July 5, 2014

Damn you, conservatives, you just Hate The Poor™, you h8ters! [Darleen Click]

Oh god, the concern trolling from one of those “good” kind of self-described conservatives who want to shake their finger of SHAME SHAME at cartoon stereotypes rather than doing their homework is getting on my last nerve.

This kind of attitude toward the less fortunate isn’t new on the right, and its something that I see repeated on a regular basis. People who are among the long-term unemployed are seen as living off the government dole and thus not motivated to find a job, hence the Republican opposition to extended long-term unemployment benefits. People who receive food stamps are, allegedly, using their money to pay for unnecessary items, therefore they are leeches. If you have a minimum wage job and can’t make ends meet, then you should go out and get another job, get an education, or find another way to make more money. Granted, there are policy analysts on the right who make arguments regarding these types of programs who don’t frame their arguments this way, and indeed reject the premises of these arguments, however, if you pay even a little bit of attention to the rhetoric of “the base” on the right, it becomes very clear very quickly that the results of this Pew poll are a largely accurate reflection of what many people on the right think about the poor. […]

it strikes me that conservatives would do themselves a favor if they laid off the argument that the poor are “lazy” or “have it easy.” Not only is it not true, but it makes you come across as a cold, heartless jerk

In the immortal words of Howard Dean


Why do I get the impression that people like Doug have never actually had to deal with the kind of “poor” person who blasts away every stereotype of them that replaced the Noble Savage shibboleth about American Indians?

Hey, Doug, no one is stopping YOU from writing whatever check you want to whatever charity you support to help [insert poor person du jour] you want.

Fuck off telling me I have no similar choice.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:35pm

Tags: , ,

Comments (29)

  1. there’s poor and then there’s chronically poor

    the chronic ones have special issues

    but whatever

  2. outsidetheinnerringofthebeltway. if he produces more ruining class bs he’ll get there.

  3. The worst part of it all is that most Americans do NOT have a clue about what it means to actually BE poor. And it does not matter how much money we throw at the problem. When the definition of “poor” is “those in the bottom quintile of income earners”, is it any surprise that the poverty rate hovers around 20% (and has done so since the onset of the “Great Society”?

    The “poor” might not have health insurance, but only someone being deliberately and willfully obtuse would think they do not have access to actual health CARE, given that those hospitals with ERs are forbidden by law from turning away anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay.

    In 2010, 80% of “poor” households have air conditioning, but in 1970, only 30% of all American households had it. 92% have a microwave over. 75% have a working car or truck. 65% have satellite or cable TV. Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70% have a VCR. Just over half have a working computer, and 43% have Internet access. More than half have a game system (like X-Box or PlayStation). 42% of “poor” households actually own their own homes, and more than 2/3 average more than two rooms per person.

    96% of household qualifying as “poor” report that they and their children have never gone hungry at any point for the entire preceding year.

    And each and every one of those “poor” households have qualified for government aid, by definition.

    One of the comments over at the link was something like “let’s take the $2 trillion we wasted on the Iraq war and spend it on education”. Meanwhile we are spending enough to hire a chauffeur-driven limousine for every student to get to and from school, and a non-trivial percentage cannot read their own diplomas. But they sure do have some self-esteem!

  4. > if they laid off the argument that the poor are “lazy” or “have it easy.” Not only is it not true, but it makes you come across as a cold, heartless jerk<

    hey "dr science" let us do that and see what happens!!11!!. good allan i hate "college graduates"

  5. Drum, they (yes, Them) will tell you none of that matters.

    And your (sic) a raciss!

  6. ain’t no “poor” in the usa. only useful idiots,

  7. yeah the ruining class “dream” news

    Does the American Dream Cost $130k Annually?

  8. los seres humanos, sobre todo

  9. “Our year without groceries

    or food stamps.

  10. Poor.


    REAL poor people live on the streets of Calcutta, in the cow manure and market waste, for generations on end, because their caste the lowest.

    REAL poor people construct makeshift shacks out of bamboo and newspaper on the slopes of the Andes: no plumbing, no running water, no refrigeration, and electricity only if they’ve managed to run a wire to the nearest transformer; the accumulation of informal connections blows the thing up every few days. Oh, and during the rainy season, the shack more than likely slides off the hill.

    REAL poor people don’t have free school offered them of any kind: not even bad inner-city schools. They don’t learn to read because nobody will teach them, not because they don’t want to “act white.”

    REAL poor people spend most of their day hauling rancid water from a distant well — water that will make most of their kids sick and kill not a few.

    REAL poor people have no access to birth control at any price — No Planned Parenthood, no HHS Mandate, no school-distributed condoms. Women die regularly in childbirth and cannot prevent pregnancies after it’s evident she can’t handle another one.

    REAL poor people have no dental care — their remaining teeth go every which-way — they are deformed by cleft palates, club feet, spinal curvature, and other problems that we 1st-worlders fix once they’re found. Those who need glasses never get them. Cataract patients go blind because there’s no surgery available. Babies born with handicaps and illnesses are often abandoned or if kept, mercilessly rejected by the society. They get no care, therapy, or treatment whatsoever.

    REAL poor people are plagued by heterosexual AIDS. (Perpetrated largely by superstition that education doesn’t fix. When in Johannesburg, my dad tested whether learning Just The Facts, Ma’am about AIDS changed behavior. It doesn’t.)

    REAL poor people die of diseases we’ve largely wiped out or have under control: tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, (thanks Rachael Carson!) polio, influenza. To name a few.

    Chemotherapy? Dialysis? Insulin?

    Not even in their dreams.

    American poor live in more square feet than Britian’s middle class. They’re offered free K-12 education with a hot lunch, have refrigeration, running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, cell phones, healthcare, and vaccinations. They’re obese, ill-mannered, emotionally damaged, and difficult to motivate.

    But they still live better than my ancestors did on the prairie.

    It’s true that “the poor” are not a monolithic whole. It’s true that some are the victims of bad luck and their situation is truly desperate. It’s also true that some have are trapped by generation upon generation of dependency — like captive animals, they have no idea how to fend for themselves in the wild because their captors need the Morality Points for championing their captivity public assistance. They’re not lazy; they’re stuck, and it’s not their fault.

    OTOH, some of the poor conform exactly to the stereotype: greedy, lazy, ungrateful, and not worth a plug nickel.

    Our ancestors used to distinguish between the “worthy poor” and the “unworthy.” We’d do well to get back to that distinction.

  11. given that those hospitals with ERs are forbidden by law from turning away anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay.

    The response to this is that you can’t go to the ER for chemotherapy or other non-emergency services.

    I don’t know the answer to that. If an uninsured homeless guy gets cancer, what are his options?

  12. “Nice ice for sale….ten cents a pail.”

  13. I don’t know either. I see illegals swarming the local ERs with nothing but cases of the sniffles, and hear about women down in San Ysidro who totter across the border in clear ongoing labor, in order to have that “anchor baby” on American soil, but neither of those conditions would be actually considered life-threatening, per se, even as they know exactly what symptoms to report to get priority treatment*. Meanwhile, a veteran that collapsed in the cafeteria of the Albuquerque VA hospital complex died in the half-hour it took for the ambulance to get to him from 500 yards away…

    * — “it’s tough to breathe” gets treatment ahead of anything short of a GSW/stab wound or someone undergoing active CPR.

  14. Drum

    When #1 was an RN (ICU) at ARMC they would regularly get some illegal smuggled up from south of the border and dumped in their ER by “loving” relatives in need of a heart transplant or something.

    ARMC doesn’t do cardiology. So it was stabilize the person and try and get some other schmuck hospital to take them.

    Corrupt goat-fucking government officials like Mexican government encourage their serfs to come up here and suck the gringos dry.

  15. As far as “the poor” goes, I can only quote the inestimable Bill Whittle (Sanctuary, Part 2):

    As an exercise in perspective, let’s briefly compare our civilization to another. Let’s compare our supposedly soulless, banal, hum-drum society to the splendors of ancient Egypt.

    And let’s tie both hands behind our backs while we do so. Let’s not compare the Great Pyramid to one of our skyscrapers, or airports, or hospitals, or even our shopping malls. Let’s take a moment to compare the Great Pyramid of Cheops with the most common and drab and ordinary structure on the block: The Great Pyramid vs. the 7-11.

    Assume that we could transplant a corner 7-11 to the Egyptian desert, with all of the support systems that make it what it is. It is a tiny speck compared to the gleaming white marble sides of the pyramid. It looks small and poorly made. From afar.

    Pharaoh comes by barge and litter to inspect the competition, laughing at the mismatch. He and his princes and a retinue of servants approach the plain, unadorned metal doors and step inside.

    By the Gods! It is cool inside! As cool as the desert night, here, in the middle of the relentless day! Outside the servants sweat and minor officials fan themselves, but Pharaoh is, for the first time perhaps, comfortable in the middle of the desert sun. He turns to exclaim this wonder to his underlings, and — By the Ghost of Osiris!! The walls! You can see right through them!

    Ten seconds into the contest, and already Pharaoh has been rendered mute by miracles.

    He commands endless lines of bucket-laden servants to throw water upon this transparent wall, flinching and then laughing endlessly with his children as the water stops in mid-air and slides to the ground. It is called, glass, Great King. It’s cost? No, hardly a years harvest. It is a trifle, the cost a nuisance should it need replacing.

    After an hour or so of pressing hands and faces against the glass, of running inside and out, of feeling the smoothest surface they have ever experienced, Pharaoh reluctantly moves on to the magazine rack. Glancing at one, he recoils in horror, making a sign of protection against evil. There, like a tiny row of jail cells, sits face after face of imprisoned souls, bound into small rectangles. What else can they be? We have all seen Egyptian hieroglyphics: they are entrancing, but photorealistic they are not. How many monuments, how many man-years of backbreaking labor, how many deaths could be averted for a man obsessed with being remembered, if only Pharaoh had been able to be photographed? Immortalized! Captured with a precision and nuance greater than that of all of his artisans working together for a thousand years?

    And there, on the rack beside the magazines: newspapers, pictures and text detailing the most significant events across the entire globe, covering an area that makes the Egyptian empire look puny and insignificant. How to explain to a king who must wait weeks or months or even years for critical information, that each bundle of paper contains news no later than a day old from every remote corner of the Earth, and sells for about a tenth of what our most poorly paid laborer makes in a single hour? Now he begins to think we are mocking him. Yet there is much more to vex and amaze Cheops.

    Toilet paper. Draw your own picture of what the highest-born Egyptian must do in those circumstances. Down the aisle to the back — wonders on either side. And then: Ice.

    Likely Pharaoh has never seen ice, let alone touched it. At first he recoils, thinking he has been burned. You grab a handful, and gesture for him to put a cube in his mouth. Pharaoh grows enraged — you are trying to kill him! You do so first, sucking on an ice cube. Tentatively, he tries, for the first time in his life, something cold — a diamond that turns to perfectly pure water in his hand.

    Think, for a moment, that you have drunk river water for your entire life. Think what a taste of cool, clear water would taste like. Just imagine that one, garden-variety wonder. Then beers and wines, refined and brewed and filtered, not the murky swill he will have known. And as Pharaoh hesitates with each can and bag and box of food he opens, you will have to reassure him, time and time again, that even though you have no idea where the food was made, or when, or by whom, you know it absolutely to be safe to eat. Corn flakes and potato chips — how many lives would a bag of Ruffles be worth to this man, he who has never seen, let alone tasted a potato? How many men would Pharaoh send to die to obtain another box of Oreo cookies for his sons? An army? An entire fleet? Cans of ravioli. Peanut butter. Eggs and milk, of course, but of a quality and size unheard of.

    Grab a frozen lasagna and hand it to the Great King. Frozen, like a brick, and like a brick he gnaws on it. Delicious! Then across the room to a small black box, which opens with the same magic lantern that lights this palace of wonder day and night. A moment of conversation passes, and Ding! What was frozen is now steaming hot! Without fire, and in an instant!

    The Princes have been exploring every nook and cranny, reporting back to their father: In back, water which flows endlessly, purer than any they have ever tasted, and some of it is hot! It flows from the walls, father! A stream unending! Behind the counter, scores of small, beautifully-colored cylinders which make fire! Made of — what? Not wood or metal — something smooth and hard and perfect! Soaps, of wondrous scents and soft as pillows! Father! Come and see this!

    But Pharaoh hardly notices. He is staring up at a box mounted in the corner of the wall, and there, for the first time in his magnificent life, Pharaoh can see – Pharaoh!

    Cheops raises his arm, and the small shwabti Cheops raises his! Pharaoh advances, makes a face! The imprisoned Pharaoh does the same! And there, in one of the four corners! The back of the slave Pharaoh’s head! And in another small square, the Crown Prince! He is not in the room, and yet Pharaoh sees him plainly! When he emerges from the storeroom Pharaoh hugs him as if he had returned from the dead.

    Yes King, we can on such boxes see any event of significance around the entire world, as it happens. And we can see singers and minstrels and performers — not only those alive today, but those who may have died many years ago! Yes, as real as any other! Preserved forever in language and form!

    What would that be worth to such a man?

    Over there, in a corner, another magic tablet that communicates back to you, and upon following a set of instructions you give it, disperses money at your command, a seemingly bottomless pot of gold (although, it must be said, the only flash of disappointment Pharaoh has shown was for the quality of money — gold coins would have made a much better impression.)

    The sun is setting, and yet the magic of the palace grows ever stronger. Light does not fade. Having read by candlelight his entire life, the idea of day during night is powerful magic indeed. The princes have fallen silent. They have discovered the Slurpee machine and mortgaged their birthrights, entire kingdoms to the clerk for another refill.

    There, behind the counter: a machine that will do mathematical calculations to eight decimal places, flawlessly. Instantly. There sits a machine that can do in five seconds what it would take an entire court of astronomers and scribes five years to calculate. The eyes of the underlings, the Egyptian bureaucrats who must count and account for everything in the kingdom — by hand — begin to glaze over. What they could do in a single day with such a wonder! But Pharaoh now is transfixed by the metal of the countertop. Hard. Very hard. On impulse, he removes his short bronze sword and hacks at the steel. Impervious. Cheops’ prized sword is dented and useless. What a sword and shield such material would make — and it’s everywhere: in the doors, the cabinets — common as sand.

    But Pharaoh is no longer happy. Like many of that era, he suffers from terrible toothaches. There is so much sand that even the grinding of flour produces bread that erodes the tooth enamel. Pain is a constant companion for him, and like many of his age — like many of every age, before our own — he suffers in silence. That is his life. This, the most powerful man on the planet, suffers just like the poorest. But here, in this bland, ubiquitous convenience store, there is mercy for rich and poor alike. Cold medicine. Medicines to reduce fever. Medicines for toothache, too. And medicine for pain.

    In fifteen minutes, this Great Pharaoh will know a few moments free of pain. His children, whom he loves as we love our own — also free of pain.

    What would the most powerful man in the world give for such a thing? How much gold? How much land? How many lives?

    The pain subsides. And although perhaps not a good or a wise send off for a man with a toothache, the transcendental look of joy on Pharaoh’s face when he first encounters a Coke and a Snickers bar is a sight that his children will never forget. Even after he is long dead, they will always remember him thus, as they ride toward the river on the dark night of the new moon, the little palace glowing in the dark like a beacon visible for fifty miles and more.

    Now, on the other hand, the Great Pyramid of Cheops is a massive, beautifully decorated and cunningly designed pile of stones.

    Poor? Don’t make me laugh…

  16. Before I went into IT, I worked as a welder and worked part-time at various jobs so my wife could be home with the kids. I delivered papers, moved furniture, whatever it took to support a young family. (try working all day as a welder then moving furniture in the evening. I cannot tell you how many 7 day work weeks I’ve put in. I also worked every scrap of overtime I could get at my welding job)

    This kind of garbage absolutely enrages me because I worked my fucking ass off as a young man and sure the fuck didn’t expect handouts.

    Yet slobs like the guy who wrote this piece of shit think I somehow owe these people and should feel compassion. Well fuck him and the horse he rode in on. I can already see this dumbass asking if I shouldn’t feel more compassion because of everything i went through, My unequivocal answer is that if these people have time to sit around and feel sorry for themselves, then they have s luxury I certainly couldn’t fucking afford.

  17. Dicentra, that’s why government needs to get out of the charity racket. Churches are much more efficient at handling the indigent and certainly know how to separate the lazy from the unfortunate.

  18. Before the government got involved, there were all sorts of private organizations one could belong to, and that also helped people in need. They were local, so they knew the players, and knew who really needed help and who was just lazy. There were also private retirement organizations. A bunch of control freaks convinced enough people that the government could do it all better.

    And yet, everyone knows that a public restroom is often a cesspool. Denial, river, Egypt, assemble at your leasure.

    Blake, I’m very glad I have never had to work as hard as you have to earn a living. Frankly, I don’t even consider what I do (writing web pages) to actually be work. I don’t sweat, I don’t freeze, and the only pain I get is elbow issues from not stretching my mouse hand/arm often enough.

    I’m blessed. I forget that sometimes.

  19. Churches are much more efficient at handling the indigent and certainly know how to separate the lazy from the unfortunate.


    The LDS Church as an extensive welfare system in the United States that works because the local bishop and Relief Society presidents are the ones who determine who needs help and how much, and they’re making decisions for people living in their own neighborhoods.

    Those who need it get counseling in how to manage their funds, training in resumes and job interviews, job listings, etc. Those who need food get food (not money) and other help is provided.

    Which means that when it becomes evident that a family is not unlucky but terminally improvident, the bishop cuts them off.

    Also known as the kindest thing he could do for them.

  20. Darleen, Darleen, Darleen, it’s h8ers, not h8ters! :)

  21. Cranky, I’m blessed now and was blessed then. I may have worked hard, but, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. Once in a great while, things were touch and go, but, we always managed to get by.

    I’ve preached to my kids that anything beyond a roof over their head and food on the table is luxury.

  22. What this government of ours needs most is a Department of Get The Fuck Over Yourselves Already.

  23. Careful, folks – these are the types of comments that upset serial liar Mataconis.

  24. So you still read OutsidetheBalloonJuice? I kept going there for a while just for the caption contests, but it became increasingly difficult wade through the articles. James Joyner still posts more or less reasonable articles from time to time, but #Failaconis ™ is reliably stupid and hackish. Like a blind squirrel, he stumbles upon the truth every now and then. However, he’s reliably wrong and/or disingenuous most of the time, which makes him unreadable.

    You know what’s even more ugly about what that site has become? The comments. With only a handful of exceptions, it’s like reading either the DU’s or John Cole”s collection of liars, obsfuscaters, schizophrenics and borderline retards.

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  27. Balloon Juice lost me many years ago. In fairness, though, it went from being dominated by the likes of the Emperor Misha (although LESS so) to being dominated by a horde of shrieking liberals.

    Who just aren’t very smart, individually or in aggregate. For certain, they’re not smart enough to understand that forcing everyone to adhere to their personal notion of fairness is fascism.