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Monday, October 24, 2016

Last week, Republicans marked the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty by denouncing it as an abject failure. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), performed a mathematical sleight of hand in declaring that “more people are living in poverty than ever before.”

The National Review, the intellectual standard bearer of movement conservatism, published an editorial relying on the same deceptive math. (Yes, more people are living in poverty, but the percentage is lower. The population has grown in the last half-century.) House Speaker John Boehner rushed to agree with those analyses.

But the more interesting assaults came from a handful of young Turks, including Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who understand that the GOP needs to change its image to reflect more charity and compassion toward the less fortunate. They presented familiar criticisms of government intervention on behalf of the poor while also promising they would introduce better solutions.

If only they were sincere. As the United States — like the rest of the industrialized world — grapples with structural economic changes that are hollowing out the middle class, its leaders desperately need to come up with new ideas to help struggling Americans maintain a decent standard of living. Unfortunately, Republicans have next to nothing to offer.

Take Rubio’s speech. His proposals were warmed-over Republican rhetoric from the last three decades, including the oft-repeated complaint that poor people are impoverished because they refuse to get married. He might as well have been Dan Quayle in 1992, railing against the fictional out-of-wedlock mother Murphy Brown.

“The truth is, the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage,” he said.

This argument makes me crazy. I’m a huge fan of the institution because of the many benefits a good marriage bestows: intimacy, companionship, stability. But it does not solve poverty. Suggesting it does is a logical fallacy — confusing cause and correlation.

  • Independent1

    The sad truth is that Republicans have no workable plans for reducing poverty — just a plan to fool the political classes into thinking they care. America’s poor deserve more than that.

    It’s not just poverty that the GOP doesn’t have a solution for, the GOP doesn’t know the first thing about anything related to running a government. If it did, the Red States in America would be the disasters that they are:

    With Red States having by far the highest incidences of violence in the nation with the top 5 violent states in the nation governed by Republicans.

    With Red States leading the nation in auto accidents with all 25 of the states with the highest auto accident fatality rates being governed by Republicans.

    With 17 of the 20 states that lead the nation in firearms related mortality rates also being governed by Republicans.

    With Red States leading the nation with the highest infant mortality rates – most likely because they’ve thrown so many less fortunates off of Medicaid coverage like here in Maine where our idiot governor threw 70,000 off of Medicaid after just lowering the maximum tax rate to benefit his rich buddies.

    With Red States leading the nation with people living in poverty, with 20 of the 23 states that have 15% or more of their citizens living below the poverty level being governed by Republicans.

    With Red States like Texas that has low taxes and lures new businesses with promises of low taxation while being the cesspool of America in that it ranks in the bottom 5% of the worst states in more than 90% of 23 measures socio-economic measures.

    And it’s Red States that lead the nation is sucking welfare dollars including food stamps from Washington because so many of their residents are living below the poverty level and need assisance.

    And it’s on and on with red states dragging down the whole nation because many of they are quasi 3rd worl nations within themselves.

    • annemb

      You hit the nail exactly on the head. One reason is that Republicans are shallow, have no depth except what they take from others for themselves to stuff into their pockets / bank accounts. They are not concerned with any legislation to benefit those who they represent – except their own interests.

      Great post! Truth and common sense!

    • paulyz

      Well let’s see. We have spent BILLIONS on poverty over the decades while poverty has gotten worse. The terrible economy the last 6 years have caused much of this poverty. Americans need a healthy economy thus jobs, NOT dependency.

  • edwardw69


  • Bike Jedi

    Maybe Americans want Jobs more then welfare . When you subsidize something you get more of it . Under Obama we have seen a 28% increase in the disability rolls and a 48% increase in Food Stamps . To keep subsidizing stuff just means we will increase the rolls of those dependent on Tax Payer hand outs .

    • paulyz

      You are exactly correct, see my post above.

  • 1olderbutwiser1

    Taxes and IRS, who is truly the OGRE IN THE OINTMENT are at impossible levels. Gov expenditures are impossible to maintain. The American public, instead of getting off their lazy duffs and voting, is zombie-ized by three major networks, who are taking their brains to the cleaners.
    Only action by voters in November can save this republic. Nothing else Armed revolution? Forget it, the army has weapons of incredible firepower. Hide in bunkers? Ground-penetrating radar will find you, and drown and suffocate you. Wise up. VOTE THE RASCALS OUT.

  • Michael Ross

    The real problem is that Republicans only care about the poor during election years, and even then, their concern isn’t helping them; it’s duping them into voting for them.

    Rubio etc. know damn well that cutting taxes and slashing programs won’t help the economy or the working classes. They just don’t care and only want what’s beneficial to themselves.

  • mandinka

    True the ONLY thing that Republicans have to offer the poor is their $$. Its certainly not something the Dem base is capable of. Lets be honest here Cynthia 47% of people don’t pay taxes and that is the Dem base…the free loader class.
    Just look at Europe an on going basket case when it comes to a growing economy Except for 1 country Germany. Germany was the only country 2 years ago to cut the duration and size of their UE benefits and what happened?? Why all of a sudden people found jobs and went back to work
    WE have 11 million illegals working full time yet those jobs are beneath our “poor dems”
    This country has spent our childrens’ inheritance forcing them to saddle a debt load of $150,000 per person. Our debt load is OVER 100% and only 1 of 5 other countries to have it. Japan, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Who would ever have thought that this country would be grouped with other debtor countries like those

  • bicfj

    Republican morality dictates that private charity from the wealthy should care for the poor. But—-
    Republican private charity gives mostly to organizations that benefit their own needs, wealthy churches, libraries, associations and museums in their own neighborhoods, etc. Very little Republican private charity goes to the real poor.
    That Republican private charity has to be redirected through the government to the real poverty stricken, and those funds have to come proportionally from those who can afford to pay for that real charity. Some super wealthy could almost single handedly pay for the entire national debt.
    The form of that charity should be anything that gives the poor direct aid, not profit based aid through a third party, opportunities to work their way out of poverty.

  • daniel bostdorf

    GOP/Teaprty/kochbrothers/Rove controll agenda has been exposed. They certainly have nothing to offer.

    Tucker is dead on:
    “The sad truth is that Republicans have no workable plans for reducing poverty — just a plan to fool the political classes into thinking they care. America’s poor deserve more than that.”

    $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
    $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

    Federal poverty guidelines here:

    In fact, I believe the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

    This idea is not new. Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

    Outlined here:

    “Rev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when prRev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when properly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.operly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.”

    A guaranteed annual out of poverty level annual income would eliminate all antiquated social programs and nearly all entitlements. It would make this country the leader in eliminating poverty once and for all. In addition, We need livable affordable housing, and a justice system free from big money.

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

    addenda: The article link contains a dollar figure in 1967 as needing 20 billion to do this. In 1967 1 million dollars is now $6,978,113.77.
    7 times factoring inflation:…
    A 1000 million is a billion.

    Therefore—we would need only 140 billion. Easily obtainable by transfering that out of existing trillion dollar social programs. Close multinational tax loopholes… AND tax the Koch brothers!

    The poor are not poor. They pay taxes. have housing and the middle class is resurgent again.

  • Bill

    The GOP policy for the poor, take away food stamps, take away the minimum wage, take away unemployment, take away Social Security, take away health insurance, and every program that helps the poor. Now give that money they saved to the rich along with another 50%, deficits don’t matter when it comes to the rich. Now the poor can work for less and starve or they can just starve, either way the number of poor will decrease.

    • Independent1

      Like with healthcare where the GOP answer for Obamacare is: “If you’re going to get sick, die quickly!”
      The GOP’s answer to the poor is, “If you’re so poor that you can’t pony up money that we can suck up one way or another, don’t hang around too long; either die or leave the country”.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Republicans Have Nothing Of Substance To Offer The Poor

    Lets commend Joe Conason and the web gurus here for the new design and fixing glitches so quickly.

    This has allowed for a healthy free exchange of ideas about GOP immoral failure to offer those in poverty ANY helping hand…

    Not a handout….A HAND UP AND OUT OF POVERTY!

    • plc97477

      I would also like to add my thanks to MN for making the site better.

  • plc97477

    The truth of the matter is that republicans do not want to fix poverty because it keeps the rabble happy with whatever wages they want to pay.

  • rhallnj

    They offer tax cuts to people who are too poor to pay taxes.

  • Ann-Marie Poli

    GOP has redefined marriage and family. It’s now, “let’s all huddle together while we die a low death.”

  • charles king

    I am all about (Critical Thinking), and I think our Congress, Senate, and the White House should STOP playing with theirselves and do some critical thinking and start making some decisions that will put us on the right track to unity and putting the people back to work. Republicans, are still angry at Obama , and they have refuse to legislate, and that stupid because Obama is on his last lap and it is all over for him and He did a good JOB so Republicans do something to Help the People get back into the Ball Game, make the People proud of you instead of hating you all. Thank You All the magic words words in my book. C. E. KING Check Out Webster’s Dict. Plutocracy Is a risk to the people’s Democracy so make sure People that you remember What? party is for You the people and The Party Not for you the People.

    • daniel bostdorf

      They offer no substance because the group mindset won;’t allow it:

      Oligarchy: a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people: the people that control a country, business, etc.: government or control by a small group of people (the essential element of fascism)

      Plutocracy: government by the richest people : a country that is ruled by the richest people: a group of very rich people who have a lot of power (another central element of Fascism)

  • charleo1

    From my perspective Republicans have taken their traditional biases, and
    philosophical aversions to using government in any way to mitigate the plight, of the poor. And tripled them. The fact their lurch to the severe Right coincided with the worst economic crisis in more than 80 years, says a lot more about the type of people that become Republicans in the first place. Than it does about the success, or lack thereof, to alleviate the conditions that are often found to be the root causes of much the endemic poverty found among inner city, Blacks, and Latinos. The numbers, used fairly, show progress. Although, not as much as many of us had hoped. And, to be brutally honest about it, this is not the constituency of the Republican Party. The causation of the poverty in these areas is complicated, multi-faceted in nature, and requires the investment of tax dollars. And, even as the Good Book foretells of the lamb lying down with the lions. It doesn’t predict the sun ever rising on the day the GOP, decides to join their Democratic counterparts, and lift up our less fortunate brothers, and sisters to at last share in that great American Dream that has eluded them for so long. No, we must recognize we are not all of one mindset, about poverty. And this would unfortunately have immediate, and devastating political consequences for the Republican Party. So in the end, this is our calling. It will be by our efforts alone this noble cause is carried forward. That the poor should, in the richest Country in the World, finally have food security. And opportunities to prepare themselves academically, and mentally for a full and happy life. And perhaps as important as anything, belief in themselves, that they can achieve the lives they are dreaming about. And when that young boy, or girl reaches out, in their efforts to climb out of that slum in D.C. or St Louis, or Chicago’s South Side, wherever, it’s up to us here, to make sure that hand up, is always there.

  • radsenior

    But the more interesting assaults came from a handful of young Turks, including Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who understand that the GOP needs to change its image to reflect more charity and compassion toward the less fortunate. They presented familiar criticisms of government intervention on behalf of the poor while also promising they would introduce better solutions. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Sunday lashed out at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for thinking he could “multiply the bread and fishes” like Jesus Christ by limiting the amount of federal funds available to help hungry children. The immediate crisis facing the nations economy is the jobs deficit. The jobs gap is 12.3 million. 125,000 people enter the jobs market each month. At the current pace of recovery the gap will not close until 2020. Congress, and only Congress, has the power to enact jobs producing legislation. The TEA party proclaimed this in 2010. To date no real jobs producing bill or legislation has been enacted.
    “Are you kidding me?”
    Paul Ryan negotiating what to ask for to get debt ceiling raised in 2014!
    “Are you kidding me?”

  • irishtap

    The GOP continues to pound out the same tired rhetoric day after day, year after year. Taxes and regulation poison the “free market” and hinder the “job creators”. This of course is a requirement to GOP employment. Behave – do as your told and don’t go off message and we’ll get you re-elected. As the article states: Bush put all this into play with only long term deleterious consequences to show for it. But to those of us who say Bush was incompetent I say – ‘not so fast’.
    No one with a brain stem could be so utterly terrible at managing a representative government – unless the end game was destruction. From fabrication of war (after he ignored four warnings of impending attack resulting in nearly 3000 American deaths), without funding his nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue. Let’s not forget the convenient ‘no bid contracts’ to Cheney’s cohorts in viscious federal perversion. This alone spotlighting GOP contempt for real fiscal acumen, to his economic team attempting to skew “W’s” employment figures, by trying to pass off a job making a ‘Big Mac’ to bump up manufacturing numbers. While sending his countrymen to fight a fake war he determines it makes for sound economic policy to give wealthy people a tax break – they didn’t ask for. Bush gave us an absurdly expensive Medicare drug program. Again, we might assume, would include a common sense provision to allow the federal government the right to negotiate prices. But no, this was not to be. Certainly this lacked the sensible judgment one might expect from someone holding an MBA – unless the plan was to derail economic stability all along. Which he and the raging right certainly succeeded in doing, by the time the current occupant moved in. He and Cheney during those secret meetings, turned EPA into a cesspool of flagrant corruption, resulting in ‘fracked up’ water wells and aquifirs.
    In my mind, none of this ruination came from happenstance. Every bit of it was intended to bring calamity to the United States. Or I should say: calamity only to the responsible working class and poor of this country. Our Godless greed servants have all the social conscience of the sociopath. The ugly aspects of the USA, spawned in their fetid ‘think tanks’.