Rick Santorum, speaking in
If you're low-income ... in many states you can qualify for Medicaid, you can qualify for food stamps, you can qualify for housing assistance, and that's not if you're in poverty. That's if you're above the poverty line. And so you have all of the children growing up in an environment where government is paying you, and then we wonder why do these kids feel they're entitled to so much? [...]
That is not a healthy thing for children, it's not a healthy thing for society ... Suffering, if you're a Christian, suffering is a part of life. And it's not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life ... There are all different ways to suffer. One way to suffer is through lack of food and shelter and there's another way to suffer which is lack of dignity and hope and there's all sorts of ways that people suffer and it's not just tangible, it's also intangible and we have to consider both.
Rick Santorum starts here with a pretty standard Republican "culture of entitlement" argument: If you give these low-income families food and health care, their kids will grow up just thinking they're entitled to food and health care, and we can't have that. If their parents' jobs don't pay enough—because note that he specifies this is people just above the poverty line, so clearly he is talking here about employed people—to pay for food and health care, then those kids should go without.
Then he whips that tried-and-true argument into a frothy mix with the suggestion that in fact denying low-income children food and health care is actually a good Christian thing to do. Because, yes, they will suffer tangibly through lack of food and shelter, but if they are getting their food and shelter in part through governmental assistance due to low-paying jobs, then they are suffering intangibly through lack of dignity and hope. And there's nothing that says dignity and hope like children starving on the street.
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