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In his Monday column, Krugman tells us it is difficult for Republican with national ambitions are having a difficult time talking about the poor because of their well-earned

reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they do too care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics.

Even worse, they are actively hostile to programs that help the poor:  he notes that in the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act Republican=controlled states are refusing the federally-funded expansion of Medicare, thereby denying coverage to 5 million Americans, while at the same time
those Republican-controlled states are slashing unemployment benefits, education financing and more. As I said, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the G.O.P. is hurting the poor as much as it can.
The hot-link takes you to a piece about North Carolina.  IF you want to see real devastation of the funding of public education, one can look at Pennsylvania and Michigan as well, among other states.

Sounds like Krugman is really taking the Republicans apart, right?  To a degree that is true..

But let me caution you, there is at least one surprise in this Krugman column

Krugman notes of Republicans  that

they’re deeply committed to the view that efforts to aid the poor are actually perpetuating poverty, by reducing incentives to work. And to be fair, this view isn’t completely wrong.
  While pointing out how wrong this with respect to unemployment compensation - very relevant given Republican refusal to extend benefits without an "offset" someplace else in the budget (rather than appropriately raising taxes on those getting very rich as a result of changes in taxation in the Bush administration and the "carried interest" exemption) - Krugman does grant that
our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government.
But note how he phrases it -  as very high marginal tax rates - albeit still far lower than the highest marginal tax rates in our history, which were established under a Republican President named Eisenhower who accepted our responsibility to pay for the wars (plural) we had recently fought, World War II and Korea, unlike the most recent Republican administration which fought and left in conflict two expensive wars that were not paid for.

Krugman explores what we should do to remove the disincentives because of those high marginal rates.  We could, he notes, simply slash the benefits, but if you did this with, say, nutrition assistance porgrams, it would be counterproductive because

the poor would become less productive as well as more miserable; it’s hard to take advantage of a low marginal tax rate when you’re suffering from poor nutrition and inadequate health care.
The alternative is to phase out the benefits as one's financial situation improves, which is exactly what happens with the financial support for insurance under the Affordable Care Act -  you know, than demon spawn of the Muslim Socialist Kenyan President that some Republicans are so determined to eliminate  (that is MY characterization, somewhat tongue in cheek, of at least SOME of the Republican opposition).

Krugman says of the approach embedded in ACA that

improving incentives this way means spending more, not less, on the safety net, and taxes on the affluent have to rise to pay for that spending. And it’s hard to imagine any leading Republican being willing to go down that road — or surviving the inevitable primary challenge if he did.
The point is that a party committed to small government and low taxes on the rich is, more or less necessarily, a party committed to hurting, not helping, the poor.
I would argue that it is part of a considered political approach.

1.  The poor tend not to vote, so it does not cost you their votes.

2.  You can demonize the poor as being unworthily poor.

3.  You attack organizations that might lead to more poor participating politically -  and whatever did happen to ACORN?

4.  You argue that Biblical mandates to care for the poor should not be done by government, but rather by groups like churches and other charitable organizations, thereby keeping taxes low, even though we have a fairly low rate of charitable giving in this country, especially when compared to countries with high tax rates and strong social safety nets, like those in Scandanavia.  And if you back out the "charitable" contributions to things like educational institutions and cultural institutions where one can get things (buildings, scholarships) named for the donor, our rate of charitable giving that results in aid to the poor is abysmal.

5.  You impose registration procedures that are heavily discriminatory against the poor, demanding identification they do not have, making it inconvenient to obtain by limiting the location of obtaining, and even if they have it, restricting the hours at which they can vote thereby in some cases forcing them to choose between earning an income or voting, and if the latter, artificially creating long lines to further discourage them.  Heck, if you could you'd make them pay directly for the new identification - except even this Supreme Court would find that a violation of the constitutional ban on poll taxes for FEDERAL elections (note that we are now seeing states try to impose such fees for state and local elections).

In the Jim Crow South, it what quite common for those controlling the levers of power to pit poor Whites against Blacks.  That the perception of most Americans is incorrect in believing most of those receiving support from the social safety net are people of color helps generate a hostility towards benefits.  Once upon a time we knew better, and at least some of us do.  Had I any doubt - and I didn't - volunteering in free medical and dental clinics in Appalachian Virginia, which has few people of color, would have persuaded me otherwise.  That is a region that should want programs to help the poor.  It is also the part of Virginia that voted most heavily for Romney.  Keep that in mind.

Don't expect Republicans to change until it costs them elections.

Krugman reminds us that support for programs of the social safety net used to have bipartisan support.  Perhaps during the Great Society, and even to some degree in the Nixon administration.  If you go back, there was strong Republican hostility to Social Security when it was first proposed.  But certainly, even before the rise of the 'Tea Party' strand, something funded by wealthy types like the Koch Brothers to foment hostility to anything that might require them to pay taxes to benefit others, there was Republican hostility - after all, we did live through the Reagan Revolution, with a campaign kickoff in Neshoba County Mississippi designed to give a wink and a nod to racists, with its bloviations about welfare queens, and so on.

There used to be moderate Republicans.  Hell, there used to be LIBERAL Republicans - I came of age in New York City, with the likes of Mayor John Vliet Lindsey and Senator Jacob Javits.

No more.

As Krugman concludes:  

For now, however, Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America’s poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.
It is appropriate to be enemies of poverty.  We all should be.  We all should be dedicated to a society that provides the means for people not to be trapped there for generations, to grow up with little if any hope.

It used to be that all Americans could dream of living better and richer lives than their parents.  Now in the Middle Class the fear is of slipping into poverty, and that fear is used to try to generate hostility towards programs for the poor.

Those who so advocate are enemies of the poor, not of poverty.

Those who are enemies of the poor are enemies of the nation, because this nation cannot survive as a liberal democracy with an increasing permanent underclass.

This column from Krugman is a keeper.

My only complaint is that the limitations on length do not allow it to be as blunt as I am.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (125+ / 0-)

    "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 Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:36:29 AM PST

  •  I hope this finds some interest (45+ / 0-)

    Today is the first time in half a week I have felt strongly enough to take the time to post.

    It is in my opinion immoral to be an enemy of the poor.

    It is also in my opinion mandatory to be an enemy of poverty.

    That is what fueled my decision to write about this column.

    Do with it what you will.

    "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 Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:53:16 AM PST

    •  Seems like you slide through (21+ / 0-)

      the key point.

      "Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they do too care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics."
      And even "spite" is scratching the surface.

      They don't care. And they don't care because they are sociopaths and they see normal empathy as an irrational personality weakness.

      Epitomy: Chris Christie. Most hated: Pope Francis. Test characteristics:

      -- Extremely charming and charismatic
      -- Great orators with long monologues
      -- Delusions of grandeur
      -- Risk taking as an entertainment
      -- Party animal craziness
      -- Entitled to certain positions, people, and things
      -- Con artists, kleptomaniacs but rarely violent
      -- Can rely on blackmail, nonviolent getting-even behaviors
      -- Unreliable, makes outsized promises
      -- Professional liars. They fabricate stories and make outlandish, untruthful statements
      -- Sell their tales with confidence and assertiveness
      -- Incapable of experiencing guilt or shame for their actions
      -- Manipulative; constantly try to influence and dominate people
      -- Can present with massively overblown resume and false credentials

      Christie's perfect. His "Stronger Than The Storm" ad campaign after Hurricane Sandy wasn't about New Jersey. It was about Christie, himself.

      Not that Obama, Biden, and the Clintons are shy wallflowers, but they're not crazy the way we've come to expect with the "conservatives" who get billionaire support.

      •  Which is why (19+ / 0-)

        Christie is what passes for "moderation" in today's GOP.  He's a union-busting thug who killed a planned Hudson River tunnel project, but he doesn't want to roll the domestic side of the federal gov't back to 1932 (or is it 1832).  That distinguishes him from Romney, Ryan, Boehner, Cantor, and most of the rest of his party.

        Bipartisanship gave us sequestration, retroactive FISA immunity, the IWR, the Patriot Act, an out of control NSA, financial deregulation, welfare "reform," NAFTA, and a whole host of other evils.  It should never have been practiced w/ such fervor, and it shouldn't be practiced now.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:53:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Headline should be "why bipartisanship is a (12+ / 0-)

          chimera."  Let's recall exactly what Christie did in 2010:

          If you find yourself in a stopped train in a Hudson River tunnel, or in a vehicle on a choked highway, in coming years, at least you will know why. In his drive to become the darling of the cut-costs-at-all-costs Republican crowd, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey ignored real economic analysis and relied on exaggerated worst-case scenarios to kill the largest public transit project in the nation in 2010.

          The project, two new rail passages under the Hudson River, would have vastly improved the region’s economy, the environment and the lives of millions of commuters. The federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were providing most of the $10 billion needed to build the tunnels. But Mr. Christie said they were going to cost a lot more than that and that New Jersey would be on “a never-ending hook.”

          Now, a report from the Government Accountability Office makes it clear that the cost-cutting talk was political bluster. Mr. Christie estimated that the project could cost more than $14 billion, of which New Jersey would have had to pay 70 percent if you counted federal stimulus dollars and Port Authority money. The report said later federal estimates ranged from $9.8 billion to $12.4 billion and that the state’s real share was 14.4 percent. The benefits would have been huge. Today, traffic moves under the Hudson River through two 100-year-old tunnels that are nearly at capacity at peak travel times. With projections that transit demands in this area will increase 38 percent by 2030, the new tunnels would have allowed twice as many trains during rush hour, 48 per hour instead of 23.

          As noxious as the lane closing vendetta was, it was not nearly as harmful as this conscious policy decision he made 3 years earlier.   The only reason why Christie is remotely "moderate" is b/c he's not a total nihilist like the rest of his party.  In the land of the blind, the man w/ a seeing-eye dog is king.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:26:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Your examples are "bipartisanship is just another (5+ / 0-)

          name for corruption."

          All that bipartisanship being practiced back in the Clinton and Bush eras was simply passing the laws the plutocrats wanted passed under the guise of bipartisanship. Any haggling over details had to do with just how much the plutocrats were going to be allowed to steal.

          Thus, when both sides are merely acting to keep their plutocratic handlers happy, there are no partisans for the poor or working class.

          Most of our politicians these days are corrupt to some degree in that they always weigh just how much they have to pay or 'kick back' to their big donors when legislating. Unfortunately, that's just the nature of the beast these days orchestrated initially by the plutocrats, and as we can all see, it's working out great for them.

          The republicans are just proud to be completely and absolutely corrupt as they see themselves as part of that plutocracy.

          "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

          by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:02:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  GOP has lost popular vote in 5 of last 6 national (6+ / 0-)

            elections.  Their popular vote totals since 1988 have ranged from a low of 38% to a high of 51%, and their average has probably been a little >45%.

            Their ideas are antithetical to everything our party is supposed to stand for.  Their "leaders" are an extremely sorry lot.  Their candidates cannot come close to cobbling together a majority national coalition.

            There is no reason to show them respect, much less deference.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:20:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kerry showed too much respect. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gentle Giant, mconvente, Hirodog

              He failed to attack Bush43 for doing nothing to prevent 9/11, then doing the wrong thing by attacking the wrong country, Iraq.

              Otherwise it would be 6 of 6.

              And Barbara Buono was far too nice campaigning against the charming sociopath, Christie.

              •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                waterstreet2013, Pescadero Bill
                He failed to attack Bush43 for doing nothing to prevent 9/11, then doing the wrong thing by attacking the wrong country, Iraq.
                Yeah well Kerry voted for the Iraq war, so his critique of the President in this regard would have been laughable.

                (-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 Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:35:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But a strategy of attacking Bush43 for doing (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  nothing to prevent 9/11 would have been oh so fun (in a turn your gut sour sort of way) to see play out.

                  "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

                  by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:42:36 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed. But they manage to game the system just (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RFK Lives, waterstreet2013

              the same. From effective propaganda via media complicity to gerrymandering. So the popular vote, to date, has been ineffective at stopping their looting. Quite probably because of lack of democratic resistance, be in on purpose or otherwise.

              That being said, the issue of overall political corruption is to greater and lesser, but to an almost absolute extent, system-wide.

              I think you and I are in agreement, my point was to merely suggest the 'successful' bipartisanship we've seen to date has been on purpose and to the benefit of both parties in that it has rewarded them even more campaign contributions, and thus exacerbating the problem of corruption, from more and more corporate and big-money donors.

              I agree that bipartisanship should not be practiced and especially with fervor, but it is and will be so long as it is instigated by the corrupt political campaign contribution process.

              DC is in a corruption feed-back loop the winds of which we the common working and poor folk can't penetrate. And I'm not exactly sure how we can break that cyclone-vacuum effect sucking all the money up and out of our government.

              "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

              by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:59:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  And hatred of the poor is bipartisan (4+ / 0-)

          Increasingly so. It's fueled by corporate funders who determine US public policy and legislative agendas today (ALEC).

          The GOP has always harbored this cruel streak, but neoliberals have been jumping on the bandwagon since the early 90s.

          Voters have to realize we can't keep electing these people to office. Public shaming doesn't seem to change their false sense of entitlement and faux moral superiority, but forcing these elected officials to show their true beliefs to the voting public can help.

          Rules and procedural changes in the House and Senate have made it much more difficult to hold these members publicly accountable, but itcan still be done through public vote whipping and social media.

          If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

          by Betty Pinson on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:36:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Something is wrong with the link to the column (5+ / 0-)

      I tried to follow the link but nothing happens.  Looked at the page's HTML source and instead of a normal href tag, that link has defang_hhref tag.  I think that's invalid; I'm surprised my Chrome browser presents the link as a hyperlink.  

  •  Incentives always in the wrong place (24+ / 0-)

    As Krugman points out, these families collecting benefits do face an incredible toll when gaining additional income. To lose 80 cents of benifits for every dollar you earn, doesn't create much incentive to go out and find a minimum wage job that requires you to work 40 hours a week. And don't forget the additional dollars it costs to have and keep a job.

    Can you just imagine the howls from the rich if we picked an arbitrary income level and said we're going to take 80% of everything you make above that?

    The reduction in benefits need to be reduced more gradually so as to give people an incentive to work knowing they will actually be better off because of it, not worse. In this countries current situation, a job does not mean a living wage despite people like John McCain who think farm laborers make $50/hr.

    This fight needs to be fought on many fronts. Ensuring benefits are available and adaquate for those that need them and ensuring that anyone who works 40 hours a week makes a living wage.

    •  Well, they are not "benefits." (14+ / 0-)

      Benefits is a word that pretends to consider the matter from the perspective of the recipient and ignores that compensation, whether immediate or deferred, is an obligation that anyone who employs the services of others has incurred.
      Over and above those obligations are the obligations that come with exclusive private property rights -- i.e. the obligation to share the fruits thereof and insure that the human rights of all persons are satisfied.
      That said, I don't think Republicans hate poor people. The Republican party has become home to a cadre of self-centered human beings whose attitude towards their fellow man is comparable to that of a mosquito looking for warm blood. Since they're going after their own kind, their behavior is cannibalistic. Symbolism makes it possible to render the cannibalism bloodless. Instead of employing fangs, humans, the tool-using species, has learned to sublimate their impulse by relying on currency to withhold and extract sustenance. Because, keep in mind that the poor are actually being kept in reserve to provide some labor or entertainment down the line. Some are even kept in a condition comparable to that of stuffed geese, whose livers become delicacies after a while.
      And that's not just a metaphorical comparison. How many young adult vehicular "accident" victims have their organs harvested for transplantation? How many of those "accidents" can be ascribed to a meaningless, hopeless existence?
      What it's time for, IMHO, is some righteous anger. We have predators living in our midst and, even when they seclude themselves in veritable prisons, their abusive behavior persists. Abuse is actually what we organize governments to counter -- not the barbarians at the gates, but the wolves in sheep's clothing in our midst.
      Abusers are temporarily less-than-lethal predators. Eventually, the pounds of flesh end up destroying people in the prime of life. That's why the ACA is being resisted. It threatens to expose the extent of the abuse and, if it works, actually render the prey more resistant.

      Sorry to hear you've not felt well enough to write. Mental activity requires a lot of energy and when the body is fighting physical illness, the normal flow to the brain is reduced. Consider it an example of what mal-nourished, parasite-harboring people experience as a chronic condition. They don't even know what it is to feel energetic. But, it does make them easy to exploit. That's how we know that poverty in the U.S. is not a happenstance. Never has been.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:36:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a nutshell ken ... (10+ / 0-)
    Don't expect Republicans to change until it costs them elections.
    Not sure what they'll change into ... but more reason than ever we keep vigil.

    Only Punxsutawney Phil can save us now.

    by jwinIL14 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:06:08 AM PST

    •  Self-centered humans do not change. (18+ / 0-)

      That's what people who have known Chris Christie for 25 years aver.  He hasn't changed. He's always been combative. Bullies get away with it because rational people expect if they get what they want, they'll be satisfied. But, they're not. Abusers are never satisfied. Abuse is a habit that turns into an addiction until there's an intervention and the community says enough is enough.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:41:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Self-preservation became a universal insticnt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryabein, eyo

        via. human evolution, but selfish greed sadly a much more recent invention. We as a species on this 3rd rock from sun best learn to do better than that.

        Only Punxsutawney Phil can save us now.

        by jwinIL14 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:57:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's my guess that the self-centered, self-serving (7+ / 0-)

          but unaware humans have always been with us and likely always will be.
          Socrates counseled, "know thyself," to people who obviously can't do that.
          Jesus Christ said to just "forgive them, for they know not what they do." Since they don't know what to do, they steal to survive. That Jesus was hung between two thieves was not a happenstance. He had been on the side of the incompetent all along.
          Our problem comes from tasking incompetents with running things. "Laisez fair" is not a kindness when what we are letting them do is make a mess. That, by the way, is the lesson of the Christie Jam. He and his henchmen made a mess.
          And, wonder of wonders, Democrats have finally decided not to keep cleaning up after the elephants.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:29:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If us homo sapiens split off from the primates (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waterstreet2013, hannah, eyo, elwior

            some many hundred thousand years ago, then Jesus is actually pretty new,
            but regardless, your points well taken.  Be well hannah, and take care friend.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

            Only Punxsutawney Phil can save us now.

            by jwinIL14 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:53:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Sociopaths are not treatable. (10+ / 0-)

      You have to avoid them.

      Change your phone number. Get a Court Order if necessary to enforce a separation restraint. Don't be shy defending yourself from predators.

      Fault the Republicans' big-bucks "angels." Their leaders are sociopaths. Consider a simple program change:

      ObamaCare is 99% insurance reform.

      That's an obvious fact, once it is pointed out. And the PPACA reforms are good for just about everybody.

      "Government takeover of health care" and such phrases are sociopathic. Political lies that reflect zero-empathy people-screwing sociopathy.

      The top Republicans hate democracy. Really, they hate it. Here's reporting on the mindset of Franz Luntz, the GOP's top gun for focus groups:

      But it was Obama [Luntz] principally blamed. The people in his focus groups, he perceived, had absorbed the president's message of class divisions, haves and have-nots, of redistribution. [That the rich are winning at Class Warfare.] It was a message... so powerful he had no slogans, no arguments with which to beat it back....
      Amazing. Obama has leveraged a simple low-level program of insurance reform to make it into national Teachable Moment that demonstrates where the Republican Party stands on Class Warfare.

      Who knew?

      •  I read that diary. (5+ / 0-)

        Amazing how many people failed to recognize that Luntz's supposed angst is just another attack on Obama and Democrats.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:22:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's the "Catch 666" syndrome. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, emal

          A sociopath won't recognize that he's a sociopath. Similar to Joseph Heller's book.

          Sure thing, this works for Frank Luntz. He's a text book 'path and has detailed excuses for each part of it.

          That's the core of why Ayn Rand has a following.

          "Writer of Sacred Books" -- strange title for a hair-and-makeup gal from Hollywood. She'd learned how to suck up and please sociopaths. But one of them stole her book royalties, so she died broke.

      •  The median income of a first-time (0+ / 0-)

        insurance buyer might be $20,000/year.

        The medical provider community might have a median income of $60,000/year.

        Take from the low-income and give to the affluent and rich - that's the Obama way.

        Smack people with fines of $750 or more per year if the low-income (and about 50% Hispanic) folks don't fork over money to the greedy medical-industrial-insurance complex.

    •  It HAS cost them elections (6+ / 0-)

      It cost them the Presidency and the Senate, just in the last two elections.

      You'd never know it though, the way some "Democrats" treat them with such deference. Our problem isn't that "Republicans" don't pay by losing elections. Our problem is that far too many "Democrats" don't act like Democrats anymore, once they win them.

      When you see people referring to this stuff as Kabuki theater, they're not exaggerating. And they wish like hell there was a better term for it.  

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

      by lunachickie on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:04:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Republican Scam (11+ / 0-)

    Is their staunch opposition to a full slate of reproductive and women's health services coupled with promotion of garbage abstinence-only "health" curriculum in schools. One of the main things perpetuating poverty is an excess of children being born into poverty. In order to break that cycle we need to make sure our young ladies have access to the best education and health care possible, not less health care and a misinformation campaign about human sexuality.

    •  Let us not forget (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013, Brecht
      Hidden by:

      our "young gentlemen" while we are there. There is another article in today's NYT:

      pregnant at 16

      But, really, it's not just the "slutty little ladies", but also the predatory little gentlemen.

      Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

      by riverlover on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:16:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not forgetting anybody (4+ / 0-)

        Just applying the tenants of sociology and ending poverty that Ken quoted below to public policy. Nobody is calling folks "slutty little ladies" and I think you're reference of it here as an addition to my comment is out of line.

        •  Reasonable point, but asinine HR: Please Remove it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li

          You can't HR someone just because they disagree with you.

          Moreover, riverlover didn't even disagree with you- they merely challenged a blame-the-victim mentality which is too widespread in our society and courts.

          Jeez, thin-skinned much?

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:17:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Was not for disagreement (0+ / 0-)

            It was for an accusation that appears to be directed at me specifically. If riverlover wants to clear that up, I'll gladly remove the HR. In either case, I'm not sure who nominated you to adjudicate HRs in the first place.

            •  What accusation? You're the one who chose to take (0+ / 0-)

              a general observation personally. It's way more likely that it wasn't directed at you at all: riverlover just cares about that secondary issue, so your adjacent comment brought it to mind.

              If it were personal, riverlover would have said "you're deliberately ignoring" or, at the very least, "aren't you forgetting" - instead of addressing that comment to all and sundry. Since there was no direct accusation, you could have started by asking riverlover to clarify, instead of assuming personal malice, and punishing it on supposition.

              It's absolutely appropriate for me to weigh in - that's why it's called Community Moderation. Though my arguments were sound, "asinine" was mean. I'm sorry for that.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:17:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  there is an interesting international parallel (12+ / 0-)

      in societies in which women have access to education and to birth control, not only is poverty decreased, but the likelihood of the country being involved in war tends to go down, because women become more involved both economically and politically and they are - whether by biology or socialization or some combination thereof - less likely to seek to "resolve" conflicts by violence.

      "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 Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:34:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Rs are a material & existential threat (9+ / 0-)

    To humans.

    They work on the most vulnerable first; the middle class is next. They've been softened up by an economy that works for evil 1% only.

    Tipped & rec'ed

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:25:53 AM PST

  •  Poorest County in Kentucky (15+ / 0-)

    is one of the reddest in the state.

    Rosanna Troyer is coping with the drop in her federal food assistance from $367 to $303 by cutting back on meat purchases and buying more canned goods and macaroni and cheese.

    Her 12-year-old daughter is already sick of the hot dogs they've been eating frequently at their home in Owsley County, which has the lowest median household income of any U.S. county outside Puerto Rico.

    "She says 'mom, can't we have something else? I told her, you got to wait, maybe next month," said the 36-year-old Troyer.

    Troyer is one of the more than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps, all of whom saw their allotment drop on Nov. 1 as a temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus ran out. Few places feel the difference as profoundly as Owsley County, an overwhelmingly white and Republican area whose own representative in Congress voted against renewing the benefit.

    900,000 Kentuckians had their benefits cut. The woman described above is "represented" in the U.S. House by Hal Rogers who voted to cut her benefits.  Rogers won won re-election in Kentucky's 5th Congressional District with 84 percent of the vote.
  •  GOP (6+ / 0-)

    with a corporate media assist have perpetuated and ingrained into much of the public, that the problems with our nation lies with any group that tends to be least amongst us and the vulnerable in this country, be it minorities, young, old, union workers....etc. They always have a ready answer and someone else to blame for the woes we face. The wealthy that they represent are never to blame, no they are the true victims here, because we as a nation just haven't given them a big enough tax beak or let them have complete and total unfettered access to design and or subvert enough govt regulations that benefit them. They have convinced far too many people that the reason there are too many poor is because the rest of us have not given enough of our productivity and money to them....and we need to give them even more than the gains they have already reaped from Reagonomics in order for Trickle down to really really work effectively. And the reason for that, is half way Dems have prevented True republican trickle down from happening because of things like funding public education, social security, or gasp...ObamaCare.

    Their philosophy -Until we the masses give the wealthy elites all the pieces, tools, and all of the economic gains to the game of life and not just most of them,the wealthy really can't prevent the problems we face.

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. Elizabeth Warren Progressive Wing of political spectrum.

    by emal on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:09:58 AM PST

    •  The ACA has revealed the corporate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      elite's true motives. Monopolizing markets and overcharging for goods and services, oppression of wages, offshoring of manufacturing, this is progress to them. But if our system of health insurance is more efficient, and private interests can't profit from those inefficiencies, we're told IT'S A TAX ON THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!!!!!

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:37:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Mostel26, eyo

    Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

    by kaliope on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:24:06 AM PST

  •  I do believe in 'paying for' new spending (11+ / 0-)

    that isn't itself inherently generating wealth or causing other spending to be unneeded.

    relevant given Republican refusal to extend benefits without an "offset" someplace else in the budget (rather than appropriately raising taxes on those getting very rich as a result of changes in taxation in the Bush administration and the "carried interest" exemption) -
    My bold of your quote.  Right there's how we ought to pay for it.  It serves a dual purpose, as well, not only paying for this new spending, but reducing wealth inequality growth at the same time.
  •  Poverty is the Heaven They Promise to All of Us nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Mostel26, NoMoreLies, eyo

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:53:35 AM PST

  •  As to the "penalizing efforts to improve"... (12+ / 0-)

    I know a woman who uses the social safety net. When her husband left her (and their disabled child) she tried to find a job to bring in income. Every penny she earned was deducted from the aid. Where is the incentive to spend $ on wardrobe, transportation, childcare, for zero rise in income? Also, If SSDI payments rise a small fraction, SNAP benefits drop by the same amount. Talk about stuck in a rut.

    Oh for crying out loud!

    by 4mygirls on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:16:11 AM PST

  •  A contra view from David Brooks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyo, dinazina, yoduuuh do or do not

    Coincidentally, just read David Brooks' Jan 9 column before  reading this diary.  Surprisingly, couldn't find any diaries about Brooks' column on dkos. It's somewhat worth a diary by itself for what it suggests, but it fails because it doesn't actually provide any evidence that supports Brook's wishful thinking that Republicans have new ideas.

    Krugman doesn't refer to Brooks in his column, but I wonder if Brooks' writing sparked Krugman to create a rebuttal.

    (Brooks) Movement on the Right

    For many years, conservatives spoke as if runaway government was the only major threat facing the country. Defining themselves against government, Republican politicians had no governing agenda for people facing concrete needs.
    [But now] even conservatives conclude that, in properly limited ways, government can be a useful tool.
    Strain embraces some traditional conservative ideas, like streamlining regulations, but also some ideas that use government power: public investments in infrastructure, more aggressive monetary policy, wage subsidies, cash bonuses for people who get off unemployment insurance and find jobs, relocation subsidies to help the unemployed move.

    That excerpt typifies the rest of the examples. What Brooks essentially says is that some conservatives are moving back to the center line of economic theory.  You know, back to the realm that most Democrats occupy, but he refuses to give credit to Democrats.   He concludes with this statement which, I think is valid
    The Republican style of recent years has produced a vacuum where concrete proposals should be. The emerging conservatives won’t have to argue with or defeat the more populist factions on the right; they can just fill the vacuum. Republican politicians, when they are asked to come up with specific programs, will find there is no other game in town.
    But there is no vacuum of ideas in the rest of the world; it only exists where Republicans gather.

    I ravage Brooks but I want to give him credit for make a critically important observation.  If the GOP wants to "rebrand" itself, it needs to start from this premise (my emphasis):

    These experts should focus on specific needs and desires of working-class Americans, not gripes and obsessions of the Republican donor community.
    So, I searched  phrase "brooks praises romney" and get 896,000 hits. Lots of praise of Romney.  Yeah, right, Brooks and the GOP ain't gonna change their stripes--or their rich elite--anytime soon.
    •  The number of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Google hits for anything is meaningless. At least 895,000 of those hits will have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand, though the page does contain the search terms.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:32:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Krugman gem: (6+ / 0-)

    Last year, during the election, Krugman addressed Romney's lack of any sort of specific policy statements in his campaign.  Krugman noted that the voters were expected to vote for Romney solely on the basis of his "awesome awesomeness."  
    That's a very clever way of putting it, and I think it lines up quite nicely with a deeper truth:  we were expected to vote for Romney solely on the basis of his desire to be our Daddy, our patriarch.
    Mormonism is, of course, a patriarchy, and Romney is apparently very high up in that patriarchy.  Unfortunately for him, though, the pendulum is (thank g-d) swinging away from patriarchal values and institutions.  So when Romney said, "I'm gonna fire Big Bird!," I guess we were expected to whine and say, "Aw, Dad!  Not Big Bird!"  We didn't do that, of course, because most of us are not little children with Daddy Issues.
    I believe this ties in with the repub hatred of the poor in the sense that Daddy's not gonna help the poor because that's not what Daddy wants to do, so every time we "kids" "whine" about it, Daddy just doubles down on his hatred.
    Pretty sick, if you ask me.

    "One of the boss' hangers-on sometimes comes to call, at times you least expect. Tryin' to bully you, strongarm you, inspire you with fear--it has the opposite effect."--Bob Dylan, "Floater"

    by oldmaestro on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:22:08 AM PST

  •  It occurs to me that we tend to overlook... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, unfangus

    ...that while the safety net is allocated to individuals and households, the policy intent is to affect and impact whole communities, metro areas, states and regions. It is easy to harp on the "bad" choices made by individuals but as policy our primary focus must be on the whole.

    Safety in numbers applies to social groups as well as herds of herbivores.

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:32:41 AM PST

    •  TRue... (3+ / 0-)

      Republicans always ignore the macroeconomic implications of their policies in favor of moralizing against individuals. This is why the House refuses to pass, for example, a jobs bill. The fact that it would help the larger economy is irrelevant--all that matters is that such a bill might give money to someone who, in their estimation, is undeserving.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:35:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The link to Krugman's column doesn't seem to work. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Lone Apple

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by expatjourno on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:08:43 AM PST

  •  Marginal rates... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think you may have misunderstood Krugman's point on marginal rates.  Your comparison to the Eisenhower era marginal rates doesn't jibe with what Krugman is saying.

    Krugman is saying that the very poor have, in effect, extremly high marginal tax rates today - not the very rich, as was the case under Eisenhower.   The past doesn't make a case for our present treatment of the poor - it actually indicts it.

    The problem with high marginal rates on the poor, as well as the "othering" of people who receive government assistance, can be resolved.  We could just have a minimum government payout to all Americans - say, $10,000 a year for every American man, woman, or child, distributed semi-monthly to everyone who files for taxes.  So a family of 4 gets 40,000 a year.  Obviously you can adjust the numbers, or put on some higher end cap.  But that would end all talk of the "deserving" poor.  

  •  It's less that they hate the poor, though they do (0+ / 0-)

    than that they love, crave, and really only care about, getting as much money and power for themselves as they can, and since they also happen to be quite stupid and lazy, and of course mean, this naturally means exploiting everyone else, including if not especially the poor. It's plantation politics and economics in a 21st century guise. There is literally no meaningful difference in terms of underlying mentality, motive and mechanism: exploit the poor and powerless for your own enrichment, to the maximum extent possible.

    Civil society and democracy's biggest challenge has always been defending itself against clever, ruthless and dishonest demagogues such as these, who would prey upon the unfortunate by dividing the populace against itself along tribal lines. They know that identity trumps logic and compassion, and they exploit that fully, and quite masterfully, if also cynically.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:03:05 AM PST

  •  One Republican accidentally admitted it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ohio governor John Kasich called out the GOP's "war on the poor" and its attacks on safety net programs...

  •  Republicans are enemies of the entire planet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well, aside from the wealthy and certain industries.

  •  medical and dental clinics in Appalachian Virginia (0+ / 0-)

    In western states, they have trained physician assistants to extend medical manpower. My neighbor's daughter is in training in New Mexico.

    Doctors don't like to live in the sticks because they like to be able to spend money as well as make it.

    Given the choice of a rural Virginia county filled with poor white and black folks and the shopping opportunities to match and Metro DC, most medical professionals would prefer to live in Metro DC.

    African nations are also developing medical training programs to extend medical manpower. They are trained to high standards, but not to British NHS standards to avoid NHS poaching. A mock Tudor house in the stockbroker belt of Surrey beats a house in the Africa bush country.

    Alaska is training special rural dentist providers I believe.

    Virginia should too.

  •  GOD Created Rethugs to Punish the Poor (0+ / 0-)

    because the poor are poor due to the fact that they are sinners and the rich are wealthy and powerful because they are GOD's  loyal servants.

    (That's ultraconservative Texas televangelist Joel Osteen's self-serving, false prophecy called "Prosperity Theology".)

    •  their god is a big fan of "tough love" (0+ / 0-)

      It's demonic liberals who flatter and seduce and draw men into ease and self-indulgence, only to leave them hollow and unable to function without total support and direction from outside.

      God - like capitalism - only hurts if you fight it out of pride.  Mammon wants you to be tough, sharp, and "hungry" for all that there is to have and to do.  A change of heart can turn the sullen and resentful into the proud and joyous and can turn the war zone into a playground where seeing how fast you can run, how hard you can hit, and how high you can climb is the whole point.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:51:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a website (0+ / 0-)

    marketing Chinese products:

    There is more capital tied up in the houses of people who have always voted Democratic to capitalize American industry at sufficient scale to match Chinese industrial might. Don't ever blame a Republican for American poverty.

    There is probably about $2 trillion in pension funds of Democratic states and cities tied up in Wall Street stocks. Don't ever blame a Republican for American poverty.

    Invest in your hometown and state industrial capacity.

  •  Rs won't change even if they lose elections (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don't expect Republicans to change until it costs them elections.
    Defeat validates the conservative worldview as surely as victory does, perhaps more so.  Defeats proves anything from a "vast left-wing conspiracy" to corrupt and subvert Western civilization, to the wrath of God for not purging the land of wickedness with fire and steel, to the simple ignorance and selfisness of the average voter who should be disenfranchised as the Founders originally planned for only white male Christian landowners to vote.

    Defeat emboldens them.  It shows their enemies are strong and how they need to be stronger and purer to beat them back: more aggressive fundraising, crazier candidates, and harsher laws when and where they do achieve power.  And when their evil and insanity finally denies them any ability to participate in the political process, they'll only conclude that the great liberal plot is complete and the only thing left to them is violence.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:38:14 AM PST

    •  it won't change all but will change some (0+ / 0-)

      there are Republicans who like the perquisites and power of office

      "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 Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:53:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  lots of conservative voters would agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Unfortunately, they see what you describe as a problem: Republican officials and pundits/think tankers "selling out" and turning RINO or "independent" to keep the power and the money while America rots from the head down.

        Teabagger types don't like Big Money any more than we do.  They hate the fact that Republicans will do anything that the rich want but nothing that "Real Americans" want.  Instead, we get globalization, "open borders" and H1-Bs for the asking, bailouts and "quantitative easing" (i.e. print money), endless war at Israel's command, and so on.

        Unfortunately for us, they're not class warriors waiting for a leader.  They don't respect or even believe our utilitarian arguments for liberal/progressive policies, and either way oftentimes reject the policies on moral grounds.  They identify as middle class (even if they're not) and see themselves as being taxed into poverty to pay for "welfare" - food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8, etc. - and being locked out of what little opportunities are available in the name of "affirmative action".  They believe that the burdens of regulation fall disproportionately heavily on them, while Big Business can just eat the additional costs or pass them on to customers: i.e. the teabaggers themselves.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:17:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Massive Income Inequality Much of the Problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Interestingly, the reason that so many of the poor are so poor is because the Republicans were able to perpetuate and implement highly regressive economic policies starting with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s which have redistributed vast amounts of wealth to the very rich.  In short, this country has nearly doubled its productivity in the last 40 years but virtually all of it has gone to the very wealthy.  The middle class and particularly the poor have received very little or nothing for their contributions to generating increased wealth for this country.

    As a case in point, the median income for an American family would have approached almost $100,000 today instead of the present $60,000 which they now take home had they been truly rewarded for their contribution to the American economy in the last 40 years instead of this wealth being funneled off to the very rich.  The poor have done much worse.  As one indicator, the poor now receive around 50% less in gross aggregate income, including a large variety of governmental transfer payments, than around 30 years ago.  

    Who took it, the very, very rich all of whom think that they more than deserve it while they speak with disparaging disdain about the poor.  To show you the utter hypocrisy, one of the largest groups comprising the very rich are people who generate their income from the financial industry.  Yes, the very same financial industry who almost destroyed our economy in 2008 but who through brazen arrogance and greed somehow feel that they are rightly entitled to almost all the additional wealth generated by this country in spite of the fact that they almost destroyed it.  

    Therefore, we should not only be compassionate to the poor but also address the myriad number of highly regressive economic policies which the Republican Party has instituted in the last 40 years to allow both the poor and the middle class to truly participate in the increased income and wealth which they have also generated for this country in the last 40 years.  


  •  How could any thinking person (0+ / 0-)

    think otherwise?

    The poor, sick, old, disabled, needy, mentally ill and all others who do not hold power, have strong lobbyists and/or are not major producers in the money chain, mean nothing to the GOP.  


    They are leeches and scavengers and unproductive drains on the American economy, according to the right wing fanatics and the GOPTParty nutcases.

    This madness must end soon.  Americans should have had enough long ago.

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