Most of us woke up to the news that once more the poor had benefits cut. Since they have few advocates anywhere in our governmental system this is hardly a surprise. As a group the poor are beat up day in and day out on right wing media. One thing they always point out is that a job is the best poverty program. What they fail to point out is that Republicans in congress have obstructed multiple jobs bills. Yesterday Paul Krugman pointed out in his New York Times column that there is an out and out war on the poor. After discussing the current state of Republicans shredding the safety net, Krugman goes on to say:
“So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.
But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.
In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.
So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.”
It is not just a war on the poor but also a war on those who may be loosely affiliated with the poor or subgroups within the poor.
- There is a very open and ugly war on women. This includes the war on abortion which just adds to the need for a safety net.
- War on the elderly that has been in the background for many years is slowly coming into the open.
- War on immigrants. This has really escalated. The immigrant group is one group that is fighting back.
- There has been an almost open war on workers for a long time which has lead to lowering wages in general and many full time positions not even earning enough money to get out of abject poverty working for major corporation ( hint: McDonald’s and Walmart)
- And the granddaddy of them all – the war on unions that is well into its second century. Strong unions could help in resolving many of these problems.
- Finally the new war on those groups likely to vote for Democrats. These are the new restrictions on voting that seem to be aimed at groups mentioned above.
As I mentioned, the immigrant group is showing signs of working as a block. One of the tactics that Republicans have perfected over the years is to split groups apart with wedge issues to keep them from forming a block to go after their issues. If they are to have any form of success, they need to get by the wedge issues and join with other groups to elect representatives to work for all the “other” groups.
If you take all those in this country that either are a member of one of the groups mentioned above or have a loved one who is a member of one of those groups, I would estimate it would cover nearly 80% of Americans. Imagine, just imagine if 80% of Americans banded together to focus on electing and pushing representatives who would work for a better life for all. Those votes would speak very loudly. So loud they could win the Wars!