No, You Don’t Need Government Welfare for a Tattoo

Kansas lawmakers are trying to ban using government welfare for tattoos, movies, cruise ships, and more.

I was upset with proposed Missouri restrictions on food stamps because they seemed designed to turn recipients away from healthy options like seafood. The list of proposed restrictions on the use of government welfare money seems much more reasonable.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, “No movies, concerts, or tattoos: Kansas bill would limit use of welfare funds.”

The bill would make Kansas the latest state to impose its own conditions on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) cash benefits, as state governments tighten public assistance programs in a bid to encourage employment.

The Kansas bill would also set the stage for a much broader range of restrictions on TANF funds which, as part of the Kansas Successful Families Program, are designed to help low-income residents who might be between jobs or are caring for a child or relative.


In 2012, the federal government restricted EBT card use for liquor, gambling, and adult entertainment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

At least 23 states have since passed laws extending EBT card prohibitions to things like tobacco, guns, and lottery tickets.

The new Kansas bill goes further. It bans the use of government cash benefits for concert tickets, sporting event tickets, jewelry, massages, body piercings and tattoos, nail salons, spas, fortune tellers, theme parks, swimming pools, cruise ships, video arcades, and bail, among other things.

The bill also limits ATM cash withdrawals to $25 a day.

I realize that since I am opposed to all such government welfare, one might expect me to be happy about all these restrictions. But I’m not thrilled with them. If a family is supposed to be helped and is given the money to help, I could see how the $25 a day limit could be a hassle. During the summer, being able to send a child to a swimming pool to stay out of trouble could be helpful.

But, since money is fungible, I don’t see how these limits will guarantee much. A family that gets money for some items will have more in their budget for other item. Any neighbor could be used in a trade: “Let me buy your groceries and refund me in cash when I bring them to you with the receipt.” So all of this amounts to a speed bump as far as I can tell.

This video reviews both the Missouri and the Kansas proposals. At the end of it is a hopeful piece of news:

Did you catch that concluding line? Some are worried “this might deter families from even registering for benefits in the first place.”

That puts things in perspective.

If not being able to go to the nail salon with your EBT card prevents you from trying to get one in the first place then you obviously don’t need one!

How would it be a bad thing for families to choose to support themselves rather than learn to be dependents on the state?