Every once in a while a Republican is caught being honest. Consider the commentary from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley on the value of eliminating most of the inheritance tax because “they” invest, but the rest of the country…not so much. So, what to do when the comments create a social media fire storm? Backtrack:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Monday said his comments that the estate tax rewards those who don’t spend “every darn penny” on “booze or women or movies” were taken out of context, saying he meant that the government shouldn’t punish investment.
“My point regarding the estate tax, which has been taken out of context, is that the government shouldn’t seize the fruits of someone’s lifetime of labor after they die,” Grassley said in a statement.”
Nice try, but the “out of context” excuse has gotten thinner than the roast beef at the deli counter. Senator Hatch (R-UT) was a bit more subtle when discussing the children’s health insurance funding, but not by much:
“In his speech, Hatch also said he thinks CHIP has done a “terrific job for people who really need the help” and noted that he had advocated for helping those who can’t help themselves throughout his Senate career. But, he continued, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.” He blamed a “liberal philosophy” for creating millions of people “who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depend upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them.”
There they go again. Oh, those Undeserving Poors who just Want Stuff, and won’t work for it. The median household income in Nevada is $52,421, meaning half the families in Nevada have annual income below that figure. So, what does it cost to get the kid’s tonsils removed? ($4,153 to $6,381, with an average cost of $5,442) How about that common childhood injury — the broken arm? Expect this to carve out some $2,500 from the family budget. It the youngster has a chronic condition — asthma, heart problems, diabetes,etc. the price, of course goes up, and up and up. We’re not talking here about “people who won’t lift a finger.” we’re discussing families — working families who are hard pressed to find the resources to pay for medical treatment for their children. And now we come to the place where Hatch and Grassley’s perspectives merge in a miserable view of humanity.
What these members of the US Senate are doing is using the old Reagan Era “Welfare Queen” mythology to camouflage their contempt for their fellow Americans.
“They” just want everything done for them. “They” won’t lift a finger. “They” are cheating me out of my money. It’s never something like the single mother of a six year old who has asthma having to maintain a family budget while keeping up with the costs of inhaler medication. Nor, do we hear much about the family in which both parents are working two jobs to keep close to that $52,421 number, and who are coping with a youngster with diabetes. Well, well, sputter the solons, we weren’t speaking of Them. Of course not. And, I’m assured they weren’t talking about children suffering with cerebral palsy or other chronic conditions with serious financial implications for the family. So, who are they talking about? The hard truth is that they aren’t talking about anyone!
They aren’t talking about real people. They are talking about that imaginary Great Unwashed, who are Welfare Queens, who are urban — and probably African American. The subject of the Hatch-Grassley fears are highly generalized, mostly mythological, nearly always racist, ideas about the Undeserving Poor, who don’t “lift a finger.” People, whose stories would touch our hearts and stir our empathy, are ignored in favor of painting with the broadest spray can nozzle possible a picture of urban, black, moral decay from which white America may safely distance itself.
They can (almost) manage some sympathy for the poor white families in remote areas of America. However, mention cities, and the racism kicks in. It’s a hard and tragic thing to see the loss of employment in mining regions but no such sympathy is extended to the members of minority communities who languish in the Rust Belt. However, even that small instance of empathy is victim to Republican ideas of virtue. Those afflicted with opioid addition in those former mining regions may be unemployable because of their addictions, but by Republican lights must be employed in order to qualify for treatment. In short, they can’t win for losing.
The Republican Party, once the party of progressive legislation, and even later of fiscal conservatism, has devolved into the party of racists, radicals, and unreasonable shills for corporate interests. It’s a sad state of affairs. And, a sadder commentary on the political discourse of contempt.