Posts Tagged ‘welfare’

Jobless Women, the Economically Disappeared, Betrayed by Progressives and Petty Bourgeoisie Feminists Again

August 5, 2011

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author: Classism for Dimwits and Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

The middle class “feminists” who claim to be allies of their poorest and most downtrodden “sisters” haven’t a clue what a poor woman’s daily struggle in deep poverty is like.

Even the most generous, non-materialistic middle class “allies” of America’s poorest women refused to comprehend or accept the poor welfare mother’s preoccupation with their very urgent and pressing need for money.

Most of these so-called allies, who have never lived the savage realities of destitution and being among the ranks of America’s economically disappeared, viewed poor women’s concerns about money as an “entitlement mentality.”

Petty bourgeois feminists referred to poor single mothers as “con artists” who wanted to get money for “doing nothing”, accusing poor women of “only getting pregnant for the welfare check” — buying into the sexist, patriarchal capitalist idea that pregnancy and childbirth is “nothing” for women to go through even though pregnancy and childbirth complications still kill more women in the US than in many other countries, and that the unpaid work that women have always traditionally done is “nothing”; that home-making, care-taking or child-raising isn’t “work.”

What care-takers do IS work — just ask anyone who has ever had to choose between their McJob or their sick child, or forego a job search in order to take care of an aging parent or a terminally ill spouse (or domestic partner). And mothers need a hell of a lot more than a cheap box of chocolates and a ten cent Mothers’ Day card. Poor women need money.

Yet, because of being sold out or abandoned altogether by Eurocentric middle class feminists, America’s poorest of the poor — women on welfare (before Welfare Reform eliminated AFDC and reduced benefits) — found themselves in situations where those who didn’t have to live with the consequences of “pragmatism” and political “compromise” were the ones defining the situation.

There’s a huge difference between the slightly better off working class guy in temporary poverty who just needs a job and a chronically poor woman who has been out of the job market for many years, serving as a care-giver or as a sole parent. Care-givers and mothers really need, and deserve, an adequate income.

Yet, as the Reagan Revolution’s War on the Poor right along up to Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act, which was driven by most middle class “feminists”, each subsequent part of “welfare reform” grew more punitive as America’s poorest women were told by suburban-dwelling soccer mom feminists who claimed to be allies, that poor women on welfare had to be “pragmatic” because “compromise” via benefit reductions and 2-5 year time limits coupled with “work requirements” were necessary. But all of those pragmatic “compromises” were no compromise at all because America’s poorest women got nothing but subjected to economic terrorism with a proverbial gun pointed right at our heads. We gained nothing at all, and lost all the way around.

The final slap in the face was that there wasn’t even a guaranteed right to a living wage job as part of this “welfare reform.” No one knows exactly how many poor, hard-to-employ women remained jobless and were plunged into homelessness and utter destitution after being thrown off of welfare at the end of their 5 year lifetime benefit limit. Homeless people have been criminalized and driven underground, including children, who were also denied a basic public education for lack of an address.

Middle class “feminists” ignored that issue, after talking down to their poorer “sisters”, lecturing us on the need to be “pragmatic.” Well, with poor people’s life expectancy rates, preventable blindness and other disability rates, infant death rates, and maternal mortality rates that have now surpassed those in several other Third World countries; we see exactly what middle class pragmatism gets us.

This is what happens when middle class “allies” and activists lead and run social justice movements, presuming the right to “speak for” the poor. They think they’re the only ones qualified for the job to act as brokers and middle-men for the poor, and that their class status gives them that qualification. Others end up having to suffer the losses they personally won’t ever have to live with (or die from). And they expect poorer people to do all of the really hard, thankless and unpaid work while they get to speak at all the events, collect all the honorariums, get all the media attention and press coverage, and take all the credit for brokering the deal.

But they don’t want to do all of the unglamorous, energy-sapping and time consuming and grinding work of survey-taking and petition-signing, and doing what it takes to get 200 people to a rally. And that does take a lot of work. All those people don’t just show up simply because they saw someone’s name on a flyer!

While the bourgeois feminists’ movement was preoccupied with battling lifestyle-related issues, poor women have been fighting in the trenches for our rights to equal access to societal resources and benefits — including equal rights to the living wage jobs and equal pay. We didn’t care if we could burn our bras or publicly make out with a partner of the same sex. We care about being able to survive. We’re struggling for equal access to adequate employment, educations, and for the legitimization of income support as compensation and recognition for care-givers and mothers.

The class restrictions that kept white middle class women in the kitchen wasn’t our reality; poverty, racism, and sexism was. Although NOW made an official statement saying it was committed to protecting the now-extinct miserly and inadequate safety net of AFDC, including abortion and dental care covered by Medicaid for poor women, the majority of NOW ‘s petty bourgeoisie membership didn’t follow through. The rights of gays and lesbians to marry (albeit an important right) was far more important than poor women’s fundamental human right to life, to adequate food, utilities, shelter, a job and/or income support, and to birth control and abortion access and the right to medical and dental care — all of which are life and death matters for poor women.

In wandering into the morass of the trivial issues of bra-burning and trashing Playboy, petty bourgeoisie feminists completely betrayed the struggle for women’s most fundamental human rights and that has had a devastating impact on the lives of poor women without jobs or any means of income support.

Women suffering the real oppression of daily economic terrorism that poverty is, including the repercussions of forced pregnancy and forced childbirth-promoting laws that led to the criminalization of miscarriages and stillbirths, and the conscription of poor women into reproductive chattel slavery at peril to our health, wellbeing and lives — all of this has been ignored by middle and upper class feminists.

What they won’t ever admit is that they have benefited from the ongoing oppression and exploitation of their much poorer “sisters.” They never intended for poor women to benefit from all that equality they were seeking for themselves.

They’ve been silent for over 30 years since the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976 followed by the Rapists’ Rights Lobby’s “conscience clause” and “fetal personhood” laws that have cropped up over the last 20 years, and the decimation of the meager and inadequate safety net that welfare was prior to 1996 when Slick Willy eliminated welfare as we know it, plunging 14 million poor single mothers into instant destitution and homelessness under the guise of “tough love.”

There is no comparison between the “quiet desperation” of affluent women like the late Princess Diana of Wales who got tricked into miserable marriages with over-privileged inbred crowned heads or members of the financial aristocracy merely to serve as an incubator for the economic cannibal class’s parasitic progeny after buying into the Cinderella-Prince Charming myth and wanting all that royalty has to offer, versus the very real crushing and life-endangering exploitation and abuse suffered by poor women and girls from the underclass — like 15 year-old Rennie Gibbs, who began her life imprisonment sentence this 4th of July (ironically, on the day American’s celebrate “Independence”) by a Mississippi court for the “crime” of delivering a premature stillborn, thanks to all of the “pro-life” laws and a Christian Right state in which there is no Planned Parenthood or any abortion clinic.

We still do not know anything about the male co-conceiver, such as whether he drank or did drugs which resulted in defective sperm which could have precipitated a miscarriage or stillbirth. We don’t even know if the sex (or the resultant pregnancy) was consensual.

But nobody cares about the plight of poor women, especially those of us who have been marginalized and excluded from the workforce for two or more generations — due in no small measure to the stigma of poverty and all the other barriers of classism that go with that which serve as obstacles to beat poor women down over and over and over, as vacuous middle class spoiled brats who are lucky enough to have good jobs tell us that no matter what we’ve tried to do to be “deserving” of a chance, we’re not doing anything right, not trying hard enough, not responsible, or just plain not good enough.

Dealing with issues of race and gender doesn’t meant you’ve dealt with classism and unearned privilege. There’s a world of difference between the working poor who struggle to get by from paycheck to paycheck who are one car breakdown away from losing everything and the very poor who’ve been trapped by generational poverty and all of the stigma and obstacles to getting a job (when there’s never been enough jobs for everyone anyway) that chronic poverty imposes.

The long-term poor who have been excluded and marginalized suffer the worst; neglected and abandoned on the outer fringes of society, struggling in destitution outside of the “primary labor market” of steady jobs. Those who are lucky enough to have enjoyed steady employment think that those of us with nothing in chronic poverty lack work ethic and discipline.

But it takes a hell of a lot more work ethic and discipline to survive even just one day in our lives, than it does to simply show up and perform some tasks assigned by some boss at an office.

Try scrounging money for food or a utility bill by salvaging scrap metal off the street in all kinds of weather, stripping wire until your hands are bleeding and calloused, and getting all cut up from handling scrap metal for 80 hrs/week just to get maybe only $100 (or whatever meager price the salvage yards feel like paying out based on prices that they set, depending on what the metals commodity brokers dictate). Then come and talk to me about “being responsible” and your “work ethic.”

Try having to live like that, hoping to get enough money to put towards a cheap prepaid cell phone just so you have a means of communication for things like being able to call the police or fire department in an emergency, or being able to keep trying to get a job while suffering from dental problems that you can’t get treated because you have no money and no job with dental benefits — never mind maybe eventually being able to repay that unaffordable student loan debt you incurred in hopes of being “worthy” of a chance for a job so you could climb out of poverty before getting “too old” for anyone to hire.

And of course, those of us in poverty who tried to do “all the right things” get nothing but slapped in the face by middle class snobs who always tell us how “irresponsible” we are if we have no income and have no way to document the fact that we have no income to the satisfaction of some snippy rude middle class bureaucrat at the student loan servicing center, and therefore we’re told we can’t qualify for any deferment or income-contingent repayment plan.

Middle class snobbishness and pragmatism blinds society’s more fortunate and luckily employed from that savage reality of poverty and classism. For those of us who have never had a moment’s comfort and security throughout our entire lives, pragmatism is merely a license for maintaining a status quo in which nothing ever gets better for us and there is no hope that anything will ever change.

Middle class (and often working class) pragmatism really amounts to “how can I get a better deal for ME” by using those of us at the very bottom as their poster child to further their own agenda while never sticking by the poor to help us get a better deal, too. Instead, we get jettisoned the minute they get a few token bones tossed their way. And what do chronically poor women get? Nothing. Or worse.

We get our food stamps and Medicaid cut, our LIHEAP funding cut while utilities skyrocket and things like heat in the winter or a hot shower are unattainable luxuries. Now we got our social security cut, and we lost our access to reliable birth control through Planned Parenthood as defunding Title X caused them to close their doors in several states already.

Chronically poor and jobless women like those of us from generational poverty were never included or accepted in the job market even during the “better times” — and we’re supposed to grateful to our middle class “benefactors” for their “wins” of pragmatism that always benefit everybody else except us? For us, these are life and death realities; not a tally of “wins” in the game of political football.

Until middle class feminists and the steadily employed working class “social justice activists” realize this and deal with their classism, they will continue to alienate the very poor and lose what little bit of trust we may have had in them in the first place. They have yet to do right by their poorest and most marginalized “sisters.” I won’t hold my breath in hopes that they ever will.

Because poor people never win in coalitions. Cross-class coalitions mean using the chronically jobless poor for the ends of middle class people. Those of us from generational poverty were never meant to be included. So what’s the point in voting when we’re always neglected or offered up as the convenient sacrificial lambs at first chance?

While women lucky enough to have a job, even if only a crappy one, can now get their birth control through Obamacare without co-pays, chronically poor women without jobs (or any chance of ever being able to get one) have lost everything with cuts in Medicaid and Planned Parenthood closings, leaving us with nothing — not even basic maternity and post-partum care to at least reduce the already higher chances of death and disability for us as a result of having no options other than carrying unwanted pregnancies to term. And for this, we’re supposed to be grateful to our middle class “saviors?” When we get a share of the pie for once and get access to real choices and options, then we’ll do the victory dance, too.


Advertisements

Calling Out the Beneficiaries of Unearned Privilege On Their Classism

December 8, 2010

Jacqueline S. Homan, author of Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

I belong to several lists and message boards, and one of them is the Humanist List on Yahoo. It never ceases to amaze me as I read others’ posts how many middle class “liberals” look down their regal noses at the poor while claiming a moral high ground over their neocon counterparts who do the same thing. Whenever classism rears its ugly head, I call it out just like I would for racism and sexism.

One pro-Obama Democrat on the Humanist list, “Scotty”, a luckily employed medical professional who also happens to be a much older woman, had this to say regarding America’s poor and permanently economically excluded and the current austerity measures being imposed that will cause the deaths of millions of Americans struggling below poverty in post-welfare reform America:

“It’s a no brainer that people are going to want the rich to pay more rather than themselves. And I can certainly understand not wanting to create welfare parasites.  But I can’t understand the gleeful willingness of the right to let nearly 10% of this countries citizens fall into a pit because they can’t get jobs.”

Scotty

Fighting for social justice means confronting classism and calling people out who are class bigots. This was my response to “Scotty”:

You know Scotty, I really take umbrage to your classism and bigotry against the poor in your referring to this country’s least fortunate as “welfare parasites.” You want to call poor people names who got nothing but beat down into the ground and kept down all their life without ever getting a chance no matter how hard they tried? Here’s some food for thought:

This country, with the help of a lot of middle class voters, DID create a class of “welfare parasites” — the filthy stinking rich. And they did it WILLINGLY because they thought there was something in it for them in this “ownership society!” The middle class supported with their votes a neoliberal corporatist agenda these last 30 years which led us to this precipice.

The welfare parasites are the economic cannibal class on Wall Street — not the poor at the very bottom who had been economically excluded and kept down in a permanent underclass in a country where there NEVER was 100% full employment, NEVER enough living wage jobs to go around for everybody in need of a job.

About 400 government programs qualify as “entitlements.” Most of the recipients are in the middle and upper classes. Yet, middle and upper class people resent meager entitlements for the poor.

It is the middle and upper classes that have benefited the most from entitlements. Telecommunications, the Internet, and other technologies were all made possible through research and development that was funded by public tax dollars which provided the at-risk capital to for-profit privately owned companies that kept all the profits.

Many who have enjoyed good jobs had employers that got “welfare handouts” in terms of tax exclusions, tax credits, price supports, loan guarantees, payments in kind, export subsidies, subsidized insurance premiums, marketing services, irrigation and reclamation programs, “enterprise zone” tax-exempt real estate, and research and development grants — benefiting middle class members of the professional/managerial class by proxy.

When it comes to entitlement attitudes, middle and upper class people think they’re the only ones deserving of health care, educations, good jobs, and decent lives — claiming that nobody ever gave them anything, they “did it all on their own.” Did it on their own my ass.

There’s nothing as obtuse as the blindness of unearned privilege. A society that throws its poor, its excluded, and its discriminated against and marginalized to the wolves while guaranteeing wealth protection for the rich shields a lot of affluent people and corporations from having to compete in order to make money. This has had a deleterious effect on our economy, and on our society.

While middle class voters screech about “socialism” and called for the elimination of what few meager handouts existed for the poor, they conveniently ignored that socialist VA or FHA loan that helped them (or their parents) buy a nice house.

They forgot about that socialist GI Bill that opened doors of opportunity for their fathers that were not made available to poor women and minorities and poor non-veterans who also deserved a chance, and whose claims and needs in this society were equally valid.

They never mention the “handout” of a mortgage interest deduction that puts an average of $1,900 a year into the pockets of those lucky enough to have good jobs to able to afford to buy their own home.

Many were employed by the “Big Three” auto makers and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin which got billions in public “handouts” in the 1980’s and 1990’s, benefiting middle class employees by proxy.

They overlook how social security enables senior citizens to survive rather than forcing them to financially support their elderly parents.

In 1990, nearly one third of all veterans’ benefits went to households with incomes above $50,000, as did one fourth of all unemployment benefits, one third of all federal civil service retirement pensions, and one half of all military pensions. Meanwhile, only one fourth of federal entitlements went to those at the very bottom who were economically discarded and unable to sell their labor in the market— the poor.

Slightly more than half of all US households have at least one member who is receiving a direct entitlement benefit from the federal government in the form of federal civil service pensions, veterans’ disability benefits, and veterans’ pensions. These households will collect on average about $2.4 trillion by the end of 2010.

They complain about paying for poor kids’ subsidized school breakfasts and lunches, but they’re silent about everyone else’s taxes funding school choice vouchers for theirs.

"Classism For Dimwits" by Jacqueline S. Homan

They object to subsidized housing for the poor who are financially excluded from the housing market, but have no problem reaping the benefits from taxpayer-subsidized federal flood insurance for their beachfront homes that no private insurance company would insure. Former president George Herbert Walker Bush benefited enormously from the federal flood insurance program when his vacation home in Maine sustained approximately $400,000 in storm damage in 1991.

The “entitlement” or “welfare handout” that everyone ignores is the $250 billion dollar a year tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance. This history of tying health insurance to employment goes back to World War II when the government enacted wage controls. Employers were competing for workers and began offering health insurance because they couldn’t offer higher wages than a competing employer. For some reason, this was not treated as taxable income to the employee.

Middle class people who stockpile money in Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA’s) also get a line item tax deduction on their income taxes. So those who have their good jobs with health benefits and/or HSA’s are getting theirs at the expense of all citizens — including the poor who aren’t getting any access to medical, dental, and vision care.

The idea that someone’s misfortune stems from a lack of personal responsibility assumes that everyone has the same opportunities in life and that the poor squandered theirs. This is a common sentiment among right-wing middle and upper class white males that have always gotten everything by making damn sure that POOR women and minorities got nothing, while having the moxy to crow about how “they worked for it.”

Middle class Tea Partiers and “patriots” brandishing expensive assault rifles terrorized other citizens at Townhall meetings during the healthcare reform discourse, yelling that they refused to “pay for someone else’s” health care. Those who begrudge the “undeserving poor” access to health care because they don’t want to “pay for someone else” are getting subsidized while depriving the poor by refusing to extend that subsidy to everyone in the name of “freedom.” Freedom to starve or freeze to death, or become disabled or die from being unable to afford medical care is no freedom at all. The backlash against real healthcare reform was never about “freedom.” It’s really about a false sense of superiority and classism.

Belligerent middle and upper class spoiled brats denouncing “socialism” and “welfare handouts” for the poor have benefited far more from “socialism” than the poor ever have. And not one tantrum-throwing “self-made man” squawking about entitlements for the poor is willing to give their middle class job to someone in poverty that never got a chance so they could have a good job, thus reducing the number of those on the public dole whom they denigrate as “welfare parasites.”

Corporate executives feel entitled to the tens of millions of dollars in salaries, stocks, and “golden parachutes” even if they steal from their companies and cause a national, or even a global, economic collapse. Poor people who kite checks to buy food or rob a 7-Eleven go to prison. CEOs get rich; poor people get the stinky finger.

Banksters and Wall Street crooks walked away with fortunes during the 1980’s S & L scandal while the taxpayers paid the $500 billion dollar bailout tab. Thanks to Reagan’s deregulation of the S & L industry, S & L’s were allowed to take any investment risk they wanted with depositors’ money with the understanding that any failures or bad debts would be subsidized by the public. 90% of those who were depositors had accounts worth more than $100,000.

US companies got $1 billion from the public dole through USAID from 1985 – 1995 to pay for shipping US jobs overseas to cheaper labor markets. USAID provided low-interest loans, tax exemptions, travel and training funds, advertising, and “black lists” to weed out union sympathizers and organizers in other countries.

In 1995, over 40% of USDA subsidies and farm payments went to farmers with a net worth in excess of $750,000. Meanwhile, those of us on food stamps and/or WIC are begrudged nutritious food.

While Congress held hearings on “welfare dependency” and the impact of the “culture of poverty” on unjustly enriched “welfare queens”, no hearings were held on the middle and upper class entitlement mentality regarding all the handouts they benefit from.

Do you have a 401(k)? If any of your portfolio’s holdings include bank instruments, municipal bonds, Ginnie Mae’s, or CD’s, you’re being enriched directly as the result of entitlement programs that have supported and bailed out those “malefactors of great wealth” that are privately owned. “Self-made” members of the investor class did not get theirs on their own. They got it off the backs of everyone else.

Any appreciation in your retirement portfolio’s value from capital gains and increased dividend payouts on stocks came directly as a result of corporations realizing huge profits by “cutting costs” — a euphemism for slashing wages, benefits and permanently eliminating jobs.

Those most likely to suffer from job loss, reduced wages and lost benefits are workers over age 40, who have been rendered permanently unemployable and have fallen into poverty after long-term joblessness due to age, gender, race, looks, and socio-economic class discrimination. Did you snipe at them for being on food stamps because you “worked for everything you got?”

Newsflash for the middle class: You didn’t “earn” that wealth in your 401(k) or other stock portfolio. You got it at the expense of others’ loss.

Have you thanked capitalism’s “losers” for your economic success? No need for accolades, just support the restoration of something resembling a real safety net for those at the very bottom who got the least in terms of opportunity and societal benefits in “free enterprise” America — and whose exclusion ensured your place on the socio-economic ladder.

Middle class voters were silent about welfare for the rich while they elected politicians who slashed meager subsistence benefits and other social programs that helped the poor. They cried foul about preferential jobs placement programs for the disadvantaged under CETA and Affirmative Action while they benefited from the biggest preferential job placement program of their own: middle class “good ole boy” nepotism.

The middle class supported Welfare Reform because they wanted to force poor women with children to get jobs, so long as it wasn’t their middle class jobs.

The rich, who clamored for “free market” capitalism in a competitive society, resorted to calling upon government to enrich them through tariffs, public subsidies, land grants, government contracts, and other “welfare handouts.”

But hey, the poor mother raising a child or two without getting a goddamn dime in child support from the co-conceiver isn’t doing anything (because we all know that caretaking, raising the future generation, and homemaking isn’t “real” work, right?) while some guy day-trading stocks or speculating on commodities, spending a couple hours a day on his laptop flipping securities “earned” his wealth because THAT is somehow “real” work while what POOR WOMEN do is not.

We Are Not All in the Same Boat

November 30, 2010

Jacqueline S. Homan

We are not “all in this together.”

The rich, who used their middle class phalanx of clergymen, police, lawyers, judges, and doctors to keep the poor “in their place” found religion, “self-help” books, and psychotherapy to be particularly useful in managing, controlling, and socially engineering the poor into meek acceptance of their miserable lot in life — a life of nothing but deprivation, suffering and want seasoned with more than just a modicum of scorn and contempt generously doled out by the middle class.

The middle class always sided with the rich. They have always been eager Brownshirts, brown-nosing the rich while claiming to hate them as they cheerfully stepped on the necks of the poor with their spit-shined jackboots, grinding our faces into the dirt. In times of great economic calamity, the middle classes say to the poor, “we’re all in the same boat” and “we’re all in this together.”

No, we are not.

The middle classes have always used the poor to get some measure of comfort and relief for themselves while telling those in the most need that after they got theirs, they will help us get ours. But they never have. They always abandon us as soon as their needs are met. How quickly they forget about that unity and spirit about all of us being “in this together” once they’ve conveniently gotten their needs addressed — always at the expense of ours.

Poor women are subjected to compulsory childbirth (without access to decent medical and dental care during pregnancy when it is most needed), and are deprived of having any ownership and control over our own bodies. With 87% of all US counties lacking an abortion provider and having diminished access to reliable contraception for poor women, including emergency contraception, poor women are de facto reproductive chattel slaves whose human rights, needs and feelings count less than that of a parasitically attached embryo/fetus. Are men “in the same boat?” No. Are middle class women who can afford their birth control and money to travel to access abortion in the event of contraceptive failure “in the same boat?” No. Are middle class women forced to gestate their rapists’ progeny? No. We are not “all in the same boat.”

Up until the economic collapse of 2008, the middle class ignored the poor as if we didn’t exist; much less have a right to live. For them to tell the poor whom they’ve kept down all these years that “we’re all in this together” and that “we’re all in the same boat” is beyond hypocritical.

If you were one of those whose votes, cultural capital, campaign contributions, election volunteering activities placed the last three decades of neoliberals and neocons in office that have deprived poor women of bodily autonomy and bodily integrity in the name of “pro-life” morality and then gutted what miserly inadequate safety nets for the poor that used to exist; while being a card-carrying member of the very class that refused to provide the poor (especially the poor women thrown off of welfare) with a guaranteed right to health care and a living wage job — we are not “all in this together.”

If you were middle class, you were one of the experts, gatekeepers, overseers, taskmasters, or policymakers that made damn sure that the credentialism you’ve imposed and other more superficial qualifiers (having the “right” image) kept the poor on society’s margins with nothing, not even an equal chance.

You are not “in this together” with those of us whom you’ve oppressed, making sure that as a poor woman I couldn’t get anything I needed throughout most of my 43 years of life in this country — a nation founded on gender inferiority, racism, and exploitation; a society that I did not ask to be born in.

If you have all your natural teeth and have enjoyed access to health and dental care over the past 30 years while I and many others in poverty did not; you are not “in the same boat” as those of us who never got to make it out of poverty and never had any of those things. Our health and quality of life is far more degraded and miserable as a result — thanks to your policies of Benign Neglect, like Welfare Deform.

Don’t you dare insult the intelligence of all the poor whom you’ve begrudged nutritious food, good jobs, decent housing, advanced educations, health and dental care, and an economic lifeline of a hand up these past 30 years just so you could “get yours” — while you put us down, belittled us, slammed the doors of opportunity shut in our faces, and then told us that if we weren’t making it in the “land of opportunity” it was our fault for not being able to compete.

Don’t you dare tell us how you suddenly care since you’re poor and jobless now and therefore “in the same boat” as us after telling us that we’ve got it made compared to people in other countries and that we should “learn how to help ourselves” and “stop bitching” because you didn’t want to hear about our problems when we had nothing while you had everything.

You were not “in this together” with those of us in poverty before, and we’re not “all in this together” now.

It’s easier to believe in leprechauns and unicorns than in your proclaimed sincerity. You think you can tell us that you now want to join hands and sing Koom Bye Ya after 30 years of promoting policies that disenfranchised us, criminalized us, and made us invisible, that “we’re all in this together now” and that the underclass should just “forgive and forget” about all the harm you’ve caused for us. Sorry, but there are some things — a long sordid history of things — that there is no “just getting over it.”

You have not earned our support and trust. And you don’t deserve our cooperation in what really amounts to making sure your middle class lives are as comfortable as possible within the status quo of the capitalist paradigm which caused all the problems this nation and the world faces today. Your track record speaks for itself — it was always the poor whose needs you jettisoned after getting what you wanted from an oppressive capitalist system of unearned privileges that still denies equal rights to women, with women in poverty suffering the worst because of it. Your legacy is one of betrayal, hypocrisy, and deceit.

If we are really “all in this together”, if the middle class ever really gave a crap about any goddam social justice at all, the middle class wouldn’t act like glory hounds auditioning for Jesus while patronizing the poor as if we’re stupid and “uneducated” (after making damn sure we couldn’t get the educations that you got).

If the middle class had any real concept of “fairness”, they would not have erected and maintained barriers to health care for the poor and access to educations and good jobs while strutting like peacocks and throwing their status around like sanctimonious know-it-all fucks whose shit doesn’t stink.

The middle class heaped abuse, scorn, ridicule, and condescension on everyone in the underclass while convincing themselves that they were so much better than those of us struggling in deep poverty who never got a chance for anything, no matter how hard we tried in a nation that is nothing but one great big public toilet of narcissistic materialism — that the middle class created while thinking they were so above it all.

Newsflash: The owning class isn’t all that into you.

I am not interested in supporting any political platform within the capitalist paradigm. I do not consent to maintaining any vestiges of a system of unearned privileges. Non Serviam (I will not serve).

Classism and the Final Solution For the Poor

October 17, 2010

 

"Classism For Dimwits" by Jacqueline S. Homan

 

We have the best democracy that money can buy: a democracy for the rich, that is. Since the rise of corporations as private for-profit entities, our system operates for the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor and the working class. Throughout the 1960’s through the 1990’s, the US viz-a-viz the national security state, either directly fomented or backed bloody insurrections against popular reformist movements here — such as the American Indian Movement (AIM), MOVE, the Black Panthers, and the Nation of Islam (NOI) — as well as abroad against the people in El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, and other lands.

The common denominator was that all these victims of capitalism were striving for social reforms and economic justice.

The nations that were brutalized by the national security state had popular reformist regimes that were attempting to redirect and redistribute some of their nations’ resources towards meeting the needs of the people instead of into the already overflowing coffers of exploitative multinational corporations. They were trying to develop a class order that posed a threat to the global capitalist economy and the existing class order within the US itself.

When we hear talk about “national security interests”, what we’re really hearing is talk of policies that favor the interests of the most privileged and powerful and making the world a safer place for that klepto-plutocracy at the expense of the masses of working class people at home and abroad.

The American poor and working class bears the heaviest burden of taxation that disproportionately supports the elite’s capital accumulation machination through subsidies, tax loop holes, and deficit spending that enriches a huge defense industry and sustains economic imperialism of global corporations through a brutal military apparatus and the CIA — but little to zero government deficit spending is directed to meet the social and economic needs of the poor and the working class.

Government assistance for the poor rarely reaches the neediest people. In the 1960’s, the Great Society programs saw $7 billion invested by federal, state, and local governments in the pockets of Third World poverty in the Appalachian region. But the majority of Appalachia’s poor remained unhelped because these anti-poverty measures served as a boon for the entrenched petit bourgeoisie interests — the merchants, banks, coal operators, and contractors. [Office of Economic Opportunity report quoted in the New York Times, November 29, 1970]

Workers’ comp, social security, unemployment benefits, and disability benefits distribute a lot more money to people from the middle class than to those with the most need: the poor. Social programs, before they were eliminated entirely or their budgets drastically cut, only reached a small fraction of those in need. In 1990, the $2.1 billion that went to the Supplemental Food Program for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and small children known as WIC, helped only half of those who were eligible. But nobody ever talks about the poor who have been turned away. Nobody even thinks about them. Nobody even cares.

The middle class and the decently paid unionized working class who aren’t badly off think that because there are government programs and charities, that there must be “all this help out there” for the poor and destitute. They never hear about the majority of the poor who are turned away, who aren’t getting helped. And truth be told, they really don’t want to know about it either.

Nobody cares about the poor. We are invisible. No one even acknowledges that we exist until we become a threat to the social order and pose to upset some middle class apple carts — or until enough middle class people fall into poverty and start to “feel the love.”

From 1980 – 1991, social programs (as miserly and inadequate as they were) for the nation’s poor and most disadvantaged were defunded and subjected to brutal budget cuts:

14.7% from maternal and child health care

69% from job training and subsidized employment programs (CETA) for the socio-economically disadvantaged of any race or gender

94% from rural and urban community service grants

81% from subsidized housing (HUD) for the poor

100% blanket denial of SSI benefits to needy applicants eligible for SSI

Benign Neglect and Welfare For the Comfortable

While the poor got begrudged decent safe housing by the middle class, the most affluent 20% of the American population received 60% of the federal housing subsidies in the form of property tax exemptions, mortgage interest deductions, and capital gains tax deferrals on home sales.

According to a 1990 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless, over half of all federally subsidized mortgages went to affluent people who could afford to buy homes without any help. Wealthy people who own beachfront properties that no insurer will insure due to hurricanes and coastal plane erosion, receive federally subsidized insurance — meaning that the taxpayers are liable for billions of dollars in insurance claims for property and casualty losses.

One of the beneficiaries was multi-millionaire George H. W. Bush, who regularly preached free market self-reliance. Most of the $400,000 worth of storm damage to Bush’s Maine vacation home was covered by federal insurance in 1991-1992.

Under the fearless direction of “Silent” Sam Pierce, Reagan’s HUD appointee, the lion’s share of HUD funds were redirected from low-income housing to the private sector for the enrichment of developers, banks, and real estate investors while the poor didn’t get any affordable decent housing at all.

Contractors and developers used federal assistance from HUD to build housing slated for the poor for merely a year or two in order to qualify for HUD funds, then flipped the properties to other buyers who were not held to the original contract under HUD; who evicted the poor and converted the units to upscale luxury rentals and condos for the middle and upper classes. Thus, the poor were shoved out entirely. Many were left homeless.

By the end of Reagan’s second term in 1988-1989, only one quarter of all poor US households got any kind of housing subsidy. Of the very few poor who get rent vouchers, half of them returned the vouchers unused because they couldn’t find any affordable housing.

Suckling from the public tit is apparently OK for the haves and have-mores, while those of us in poverty with no hope and no chance for any resemblance of a decent life are undeserving of anything — we’re just a social and economic nuisance who owe the middle and upper classes a debt of unrelenting suffering and misery for the “crime” of being born into “their” world.

Billions of dollars were cut from the food stamp program, college aid and other educational/training funding under Title IV (thanks to the Gramm-Ruddman bill passed in the late 1980’s), and from SSI — the miserly inadequate, but often the only, safety net for low-income disabled and elderly people otherwise ineligible for regular social security disability (SSDI) due to lack of enough prior earnings and social security credits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was supposed to give disabled people a toehold in the job market so they could become economically self-sufficient and live with at least some dignity. But all the ADA ended up doing was dumping disabled people off of SSI while failing to require employers to hire them.  As of 1995, over one third of those needing SSI were no longer getting helped.  The ADA is more appropriately the Americans Who Have Been Discarded Act, because discarded is precisely what was done to millions of disabled Americans who are utterly destitute and homeless with no means of support, other than begging on the streets under constant threat of police brutality, harassment, and arrest.

Democrats in Congress throughout the Reagan-Bush I regimes and under the Clinton administration did absolutely nothing to abate or reverse these cuts, even after signing the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 into law; which put the onus of economic self-sufficiency squarely on the shoulders of those least able and least likely to get any opportunities at all.

The hunger, homelessness, malnutrition, and casualties of lack of medical and dental and vision care that skyrocketed in the Reagan Revolution was not abated under Clinton’s two terms in office.

The reductions or elimination of all these social programs under the guise of “tough love” and “personal responsibility” really amounted to a social Darwinist War On the Poor, with an agenda of “extermination by imposed destitution.” In more polite circles, this is called “Benign Neglect.” But make no mistake, there is nothing “benign” about it.

Those with the least opportunities, resources, and political clout were deliberately made to suffer the most while being kicked in the teeth by a large comfortably complacent middle class that consistently told the poor that if we weren’t making it, it was our own damn fault.

We got told that it’s our own fault for failing to be good enough, able-bodied enough, smart enough, educated enough, thin enough, young enough, physically attractive enough, and hard-working enough.

We got told to “shut up and stop whining” — nobody wanted to hear about our problems, and that the poor in far away lands have it so much worse than those of us here who go hungry, homeless, jobless, and without health care here on American soil.

We got told that “there are plenty of jobs out there for anybody willing to work” — yet no one stepped up to the plate and offered us their middle class jobs while they easily got another one, or expressed a willingness to hire us in entry level jobs at a living wage with health benefits.

On the eve of the signing of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996, there were 14 million recipients of AFDC. Of those, 5 million were families, almost all of whom were single mothers and children with no other means of support, no access to abortion (thanks to the Hyde Amendment) in the event of contraception failure, and no equal opportunity for good-paying “men’s jobs.” Less than 1% of the AFDC recipients were able-bodied men.

Yet, reductions in benefits and the elimination of “welfare as we know it” was defended as a way of throwing “baby makers” and lazy “leeches” off the public dole.

Moving people off of welfare and into jobs is a noble idea — if society and government is committed to equal opportunity employment, a living wage, health care for all, and the guarantee of enough jobs for everyone in need of a job. Anything less than 100% employment — not 95%, but 100% — cannot deliver that.

The “Final Solution” For the Poor

After the five year lifetime limits under Welfare Reform were implemented, millions of poor women with children were booted off. Even during the “good times” of Clintonian prosperity, not all of these poorest and neediest hard-to-employ women were absorbed into the labor market and given jobs. But the government never bothered to track the whereabouts and situations of those women with the least chances of getting hired in jobs that pay a living wage.

Welfare was never an adequate solution to the problems inflicted on the poor by capitalism and eliminating “welfare as we know it” without providing alternative and reasonable economic opportunities is not merely a worse solution, it is the “Final Solution” for the poor. Anyone familiar with the politics of genocide knows what “Final Solution” means.

The War On the Poor was part and parcel for the implementation of a wholesale pogrom of “extermination through imposed destitution.”

Just like the fascist Nazi forebears of today’s corporatist class, the elite gained the support of a sizable portion of the middle class (who were overwhelmingly white males in male-dominated lucrative industries) via the ballot box in the carrying out of the “Final Solution” against the poor — 84% whom are women, children, and unborn fetuses that the “pro-life” arbiters of morality feign shambolic concern for.

Jacqueline S. Homan, author of Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

Unholy Trinity: The Iron Triangle of Big Religion, Big Business, and Government

February 20, 2010

The Past 30 Year History of the War on Poor Single Mothers:

Poor women/single mothers are poor and downtrodden because of a legacy of ongoing discrimination in a patriarchal capitalist system. Long before this “second Great Depression” was even acknowledged, the middle class was on perilous ground.

It began with the multi-pronged attack on women’s most basic human and civil and Constitutional right to have control over their own bodies with birth control and abortion (which in many cases, saved women’s health and lives — something “pro-life” males care nothing about since women are nothing but breeder chattel solely for male exploitation in their patriarchal worldview) and Big Business support of Reagan undermining workers’ living standards — beginning with Reagan firing the air traffic controllers.

It was barely a decade after women FINALLY won the right to advanced educations and career opportunities as lawyers, doctors, professors, etc., after the Roman Catholic Church and The Moral Majority-influenced patriarchal assault on women’s most basic human rights began in earnest — starting with the Hyde Amendment.

Today, even access to affordable contraception and voluntary sterilization and early term abortion are largely unavailable for women in most rural/semi-rural communities across the US.

Another prong attacking the poor and working class was what Mimi Abramovitz calls the “Feminization of the Underclass”, which drew on the stereotype and gender-oppressive ideological notions of women’s “proper roles” narrowly defined as wives and mothers only. These gender-discriminatory stereotypical ideas fueled theories on poverty that demonized women and popularized the idea of an underclass as “less than”, as undeserving of the same rights as rich or middle class white Christian males in our capitalist society which is inherently patriarchal — justified, normalized and legitimized by the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church’s prolific political influence.

By treating women punitively, especially poor women, according to their value based solely on their sex appeal to alpha males (who have all the money and liberties they frequently seek to deprive others of) which determines their abilities to conform to the terms of “the family ethic”, welfare safety net programs have always been able to regulate women’s lives in ways that support the dynamics of capitalism and patriarchy.

"Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie", by Jacqueline S. Homan

The “family ethic” says that women belong in the home, married, economically dependent on and subordinate to the male breadwinner. Noncompliance (for whatever reason, whether or not within the locus of any given woman’s control) meant penalties for stepping out of role.

But this “family ethic” failed to account for the realities faced by battered wives, poor white unmarried women (whose opportunities to marry middle/upper class men were zilch because of classism), immigrant women, and poor women of color whose life circumstances prevented them from being able to comply with patriarchal religion-justified terms and definitions of women’s “proper places and roles.” The “family ethic” is one defined by, and viewed through the lens of, middle/upper class white Christian male privilege. It failed to remotely consider the needs of poor women. White Christian male dominated society — rife with the political and wealth influence of the Roman Catholic Church — not only refused to recognize the needs and rights of poor women (especially poor women of color), but in accomplishing its own greed-driven imperialistic ends, routinely politically assaulted the families of the poor, of poor women of ALL races.

The general premises of the “family ethic” are deeply ingrained in social welfare programs. Welfare programs defined white married women with disabled husbands or white widows as more “deserving” of aid than poor single mothers, abandoned wives with children, and women whose male breadwinner failed to provide steady secure support.

Welfare, as meager of an entitlement as it was prior to Slick Willie’s evisceration of it in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, was not only a vital component ensuring that poor women and children could survive; it also served to buttress the wages and living standard of the middle class.

With assaults on women’s human rights to have control over their own bodies regarding abortion and contraception access, the war on poor welfare mothers was simultaneously racheted up throughout the Reagan, Bush, Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr years. This jihad against women was really a jihad against the middle class and the poor whose tactical primary targets were (and are) women.

In garnering voter support for eliminating welfare (as miserly of a benefit as it was even in its heyday); the rich — backed by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations — stigmatized poor women on welfare as “bad mothers” unable to raise their children properly. In reality, poor single mothers on welfare should have been valued (and paid adequate compensation!) if not praised for protecting their children from unlicensed childcare workers, the absence of medical coverage, abusive fathers and pedophile priests.

The Weaponized Language in the Marriage of Misogyny to Classism:

"Classism For Dimwits" by Jacqueline S. Homan

Poor families on welfare were defined as disorganized by virtue of the absence of a male breadwinner. The truth: poor families suffer disorganizing impact of endless poverty fueled by racial, gender, and class discrimination in a shrinking pool of middle class jobs in our Serengeti economy.

The uncertainty that accompanies irregular poverty-wage employment, the risk of losing badly needed Medicaid and food stamps disproportionate to any paltry earnings, and the threat of utility shut-offs and homelessness — what could possibly be more disruptive to organized family life than constantly worrying if you will have enough money to feed, clothe, and house your family?

In the mad rush to vilify welfare female-headed households (and poor unmarried women without kids who were “taking away men’s jobs” in order to be able to live) for their lack of a “good” husband; the majority of American voters forgot that as a social institution, the “traditional” family was also very problem-ridden, frequently violent, and historically structured on the subordination of women as second-class citizens with NO rights outside of their role as breeder livestock property owned by men.

The “traditional” family notion is centered on the Iron Age Roman pater familia system, which was (unsurprisingly) incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings which promotes the subordination and oppression of women. Catholicism’s bastard progeny — Protestantism, Evangelical Christianity, and Fundamentalism — are also joined at the hip with Roman Catholicism’s treatment of women.

Poor women on welfare have always been regarded as “lazy” and “irresponsible” and unmotivated to work. They’re regarded as “free-loaders” without any work ethic who “only got pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog” off the taxpayer’s backs  — rather than suffering from job discrimination, poor education, abusive economic policies, and limited opportunities.

Middle class married women who have additional children and get generous EITC payments are never accused of “only getting pregnant for the money” so they can “live high on the hog.”

Middle class men who get vasectomies reversed, or who routinely use Viagra and impregnate a woman are never castigated as being “irresponsible.”

Middle and upper class women who need to take longer work leaves than normal to heal and recover completely from pregnancy and giving birth are not accused of being “lazy” and “lacking work ethic.”

Calling welfare mothers “lazy” and pushing Workfare (more appropriately called “Slavefare”) requiring welfare mothers to work outside the home at ANY minimum wage job implied that women at home are NOT working.

But they were/are working: without ANY pay, they produce enormous benefits for their families and for the rest of society — especially for men.

They are enduring pregnancy and childbirth — at great personal sacrifice to their own bodies and health, suffering excruciating pain, even dying or almost dying — bearing children (rather than getting abortions “for convenience”) whom they raise. They are feeding, clothing, cleaning up after, sheltering and taking care of family members; keeping them fit for another day of productive labor. They are providing care for those who are unable to work due to age, illness, disability, or lack of a job.

All of these tasks are critical to the smooth functioning of the patriarchal capitalist society that has been our legacy, and vital to the smooth running of our economy. But these tasks are only counted as “work” and renumerated when they’re performed outside the home — and even then, as “women’s jobs”, they command very paltry wages.

Welfare mothers have been demonized for being dependent on the state, which sharply contradicts societal directives to other women to be economically dependent on men  — even though lots of men were/are selfish in keeping all their money from their “breadwinner’s jobs” for themselves instead of supporting women and children because in our patriarchal Christian-dominated, capitalist society, everything is always all about them and to hell with poor women and children.

Poor women and children go without health and dental care, nutritious food, proper clothing, and homes while middle class and rich men had plenty of money to blow in stripper joints, bars, and on expensive toys. Poor men who have been left out economically frequently end up in prison. (But ex-felons get more economic support and help with job placement in living wage jobs than poor women with clean records and educations). That’s where the Ponzi scheme of Biblical-influenced patriarchy, “traditional family values”, and capitalism gets us: fucked without kissed.



The Carrot-and-Stick Dominance of Double-speak:

While welfare mothers are subjected to routine social abuse and personal value judgments for relying on the crumbs of what remains of the tattered and torn welfare safety net, the media celebrates well-off professional women who “give it all up” and return to home and husband — implying that this is where they really belong and it’s about time they realized it.

While media and many church-supported campaigns funded media’s and government’s assault on poor women, over-privileged Ivy League scholars formulated the “dependency argument” of welfare being the cause for family break-ups, illegitimate births, teen pregnancy, crime, and inter-generational reliance on welfare as a way of life.

The idea that welfare is a “free ride” which produces character flaws and poor personal habits that are transmitted from mothers to children — perpetuating dysfunctionality —  had been challenged long ago (and many times since) by the findings of a massive longitudinal study undertaken by Greg J. Duncan, Martha S. Hall, and Saul Hoffman and published in 1988. [“Welfare Dependence With and Across Generations“, Science 239 (January 29, 1988) pp. 467, 469]

This study examined the economic status of poor families over the span of 19 years. It found that the majority of daughters raised by poor welfare mothers never applied for welfare at all. It also showed that daughters from middle/upper class families were least likely to need financial assistance as adults. The results also suggested that the few cases of inter-generational welfare dependency related directly to the difficulty of escaping poverty due to systemic classism,  and also because of discrimination, lack of enough jobs for everyone who needs one, and lack of access to education and other social resources — not the welfare program itself per se.

Life During the Better Times Wasn’t Good For Poor Women:

Even before the massive American jobs exodus due to “free market” deregulation free-for-alls, NAFTA, GATT, and globalization, the job market was very hostile towards poor women — especially poor single mothers. Lack of childcare, lack of accommodating employers, and lack of equal pay for equal work (or even an equal opportunity for a good paying “man’s job”) was the norm for poor women.

Another problem unmarried women (whether they’re mothers or not) face is a lack of the safety net of a spouse’s employer-provided health insurance and the safety net of a spousal income in the event the woman loses her job and suffers prolonged unemployment.

Single mothers are also faced with having to do the work of TWO adults. Raising and taking care of children plus financially supporting them are two demanding jobs that even many married mothers have difficulty pulling off.

Even though many married mothers work out of economic necessity (especially if hubby lost his job), most are employed only part time so they get to spend more time with their kids than single mothers forced to work two minimum wage jobs and spend two to four hours each day commuting by buses since many can’t afford a reliable car. They also have a spouse who is occasionally willing to help pitch in with housekeeping and childcare — a benefit single mothers don’t have.

The Feminization of Poverty:

By linking poverty to the rise of female-headed households suggests that a person’s gender and marital status makes them poor.

Being female does not cause poverty; discrimination against women does. Facing job discrimination, education discrimination (especially in the “hard sciences”), low-wages, higher health insurance premiums than men get charged, lack of access to contraception and abortion, plus having full responsibility for children DOES make one poor.

These are economic and social problems that disproportionately harm women because of our patriarchal capitalist social arrangements centered on a Christian/Biblical patriarchal system, flavored with traditions from ancient Roman paternalism.

Reserve Army of Labor:

The threadbare rug of meager welfare support as an entitlement was pulled out from under poor women’s feet. The women thrown off of welfare after exhausting their 5 year lifetime limits have not been absorbed and welcomed into the middle class job market. In fact, many have been denied even the low-paying dead-end menial jobs, too — because of lack of reliable childcare and transportation.

But the rich, who own the means of production, orchestrated (with the backing and complicity of the Church) attacks on women’s right to birth control and abortion — while simultaneously dismantling of the meager welfare safety net — grew poverty by creating a larger pool of desperate workers. And the pro-forced birth policies will only exacerbate this.

Between that and a steadily shrinking pie of good paying jobs because of “free trade” agreements and globalization, the ground on which the middle class once stood eroded.

Employers began requiring Bachelor degrees for lower-middle class (and often dead-end) entry-level jobs that only required a high school diploma 30 years ago. At the same time college degrees were increasingly required by employers, need-based student aid was slashed by the Gramm-Rudman Bill under the watch of Bush, Sr. while college tuition soared and outpaced inflation. Grad school, med school, law school, etc., was put totally out of reach for those in poverty and the lower-middle class. Student loans used to be dischargeable under personal bankruptcy. Not anymore. That changed in the 1990’s.

And the dismantling of further protection under the bankruptcy laws has caused more middle class people to fall into poverty and destitution (mostly from medical bills). The 2005 amended bankruptcy law is for the middle class what welfare reform is for poor women (particularly poor single mothers). And it was the same bunch in Congress who passed both.

Simply put, the rich got richer by taking from the middle class and the poor by attacking and undermining the few hard-won rights and gains women finally managed to get only one generation ago — after centuries of oppression, abuse, enslavement, and discrimination promoted by the Roman Catholic Church and its spin-off denominations, justified and legitimized by the Bible.

All of this has led to the impoverishment of the majority of Americans of both genders, all races, and all ages. Our power of the vote has been dwarfed by the most recent anti-American SCOTUS fig-newton folly of granting corporations full citizenship status so they can use the 1st Amendment right of “free speech” through use of their wealth and lobbyists to determine America’s geopolitical landscape in terms that favor them, which necessarily and patently disenfranchise the rest of us. Things are only going to get worse for everyone not in the top 1% club — the super rich elite.

As of 2004, a US Dept. of Labor report stated that for every job opening, there were 100 jobless applicants looking for work. If we only include full-time jobs that pay a living wage with health and pension benefits, that ratio is very similar to that recently seen in Massilon, OH (one hour’s drive from where I live) where 700 desperate job-seekers applied for ONE job opening — a janitorial job with the Massilon School District.

For the one applicant who got lucky and got the job which pays a living wage and health benefits plus pension, 699 job-seekers got sent home poor and empty-handed.

Due to the collapse in the housing and financial markets, the fate of America’s poor and jobless got a hell of a lot worse. The economic top 1% of the population now owns 70% of all financial assets — an all-time record. To be clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.

2009 was a stellar year for Wall Street executives’ bonuses as firms gave $150 billion to their executives — 100% of which are directly from our tax dollars.

Rich men at the helm of corrupt, ruthless corporations, insurance giants, and banks got generous welfare benefits — money that dwarfs the paltry TANF welfare benefits doled out begrudgingly to all the poor single mothers in the US.

If that welfare for America’s rich on Wall Street had instead been used to create jobs rather than for the unjust enrichment of a handful of executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million jobless poor who certainly need the money more than Wall Street’s economic cannibal class — who have produced nothing except corporate bankruptcies, corruption, and consumer and taxpayer fraud.

Not one penny of the welfare given to the rich has gone to create a single living wage job for a poor jobless person — 6 million who have NO income at all and are only getting food stamps.

This should make every last over-privileged  welfare mother mugger too ashamed to live with themselves. Poor women and children have suffered first and foremost from the collective rejection of social and federal responsibility for the downtrodden.

Mean-spirited welfare cuts and reforms and attacks on abortion and contraception — women’s right to have control over their own bodies — over the last 30 years are neither innocent nor unrelated. It was deliberate: Poverty by design to create a Reserve Army of Labor to suppress wages and make workers too desperate and fearful to demand better pay and conditions because there’s a line of desperate poor people waiting to take your job.

SC Lt. Gov. Bauer: Free School Lunches Encourage \'Stray Animals\' to \'Breed\'

January 25, 2010

South Carolina's "pro-life" Republican Lt. Governor Andre Bauer

This “pro-life” religitard doesn’t connect unborn “babies” with eventual children that he does not want to feed…since the poor are like stray animals, according to him.


%d bloggers like this: