Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Rule of Accumulated Disadvantage

The rule of accumulated disadvantage causes one disadvantage to kick other disadvantages into play, compounding them and leveraging them against you.

Voting is one advantage all Americans are supposed to be born with. They get the vote at adulthood and surrender it at death. All equal. But as Orwell’s pig observed, all may be equal but some are more equal than others. It’s the mission of one of our political parties to suppress the vote, because a full electorate would not vote for them. Imprisoning the poor is one method. Discouraging the poor is another. Misleading them, threatening them, miscounting them, gerrymandering them. Lots of ways of cutting the poor voter out of things. Killing them is seldom spoken about, but deliberate policies can ensure that the poor will die young.

This recent study shows how earlier deaths among black voters decreased black turnout by a million in 2004. A million more living voters of color would have changed the outcome in several recent elections. In a good way. And poverty doesn't kill without careful instructions in terms of public policy. Industrial poisons seldom rain on Bel Air or Boca Raton. The Republican Party is damn sure the medical profession will never look at gun deaths as a public health problem. All these poisonous policies flow from the election of politicians who don’t care about the poor because they are employed by the rich.

There are maps of life expectancy in Chicago and Los Angeles and elsewhere that have a strong race and poverty correlation. Experts are not ignorant about this but the public is.

Republicans, of course, prefer to look on the bright side: if poor people die earlier they cost less. In their philosophy if you ignore a problem it doesn’t cost any money. And if it doesn’t cost any money it doesn’t exist.

Race does put you in a safe box or an unsafe one. Race can mark you as less equal than others. Even if you are a law enforcement professional, if you are black you are the enemy, you are the suspect.

Meanwhile, Republicans, acting on the beliefs of their billionaire clients, do whatever they can to limit government spending, especially that spending not directed toward large corporate contractors but directed at alleviating poverty and its associated ills. Fixable problems like poisonous environment, poor health, poor education, poor food, prejudiced policing and justice. Republicans would like “Charity” to handle all that “stuff.” They love charity, but hate government spending, which requires taxes.

Speaking of taxes and charity.

Billionaires get enormous tax deductions for “giving to charity.” What exactly is a charity? It’s whatever the billionaire wants to give to. Like an exclusive club for their Princetonian children to eat and entertain in.

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