March 17, 2013

Conservatives and poverty

My imagined dialogue between a person struggling to make ends meet and an average conservative voter.

Poor person:  I am struggling to make ends meet and that means that my family doesn't always have good food to eat.  We often skip meals, in fact.

Conservative voter:  You need to get a job and stop expecting others to take care of you.

PP: I have a job.  In fact, I have two.

CV:  Oh.  Then you need a better job or to ask for a raise.

PP:  I would love more money while working.  Perhaps we could raise the minimum wage?

CV:  No, that inconveniences people with money.  You should go to school and get better trained.

PP:  I would love to.  Can you help me get affordable loans and affordable tuition?

CV:  No.

PP:  Ok, in the meantime, could you assist me with some food stamps or TANF?

CV:  No, that is bad for you.

PP:  But I am working hard and trying to do the right thing by my family.  Why is that not enough?

CV:  Life isn't fair.  Sorry to be you.

PP:  I see a Jesus fish on your car.  Don't you believe that Jesus told you to help people like me?

CV:  I am helping people like you learn self-reliance and hard work.  I am helping those who have money because they have earned it and are not asking for a handout.

PP:  you mean like tax breaks for the wealthy people who have expensive horses or private jets?

CV:  You should not envy people who have more than you.

PP:  sigh.

PP:  Ok, what about healthcare?  My wife is sick and the bills are really adding up.

CV:  Healthcare is for the people who can afford it.  We don't let people die on the street here.  You can go to the emergency room.

PP:  but that is stupid.  My wife has a chronic illness that requires expensive medicines.  And our children have no healthcare coverage.

CV:  Stop asking for socialism.  You shouldn't have had kids if you couldn't afford to take care of them.

PP:  Should we have had that abortion?

CV:  Of course not.  You should have more money and the ability to take care of your family.

PP:  Sigh.


steves said...

I think that some conservatives just don't see it this way. To them, poor people are poor because they are lazy. Some of them claim to see people with Bridge cards (food stamps) buying lobster and taking it back to their house and watching their 60 in plasma TV or some other stupid shit.

While I know there is some people that abuse the system, I think that some conservatives really have no idea what it is like.

Streak said...

Yeah, I know. I was trying to communicate that idea that conservatives blame the poor for being poor. This has long roots in American history, perhaps going back all the way to the founding. Certainly it was part of the Gospel of Wealth to address issues of poverty in the early Industrial period. I am kind of stunned at how much it persists.