One out of every five children in America lives in poverty. In the wealthiest country in the world, nearly 16 million of our children and nearly 5 million of our elders lack food security.
Nearly half of recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps are children, 16 percent are disabled adults who can’t work, and 9 percent are senior citizens. Nearly a third of people who get food stamps have a family member who is working, many at big box retailers like Wal-Mart or fast food establishments. Even 5,000 active-duty military families rely on public assistance because their pay is not enough to raise a family on.
Hard-hearted politicians think that if they paint the people who get food stamps as lazy and undeserving, it will blind us to what’s really going on. They’re handing out more tax cuts for those who can afford caviar and champagne and more budget cuts for those trying to put the bare essentials on their kitchen tables. To hear some politicians tell it, America’s welfare system is facing a grave crisis: Millions of poor people, they say, are idling away their time eating lobster and relaxing on cruises. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, for example, recently signed welfare reform rules banning people receiving public assistance from using their $100 a week in benefits to buy steak or seafood, go to swimming pools, or take cruises. They want us to associate “hungry” with “too lazy to work.”
While these politicians are restricting the public assistance that many Americans use to make ends meet, they’re also busy cutting taxes for the idle rich — who, as it happens, already have plenty of disposable income for expensive seafood and luxury cruises.
The House, for example, just passed a bill repealing the estate tax. That tax affects just one out of every 700 estates left by Americans who die each year, but it’s a crucial source of revenue. Repealing it will save the nation’s multi-millionaires and billionaires about $27 billion a year. It means that the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune — who’ve collectively inherited nearly $150 billion in wealth — will pass on nearly $60 billion more to their kids when they die.
The tax code remains stacked against working families. The idle rich who live off investments pay a maximum rate of 20 percent on dividends and gains. Working parents, though, can pay nearly double.
So, instead of the aristocracy lording it over the peasants, today we have the rich lording it over the "stupid, lazy" poor people. The attitudes and outlook is the same, the political and social status of those holding those negative attitudes towards poor people has only been "modernized." It’s obvious to me that the rich are creating a bunch of false mental constructs demonizing poor people in order to equally falsely justify their poor treatment of the poor - that is "keep them poor because they deserve to be poor." and so their profit margin increases.
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