I’ll bet Mississippi is laser-focused on helping mothers and children!
Brett Favre earned nearly $140 million as a star NFL quarterback over two decades and millions more in product endorsements.
But that didn’t stop the state of Mississippi from paying Favre $1.1 million in 2017 and 2018 to make motivational speeches — out of federal welfare funds intended for needy families. The Mississippi state auditor said Favre never gave the speeches and demanded the money back, with interest.
Favre has repaid the fees, although not the $228,000 in interest the auditor also demanded. But the revelation by the auditor that $70 million in TANF welfare funds was doled out to a multimillionaire athlete, a professional wrestler, a horse farm and a volleyball complex are at the heart of a scandal that has rocked the nation’s poorest state, sparking parallel state and federal criminal investigations that have led to charges and guilty pleas involving some of the key players.
I especially like the detail that Favre was too lazy to even to the buckraking speeches, which in a way increases by respect for him.
Aside from the obvious, one key takeaway is that the theory of the neoliberal 90s that welfare policy would be improved by giving more leeway to the LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY was extremely wrong.
Mississippi’s own record illustrates how little facts on the ground have changed since Roe and Casey, notwithstanding the majority’s supposed “modern developments.” Sixty-two percent of pregnancies in Mississippi are unplanned, yet Mississippi does not require insurance to cover contraceptives and prohibits educators from demonstrating proper contraceptive use. The State neither bans pregnancy discrimination nor requires provision of paid parental leave. It has strict eligibility requirements for Medicaid and nutrition assistance, leaving many women and families without basic medical care or enough food. Although 86 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in the State are due to postpartum complications, Mississippi rejected federal funding to provide a year’s worth of Medicaid coverage to women after giving birth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, health outcomes in Mississippi are abysmal for both women and children. Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the country, and some of the highest rates for preterm birth, low birthweight, cesarean section, and maternal death. It is approximately 75 times more dangerous for a woman in the State to carry a pregnancy to term than to have an abortion. We do not say that every State is Mississippi, and we are sure some have made gains since Roe and Casey in providing support for women and children. But a state-by-state analysis by public health professionals shows that States with the most restrictive abortion policies also continue to invest the least in women’s and children’s health.