Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Fox News View of Poverty

Here is the clearest expression of the conservative view concerning why we have poverty in America:

In all fairness, this is not crazy talk. This a clearly expressed viewpoint that, as Stuart Varney says, "It's a culture of poverty, a culture of dependency." Conservatives label the poor as people content to stay in their "gilded cage" of welfare payments because they don't need to work. This viewpoint is not based on either the studies of poverty, welfare recipients, or the reality that welfare barely keeps food on the table or a roof over the heads of the poor. Clearly neither of them know what poverty is like -- or they don't want to admit that they know because it would undermine their thesis.

But, at least, it appears to be an expression of sincerely held beliefs. O'Reilly seems in agreement with Varney. None of it is based on the reality of life amid growing income inequality and shrinking opportunity in America. Varney also maintains that the poor have to literally be pushed out of welfare -- by sufficiently lowering the amount of welfare payments -- or the poor won't even attempt to acquire the skills they need. His thesis is that we can help the poor by giving them less help.

Regardless, both of these prominent Fox commentators come across as very mean-spirited and elitist, as do many headline conservatives like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and the rest. Moreover, it's unlikely that a Republican with a dissimilar view will be tolerated in the 2016 lottery. A touch of bleeding heart, and you out of the running.

This video shows the inner heart of the conservative view. No? O'Reilly and Varney are talking about America. But what about the human condition? Does America have its own unique way of failing, or is it universal?

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.Source
Read more about poverty here, then ask yourself whether the poor universally are responsible for their situation, or are the American poor uniquely lazy, shiftless, and uninterested in a better life?

Then, one would hope, you'd begin to realize that the conservative view is heartless and unnecessary. We can all do well and help the poor out of poverty. We should do it because it's moral, and it's good business (the poor spend every cent you give them almost immediately. Stimulus anyone?). What would happen to U.S. GDP if we provided a guaranteed income? What happened when they tried it in Manitoba?

Would Stuart Varney and Bill O'Reilly suffer brain hemorrhages if we tried it? I wouldn't be surprised.

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