fresh voices from the front lines of change







I honestly don't know how we can survive as a country with leadership this absurd:

"We're opposed to it and we're not going to have any part of it," [Iowa Gov. Terry] Branstad said. "But we're taking our own approach. We want to put our own effort together to be the healthiest state, and we're willing to help people who are willing to help themselves. But we're certainly not going to buy into this federal effort. We're going to fight it in every way we can."

"We don't believe the federal government when they say they're going to pay the whole cost of this for the next three years," Branstad added, "because the federal government is dead broke."

Really? Well, I guess he's assuming a Romney win, in which case the feds probably will repeal the plan or he's talking to his own pals in the Party who are promising to squeeze it the first chance they get. Either way, the federal government is not dead broke --- it can't be dead broke --- but the Republicans (and some very stupid Democrats) are acting like it is. Maybe he could have a word with them about it on the QT.

I'd be plenty worried about what they mean by "helping people to help themselves." I'm guessing if you're a member of the working poor and you "help yourself" by giving up every single thing that makes your life livable, the freedom loving wingnuts might grant you a measly voucher to buy some vitamins. But they'll own you -- drug tests will probably be the least of it.

These are many people, remember, who think like this:

I don't believe people are going to bed hungry. Do you know how much, do you ever go shopping? I go sometimes but I hate it. Do you ever go? … you can get, for instance I have friends of mine who eat rice and beans all the time. Beans protein, rice. Inexpensive. You can make a big pot of this for a week for negligible amounts of money and you can feed your whole family.

Look, you should have vegetables and fruit in there as well, but if you need to survive you can survive off it. It's not ideal but you could get some cheap meat and throw in there as well for protein. There are ways to live really, really cheaply.

That was multi-millionaire celebrity Sean Hannity. (And let's not forget the perennial "they have refrigerators and TVs! They don't deserve any help until they are living in a cardboard box --- and even then…")

The problem with Medicaid is that it's going to poor people and Republicans just don't have any sympathy for them. Sure, it makes no sense to have your own government spend more money on emergency room care than on a health care plan the feds will completely pay for, but many of these people genuinely think it's a moral hazard to allow the working poor to have any help because it makes them dependent and lazy. Just look at the hideous stuff they say about the unemployed even in an economy with nearly 10% unemployment.

It's not just that a lot of our fellow Americans have no empathy, although they don't. It's that many of them are actively hostile to people they believe are taking their tax dollars and refusing to "earn" the benefits they themselves believe they have earned. These are often people who are on the dole in one way or another themselves. It's a conceit of white privilege and it hasn't gone away yet.

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