aside What The 1% Like Some Republicans In The US Congress Really Think About The Poor

As per a March 23, 2016 Slate article by Ben Mathis-Lilley, “It was perhaps inevitable that conservative partisans would lash back at the working-class white voters who support Trump, but even so, the contempt with which a new National Review piece attacks poor white Middle American families is remarkable. From Kevin Williamson’s “The Father-Führer” (which is behind a paywall but is quoted in this post by a National Review colleague): “

“If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy—which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog—you will come to an awful realization. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. “

“Adds Williamson’s colleague, David French, in harsh terms that other right-wing writers have more typically used to describe nonwhite “welfare queens“:

“And that’s where disability or other government programs kicked in. They were there, beckoning, giving men and women alternatives to gainful employment. You don’t have to do any work (your disability lawyer does all the heavy lifting), you make money, and you get drugs. “

“Later in the piece, French alludes to Williamson’s arguments that underemployed whites should move (via U-Haul) to places where there are more jobs available:”

“If getting a job means renting a U-Haul, rent the U-Haul. You have nothing to lose but your government check.”

As per a September 2016 Atlantic report by Alec MacGillis and Propublica, “Today, less privileged white Americans are considered to be in crisis, and the language of sociologists and pathologists predominates. Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 was published in 2012, and Robert D. Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis came out last year. From opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, they made the case that social breakdown among low-income whites was starting to mimic trends that had begun decades earlier among African Americans: Rates of out-of-wedlock births and male joblessness were rising sharply. Then came the stories about a surge in opiate addiction among white Americans, alongside shocking reports of rising mortality rates (including by suicide) among middle-aged whites. And then, of course, came the 2016 presidential campaign. The question was suddenly no longer why Democrats struggled to appeal to regular Americans. It was why so many regular Americans were drawn to a man like Donald Trump.”

A barely suppressed contempt has characterized much of the commentary about white woe.

“Equally jarring has been the shift in tone. A barely suppressed contempt has characterized much of the commentary about white woe, on both the left and the right. Writing for National Review in March, the conservative provocateur Kevin Williamson shoveled scorn on the low-income white Republican voters who, as he saw it, were most responsible for the rise of Trump:”

“Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence—and the incomprehensible malice—of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.”

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin.”

In 1967, this is how that $100 was split up: Source: VOX

“In 1981, before Ronald Reagan became president, the wealthy began to get wealthier while the poor got poorer.”

“By the time Reagan left office in 1989, this is how that $100 was split up”

“Notice how everyone but the richest has a smaller portion of the money.”

“Here’s what it looked like in 2014, 6 years into President Barack Obama’s term:”

In short, we’ve seen quite an increase in income inequality since the late-1970s.

“Analysis on the left has been less gratuitously nasty but similarly harsh in its insinuation. Several prominent liberals have theorized that what’s driving rising mortality and drug and alcohol abuse among white Americans is, quite simply, despair over the loss of their perch in the country’s pecking order.”

“The barely veiled implication, whichever version you consider, is that the people undergoing these travails deserve relatively little sympathy—that they maybe, kinda had this reckoning coming. Either they are layabouts drenched in self-pity or they are sad cases consumed with racial status anxiety and animus toward the nonwhites passing them on the ladder. Both interpretations are, in their own ways, strikingly ungenerous toward a huge number of fellow Americans.”

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“They are also unsatisfying as explanations for what is happening out there. Williamson, for one, mischaracterizes the typical Trump voter. As exit polls show, the candidate’s base is not the truly bereft white underclass Williamson derides. Those Americans are, by and large, not voting at all, as I’m often reminded when reporting in places like Appalachia, where turnout rates are the lowest in the country. People voting for Trump are mostly a notch higher on the economic ladder—in a position to feel exactly the resentment that Williamson himself feels toward the shiftless needy. As for liberals’ diagnosis that a major public-health crisis is rooted in racial envy, it fails to square with, among other things, the fact that blacks and Hispanics have hardly been flourishing themselves. Yes, there (was an) African American president, but by many metrics the Great Recession was even worse for minorities than for whites.””Two new books—one a provocative, deeply researched history and the other an affecting memoir—are well timed to help make better sense of the plight of struggling whites in the US. Both accounts converge on an important insight: The gloomy state of affairs in the lower reaches of white America should not have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has—and mobilizing solutions for the crisis will depend partly on closing the gaps that allowed for such obliviousness.”

4 comments

    • Dear Lavenderandlevity,

      Somehow these filthy rich folks truly believe that they are more worthy and deserving. They would never suffer from a sense of humility where they realize that they are blessed but not because they are more deserving. I grew up with this saying, ” To whom much is given, much is expected.”

      Hugs, Gronda

      .

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