A lot of people might think that down-home simple folks, such as the kind always pictured enduring the Great Depression — hey buddy can you spare me a dime?– have to be leftist or liberal or at least Democrat in their outlook, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the traitor to his rich brethren) being the Great Savior.
But maybe this is not new, but a lot of the lower segment of society — I don’t mean low lifes, I just mean not in the upper middle or even middle class — decry leftists and liberals and Democrats as Godless and against American values and as being traitors and taxers.
I want to make this simple (but of course I can’t). Probably a long time ago when things were desperate people were looking for anything to pull them out of their misery. We do know that a lot of folks way back when — the desperate 30s — flirted with things like communism, but if alive today would or will not admit it.
But things got better, as they always do, just not always soon enough.
A lot of people of all political and ideological persuasions since those desperate times have taken advantage of government social programs — Social Security (the biggie), student aid, food stamps, free or reduced school lunches, Medicare, Medicaid, government loans or even grants to business (some would not call that a social program, but really…), public education, unemployment compensation (that’s a popular one), government-funded disability benefits (another big one), aid to families with dependent children, and so on. And I should add most people take advantage of consumer protection rules and clean water rules, and safety at the work place rules — all things conservatives seem to abhor, at least in their rhetoric.
But a lot of people who have abandoned liberalism or progressivism or just the Democratic Party, will take any benefit available and say, “I worked for it; I deserve it”. They may have or may not and a lot depends on how one defines all that.
Meantime, upstanding hardworking people see not upstanding and not hardworking people take advantage of all manner of handouts. In any well-meaning program, there will always be people who take advantage. Some people shrug this off and just say, unfortunately that is the cost of doing the right thing. You try to control it, but people are clever and it costs a lot to control it. My late wife worked for a time as a food stamp eligibility worker. At first she actually went out and made home visits. That was cut out, to save money of course. Some would argue, though, that the money saved would be offset by the cheaters now free to cheat away.
The people who probably resent social programs and those who support them (usually Democrats in the greatest numbers) the most are those caught in the middle, often referred to as the “working poor”. They have a large enough income to not be considered eligible for help, but may well need it just the same.
I know the stories of the welfare queens, first begun I think by Ronald Reagan when he got into politics, are often exaggerated, making it sound as if that were the norm, but they do exist. Cheating the system exists on a large scale. Anyone who has their eyes and ears open knows this — well maybe not some who live in an insulated class and I am not putting them down by saying that, I’m just saying…
So I said all that to explain the phenomenon of people seemingly voting against their own interests by supporting Republicans who in fact really do not represent their interests generally.
There must be a happy medium between the welfare state, which eventually sucks the life out of an economy and a society, witness the problems in Europe, and a society of the one per centers versus the 99 per centers, between the extremely rich and the poor, with a severely eroded middle class.
I believe history shows that way back when, way back even before the U.S. existed, it was an industrious middle class who replaced the feudal system and who brought us the kind of democracy we enjoy today here in America.
A society without a middle class or a large enough one and where wealth is concentrated among a minority results in strife like we see (or ignore) in Mexico today. In some ways the drug war there may be a kind of proxy war between the haves and have nots, even though in reality the multitude of people just want peaceful lives (but they are conflicted because of all the corruption and all the money flowing upwards).
The United States needs to return to that happy medium.
The argument for no taxes at all is no more valid than the one for getting all the taxes out of the wealthy.
Political correctness, pushed by many in the liberal camp (not all), is another thing that has given progressivism a bad name. Yes it is nice that telling racist jokes at the work place has become an official taboo, but simply stating fact or stating one’s opinion, or reading or writing true literature (which includes the best and worst of a society and all its warts) should not be prohibited if we are to have a free and thinking society. And we don’t need any Orwellian Newspeak to channel or limit our thinking either, thank you.