Tag Archives: poor people

Mitt Romney doesn’t care about poor people…

Well, that was dumb:

Romney continues his habit of making politically tone-deaf statements. Here, he says he’s not concerned about the “very poor.” This is not surprising to anyone who pays attention to his economic policy proposals, but it’s not really something he should say out loud unless his son made a birthday wish that compelled him to tell the truth for a day.

Romney does state that he’s not concerned about the “very rich.” However, that’s about as true as “People” magazine saying it doesn’t care about celebrity gossip. Besides, as the past 30 years indicate, the country is clearly doing its best for the wealthy.

Romney stresses that his focus is on the middle-income voters who are truly suffering as a result of the Obama years. He seems to miss the fact that the big fear these voters have is sinking into poverty. Once there, Romney has a Scrooge-like regard for their issues. There’s a “very ample” safety net for them. They have “food stamps, Medicaid, housing vouchers.” Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Much like Scrooge, Romney probably isn’t fully aware of the day-to-day struggles of people caught in this “safety net.”

It takes a great deal of cognitive dissonance to accuse President Obama of “dividing the nation” and engaging in “class warfare,” as Romney has charged, for daring to discuss the country’s growing income inequality while blatantly demonstrating disregard for the poor. Is this the type of unifying rhetoric he expects will cause the lower, middle, and upper classes to join hands and sing songs of brotherhood and love?

I imagine the Romney campaign’s spin would go something like this: Unlike Democrats, who want a permanent underclass that is dependent upon them so that they can retain power, Romney wants the poor to strive for the middle-income status that will arouse a passing interest from him. Only problem is that repealing the Affordable Care Act isn’t going to help the poor, nor are continued tax breaks for the so-called “job creators” who are not actually required to create jobs and are usually rewarded for not doing so.

This is not how you deal with poverty in the U.S. This is how you behave when you’re popular in high school: “Hey, fat girl, lose some weight and I’ll invite you to my parties and sort of be your friend.”

It’s unfortunate. You’d think that after creating so many poor people during his time at Bain Capital, Romney would have a bit more pride of ownership regarding them.

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Political Theatre


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How the Gingrich insults poor people…

Newt Gingrich has a curious hobby. No, not his semiannual weddings but his habit of insulting poor people.

Recently, Gingrich suggested “that American school systems should fire their unionized janitors and let underprivileged children do the work instead, according to a report in Politico.” It’s worth noting that he made these comments to the countless underprivileged kids at Harvard University.

This was rejected as more of Gingrich’s typical, “are there no prisons?” nonsense — similar to his statements about orphanages back in the early ’90s. Dave Jamieson at The Huffington Post dismantled Gingrich’s argument:

Despite its relatively modest pay, a janitor’s job isn’t as easy as Gingrich seems to think it is. According to the Labor Department, a janitor needs to be able to carry out a long list of duties and repairs during a typical day: Mop and polish floors, handle dangerous chemicals, even perform basic electrical and plumbing repairs. At schools, they also need to interact well with children and, at times, clean up their vomit.

A janitor’s job is also more dangerous than most American occupations — and hardly fit for children, according to the Labor Department’s description of the work. Janitors, it notes, “may suffer cuts, bruises, and burns from machines, handtools, and chemicals. They spend most of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting or pushing heavy furniture or equipment. Many tasks, such as dusting or sweeping, require constant bending, stooping, and stretching.”

Gingrich did not skulk away quietly in the light of reason. He now claims his views were “spun out of control” by “the left” (yeah, those guys again).

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker told an audience at the headquarters for Nationwide Insurance.

Paris Hilton demonstrates the work ethic and value of a dollar her family fortune instilled in her.

This is demonstrably false and insulting. Poor children see their parents working sometimes multiple jobs in order to survive. He seems to have the poor confused with the idle rich, such as (Pick Your) Kardashian and ex-con Paris Hilton.

He then seemed to imply that a young, poor individual’s only likely source of possible income would be from breaking the law.

“They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’–unless it’s illegal.”

Again, I think he’s confused the poor with his buddies at Freddie Mac. True, no one has been arrested yet for bringing down the U.S. economy and quite a few people in poor neighborhoods are arrested because they live in poor neighborhoods.

Gingrich added that most successful businesspeople he knows started work “early” and made some kind of money when they were kids, whether it was by babysitting or mowing lawns.

He’s describing in a general sense what we call “chores” — a valuable, character-building concept but not technically “work.” I mowed the lawn myself (the backyard until my father trusted me near the front yard when I was in high school) but that was for comic book money. I never had to work to put food on the table. And I never had politicians suggesting that my father should lose his job and — if that wasn’t enough of a punch in the gut — his teenage son should replace him for a fraction of the cost.

“What if you paid them part time in the afternoon to sit in the clerical office and greet people as they came in? What if you paid them to work as the assistant librarian? And I’d pay them as early as is reasonable and practical,” he said Thursday.

What Gingrich isn’t addressing is that working-class jobs — be they clerical or janitorial — used to be something for which an adult could earn a living wage. Gingrich and his ilk have pretty much eliminated that. And, yes, technology has also done its part. However, if you wish to invest in children and their future, the key is education. After-school programs such as the Drama Club, yearbook, or orchestra instill responsibility, teamwork, and improve self-esteem. Let’s actually focus on putting these poor kids’ parents back to work. This doesn’t mean that after-school jobs for kids is a bad idea. I learned a lot working in a supermarket in high school. I was able to even open my first checking account. However, Gingrich does a disservice to everyone by insisting these “moral” lessons are exclusive to the poor. A rich kid can benefit from sweeping the floors of his school, as well.

Gingrich may be many things not printable in a family publication but he’s not stupid. The contempt he’s shown for the poor with these comments and also his comments about the Occupy movement implies that he believes a majority of U.S. voters think this way. We need to prove him decisively wrong.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Political Theatre


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