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What about political leaders?

I ask that after reading Wealthy counties see jump in need for food aid in this morning's Washington Post.  It focuses on Hunterdon County Nj,

whose 2010 median household income of $97,874 was the highest in New Jersey and fourth-highest in the country, saw food-stamp usage surge 513 percent between 2007 and 2010.

The pattern was repeated across the nation:  

The percentage of U.S. households using food stamps more than doubled in six of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties as more residents find themselves out of work and unable to sell their homes.

In Hunterdon the number of families went from 232 to 1,407 during the three years from 2007 to 2010.

ationwide, requests for food assistance increased over the past year in 25 of 29 cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Unemployment was the main reason for requesting aid, followed by poverty, low-wage jobs and high housing costs, according to the survey released Thursday. Likewise, the vast majority of the survey cities reported an increase in the number of people requesting food assistance for the first time.

The nation's two wealthiest counties are near me in Northern Virginia:  Loudoun and Fairfax.  Some Congressmen and Senators have local homes there.  I wonder if they know foodstamp use in those counties more than doubled.

Morris County NJ is 10th in average household income, saw its recipients rise 4,076 cases from 1,680.  It is the home of Gov. Chris Christie, who acknowledges knowing from the statistics, even if it is not visible.

It will be those who used to be wealthy.  It will be even more who used to be upper middle class.  Will that be enough to extend benefits?  Or will the need to extend benefits be used as a cudgel to impose unrelated social and other programs, as we are seeing with unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut in the Congress?

Will poverty hitting close to home make a difference?

Unfortunately, I doubt it.

What do you think?

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 06:10 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Virginia Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No. There's Nothing for Them to Hear. (10+ / 0-)

    Truly, it's not just in the emotional sense that they have no interest in society, it's also in the investment sense.

    They have no stake in the place, its well being doesn't affect their economics.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 06:16:22 AM PST

  •  Keep in mind that the vast, vast majority (10+ / 0-)

    of people who vote for Republicans are already in the 99%. In fact, wherever you see an elected Republican you can pretty much assume that a majority of 99%ers voted for him or her. And according to a recent study, only 57% of 1%ers identify as Republican (vs. 44% for the 99%ers). So while the 1% are more Republican, it's not by much.

    The worldview that all 1%ers are greedy or against higher taxes and that most of the 99%ers are for good policies, is, unfortunately, not true. The struggle is not between the 1% and the 99%, it is between GOP voters (which include the working class evangelicals) and the rest of us.

  •  may be I don't get your question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    but until the 1% can feel the pain personally among their own family members or even themselves, the financial meltdown must be of such a proportion that instead of listening, they will jump from the bridge, hang themselves on a tree or shoot everybody including themselves during a mental clusterfuck.

    Between applying for food stamps and getting them, you could already could have starved a couple of times over.

    Ironically Americans are always fast to lecture other people like saying:

    Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime"

    If they just would take their own advice.

    How about not giving a man a food stamp, but teach a man how to grow food at his own will and in his own property, so that he can feed himself, and forget these miserable, humiliating, unhealthy stamps. Of course, if you have to, you eat shit, even stamps. So it goes on an on.

    Food stamps are not the solution. Like war. Here, I said it. Sorry. Food stamps kill people's dignity.

    Just yesterday had a conversation with my son, who was yelling at me for being so ignorant not to understand that among Veterans and other poor people he lives with, many, even with GI bills and jobs have to apply for food stamps and waiting for them months.

    You know until any of the 1% or even the upper 20% listen, they have to loose their houses, jobs and value of any assets they would draw from to generate cash if they had to. And they have to feel the anger of the 80%. There is no politeness left when you are hungry.

    •  ??? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, ladybug53
      How about not giving a man a food stamp, but teach a man how to grow food at his own will and in his own property, so that he can feed himself, and forget these miserable, humiliating, unhealthy stamps.

      That's sorta the point.  The banks are taking away people's property.  Those who have are preventing those who have not from ever having.  It's not that the have-nots want food stamps; it's that in the present circumstances they need them to survive and to keep their families alive.

    •  If the 80% is really so angry, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, bnasley

      why don't we see anything like 80% voting for liberal politicians or policies? I think that what you are trying to say is that 80% of the people should be angry.  Whenever Republicans are elected, it means that many struggling people voted for them.

      •  no, it means many struggling did not vote (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buzzer, mimi, greengemini, bnasley

        which is the pattern of the 2010 election

        poor people always vote at lower rates

        some vote against their economic interest, to be sure, especially when deliberately blinded by things like race

        had the Democratic base not been so depressed you would not have had the tsunami that not only swept out Democratic control of the House but also lost control of a number of states

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:13:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, the 2010 midterms had too few (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini, bnasley

          progressives turn out. But the 1%, or even the 20%, cannot determine elections by themselves, even if they all turned out. The point is that millions upon millions of working class people, most of whom also go to church, vote consistently Republican. And they feel as strongly about keeping we liberal heathens out of office as we feel about keeping right wingers out.

      •  I've been reading Mein Kampf (6+ / 0-)

        Hitler starts with a description of a family living in a basement: Their apartment "...consists of two damp rooms. In these rooms a workman and his family live--seven people in all. Let us assume that one of the children is a boy of three years. That is the age at which children first become conscious of the impressions which they receive. In the case of highly gifted people traces of the impressions received in those early years last in the memory up to an advanced age. Now the narrowness and congestion of those living quarters do not conduce to pleasant inter-relations. Thus quarrels and fits of mutual anger arise. These people can hardly be said to live with one another, but rather down on top of one another..." he describes how such living conditions affect the family, with the child witnessing the father physically assaulting the mother...

          Somehow, he arrives here: "The fact that nine-tenths of all the smutty literature, artistic tripe and theatrical banalities, had to be charged to the account of people who formed scarcely one per cent. of the nation--that fact could not be gainsaid. It was there, and had to be admitted. Then I began to examine my favourite ‘World Press’, with that fact before my mind..."   *
           In other words, he places the blame on the Jews.

           You can't assume that the 80% or 99% will look at their situation and conclude that they shoud vote for liberals. It is equally possible that they will, if things get bad enough, turn in some other,  darker, direction.

        *Hitler, Adolf; Carruthers, Bob; Murphy, James (2011-09-28). Mein Kampf: The 1939 Illustrated Edition (The Third Reich from Original Sources) (Kindle Locations 1413-1416). Coda Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

        •  They already are (6+ / 0-)
          You can't assume that the 80% or 99% will look at their situation and conclude that they shoud vote for liberals. It is equally possible that they will, if things get bad enough, turn in some other,  darker, direction.

             That's what the Tea Party is about.

             When the Democrats abandoned working people and asked, "well, where else can they go?" --- that's where they went.

           

          "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

          by Buzzer on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:30:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Because there are no liberals to vote for (6+ / 0-)

          Most liberals and progressives are screened out of the electoral process as early as possible by the Democratic establishment. Call it the Rahm Doctrine.

          This keeps true liberal ideas from being aired in the public discussion. So people vote for Republicans because the Democrats, frankly, don't offer much of an alternative, and in that context the slicker candidate usually wins.
         

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:28:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not necessarily the slickest: (7+ / 0-)

          The candidate who confirms the prejudices of a voting majority has the inside track. Illegal immigrants taking our jobs; lazy people on welfare; unemployed that don't want to work; Muslims; throwing God out of the schools.

          When the political system doesn't address the fundamental questions, it's fairly easy to cobble together a majority of the people who vote by playing up "social issues."

        •  True liberals can (and do) win in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CuriousBoston, bnasley

          selected Congressional Districts. A few liberals get elected to the senate. But in most races, nominating a liberal makes as much tactical sense to us as nominating a Tea Partier makes for the GOP. We try to nominate more centrist Dems because, in general, they are more likely to win general elections.

          Because the electorate is not liberal!

          •  There's a consulting job for you waiting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            esquimaux, bnasley
            We try to nominate more centrist Dems because, in general, they are more likely to win general elections.

               After all, this worked so spectacularly well in 2010. And the GOP teabaggers just got wiped out, too!

              The Dems won in 2006 and 2008 on "change", on the public being fed up with Republicans. And when they took power, they delivered... Mitt Romney's healthcare plan, and... and... and... help me out here, what were all these sweeping "liberal" reforms the Dems passed that turned off all these independents...

              Oh yes, we'll always have Lily Ledbetter. THAT did it.

            "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

            by Buzzer on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:42:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ah yes, the "if we nominated lots (0+ / 0-)

              of liberals we'd have liberal majorities in Congress" argument. Complete disregard for any and all polling data that shows how few Americans identify themselves as liberal. And Rahm Emanuel, while portrayed as a villain here, did help to get the last Democratic majority elected to the House. How soon we forget.

              •  Rahm had little to do with it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greengemini, bnasley

                  The 2006 and 2008 election victories were a result of (a) the Republicans screwing things up beyond belief, and (b) Howard Dean and the DNC's successful mobilization of resources and candidates in response. Rahm tried to usurp credit, of course, but once Dean was gone from the scene the Dems quickly reverted to losing -- especially the blue dogs Rahm was so proud of.

                  It's also worth noting that Rahm's hand-picked right-wing candidates (Tammy Duckworth) LOST even in 2006, which was a great year for Democrats overall.

                  While Americans might not literally identify themselves with the word "liberal", polls DO consistently show that Americans DO support the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, leaving Social Security and Medicare alone, and an end to the wars. The Democrats fumbled the ball on all of the above, in their misguided pursuit of blue-dog purity... and the 2010 results speak for themselves.

                "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

                by Buzzer on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:04:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Addendum (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  greengemini, bnasley

                   Obviously, the 2008 victory had more to do with having a highly charismatic candidate on the top of the ticket running on a sweeping theme of "change". When the candidate became President, hired Rahm as his chief of staff, and quickly abandoned the "change" platform, his poll numbers took a huge tumble, never to recover.

                  "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

                  by Buzzer on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:11:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  angry doesn't always (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini

        go hand in hand with rational.

        hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

        by alguien on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 09:06:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They haven't killed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston, greengemini, bnasley

      our dignity. They have been a huge help.

      Yes, full employment would be better.

      The pols who try to suggest that there is something undignified about getting the assistance we are entitled to have always been able to push that line.

      But none of us wants to become a farmer. Thanks anyway. We'd rather live in a functioning economy.

      •  Not everyone (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini, bnasley, Tam in CA

        even has the ability to be a farmer. I can't have a garden where I live, and potted plants, well I kill them more than grow them. I can't have chickens let alone any other farm animals. Nor can many others who live in a city, in an apartment, etc. This is not counting the fact that my disability prevents me from farming for the same reasons it prevents me from working. Taking away food stamps and giving me seeds would be.. useless.

        I look at food stamps this way, I worked from the time I was 16 until I was 39 when I became disabled. My parents are both still working and neither have ever been on food stamps. My sisters are both working. My grandparents, my aunts and uncles all worked or are working and payed taxes. Why should I feel ashamed at using a program our taxes have helped pay for for years, now that I need it? That's what it's there for.

      •  well, if you take my "growing your own food" (0+ / 0-)

        that literally, I can understand. I am not very good in finding the right words or pictures to express what I mean. Otherwise I don't push the "undignified" line in the sense that I think getting assistance IS undignifying. Far from it.

        But the fact that people would starve, if there weren't this program, is, imo, an indication that the government has lost all its dignity in not finding a solution that would render the food stamp program obsolete.

        •  Interpreting what you said (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          esquimaux, greengemini
          How about not giving a man a food stamp, but teach a man how to grow food at his own will and in his own property, so that he can feed himself, and forget these miserable, humiliating, unhealthy stamps. Of course, if you have to, you eat shit, even stamps. So it goes on an on.
          Food stamps are not the solution. Like war. Here, I said it. Sorry. Food stamps kill people's dignity.

          What you said seems pretty clear to me, and fairly easy to interpret. The whole "sustainable food" thing is great, if your able bodied, own land, and have the time and knowledge and skills to do so. Not everyone does. I used to be responsible for the family garden when I was growing up, it's not lack of knowledge, it's lack of land and physical ability. Some days my room mate has to cook because I'm not breathing well enough for that, let alone all the work in growing and canning/preserving vegetables for myself, and care of animals. I was just stating things from my point of view and that of many others who lack land or ability to grow our own. I find my use of food stamps incurs no humiliation or indignity, and I'm glad the program is there for those of us who need it. I've also used charity food programs, the humiliation of those is much worse IMHO than swiping a plastic card.

          •  I don't want to be a farmer. (0+ / 0-)

            It's not that I can't. I have a yard. I am physically fit and would probably be more fit if I were out planting enough to feed my family. I could figure out how to grow more than I do -- herbs.

            But I don't want to. And I resent the suggestion that I should.

            I want to live in a functioning economy. One where my husband's business, which previously supported all four of us in a frugal lifestyle, was actually busy enough to function as it should.

            Maybe that's what you are trying to say, Mimi. That the government should be doing more to fix the economy. If that's what you were getting at, great. But, too often, the "teach a man to fish" line is used by the "bootstraps" crowd to avoid doing what needs to be done and focus the crowd on who is getting assistance they have earned as the reason for the problem.

            We aren't the problem. We are the victims of a dysfunctional economy.

          •  I am sorry that I used the wrong words and (0+ / 0-)

            the wrong comparisons to express myself and you haven't understood what I meant to say.

    •  You need clean land, seeds, or plants, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, greengemini, bnasley

      and knowledge to grow plants. Also time. People in apartments often do not have outdoor space with dirt that is safe enough to grow food plants in. Community gardens are often now locking up the gardens -people are taking the food.

      Social Security is an INSURANCE PROGRAM. FICA FEDERAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS ACT

      by CuriousBoston on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:12:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone who didn't care before isn't going to care now. Not everyone in a wealthy district is wealthy. There are poor and wealthy people in every district.

    People panic too much on this site.

    by thematt523 on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:33:29 AM PST

  •  They will when crps threaten food and water see (4+ / 0-)

    As Gas Drilling Spreads, Towns Stand Ground Over Control

    NY times via The Oil Drum

    The fight, which pits towns and cities against energy companies and states eager for growth, has raised a fundamental question about the role of local government: How much authority should communities have over the use of their land?

    The battle is playing out in Pennsylvania as the Republican-controlled legislature considers bills that would in their current form sharply limit a community’s right to control where gas companies can operate on private property. Critics say the final bill could vastly weaken local zoning powers and give industry the upper hand in exchange for a new tax, which municipalities badly need...

    “I’m a conservative Republican, and this goes against all my principles,” said Brian Coppola, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Robinson Township, in Washington County west of Pittsburgh. The pending legislation, he said, “is an enormous land grab on the part of the industry. He added, “Our property rights are being trampled.”


    Emphasis by TGW

    Another example of potential allies you might never expect to see.  If the wealthiest in this country are willing to opposes corporate poisoners because they fear property values might go down, I say "I don't care why you're with us friends, I just care that you're with us.  Welcome aboard!"

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:00:04 AM PST

  •  In poorer countries.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, greengemini, bnasley

    ...I've seen ridiculous mansions surrounded by 12-ft walls with broken pop bottles mortared into the top, surrounded by shanties, ramshackle lean-tos up against the walls, crazy electral nightmare wiring to steal power from 240 volt overhead wires (you know, lamp cord wire twisted into a damaged extension cord twisted into a length of speaker wire- Third-World electricianship/poor-peoples' ingenuity on display)

    And the Rich Fucks who live there don't even notice.

    This is what these scumbags have planned for US!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:50:25 AM PST

  •  Nope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, bnasley

    Unless it happens to them it doesn't matter (somebody else's problem).  And if you tell them it will eventually happen to them, they will not believe it.  And realistically dude, they've got thirty years of experience telling them they always win.

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