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In his Friday column for the New York Times, after noting how Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich has called out his own party, he bliuntly writes

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.
He notes how far a fall from grace this is by quoting Alf Landon, who may have laid out all the normal Republican tropes about the damage regulation does,
But he also said this: “Out of this Depression has come, not only the problem of recovery but also the equally grave problem of caring for the unemployed until recovery is attained. Their relief at all times is a matter of plain duty. We of our Party pledge that this obligation will never be neglected.”
 And he reminds us that in the rant by Rick Santelli that set off the movement we call the Tea Party
There’s nary a mention of deficits. Instead, it’s a tirade against the possibility that the government might help “losers” avoid foreclosure.
  We find a similar approach in Rush Limbaugh and others in talk radio
There’s not much about fiscal responsibility, but there’s a lot about how the government is rewarding the lazy and undeserving.
and in Paul Ryan, budget guru of the House Republicans, who said the safety net was 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.
Or to put it more bluntly, as perhaps my students would were I to allow them to use such language, if you are unemployed and/or can't feed your family or cannot afford to see a doctor for yourself or your family, tough shit.

Please keep reading.

It is a sad state when our politics has so deteriorated that one of our major political parties has basically so reverted to a Social Darwinism approach that they make Alf Landon look reasonable - remember, despite the poll by the Literary Digest predicting his victory, the man won only two small New England states in 1936.  The country clearly recognized how wrong-headed his approach was.

At a time when too many in the Democratic party, including the President and many of his key advisers, still seem willing to contract the social safety net, perhaps there is something I can say as a teacher that few else can - the surest indication that our public education system is failing is that the debate we are now having makes Landon look reasonable, that too many in BOTH PARTIES seem to have abandoned the notion of responsibility for the worst off among us and that too many of the American people seem willing to acquiesce in this.

Except as we have moved further to the right in abandoning the poor and undermining the social safety net for the middle class, we have also gone through a period of time where a decreasing percentage of our adult population has attended PUBLIC schools - vouchers and charters have continued to expand, and even in public schools few states require the teaching of union history and I suspect that it is increasingly the case that the New Deal and the Great Society are given ever shorter shrift in history and government courses.

There is much more to Krugman's column.   I note in particularly his penultimate column:

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.
I would add to that quote that in a few states -  AZ, NM, TX, large numbers of Hispanics would also be helped, along with Native Americans.  

In short, it is about race.

Further, for many in the Republican base, this is further driven home because the President is a person of color, one of Those People, even if many of the Republican voters are in desperate need themselves of the social safety net - think of Appalachian Whites in the stretch from the T of Pennsylvania all the way through their further outposts in Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee.

It is racial, to be sure.

And it is basic to our current politics, for as Krugman concludes

So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.

Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Pushing back at the Grand Bargain, and Social Security Defenders.

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  •  Tip Jar (197+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Youffraita, koosah, political junquie, radarlady, ChuckInReno, MartyM, Dartagnan, AnnieJo, hlsmlane, OrangeMike, Crashing Vor, cordgrass, richardvjohnson, caryltoo, ItsSimpleSimon, Shadow Catcher, Raggedy Ann, copymark, Loudoun County Dem, Egalitare, Sandino, riverlover, maryabein, coppercelt, Nebraskablue, TomFromNJ, isabelle hayes, Habitat Vic, La Musa, Pacifist, dannyboy1, KJG52, gundyj, dance you monster, mconvente, Timari, splashy, Ian Reifowitz, emal, brae70, mntleo2, Throw The Bums Out, Tool, LibrErica, harlinchi, Tim DeLaney, greenbastard, gypsytoo, TracieLynn, a2nite, StrayCat, Involuntary Exile, xaxnar, Mary Mike, MKinTN, petulans, eagleray, Stude Dude, ericlewis0, wintergreen8694, Moody Loner, bobswern, 3goldens, blue aardvark, Siri, ferg, lcrp, alwaysquestion, jfromga, allenjo, bronte17, CroneWit, GDbot, Cronesense, doingbusinessas, CA Nana, Wino, No one gets out alive, Sychotic1, geebeebee, Kristina40, Klick2con10ue, dinazina, Joieau, countwebb, buckstop, Jim R, gulfgal98, Preston S, unfangus, rmonroe, mattc129, DEMonrat ankle biter, rocksout, papercut, daveygodigaditch, Mentatmark, barbwires, TomP, radical simplicity, Ohiodem1, dewtx, dotsright, Danno11, GreenMother, RFK Lives, VA Breeze, TheDuckManCometh, elwior, Sam Hill, GeorgeXVIII, mofembot, Aureas2, Betty Pinson, TexDem, gramofsam1, eru, Batya the Toon, boatjones, run around, asterkitty, el cid, Pescadero Bill, orlbucfan, fugwb, wxorknot, nzanne, zerelda, Buckeye Nut Schell, kevinpdx, k8dd8d, starduster, Cassandra Waites, The Jester, jan4insight, SherwoodB, fixxit, Publius2008, Ice Blue, kerflooey, USHomeopath, Jimdotz, susakinovember, decisivemoment, shaharazade, basquebob, GAS, imchange, Robynhood too, OregonWetDog, bibble, howabout, The Hindsight Times, librarisingnsf, MufsMom, markdd, happymisanthropy, roses, Brooke In Seattle, onionjim, Front Toward Enemy, 1greybeard, Aaa T Tudeattack, GleninCA, Laurel in CA, sfbob, enhydra lutris, ColoTim, George3, camlbacker, filkertom, sillycarrot, Calamity Jean, BachFan, ssgbryan, Matt Z, StateofEuphoria, ems97206, Statusquomustgo, Rolfyboy6, rapala, ItsaMathJoke, bartcopfan, Shotput8, tofumagoo, FloridaSNMOM, ksp, oldcrow, dle2GA, cocinero, terabytes, Oh Mary Oh, Larsstephens, coldwynn, yoduuuh do or do not, VTCC73

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:11:05 AM PDT

    •  We are under attack by the 1% (62+ / 0-)

      They subscribe to a dystopian fantasy in which they siphon off the wealth and services everyone else produces, and live in gated enclaves with private security guards. Sure, they'll use the roads, and bridges, and electricity, and water infrastructure that we've all paid for, as long as it holds up, and then they'll create private versions that only they can access.

      This, I think, is the real reason they have hated Obama since he said "I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper." The very idea of a concept like the "common good" scares them to death.

    •  Isn't it the natural outcome of "free trade" (22+ / 0-)

      policies?

      "Free trade" says that a country that has a comparative advantage (like lower labor costs and fewer environmental regulations) should take over production of the goods and services in which they have that advantage.

      This means that the country that has the comparative disadvantage is going to lose those jobs.

      "Free trade" advocates say that this is okay because the people who lose their jobs will adapt to the new reality and will find employment in a new industry where the country they're in does have a comparative advantage.

      That's the inherent central flaw in the whole theory. People aren't just automatons, they can't all just get the re-training they need to become biochemists or whatever industry it is that we supposedly have an advantage in. Individual capacity is not 100% interchangeable as it would need to be for "free trade" to work.

      "Free trade" never addresses what will actually happen to all those people who lose their jobs. Which is that they will suffer and go hungry and become dependent on a social safety net, if one exists, for as long as they can. Because people don't just lay down in the street and die when they can't provide for their needs. They'll find a way to feed their children. By hook or by crook they will, and all the gated communities in the world won't stop them, once they reach that point.

      Women do 2/3 of the world's work, receive 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the means of production.

      by LibrErica on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:00:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Roasted rich fuckers with fava beans and chianti. (6+ / 0-)

        It's delicious and satisfying.


        The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

        by No one gets out alive on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:02:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even more flawed (14+ / 0-)

        Because even if everyone could instantly re-train, immediately learning exactly what they need for the new jobs, there is no one country's economy that owns the entire market on a new technology, which means every type of job will always have downward wage pressure from one economy or another.

        Add to that the fact that, again, even with instant re-training, there simply won't ever be the same number of jobs in an emerging industry as there are in an established industry that is now declining/moving. Thus the number of perfectly re-trained applicants for jobs in the new sector will always outstrip the number of available positions.

        Their entire mythology is wrong from the very first assumption.

        •  Re (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          imchange, nextstep
          Because even if everyone could instantly re-train, immediately learning exactly what they need for the new jobs, there is no one country's economy that owns the entire market on a new technology, which means every type of job will always have downward wage pressure from one economy or another.
          But also downward cost pressure. Your living standards improve if your salary falls but prices fall even faster.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:42:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me know (5+ / 0-)

            when prices start falling. These days prices for basic necessities like decent food, shelter and utilities just keep rising. Food prices being the most outrageous . Sure you can adjust your eating to the catffood theory level but  the price bad eating is harsh. 'The rents to high' for ordinary working people to live decently.

            •  Over the past 30 years a rapid decline in cost (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sillycarrot

              of luxuries and new "necessities."

              Air travel, computers, internet, TVs, telephone service, clothes, movies, music, etc..  

              Drugs that went off-patent becoming generic (e.g. Lipitor) also dropped in price.  Home heating and electric power now based on natural gas have also declined or at least increased slower than inflation.

              In 1980 households spent $0 on cable TV, Internet access and cell phones - now spending $200-500/mo on these is common.

              Much of the increase in food cost has come from shoppers shifting strongly to processed and packaged foods.

              Most of us pay far more attention to price increases than price cuts.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:01:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I respectfully disagree. (3+ / 0-)

                Cable did exist in 1980, and it wasn't free. And, while it may be that straight telephone service has increased slower than the rest, it also isn't nearly used so much with the advent of the cellular age. Comparatively, electronics always decrease in price with the ever constant development of new technology, but the new technology is more expensive than ever. Clothes are NOT cheaper than they were in 1980, even comparatively, especially shoes. And food is more expensive no matter whether you buy prepackaged foods or not. Have you bought a gallon of milk lately? Home electric, in my experience, is multiple times more than it was in 1980, as is natural gas. I'm not making multiple times what I was making in 1980, and I doubt that most people are either. I think you're making this stuff up.
                However, even if the cost of luxuries plummeted over this period of time, the cost of necessities, comparatively diminishing incomes, and higher unemployment, or underemployment (especially), limit the overall effect of cheaper luxuries anyway.
                Just sayin'.

                •  Cost needs to be looked at adjusted for inflation (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  Keep in mind that when measuring the cost of things in nominal dollars especially over many years, the value of the dollar decreases significantly - so an adjustment is needed.  When one does not do this one confuses a declining value of the dollar with higher real costs.

                  Any price that rises more slowly than inflation is actually a real decline in price.  

                  In your reference to milk, BLS gives a price in $2.477 in 1995 and $3.428 for Sept 2013 for an average annual price increase of 1.82%.  Over that same time CPI's average inflation rate was 2.49%.  So the real price of milk decreased over that time.

                  Which of the items that I mention in my comment do you assert increased in price more rapidly than inflation over the past 30 years?

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:24:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, Cable did exist in 1980, even in the 1960s, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shaharazade

                  because we had it in northern Alabama.  Clothes ARE  MUCH cheaper now than they were then, particularly shoes.  (Remember WalMart before Sam died?)  Food is more expensive, but it's primarily overly processed crap; I manage well on Depression-era skills.  Few to none of those advantages were available to my fellow teenagers.  Junk autos were, but rarely lasted long.  Gasoline is far more expensive;  TVA electric was still cheaper than today.

                  Before the stroke, I was in six figures, far beyond the bare four figures post high school.

                  All to say:  it's very, very, very different now, more so for some, too much so for me to claim my circumstances are the "real" ones.  Hubris is ugly no matter its origin.  Hunger is cruel no matter its origin.  Scholarly neglect is obscene no matter its origin.

                  The war on the 99% is fully underway, and if I'm not a soldier for the majority then I'm shamed.

                  (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 11.3 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

                  by argomd on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:33:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Prices are much more influenced by (0+ / 0-)

            other factors - price of fuel, weather's effect on crops, the percentage of the company's $$ that gets dumped into ridiculous pay, bonuses, and other compensation for the few that the top, etc.

            The pay of the peons is barely visible in the price equation for most things these days.

        •  Not to mention that... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfbob, radical simplicity

          Since the "recession" began, the production levels have remained relatively constant. Meaning that companies are getting the same production from fewer workers. Some of this is improved efficiency, and much of it is due to the workers doing multiple jobs for the same wage for fear of losing the ground beneath them. No matter how well the economy rebounds for the companies, those lost jobs will NEVER come back, at least in the age of deregulation. Corporations are only legally bound to one thing - profit for the shareholders.

          Fewer employees + similar production = lower end prices + higher profit.

    •  Low income older people should get a tax break (4+ / 0-)

      on pension income.  But other than those with a low income, pension income should be taxed like other other earned income.  

      •  what makes you think it isn't? (0+ / 0-)

        even 501c and 403b income is taxed.  So is part of social security for those with incomes above a certain level

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:27:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry for the brain fart (0+ / 0-)

          should not be 501c3 but rather 401k

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:29:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  State taxes. Feds tax it but the discussion was (0+ / 0-)

          about state taxation of retirement income.  Illinois doesn't tax pensions either.  Anything you get a 1099-R for in Illinois is not subject to Illinois income tax no matter how much income you have.

    •  From the perspective of the 1% (9+ / 0-)

      We are all "the poor."

      If you can't afford a private jet without a second thought, you are obviously a slacker who's not trying hard enough.

    •  And some think it will stop at the poor...? (7+ / 0-)

      Middle class people currently SUPPORTING conservatives in their efforts to gut social programs don't realize a critical point in all this: THEY are NEXT on the hit list!

      Once on a roll, the wealthy will NOT stop until they get ALL they can get! This is a snowball at the top of a mountain with a long way to go down before it reaches the bottom.

      FOOLS!

    •  Yes, "Crisis" & "War" (4+ / 0-)

      "Crisis" Indeed

      From the beginning, cutting health care spending has been the central motivation of discussions over the Obama administration’s main domestic initiative. This was to be done by requiring individuals to purchase private insurance or face a penalty, thereby allowing corporations and governments to eliminate their own health care programs and leave individuals at the mercy of private insurers’ profit interests. Just as the health care overhaul goes into effect, bipartisan discussions are underway to slash hundreds of billions more from Medicare and Social Security.
      Underlying the entire discussion in the political establishment is a basic concern of the American ruling class, a concern that is generally left unstated—namely, that people in the end are simply living too long. The advances of modern medicine have extended lives, often significantly beyond the age of retirement.
      Ken, we are living too long!
    •  Correct but... (10+ / 0-)

      The white people referenced here in this diary THINK that the war is against the minorities so they THINK they need to fight the conservative fight with their white bretheren.

      They are so wrapped up in their hate (which is actually fear) of those people not like them that they do not see (will not see) that the leaders of their side of the fight detest them as much as they detest the minorities.  The 1% will use these fools just like the RNC used Herman Cain as foot soldiers in the fight against their own self interests.

      That is why I continuously ask that we all make an attempt to work with these conservatives any way we can, to help them see they are actually one of us.  They need to be shown that they are fighting for the people who want to steal their retirement and their health care and their dignity at every opportunity.  

      We need each other to fight the 1% because the 1% owns all the capital, all of the business, all of the politicians and all of the media and we cannot defend our country from their fascist takeover without the entire 99% standing united against the 1%.  Even with them it is an uphill battle but without them, we don't have a chance.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:51:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have done my share (7+ / 0-)

        of making fun of Baggers, but have really been thinking long and hard about this lately:

        We need each other to fight the 1% because the 1% owns all the capital, all of the business, all of the politicians and all of the media and we cannot defend our country from their fascist takeover without the entire 99% standing united against the 1%.  
        Which is why it really angers me to see some of us supposedly "progressive" Democrats HR'ing such ideas like that, for "Consorting With The Enemy" and the like. Really? Un-fucking-believable. The majority of those folks are low-info and they're terrified. That fear simply manifests as anger, and then the pack mentality kicks in when enough of them get together. There's safety in their numbers.

        For now, that is. Frankly, they will see soon enough that they are, in fact, a target, and then we'll have some more help. But damned if I'm not reaching out to some in Real Life, as often as I can lately.

         Dividing us was a brilliant strategy--it's the only way the 1% can win.Don't. Let. Them. Win. Make it a goal to reach out once a day to ONE. Even if it disgusts you (and it may). Even if you end up in a fight. Just do it. Sometimes it's frustrating as hell, but if you even see the lightbulb go off once for any of them, it makes up for all the frustration. Trust me, this has happened to me and a friend, and also me and a family member in the last six months.

        If we do not unite, we are going to fall. It IS that simple.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great points Lunachickie! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bartcopfan, lunachickie

          I do the same thing and I try to pick my battles.  I know that I cannot push or pull them over to my way of thinking in one conversation so I try to just nudge them a little and make them think.  

          Hopefully, if I show them their Republican overlords have been lying to them about one thing then they will be open to somehting else during our next conversation.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:40:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell

            I worked on my brother over time.

            What finally got to him was hearing me--his sister, the only Bleeding Heart Librul he would essentially take seriously up to that point--go off on the administration about Social Security and the Catfood commision.

            I didn't go off much--I was joking about Bipartisanship and how Mr. Obama was starting to sound like he agreed with the GOP on the need to "cut entitlements". It just so happened that he was really bothered by that position, but couldn't quite put his finger on WHY.

            I helped :)  The idea that here I was, his beloved sister, whose company/jobs kept getting sold. Because it all started happening in my 40s and 50s, I never did get back on track completely, and ended up using my 401K and my savings just to survive. He knew full well what I'd gone through and was one of my biggest sources of general encouragement all along the way (we just didn't talk about politics AT ALL, and we were close as ever, hehe).

            And now these people were talking about fucking with the only retirement plan I have left. And I'll have nothing, if they do. Meantime, he's got full pension, full retirement AND Social Security.

            It finally dawned on him, that thing that bothered him for awhile. Not everyone is a Deadbeat--he kept saying "Well, shit! It's not your fault those things happened!" (no, they're not!) Why should you suffer because you had bad luck and I didn't? Part of the reason I did so good was that I'm 10 years older than you and I was fortunate to work for a company that never sold out"

            Light bulb! It was stunning. I can't say he's going to become a Democrat any time soon or anything, but damned if he's not taking a long hard look at the "Republicans" that are nothing like they used to be now. Mostly, he wonders why they keep picking on poor people. That's really, really bothering him now. He's finally starting to make the connection between "Oh, they're not all white males" and the GOP's version of "Deadbeats"--women, black, yellow, Indian, gay, lesbian, etcetera...

            Baby steps! I am SO grateful. This was a brother I had a major political falling out with since Christmas, 2002. Our whole family was pretty pissed (mostly at him, most of my fam are some shade of blue or another). And let me tell you something--and I can't stress this enough--he's the most stubborn bastard that ever lived, even more stubborn than me, lol!. If HE can be enlightened, anyone can.

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:34:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You did great! (0+ / 0-)

              Now, only about 100 million more (or so) to go!

              You should be able to handle that by November 2014,  or there about, right? :~)

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:13:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree to this principle. but... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ssgbryan, lunachickie

          the 1% (or 5%, or whatever the true percentage is...the truly well-off) is not limited to party boundaries. Don't get caught up in the idea that rich Democrats are going to help all that much when it comes down to it. There are only two countries on this planet. The first is made up of the people, no matter their geographical location, who own everything and wield all the power. The second one is made up of the people, no matter their geographical location, who don't. Political identity has little to do with it. As I see it, enlightenment to this matter requires a break from both of the prevailing political parties and their dogmas.  

          •  Oh, very true! (0+ / 0-)

            An important thing to keep in mind. I have some friends you would probably call "Blue Dog Dems" (it kills me, but yeah, they really do exist!).

             That's why, in Real Life, picking ones battles--and knowing where your friend/family/spouse/whoever stands in general beforehand--is pretty critical. Because some folks don't even ascribe to any party or its politics, they just go with whatever "The Majority" seems to believe on a given subject.

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:19:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Oldest Trick in The Book (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aaa T Tudeattack
      ... too many of the American people seem willing to acquiesce ...
      While the average American probably couldn't cite when the last budget surplus was, the oligarchy has a play book of every political tactic and mistake made since the dawn of recorded history.  And the one thing demonstrated time and time again is that as long as there is some race or social class below one's current standing on a higher rung, no matter how miserable that standing may be, two things happen every time:
      1. Anger can be directed towards that underclass or race by claiming they're 'taking' from the rung above.
      2. Fear of falling down one rung to the socioeconomic level of that underclass can be used to manipulate the class standing on the rung above to maintain the status-quo.

      It's sick human behavior.

    •  exactly!! Tax cuts for the uber wealthy, cuts and (0+ / 0-)

      shrinking government to everybody else. Any questions???

  •  Krugman does, indeed, "get it." (43+ / 0-)
    And he reminds us that in the rant by Rick Santelli that set off the movement we call the Tea Party

       

    There’s nary a mention of deficits. Instead, it’s a tirade against the possibility that the government might help “losers” avoid foreclosure.
    I can't believe the number of fools I've argued with who seem to believe the Teabaggers are kindred spirits in their distrust of Wall Street.

    In fact, they were started as a reaction against government intervention in the financial services industry.

  •  This was interesting to me: (14+ / 0-)
    A big concern for Pennsylvania Republicans isn't whether Gov. Tom Corbett can win a second term; it's whether they should even give him a chance.

    At least that's what a new Franklin & Marshall College poll has found.

    The survey of state voters shows that half of those registered as Republican believe Corbett should step aside so someone else can represent the party in the 2014 election.

    Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/...

    Oh, btw, Democrats and Independent voters like him Even Less than the party that elected him.

    Corbett's butt is toast, if all goes well.

    Best guess? Half of those registered Rethugs think he's too liberal and the other half are semi-sane.

    http://lancasteronline.com/...

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:44:45 AM PDT

  •  The Republican electorate are like (4+ / 0-)

    the cattle Temple Grandin induces to enter the chutes to the slaughterhouse without complaint. If the abstract cannibals ever run out of prey, they're next.

  •  Narrow self interest (9+ / 0-)

    I really don't think this Republican cynicism and misanthropy are brought about by racism, as much as a reflection of a much simpler motive: "What's in it for me?".

    There's a small core of very wealthy and powerful people, who mostly happen to be white, and who cannot imagine that their riches are yet enough. This is a functional definition of greed. They will do anything to increase their own wealth, without regard to societal consequences.

    I don't think it's so accurate to describe this as racism, although the simplicity is appealing. (And empirically, economic strata often reflect racial demographics.) This is about power and greed. How the wealthy sociopaths use propaganda and moral corruption to bring about their own ends.

    Surely it's true that a society with better income distribution allows even the wealthy to live in a wealthier society, but I find it to be unhelpful and distasteful to appeal to the self interest of the wealthy. That only further propagates the concept that being wealthy is the ideal, it is the goal.

    Instead, let's talk about building a healthy society, one with a coherent and stable safety net that prevents any member of the 99% from tripping into desperate poverty.

    Pointing to racism as the cause of this moral dysfunction might be pragmatic and politically expedient, especially given changing demographics. I think a simpler approach is even more expedient:

    The golden rule:

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
    Treat others as you'd like to be treated.
    Love your neighbor as yourself.

    or how about just:

    Do unto others

    That's short enough to put on a bumper sticker.

    -5.38, -2.97
    The NRA doesn't represent the interests of gun owners. So why are you still a member?

    by ChuckInReno on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:54:42 AM PDT

  •  Such irony: (20+ / 0-)

    Had Paul Ryan's mom not had the survivors' benefits from Social Security, it's likely he'd have been able to get the education to become a congressman and work tirelessly to cut Social Security.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 04:03:03 AM PDT

  •  Nothing New Here (21+ / 0-)

    "Yes there is a class war, and our side is winning".

    Warren Buffett. he stated this several years ago. he's not celebrating- just stating simple fact.

    So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.
    I'm not sure where you've been-- policies which abuse the middle class and poor have been in place for decades now, as have policies which benefit the wealthy class and keep wealth flowing their way.

    Now that we're nearly seven years into our lost decade, the gap between wealthy and poor is at a record high level, as is the child poverty rate. Now the problems with our particular brand of capitalism are more obvious, more critical than ever.

    And the lack of a PLAN by our elected "representatives" is more and more obvious.

    "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

    by Superpole on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 04:05:33 AM PDT

    •  I think there is something new (9+ / 0-)

      There is a sadistic glee that is evident that makes the war a much bigger threat than before.  Conservatives, driven by the tea party are actively rooting for people to die; whether through sickness, hunger or exposure to the elements, the entire tone has changed dramatically.
      I'm in my 60's and I've known conservatives of the past to be mainly pompous pricks with a disdain for the poor but who would grudgingly support programs to support them; that's how we got Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, SCHIP etc.
      Today's sociopathic republican party would like to see the needy disappear by whatever means it takes.
      No, this isn't the same class war Warren Buffett spoke of; this is a far more evil war.

  •  You are the richest nation on earth so you should (13+ / 0-)

    A - Assure the security of all your citizens;

    OR

    B - Assure the continued growing wealth of a narrow minority at the expense of all other citizens

    This is the binary choice. At this moment we are (collectively) embracing or discussing how to engage in policies that fit choice "B" rather than "A" - time for more window movement toward security for all our citizens.

    •  The wealthy are TAKERS, they don't care about it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      The wealthy are not in to create other than for THEMSELVES. For the rest, people are on their own.

      They believe that "THEY BUILT IT" without any help, and as Herman Cain stated during the campaign, "if you are not a millionaire, it's your own fault".

      Hence if you are poor and have no security, TOUGH LUCK!

  •  To quote Jerry Seinfeld (47+ / 0-)

    We're trying to have a civilization here.  Conservatives tend to see themselves as givers only.  They begrudge every dollar they spend in taxes, begrudge every perceived limitation to their freedom (e.g. the slightest bit of gun control) while completely blind to the enormous benefit they receive by living in a civilized society that wouldn't exist but for the efforts of millions of people who came before them.

    I'm 60 years old, have no kids and yet half my property taxes go to support the public schools.   I myself didn't even go to public school - I went to catholic grade school, high school, and college.   I don't begrudge paying for public schools, not every single tax dollar I spend has to be for services I directly use.  I benefit indirectly, I wouldn't want to live in a country where poor kids had no chance at an education.

    In my 60 years I have never been on welfare, never received any unemployment benefits or disability.  But I am not too proud or stupid enough to believe that I will never need these services, and I am glad they are there.

    Where do people think the interstate highway system came from?  County and local roads?  Sewer systems, clean air and water, the internet, dams, the list goes on and on.  As President Obama said (and was misquoted) - I didn't build that.    I am damned fortunate to live in this country.  Shame on people who take for granted all the contributions of those who went before us, and paint themselves a victims.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -- Susan B. Anthony

    by bluestatesam on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 04:25:45 AM PDT

  •  It's clear the Right has learned its lesson. (5+ / 0-)

    Corporations and wealthy individuals were scapegoated during the Great Depression because Americans weren't informed that the hardships of that era were because people were being lazy.

    This perspective is so selective, I can't believe anyone buys it. If they didn't have such an inferiority complex, they couldn't pull it off. It all seems to boil down to "White Entitlement."

    Let's face it: The fault for the general acceptance of this poisonous concept (as it's manifested in a hostility for Big Government) and the rise of the Tea Party is the same problem that brought Ronald Reagan to national prominence.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:15:56 AM PDT

  •  It's not just racial, it's part of the war on wome (13+ / 0-)

    These people think that women should be slaves to men, and want to force them to go to men with money to survive, doing whatever the men want no matter how much it hurts them or their children, even if it kills them.

    After all, women and children are there to serve men, right? They have no other reason for existing. (sarcasm, or the way the right wingers think)



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:22:21 AM PDT

  •  The reticence of Democrats to address poverty and (10+ / 0-)

    to willingly facilitate the neoliberal economic system at the root of this poverty while Presidents and Congresses since Richard Nixon advance the policies that increase poverty,is shameful. I expect the bashing of regulation, tariffs, unions and the poor from Republicans, but to watch Democratic Presidents from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, push policies that destroy the very constituencies supposedly at the heart of the Democratic Party's core support is at best misguided and at the worst a cynical betrayal.

    That a Democratic administration is offering to cut social programs and only arguing about the amount of cutting food assistance, not whether it should be done at all, is obscene.

    The problem is an economic system that doesn't work for the American people and only serves the interest of corporate power and the personal privilege of the wealthy and powerful, including careerist politicians of both parties. Until we address the root cause of poverty and joblessness, an undemocratic and authoritarian status quo that supports wealth over equity, nothing will change and I for one am sick of it...    

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:30:44 AM PDT

  •  It's really irrelevant (3+ / 0-)

    to talk about "Republicans" and "Democrats" in any pre-1980 context and correlate that to something the parties are doing or saying these days. The Republicans themselves rarely mention anyone prior to Reagan.

    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. -- John Stuart Mill (March, 1866)

    by Blood on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:58:34 AM PDT

  •  The war on the poor is nothing new (13+ / 0-)

    As a long time activist for low income people, I can tell you that this "war" has been going on for a long time. It was put on steroids since Clinton signed Welfare Reform, or the ironically named "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act" enacted in 1996.

    We tried at that time to tell people that this law, if enacted was the "canary in the mine" for upper income people. But we were laughed off the stage by our so called "progressives allies, not just conservatives. In essence this bill says that the only "responsible" work was paid work, meaning that any unpaid work was "doing nothing" for our communities.  

    Not so. The AARP has done a study showing that this unpaid work actually saves taxpayers over $450 BILLION dollars a year  It is especially been frowned upon if poor women "do nothing" with the care giving of their loved ones when they perform this traditional work that women have done since the beginning of humanity . This study, backed up by labor studies, also show that (mostly) women lose on the average of $400,000 over a work life time because of this unpaid care. Here is the PDF the AARP generated that is kind of wonky but shows what I am speaking about: http://www.aarp.org/...

    One might ask, how is this unpaid work saving tax dollars? Well if we were to build and maintain institutions to replace this work so that women can go out and say, "Do you want fries with that?", the cost of institutions is where this astronomical cost would be. It is not just with child care giving, women often face the choice of working for a wage or the 24/7 care of a loved ones with their elders and then their spouses as well.  I know you, TeacherKen. face this choice as well, and this is heueuege for you and your wife as far as your own security is concerned.

    Women are often forced to live off their loved one's income when they do this care. Yet Social Security calls this unpaid time "zero years" meaning they do not "count" toward the taking in of any Social Security when their loved one grows up or dies. You would be amazed at the many formerly middle class women living in their cars, thanks to this dismissal of unpaid care that used up all their loved one's assets and leaves them high and dry, often after laboring for years 24/7 with no sick leave, zero vacation pay, no medical care or even a small stipend for their own needs. Nope, no credit for this wok,  they often say this woman is "not working"!  

    This dismissal of unpaid work is a direct assault on traditional women's work and on feminism. We could begin to stop this "war" by giving women (and men if they need to do this work) the choice to perform this work with the support they need instead of being told the only work they can do is paid work.  Not only would it be less expensive but it would be better for loved ones who need the time and loving care from their own people.

    My 2 cents,

    Cat in Seattle
    Board member of POWER http://www.mamapower.org

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    by mntleo2 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:06:55 AM PDT

    •  I am taking care of my father-in-law. (4+ / 0-)

      I make sure he takes his medications on time, and note down any reactions he has. I keep an eye on his elimination and treat medication-induced constipation as needed. I feed him good, healthy food that helps him keep his blood sugar stable, and keep his weight from going up any more. I make sure he does the exercise he is capable of doing. I do his laundry. I take care of his cat. I take care of cleaning his house with chemicals that won't set off his asthma. He has dementia, so I let him tell me stories three times, trot back and forth four times as he remembers and forgets again what he was going to tell me, and I patiently tell him as many times as necessary what he wants to know.

      I don't get paid for this. He's family and that's what you do.

      But if I didn't do it, he'd be in a nursing home.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that nursing home... (2+ / 0-)

        ...would cost about $8000 a month, with minimal care, often terrible food, and less than loving support. Then they say this unpaid work you labor at is "doing nothing". It makes me want to swear ...  

        I want to thank you for your loving service! While I am sure you are doing this for your dad, you also do this for your country. This selfless work is worthy of support, not legislation that in essence says you "don't work" such as The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act does. But keep in mind it was written by Heritage Foundation's fellow Robert Rector, who believe me if you knew why he wrote that law would make you puke. and then this piece of crap was passed into law by mostly elitist white MEN who do not know what real "work" is unless someone waves a dollar bill under their nose. Then they will bend over and present themselves like chimps in heat quicker than you can say, "Welfare Queen"!

        Hang in there Dear, you are my hero ...

        Love, Cat .

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

        by mntleo2 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:08:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He'll have to go when he can't walk any more. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Throw The Bums Out

          I won't be able to lift him then.  But hopefully that day will be far distant.

          When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

          by Alexandra Lynch on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:11:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. But it is so ugly now. It used to be ONLY (10+ / 0-)

    the poor and the minorities that were tarred with awful descriptions and epithets. Nowadays, even middle class and even upper middle class white people are shit, for they are not rich.  Perhaps they are seen as the collateral damage in the war on the poor.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:07:15 AM PDT

    •  When you worship Money, the poor become (6+ / 0-)

      almost evil in reaction to the God of Cash.

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:26:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is kind of sad, but I understand ... (14+ / 0-)

      ...it is just that as an old progressive who was raised as a WOBBLY,  this "new" war on the upper classes only becomes "legitimate" when it is spreading to them.  I am sorry it is happening, but the one bright light in this is that now they are feeling the pain that the poor have felt for decades and are now listening.

      But I have to admit and tell you, that sometimes I want to scream whenever a "falling middle class" person tells me that somehow they deserve this support more because they "worked hard, did all the right things, never used drugs, etc." As if the poor did not do all these things too?  Most poor people are poor because they are caught in a huge web that will not let them escape.

      Poverty is an institution it is not a "choice". Institutions remain in place because they serve somebody and the Poverty Institution has been benefiting the upper classes for a long time. The Poverty Institution is based on racism, sexism (including LGBTQ), ageism and classism.  The reason this is important to keep in mind is because you can discriminate against anybody if they are poor for housing, jobs, pretty much anything. Even though your REAL reason is because of any of those "isms" that poverty uses in order to stay in place. An institution can be defined as something that a society accepts as a part of it by law or custom, and the Poverty Institution is no different than the Institutions of racism and sexism, or the old Institution of Slavery, the Institution of marriage, etc.  

      One of the things that people who hate the poor will say is, "How many jobs has a poor person generated?" The answer is: Plenty! Poverty is Big Business from the jobs they create to be "gatekeepers" to the poor, to the huge mega-non-profits where the rich hide their $millions as a private Cayman Islands for tax breaks, to the academics who study poverty, top the cheap labor the upper classes depend upon in order to maintain their own class positions, you name it.

      Just saying that as tragic as it is that the upper classes are now being persecuted, where were they when we tried to tell them they were next? Where was their own sense of decency that they could allow and even join in to the ridicule that the poor endured? Especially when these so-called "progressives" joined in the applause that is now leading them to their own demise? I am not saying they deserved it, I would not wish poverty on my worst enemy. I am only saying that perhaps the upper classes can learn something about only caring about themselves instead of understanding that "what you do to the least of these, you do to Me" meaning not only the harm and hurt it gives to God, but is a practical way of saying, "When you do not care about others and allow others to be harmed without a word, it might come back to bite you on the ass!"

      Hope this helps, and believe me, I get what you are saying, I am just saying perhaps we need a little more insight here as to what causes poverty and our own part in keeping poverty going.

      Love, Cat

      First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

      by mntleo2 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:43:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is quite beautiful. I just think it is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caryltoo, elwior, Brooke In Seattle

        incredible how far we have fallen in our morals and in basic human decency.  I believe many of the white folks who have means, but are not the 1%, are the same folks who have been going against their own self-interest, in this war on the poor.  They stand and cheer on the sidelines - "yeah, stick it to the poor, Mitt!", "Yeah, Ryan, fuck that safety net.  You punish 'em."  Meanwhile, they were helping people to screwing they themselves all along.

        Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

        by Floyd Blue on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:49:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Forgot to mention ... (7+ / 0-)

        That another one of the "isms" that the Institution of Poverty depends upon is also people with disabilities. You might overcome one of these "isms", but it is hard. Try to be someone who falls in more than one of those "isms" and your goose is cooked!

        Love, Cat

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

        by mntleo2 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:01:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There may be a handful of people who (10+ / 0-)

    do plan to milk the system but that is true of any program, including the farm subsidies to "farmers" who don't use their land. This is not a reason to kill programs that help people

    and I feel very badly for a person who is so depressed and hopeless that they think a govt check is a good life....I am NOT at all envious of that person, it is just sad

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:19:38 AM PDT

  •  "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." (7+ / 0-)

    my sig line from Jimmy Breslin, hero to the common man

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:24:52 AM PDT

  •  Also, the is a religious undertone to it (6+ / 0-)

    all. If you are poor, unemployed, sick, etc., you are not living "right", you are being punished, or it's God's will or some crap. Fallout from prosperity "christians".

    "Drudge: soundslike sludge, islike sewage."
    (-7.25, -6.72)

    by gougef on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

  •  It's about scapegoating as well (8+ / 0-)

    Blaming the poor provides a useful target for those who want to have a reason to explain why their lives are so crappy. They can explain it by blaming liberals for giving all their tax money to lazy people in exchange for votes. Their bosses can claim they can't pay them better because of all the taxes and burdensome regulations etc etc. Lather, rinse, repeat - oh and social security and Medicare are going broke because they're rewarding people for making bad decisions about money and their health. They need to be more responsible or should expect to suffer.

    This not only gives them a target for their resentments, it also distracts from those who are really ripping them off: the 1%. Wall Street is doing better than ever while Main Street is barely hanging on. The reason being is because our economy and our government is rigged in favor of the 1% at the expense of the rest of us. That's why the GOP is waging war on the poor while demanding more tax cuts for corporations and the rich. They've built a nice little tautology of blaming the poor for everything that's wrong with America.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:31:04 AM PDT

  •  I think the issue is that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, Wisper, johnny wurster

    there is an underlying belief by many in this country that no one who is physically capable of working should be given something for nothing. There's a strong sentiment among many that people should work for what they get, unless they are physically disabled (blind, paraplegic, etc.)

    I also think that there are two things beyond doubt:  (1) the social safety net helps many who really need it; and (2) there is some abuse of the system.  As for the first point, many on the left point to the legitimate examples of people who, often temporarily, need assistance to keep a roof over their heads or food on the table, basic necessities that we all agree everyone should have.  As to the second point, we all probably know people who abuse the system, people who are supposedly "disabled' who certainly could do SOME kind of job, for example.  

    I think that the some of the fundamental split comes from the two sides talking past each other. For one, I think there's a fundamental difference of opinion as to "abuses."  The left would limit that to outright fraud -- people who blatantly lie about their circumstances so as to get federal benefits.  On the other hand, the right would include people who choose the route of federal benefits because it's the easier route, or because the difference between federal benefits and low paying jobs is sometimes not enough to make them want to work, or people who make decisions (like having children) with the expectation that their decisions will be financially subsidized by people who go to work every day.  

    The other place I think that the two sides are talking past each other is with respect to how important it is to spend time and money ferreting out abuses.  The left says, "the abuses are small, and you shouldn't worry about it -- it's not worth the time and money to get rid of the abusers, and when you try to do that, you may end up hurting people who need it."  The right says,"it's the fundamental principle -- I don't want the federal government sending the message that it's easy to be supported by federal benefits, and I don't want money I work for every day to go to people who are physically capable of working for their own money."  

    I can give you two concrete examples of this.  First, there is the dispute over drug testing for federal benefits.  The left points to the small number of people who have actually been "caught" by it, and say, essentially, "Don't worry about it."  The right says it's more about the message, the principle, and how the government wastes "my money" on people who don't deserve it -- who use drugs.  

    The second concrete example is the "surfer on food stamps" that was circulating on the right recently. (You can Google that phrase to see what I'm talking about if you don't know.)  For those who don't know, this is a young, healthy guy who says that having a job is "not for him," and not the kind of life he wants to live, and who said on camera that all he wants to do is surf, chase women, and play with his band to try to become a rock star.  He gets SNAP benefits since the work requirement has been relaxed.  The right was outraged by this and points to it as emblematic of what's wrong with the federal benefits system.  The left says, essentially, that's one guy, let me show you people who really need those SNAP benefits.  

    The federal safety net is largely a creation of the left, of course, and I think it is incumbent on the left to protect it.  I think that the left could lessen that divide, and make more headway with working class people -- what used to be called "Reagan Democrats"-- by showing some concern over what abuses there are and by adjusting the programs to lessen what abuse there is.  President Clinton's "welfare reform" was immensely popular, I think (whether deservedly so or not) because it was perceived by many to be a statement to people that they should not be spending all their adult lives relying on federal assistance.  The work requirements for SNAP were perceived the same way.  Of course, the difficult part is devising a system to ferret out abuses, and to nudge people who can support themselves to stop relying on federal assistance without depriving those who really need it.  Nonetheless, my one criticism of the left on that issue (since this is a leftist blog) is that failure to acknowledge the deep resentment some have when they perceive "their money" that "they worked for" going to someone like the "surfer on food stamps." It's a legitimate emotion, I think, to resent having two hours of every working day go to pay federal income taxes (if you are one of the millions of households subject to the AMT, for example) and see some of that go to people like the "surfer on food stamps."  My two criticisms of the right on this issue are that (1) they focus too much on the abuses, which have symbolic merit but perhaps less impact financially, and (2) if they are concerned about abuses, they need to bring solutions that curb the abuses without cutting off benefits for those who need them.

    •  Straw man alert (6+ / 0-)

      The left does not say that.  I have had this conversation with my friends and I always say that abuses do occur and it is important to identify them and remove them, but just because abuse occurs is no reason to get rid of the whole program, because it is like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:09:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a straw man, in my experience. Here's why. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, johnny wurster

        For an example of a specific response to "surfer on food stamps" that essentially says, "most people need it, let me show you examples of people who do," see here.  It shows you part of the "surfer on food stamps" story, but you do not hear this:  " abuses do occur and it is important to identify them and remove them."  Nowhere is it said, "this guy is abusing the system and we need to change things to make sure he, and any others like him, can't take money you work for any more." (As I said, messages on the right tend to stop there, which is also inadequate in my opinion).  Instead, that report -- which is typical of the left -- focuses only on the "baby with the bathwater" argument, showing statistics to argue that MOST people who get SNAP need it, and then interviewing a guy who used SNAP as intended, as a temporary help to get him on to a career.

        You may say this:  

        I always say that abuses do occur and it is important to identify them and remove them, but just because abuse occurs is no reason to get rid of the whole program, because it is like throwing out the baby with the bath water.
        But most often, politicians and advocates on the left say ONLY the second part without the first.  

        I think that politicians on the left would be more credible if, in response to things like the recent growth in the SNAP program, they coupled requests for increased spending with legislative measures for curbing abuse, the way you coupled the two in your statement.  But typically, what I see is the right saying this:

        abuses do occur and it is important to identify them and remove them
        And the left says this:
        just because abuse occurs is no reason to get rid of the whole program, because it is like throwing out the baby with the bath water
        I would love to see a politician from EITHER side couple the two concepts together in actual legislation.  I think whoever does would gain a ton of credibility.  
    •  Thanks for the right wing talking points (0+ / 0-)

      Where to start...
      First Paragraph- "Strong belief in this country that people should work for..."
      What is that even supposed to mean? Is that to imply that folks getting assistance are scamming the system? You're going to imply that? Did you even read Krugman's column?

      we all probably know people who abuse the system, people who are supposedly "disabled' who certainly could do SOME kind of job, for example.
      Wrong. Totally and completely wrong.
      The abuse rates in the SNAP program are VERY small. The chances of "everybody" knowing someone abusing the program  would only be true if abuse of the program was widespread. It's not. That's a typical right wing lie.
      http://feedingamerica.org/...
      some of the fundamental split comes from the two sides talking past each other.
      Typical false equivalency dodge the right is so fond of.
      The federal safety net is largely a creation of the left, of course, and I think it is incumbent on the left to protect it.
      What the hey? Can you really even type that out without laughing?
      The safety net benefits the entire country. Or do you not even acknowledge that?
      I think that the left could lessen that divide, and make more headway with working class people -- what used to be called "Reagan Democrats"-- by showing some concern over what abuses there are and by adjusting the programs to lessen what abuse there is.
      What a load. Yeah, let's waste time appeasing the crazies on the right that don't even have their facts correct about these programs. Oh boy, We've really gotten far with that policy.
      President Clinton's "welfare reform" was immensely popular
      Yeah - so popular they impeached him for getting a blow job.
      But I will admit you're slick. You repeat right wing crap and then try to position yourself as being in the center.
      It's a scam.
  •  History of the New Deal supports this (5+ / 0-)

    FDR had to exclude professions that were predominantly black from the first iteration of Social Security, because Southern Democrats wouldn't support it if it helped Those People.

    To put it another way, people are willing to see government money help those they see as being part of the same nation - and too many Americans think "American" means someone like them.

    I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

    by blue aardvark on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:40:57 AM PDT

  •  A small kernel of truth hidden in the weeds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    Maybe I'm getting old and conservative, but I have to say, there is a bit of truth hidden in the GOP rants, and we would be better served by recognizing it.

    It has become clear to me over time that a good bit of what comes at us is actually connected to the choices we make in our lives. Call it "karma" or whatever, but choices and effort do matter. There are people on unemployment who just sit around and collect as long as they possibly can, and complain bitterly about requirements to prove they're actually looking for work. (I hear them on the bus regularly.) On the other hand, there are people like the young woman I met, poor black unskilled mother of two young children, who when the unemployment office said "Would you be interested in getting trained as a paralegal, at government expense?" called her mom, asked if mom could do child care for the eight weeks, and was commuting a long way to that training program -- and was in line to be able to earn far above her previous $10-an-hour McJob.

    As a writer, I can see that the people who succeed as writers put in long hours, day after day, actually getting stuff written -- while I talk about writing a book but day after day post on sites like this instead. That's reality.

    There are people who work hard and smart but can't catch a break, and people who can't work hard due to their physical or mental condition or family responsibilities. So I'm not arguing for "no safety net." But I also want to acknowledge that the "lazy and shiftless" or "cheater" narrative does apply to some people, and we need better answers and proposals than just blaming "the capitalist system."

    •  In every segment of society (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, mntleo2

      there are "lazy and shiftless" and cheaters. Just like their are dirty cops, abusing ministers, rotten wall street execs, tax evading millionaires and on and on and not to mention corporate tax evaders and blood sucking military contractors. To criticize the poor in order to take away what meager assistance they may be given in a society where such assistance is can be easily done is plain wrong.

      one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK

      by Klick2con10ue on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:37:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Proxy for cultural war (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, happymisanthropy

    The GOP's white working-class base has been convinced by the wealthy and other elites of the falsehood that it's mostly non-whites who receive public assistance for the poor or unemployed. This was easy to achieve, as the GOP base is culturally predisposed to believe such racist notions. Their base is trading it's economic self-interest in favor of it's bigoted cultural self-interest.

    I believe, that hostility towards the poor and working-class by GOP elites and their wealthy class is driven by personal greed, while support for this same hostility by the GOP's white working-class base is driven by racism. Among their base, the war on the poor and unemployed is a proxy for the right's true war for cultural and ethnic dominance.

  •  Not all about race, not even close. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freeportguy1, elwior

    The race issue is just a convenient tool used by those in power. We are still dealing with large structural economic problems. Those problems are also ignored and not addressed by this administration, whose great game plan seems to be neoliberal trade deals (corporate welfare) and austerity. To be sure, race is a factor. Having angry disenfranchised misinformed white voters has been extremely useful for many in power, but we are having an economic crises that continues for everyone except the plutocrats.

  •  Good post, teacherken. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, onionjim, happymisanthropy

    Krugman is right.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:28:41 AM PDT

  •  If the poor don't get food from government... (7+ / 0-)

    ...then they will HAVE to work.

    And if child labor law and minimum wage law can be repelled in the name of "free market" and "job creation", then the poor will compete for lower wages and benefits.

    The pendulum is going back to 1800's work practices of cheap labor without ANY right.

    This is SICKENING economic and social Darwinism.

    And these people, Conservatives, Republican politicians and corporate barons alike call themselves CHRISTIANS...?

    FUCK THEM ALL!!

  •  Yes, because we only pretend to work. (4+ / 0-)

    If we were really working and if Jeebus loved us, we would be rich by now.

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:42:17 AM PDT

  •  Why the super wedgie? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, elwior, dandy lion

    Not saying racism doesn't play a part, but at its core it may be a lot simpler than that.

    There are a lot more poor people these days than there were 15 years ago. Why? Because Thuglican economic policies created them.

    Offshoring jobs (which, realistically speaking happened under Clinton too).

    Deliberate targeting and destruction of Unions and any field of employment that allowed them.

    Repealing laws governing banks and Wall Street, which allowed the liar's loans and sub-prime mortgages, and credit default swaps, which in turn caused an enormous and unsustainable real estate bubble, which continued bubbling and morphing thanks to creatures called house-flippers, which in turn caused Everything Go Boom, and millions of formerly financially secure people lost everything they had. (bonus points for it partly being encouraged while the inherent dangers kept quiet solely to help GWB's Residency look good)

    And then we all got to bail out the crooks who did it.

    Thugs and their policies created a lot of these newly poor people, and their continued policies are feeding the sinkhole. But that looks pretty shitty on a resume when you're trying to become the Masters of the Universe, dunnit?

    So how much better to simply float the idea that the poor are lazy shiftless parasites who want to suck everyone else dry. Oh, and of course, it's helpful, when doing a "news story" on poverty, food stamps, yadayada - like the one I saw this morning - to ONLY show and interview people of color.

    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

    by Pariah Dog on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:02:43 AM PDT

  •  I think the war is on new voters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, elwior

    New voters overlap a lot with poor people, but not completely.  The GOP knows that the Obama inspired turnout of young, anti-war, liberal, minority voters will be dominant for decades unless it can be suppressed.

    There are two ways to suppress the new vote:
    1.  Direct approaches (restrictive voter ID etc.)
    2.  Discouragement (economic, health care sabotage etc.)

  •  Thankyou Ken, I can't agree more. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf, elwior
  •  Meh, sort of (0+ / 0-)

    It's actually a war by the wealthy to grab more money for themselves.  Not because they need it, of course, but because their sense of self worth is measured by dollar amounts.

    The poor are just the collateral damage, and are labeled as the enemies to give the wealthy the political cover they need for their legalized robbery.

  •  I agree with Krugman on the economics of the 'war' (0+ / 0-)

    but see the source of it as deeper and less rational: the misunderstanding and misapplication of the lesson from the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

    Conservatives selectively read the parable as 'do well for yourself and you'll prosper, while ne'er do well should be cast out'

    Looks like the Parable, if taken in context though, is an exhortation for all of us to work hard to push us all forward, as we don't know when God will come and take us to Glory.

    This misunderstanding leads to all the efforts by those who have dome well with themselves to prevent the fruits of their labor from pushing the aggregate of Humanity forward----the Failure of Trickle-Down

    "Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny"---Robert Heinlein, writing as Lazarus long

    by justadood on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:04:20 PM PDT

  •  that's a small minority- what makes it 'acceptable (0+ / 0-)

    is the problem

    we'll always have haters and racists - it's 25 years of unchallenged limbaugh and hannity radio and spawn that has put those shits in a position of power in the GOP.

    and it aint fox.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 10:28:33 AM PDT

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