Hating the Impoverished


Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 12.07.12 AMAs Christians, we are told that what we do to the least among us, we do for Christ.  The problem with this, today, is that the far, Christian right doesn’t seem to remember much about Christ.  They’re big into the whole thou shalt not thing, and damning those who really don’t need to be damned. They like the eye for an eye thing, and get off on forcing women to be silent, and second class citizens.  They can’t seem to understand that Chris is all about love.  That entire concept appears to confound them, greatly, for some odd reason.  Because the Catholic Church does not believe in birth control, that sex is for procreation only, everyone else, according to people like Rick Santorum, must follow their rules.  I don’t know any real Catholics who believe that way.  But, the right does.  And now, the truly deranged evangelicals are into the same thing.  It’s my way or the highway.  No one has any rights but them.

When it comes to someone being impoverished, they’re just plain old out of luck.  After all, the poor are Takers.  They’re not Makers.  They don’t pay taxes and take from those who are paying them… right?

“…The distribution of tax expenditures across the income scale varies considerably among the different tax expenditures. For example, CBO estimates that more than 90 percent of the benefits of reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends will accrue to households in the highest income quintile in 2013, with almost 70 percent going to households in the top percentile. Those benefits will equal 2 percent of after-tax income for the highest quintile and 5 percent of after-tax income for households in the top percentile. In contrast, about half of the benefits of the earned income tax credit will accrue to households in the lowest income quintile, equaling 6 percent of after-tax income for households in that group…”

I wonder just who are the real welfare queens in this country.

The Impolitic
The Impolitic

“...One of the problems with conservative thinking is that it cannot account for nuance or complexity. They think that giving a starving person some free food will disincentivize them to go find work. They’ll become complacent moochers, happy with their lot in life. But to whatever pitifully small degree that is true, we’re making a good financial decision when we allow some of our tax dollars to go to these moochers. They will be less sick, their children will do better in school and then in life, paying more money in taxes into the system. The money they spend now will help create jobs in agriculture and throughout the food distribution system….”

Politicus USA
Politicus USA

According to GA Congressman Rob Woodall, if you don’t pay taxes, evidently you should not be taking part in the political process.  It’s gone that far.

Huffington Post
Huffington Post

“...That’s true, but there’s a simpler explanation for the upward pressure on Disability certification, best described by the constant issue in all government programs of “takeup rates.” For any given “entitlement,” there are millions of Americans who qualify but would prefer to secure benefits via employment. When jobs become scare, the “takeup rate”—the percentage of people who apply—goes up. That doesn’t mean there is “fraud” involved or that these people are “takers;” they’re just pursuing entirely legitimate public options for keeping themselves alive that they wouldn’t necessarily pursue in better times. That’s an entirely separate issue from claims that standards of eligibility are being deliberately relaxed because we don’t know what else to do with these folks.

It’s all the more reason to stay focused on creating jobs, and to continue the hard, slow slog of efforts to help more people qualify for the jobs that do exist via improved education and training measures. But conservatives have a really hard time accepting chronic unemployment as anything other than (a) the product of policies that persecute the poor job-creator, or (b) reflecting a moral collapse of the working class, or (c) both. Or perhaps it’s just that keeping alive the boogeyman of the “welfare queens” who are laugh-laugh-laughing as they and liberal elites conspire to rob virtuous hard-working Americans is a political weapon on which conservatives have become all too dependent….”

Paul Krugman wrote:

NY Times
NY Times

The near depression that we have endured, had started to come out of, and are now heading back into because of the far right, is creating debtor’s prisons.

“...Courts in Cuyahoga, Erie and Huron counties were singled out in the report as the “worst offenders.” The ACLU said a survey of booking statistics for Huron County Jail revealed that 22 percent of the 1,171 people booked between May and October 2012 were incarcerated for not being able to pay their fines. And municipal courts in Parma and Sandusky counties jailed 45 and 75 people, respectively, between July 15 and August 31, 2012.“Based on the ACLU of Ohio’s investigation, there is no evidence that any of these people were given hearings to determine whether or not they were financially able to pay their fines, as required by the law,” the report said….”

Media Matters
Media Matters

The problem with this picture is the fact that the ultra wealthy, people like Rush Limbaugh’s handlers, are the single largest collection of welfare queens in the country.  If they were required to pay their fair percentage of their earnings, the way we the little people do, we would not be in this economic mess.

Why are the rich considered ‘better’, more moral, more worthy of the good things in life?  Is there some dreadful disease called poverty that squeezed anything admirable out of people?

“…What’s interesting about both sides of this debate is that they assume a public policy problem (“what grows the economy?”) needs to be discussed in terms of the moral character of the rich. This isn’t because economists have a yen for judging people; rather, it’s that when you have the amount of accumulated capital and power that rich do, the way in which one spend one’s money ends up having an extraordinary impact on everyone else in society. Invariably, assessing the desirability of rich people’s consumption choices will take on a moral cast, as what a person chooses to spend their money on says a lot about the person. Especially when they’re rich enough to spend it on anything.

It’s impossible to imagine that this point escapes wealthy people who follow the news. My guess (and I can’t prove this, but statements like Romney’s are certainly suggestive) is that when they hear that the one percent “should pay its fair share,” they hear the public calling the way they choose to live their lives unfair and unjust. No one likes being judged as a bad person, especially by the world’s most powerful politicians and in the pages of the world’s most-read newspapers. The wealthy, then, react negatively to public debates about inequality for the same reason many meat-eaters don’t like debating vegetarianism.

Uncomfortability, of course, isn’t a defense. The power wielded by America’s wealthy means that, like it or not, the rich can’t and shouldn’t be allowed to escape public scrutiny. Moreover, they often bring on themselves: see the pretty nasty things some wealthier folk say about poor and middle class Americans and the lengths to which others go to sing the praises of the “productive class.” But hypocrisy aside, the moral anxiety of the wealthy is both an interesting psychological fact and a neat window into the little, surprising ways in which the personal can’t be detached from the political….”

Far right loons are pissed because the Secret Service has cut off the White House tours for their wonderful, precious sequestration.  Brietbart has this absurd article you must see to believe.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the waste should be cut, right now.  But, what I find interesting is their value system.


That waste could also fund homeless shelters, SNAP, WIC, and help those in need.  Because there is logical waste, everyone who receives any form of assistance must be punished?  Children must be allowed to go without, because their parents might benefit?

Paul Krugman wrote:

“...Part of the answer surely lies in the widespread desire to see economics as a morality play, to make it a tale of excess and its consequences. We lived beyond our means, the story goes, and now we’re paying the inevitable price. Economists can explain ad nauseam that this is wrong, that the reason we have mass unemployment isn’t that we spent too much in the past but that we’re spending too little now, and that this problem can and should be solved. No matter; many people have a visceral sense that we sinned and must seek redemption through suffering — and neither economic argument nor the observation that the people now suffering aren’t at all the same people who sinned during the bubble years makes much of a dent.

But it’s not just a matter of emotion versus logic. You can’t understand the influence of austerity doctrine without talking about class and inequality.

What, after all, do people want from economic policy? The answer, it turns out, is that it depends on which people you ask — a point documented in a recent research paper by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Larry Bartels and Jason Seawright. The paper compares the policy preferences of ordinary Americans with those of the very wealthy, and the results are eye-opening.

Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face. And how should the budget deficit be brought down? The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is, “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.

You get the idea: The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor. What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do….”

The Pink Flamingo found a column that says it all.  They are conservative rules for people who lose their jobs.

“...If /when you lose your job, be sure to sell all your nice electronics and luxury goods immediately and make sure you are always dressed well in public (but not too well, because then you are clearly not in need of any financial assistance and will be judged for not immediately selling all your nice clothing, too).

Cover up your tattoos, or people will snark that you are spending your welfare money on body art, even if you have had those tattoos for years, or you have a friend who is a tattoo artist who did them for free.

Are your shoes nice? Better not wear them in public, especially while at the grocery store paying for food with food stamps, because you MUST have somehow magically converted those food stamps into enough expendable income to buy those shoes. Never mind that they were a gift, or you bought them years ago, or that they actually have huge holes in the soles and tattered insoles because you can’t afford to replace them.

As a bonus, be sure not to have a job with flexible hours or work from home or work as a stay-at-home parent, because judgmental people will be on your ass and assume you are on welfare based on limited or non-existent evidence (even if you are not) and whine bitterly about having to contribute to social safety nets for the needy. That is right: You don’t even have to be on welfare at all, you can simply be out in public with your kid(s) during normal business hours and have total strangers assume you are on government assistance if you don’t look prosperous. Isn’t that cute?

But, hey, you know who will also be first in line with a hand out for benefits when they lose a job or fall on hard times, have family to house and feed, and qualify to receive them? That’s right: The same people who spend a hell of a lot of time claiming that people on government assistance are all undeserving and grifting the system and not really in need because they are, say, clean and are not wearing rags or being extra-careful to only appear in public while exhibiting visible signs of long-term poverty like, say, neglected teeth or unkempt hair and tattered sackcloth outfits.

Oh, you might also want to (5.) sell your car, too, unless it is a Piece Of Shit, because clearly no one receiving unemployment benefits or welfare could possibly have purchased a decent vehicle long prior to losing a job, getting a divorce, having unexpected healthcare expenses that devastated their finances, or just generally falling on hard times. You also don’t ever want to borrow a friend or family member’s car if you DO sell yours to make ends meet, because if it is even slightly nice or of recent vintage, you will be judged as not being needy enough for assistance of any sort.

Think this is an exaggeration? Some Republicans are busily trying to make it a law that if you own a car of any description, you will be unable to receive SNAP benefits (that’s food for the poor, if you aren’t familiar with the term) until you sell that car. This plan is Rush Limbaugh-approved, so you know it is empathetic and fair and kind-hearted and rational. (Yeah…no.) So while you are struggling to find work, and being told that you need reliable transportation to be hired (try to find a decently compensated job that does not require employees to have their own transportation), and being scorned for being unemployed, Republicans want to take your personal transportation away (while blocking any public transportation-related programs, mind you) or deny you help with food. Nice people.

Yes, you must sell everything you own that is even remotely nice, you must dress nicely (but not TOO nicely) when you are out in public, and you need to feel like a complete and utter failure before seeking help. Never mind that it is nearly impossible to get by without a mobile phone or reliable transportation these days.

Hey, poor person; hey, you unemployed person: your phone is too nice and isn’t there public transportation you could be using instead? Of course, anyone who has ever had to rely on public transportation realizes that it is unreliable, often late, sometimes fails to arrive at all, is almost always dirty and smelly and unpleasant, and if you need to get to work or home from work using it, then you get to hang out in unsafe places (often in the dark, and rarely covered to protect you from rain or heat or wind) by yourself (enjoy your mugging).

Of course, if you do wind up sitting on a sidewalk with a cup, these same assholes will walk past you like you are invisible or hiss “get a job” at you.

Also, if you are not white, these rules apply double to you. Because the majority of welfare recipients in the United States are white….”

The Rush Limbaughs of this world want us to hate those who need assistance.  They consider them wasteful, unworthy of respect, and worthy of losing all rights – because they need help. In Wisconsin, there is a GOP based bill that would allow those receiving public assistance to have their checking accounts spied on, and even frozen if those owning them, who are on any sort of public assistance, are deemed unworthy.  In West Virginia, Republicans want school kids who need food assistance be required to work for it.  Nothing is wrong with a school job, that actually pays kids for working.  The idea of forcing children who have nothing to do with the fact that their parents cannot afford to properly feed them, to pay for their mistakes of their parents is well, it’s UnAmerican!

You know, after living through three years of fighting just to survive and make sure my elderly parents have food, medication, and are kept warm and safe, I no longer see the world the same way.  I have a tremendous amount of compassion for those who are in need.  I’ve also learned that there is nothing more humiliating that localized public assistance.  I no longer believe in food banks, clothes closets, and things where those in need must be required to grovel for the tools of survival.  The only way to do this is through the mask of the government.

Just because a person needs help is no reason to destroy who and what they are.  I will never be the same person I once was.  I’ve learned what it is to truly be in need.  I’ve also learned how truly cruel and unthinking people can be.  I’ve been humiliated in front of people I know, when I couldn’t pay a bill.  The person doing it seemed to enjoy every moment of the humiliation.  I’ve been there and done that, and wouldn’t give anything for what I’ve learned.  We are all one major incident away from losing what we have, and being one of the lowest of the low.  We should be so lucky.