“If you’re a healthy adult and don’t have someone relying on you to care for them, you ought to earn the benefits you receive. Look for work. Start job training to improve your skills or do community service. But you can no longer sit on your couch or ride a surfboard like Jason in California and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you.”
— Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, one of the 217 Republicans who just voted to approve a program that would slash $40 billion in food stamps and nutritional aid over the next decade
These people seriously hate the poor. It’s one thing to argue that someone should do everything in his or her power to find work and should be prevented from gaming the system at the taxpayer’s expense. It’s another thing entirely to assume that millions of people are doing this and to cite one asshole who Fox News went out, dug up and splashed all over the air as proof. Republicans live off this kind of baseless paranoia: that the government is coming for their guns; that Sharia law is going to begin replacing the Constitution; that the social safety net is nothing but a giant scam that’s exploited by the lazy and shiftless at the expense of the perpetually victimized producing class.
A while back I got into a conversation with a conservative friend of mine over dinner and he asked me why I don’t get angry, the way he does, about working hard and paying taxes only to have some people purposely do nothing and essentially live off my dime. I told him that I look at it the way Sir William Blackstone looked at capital punishment: it’s better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to suffer. I’d rather make sure that the little kid whose family can’t afford groceries or a roof over their heads has something to eat and a place to live than be selfishly satisfied that a few con artists are being sufficiently punished. I don’t think this makes me a liberal or any other political designation. It makes me fucking human.
You want to fix the system, that’s fine. But don’t do it by essentially pushing a bunch of people out of the lifeboat and hoping it’ll somehow suddenly teach them how to swim. And if you do, don’t you dare pretend to be doing it to “help” them.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.