Every time you see this commercial,
you should remember this:
Thank you once again Thom Hartmann!
The attack on poor people as being the great downfall of America is embodied in the following which was an email that was in circulation in 2009 after President Obama’s election. This was from a co-worker in Mississippi in March of 2009, coincidently about the time that the Tea Party began its rise to political prominence.
Urine Test — This guy has a point! This was written by a construction worker in Fort McMurray . Read on . . .
I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes, and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to earn that pay check, I work on a rig site for a Fort McMurray construction project. At any time I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem. HOWEVER, what I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Understand – I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their butt, drink beer and smoke dope. Could you imagine how much money this country would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? If you agree, please pass this along, or simply delete if you don’t. Hope you will pass it along though, because something has to change in this country.
My response to this inane, bitter assault, which illustrates the effectiveness of the divide-and-conquer strategy which is at the core of what made the southern strategy work (a strategy which placed at odds people who are natural economic allies), my response was as follows:
This implies that many people who get assistance are drug addicts. There is a better than even chance that the costs of testing everyone who receives assistance will be far greater than the money saved by finding and removing those who are doing drugs. Alcohol is not illegal, you can’t buy it with the electronic debit card and the last time I checked there aren’t any more food stamps to sell for cash with which someone could then purchase drugs. If we are talking about marijuana or cocaine, then I haven’t seen any news of opium production or marijuana fields in trailer parks or projects. This means that someone must be looking the other way to allow it into these areas. People on public assistance are the least mobile in our society. This means that someone who isn’t on assistance must be financing drug distribution. If this guy actually knows of someone who is on assistance and using drugs, he can anonymously report them for possession of a controlled substance, thus saving the tax-payer the expense of a drug test. Either this guy knows someone who is breaking the law and he is looking the other way or he’s just ticked that he has to take drug tests.
The fat cat bankers have all but destroyed the banking system, corporate executives fly on corporate jets to any personal event of their choosing without being taxed for the use of the jets while conducting $100,000 bathroom renovations with corporate funds on which they pay no taxes, corporations set-up off-shore offices to avoid paying taxes leaving everyone else to pay disproportionately for schools, roads, the military and everything else, and this guy is worried about someone on assistance? Welfare reform was passed sometime ago, meaning anyone receiving assistance must seek employment. So the thing about “helping someone sit on their butt, drink beer and smoke dope” is the old tired “welfare queen” complaint from 1980. If this guy wants to know who’s robbing him blind, it ain’t the guy below him, it’s the guy above him. I have been drug tested several times on my job as a condition of continued employment and I just think that his anger is misdirected.
Conservatives have counted, successfully, on poor white people and middle-class white people not realizing that they have been mesmerized by a distraction, the dark-skinned ne’er-do-well’s and poor foreigner boogiemen who are supposedly depleting resources (wrecking the economy) and taking jobs (they see this as the reason that they don’t have enough money and that living is so hard) even as the elite in America have devised methods of legally stashing money in accounts in the Cayman Islands and illegally in Switzerland, sitting on trillions of dollars in profits, and offshoring jobs. None of these thefts from the economy and depletions of America’s revenue stream are beneficial to main street. The game of resource hiding and transference could also be seen as the reason defined benefit plans are increasingly disappearing as companies are allowed to move capital and leave the people, U.S citizens, stranded as consumers with fewer revenue streams. While they, poor whites and middle-class whites, are focused on arguing with women over what to do with their bodies and denying adults the right to marry and see these as reasons to vote for Teabaggers aka conservatives, the elite are using those Teabagger, conservative elected officials to divert attention from how they are escaping paying taxes which means that others have a heavier tax burden coupled with fewer job opportunities due to the offshoring of jobs which contributes to a widening in the country’s wealth gap. Central to their tax-cuts-improve-the-economy theory is the shrinking of the government. Less government means less need for taxes in their plan. And of course, they, the CONservative elite, the Think Tanks, have convinced the unthinking Republican voters that government doesn’t create jobs (even though it does) through shear repetition, which instigates their attacks government even as they scream “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” What has kept some of the Republican base in the stable has been selected government assistance which masquerades as national defense. But in all their tax-shrinking trickery they hide the way they are increasing the burden on lower and lower amounts of income. “Changes in the tax system had vastly expanded the ability of the megarich to save while those making less than $72,000 had their ability to save stripped away by rising Social Security taxes.”* And why should they, the megarich, have tax advantages like carried interest? No, no, the unthinking, programmed Republican voters somehow have been convinced that drug testing people receiving government assistance is more important to the economy than taxing a hedge fund manager like a bus driver, or having a truly progressive tax system. No, no, the Republican, CONNEDservative voter is more concerned with personhood amendments and unnecessary photo ID laws than with “the tax rate on capital gains, the source of more than half of income for the super rich, was 28 percent starting in 1987, fell to 20 percent in 1998 and then was lowered again in 2003 to 15 percent,”** and how this contributes to the widening of the income gap and allows some people to better withstand things like government shutdowns.
Thom is right. There are real welfare queens in America, boogiemen if you will. And they are shielded and protected mostly by the people commonly known as social conservatives who seek to control the personal lives of others even as their ability to care for themselves is degraded by the policies of the people and they are labeled as takers.
*”Perfectly Legal” by David Cay Johnston