New Orleans Lucky thing I don’t have the big head, or I would think the folks running the editorial pages for the Times were reading my blogs. How could it be coincidence that today, just as an example, one editorial quotes me almost exactly, and Paul Krugman, the columnist and Nobel Prize winner in economics, also picks up my recent refrain about the “war on the poor?” The truth is simply that the points that I’m making and that they are making are coincidentally aligned largely because they have quickly become so obvious that they have magically crossed the line into something close to common knowledge and broad consensus.
Krugman of course makes some of my same points, like the fact that expenditures for Medicaid that undergird health coverage for the poor and food stamps that not only fill stomachs assuring better health, but also make people more productive, so that both essentially pay back the expenditures of public funds, but he makes the points with more authority. Doing so allows Krugman to state flatly what is my mind and most others willing to grapple with these issues that are targeting our people, when he says,
So what’s really behind the war on the poor? Pretty clearly the pain this war will inflict is a feature, not a bug. Trump and his friends aren’t punishing the poor reluctantly, out of the belief that they must be cruel to be kind. They just want to be cruel.
Bam! Hard to argue with that professor!
Having set the stage by questioning the voodoo economics that seeks to rationalize cuts in food, housing, and health for the poor as founded on sustainability or economics, Krugman twists the knife. He quotes a report by a Times’ reporter saying “Mr. Trump, aides said, refers to nearly every program that provides benefits to poor people as welfare, a term he regards as derogatory.” Got it? This has been a project of the Republicans and the fight for fifty years, and we’ve been unable to counter it, but that’s a topic for another day.
Meanwhile Krugman drops the mic in his final paragraph saying,
Seriously, a lot of people both in this administration and in Congress simply feel no empathy for the poor. Some of that lack of empathy surely reflects racial animus. But while the war on the poor will disproportionately hurt minority groups, it will also hurt a lot of low-income whites – in fact, it will surely end up hurting a lot of people who voted for Trump. Will they notice?
That’s our job. Making sure they do notice, and then vote like their lives depend on it.
Please enjoy John Prine’s Knockin’ On Your Screen Door.
Thanks to KABF.