July 27, 2019 | Reading Time: 2 minutes
Say what needs saying
Note: Please do your part. Support the Editorial Board. It costs less than Starbucks every day! —— I felt uneasy after writing a few weeks ago that the Republican Party wants to kill you. That’s a pretty shocking thing to say, and I thought I might have gone too far. But then something happened. The…
Note: Please do your part. Support the Editorial Board. It costs less than Starbucks every day!
I felt uneasy after writing a few weeks ago that the Republican Party wants to kill you. That’s a pretty shocking thing to say, and I thought I might have gone too far. But then something happened.
The Trump administration announced this week that it was going to change the rules so that fewer people are eligible for food stamps. How many fewer? More than 3 million Americans.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the rationale for the rule tightening is to save money. From Reuters: “Trump has argued that many Americans now using SNAP do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment, and should be removed as a way to save taxpayers as much as $15 billion.”
It’s one thing to take food out of kids’ mouths. It’s another thing to insult them while doing it. This party gave away billions to the rich and corporations with a new tax law. Now it’s placing a sudden worry about spending on the backs of hungry people. That’s not just neglect resulting in bad outcomes.
That’s setting out to punish poor people for being poor.
I’ll close by quoting my friend Marty Longman. While GW Bush saw some room for government in the lives of Americans, the current president is something else: “He’s more about starving people.“
Final note: On Friday, I tried to find a middle ground between pro and anti-impeachment camps. Basically, we should not miss the forest of accountability through the trees of impeachment.
By that, I mean the point is justice. Impeachment is one way. There are other ways if we are brave. We can’t know if impeachment will hurt or help the Democrats in 2020. Let’s move ahead, slowly, as we should, but let’s not lose sight of what really matters: holding a criminal president accountable.
Click here to subscribe and read Friday’s piece. THANKS! —JS
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.
I agree with your assessment entirely. The GOP’s policies will kill people. Their policies *have* killed people. The failure to implement Medicaid expansion has, by one estimate, resulted in 16,000 avoidable deaths. I’d offer another, conceptually adjacent frame: Compared to Democrats, Republicans have an entirely different view of their affirmative obligations, of what constitutes a (moral) crime of commission versus omission.
Republicans an affirmative obligation to protect special interests, primarily big business, oligarchs (foreign and domestic), the NRA, and evangelical Christians. Anyone who gets them elected, keeps them in power, and enriches them personally. Without question, those affirmative obligations result in people dying. They don’t see a positive role for government in anyone’s life, so they don’t see policies that harm people as actually harmful.
Democrats, on the other hand, have an affirmative obligation to help people whenever possible, within the many constraints of the political, cultural, and electoral systems of the United States. They’re not entirely blameless or free from the sway of powerful interests. But it’s genuinely mystifying to Democrats why Republicans don’t see themselves as having *any* affirmative obligations to their own constituents outside culture war issues — which they leverage for power at the expense of the people they’re supposed to represent.
What Democrats see as a crime of commission, Republicans see as a simple omission — an irrelevant one at that.
It used to be the Republicans would want to limit government assistance to the “deserving poor.” which was some kind of code to lower-class white people. Now the Trump government has decided the poor aren’t deserving of government assistance. The dichotomy here is that many of Trump’s die-hard “Send Her Back!” supporters are among those that will suffer from the Trump government’s war on the poor. It all goes back to Calvinism. There are The Elect and The Damned. Sadly, many of the white portion of The Damned don’t understand they will always be the lower class because marching in neo-Nazi parades doesn’t get one into an Ivy League school. As for killing the poor, it simply doesn’t matter to The Elect. To The Elect, there is an assumption that there will be an endless pool of people desperate to wash their dishes and empty the trash–after all, they breed like rats. Don’t believe me? Google Louise Linton.