Paul Krugman, commenting on one of the moral midgets who pushed through the House a new farm bill that would maintain generous government subsidies for agribusinesses while eliminating food stamps:
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
And here’s No More Mister Nice Blog‘s ironic restatement of Krugman’s point:
God and the free market (neither of which ever make a mistake) made you poor because you have poverty coming to you (because you chose to do things that made you poor, mostly having to do with laziness and sex and substance abuse). You are meant to suffer — and those evil liberals who insist on mandating that you get a helping hand from the taxpayer are interfering with God’s plan for you, and messing with the mechanisms of the marketplace, which are divinely ordained and are part of natural law.
Nicely done, but we already knew that libertarians and Bible thumpers are linked by their mutual contempt for the poor, and that Congress is full of Republicans like Fincher, who doesn’t even blink at the hypocrisy of cutting government food aid to the poor (a large percentage of whom are kids) while supporting government handouts to big business.
Liberal pundits needn’t remind readers that Republicans are ugly-minded — that’s a given. Better they should ask prominent Democrats why they aren’t pushing back hard against the uglies, who are clearly on a mission to expand the gap between the haves and have-nots. Better to exhort the Dems, from the president on down, to forge ahead rather than flinch in confrontations with those who would scuttle workers’ rights and shred what’s left of the social safety net. (This is assuming some Obama-style Dems have a sense of shame.)
Almost a decade ago, in What’s the Matter With Kansas?, the prescient historian Thomas Frank noted that the Democratic establishment had stopped siding with organized labor, and with the working class in general, in order to coax larger campaign contributions out of the predatory rich:
Such Democrats explicitly rule out what they deride as “class warfare” and take great pains to emphasize their friendliness to business interests. Like the conservatives, they take economic issues off the table. As for the working-class voters who were until recently the party’s very backbone, the [Democratic Leadership Council] figures they will have nowhere else to go; Democrats will always be marginally better on economic issues than Republicans.
In 2008, many working people, riding a wave of renewed optimism, figured Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, if voted in, would get the country back on track. Instead, the Dems helped bail out Wall Street banksters at the expense of millions of newly poor Americans whose jobs and/or homes had been lost in the economic collapse caused by the banksters.
With “nowhere else to go,” Democratic voters re-elected Obama in 2012, hoping he’d focus on the interests of the poor and nearly poor this time around. So far, Obama and other so-called liberals — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and so on — have responded with nothing but empty rhetoric. They wring their hands and back down when the uglies threaten to block legislation that would benefit the 99 percent. And they pretend to be indignant, of course.
Check out this critique of a speech about the income gap that Obama gave Wednesday. Once again, our orator-in-chief voiced vague generalities regarding creation of good jobs and said nothing about maintaining programs that help the needy. Is it any wonder pigs like Fincher feel confident enough to back legislation that would all but eliminate such programs?