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Serve Banksters Or Serve The Poor? Congress Reinterprets Jesus

Memo Pad Politics

Serve Banksters Or Serve The Poor? Congress Reinterprets Jesus


Thank God for Congress, right? When things get out of balance in America, we can always count on our legislative stalwarts to recalibrate the scales of justice.

Take greed, for example. The barons of Wall Street, whose raw greed and casino scams wrecked our real economy five years ago, are back to shoving great gobs of bonus pay into their pockets. Meanwhile, the middle class remains decimated, and millions of workaday Americans who were knocked all the way down into poverty are still stuck there. In this nation of fabulous wealth, our poverty numbers are shocking and scandalous: 50 million people are officially poor; another 51 million are “near poor.” A third of our country!

You’ll be pleased to know, then, that only last week, U.S. House members turned their legislative guns on the greed that’s sapping the moral vitality of our society. Unfortunately, their aim was a bit off. Instead of popping the privileged, they hit the most unprivileged: families who need food stamps to make ends meet.

The food stamp program is out of control, they shrieked, noting that it’s been expanding even as the unemployment rate has been coming down. Yoo-hoo, knuckleheads, the jobless rate has ticked down largely because job-seekers have become so discouraged by the absence of opportunities that they’ve quit looking. Plus, getting a job no longer gets you out of poverty — just ask the barista who’s making your next latte about the joys of working for poverty pay. Food stamp rolls have reached record numbers, because — guess what? — there are record numbers of Americans in poverty!

Yet, the House called for cutting some $2 billion a year (and 2 million Americans) out of the program. On June 20, however, the members balked — not because the cut was too severe, but because it was not enough for Tea Party Republicans, who have been demanding a total food stamp gut job, proposing to slash the program by $25 billion a year.

Also, the GOP majority lost the votes of nearly all Democrats by adding a couple of fiendish amendments to punish poor people for the crime of being poor. One was to put additional work requirements on families seeking the food benefit. “We cannot continue to deny able-bodied people the dignity of work,” blathered a worked-up know-nothing named Steve Southerland of Florida. Then, Rep. Michele Bachmann had a tempest in her teapot of a brain, offering her support of Southerland’s amendment in a sort of Biblical falsetto: “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. Sand_Cat June 26, 2013

    Although I agree many in the GOP exemplify hypocrisy when claiming to be Christians while pursuing a philosophy that Darwin condemned as immoral, I’m not sure the crazy lady’s reference opens the door in this case to a religious condemnation. I do recall that several other Republicans attempted to bring up the Biblical verses, but you didn’t mention them here. That leaves this looking like a cheap hit piece on the Republicans. They certainly deserve criticism, but if you’re going to make it religious criticism, you need to build a much stronger case.

    1. jarheadgene June 28, 2013

      Well Bachmann always thumps out HER bible so the author isn’t making a far stretch. Let’s not forget “GOD told” Bachmann to run for president, she said.
      Apparently GOD did not tell her she would lose and lose badly. What she may be unaware of is, IF ,,,and it is a BIG IF…HE did say to run maybe it was to help make the G.O.P. look like the loons they are, to help keep Obama in.

  2. 4sanity4all June 26, 2013

    I hope that every single person in this country who has been impacted financially by this horrible House and the evil cabal of Republican bullies will VOTE to replace them with people who are not morally reprehensible. We must elect people who have common sense and a heart. The Republicans in Congress are a smug bunch of self-satisfied bible thumpers who quote the Bible, but clearly do not understand it or actually follow its teachings.

    1. bckrd1 June 27, 2013

      Absolutely right. With time and with the glaringly callous laws being passed by Republican controlled houses that are and will affect their right leaning constituents in ways they never imagined, I would think and hope, they will realize that elections have consequences. 2014 and 2016 should be very interesting. But with the Voting Rights act now having been gutted, we had better be ready to get the pitch forks and torches out because the Republicans will be disenfranchising voters left and right. Literally.

      1. TheSkalawag929 June 28, 2013

        We don’t need to get out pitchforks and torches. We need to get democrats to the poles in record numbers in off year elections.
        Off year elections and state and local elections are where republicans get their control.
        Democrats need to wake up and smell the coffee. The things that are happening that are taking away women’s rights, voter’s rights and impoverishing from the middle-class are happening in state legislatures. If you don’t believe me look at states like Texas, North Carolina and Ohio just to name a few.
        There is not a day that goes by that we don’t shake our heads and wonder how do republicans get away with the stupid s–t they get away with. The answer is Democrats let them by not getting out to vote.
        If you’re not happy with voter disenfranchisement or the defunding of Planned Parenthood or the myriad of asinine things republicans are doing get your butt off the couch and to the polls and make sure your friends and like minded people get there too.
        As Democrats we have about six and a half years to wrest back control of state legislatures so that once the census is take we can right the redistricting wrongs that the republicans have done.

    2. midway54 June 27, 2013

      I hope, too, that voters will come out in droves.

      Unfortunately, the historical exploitation of religion and patriotism in politics continues to this day, and is rampant among the rightwingers who obediently serve the current Gilded Age II plutocracy and its agenda. Dissenters are seen as atheists, communists, socialists, and worse as traitors who seek to destroy what those servants define as the American Way (small gummint good, big gummint and its interference in our economy and personal lives bad; huge-budget military used globally good, smaller military with a reasonable budget that does not greatly exceed the same costs of the next dozen countries combined for defense, bad; tax increases on the middle classes to raise needed revenue, good; tax increases on the rich and ultra-rich bad because they are our [overseas] job creators). All told, the propaganda is that we are a Christian nation doing what Jesus would do in the unending, costly fight against evil doers both domestic and foreign.This is the kind of heavily-financed propaganda that voters seeking decent, rational candidates for office must face to replace the motley crowd currently in place who unfortunately are regularly returned to office thanks to their donors’ substantial financial support.

      1. TheSkalawag929 June 28, 2013

        It’s not money that makes the republicans seem invincible. It’s Democrat complacency that gives them their strength.
        Do you remember the commercial: If you tell two people and they tell two people and so on and so on. It’s as simple as that. If you take two people to the polls to vote democratic and they take two people and so on we can restore common sense to our government.

        1. midway54 June 28, 2013

          You are right, but too many voters’ inertia has a lot to do with it, as well.

          1. TheSkalawag929 June 28, 2013

            We’ll just have to work to overcome inertia.

  3. FredAppell June 26, 2013

    This is your typical Ayn Rand cultists pretending to be Christian. They celebrate greed and believe that being self serving is a virtue. They attempt to redefine who the poor are and how the poor got that way. Ironically, some of the very criticisms they use when describing the poor is that it is the poor who are greedy and self serving. Whatever helps you sleep at night I suppose.

  4. robertblair3174 June 27, 2013

    Poor people may not contribute much to campaign coffers, but we DO vote, and there are more poor people than rich ones.

    America, as a society needs to demand a minimum basic standard of living for ALL of it’s people.

    In my area a cheap studio apartment goes for around $400/mo. Put $200-$250/mo in food stamps with that. Add a small ($100/mo) cash stipend, and subsidize the utility payments ($150-$200/mo) and for less than $12k a year, you’ve taken a homeless person off the street, or given a young person a place to start. Single mother? $600 is a 2BR apartment. add another $50 per child (Max it out at maybe $400) and say a max of $200 in cash. You’re STILL under $15k for the whole family. Want to tie that in with training, or work requirements for the “Able Bodied”? Fine. Aptitude testing, “Career Counseling”, and job search help can all be available. Classes at the local adult ed, and community college too, if test scores point that way, apprenticeship programs (in partnership with area businesses) if they don’t. Don’t want training/education? OK lots of “Community Service” stuff to do these days too, everything from clean-up in the local parks, to road repair. (Maybe use THOSE programs as the gateway to real jobs either directly for the county/state, or construction contractors)
    I realize (especially in todays political climate) that it wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance of passage, but if I’ve got to pay taxes anyway, I might as well let ’em know what I’d like to get for my money

    1. TheSkalawag929 June 28, 2013

      They (republicans) already know what you want. They don’t care and they’re giving you the one finger salute on top of it.
      How badly do you want the things that you have listed? Do you want them badly enough to get yourself and all your friends that feel the same way to the polls? If you do then your goal is within reach.

    2. Lovefacts June 28, 2013

      I agree. Each time we add a person to the workforce, even if we continue to provide stipends, we increase the tax rolls and the likelihood the children will finish their education and get jobs.

      Just as you build house starting from the foundation up to the roof, so to do you build a stolid and secure nation from the bottom up. Historically, every time there’s been a major imbalance between the rich and the rest a nation, the country has degenerated into civil war.

      In truth, the two major causes behind civil wars are religious differences and intolerance and extreme economic imbalances–with the majority seeing no what to improve their lives.

    3. bckrd1 July 2, 2013

      The Citigroup Plutocracy memo says that the only way for the 99% to beat the 1% is at the voting booth. That is the only real power we have to fight back. Use it wisely.

  5. Elisabeth Gordon June 27, 2013

    As bad as the likes of Bachmann and her ilk are….can you imagine where we’d be had Romney been elected?

    1. midway54 June 27, 2013

      Yes, bad to contemplate. However, just think about a victorious McCain in the White House with Shrieking Sarah waiting in the wings should he suffer a serious disability or death while in office. Look at the continuing lunacy she displays in her comments that are too often widely reported in the media. Now, to the delight of the dimwits and yahoos, she is back at Fox “News” which is a very appropriate venue for her.

      1. Elisabeth Gordon June 27, 2013

        Her comments being “too often widely reported in the media” is just more votes against the “Threatening Everything American” party, as, thankfully there are more sane Americans than insane….

  6. Mark Forsyth June 28, 2013

    The Bible- A manmade,handwritten document that has been deleted,added to,twisted,mangled and erroneously interpreted since its first printing.And always by those who think they know more about it than you do.If hungry,poor,impoverished Americans did what republican/t poopers want them to do,then they would all be dead.

  7. morgan520 June 28, 2013

    “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” in bauchman;s own words – she needs to quit eating cause she sure as shinola is not working!!!! These people should be ashamed of themselves using the Bible in ways not intended: for their own profit not to help their fellow Americans! But we must remember Karma is a BITCH and will come back to bite them all in the butt!!!

    1. Allan Richardson June 28, 2013

      And Paul was referring to able bodied people (mostly men) who, in his time, were REFUSING to get a job when plenty were available, because they were sitting around “waiting for the Second Coming.” In other epistles he DOES recommend, and indeed COMMANDS, collecting provisions for widows and orphaned children. And in Peter’s congregation, the first two people to commit the Christian equivalent of “tax evasion” were struck dead by the Lord!

  8. Brent June 28, 2013

    It all boils down to WWJD?!

    1. Allan Richardson June 28, 2013

      I think Comrade Jesus would show them more mercy than they seem to deserve.

      1. stcroixcarp June 29, 2013

        And that showing them more mercy than they deserve (include me in here too) is what grace is all about! The grace of God is the message of Comrade Jesus to all of us. Peace.

  9. howa4x June 28, 2013

    The republican party has always wrapped itself around the flag and Jesus. think of Nixon and the Moral majority when he appealed to the formerly racist southern democrats who left the party over the voting rights act. The re interpretation of Jesus is not new and was with us since the beginning when in writing the constitution they left slavery out even though they said it was under god. The robber barons of the late 19th century were worshiped by religion even though they ran near sweat shop conditions and used child labor ( stopped by Teddy Roosevelt) America has always found a way to think of religion as wealth and the richer you were the more godly you were. This is why the republican house can vote against child welfare and not be bothered by it and will lavish benefits on the rich before the poor. Today we have a new mantra with Republicans embracing Ayn Rand and her selfish and greedy philosophy. Now there is a justification for supporting the greedy and labeling the poorest of them all as takers. Republicans are earners and makers and democrats are winning about the takers. Forget Jesus, there is money to be made supporting the Koch bos. not the children down at the bottom..

  10. rkief June 28, 2013

    The best example that I’ve ever seen of mass projection, where others are blamed to mask a group’s own faults, by projecting them on others.


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