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There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the poor by a particular faction of the Republican Party. This misunderstanding is a fundamental flaw of the ideology. Humans are not intrinsically evil. They must be programmed that way. This ideology has removed a lot of humanity from otherwise good people.
The connecting thread that runs through much of the Republican ideology is that most of the poor are responsible for their condition. Moreover they believe that a hand up is an underserved handout. For this they want to punish or starve the poor for being poor. They do not articulate it in those terms but it is the underlying outcome.
Last Saturday Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) addressed a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party about the federal school lunch program. “Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria,” Jack Kingston said. “… But think what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
Jack Kingston’s statement is not much different from the statement Newt Gingrich said a few years back. Newt suggested that poor children replace union workers as janitors in their schools. There was also Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) who suggested that if one did not work they should starve.
The inhumanness of these statements is palpable. These guys fail to understand that one must not blame children for circumstances beyond their control. Moreover they are attempting to codify a steeper incline to success for the poor. That middle school child that is forced to work may not be able to compete scholastically as the study time is reduced and tiredness sets in. The conditional embarrassment is yet another factor.
The biggest misunderstanding however is who bears responsibility for the economic condition of the poor. Trickle-down economics is directly responsible for the explosion of income inequality. Today’s poverty is that manifestation. The poor, the working poor, and the working middle class in the aggregate are very hard workers. They simply are not compensated appropriately. Those at the top have reaped the benefits of 90+% of all the growth over the last 30+ years. It is time for Paul Ryan and his entire GOP cohort to redefine who are the takers and the makers. The top 1% has taken all what the poor and the middle class have made.