Why do Republicans Want to Punish the Poor?

I have to confess that I would rather be rich than poor. Being poor is not much fun. You don’t get to collect antique cars and travel to exotic destinations. You don’t get to eat at gourmet restaurants and drink vintage wines. It’s a bummer.

But why do Republicans despise the less fortunate? Why is the party of the rich so intent on punishing the poor?

Just because you’re down on your luck doesn’t make you a bad person. If you and your family have to sleep in your 20-year-old car or crowd into a dingy motel room, why shouldn’t the government give you a hand up? With luck, you’ll soon get a job and live in a nice house, send your kids to school, eat out once in a while – and pay taxes once again.

No, you won’t be able to collect antique cars, travel to exotic destinations or dine at exclusive restaurants. Not unless you win the lottery (and you shouldn’t be wasting your money on lottery tickets if you’re sleeping in your car). But you will be contributing to the economy.

So why do Republican politicians want to punish you when you’re going through a bad patch?

Why do they want you and your family to go hungry? Why do they want you to go without medical care if you’re sick?

What am I to make of the following report from Bloomberg’s Michelle Fay Cortez?

About 5.2 million Americans will be left without health coverage because of the decision by 26 U.S. states to reject expanded Medicaid insurance programs for the poor with money provided under Obamacare.

The states that Ms. Cortez is talking about are all governed by Republicans, and – as I’m sure you know – Republicans hate Obamacare. But why would they punish the poor to spite the President?

There’s got to be more to it than just hatred of President Obama. Republicans must hate the poor, too.

Look at the voter suppression laws embraced by Republican state legislatures. Look at the way these states deprive poor women of birth control and other preventive health care. Look at the Republican assault on food stamps, Head Start, Social Security, Medicare, even Meals on Wheels.

Obviously, racism is in play here because a lot of poor Americans are non-white and the war on the poor is most ferocious in the South. But in this austere economy people from all backgrounds are down on their luck. I read that there are more white families on food stamps than African-Americans and Hispanics these days.

Republicans might tell you that poor folks are shiftless, but the heads of today’s food stamp families often have a job. Some have more than one job. In this “free market” (which Republicans love), they just don’t make enough money to feed their kids.

Curiously, a lot of Republicans claim to be devout Christians. And these folks are among the most fervent opponents of government programs for the poor.

The Family Research Council’s Kenneth Blackwell, for example, insists there is “nothing more Christian” than kicking 4 million people off food stamps, and the group’s leader, Tony Perkins, recently argued that the government shouldn’t care for the poor.

They claim the Bible tells Christians to oppose government help for poor people. That’s up to private charities, they insist.

So they’re telling us the government should make sure there are lots of poor people so the rich can be more charitable?

Good luck with that.

Click here for the Bloomberg article.

Click here for the Family Research Council report.