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Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2011

THE GOP STILL DOESN'T LIKE THE UNEMPLOYED.... At an event in his Texas district this week, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) explained how he perceives those Americans struggling to find work.

"We've gotta, you know, nobody wants to starve anybody. Everybody wants to help folks out. But we've got a system where you can stay on unemployment for an awfully long time. And I think we need to create a system of decreasing benefits over time to encourage you to get a job. I think anybody who's had an alcoholic in their life or somebody with a drug problem, realizes that until things get bad enough there's no incentive to change."

Republican media personalities continue to make similar remarks.

I mention this in part because it's so offensive, and in part because it speaks to a larger truth. We can talk about Republican opposition to job creation, and we can marvel at the GOP's "so be it" attitude when told that the party's economic agenda would make unemployment worse.

But one of the more remarkable developments of the last couple of years is the number of Republicans who've shown outright hostility towards those who've lost their jobs.

Look at Farenthold's quote again. He not only thinks the jobless are struggling on purpose -- he's apparently unaware there are roughly six unemployed Americans for every job opening -- the GOP congressman also equates the unemployed with alcoholics and drug addicts.

Farenthold looks at those Americans struggling to find work in a weak economy and he's almost annoyed with them.

And it's not just Farenthold. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) dismissed jobless aid as money that offers "a disincentive" to getting a job, a sentiment endorsed by Sen. Richard Burr (R), among others.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) compared the unemployed to "hobos"; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said those without jobs won't look until their benefits run out; and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said the unemployed choose not to work because of the benefits.

Several other Republicans, including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, want to impose mandatory drug testing for the jobless -- because if you can't find work, you're not only to blame, you're also a suspected addict.

The moral of the story seems to be that Republicans just don't like the unemployed. What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?

Steve Benen 11:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Tell ya what, Congressman Farenthold - let's cut your income by 80%, and charge you most of what's left to maintain insurance coverage for your family. Then you can tell us how unemployment insurance is a disincentive to looking for work.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on May 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

The demonization of others is the only plank in the Republican platform.
Hatred for the weak, groveling before the strong. It's the classic mindset of bullies and would-be tyrants.

Posted by: JMG on May 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?"

It's really not a matter of what the unemployed did to offend the GOP, as much as it is that this is the GOP mode of operation. In my mind the biggest difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats want to do things to help people. One can argue that the Democrats want to do too much or do things that people should do for themselves. By contrast, Republicans want to do things to people. These things always seem to be punitive. Most people think Republicans are doing things to the other guy, not to them. Eventually what they find out is that in the Republicans eyes they are the other guy (see Wisconsin).

If you forced me to pick between the two approaches, I'll take the Democratic approach every time.

Posted by: DRB on May 1, 2011 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

It occurs to me that the only ones 'sucking at the teat' of the government are these 'public servants'. Why don't they get out there and get a real job (especially in this economy) and hope to hell it provides medical benefits.

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?

Their existence disproves Republican Fantasy World where lowering taxes increases employment. So the thing to do is get rid of the evidence.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 1, 2011 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

We should have a law that decreases Congressional pay by $20,000 per year for every percentage point over five percent unemployment.

I don't want to starve anybody. But like Rep. Farenthold, I think what I think we need is "a system of decreasing benefits" to encourage our representatives to do their jobs. As Rep. Farenthold said, ". . . anybody who's had an alcoholic in their life or somebody with a drug problem, realizes that until things get bad enough there's no incentive to change."

Posted by: SteveT on May 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

In reference to Haley and Hatch wanting to drug test people collecting unemployement benefits. whatever happened to the republican mantra of keeping government out of peoples lives? That's really just bull shit.

Posted by: Gandalf on May 1, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of an old Babylon 5 episode when the Earth's government is slouching toward dictatorship: a government official states that there is no unemployment because the government has said there are jobs for anyone wanting to work - so if someone's not working, they don't want a job.

Posted by: RepubAnon on May 1, 2011 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I wish you'd direct us to a site that explains about "jobless aid." I know that you can't collect welfare forever--what's the truth about the other? I've assumed that though you've lost your job thanks not to job-related disability but rather a weak economny, the government doesn't provide lost income, even a percentage of it, forever. Or am I wrong?

Posted by: David on May 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

When unemployment is around 4 percent, Republicans can accurately say some of those folks aren't very motivated.

But the claim is ridiculous -- heartless, too -- when the joblessness rate is higher and especially when real unemployment reaches 16 percent. To disparage the jobless as Rep. Farenthold does is to question the grit of the laid-off school teacher, clothing store clerk, police officer or construction worker.
As a retiree from the newspaper business, I know talented but jobless former communications workers who have dozens of resumes out but no replies coming in. Imagine their dismay upon hearing Republicans claim they're lazy and perfectly content with the measly sums they temporarily receive in unemployment compensation. After months of frustration, some have taken jobs in other fields for much lower pay. Their pride restored and hopes renewed, they keep looking for re-employment in the field where they received their training. Prospects are not improving -- especially for those over 50.

It is hard to imagine them voting for pols who insist they're lazy.

Posted by: Jerry Elsea on May 1, 2011 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

It might have been a good idea to have mandatory drug testing of TARP recipients, to see if the investment banker and hedge fund 'geniuses' who wrecked our economy were free of cocaine and other illegal drugs before giving them buckets of taxpayer dollars.

Posted by: meander on May 1, 2011 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the Repukeliscum are completely out to lunch on this. HOWEVER, I also have a serious problem in that the last election went Repukeliscum. Since the unemployment rate is 18% or so, many of these states had large numbers of unemployed voting Repukeliscum.

Note to the unemployed: Repukeliscum hate you. Why do you continue to vote Repukeliscum?

Posted by: POed Lib on May 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

What you are seeing is the disconnect between the GOP and America. Members of the GOP have a view of America that has little to do with reality. That view is formed by what they read in the Murdock controlled right wing media and are told by their staffers who are themselves fed their views of America by various right wing "think tanks" and Murdock owned media sources. The Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Wall Street Journal, Fox News etc are all staffed by children of privilege who have never had much experience with the lives of average Americans. If you read their bios it is clear they don't get out of their conservative hothouses that much.

Rep. Blake Farenthold's hostility to the unemployed is to be expected. The very existence of the chronic unemployed doesn't square with modern conservative ideology as created by the conservative think tanks and Murdock media outlets. In Mr. Farenthold's closed world conservative ideology trumps the modern reality he has never personally experienced and doesn't even know much about.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 1, 2011 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I also think that the right wing has to demonize everyone else in order to justify their own existence, and their own continued employment. If they can convince themselves that they're protecting real America from threats, both domestic and foreign, then they can rationalize their own privilege as a burden. It's a dirty, dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Posted by: brooklyn on May 1, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Humans are tribal creatures, and Americans are not exempt.

"Bikers" ride loud Harleys, wear black leather, and engage in raucous and often illegal behavior.

"Wasps" wear madras jackets, pink trousers, and drink large quantities of exotic intoxicants. They wear White Collars when engaging in their criminal activities.

"Politicians" are a blend of both of these tribes, and avoid contact with the unemployed, unfortunate, AKA anyone Not Like Us.

Democrats are more guarded in their denigration of the "Poor", but are equal to their Republican cohorts in their disdain. For evidence, see the coming vote in the Senate to ending Big Oil welfare.

Posted by: DAY on May 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many more applications Farenthold thinks I should make? 1000 hasn't been enough to land a job. I wonder how many college degrees he thinks I need? 3 hasn't been quite enough. I wonder if he thinks tough love would be a cure for being 50+ and unemployed?

Posted by: KJ on May 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

especially disgusting, since he's the grandson of - and probably owes a lot of name recognition to - sissy farenhold, a long-time liberal texas democrat.

Posted by: mellowjohn on May 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

We can't over emphasize that about the only city to grow during the great recession was Washington. Unemployment is very low in several counties surrounding DC. People only know what they experience every day. If you are child of privilege who started working for one of the DC think tanks right after graduating from Liberty University or maybe Yale or Harvard, and have never encountered unemployed people in your daily life, you can easily demonize them. It is much harder if the unemployed include several friends and a bunch of relatives.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 1, 2011 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Meander, you have the beginnings of a great idea. Since the financial services industry represents an existential threat when they fail, as recently witnessed at the end of the last republican administration, mandatory drug testing should be the rule for all financial executives. Or at least those in the east coast power corridor.

Posted by: foghorn on May 1, 2011 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP's problem with the unemployed is simply this:

The unemployed prove their vision of free market capitalism is false.

And if that vision is false in this particular way - namely that the free market doesn't produce enough jobs for the available workers - that's the first step in the proof that free market capitalism doesn't provide economic stability and therefore doesn't provide social stability or national stability. And then the failure of free market capitalism becomes exhibit #1 in the proof that stronger government social safety net programs are required to provide economic and social and national stability.

In short, the unemployed are the proof that the GOP is simply wrong on the economy, wrong on the role of government in economic policy and social stability.

So of course the unemployed must be demonized. The GOPs greatest fear is that more and more of those who are or have been unemployed or under-employed will start voting in larger numbers and in their economic best interests.

Posted by: Liano Sharon on May 1, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

As a 48 year old man who just landed a job after 2 years and 2 months of unemployment (except for day jobs here and there) I can attest to the fact that there are far more applicants than jobs. I sent in countless resumes and heard back from maybe 2 or 3 out of 100. The percentage of granted interviews was even worse. I consider myself one of the lucky ones but I know from personal experience how bad it really is.
What I find most frustrating is that with the exception of Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Cal) and Bobby Scott (D-Va) who happen to be pushing for a 99ers bill, there is virtually no push back or help from the Democrats. Their silence makes them complicit in the demonization of the unemployed.

Posted by: doyles on May 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't pretend to be clueless. It doesn't wear well. The Republican's are champions of capital. Capital is at war with labor. Capital is using this economic downturn to 'school the workforce' much the same way that the Confederate general John Bell Hood used the superior forces of the Union Army to hurl his ill equipped undermanned into the teeth of their defenses in the last year of the Civil War.

The unemployed are going to have to learn to live with the concept of downward mobility. Because the 1% are not going to be able to sustain their life-style going forward if the middle class are allowed to keep all these expensive entitlements. So, although the resources exist, if a choice needs to be made, we know who is going to have to make an accomadation.

The high unemployment of the economic downturn is not a bug, it is a feature. Unemployed folks are being conditioned to be happy just to have a job. That is the whole point of the exercise. Don't complain too loudly about benefits or working conditions. Just be happy you have a job. That is the attitude that Capital wants to instill into the entire workforce of the nation. It is schooling the workforce. Because the workforce has no allies in the corradors of power. None.

Posted by: SW on May 1, 2011 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's not hostility to unemployment, it's hostility to modernity. I see this attitude in the rural area where I live. The best work is for the "haves", the make-do work is for the lower class whites, and the field work is for minorities. By trying to preserve their income level after a job loss, the recently-unemployed are interfering with the natural order, resisting the downward pressure on wages that the GOP's true base seeks. Also, too, the current system imports what should be our home-grown bonded servant class.

The tragedy is that the lower class whites here go all in for this, and wear their difficult lifestyles as a badge of honor in proof of their grit. To see the class system in operation, visit anywhere outside a major city in the Old South.

Posted by: Fred on May 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

-- he's apparently unaware there are roughly six unemployed Americans for every job opening --

The rightwing radio mantra is everyone should be an entrepenuer. Therefore all of these unemployed should become small businessmen and help the economy grow. We are just stifling their financial creativity by letting them sit around watching their widescreen tv's, drinking beer and collecting those big juicy unemployment checks.

Posted by: martin on May 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think I understand the politics of Obama not really talking about the jobless rate, not wanting to call attention to it. But I have to agree with doyles that there is "virtually no push back or help from the Democrats. Their silence makes them complicit in the demonization of the unemployed."

Posted by: David V. on May 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

The conservative hostility to the unemployed is a continuation of their hostility to general welfare. And that hostility stems from their belief that welfare is a case of taking "my" money and giving it to "those people."

Posted by: BEB on May 1, 2011 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of the GOP's attitudes are explicable as a reflection of what Robert N. Bellah calls the bad face of Protestantism: the tendency to assume that people's net worth is directly proportional to their personal moral worth.

As Bellah says, religion creates lays down particularly deep cultural patterns, and this assumption forms the foundation of American populist conservatism.

Posted by: Benjamin Moodie on May 1, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Republicans:

It is not my fault I haven't found a full-time job during the last two years of unemployment. It is not my fault that corporations are refusing to turn record profits into employment of skilled workers who can add to said corporations' productivity and boost the economy. It is not my fault my work skills are specifically geared toward librarianship, a profession seeing massive cutbacks due to your insistence on cutting social services to pay for more of your massive AND UNNECESSARY tax cuts. It is not my fault that I am interviewing for nearly opening with 65-100 (stop saying it is 6 people per opening: that number is FAR TOO GODDAMN LOW and I've spoken with enough HR people to prove it) other competitors for just one job opening. It is not my fault that the Republican leadership doesn't seem to know anybody who's facing this massive unemployment cycle, because otherwise they might (just MIGHT) show more sympathy for the 17-20 million unemployed and OUR FAMILIES. It is not my fault that my fellow residents voted you SOBs into office where you're looking to kill off unemployment benefits because you're "worried" it's turning into welfare instead of worrying about getting businesses to hire more people. It is not my fault you Republicans are all bastards.

Posted by: PaulW on May 1, 2011 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing new here. During the Great Depression, Republicans routinely dissed the unemployed as lazy bums, and many relatively well-off middle class folks expressed a mixture of fear and contempt for the jobless. The WPA ("We Putter Around") was seen as nothing but a boondoggle that encouraged the out-of-work to "lean on their shovels."

"Conservatism" of this sort is complacent, heartless, selfish, and cruel, and it's all alive and well in today's Teapublican Party.

Posted by: James Miller on May 1, 2011 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Blake Farenthold is Sissy Farenthold's step-grandson. Their political views are polar opposites.
He's young and uninformed - exactly what the Republicans want. How he beat Solomon Ortiz still puzzles me.

Posted by: Whichwitch on May 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boy I am SO Glad all the purist asshole liberals stayed home in Nov 2010 to teach Obama and the Democrats a lesson.

Look how well it's working out!

Posted by: Purist liberal douchebag on May 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't like the unemployed because they are unwashed. At least according to Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on May 1, 2011 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Purist liberal douchebag said:
Boy I am SO Glad all the purist asshole liberals stayed home in Nov 2010 to teach Obama and the Democrats a lesson.

I have been pretty vocal in expressing my disappointment with Obama. But my liberal asshole friends and I went out and voted for Democrats last November anyway.

The polls suggest that "independents", along with some conservative Democrats, voted for Republicans to repudiate Obama for:

-- Raising everyone's taxes (which he didn't)

-- "Nationalizing" the country's health care system (which he didn't)

-- Being completely responsible for the bank bailouts (that was mostly Bush)

-- And for being a secret Muslim illegal alien.

If you want to blame anyone, blame the people in the White House and in Congress who persist in their belief that the corporate-controlled media will report issues fairly and who refused until very recently to call out the Republicans for their lies, ignorance and radicalism.

Posted by: SteveT on May 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised that businesses large and small are not advertising the millions of jobs they are desperately trying to fill. Are classified ad rates that high?

Posted by: tamiasmin on May 1, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Preach it, PaulW!

My perception is that employers are looking to find the person who will work for the least money, or at least turn the screws to force people to take jobs for less or not get hired and using the bad economy and high unemployment as an excuse. I work part-time for about a half dozen companies but the latest one didn't hire me at first though I was told I was the best qualified. It turned out the person they hired for less $ messed things up, so now they've returned to me. I have clients who are for-profit and some non-profit. This for-profit company wants me to work for them at my lowest non-profit rate even though I'm sure they can afford more. My plan is to work for a while, dazzle them, then tell them I want a raise. :-)

Posted by: trying to make it on May 1, 2011 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Classic GOP irrationality: 1) Blame Obama because unemployment is high and there are not enough jobs available. 2) Blame the unemployed for not going out and taking one of those many jobs that are available!

Posted by: Speed on May 1, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?"

It's part of the mindset of conservatives and religious fundamentalists. To them everything that happens occurs because someone intended it to happen. To them there are no unintended social forces!

If something bad happens to you it is because you did something to cause it to happen to you. People are not unemployed because there are no jobs. They are unemployed because they don't want to work. Blacks are not kept from getting jobs and held back from promotions. They don't want to work hard enough.

And if you cannot observe someone who caused the Earthquake - tsunami in Japan then it still occurred because someone wanted it to. The need to personalize this malevolent intent is the source of the god symbol. That symbol represents the great "intender" who must exist when no single person can be blamed for their failings but when something really bad happens to a lot of people.

Very interestingly these individual guilty parties are always someone outside the conservative - fundamentalist tribal group. They can directly observe that those inside their personal tribal group did nothing to cause many of the bad things that happen to them.

Obviously, though, people who cause their own problems will not stop causing their own problems unless they are punished. God forbid that someone ("the government") should help them avoid the just punishment they are being given for their sins. Helping them will just encourage them.

It's a part of the pre-scientific mindset. Before Isaac Newton there were no recognized absolutely predictably impersonal forces. Everything happened because some person or god intended it to happen.

If you want to understand the conservative - fundamentalist mindset, read "Fundamentalism" by the Sociologist Steve Bruce (2000). That fact about there being no recognized impersonal forces is from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's great new book "The Grand Design." (2010) Warning - the latter is a superb layman's introduction to quantum theory. It's better than "A Brief History of Time."

Posted by: Rick B on May 1, 2011 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Jon Kyl: And it's not just Farenthold. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) dismissed jobless aid as money that offers "a disincentive" to getting a job, a sentiment endorsed by Sen. Richard Burr (R), among others.

This statement is right up there with a similar statement by the other blowhard from Arizona, John McCain, in response to Jim Webb's new G. I. Bill. McCain said a better G. I. Bill would be a disincentive for people to re-enlist, even though most of the recipients would be for people already exposed to 3-6 tours in war zones.

Posted by: max on May 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well ... If the government was allowed to exercise programs that gave people work to do, then they wouldn't have that motive to sit around because they know they have to work anyway ... It seemed to work for FDR. That would maybe encourage more to find work (I know, not a lot of jobs because of things like the big collapse, outsourcing, companies sitting on money, etc. - but the failure of Republicans to consider government solutions to problems they gripe about ....)

Posted by: Neil B. on May 1, 2011 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

But isn't this the exact same thinking from the GOP End Medicare Plan? If you make people desperate enough (by depriving them of money), they'll force changes in circumstances (make hospitals, doctors, drugmakers, etc. give up services for less money)?

Suppose if we all banded together outside the gas station, and refused to buy gas at $4, that the gas station would give in and agree to sell for less? Chortle, chortle! (And it's the rightwing that routinely claims that the left doesn't grasp economics!!) The only way this would "work" is if the "buyers" could in fact walk away without consequence. That doesn't happen with a typical buyer of gas, nor with a typical emergency room visitor.

Posted by: Jimo on May 1, 2011 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?

well, for one, lots of them are black.

Posted by: T2 on May 1, 2011 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?"

Continue to remind them that they aren't doing sh*t to help create jobs.

Posted by: Hmmmmm on May 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

His analogy to addiction is also inapt. It's a widely held misconception that addicts "need to hit bottom". In fact, the earlier the intervention and the less someone descends into addiction the better their recovery prospects. People who are allowed to "hit bottom" tend to stay in really bad shape for a long time, even if they bounce in and out of recovery. And for some hitting bottom means dying or killing someone else.

You wouldn't say someone who smokes tobacco or overeats or has anorexia needs to 'hit bottom'. It's an idiotic statement.

Posted by: winner on May 1, 2011 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

"We've gotta, you know, nobody wants to starve anybody. Everybody wants to help folks out."

Wow! Hey, that's really nice. I never expected a Republican might have the compas..




Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 1, 2011 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is a good opportunity for the legislators who are advocating for drug testing to set an example. After all, many federal legislators have been revealed to have been abusing drugs of one kind or another while living off of a very generous government (read: We The People). It seems like you owe it to your colleagues, your countrymen and your God to take care of them. Propose mandatory drug testing for all members of congress and their staff.

In my opinion, they would be laughed out of the room.

Posted by: smike on May 1, 2011 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

GOPers don't like the unemployed, nor (as Wisconsin showed us) do they like the employed. It's the class--the class that has to work for its living--that they don't like. It doesn't matter whether you have a job or not, if you're the kind of person who NEEDS a job, they don't like you.

People who must work for their living are there to be exploited by the rentier class, whose aggrandizement is the GOP's one and only goal.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on May 1, 2011 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

The unemployed make the GOP look bad. The Unemployed make the the GOP nervous, because the unemployed prove the GOP's policies to be intellectually and actually bankrupt.

Posted by: LL on May 1, 2011 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

What have the unemployed done to offend the goopers? That´s easy. They show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gooper program is an exercise in complete futility. It must really rankle the goopers to be constantly faced with absolute proof that they screwed up big time, so the only way they can assuage their guilt is by blaming the victim. This is standard operating procedure for any bully.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on May 1, 2011 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, first I posted, then I read all the posts. What a collection of interesting, original thoughts. Kudos to all.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on May 2, 2011 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK


Consider also that the American economy is 70% consumption, and the workers are the consumers. The rentier class (who I call the wealthy oligarchs and large business top executives) depend on the workers acting as consumers for their business. How do they treat them?

In recent years they have primarily sold overpriced financial products, often to those who can afford them least. Credit cards are designed to make more money from unanticipated fees than from interest - interest charged at usurious rates. Those get the middle class. The lower class workers get hit with check-cashing fees (37% of all workers have no bank account, usually because banks won't give them one - one bounced check and you can't open a new account and they trade the information) and the interest rates and fees on used car loans (required in an economy with little or no public transportation) is staggering.

I shouldn't get started on pay day loans and on the lotteries. We've only just eliminated overpriced student loans through banks in which all the risk is paid for by the government, and yet the fees and interest were set at sub-prime levels. Naturally the banks did not want these loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, so they aren't now.

These and other financial products are simply exploitation of the consumers/working class.

Why are the Gopers offended by the workers? I doubt seriously that the exploiters could treat people they respected this badly, so they of necessity treat them with no respect at all. Republicans are the party of exploitation and they have the ideology required to justify the money they rake in.

It's similar to the way the Southern plantation owners had to treat black slaves with disrespect to include not even considering them human in order to treat them so badly. That's where I think American racism came from. The bad treatment was very,very profitable (most wealthy men in America before the Civil War were in the South and their wealth was primarily based on international trade in cotton), but the ideology had to be designed to justify and encourage the exploitation of humans.

Posted by: Rick B on May 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP are a bunch of Regressive plutocrats who yearn for return to the serfdom system. We should call them what they are REGRESSIVES!

Posted by: wayne james on May 2, 2011 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK
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