Politics & Prejudices
To hell with the poor
Throwing all those kids off welfare felt great — until they turned to crime to survive
Published: September 28, 2011
More often, however, they think I am what used to be called a "limousine liberal," and am so rich I don't have any idea how hard it is for middle-class people to pay their taxes.
Neither of those descriptions is close to the truth. In fact, I grew up in modest circumstances; the baby-boom child of poorly educated parents who made little money. By working relatively hard for many years, I managed to claw my way into the educated middle class — with the assistance of education subsidized by the state.
I have a house, two cars, and a dog, and owe on everything but the dog. I have never been on welfare, never had kids, and pay lots of taxes. But in today's world, I — and everyone like me — should pay more.
I didn't have a problem when the state ended general assistance welfare payments to able-bodied adults years ago. Even programs designed to wean working poor parents from welfare made a certain amount of sense when the economy was booming. But we're at near-depression conditions now.
Throwing more people into desperation might be fine for the super-rich, the upper one-tenth of 1 percent. They can afford gated communities and private security guards ... but, hey, wait. They are the people who have been doing well in recent years!
They are the ones who bankroll today's political campaigns.
But, nah, I shouldn't be a cynic. I'm sure there's no connection between that and how our lawmakers vote.
By the way ... there is nothing conservatives love to sneer at more than Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, launched in 1964. Today's propaganda presents it as a jumble of expensive government programs which totally failed, or made things worse.
But that is a lie. The War on Poverty had its failures, true. But over the next decade, its programs helped cut poverty in America almost in half, from 19 percent to 11 percent.
Things might have been better still if it hadn't been for the Vietnam War, and the Nixon administration's ability to start killing many of the programs LBJ began. Today, poverty in America is back up to 15 percent and rising. More people live in poverty today — 46 million — than at any time since they began keeping records.
Ain't compassionate conservatism grand?
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