I hear a lot about ‘the Obama Economy’ being used to stress the Newt Gingrich-style GOPster talking points. This race-baiting language comes from the same political marketing folks that brought us ‘welfare queens’ in the 1990s to justify their half-assed policies. “If you don’t have a job, the black-Latino guy did it” works in a lot of places. IMAO all this big meritocracy talk is just being used to broom the poor under the institutional rug. Its not ‘the Obama Economy’, its all of our Economy. That is it belongs to all of us who can’t hop onto a corporate jet to soar somewhere else.
What ticks me off about it is this language is being used to sell more theft from the poor to patch programs which aid the ailing US middle class. Dean Baker responded today that there is real evidence that official CPS surveys of unemployment and poverty are way off. The nytimes today wrote about 16 states now using the block grant food stamp program, ie the 1990s TANF-reformed version. These GOPster-red states are effectively pillaging the program to patch their own budgets while still ever-lowering taxes for political cronies. Sadly GOPsters arent alone in this, as purple & blue states like my own Illinois are also eying slashing cuts to Medicaid and other strapped programs for the poor. The New Deal safety nets may no longer quaintly be referred to as a chute or a trap. They are now a chasm where poor children are eaten. Admittedly there are bad government programs, but most of them don’t involve aid to the poor.
How does all this heartache bring us more jobs again? Oh yes, by lowering taxes on economic activity. Its intuitive to every US Conservative that lowering those taxes will magically produce jobs, sort of like plumbing a spigot, even if that activity is proven to be simply looting marginalized populations and future generations. Subsidizing more fast food chains and big box stores is no substitute for the stability of a monthly income. Here we have evidence of millions of hidden cases where only government can provide that stability. How is the ‘free markets’ ideology going to feed these folks? How is a half-price school voucher and an HMO invite from 200 miles away going to help their kids? How is paying them at Chinese sweat shop wages going to help anyone?
What confounds me the most is how politically expedient & facile the Ryan/Romney budget has been even in this destructive environment. The plan is to block grant even more programs to the states with little or no federal oversight. That goes not just for Medicaid as it is now but also for Medicare and all programs to the elderly. My point is if they can gut a program as efficient and effective as AFDC-TANF simply to cover short-term things like state lottery receipts and failed land deals, whats stopping them from looting all the Ryan-Romney-proposed block grants? IMAO They want to effectively turn Medicare into another program to loot from the poor. Its looting the poor box, not ‘helping job creators’ which should concern us mid-Recession.