Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Republican War on Poverty

Paul Krugman examines the Republican positions on how best to deal with poor people. Go to the link and read all he says. The reason I'm posting this link is an excuse to publish my own response to a Facebook snip from that column now circulating, that 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.
A War on the Poor
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.
My Facebook response as I shared that quote:

Yes, I know. Not ALL Republicans feel that way. But the PARTY'S position has been and continues to be consistent. The argument is that "helping" is actually hurting, enabling -- even encouraging poor people to remain poor -- cuz "it's more rewarding to remain on welfare than get a job."

They speak of "personal responsibility" and "making better choices." I have listened to these hateful, stupid arguments all my life and they have little or nothing to do with the realities of the hard-working poor people I have seen and know personally. It is true that they often confront problems with poor choices, substance abuse, violent behavior, gambling, etc, which entraps them in a cycle that repeats generation after generation.

But no one an explain to me at what developmental age an infant or child growing up surrounded by all the wrong examples, often victimized by abuse, neglect, hunger, unresolved medical and dental problems, gun violence, gangs and surrounded by no constructive role models...
How old should that child be when he starts making "better choices"?

At what age does a minor start practicing behaviors that will set him on a path to escape that toxic environment? And having made those "right choices" who in the world will be his coach, confidant, encourager and moral supporter? And having reached the goal of escaping poverty and its effects, where will he find constructive role models, mentors who will tell him the ultimate secret -- had he been born Republican he would never have allowed any of these obstacles to stand in his way.

And that's just the boys. if you're born female the challenges are even tougher with the earlier onset of sexual development and all the challenges it presents, up to and including unwanted pregnancies and the burden of what it means to be a child bearing and rearing another child -- for girls that magic age of "right decision-making" and "responsible behavior" comes sooner. Where are the Republican plans to sneak quietly into those toxic environment and whisper in those little eleven- and twelve-year old ears that all they need to do is start thinking and acting like Republicans and they will overcome all the challenges of the next decade of their young lives which are guaranteed to be worse for girls than had they been born male.

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