Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Reverse New Deal: Obstructing access to food, water, shelter, and healthcare

Obstructing Access to Food:

Our political "leaders" in Congress--those "rudderless bunch of idiots" with the record low approval ratings--have been working feverishly to deprive low-income Americans of food assistance. They've scaled back food stamps, lowered funding for Meals on Wheels, and scolded the idea that low-income children should receive free or reduced-price school lunches.

(New Deal policymakers felt that food was important for all Americans. That's why they facilitated the serving of 1.2 billion school lunches to America's schoolchildren, made sure that men in the Civilian Conservation Corps were well fed, and distributed food to low-income Americans via a surplus commodities program. WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.) 

Obstructing Access to Water:

The city of Detroit has shut off water to many of its low-income residents who have fallen behind on their bills (but, apparently, they have not shut off water to businesses that have fallen behind on their bills). 

This is probably a sign of things to come. As income & wealth inequality grows, and water becomes more scarce, sociopathic behavior by those in power will likely increase.

(New Deal policymakers felt that water was important for all Americans. That's why they paid unemployed workers to install 16,000 miles of new waterlines, 420,000 water consumer connections, and 4,000 new water wells. Above, WPA workers are installing water mains in Wicomico County, Maryland, 1940. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)

Obstructing Access to Shelter:

In Kansas, where massive tax-cuts-for-the-rich have busted the state's budget, a homeless shelter is having its state funding cut in half. Hence, it will soon be closing so that rich Kansans can retain their unnecessary tax breaks. And, to add insult to injury, super-wealthy Kansans did not create many jobs in return for their tax breaks. Kansas lags far behind their neighboring states (states with higher taxes on the wealthy) in job creation...highlighting, yet again, the failure of trickle-down economics.

(See, for example, "What's The Matter With Kansas And Its Tax Cuts? It Can't Do Math" and "Budget Cuts Force Homeless Shelter To Close As Tax Breaks Go To Wealthy Kansans")

In addition to the trickle-down foolishness occurring in Kansas, we know that many laws criminalizing homelessness have been instituted across the nation. The homeless have also frozen to death, been beaten to death by thrill killers, and had their belongings stolen and/or destroyed by law enforcement.

(New Deal policymakers felt that shelter was important for all Americans. That's why they created affordable housing, built work camps for homeless people who wanted jobs, and rebuilt areas devastated by natural disasters. WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.) 

Obstructing Access to Healthcare:

Republicans and Tea Partiers--funded by the Koch brothers and inspired by Ayn Rand--have burned the midnight oil trying to figure out how to bar low-income Americans from preventative healthcare. Their most high-profile and deadly action has been to prohibit the expansion of Medicaid in the states they control, even though the federal government would foot the entire bill for the first few years and 90% thereafter. According to a study from Harvard, this will likely result in thousands of low-income Americans living shorter lives. Of course, this is common sense. If you don't have health insurance, you're less likely to visit a doctor (for fear of the bill), and thus less likely to catch problems--like cancer or diabetes--early enough to prevent them from becoming debilitating or deadly.

And, of course, you're less likely to get the medicine you need without health insurance.

(New Deal policymakers felt that healthcare was important for all Americans. That's why they operated health clinics, built hospitals, and hired unemployed nurses to tend to the health needs of low-income Americans. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)


Why are all these things being done to low-income Americans? Because, even as Corporate America (a) sends jobs overseas, (b) replaces workers with machines, (c) lays off thousands of workers to enrich their executives, (d) refuses to give workers a raise, (e) scales back health & retirement benefits, (f) practices employment discrimination against the jobless, (g) engages in all manner of criminal & fraudulent behavior, and (h) bribes politicians to enact laws favorable to them and detrimental to everyone else, millions of Americans continue to buy into the right-wing declaration that all low-income Americans are unskilled "parasites" who don't deserve assistance--and that their low-income status is entirely their own fault. It's akin to blaming a store clerk beating, during a robbery, on the clerk's inability to avoid the beating. In other words, it's an assignment of blame steeped in a callous & cartoonish absurdity.

Historical evidence to the contrary:

If low-income & unemployed Americans are so lazy and unskilled, how did these so-called "lazy" and "unskilled" people accomplish the greatest modernization of American infrastructure in U.S. history during the New Deal years? How did they create & improve thousands of parks that we still enjoy today? Why did Ronald Reagan praise the WPA in his autobiography? Answer: Because the idea that all low-income & unemployed Americans are lazy, unskilled, and entirely to blame for their low-income status, is nothing but politically-motivated bulls&*t.


Welcome to the Reverse New Deal: A persistent, perverted, and misinformed obsession to block low-income Americans from food, water, shelter, and healthcare.  

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