Rep. Mia Love (Gage Skidmore)It’s a well-known fact Republicans makes stupid, uninformed statements. Sites such as Media Matters and Right Wing Watch spend a great deal of time debunking Republican lies. And because Republicans often put their feet in their mouths, these sites stay busy. However, in the sea of Republican nonsense, a statement made by Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah,) at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in February, stood out. Love, a black Republican and Mormon, said “We are the ones that care about the poor.”
That statement is so staggeringly inaccurate, it made me do a double take. On closer analysis, it makes no sense and this is pretty evident to working Americans. In the past, Republicans portrayed themselves as pro business, pro-small government and generally held moderate social views. Those Rockefeller Republicans, or “Country Club Republicans” as I call them, held patrician views, where they believed that it was the job of the upper class to do something for the less fortunate. But, those Rockefeller Republicans have been shoved aside in recent years for far-right Republicans, who tend to take a far more mean-spirited view of poor people. As political comedian Bill Maher said on “Real Time,” the Democrats have moved to the right and the Republicans have moved to the insane asylum.
Apart from supporting trickle-down economic policies, which favor putting more money in the hands of the rich, the GOP also has a certain contempt for low-income families and this is fairly evident in their policies. After all, it’s the Republican party, which has refused to support raising the minimum wage, even though inflation has long outpaced salaries. In many parts of the country, working 40 hours per week at a minimum-wage job is simply not enough to pay for an apartment, car, gas, insurance and food. Many working class people hold down two jobs, clocking in about 60 hours a week, just to get by. Additionally, many of the working poor are on government support programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid, because they don’t make enough to pay for food and health care. And what’s the GOP’s response to people in this dilemma? To slash those very programs people are using to get buy.
Republican contempt for working people was one of the problems that dogged Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney, a multimillionaire born into a life of privilege, was always seen as out of touch with working Americans. A secret recording revealed him saying 47 percent of the country were slackers, who didn’t pay taxes. When confronted on how to tackle the rising cost of college, Romney said students should borrow the money from their parents.
You see, in Republican eyes most college students have their tuition fees paid by their parents. Now, even if an above average American family makes about $80,000 per year, all of their money is so tied up in paying a mortgage, two car payments, food, gas, healthcare, daycare and other household bills, they don’t have any loose change lying around to help junior pay for college. A lot of families either take out second mortgages or tell their children they are on their own.
Republicans also seem to have no idea it’s darn near impossible to work your way through college on a minimum-wage job. With tuition at state schools being close to $10,000 per year, a student making minimum wage is barely going to make a dent in his school fees, even if he lived rent free and never spent a penny on gas, food or entertainment.
But it’s not just being out of touch that dogs Republicans, many of them have outright disdain for poor people. In their eyes, if you are not financially successful, it’s because you're lazy and simply didn’t work hard enough. Former labor secretary Robert Reich has also noticed this. He wrote, “Many (Republicans) believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that ‘I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.’”
That’s the reason why they are all in favor of slashing social programs, even though they make up a minuscule part of the budget. Republicans believe giving poor people things like food stamps, encourages them to sit around and not look for work. Cutting them off would force them to find employment. However, even if they did find employment, it probably wouldn’t be enough to cover the basic needs, and they would still need government support anyway.
Apart from thinking poor people are lower life forms, some Republicans also believe low-income people shouldn’t have the right to vote either. According to MSNBC, tea party Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) said only property owners should be able to vote. So to all those workers who are not saddled with upside down mortgages and young soldiers dying for their country, no vote for you. Yoho also said he didn’t think voting was a right, but a privilege. The GOP does not support paying workers a living wage, doesn’t plan to do anything to assist college students struggling to pay off crushing debt, and doesn’t think poor people should even have the right to have a say in their government. Yet, Love had the gall to say, they care about poor people? If this wasn’t so tragically ignorant, it would be laughable. But this isn’t surprising coming from Love, a woman who converted to a religion that believed she was cursed by God until 1978. Evidently, her critical thinking skills are lacking.
Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.facebook.com/uroast.