Giving your political goals a catchy nickname doesn’t always work.
Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” wasn’t so great.
The GOP’s “Contract with America” didn’t accomplish much—beyond getting Republicans elected, of course.
Yes, Americans have decided that they don’t want the government to build back anything because that smacks of, you know, socialism. So instead of actually solving problems or investing in the country, we will continue to hurl tax dollars at billionaires and hope that they treat us nice.
It is indeed odd that conservatives, who admit to having a bleak view of human nature, are positively optimistic when it comes to the behavior of rich jerks and major corporations.
For example, over the past few decades, Americans have spent $50 billion subsidizing the beef industry. Yeah, Ronald McDonald has gotten some much-needed love from the feds.
But if you asked a conservative if we should spend a similar amount on eradicating poverty, you would likely receive a withering diatribe about the evils of handouts, then be subjected to a lecture about liberals stealing hard-working people’s money just to give it to lazy freeloaders.
By the way, I don’t know why liberals would want to steal hard-working people’s money just to give it to lazy freeloaders. It’s a conspiracy theory devoid of logic, motivation, or nefarious overlords. But we’ll just ignore that for now.
In any case, early in the Biden administration there was indeed a short-lived attempt to use government funds to bail out people rather than conglomerates. The expanded child tax credit “immediately lifted 3 million children out of poverty,” with many economists praising it as a huge success. Of course, that meant it was doomed.
Republicans despise the idea of the government helping poor people, and they found an ally in an old white man who believed Americans “would abuse government benefits” and just buy drugs with the money. And yes, that guy is a Democrat.
So the expanded child tax credit was killed off, and the effects of its expiration “were just as stark as its introduction: child poverty increased 41% the first month after the credit expired.”
But at least nobody is buying drugs, right?
The idea that poor people can’t be trusted, but rich people can, permeates our culture.
For example, sociologists have identified the glass-floor phenomenon, which as the name implies, is the opposite of the glass-ceiling barrier. This cultural glitch holds that the wealthy create “ways to ensure that their children never run out of chances” or fail. Trust-fund babies can be total morons, but if their parents have megabucks, they will have a great life.
In contrast, the “notion that low-income Americans wouldn’t be responsible with money from government benefits has spurred numerous, mostly Republican-controlled” efforts to require drug testing for recipients of food stamps. This is despite the fact that, regardless of what our pseudo-Democrat friend says, there is “little evidence that enhanced benefits” are used for drugs.
In the case of the now-defunct expanded child tax credit, most recipients used the money for food, utilities, school transportation, and clothes for kids.
The idea that “it’s the poor who are getting an unfair advantage is so ridiculously risible that laughing oneself to death may soon pass starving in America’s morbidity ranking.”
But for further proof, look to one of Biden’s rare accomplishments: the passage of an infrastructure bill. Republicans didn’t like that the law purified drinking water in poor neighborhoods and cleaned up superfund sites—which are never in upscale suburbs. They didn’t even like that the law improved internet access throughout the country, even though that will increase worker productivity and raise employment.
This may be because conservatives don’t really like economic growth. After all, the super-rich “have done very, very well over the last decade of slow growth and high unemployment.” In an economy structured “so extreme inequality was the automatic result,” it is a “tiny class of rich parasites that have become like some great economic tumor, sucking up the wealth produced by the labor of millions into their own bloated personal hoards.”
Clearly, you messed up—you should have been born rich.
Featured image by ToGa Wanderings/CC BY 2.0