I understand that a conservative or Republican “war on the poor” is a truism of politics that barely elicits a second thought. Duh, Republicans serve the rich.
But to see it in action in real time and how it’s done is concerning and needs to be addressed in our local and national politics.
Here is the frame:
- There is unimaginable and growing wealth disparities in our country. Here is the graph from Mother Jones. Again.
- We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.
Don’t believe a liberal source on this, here is Fortune Magazine.
But yet we elected a celebrity billionaire who made his fortune by inheriting millions to implement strategies to make it easier for the wealthy to earn increasing rates of income and to protect the wealth they already have. In effect then we have a known problem of wealth inequality and to solve the problem we are going to make it worse.
How does this happen? It happens as one of two major political parties in our country does not have a means of stopping the lies that get them into power. The means is that the all the responsibility for the frustrations and troubles that occur in a dangerously unequal society is directed at the poor rather than at those who deserve the responsibility; business owners and investors who wish to continue the system that allows for increased earnings on their wealth and holdings without providing a structure to ensure we all live sustainably
And that is not to say earnings on investments or holdings is a bad thing. It’s obviously not. It’s simply that our system is out of balance and we are in the process of making it worse, bigly.
And now, the Republican movement against the poor has become a populist movement that is self-propelled. The working class has learned over the past 70 years from the anti-New Deal rhetoric to resent the poor. I wanted to bring this up today because there is a confluence of an informative New York Times article explaining this phenomena as well as a great local example of this resentment on the (anonymous) record on Lost Coast Outpost’s Ryan Burn’s article on TrumpCare’s potential effects in Humboldt County.
Here is just one example from commenter Allch Chcar of many of what poor shaming does to us, our politics and our culture.
“It’s funny since my family avoided government support of any kind for years. They used WIC for a brief period when times were extremely bad and were shamed by it. My parents worked for everything they had and owned very little. They bought a house in 2005 on a 3 year ARM. By all metrics they could never afford it. They walked away in 2008 after their mortgage doubled on an upside down house. I want to say I helped with what I could but I was and still am self-contained. I went to school or worked part time and contributed little while taking little.”
If you have the time, I recommend a read of Mr. Burns’ article as well as the comments below. I hope reading both will help define the work we have to do as far as messaging. Would this messaging be propaganda? I don’t think so, I think we’ve been subject to 70 years of propaganda and are living through the desired and/or inevitable result of this rhetoric.
America is the richest, and most unequal, country (Eric Sherman | Fortune | September 30th, 2015)
Trump Budget Proposal Reflects Working-Class Resentment of the Poor (Eduardo Porter | New York Times | March 7th, 2017)
Republican Health Care Bill Could Cost Thousands of Humboldt County Residents Their Insurance Coverage (Ryan Burns | Lost Coast Outpost | March 7th, 2017)