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GOP War on the Poor

 
 
Reply Sun 3 Nov, 2013 09:16 am
Here are more facts on the above that the right would find very inconvenient.



OP-ED COLUMNIST
A War on the Poor
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 31, 2013

John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, has done some surprising things lately. First, he did an end run around his state’s Legislature — controlled by his own party — to proceed with the federally funded expansion of Medicaid that is an important piece of Obamacare. Then, defending his action, he let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

Obviously Mr. Kasich isn’t the first to make this observation. But the fact that it’s coming from a Republican in good standing (although maybe not anymore), indeed someone who used to be known as a conservative firebrand, is telling. Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality.

The big question is why. But, first, let’s talk a bit more about what’s eating the right.

I still sometimes see pundits claiming that the Tea Party movement is basically driven by concerns about budget deficits. That’s delusional. Read the founding rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC: There’s nary a mention of deficits. Instead, it’s a tirade against the possibility that the government might help “losers” avoid foreclosure. Or read transcripts from Rush Limbaugh or other right-wing talk radio hosts. There’s not much about fiscal responsibility, but there’s a lot about how the government is rewarding the lazy and undeserving.

Republicans in leadership positions try to modulate their language a bit, but it’s a matter more of tone than substance. They’re still clearly passionate about making sure that the poor and unlucky get as little help as possible, that — as Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, put it — the safety net is becoming “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” And Mr. Ryan’s budget proposals involve savage cuts in safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

All of this hostility to the poor has culminated in the truly astonishing refusal of many states to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Bear in mind that the federal government would pay for this expansion, and that the money thus spent would benefit hospitals and the local economy as well as the direct recipients. But a majority of Republican-controlled state governments are, it turns out, willing to pay a large economic and fiscal price in order to ensure that aid doesn’t reach the poor.

The thing is, it wasn’t always this way. Go back for a moment to 1936, when Alf Landon received the Republican nomination for president. In many ways, Landon’s acceptance speech previewed themes taken up by modern conservatives. He lamented the incompleteness of economic recovery and the persistence of high unemployment, and he attributed the economy’s lingering weakness to excessive government intervention and the uncertainty he claimed it created.

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.”

Can you imagine a modern Republican nominee saying such a thing? Not in a party committed to the view that unemployed workers have it too easy, that they’re so coddled by unemployment insurance and food stamps that they have no incentive to go out there and get a job.

So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

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.

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.
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Nov, 2013 09:22 am
Possibly the most amazing part of it is, many extremely poor whites vote Republican, even if they or their family are in need of help.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Nov, 2013 09:33 am
@edgarblythe,
There is tremendous ignorance out there. H. L. Mencken correctly said that no one every lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Nov, 2013 09:49 am
@edgarblythe,
My brother is a perfect example. He listens to and agrees with Rush and excoriates the loafers yet he has received government aid for a decade; much deserved help, by the way.

In a neighboring very poor county where half the households are receiving govt. help and that voted solidly for Romney I perceive a deep sense of shame and a hope that a vote for the GOP will bring back prosperity and jobs.

This and a pervading fear of a black president and a changing racial demography has fueled growing support for the radical right.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Nov, 2013 10:04 am
@panzade,
I live in the South where there is an abundance of very poor and needy people. The states are overwhelmingly run by the GOP, which is only concerned about the welfare of the well-to-do and the wealthy. For instance, in South Carolina, a Republican candidate promised that he would flatten the graduated income tax rates (which would, of course, shift tax burden away from those most able to pay).

Also, the voters get a lot of direction from their churches, which preach about "gays, guns, and God."
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 12:11 pm
Should the churches and non profit agencies take care of the needs of the poor or should that be a governmental role?

I'd rather give $$ to the Salvation Army than to the government. The government needs to get out of that "job" and allow an increase in tax deductions to taxpayers who want agencies to help out the poor.
Baldimo
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 12:38 pm
@Advocate,
What a joke. War on the poor. You mean being concerned with the record # of people on govt assistance is a war on poor people? The fraud that takes place in govt assistance programs is a concern. If the GOP doesn't talk about it, you guys on the left would only add more assistance programs increasing the amount of money taken from those who work to assist those who don't. Sure not everyone who is poor is gaming the system but the Dems don't do anything to prevent the fraud.

Maybe you can explain to me or others who consider themselves to the right, how my voting for people who are on the right is against my best interests?
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 12:46 pm
@Baldimo,
Funny that you're not concerned about the record levels of corporate subsidies by the Federal government, apart from defense contracting. Social welfare is a drop in the bucket compared to the government giving the store away to corporate fat cats year after year. A hell of a lot more money comes out of your pocket for corporate subsidy schemes than ever goes to social assistance programs. That is against your better interests.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 12:47 pm
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1450806_660857593944708_832637357_n.jpg
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 12:56 pm
@Setanta,
I'm glad you posted that. Saw it on FB today.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 01:11 pm
@Advocate,
Paul Krugman has become one of the most astute observers of the human condition here in America...and he puts it into written words that really transmit the thoughts clearly.

He is almost always right on the mark.

0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 01:21 pm
@Setanta,
I wasn't asked about corporate subsidies. This was asking about a war on the poor by the GOP.

I think welfare of all types is to large. It should be cut back at all levels and for all groups. That goes for foreign aide as well. If you agree to lower corporate taxes, I would agree to cut back on subsidies to companies. At the same time we need to find a way of making sure the people who get govt assistance are truly in need of it, and they should be retested or evaluated, every other year.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 01:31 pm
@Baldimo,
You would only agree to end welfare for coporations if coporate taxes are lowered, huh? Talk about having your cake and eating, too.
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 01:33 pm
@Setanta,
Not at all. It's a trade off. Even the President said corporate taxes were too high. Instead you would rather cancel the corporate welfare and raise their taxes?
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:15 pm
@Baldimo,
I didn't say anything about raising taxes--that's a straw man fallacy, and like Finn, if you didn't make **** up, you'd have nothing to say. You should run for the House as a Republican. You can get campaign financing by going to your would-be corporate buddies and telling them: "Listen, for purely cosmetic reasons, we're going to end all subsidies to corporations. But don't worry, we'll cut your taxes, and you'll be money ahead!"

I suspect you don't know a damned thing about the history of taxation in the United States. In 1950, in the highest bracket, the nominal tax rate was 91%. In the lowest bracket, it was 17.4%. Taxes have been dropping steadily ever since. Taxes for the hightts bracket dropped to 28% under Pappy Bush, but even he couldn't deal with that, so they went back up to 31%. Under Clinton, they went back up to 39.6%. At the same time, Pappy Bush jacked up taxes in the lowest bracket from 11% to 15%. I'll save you the trouble of doing the math--that means in the lowest bracket, while Pappy Bush was dropping taxes for the highest bracket, they went up by more than 45% in the lowest bracket. Under Baby Bush, the rate in the highest bracket dropped to 35%, and has stayed there ever since. In the lowest bracket, the rate is 10%. Here, let's do the math again. Since 1950, taxes in the highest bracket have dropped by 60%. In the lowest bracket, they have dropped by just under 43%. Man, talk about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Source at the National Taxpayers Union
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:28 pm
@Setanta,
So you are going to confuse the topic by mixing personal income taxes and corporate taxes?

You guys played that same confusion game during the last election. Talking about the rich only paying 15% and a secretary paying more then her boss, all the while neglecting to mention why they pay 15% and she pays more then her boss.

I support a drop in corporate taxes and an elimination of their subsidies and a majority if their tax write offs.
Advocate
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:32 pm
@Baldimo,
Baldimo wrote:

What a joke. War on the poor. You mean being concerned with the record # of people on govt assistance is a war on poor people? The fraud that takes place in govt assistance programs is a concern. If the GOP doesn't talk about it, you guys on the left would only add more assistance programs increasing the amount of money taken from those who work to assist those who don't. Sure not everyone who is poor is gaming the system but the Dems don't do anything to prevent the fraud.

Maybe you can explain to me or others who consider themselves to the right, how my voting for people who are on the right is against my best interests?



I am afraid you are just ranting. Re food stamps, 87 percent goes to the elderly, children, and disabled. You have to be very poor in any event. I don't see much in the way of waste and abuse.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:34 pm
@Advocate,
putting them on a credit card eliminated most of the abuse.

now it is seedy merchants causing most of the trouble...
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:37 pm
@PUNKEY,
Sounds good Punkey. But I'll bet you $100 that if government did get out of helping the poor and giving more liberal tax deductions, business and the good old christian conservatives will figure out a way to put the money in their pocket just as they have every time the government lowers taxes on the rich. The rich dont help the poor or middle class, they screw them blind. Look at the disparity between the rich and the poor today.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 02:41 pm
@Baldimo,
You're babbling. As i said before, it's a straw man to talk to me about corporate taxes--you brought that up, and it's you attempt to introduce confusion.
 

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