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"You know, people are poor in America, Steve, not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics. And if government can't teach and instill that, we're wasting our time simply giving poor people money."
  - Bill Cunningham, October 28, 2008

"The poor know little of the motives which stimulate the higher ranks of action - pride, honor and ambition. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them onto labor."
  - Joseph Townsend, 1786

“People who are perfectly capable of working are buying things like beer.”
  - James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma

"Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious."
  - Arthur Young, 1771

“The explosion of food stamps in this country is not just a fiscal issue for me, this is a defining moral issue of our time.”
  - Representative Steve Southerland, Republican from Florida

“The only way to prevent the people from becoming habitually dependent on government is to bring the operation to a close.”
  - Sir Charles Trevelyan (on ending Irish famine relief efforts), circa 1850

“[the social safety net has become] a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.”
  - Paul Ryan, 2011

“It is time that we recognize that many families are trying to survive in drug-induced poverty, and we have an obligation to make sure taxpayer money is not being used to support drug dealers.”
  - Utah state senator Tim Schaffer, 2013

"The poor ... are like the shadows in a painting: they provide the necessary contrast."
  - Philippe Hecquet, 1740

[children in poor neighborhoods have] “no habits of working and nobody around them who works.”
  - Newt Gingrich, 2012

''In order to succeed, the poor need most of all the spur of their poverty.''
 - George Gilder, ''Wealth and Poverty'' 1980

"There is not a more contented people amoung us, than those that work the hardest and are the least acquainted with the pomp and delicacies of the world."
  - Bernard de Mandeville, 1732

"There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor... We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people."
   - Rand Paul, 2010

Originally posted to gjohnsit on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If it were true hunger makes you work harder, (18+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't countries in Central and South America or Africa be richer than our country? The ignorance is gobsmacking.

    They Killed Will? Those Bastards!

    by blueoregon on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:29:07 AM PDT

  •  We are firmly stuck in the early 19th century (7+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:54:45 AM PDT

    •  Or maybe even the late 18th Century (9+ / 0-)

      After all, the poor must be kept poor or they won't plow the fields for the wealthy.

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:00:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For no apparent reason... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ricklewsive, Kingsmeg, gjohnsit

        ...I'm reminded of the Swiss.

        No, not the current, upscale version. I'm talking about their distant ancestors, dirt-poor farmers who had nothing, yet numerous kings tried to take even that nothing from them.

        Ill-fed men who couldn't afford body armor, they became the meanest motherfuckers of the Middle Ages.

        The rich and their Republican enablers should ponder on the Battle of Laupen in 1339. It was brought on because those industrious poor people in Bern had become a little too successful for the liking of their feudal lords (imagine the Koch brothers on horseback). These rich dudes assembled an army of 17,000 soldiers to put those uppity Bernese down. The Swiss decided to aid the city. They could only come up with 6,000 hungry guys who couldn't afford their own armor. These poor, hungry men broke the army of the rich. Over eighty nobles died at the hands of the farmer-pikemen that day, including a couple of counts and a baron.

        Don't make fun of poor people. Sometimes they wake up.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:52:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I do think it is true that self-interest is the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puakev, VClib

    biggest motivator for people to work.  I know for me, I went to law school in large part because it would allow me to provide a better life for my family.  And I work every day the long hours I do because those extra hours make a tangible difference in the lives of my family.  If it didn't make a difference in the lives of my family, I would have chosen a career that was not as demanding from an educational aspect, and I would be working a normal 40 hour week.  

    I think that's true for most people.  That's the genius of a capitalist-based economy -- it takes the strongest motivation, self-interest, and, if regulated and controlled properly, channels that self-interest into productivity.  That's my dispute with those here who are anti-capitalist:  they seem to think that people would work just as hard, make just as many personal sacrifices, if it make little differences in the lives of their family, and if the only motivation was "you are benefiting society as a whole."  

    I want to make it clear:  I disagree with those on the right who attempt to paint all poor people as lazy, or drug addicts, or criminals.  I am not saying that all, or even most, poor people are not motivated to work. However, I do think that there are SOME people who have chosen paths that are easier because they don't see the more difficult paths as a way to make a significant difference in their lives.  If you come from a background of a single mother who didn't finish high school, with a father who is not a part of your life, and you lack role models that show you that working hard in school and getting an education can, for example, make a significant difference in your life, then yes, that saps your motivation for doing the more difficult things like being inside studying in high school; like (at 13, 14, 15, 16) focusing on where you want to go in your life instead of who's hanging out tonight (as a parent, I've seen how difficult that can be for teens and I know how parents need to play a significant role in those years); like sacrificing four years (and a lot of debt in many cases) to go to college, like doing the same to get a graduate degree.  I think we need to help kids in the most difficult of situations regain the motivation that is the cornerstone of our economy.

    In that respect, I so admire our new U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite for not only what he has done in his life, but for his recognition that he needs to be that role model, that he needs to show kids in the most difficult situations that, even though it may be very difficult (and certainly more difficult for you than it is for kids born into privileged situations) there is a way for you to make your own life better.  That's a message that needs to be heard.

    Again, I don't mean to suggest that all poor people lack motivation.  I don't mean to suggest that we have no work to do in the area of providing more opportunity  for young people.  It's just that, just as I vehemently disagree with those on the right who would sweep with a broad brush and say, "Everybody who's poor -- it's their own fault," I disagree with those on the left who write from the perspective that people can't do anything about being poor -- it's just "dumb luck" that differentiates the Kenneth Polite from his brother who died at 23.  I think that Kenneth's self motivation had a lot to do with where he is.  

    •  . (15+ / 0-)

      Short of genius, a rich man cannot imagine poverty.
      - Charles Peguy

    •  in my experience, (15+ / 0-)

      rich people don't believe in luck.

      Everyone who succeeded had a lucky break--many lucky breaks, in fact. The smart ones know it and are grateful. The dumb ones think they did all by themselves and believe they made it all by the sweat of their own brow.

      Ignoring the thousand others who worked just as hard and were just as determined, but failed and lost big--or the million others who never even got a chance to play the game in the first place. Those stories are never told, so we only get the comforting, reassuring narrative that virtue = success.

      Any local Rotary Club is full of these rich idiots, who think that they made it by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and who think they're being oh so generous funding one measly playground for school kids, when they would have to fund a thousand to begin repaying the debt they owe society. And they love to pontificate on how if everyone worked as hard as they did, they too can make it.

      Their favorite song is My Way, with its anthemic "I am rich WASP businessman--hear me roar" triumphalism mixed with maudlin self-pity (the rich tend to indulge in self-pity far more than the poor, who don't have the energy to spend on it).

      They are like the worm who, by sheer dumb luck, pops up after the early bird has flown away (after eating all the other worms who were unfortunate enough to pop up earlier), and then brags about how clever he was.

      Really you don't have to be that smart to get rich. It takes even less intelligence to stay rich when you are rich--you just hire smart, dedicated people to make the decisions that will ensure your obscene wealth becomes even more obscene.

      The fact is that most people will never see a fraction of the opportunity they need to fulfill their potential. They will die not even knowing there is a world in which they could make a constructive contribution. All there is, for many, is a tenuous, precipitous, day-by-day existence. Surviving the day--that takes all their energy. And often it's not enough, and they die.

      But again, no one tells these stories, so we're stuck with Mr. Polite--one of the lucky ones who thinks that his exceptional case is the rule.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 10:00:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Socialist countries (16+ / 0-)

      ..like Scandinavia, that don't let their poor fall too far, or their rich get too obscenely wealthy, seem to be doing much better than us. The people who are helped out also seem to find their way to productive work much faster.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 10:01:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well what about all the people who studied hard (6+ / 0-)

      and took on huge amounts of debt to go to college, and now work in minimum wage jobs? They are literally poor. And they worked and studied and did all the things that one is supposed to do to succeed. And they're poor. And a lot of them came from middle class families, so it's not like they expected to be poor as adults.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:18:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course there are no guarantees in life (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        I could have spent all that money, finished law school and have been hit by a car the next day and been unable to work for the rest of my life.  

        And I certainly agree that we need to be creating more private sector jobs, and not just minimum wage jobs.  The best way to do that is probably a discussion for another diary.

        Life is about planning for "likelihoods."  And there's no question that the vast majority of people can do things that increase the likelihood of bettering their own situation.  Of course it won't always work out, and of course there should be a safety net for people who make all the "right" choices and are unable to provide for themselves.

        But NONE of that means we should deny the clear and irrefutable fact that the vast majority of people can make choices and do things that significantly increase the likelihood that they will escape poverty.  As I said, those choices are often far more difficult for some than for others.    We need to recognize that fact, and make it easier for kids in those more difficult situations to make those choices and do those things.  

        •  There was a time in this country, (it ended during (7+ / 0-)

          my childhood) that education, skill, technical knowledge, or even just a decent work ethic meant you were not likely to slip below the poverty line. But then politicians came up with permanent, drastic, solutions (like outsourcing and labor repression) to temporary problems with the economy, and now we have a nation of well educated waiters and gas station employees. (And I don't mean people waiting tables while they write a novel, or try to get a record deal, either.)

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:38:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  One other thing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Naniboujou, gjohnsit, ferg

          One of the usual libertarian responses to the unemployment situation is that people "create their own jobs" by becoming an "entrepeneur". (used to be called business owner) But how does a person from an average family get the capital to start a business when they are working for minimum wage and paying a monthly student loan debt the size of a mortgage?

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:41:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It doesn't always take a lot of capital (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep, VClib

            I have a friend who started his own business as a plumber, and another as a mechanic.  Both started out working for someone else, and then started a business on their own.  

            Others start businesses in their "free time" while working another job.  (yes, it's difficult, but do-able for some.)

            You will clearly have to do your homework --know what your product/service is, have your market/customers identified, that kind of thing.  But non every business startup has to involve a lot of capital.  

            I know people who are everything from accountants to actors to providing housecleaning services to gardeners who are "entrepreneurs" and operate their own business.  

            •  They were working for someone else (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gjohnsit
              Both started out working for someone else, and then started a business on their own.  
              That doesn't solve the problem of unemployment, and crushing student debt. Mechanic's tools are not cheap and neither are plumbers.

              Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

              by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:54:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course a big part of the solution (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                needs to be improving the private-sector job market.  I completely agree.  

                But that doesn't mean that we deny the fact that most people can do things that increase their own chances of making their own lives better.  We need to encourage that in ANY job market, and provide the assistance to people for whom making those choices is more difficult.  

                •  The government used to level the playing field (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dirtandiron

                  so that people could make their situation better, today it works just the opposite.  The government tips the scales in favor of those with money.  It is a simple fact of life in this country and it gets worse every day.  I was born at a unique time when I could go to college and get a job and show progress.  I fell out of the workforce and almost did not make it back but I was one of the lucky one's that made it back(almost, I will never be able to retire).  I worked extremely hard but the rich sucked the air out of the economy and my companies solution was to dump as many older employee's as they could get away with.  Please don't preach the American dream....it is the great American LIE.

            •  Generally starting a business (7+ / 0-)

              in midst of a recession is a bad idea.
                Of course there are exceptions, but we are talking about general rules here.
                And libertarians are always quick to suggest people start businesses as a solution when unemployment is high (i.e. a recession).

                To sum up the thought: libertarians are quick to give bad advice to poor people, and when they don't take that bad advice then they blame those poor people for not taking their advice.

              "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

              by gjohnsit on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:59:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  recession (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit, ferg, Shotput8, lostinamerica
                Generally starting a business (0+ / 0-)

                in midst of a recession is a bad idea.

                They have some glib stock answer for that like, "In adversity there is opportunity", or some other saying they heard on Fox or Rush.

                Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

                by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:03:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  there certainly is opportunity in adversity (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dirtandiron, gjohnsit, ricklewsive

                  if you have a lot of cash on hand, the prices of real assets (infrastructure, etc.) fall during a recession, so you can really get some fantastic deals for low, low prices. Like in Chicago when a private company bought the right to lease several city parking garages for 99 years. Think of all that revenue! You can't get that kind of deal when economic times are good.

                  So if you're rich, there is absolutely plenty of opportunity in adversity--others' adversity, that is.

                  "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                  by limpidglass on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:40:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  There are even fewer guarantees in life when ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, Naniboujou

          ... the wealthy keep rigging the system so that the benefits of other people's hard work tend to fall their way.

          You can do all the right things, but when the wealthy are tying cinder blocks to your ankles, and putting walls and obstacles in your way so they won't have to compete with you ...

      •  Dirt - It's more than just going to college (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep

        You have to have a career goal and make sure your education is what you need to take that first real step on the career ladder. It's always harder in a recession, but you have to have a game plan and even in the tough times do things that move you towards your goal.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 07:32:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just curious... (5+ / 0-)

      what base did you start on?

      Of course not everyone is motivated to achieve what you have even if "all things are equal."  But the fact is that those who start out on one of the lower rungs have little chance of making it to the top. And I will bet my bippy that you had a whole lot more help, advantages, systemic privilege, and luck than you will ever know or admit.

      People with advantages can make mistake after bad mistake and still end up on top.  Those with few advantages may make one small mistake and are never able to recover.

      "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

      by Naniboujou on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:39:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I expressly said over and over (0+ / 0-)

        that I completely recognize it's more difficult for some than others.  Did you read that link about Kenneth Polite, our U.S. attorney?  Born in a housing project to a single mom (had a half brother murdered on the streets of the lower Ninth Ward), ended up getting a scholarship to De La Salle High School (a very middle class Catholic high school), graduated valedictorian, from there to Harvard (scholarship), to Georgetown Law, to Skadden Arps, and then wanted to come back to New Orleans.  Now he recognizes that part of what he can do for this city is to bring that message of "it may be hard, but you can make your life better" to other students who are in the position he was in.  One of the things he's promoting as U.S. attorney is a program for employers to give second chances to people who may have been convicted of non-violent crimes by a program for hiring them. (He recognizes that some laws regarding employer liability for things like negligent hiring need to be adjusted for his program to work.)

        I have no doubt that it was much harder for Kenneth than it was for a student born into a middle class family, or than it will be for the President's daughters, for example.

        My point is that we should focus on providing more opportunities to students like Kenneth so that they can see that they can do things to better their own lives.  We need to make it easier for them to make the right decisions for their lives. The message needs to be, "you can make the right decisions, you can make your life better, yes it's hard, but we will provide the help for you to do that."  The message should not be, you were born to a single mom in poverty, you are doomed to poverty regardless of what you do.

        •  nice evasion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Naniboujou, lostinamerica

          Probably best to accept that an anecdote based your personal experience is not relevant to the topic of this diary.

          •  And notice it was not even coffeetalk's experience (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gjohnsit

            that was being sited.

            coffeetalk, no one here is suggesting all poor people are doomed to poverty.  But to suggest that the majority can escape poverty if they would just work hard and make all the right choices just because some did flies in the face of reality.  

            As Al Franken says, "It's good for people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but first they need the boots."

            "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

            by Naniboujou on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:28:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, here's our disagreement. (0+ / 0-)
              But to suggest that the majority can escape poverty if they would just work hard and make all the right choices just because some did flies in the face of reality.
              I do believe the majority (not everyone) can escape poverty (not "become rich") by working hard and making the right choices.  But I would not put "just" in front of that phrase.  I recognize that for a child born to an uneducated mother in poverty (studies show that the education level of the parents, especially the mother, is a significant predictor in student success) it is far far far more difficult to "work hard and make the right choices"  than it is for a child born to privilege or even than it is for a middle class child.  

              I completely recognize that it is far harder to do when you are born into poverty.  But if you do certain things in life, regardless of where you start, you significantly increase your chances that you won't end up in poverty.  So I think that a large part of our focus in helping lift people out of poverty is to make it easier for them to "work hard and make the right choices."  That includes more private sector jobs, of course, as well as a safety net so that people have food, shelter and clothing and are not homeless or going hungry.  But that also includes making it easier for poor people to get marketable skills, whether through higher education or through other training, so that they can make the kind of income that will lift them out of poverty.  That also includes encouraging young people to try to stay in school, and to go beyond high school either to learn some kind of marketable skill or get a higher degree.  That also includes things to encourage young people not to have children before they are in a situation where there are two parents financially capable of caring for those children.

              I am not suggesting that we eliminate the safety net.  What I am suggesting that a safety net alone is not a solution.  The safety net (for those who are capable of supporting themselves) needs to be coupled with other things that encourage people to "work hard and make the right choices," or it does nothing to address the larger problem of poverty.  

              •  I agree with that too (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica
                I do believe the majority (not everyone) can escape poverty (not "become rich") by working hard and making the right choices.
                The difference is that I believe they can't do that in the capitalist system.
                   They can do it in a socialist system.

                "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

                by gjohnsit on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:59:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  They're So Close to the Truth That if the Truth (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, limpidglass, a2nite, Dirtandiron

    had one less coat of lacquer on it, they'd hit it.

    "The poor know little of the motives which stimulate the higher ranks of action - pride, honor and ambition. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them onto labor."
      - Joseph Townsend, 1786
    Because they don't have the luxury, the sheer time to bother with pride.

    A quick browse through writings such as Men Against the Sea, the story of Captain Bligh's launch voyage following the _Bounty mutiny, or the diaries of more recent prisoners of war, are full of descriptions of what happens to ambition in conditions of deprivation.

    Bligh's crew, it might be noted, were even white.

    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 Mar 30, 2014 at 09:01:25 AM PDT

  •  The "values, morals and ethics" (8+ / 0-)

    of a school of piranhas.

    Those poors need to get them some more of the bloodlust: the natural order of things in other words. Because "society" and "civilization" are just fancy book words for "eat or be eaten".

    /s

  •  The attitudes of Americans on poverty distresses (13+ / 0-)

    me all too often.

    Poverty is the worst form of violence.
    - Mahatma Gandhi

  •  Lazarus Begged for Crumbs Because of Hunger (6+ / 0-)

    and the Nazis starved concentyration camp residents who were slave laborers.

    According to the Party of Stupid, Lazarus and Nazi slave laborers should have been dynamos in th workplace.

  •  It's all about guilt (5+ / 0-)

    To have so much when others have so little feels wrong,
    unless you can justify your greed with bullshit.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:31:05 AM PDT

  •  They might be republicanisms, but I don't hear (5+ / 0-)

    any democratisms talking about how to get people back to work, how to get fifty million people out of poverty, or fifty million kids off food stamps.  That is unacceptable no matter which way it's painted but no one is addressing it.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:35:08 AM PDT

  •  it depends on the kind of work (10+ / 0-)

    I think the threat of starvation is more or less how we get people to scrub shit off toilets. Either the threat of starvation, or the increasingly illusory prospect of upward mobility--sure, today you may be scrubbing shit off toilets, but in five years you will be telling other people to scrub shit off toilets, and in ten you will own your own janitorial service, with employees scrubbing shit off toilets in five states.

    This was always a chimera, of course; there is no way a society can be composed entirely of business owners, any more than an ecosystem can support a population composed entirely of top predators. It's a pyramid, and for every individual at the top there have to be a hundred at the bottom.

    But it's getting worse; now for every individual at the top there will be at least a hundred thousand at the bottom, and that ratio will be shrinking faster and faster.

    Unfortunately I can't really think of any other way to ensure that other than providing the carrot (scrub shit and become an entrepreneur!) or the stick (scrub shit or starve!). One of the brilliant methods of the capitalist system is that it used both the carrot and the stick.

    On the other hand, James Joyce had a wealthy patron who gave him a stipend so he could spend seventeen years sitting around and writing Finnegans Wake. No threat of starvation was needed to get him to do it; in fact, the opposite was required--the threat of starvation had to be removed, otherwise the book wouldn't have been written. So it really depends on the kind of work.

    Our problem is that because of automation, we haven't enough jobs for people to do, so threatening them with starvation merely results in their starving. If there were more jobs, then perhaps the threat of starvation would force people to work harder (though at considerable cost to their well-being).

    But we are not in that situation. Previous technological innovations (the automobile, for instance) created new jobs and new economic sectors to replace the ones that were lost. That is no longer true: further automation will eliminate jobs without creating enough new ones.

    The McDonalds of the future will not have to pay human employees to flip burgers--machines will do the whole thing better than a human could.

    So these days, threatening people with starvation to make them work harder is useless. They can't work harder if there's no work for them to do.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:36:26 AM PDT

    •  You forgot one option (9+ / 0-)

      available to the shit scrubbers. They could just as easily say to themselves, "Hmm, my kids are hungry and that asshole has more food than he can consume in 17 lifetimes..."

      We have no shortage of work that needs doing. What we have is a shortage of jobs that the aristocracy see as opportunities to increase their personal wealth. In our free-for-all capitalistic system the we allow the priorities to be set by the personal interests of the moneyed class and what the rest of us see as the best interests of the people, the country, and the planet don't get much consideration.

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by ricklewsive on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:59:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We ride around in dirty buses. We each drive a (6+ / 0-)

        car to the school to drop off our kids. Our post offices are closing. Our schools are closing. Our libraries are closing. Our parks are closing. Our infrastructure is crumbling.

        We have no shortage of work that needs doing. What we have is a shortage of jobs that the aristocracy see as opportunities to increase their personal wealth.
      •  that option is no longer open, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, ricklewsive, gjohnsit, k9disc

        because we have a system of total electronic surveillance that can record everything the shit scrubber says or does, and automated attack drones that can swoop in and take out any rebellious shit scrubbers before they know what hit 'em.

        Slave rebellions don't have a great track record (I think Haiti is the only one that actually succeeded) and in the future, the gap between slaves and masters will grow far wider than now. And most of us will be slaves.

        It is true that for the first time in history, there aren't enough jobs--at least if you leave it up to the private sector. The private sector will always try to hire a robot instead of a human, and so will not provide enough jobs for the current population. The question is whether there are other means of job creation besides leaving it up to the needs of the private sector. From now on, we need to put effort into finding new work for people to do, into deliberately creating new kinds of tasks specifically so that we can employ people to do them.

        I think that the failures of the rich are at least as much due to a lack of imagination as a lack of ethics. They just can't imagine a world different from the one they live in; so they cling to what they know at all costs, and because they have so much power, people end up dying simply because the people in charge see no alternative.

        A biblical proverb states that when there is no vision, the people perish. The implication is that a lack of imagination can be as fatal as lack of food or water.

        We are living in a quite a perilous time, made more so by the total lack of vision of our ruling class. The future is uncertain and holds out the potential for unimaginable dystopias as well as flourishing, prosperous societies.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:12:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not just automation, but outsourcing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Naniboujou, gjohnsit

      If we lowered the trade imbalance with other countries there would be a lot more jobs to go around. That, and fixing the crumbling roads, bridges and train tracks. We can do those things, but the media tells us we can't because that would be "socialism".

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:23:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  therefore, the rich must have one day been poor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Dirtandiron

    and been goaded by poverty to achieve their billions...who knew that's how the koch brothers got there?

  •  GOP read Dickens as extolling trickle down theory (6+ / 0-)

    Democrats read Dickens as excoriating the same.

  •  Rod Serling delt with this theme on (8+ / 0-)

    The Twilight Zone. "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville," based on a short story by Malcolm Jamison, tells the story of a wealthy man who makes a deal with the devil to go back in time and make his fortune all over again. He soon learns that his successes were not as he remembered them and rails at the devil for tricking him.

    Even being gifted with intelligence and creativity are not things that we control, but are rolls of the genetic dice. Our successes truly are the luck of the draw.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 10:51:34 AM PDT

  •  Rage Against the Machine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, gjohnsit

    Just remember what Rage Against the Machine say, "Hungry people don't stay hungry for long", It didn't turn out well for the russian tzars or Louie the XIV.

    He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice. Albert Einstein

    by Cairns on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 10:55:09 AM PDT

  •  Rand Paul is wrong many of us work for the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Dirtandiron, ferg

    Middle class.

    His entire statement is wrong for too many reasons.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:24:54 AM PDT

  •  It isn't just Republicans (5+ / 0-)

    ... or conservatives who believe this. It is a basic premise of capitalism.

    Which is why I'm not a capitalist.

    Anyone who thinks capitalism is the best system is buying into the premise that self-interest/hunger/greed is the best human motivation around which to build a society.

    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

    by ZhenRen on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:38:16 AM PDT

  •  Rand Paul is full of it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, ferg, gjohnsit
    "There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor... We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people."
    Rich people are not the only ones that buy stuff. I bought coffee and a sandwich this morning. I am not rich. The guy that employs the people in the bagel shop I got it at is probably not rich either. That's the thing. The right wing echo chamber media pushes a false equivalence of capitalism with commerce. They are two different things.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:11:47 PM PDT

  •  If hunger drives people to work harder then (0+ / 0-)

    America's billionaire fat cats are the laziest people God ever breathed life int.

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