aside GOP Beliefs About Poor People Are Myths To Justify Tax Cuts For Rich/ Cuts To Entitlement Spending

I have observed the resurrection of the racist myth of the “Welfare Queen” as well as other misleading talking points to describe poor people by members of the GOP.

The GOP in the US Congress cannot be allowed to disseminate these myths as an excuse to enact cuts to current safety-net programs for the poor and/ or to justify additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

See: Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America/ Guardian/ December 2017

Here is the rest of the story…

(Source for below AP report published by the Chicago Tribune on the 19th of December 2017 by Michele Gilman, University of Baltimore: (The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Excerpts from “3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net:”

Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for them. In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans.”

“Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

“Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement programs. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves.”

“These statements, the likes of which I expect we’ll all hear more of in coming months, reinforce three harmful narratives about low-income Americans: People who receive benefits don’t work, they don’t deserve help and the money spent on the social safety net is a waste of money.”

“Based on my research and 20 years of experience as a clinical law professor representing low-income clients, I know that these statements are false and only serve to reinforce misconceptions about working class and poor Americans.”

Myth #1

“The first myth, that people who receive public benefits are “takers” rather than “makers,” is flatly untrue for the vast majority of working-age recipients.”

“Consider Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps, which currently serve about 42 million Americans. At least one adult in more than half of SNAP-recipient households are working. And the average SNAP subsidy is $125 per month, or $1.40 per meal – hardly enough to justify quitting a job.”

“As for Medicaid, nearly 80 percent of adults receiving Medicaid live in families where someone works, and more than half are working themselves.”

“In early December, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We have a welfare system that’s trapping people in poverty and effectively paying people not to work.”

“Not true. Welfare – officially called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families – has required work as a condition of eligibility since then-President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law in 1996. And the earned income tax credit, a tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers, by definition, supports only people who work.”

“Workers apply for public benefits because they need assistance to make ends meet. American workers are among the most productive in the world, but over the last 40 years the bottom half of income earners have seen no income growth. As a result, since 1973, worker productivity has grown almost six times faster than wages.”

Image result for cartoons on wage stagnation

“In addition to wage stagnation, most Americans are spending more than one-third of their income on housing, which is increasingly unaffordable. There are 11 million renter households paying more than half their income on housing. And there is no county in America where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom home. Still, only 1 in 4 eligible households receive any form of government housing assistance.”

“To be sure, there are recipients of public benefits who do not work. They are primarily children, the disabled and the elderly – in other words, people who cannot or should not work. These groups constitute the majority of public benefits recipients.”

Image result for cartoons on wage stagnation

“Society should support these people out of basic decency, but there are self-interested reasons as well. To begin with, all working adults have been children, will someday be old and, at any time, might face calamities that take them out of the workforce. The safety net exists to rescue people during these vulnerable periods. Indeed, most people who receive public benefits leave the programs within three years.”

“Moreover, many public benefits pay for themselves over time, as healthier and financially secure people are more productive and contribute to the overall economy. For example, every dollar in SNAP spending is estimated to generate more than $1.70 in economic activity.”

“Similarly, Medicaid benefits are associated with enhancing work opportunities. The earned income tax credit contributes to work rates, improves the health of recipient families and has long-term educational and earnings benefits for children.”

Image result for cartoons on wage stagnation

Myth # 2

“The second myth is that low-income Americans do not deserve a helping hand.”

“This idea derives from our belief that the U.S. is a meritocracy where the most deserving rise to the top. Yet where a person ends up on the income ladder is tied to where they started out.”

“Indeed, America is not nearly as socially mobile as we like to think. Forty percent of Americans born into the bottom-income quintile – the poorest 20 percent – will stay there. And the same “stickiness” exists in the top quintile.”

“As for people born into the middle class, only 20 percent will ascend to the top quintile in their lifetimes.”

 

Myth # 3

“The third myth is that government assistance is a waste of money and doesn’t accomplish its goals.”

“In fact, poverty rates would double without the safety net, to say nothing of human suffering. Last year, the safety net lifted 38 million people, including 8 million children, out of poverty.”

The facts of welfare

“In trotting out these myths, Republican lawmakers are also tapping into long-standing racist stereotypes about who receives support. For instance, the “welfare queen” – a code word for an African-American woman with too many children who refuses to work – is a fiction.”

“The facts of welfare are that most recipients are white, families that receive aid are smaller on average than other families and the program requires recipients to work and is tiny in relation to the overall federal budget – about half a percent. Yet, the welfare queen is an archetype invoked to generate public antagonism against the safety net. Expect her to make frequent appearances in the months to come.”

“Americans should demand fact-based justifications for tax and entitlement reforms. It is time to retire the welfare queen and related tropes that paint needy Americans as undeserving.”

Democrat vs Republican last 50 yrs (From @The_UnSilent_)

Jobs
42M🔵
24M🔴

Stock Market
+992%🔵
+105%🔴

GDP
4.1%🔵
2.6%🔴

Income growth
2.2%🔵
0.6%🔴

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS
89🔴
6🔵

*9 of 10 poorest states in US are 🔴

*4 of 5 last recessions were 🔴

Can we end this @GOP experiment already…

9 comments

  1. Gronda, well said. When I speak with church or business groups about the working homeless families, an organization I volunteer with, helps, I spend a lot of time dispelling myths as you have done. To add on:
    – the homeless families we work with have jobs, sometimes more than one.
    – people in poverty are no less pious than people who are not.
    – people in poverty have a less propensity to be on drugs than others, not more.
    – a minimum wage increase or tax credit will be more accretive to the economy than giving more money to wealthy people (who will save or invest it)
    – per a Venture Capitalist, it is arrogant for an owner to call himself a job creator. He asks “do you know what creates jobs? – customers.”

    This is nicely done.
    Thanks, Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I wish we could make every US Congress person spend time at your homeless shelter or some place similar for at least 3 days. There failure to act on an minimum wage increase is immoral and this failure is one major reason that families are forced to rely on government assistance programs.

      Instead this US Congress has added significantly and irresponsibly to the US debt with the 2017 GOP tax cuts bill.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Today’s Congress is the richest in the history of the nation. These wealthy men & women have zero concept what it is like to choose between putting food on the table or taking their sick child to the doctor. They have no understanding what it is like to wonder how to pay the rent or electric bill. And thus, since they have no real life experience, they make up myths to justify cutting social services that benefit the lower income groups in order to increase their own wealth via tax cuts for the wealthy. Our friend Gronda has done an excellent job de-bunking those myths and showing our elected representatives for the greedy, self-focused people they are. Please take a moment to read, and remember this on November 6th! Thank you, Gronda!

  3. Excellent information, Gronda! This one needs to be shared far and wide, and perhaps repeated around November 5th, so it is fresh in people’s minds! Just today I read that Ben Carson plans to increase rent for subsidized housing for poor people. What??? Are they trying to just kill off all the poor? First healthcare, then food stamps & social welfare programs, and now rent! I wish each member of Congress were forced to spend one month living in subsidized housing and receiving only what one person receives in food stamps and welfare payments, with no access to their car, their bank account or friends who might slip them a few thou! Hugs!!!

    • Dear Jill,

      I have often fantasized along similar ways. I would love to make every US Congress person to spend time in a homeless shelter where they have to listen to how real folks are too often, just one paycheck away from being homeless.

      Yet they are enacting policies which help create these situations. They are the ones fighting a minimum wage pay increase.

      Thanks a million times over for your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  4. Here in Australia, successive Liberal [conservative] governments have fostered the myth of the ‘dole bludger’ to justify more and more draconian methods of ‘getting people back to work’. The reality, however, is that all of these methods are aimed at one thing only – reducing the cost of welfare to a government that prefers to give welfare to corporations instead. :/

    • Dear Acflory,

      It is the same here in the USA. The republican party members create a false portrayal of the poor so that can justify cutting safety net programs as they decrease taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

      We have to be on our toes to fight this false narrative.

      Hugs, Gronda

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