Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Republicans think of poor people

Two stories caught my eye yesterday in a rather telling display of what Republicans think if poor people.

The first is what Rep. Steven King said.

KING: As I roll this thing back and I think of American history, there was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spending — to have some skin in the game.

Now we have data out there that shows that 47 percent of American households don't pay taxes, 51 percent of American wage-earners don't have an income tax liability. And it's pretty clear that there are a lot of people who are not in the workforce at all. In fact, of our unemployment numbers — that run in the 13 or 14 million category — when you go to the Department of Labor Statistics and you look at that data, you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age, add that number to the number of those who are on unemployment and you come up with a number that was just a few months ago 80 million Americans. Just over a month ago that number went over 100 million Americans that aren't working.

Now I don't think they're paying taxes. But many of them are voting. And when they vote, they vote for more government benefits.

The first thing to note is that the people Rep. King is talking about DO, in fact, pay taxes. They pay FICA and sales as well as local and state taxes. They just don't pay income taxes because they don't make enough $ to do so. As I've written about before, here's an example from the Tax Policy Center.

Roberton Williams, one of the report’s authors, gives the example of “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400. They get an $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700, and that takes their liability to zero. As he says, “the basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.”

Rep. King thinks that a family of 4 making $26,400 should either pay income taxes or not be allowed to vote. Because, you know, they only base their vote on benefits they would receive and don't have any "skin in the game"... yeah right.

But remember, Rep. King isn't the only Republican pushing this meme about how poor people in this country are getting a free ride. Others who have pushed this idea that they ought to pay federal income taxes include Rep. Cantor, Sen. Hatch, Sen. Cornyn, Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Perry and Mitt Romney.

Sure, they'll fight to the death to make sure rich people don't pay more in taxes. But they're pissed as hell that people making less than $30,000 don't pay more.

And in the second story, we get a peek at why that is so. They think poor people are to blame for their circumstances. Here's what Herman Cain said yesterday.

Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks — if you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!

When asked whether or not the big banks had any responsibility for the number of people who are unemployed and/or poor, his response was to basically say, "Oh, that's SO 2008...catch up, this is 2011!"

So rich folks' greed bankrupted the country, left millions poor and/or unemployed, and now Republicans want to blame them for their situation and suggest that they either pay taxes or don't vote. Quite a scheme they've got going, huh? You swell the number of low income people in this country so that you can claim there are hordes out there who aren't paying their fair share. And then you blame them, suggesting its all their fault.

Wake up America! These are the values and beliefs of the Republican Party that wants your vote in 2012. Class warfare indeed!


  1. Surely, the wealthy never vote benefits for themselves!


  2. Their reasoning is so shallow and inept, even a child could see right through it. It's too bad there aren't more child journalists.

    - trashy

  3. anonymous had a good idea there. And the fact that Rep King is so ill-informed is perfect example of why the male property owner qualification didn't provide for a more intelligent electorate.