I have been a candidate for office, so I guess you could call me a recovering politician. These are my thoughts, right or wrong; they are mine!
When FDR decided to attack poverty and put an end to the working poor, we had the New Deal. When Truman did it, we got the Fair Deal. Johnson gave us the Great Society.
Trump is giving America the Raw Deal.
We cannot, however, blame Donald Trump for this ramped up war on the poor in modern America. The right as for far too long entrenched itself in a self-absorbed Ayn Rand fantasy that convinces itself of one thing.
Only the rich are worthy. Only wealth is a measure of greatness.
The only golden heart is one made of real gold.
The one true god of the conservative heart is Ayn Rand and Donald Trump is her prophet.
In his actions of supporting a Republican Congress and budget that dismantles the very social welfare safety net that millions of Americans rely on, Trump is signaling one thing.
A unrestricted declaration of war on the working class by the Republican Party
The Myths of poverty and welfare in the United States
Whenever you want to remind yourself of your white privilege or want to see a lot of bitter people, watch Fox.
You will learn several things. First all, your Uncle Steve is not a racist Ass (at least possibly); he is most likely suffering from Stockholm Syndrome from years of Faux News. The last family gathering probably forced you to endure some pretty nasty rumors and downright lies that have gone unchallenged by the Reich Wing of America.
But, like most families blessed or cursed with conservative family members, you can reduce the Thanksgiving working poor debates to about five key points
- Most jobs pay a living wage
- Working harder and longer will pay off
- The low-wage workforce cuts across all populations: race, gender, age
- Most workers in low-wage jobs are young or starting out at the entry level.
- Most employers provide workers with earned sick time after a certain tenure on the job.
By sticking to the spin factory, they have created a narrative that if the working poor is not surviving, it is no one’s fault but the working poor. They did something or did not do something to deserve it.
The Reich wing narrative, they do not deserve a chance. They deserve your contempt.
Calling truth to power for the Working Poor
Let me start off by asking how can you call lazy a group of people that are called “working?”
What does it say that America even has a class of Americans that are designated the “working poor?”
Most jobs pay a living wage
Of the top ten occupations in the US in 2015, only two pay a median salary of over $15.25 an hour: registered nurses and secretaries. The top three are retail sales at $10.47, cashiers at $9.82, and food preparation and serving at $9.09.
Nationwide, more than 11 million people in these occupations alone (mostly women) scramble to sustain families on wages that often fall well below the official federal poverty guidelines.
Many of them find they only cannot survive on these wages, and turn to government programs and private charities for help. A recent study from the Economic Policy Institute estimates that 41 million workers tap public assistance programs such as food stamps, housing subsidies, and cash assistance. Overall, it mounts up to over $200 billion a year in taxpayer dollars.
Working harder and longer will pay off
After years of hard work and long hours, some workers start the climb up the ladder to better jobs. They may become managers of the fast food franchise, or shift supervisors on the line in a plant. They may change from hourly to salaried, and enjoy an increase in benefits and flexibility.
Or not. They may find they’re working more extended hours and seeing their pay shrink per hour. Until the Obama administration recently raised the threshold for overtime pay, the cap had been stuck at $23,600 since 1975. Any salaried worker making more than that would not be compensated at “time and a half” for hours worked beyond 40 per week. This included about 92 percent of the salaried workforce – and brought many more benefits to employers than modestly paid employees.
The low-wage workforce cuts across all populations: race, gender, age
While this has an element of truth, the core reality is that women and people of color do more than their fair share of low-wage work.
The majority of low-wage workers are white, but black and Hispanic workers are far more likely to be in low-wage jobs. More than half (53 percent) of black workers and 60 percent of Hispanic workers earn under $15 an hour. In some states, the numbers are staggering: in North Carolina, three-quarters of Hispanic workers make under $15 an hour.
Despite women representing less than half of the workforce (49 percent), they are well over half (nearly 55 percent) of those earning under $12 an hour. Many low-wage occupations (childcare workers, cashiers) are dominated by women. Even in other professions, however, women make less per hour than do men.
Most workers in low-wage jobs are young or starting out at the entry level.
If you define a “low” wage as under $15 per hour, you’re referring to almost half the workforce in the US.
Today 73 percent of workers earning under $15 per hour nationwide are older than 25. Overall, 58 million workers (44 percent) make under $15 an hour; 42 million earns under $12 an hour. Many are parents of young children. Over 125 million people, including over 31.5 million children, live in households with at least one worker earning under $15 an hour. That’s more than 42 percent of the children in the US. Roughly one-third of parents earning low wages are single parents.
While some workers may find ladders out of low-wage jobs, millions stay in these jobs for their working lives. For example, the median age of the more than 1.4 million home care aides in the US is 45; nearly half graduated high school and had had some college education; the majority work full-time. However, with a median wage of $10.25 an hour, 54 percent live near poverty. This is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the US, projected to increase by 26 percent in the next ten years.
For decades, US workers have faced wage stagnation and a federal minimum wage that has not budged since Congress last raised it in 2009 certainly has not helped. For seven years, it’s been stuck at $7.25 an hour: $290 a week, $15,000 a year. In that time, the cost of groceries has increased 25 percent; rent has risen by 50 percent.
Most employers provide workers with earned sick time after a secure tenure on the job.
Not only is this not true, in a cruel twist of fate, but it also has a disproportionate effect on those who can least afford it. In the private sector, well-paid workers are much more likely to enjoy paid sick leave than low-wage workers: 80 percent of high-wage workers have sick time vs. 15 percent of low-wage workers.
The US is unique among developed nations in not requiring employers to provide sick days. In fact, the law does not even protect workers from being fired if they miss work due to illness. In a recent Oxfam survey, one in seven low-wage women workers reported having lost a job as a result of taking a sick day.
This leaves low-wage workers gingerly walking a tightrope over a vertiginous drop, often holding hands with young children and aging parents, praying that no one will catch a cold, contract the flu, break a bone, or get a stomach bug. Any hitch and they could all be falling toward economic catastrophe: days or weeks without pay can mean missing rent, skimping on groceries, turning off the heat.
The Sleight of Hand and the Conservative “Final Solution”
Corporate Conservatives have no real argument to defend their deliberate dismantling of the social safety net that so many Americans rely on while not offering a single viable alternative solution of their own.
I know that in the end that some will argue that there is fraud on the welfare rolls of this nation. If so, then let’s find realistic ways to fix them. Let’s find reasonable and sustainable ways to end poverty, not just turn our backs.
Our strength must be rooted in our compassion in our fellow citizens. How can anyone in good conscience suggest such draconian cuts while not offering any solution? Just claiming that jobs will be created to offset this is not enough. The last two significant rounds of tax cuts have failed to produce any considerable working class wealth.
The only economic growth has been in the explosive growth of the debt and deficit.
Which in turn prompts Ayn Rand Demon to spawn to once again call for more cuts to the social welfare net.
At this point, no one, not a soul can say that modern Republican economic theory is anything more than the pillage of the middle and lower class by the upper class. We have elected an Administration that has decided the best route to destroy want and poverty in America is to vilify the poor and to create a false narrative blaming them for their plight.
What does it say that we cheer the cruel leader that says that starvation builds character?
The final analysis must conclude with this, you must examine your own humanity cheaply if you are perfectly okay with removing vital services to countless families and children that will starve to save a dollar or two from the mythical welfare queen.
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