parents to "spoil" the children in their care with nice things, which is understandable given the sometimes wretched situations they have been removed from. Those types of foster parents can generally afford to spend beyond the alloted stipends and would probably opt to give the thrift store gift cards to a needy family. We fall into that category ourselves.
For the foster families who cannot afford to spend beyond the alloted amount... I would tend to think that the idea of a thrift store account would be a welcome convenience, not an insult to the children in their care.
And to the foster parents who are little more than scam artists operating child storage facilities for the additional benefits, and who might take offense at this proposal... Fuck You! You are the reason that suggestions like this need to be made in the first place.
Now, if Senator Caswell will only go after the government waste and corporate greed in his state with the same practical approach he takes with it's weakest and most defenseless citizens.... he will be the kind of true conservative I admire.
Keeping fingers crossed but not holding my breath on that one.
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