Saturday, January 11, 2014

Republicans "Fighting" Poverty Again

I very much enjoyed this article from the Los Angeles Times, laying out the Republicans' brave new plans to deal with income inequality in the United States:
"Republicans call for a new approach to fight poverty 
On the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's War on Poverty, Republicans seek to address voter anxiety about an uneven economic recovery in a midterm election year.. 
Prominent Republicans are working to recast the party's message about tackling poverty and boosting the middle class amid concerns that a relentless focus on the troubles of Obamacare will not be enough to guarantee electoral success."
Before I really tear into them, note that this new found interest of the Republicans has nothing whatsoever to do with the country's welfare, and everything to do with the fact that, after 2012, most Americans correctly identify them as the servants of the rich.  So, recasting the party's message, not changing anything, is the whole point of this exercise.

Well, here are some of the details:
"On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a likely 2016 contender for the GOP presidential nomination, jumped into the fray, delivering a speech in which he called for a "fundamental change" in how government combats poverty by shifting responsibility for most existing federal assistance programs to the states."
A brave new proposal to shift Federal funding into State block grants, where Republican legislatures and Governors can use them for corporate breaks and tax cuts for the rich.  This has been a standard part of the Republican "solution" to every problem the nation ever faces, and has absolutely nothing to do with reducing inequality.
"For conservatives like Rubio, a key challenge will be reconciling a call for a greater focus on the needy with Republican efforts to scale back existing programs designed to assist low-income Americans, such as food stamps, and the party's opposition to efforts to increase the minimum wage."
Focusing on the needy by cutting back every measure that might give them a marginally better life. Again, far from being something new, this has been a standard Republican demand for decades.
"As Rubio was unveiling his plan on Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) delivered an address across town on the promise of charter schools to "break this vicious cycle of poverty."
And just to top things off, let's slash our public schools' funding, in favor of private institutions that can accept or reject anyone they please, once again leaving the poor behind.
"Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a leader of the party's more libertarian wing, has visited economically depressed communities like Detroit and proposed what he calls "economic freedom zones" that would offer reduced tax rates."
Reduced tax rates.  For the poor? No, for corporations and the rich- the sine qua non of Republican budget proposals for a century.
"The mere fact that we're talking about extending unemployment benefits again is a proclamation that the economic policies of this administration are failing," said Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.), who is leading a group of House conservatives advancing their own anti-poverty initiative, including a proposal that food stamp recipients be required to find work..."
Work which, of course, doesn't exist, given that there is one job for every three job seekers in the country- so one person gets work, two get thrown off the train.  That will leave more money for the rich.

As always, the cynicism from the Republicans, and the compliant press that is so willing to just repeat their preposterous claims as truth, is staggering.  And no more so than in this latest attempt to pass off the Republicans' same old efforts to turn every situation into a giveaway to the rich, as some sort of brave new thinking intended to really deal with the problems we face.  Every Republican, and every member of the press knows this is just a malicious charade, but shh!  Don't smarten up the rubes!

7 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

Block grants do nothing the help reduce proverty. It just shifts the burden from the federal government to the state governments. What should be done is to shift the responsibility from the federal government to businesses. Raise the minimum wage such that a person working 40 hrs/wk no longer required federal assistance. Let business pay the full cost of labor rather than being subsidized by the federal government through various poverty programs.

Green Eagle said...

I agree totally. It has long been my opinion that if you can't pay your employees a decent wage, you have no right to have a business, any more than if you kept your head above water by not paying your suppliers.

If you go under and there is a demand for whatever you supplied, our vaunted free enterprise system will surely see to it that someone a little smarter than you figures out a way to meet the need. In the meantime, perhaps you should try flipping burgers for a few years.

Magpie said...

“if you can't pay your employees a decent wage, you have no right to have a business”

Absolutely. And furthermore you are a drain on the broader economy because your employees aren’t able to go buy anything. Prosperity breeds prosperity, and the reverse is also true.

Personal example: my older sibling’s daughter makes over 16 dollars an hour- that being the minimum wage here for someone over 18 - and works part time for two fast food outlets, one of them McDonalds, and studies at university full time. A Big Mac is just as cheap as it ever was.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how this differs much from Obama's Promise Zones Mike Whitney wrote about. http://www.counterpunch.org/
And it's true that block grants just put inequity into the hands of the states. Back in the '80s it was compared to giving a basket of candy to the biggest kids on the playground and expecting them to divide it up fairly.

Paul Avery said...

With correct ID/
I don't see how this differs much from Obama's Promise Zones Mike Whitney wrote about. http://www.counterpunch.org/
And it's true that block grants just put inequity into the hands of the states. Back in the '80s it was compared to giving a basket of candy to the biggest kids on the playground and expecting them to divide it up fairly.

Green Eagle said...

Sad to say, I think you are right about the "Promise Zones." Obama here is bending to the will of the rich, just as he is doing (far more seriously) with his Pacific trade treaty, and as Clinton did with NAFTA and welfare "reform."

Obama will live to regret it as Clinton has, but that won't help the tens of millions of Americans who are hurt by this.

Jerry Critter said...

Just another data point on the graph that shows Obama as a corporatist rather than a progressive, regardless of what the right says.