Monday, January 13, 2014

The GOP: Enemies of the Poor

I get accused of being too hard on Republicans many of whom try to retreat behind claims of "belief in limited government" as an excuse to turn a blind eye to the GOP's raging homophobia and out right hostility to the poor.  I'm sorry, but limited government beliefs do not absolve one from the rest of the baggage that goes with being a Republican nowadays.  Indeed, those who think that it does are to my mind are either hypocrites or downright greedy.  A column in the New York Times looks at the GOP's track record and why the GOP is the enemy of the poor and less fortunate.  Here are excerpts:

Suddenly it’s O.K., even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of F.D.R. and L.B.J. It’s much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that 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 . . .

Let’s start with the recent Republican track record.

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.

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.

[E]very budget the G.O.P. has offered since it took over the House in 2010 involves savage cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other antipoverty programs. 

The notion that unemployment is high because we’re “paying people not to work” is a fallacy (no matter how desperate you make the unemployed, their desperation does nothing to create more jobs) wrapped in a falsehood (very few people are choosing to remain unemployed and keep collecting benefit checks). 

The point is that a party committed to small government and low taxes on the rich is, more or less necessarily, a party committed to hurting, not helping, the poor.

Will this ever change? Well, Republicans weren’t always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs — Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit — used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P.

For now, however, Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America’s poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise. 

What brought about this change?  In my view, the rise of the Christofascists within the GOP.  These people are mean spirited and often racists, believing that most of the poor are non-whites and, therefore, disposable.  They may congratulate themselves each Sunday in the pews on their supposed piety, but they are nothing more than foul modern day Pharisees.

No comments: