Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Do Republicans Believe Spending Dedicated To Helping People Is Wrong?

According to new information (reported by VOX) anti-poverty spending does far more good than we’ve been told. Why do Republicans hate helping the poor? Maybe it’s their way of looking at things. If you measure everything in dollar terms, obligation is bad, therefore irresponsibility is good; spending is bad, therefore not spending is good.

Republicans, believing what corporate lobbyists tell them, assess problems in dollar terms too. If you spend a lot of money on a problem it’s a big problem. If you spend no money on a problem it’s not a problem at all. They choose the second approach. Problems which no money is spent on don’t exist. Poor and sick people die more quickly, quietly and (above all) more cheaply if you limit their access to healthcare. If you can use their health problems to extract maximum profits out of them that’s not a problem either, that’s a good thing. But obligation to heal people is expensive and therefore a problem.

Food benefits to poor people are a relatively small part of government spending but if you don’t know any poor people it seems like an easy item to cut when you’re trying to maximize tax benefits to your wealthy contributors and the people you golf with. From where the average Republican lives you hardly notice children going hungry. If it causes them to do poorly in school you can tell yourself it’s their moral failure. If they have to work three minimum wage jobs to feed their kids you can say that is a measure of high morality. By refusing to give them a food subsidy you are doing them a favor by making them better people. They're setting a better example for the children they are never home to see or interact with.

The effectiveness of anti-poverty spending isn’t measured in the same way on the Republican side. It’s not effective if it helps poor people because the good done by spending is not measured by the Republican accountant unless that money is spent in an upward direction. Money spent on people down the income scale is measured as a negative, the way accountants measure employee pay and benefits. The good we do in life almost always subtracts from profits.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, the capitalist utopia, where corporate tax cuts bloom like sunflowers and there are no public needs because there is no money to spend on public needs… a governor is hurting. Poor pitiful him. (The whole sad story is in the Kansas City Star.)

Brownback isn't the only example of Republican nuttiness. There's Dan Burton, former Republican senator from Indiana, now a lobbyist for bogus science and cult worship. (Reported in Forbes.)

The Republican Right seems to be certifiably insane. It believes the best way to fiscal responsibility is to cut taxes. The best way to make a fair society is to make sure all tax liability falls on people who work 9-5 jobs. And the best way to handle healthcare is to make sure it’s unaffordable for sick people and poor people so they die more quickly, cheaply and quietly.

And the best medicine apparently isn’t the kind pioneered by Pasteur and Salk and the other lifesaving scientists who delivered us from mass epidemics. Republicans used to be a practical and sensible lot. A bit stodgy and stingy but sound. Now they are represented by fruitcakes and sociopaths and hypocrites. A sad end to the once progressive party of Lincoln and T.R.

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