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Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Big Grab, aka why the poor are cool with Bush
I am optimistic when others are arrogant. And, there is a lot of reason to feel optimistic. It is amazing how direct Bush is being as he salivates over the re-building of New Orleans. Taxes to do it? Hell, no! We'll make do with what we've got. I'll probably have just enough time to grab my private parts when he rolls out a "public-private" partnership to rebuild New Orleans. Hello, Halliburton. Good-bye welfare. War in Iraq and Afghanistan? We need those tax cuts for the rich or the terrorists win.
So, where does the money come from? Can you say middle-class? More directly: those making $200,000 annually or less AND who rely on salary instead of capital gains.
The new definition of rich is someone who can afford not to draw a salary because living expenses are taken care of by trust funds, stock gains or any number of non-salary means. For 99 percent of America, that doesn't include them, no matter how many 'W04' stickers they put on their SUVs.
The arrogance I see is not just by the Bushies, it's also pouring out of those middle-class victims who think the poor are victimizing them. I'm not going to get directly into statistics -- you can look them up yourself -- but the poor in our society take far less than you might imagine. Whether you think welfare fraud, our social services net or anything else related to helping the poor is a serious drain on our society, you should look at the real numbers in terms of proportional outlay in comparison to, say, defense, or tax cuts or corporate "incentives." Seriously, don't listen to Rush. Go to the source, look at your state budget and then the federal budget -- except for the espionage stuff of the feds, you can figure out most of it.
Bushie arrogance RELIES on middle class arrogance. They need them to believe that their pockets are being picked by the poor. Bushies are relying on most middle class people not to talk to poor people -- because they're poor, I guess.
Here is what a middle class person would find out: poor people don't give a rat's ass; they're trying to survive. Whether it is a relatively good climate for survival -- more government aid -- or a crappy one -- Reagan-Bush Mourning in America -- it's all about not freezing to death and getting enough to eat. Health care? Yeah, right! Homeownership? Where? On the moon?
Many of the poor have little to lose. Why else risk life and limb selling drugs for essentially McDonald's wages as some young African American men do? It's not so much that McDonald's is a crappy job; it's just that it puts one into an economy that he feels unable to compete in. And, that's with good reason. Drug dealers who make $15,000 a year don't have to part with a quarter of it. They don't get audited. They don't get their bank accounts frozen for child support. They survive.
Take away welfare and the underground economy just grows a lot bigger. Why? Because poor people know survival means using their wits and assuming the government will do them wrong at every step of the way. Taking that attitude, do you really think a poor person cares who wins a presidential election? Bill Clinton, "the first black president" continued Ronnie Ray Gun's policies and put more poor people in jail than any leader of any country in the history of the world. But, poor folks remain immune because they know there's nothing coming down that federal road for them. Gwendolyn Brooks summarized the lifestyle poignantly: "... We die soon."
Health care is not an issue for many poor people, because they have resigned themselves to the fact that it's a luxury they can't afford. If welfare just went away, they would survive, still. But, politically, the curtain would be drawn and those who dangle the little bits that the poor receive would then be targets instead of "decisive leaders."
The real, unspoken war in America is on the middle class, who CAN'T travel light. They HAVE to accept double-digit college tuition hikes. They HAVE to take the tax hits. They HAVE to pay for health care. The alternative?
Well, the alternative is to be poor.
See the reality? I'm optimistic that you will.
link | posted by Jae at 1:40 PM |
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