Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Punishing People For Being Poor

Libertarian blogger Willis Hart advocates punishing people for being poor (using code language) in one of his latest postings.

Willis Hart: On Making Poverty Comfortable... It is the surest way known to man to guarantee its continuance. (5/9/2015 AT 5:02pm).

Is anyone else as disgusted by this as me? Making poverty "comfortable"? Seriously? Surely this nutjob does not believe that our current weak social safety net does this? Scratch that. Being a Libertarian, I'm positive he does. Because Libertarians hate poor people. Although they mostly hate Progressive Democratic policies that prohibit exploiting the poor.

Progressives (note: NOT Blue dog nor "centrist" Democrats) oppose eliminating the minimum wage (they actually want to raise it), oppose prison slave labor, and oppose free trade (outsourcing slavery). (Note2: Some Progressive ideas are shared by the Democratic Party at large. President Obama being in favor of raising the minimum wage; but Progressives are the originators and biggest champions of these ideas).

This is why Willis frequently rails against and demonizes Progressives. Because they stand for everything he hates. Which is the notion that in the richest nation in the world there is no reason for anyone to live in extreme poverty.

We could pay could workers fairly by raising the minimum wage. We could bring back our jobs back by raising tariffs and eliminating tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. We could make it easier for employers to join unions. We could produce a highly trained workforce by making higher education free. We could make the government the employer of last resort. We could decouple health insurance from employment with a national health insurance program (single payer).

But doing these things would make it harder for wealthy business owners to exploit the poor here in the U.S. (and around the world) to further enrich themselves. Because these actions would make poor people "comfortable". What these Libertarians would have us do would be to make life as miserable as possible for "the poors".

Because when poor people are focused on scrambling to make enough to feed themselves and stay alive; that's when they'll accept any pittance offered for their labor. And it's also when they have no political power (because all their energies are devoted to working night and day to earn enough for food and shelter).

FYI, we are nowhere near "making poverty comfortable" in the United States. The United States is among the world's wealthiest countries, but it has one of the highest poverty rates among developed nations.

U.S. poverty rates higher, safety net weaker than in peer countries: Poverty rates in the United States increased over the 2000s, a trend exacerbated by the Great Recession and its aftermath. By 2010, just over 46 million people fell below the U.S. Census Bureau's official poverty line... [Putting] the U.S. experience with poverty in an international context [by] comparing the lower end of the wage and income distribution in the United States with that of "peer" countries (countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development with roughly similar GDP per hour worked as the United States) [shows that] the ratio of earnings (wages) at the 10th percentile of the earnings distribution to earnings of the median worker [if proof of] more inequality [in the United States than in other OECD countries]. (Excerpted from an Economic Policy Institute article by Elise Gould and Hilary Wething. 7/24/2012).

That our lowest hourly wage workers make less in relationship to our median wage workers than do workers in other countries is proof that - in the United States - we are in absolutely no danger what-so-ever of "making poverty comfortable". This is nothing but Libertarian propaganda they use when arguing that our social safety net is too strong.

Classist BS, in other words. The actual surest way known to man to guarantee the continuance of poverty would be to punish people for being poor by adopting Libertarian Social Darwinism as economic policy.

OST #41

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