Monday, January 13, 2014

A War On the Poor

As Republicans and Democrats argue about whether they should extend unemployment insurance to the long termed unemployed, Paul Krugman writes that the Republican argument is part of a war on the poor:

Right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they do too care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics.

Republicans view unemployment as a moral failure, not an economic failure. In fact, they firmly believe that poverty is the result of moral turpitude. Consider what is happening in Republican states:

The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans. And the amazing thing is that they’re going to great lengths to block aid to the poor even though letting the aid through would cost almost nothing; nearly all the costs of Medicaid expansion would be paid by Washington.

Meanwhile, those Republican-controlled states are slashing unemployment benefits, education financing and more. As I said, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the G.O.P. is hurting the poor as much as it can.

The truth is that, for Republicans, economics is essentially a matter of Old Testament morality. The poor are sinners in the hands of an angry God. The fact that the supply of jobs is woefully inadequate to the demand is simply irrelevant information. They believe they must save the poor from themselves.

And, in pursuit of that objective, they have put an end to the War on Poverty and declared a War on the Poor.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


bcwaterboy said...

We too have a regime who views the poor with a similar point of view. Where we differ is that the reality of conservative "job creation" hasn't quite hit home yet. Someday, the average harper voter outside of the base will wake up with the reality that the good paying job that left Canada due to harper's policies isn't coming back. They too will realize that harper would point the finger at them and say "you failed". Pay close attention to Flaherty who is now spewing that that robust recovery he bragged about is now "frail" and what about James "never been better" Moore? I wouldn't even buy a used car from these jokers let alone trust them with the public purse.

Lorne said...

While the usual suspects embrace an avenging Yahweh as their role model in the war against the poor, Owen, there seems to be a faint ray of hope engendered by the new Pope. Carol Goar writes about it in today's Star:

Owen Gray said...

What is truly galling about these folks -- both North and South -- is not just that they view themselves as the elected. They also believe they are members of the elect.

They preach their economic snake oil as dogma. They are the new Pharisees, waterboy.

Owen Gray said...

As someone who was educated by the Jesuits, Lorne, I came away admiring some and being appalled by others.

The man who taught me how to write was a terrific teacher who taught generations of us -- some who have gone on to notable journalistic careers.

There were others who viewed themselves as members of the elect.
The new Pope strikes me as one of the former, not the latter.

Anonymous said...

There is a supposed shortage of labor in Canada. I have heard a good number of citizens that say? Where are those jobs, I can find nothing. So I began to watch job postings. I see many jobs posted for Engineers, Supervisors and such. However, there are very few posted for, your everyday Canadian wage earners. When the job postings are out of time? I see the very same jobs posted, over and over again. Then they say, there is a shortage of labor and bring foreigners over, to take Canadian jobs.

Construction vacancies in Canada. build m&e civil industry. Family location,, all visa's and relocation costs covered.

Thousands of jobs forecast for, Chinese Northern BC mine plan.
March 19/2011

Y'know? All of those made in BC jobs, Christy Clark promised?

Foreign temp program rolls on in the oil patch. Canadian workers replaced by Harper's foreigners. Recruiters charge, $12,500
Dec 16/2013

Owen Gray said...

The temporary workers program works to drive down wages, Anon.

Harper's labour policy is all about driving down wages. It's not about creating jobs.

e.a.f. said...

With any war, there are winners and loosers. those who wage war on the poor are hoping to win. they will eliminate the poor and they won't require a war on poverty.

The manner in which people who are financially disadvantaged are treated in the end will cause early deaths. if that it the intent of the "elite", its working well.

Owen Gray said...

David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu have documented how austerity is detrimental to public health, e.a.f.

But our present masters appear to have taken their cue from Scrooge. They see nothing wrong with decreasing "the surplus population."

thwap said...

I think it's because they're corrupt and selfish.

The less that's given to the poor, the more there is for the rich.

The first step in robbing and abusing people is to dehumanize them.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, thwap. When they're "not like us," they don't merit our attention.

Anonymous said...

tangentially related...

If the minimum wage kept pace with the increase in executive salaries...

Owen Gray said...

Point well taken, Anon. Thanks for the link.