So this is strange. Stacey Campfield told Chas Sisk from The Tennessean that his "starve poor kids" bill was modeled on similar programs in other countries:
State Sen. Stacey Campfield says a welfare bill he’s filed that’s gaining nationwide attention is based on programs used in the developing world to discourage poor families from sending their children to work in sweatshops.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, the Knoxville Republican said the United States need to change its model for paying welfare from straight payments to one in which families are paid for sending their children to school. He said 40 countries use this model.
When we pointed out that those countries tend to be in the Third World, Campfield agreed and cited Brazil and Mexico as role models.
Really? But last Friday over at his blog, Stacey Campfield seemed pleasantly surprised to learn that other countries had programs that do the opposite of what his proposal does, but which he could conflate his bill with. From his post, titled "Well, well, well":
What do you know? A similar plan to mine that would award government benefits only with child success in school is already in place in over 40 countries and having spectacular results where ever it is been implemented
These are the words of a man who modeled his legislation on those programs? I mean, I know I'm attempting to understand a man who's not very good at archvillainy, but usually when people say, "Well, well, well. What do you know?" it's because they've just learned something that supports their beliefs or positions.
Another hint he hadn't heard of these programs? His bill does the opposite of what they do. Under Campfield's bill, there's a set amount of money families can get and those payments are reduced if kids' academic performance doesn't meet his standards. In these other programs, there's a set amount of money families can get and they can receive additional monetary incentives if their kids stay in school and perform well. Obviously, if you make it more lucrative for kids to stay in school than go to work, you can indeed keep them out of sweatshops.
But under Campfield's bill, any kid who can't hack it in school would actually be doing a service to his family if he got a job, because he's costing his family money. And considering the amounts of jobs available to, say, 10-year-olds, it's obvious how you're basically ensuring that any kid who isn't great at school but loves his family is going to go into some kind of criminal enterprise.
Pretty much the opposite outcome of the programs he claims are his model.