February 7th, 2012
06:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Battle over federal aid moves to strip clubs, casinos

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"This gives a whole new meaning to 'stimulus money.' "

When a story is about strip clubs and welfare, the reader response is going to be colorful. LZ Granderson wrote an opinion column about a bill designed to prevent people from spending government assistance money in strip clubs and casinos. He argues that Democrats shouldn't bicker and try to oppose this bill.

'Strip club bill' a no-brainer

This commenter said Congress has better things to be doing.

fishfry001: "So LZ, if your position is right, then how come we can't get congress to pass laws putting them under the same health care coverage as the rest of us (maybe you have it, maybe you don't), And why don't they change the laws to stop the lifetime full pensions legislators earn for serving even just one term in congress? Those are very significant drains on taxpayer dollars and deserve to be changed right along with this "strip club" initiative. I'm certainly not saying that those receiving public assistance should be able to spend some of that money in strip clubs or the like, but I AM saying that if we are going to get so deeply into controlling the people at such a base level, with saving taxpayer dollars as the justification and congress is all for it, then it's high time congress made these other changes as well. Oh, and while we're at it, once they leave Washington they should never, ever be allowed to lobby. You've done your time, performed your service to the government, now go home. Taxpayers deserve nothing less. So, LZ – why don't you use your influence and get the dialog started on this initiative?"

Some readers suggested that the government assistance system needs tweaking.

grinch031: "The welfare system should be abuse-proof. No more cash. It should be in the form of vouchers that can only be used for necessities. If someone is able-bodied, welfare should be temporary, not permanent. Time to end the abuse."

This reader said the bill would be hard to enforce.

MrWrong: "The bill sounds like a good idea, but once again it is our federal government wasting our money by passing laws that add cost to our budget but have no net change in behavior. Obviously, people will just go next door to a gas station to use the ATM, then back to the strip club to "make it rain"

Montana72: "Can these card's be used at an ATM? If so, then this entire conversation is moot and welfare money can be spent in way the recipient see fit. Drugs, Hookers, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Bon Bons, Strippers, etc. ... I thought that they could only be used on 'approved' items."

Perhaps it's time to get the DeLorean tuned up.

potluckman: "For all you young people who were not around in the '60s, there is a much simpler way to prevent this crap, assuming you want to continue giving our money away. Back then if you were poor or just lazy and wanted food, you signed up and had to pick up your food commodities at the local aid center. That way, we as taxpayers knew that our money was buying food and milk, not tobacco, beer, and lottery tickets."

Others said the strip club fears may be misplaced.

HJCihak: "I don't have any sympathy for 'the unworthy poor,' but let's put this in perspective. Just how many poor people are spending their dole in strip clubs? And just how much money will cash-strapped state governments have to spend to stop this? Sounds like a demand for a million dollar solution to a thousand dollar problem. Unless we all want higher taxes, we have to insist the solution not be bigger than the problem."

But this reader said we can't allow this.

Matt78: "The American people should not have to pay for people to go and get lap-dances, plain and simple. When you receive welfare you've said to the government, "I can't afford the basic necessities to live, nor can I support my family - so please help me.' So, once you are being sustained by the government, you now have to abide by any rules that then put forward. If they say you need to take drug tests, then that's what you do ... if they say no strip clubs, guess what? Those are out too."

There were a few readers who said we need to look at congressional benefits.

sammylane12: "67 paid days off per year. The best medical insuracne in the world. Unlimited sick days. A salary far exceeding their value. God knows what else. We could save a lot more money by paying our Congressman what they are worth."

What abut the dancers?

hc4all85: "How about the mouths of the kids who that money was designated for in the first place. I get it that the dancers aren't probably much better off then the people using their welfare checks, but hopefully they can make a living on the people who aren't on welfare. That said. Like LG said, this is problem amounts to less than half of 1% of the money used for welfare. That means the dancers were probably not banking their money off welfare receipients in the first place."

This reader suggested giving the poor a job.

Reeely: "You can't just give 'cash' to the poor. Give them food, pay their utilities, health care and give them a job sweeping the street, painting over graffiti, patching pot holes, pulling weeks, picking up trash. You don't give them cash that they can spend wherever they like. This is what happens. Is half of 1% a small number? I don't think so."

This reader suggested that money spent in casinos and strip clubs could be legit.

Brendan McCarthy: "I guarantee that 99% of those ATMs used in casinos and strip clubs are by employees of the places that need cab/bus fare to get home. Some woman who cleans the bathrooms need to get home, now they can't use the ATM at her job? Can no one use their brains anymore? Do people have any ability to not hate so much anymore?"

Barb612: "I wouldn't say 99%, but I do agree that what you say is very likely. I said earlier to someone that I have witnessed with my own eyes, people that take out cash and use it for things that they really shouldn't. People do abuse the system, but then there are many who don't. They are the ones that end up suffering because of the few that can't use their brains and act decently."

Finally, this commenter talked about the philosophy of government, which led to some interesting responses.

indfl: "So less government into people's lives, unless we don't agree with it. That way, the only government left is the one that acts just like us ... a homogeneous cult-like fascist theocracy. Nah, I'll pass. People should not use welfare for lap dances, but the GOP needs to make up its mind about how it sees the role of government."

KyleTah: "If I dangle a hot dog in front of you, you have the choice to ignore me, or pursue the hot dog. But if you start to pursue the hot dog, you're going to go wherever I want you to. It's not a matter of me telling you that, that's just the way it is. Deal with it. Don't want to follow me? Don't chase my hot dog ... so to speak."

What do you think about this story? What suggestions do you have for the system? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    k time for me to crash, good nite all! Keep on keepin on!

    February 8, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. banasy ©

    Of course not.
    You're chrissy.
    Maggie Phelps?
    Now *there's* a goddie.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. fernace

    Lol, @ leeintulsa, @ BOMBO, y'all are cracking me up this AM! I love the analogy of the woman on the box, looking over the fence, sooo true! Bombo, you're right, if they look good(y) you.....get binoculars!! (joke, no "for shame" comments, please)!

    February 8, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    Let's not kid ourselves. 10s of thousands of liquor stores and pool halls accept food stamps, 2 for 1. Those seroquel you get with your social security "disabilty" are as good as whiskey and you know it.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    Whoa! They give out seraquel with disability checks? Well damn, sign me up cuz this insomnia is kicking my ass!

    February 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Granny


    February 9, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bonnie

    Food Stamps should be used for FOOD, not soda pop, cakes, cookies, chips, candy, and the like. They want a cake, buy a cake mix and make it at home, same with cookies ect. People should not be allowed to by prepared food with food stamps. Use your food stamps to purchase what is needed and cook it at home. ALL welfare, Social Security Disability, SSI and food stamp receivers should be ramdomly drug tested 6 times a year. Drugs detected stop the check.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
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