I have lived long enough to be shocked by the moral shift in the tenor of our politics. We have gone from a war on poverty, which was really quite successful, to a war on the poor. Fueling this change is the concept of freeloading. Nobody approves of freeloaders, nobody. But the despicable Tea Party has managed to channel what racism there is left in this country into a freeloading scenario. They believe that white people are paying taxes largely to give “free stuff” to poor black and brown people. This is despite the fact that the primary benefactor of most successful anti-poverty program in this country, Social Security, is white women. This is despite the fact that there are more white poor than any other category.
But this is why Southern racists are willing to support policies that give their tax money to rich people instead, at least they are white! So, if anyone wonders why poor people identify themselves as Republicans, you now have the answer.
But let’s take a step back. What is wrong with giving to the poor? Hell, even Christians do it. I believe we could easily guarantee food and shelter to every citizen, for a tiny fraction of the cost of our war machine. The Pentagon is right now destroying military equipment that was never used but has become obsolete and which we couldn’t pawn off on some poor country. If we were to go back to the military budget in George Bush’s first year, we could free up about $400 billion dollars per year (not per decade as most political yahoos claim to pump up their numbers to get attention). With that much money, everyone in college could be given a free education. Everyone hungry could eat and everyone homeless could be given shelter.
Now such an idea gives Teabillies the heebie jeebies because they think that all of the poor will then have no motivation to work. They picture some black or brown person in a hammock in a homeless shelter eating government cheese thinking that they finally got it made. So you can see that this whole attitude is fueled by racism. Tea Partiers believe that black and brown people are inherently lazy and that given even the most meager level of existence, they would not want more, all evidence to the contrary.
It is time to stop making war on the poor and build a better country by providing enough of the basics that any child can go to school and build a better life without having to think about where her next meal will come from or whether she will sleep outdoors tonight.