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A War on the Poor

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  • A War on the Poor

    A War on the Poor

    .
    John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, has done some surprising things lately. First, he did an end run around his state’s Legislature — controlled by his own party — to proceed with the federally funded expansion of Medicaid that is an important piece of Obamacare. Then, defending his action, he let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”
    .
    Obviously Mr. Kasich isn’t the first to make this observation. But the fact that it’s coming from a Republican in good standing (although maybe not anymore), indeed someone who used to be known as a conservative firebrand, is telling. Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality.
    .
    The big question is why. But, first, let’s talk a bit more about what’s eating the right.
    .
    I still sometimes see pundits claiming that the Tea Party movement is basically driven by concerns about budget deficits. That’s delusional. Read the founding rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC: There’s nary a mention of deficits. Instead, it’s a tirade against the possibility that the government might help “losers” avoid foreclosure. Or read transcripts from Rush Limbaugh or other right-wing talk radio hosts. There’s not much about fiscal responsibility, but there’s a lot about how the government is rewarding the lazy and undeserving.
    .
    Republicans in leadership positions try to modulate their language a bit, but it’s a matter more of tone than substance. They’re still clearly passionate about making sure that the poor and unlucky get as little help as possible, that — as Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, put it — the safety net is becoming “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” And Mr. Ryan’s budget proposals involve savage cuts in safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.
    .
    All of this hostility to the poor has culminated in the truly astonishing refusal of many states to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Bear in mind that the federal government would pay for this expansion, and that the money thus spent would benefit hospitals and the local economy as well as the direct recipients. But a majority of Republican-controlled state governments are, it turns out, willing to pay a large economic and fiscal price in order to ensure that aid doesn’t reach the poor.
    "There are four lights!"

  • #2
    I hate to piss all over anyone's pity party with facts, logic, and reason (well, OK, I don't hate it at all), but the very fact that Medicaid is even considered for expansion is de facto proof that a whole lot of the poor are indeed shiftless and lazy.


    Sorry about breaking that bubble there, but that's reality.



    The only possible reason for there to be more poor people now (thus necessitating an expansion of Medicaid) than in the previous fifty years or so is the one thing that has changed in the last fifty years or so: the so-called "War on Poverty." There is absolutely, positively no other possible reason.

    Stop the "War on Poverty," and, amazingly, you manage to stop poverty dead in its tracks. Amazing, that.
    Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
    No one will be denied:
    Big law suits and bathroom toots;
    We're all getting Dixie-fried.
    But somewhere Hank and Lefty
    Are rollin' in their graves
    While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

    Comment


    • #3
      This tenor of our politics indicates an overt hostility and animus towards poor people. How is it possible to explain this part of contemporary politics on the right? What can account for this persistent and unblinking hostility towards poor people?
      .
      One piece of the puzzle seems to come down to ideology and a passionate and unquestioning faith in "the market". If you are poor in a market system, this ideology implies you've done something wrong; you aren't productive; you don't deserve a better quality of life. You are probably a drug addict, a welfare queen, a slacker. (Remember "slackers" from the 2012 Presidential campaign?)
      .
      Another element here seems to have something to do with social distance. Segments of society with whom one has not contact may be easier to treat impersonally and cruelly. How many conservative legislators or governors have actually spent time with poor people, with the working poor, and with poor children? But without exposure to one's fellow citizens in many different life circumstances, it is hard to acquire the inner qualities of compassion and caring that make one sensitive to the facts about poverty.
      .
      A crucial thread here seems to be a familiar American narrative around race. The language of welfare reform, abuse of food stamps, and the inner city is interwoven with racial assumptions and stereotypes. Joan Walsh's recent column in Salon (link) does a good job of connecting the dots between conservative rhetoric in the past thirty years and racism. She quotes a particularly prophetic passage from Lee Atwater in 1982 that basically lays out the transition from overtly racist language to coded language couched in terms of "big government".


      .
      .

      The Link
      "There are four lights!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Religious faith in the Market, ignorance and generic racism. Makes sense.
        "There are four lights!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
          This tenor of our politics indicates an overt hostility and animus towards poor people.
          And that's just a great big lie. "We're unwilling to give you even more free shit" is NOT "hostility" or "animus." Claiming as much is just a great big Goddamned lie. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
          Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
          No one will be denied:
          Big law suits and bathroom toots;
          We're all getting Dixie-fried.
          But somewhere Hank and Lefty
          Are rollin' in their graves
          While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

          Comment


          • #6
            So, who are the poor, and what aren't we Republicans willing to give them? We should probably start there.
            Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
            Robert Southwell, S.J.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
              So, who are the poor,
              Those that covet the rich

              Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
              and what aren't we Republicans willing to give them?
              Everything they want and desire.
              If it pays, it stays

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess this is as good a deflection as any from the media wing of the democrat party that needs to moveon from the lies of Obama. But an article from Krugman doing his regular ranting while talking about who's delusional? That was priceless.

                All of this hostility to the poor has culminated in the truly astonishing refusal of many states to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Bear in mind that the federal government would pay for this expansion, and that the money thus spent would benefit hospitals and the local economy as well as the direct recipients.
                The federal government will pay for the expansion? Well why didn't you say so? What a freebe!
                May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
                Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
                And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
                may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I didn't even catch that it was Krugman. No wonder everything the article said was wrong. Paul Krugman literally has never been correct about anything in his life. It's a wonder to me if he's able to actually put on his underwear correctly.

                  If you're ever at a roulette table and Paul Krugman tells you to bet on red, you'd better bet on black if you value your money.
                  Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
                  No one will be denied:
                  Big law suits and bathroom toots;
                  We're all getting Dixie-fried.
                  But somewhere Hank and Lefty
                  Are rollin' in their graves
                  While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Adam View Post
                    "We're unwilling to give you even more free shit"
                    One piece of the puzzle seems to come down to ideology and a passionate and unquestioning faith in "the market". If you are poor in a market system, this ideology implies you've done something wrong; you aren't productive; you don't deserve a better quality of life. You are probably a drug addict, a welfare queen, a slacker. (Remember "slackers" from the 2012 Presidential campaign?)
                    "There are four lights!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adam View Post
                      And that's just a great big lie. "We're unwilling to give you even more free shit" is NOT "hostility" or "animus." Claiming as much is just a great big Goddamned lie. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
                      When you cross out the word "poor" and replace it with the phrase "grifters who mooch off the system meant to help those who genuinely need help", that seems like hostility and animus.
                      Enjoy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
                        When you cross out the word "poor" and replace it with the phrase "grifters who mooch off the system meant to help those who genuinely need help", that seems like hostility and animus.
                        No. He meant it in a good way. Those rascals! Those scamps! Those lovable grifters!
                        "There are four lights!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Do you actually believe there are not people that play the "entitlement system" for all it's worth while having an underground income stream?

                          If you don't then maybe you can explain to me why anecdotally a lot of the disability exams I do are on people with multiple family members already on disability. Is it communicable?
                          If it pays, it stays

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Frostbit View Post
                            Do you actually believe there are not people that play the "entitlement system" for all it's worth while having an underground income stream?

                            If you don't then maybe you can explain to me why anecdotally a lot of the disability exams I do are on people with multiple family members already on disability. Is it communicable?
                            I don't believe that "grifters who mooch off the system meant to help those who genuinely need help" is a synonym for "poor." As to your non sequitur question, no, I don't believe that, either.
                            Enjoy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
                              I don't believe that "grifters who mooch off the system meant to help those who genuinely need help" is a synonym for "poor." As to your non sequitur question, no, I don't believe that, either.
                              So do you believe there is a learned culture within certain families on how to take full advantage of Government handouts and that a fair number of those doing so would adapt to a productive means of making a living if they could no longer rely on the dole?
                              If it pays, it stays

                              Comment

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