Sunday, March 12, 2017

Republican Thinking: The Poor are "Lazy Turds"!

"Republican Thinking" is often so wrong.. and often terribly sad as well, especially when the poor among us are dismissed as "Lazy Turds".  "Republican Thinking" impacts millions of people in this country and is one of the reasons why we have Trump in the White House and Republicans in Congress... and one of the reasons why we are falling behind so many other developed countries.

As an example, take the following quote, posted in a comment by "Steve" to an article about issues of poverty and economics:

Let me repeat the essence of this quote:
The truth is that, in the U.S., if you are unhappy being poor you can simply get a job and problem over.  Able bodied person (sic) in the U.S. do not have to be poor.  It's a choice. 
Plenty of jobs here in the U.S. if the lazy turds would go to work. 
"Lazy Turds"

I've heard this over and over, that anybody can get out of poverty..  but most people don't go as far as to call the poor, mostly children, older people, people who are disabled, and people working minimum wage jobs "lazy turds".

I don't know whether or not it is worth arguing with people who think this way.  Being poor is a choice?  
  • Is being born into a poor family a choice?
  • Is having some kind of disability a choice?
  • Is having a child or a spouse who gets injured or sick and becomes disabled a choice?
  • Can people always move for a better job?  Is that really a choice for many people?
  • Is losing your job and being too old to get another decent job a choice?
  • Is merely GETTING old a choice?  Is that anything we can do something about?
  • What about having an accident, an injury, an illness and not having family members or friends who are able to help:  Is that a choice?
  • At what age does getting a degree or an advanced degree no longer make any difference in terms of getting a better job? 
Job hunting may be better now than it was 6 or 8 years ago, but many people are still struggling.  

People who were older, in their 50's or 60's when the recession hit, may still be struggling; they may not have been able to get a job anywhere close to the level or the pay of the job they had before the recession.

I have a acquaintance, now in her mid 50's, who lost her job in the recession, who has still only had a procession of temporary jobs, who lost her car in an accident and was not able to get another one, who lost her husband to cancer a few years ago, who has had to move several times because she could not pay the rent.  She would like to move to a different area of the country, but it's not as easy as "Steve" seems to think it is.  She doesn't even have the money for that kind of move right now.  And she's bright and articulate.  

Poor people, people who really can't get a decent job for any of a dozen reasons, may not be "lazy turds"; they may actually work much harder than people with cushy 6 figure desk jobs.  I know that's hard for people who indulge in "Republican thinking" to even consider.  I've known people who sold stuff on eBay, collected cans, did odd jobs for pay, drove people around for uber, wrote for blogs, tried dozens of work-at-home schemes, got certificates or degrees... And they still were making no more than minimum wage and/or couldn't find a "regular" job that kept them above the poverty level.

The article linked to above was originally published at the Atlantic and written by Annie Lowrey.  It's based on an interview with Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton.  

From the article: a speech at a conference held by the National Association for Business Economics, Deaton, the Nobel laureate and emeritus Princeton economist, pointed out that inequality among countries is decreasing, while inequality within countries is increasing. China and India are making dramatic economic improvements, while parts of sub-Saharan Africa are seeing much more modest gains. In developed countries, the rich have gotten much richer while the middle class has shriveled.
The final question of this article is actually the title:  Is it better to be poor in Bangladesh or the Mississippi Delta?

Good question...  What do you think?          

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