Last week I wrote about how much of the economic troubles in the United States can be linked to a cycle where businessmen and employers have been increasing their profits while not compensating their workers adequately. When people have more money going toward mandatory expenditures like rent/mortgage, utilities, gas, and food, they have less to spend on other things – not good for a consumer-based economy. To me, the solution seems painfully obvious: Employers need to pay their employees fairly and give them reasonable hours.
However, as you might have noticed, not many of the big business owners and politicians agree with me. Instead, they claim, many of our current nation’s issues are in fact the product of a certain class of (as they call them) moochers, parasites, leeches, welfare queens – who, if only they stopped being so lazy and self-entitled, wouldn’t be dragging this nation down.
With this view, a variety of politicians have voiced their desire to hold these people accountable (by Romney’s infamous estimation, about 47% of the nation). One of the most recent examples of this was in Tennessee where State Senator Stacey Campfield attempted to introduce Bill 132, a piece of law some have referred to as the “Starve the Children” bill. The proposed legislation was designed, supposedly, to “encourage” parents receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) whose children are not performing well in school by having their TANF funds cut – kicking them when they’re down is all it is.
Without going too deep into the absurdity of such a premise – a wide field of data shows that children from low-income families do worse, academically, than their middle or upper class peers; often because of a stressful home life where warm water and food might not be there tomorrow and parents who are, themselves, stressed – Randroid Sen. Campfield can speak for himself.
In a shockingly candid video uploaded earlier this week Sen. Campfield is confronted by an eight-year-old who wanted to give him a piece of her mind; in response, Campfield glibly refers to her (even to her face several times) as a “prop.” In the one instance when the senator does address the girl briefly (instead of the several instances when he almost knocks down other people as he attempts to flee) after she states that she’s “worried about the lights going off” he states that “that won’t happen as long as you have a decent parent.”
I encourage you to watch the excruciating four and half minute video (if you can stomach it). It’s always fascinating to see how Randroids try to rationalize an absence of compassion by dehumanizing the people they seek to victimize – in this instance, it was by calling this small girl a “prop” over and over again, as if chanting a mantra to convince himself that she was not a really person. (Though after this confrontation Sen. Campfield decided to drop the bill proposal after what little support he had fled – apparently they forgot the mantra trick.)
It would be one thing if Senator Campfield was unique, an oddity in the American political body. All that sets him apart is his astounding honesty and straight-forward approach to spreading his particularly venomous brand of class warfare. Though Randroids are not at all uncommon in American politics now, most take more tact than Campfield. But they are certainly getting bolder; if you recall, in 2010, South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer had this to say about the impoverished of his state:
My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.
This is Objectivism at its finest – not only are the wealthiest individuals in this country the best people in this country, but the poor underclasses are actually not even people, but animals who cannot think beyond the urge to “breed.” And as animals, clearly Bauer thinks there is a population problem – and short of hunting them for sport (just yet), the most obvious solution is to discourage them from living.
Then we can turn to the immigration debate which is being argued hotly, as new reform legislation is expected to be proposed to the US Senate next week. Last week I wrote about this issue and argued for immigration reform that would allow easy access to full citizenship to the 11+ million undocumented immigrants living in the nation today. In response, some individuals rehashed the so-called “self-deportation” stance – instead of rounding up all the undocumented immigrants and deporting them, which would not look good, let us encourage them to leave the country by making their accessibility to American society as difficult as possible, by denying them housing and employment – what I think should be more accurately described as deportation by starvation.
Regardless of my views, deportation by starvation (briefly) became a mainstream stance after Romney, the master of half statements and backwards wording, used the phrase “self deportation” to describe his position on the immigration issue (LINK). But why did that even happen and why are some people still running with it? Because in this debate it’s become all too easy to dehumanize these people – repeatedly refer to any group of humans as “illegal” for long enough and you’ll believe such a concept is possible. You’ll believe people’s existence can be “illegal,” with the solution being to starve them out of the country.
The belief that, in general, a large portion of this nation (its underclass) are to blame for our economic turmoil and massive deficit and should justly endure the bulk of the burden is pervasive. So strong is this belief that it’s completely stalled Congress and forced Obama to consider granting them one of their greatest requests: switching Social Security to a chained-CPI, which would effectively cut SS pay outs by measuring inflation in the highly dubious way of now also factoring in hypothetical spending habit changes. Not only does Social Security spending have nothing to do with the deficit (it’s only unsustainable because wage laborers are not being enough paid to match inflation and cost of living increases and thus the amount of money they can pay in), but cuts to it will directly affect the most vulnerable – our retired population who do not have a 401k or Cayman Islands stash to fall back on and need money from the system they paid into to feed themselves.
Cuts to Social Security and existing federal medical programs like Medicare are often on the wish lists of the so-called “deficit hawks” in Congress, yet they have nothing to do with the deficit. It becomes possible to think that elementary school children and their grandmas are to blame for the deficit and the poor economy, not because those who have been making money over the last decade haven’t been paying their share in taxes while at the same time we entangled ourselves in two costly, never-ending wars, but because these are not people but are parasites, moochers, freeloaders who feel entitled.
Like Tennessee State Senator Campfield, the only way to maintain the inhumanity of the “other” is to chant a mantra to oneself – they’re props, animals, who are illegal or feel entitled. Don’t believe the nonsense; everyone in this country is a person and deserves to the right to dignity and life – if there was ever “class warfare” it is what the upper classes and big businessmen have been doing to the middle and lower classes for decades now. They are the true entitled class.