Poverty is a huge issue in this country that has been largely neglected this entire election. A few Democratic candidates have managed to slip it into a question or two at the debates, but that’s really about it, other than this weekend’s Republican forum in South Carolina about poverty. If you thought this forum was going to do anything at all to solve this issue though, you were sorely mistaken.
First off, the GOP comes at the problem from the perspective that poor people are defective and suffer from a character flaw of sheer laziness. Government handouts are keeping these people from getting off their butts and going to work, and just reinforcing this tendency to be lazy. So, their only real solution is to make the lives of these people as miserable as absolutely possible to force them to go find a job and make something of themselves.
That is why Bush the younger has put forward basically the exact same plan that Congress tried to shove down America’s throat this year. Turn all social and safety net programs into block grants to the states that have NO FEDERAL STRINGS ATTACHED. That last bit is more important than a lot of people realize.
You see, the GOP wants all power of the federal government handed to the states and all the tax money given to state governors to do with as they please. Their lie is that states have a better idea of how to spend it for the people. Actually, there is far less accountability in the states, and with no strings attached to these block grants, if a governor decides that they really don’t want to help the poor but make them rely on local charities, they may use that money for other programs like paying off loans. Without federal restrictions on that grants use, the states are free to use it how they wish in the long run.
Republican governors who have put their states into massive debt by cutting taxes will be saved by having this influx of cash, and will have no real reason to help the poor anyway, because they want to keep these people in poverty. They need a scapegoat, and they want that destitute class of people to work for whatever wage the oligarchs will pay them. After all, that’s why they are working so hard to get these “right to work” laws passed and then call for the repeal of the minimum wage.
If you have pushed so many people into the gutter by removing food stamps, housing, healthcare, and everything else they need to survive, you have created the modern day equivalent of serfdom in America. By working a little harder to destroy the unions and eliminate the minimum wage, you push more people into this group who will never ever be able to move out of their situation.
At this point, we will look a lot like a feudal nation in modern times, controlled by oligarchs who think of themselves as barons with large estates who control vast tracts of land and numerous peasants. However, I think these would be overlords have forgotten what happened to other nations and rulers who tried to enforce this type of structure on people who didn’t want it. They could read a little history and ask Louis the XVI.