Latest Salvo in Attack on Poor in America
GOP throws working families under the bus with austerity measures to tackle the nation's debt.
I'm not sure if the authors expect the poor in the world's richest nation to go completely without food, but they certainly seem to suggest that the poor don't deserve the resources with which to feed themselves and their families. The study tries to justify cuts in government social welfare programs despite the downturn in the U.S. economy that has left so many unemployed or, worse, homeless and destitute.
The Heritage Foundation concluded that the state of American poverty is being drastically exaggerated by Democrats and liberals, and that "Over the long term, exaggeration has the potential to promote a substantial misallocation of limited resources for a government that is facing massive future deficits."
Insensitivity Parading as Austerity
This echoes the Orrin Hatch philosophy. "I hear how they [President Obama and Democrats] are so caring for the poor and so forth," Hatch said in remarks on the Senate floor last month. "The poor need jobs. And they also need to share some of the responsibility." It is baffling why so many lower-middle-class and rural, poor whites continue to vote Republican when the party's agenda is so antithetical to their interests and well-being.
By seeking to define poverty in absolute terms, the Republican political machine is engaging in an exercise that could literally form a Third World America. The latest austerity measures enforced by the debt compromise, and the looming cuts to government spending expected to occur, may well lead to a double-dip recession -- but that is only the least of our worries.
American is facing systemic, long-term unemployment and underemployment. This can only serve to compound the dilemma already faced by those who are impoverished.
By suggesting that the poor should help shoulder the burden because they have televisions, conservatives flatly ignore the psychological aspects of poverty. Does simply owning a car or television now make one rich? Has the bar been reset so low?
By claiming that people are not poor because they have clothing to wear or a refrigerator in which to keep food implies that they are undeserving of basic human needs. This is inhumane and decisively un-American. And destroying social programs designed to help those in need will send the message that insensitivity, parading as austerity, is the new status quo.
As James Baldwin proclaimed in his collection of essays The Price of the Ticket, "The inequalities suffered by the many are in no way justified by the rise of a few." The American political and diplomatic process should encourage progress, not legislate lack and want.