White Citizens Councils, the political wing of the Klu Klux Klan, detested federal taxes because they were used to promote economic fairness for blacks in the South. Government spending on economic opportunity had upset the pre-existing racialized economic order. So in speech after speech, Reagan promised to “turn back the clock” and won in a landslide.
Once in office, Reagan did as promised. He re-constructed a system which took money from the employed poor and working class—who are disproportionately black and brown—and gave it to a mostly white minority who were already wealthy.
The result of Reagan’s policies—which were turbocharged under George W. Bush—is that the top 1 percent have a greater share of national income than at any point in American history. And 97 percent of the top 1 percent are white. Yet poverty is stuck at decades-high levels. One out of three blacks and one out of four Latinos is poor.
Reagan’s policies, largely followed by his predecessors in both parties, have left us a country where a child born in poverty in any other advanced economy on the planet has a better chance of becoming rich than one born in the United States.
This is blatantly wrong to the vast majority of Americans, regardless of race. They would not allow this injustice to stand, if spoken to plainly about it.
But since Reagan’s success in winning office off of white supremacist notions, the U.S. has struggled to be honest with itself about the racial impact of its economic choices. The trouble is that you can’t solve a problem that you don’t admit exists.
Where is my “slow clap” gif?
Former Governor and Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson’s son Jason Thompson says at a brunch “we have an opportunity” to send Obama back to Chicago or Kenya.”
What is most obnoxious about the Welfare Queen myth is that it is traced directly back to Ronald Reagan, who was indulging in gleeful hyperbole to outrage his Republican base. It has probably done more than any other conservative talking point in living memory to encourage Americans to be cruel to their neediest neighbors, even when some of those Americans are receiving some form of government assistance themselves. Stupid Uncle Bonzo.What Reagan actually said, according to Wikipedia: “During his 1976 presidential campaign, Reagan would tell the story of a woman from Chicago’s South Side arrested for welfare fraud: ”She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”The real life inspiration, according to Wikipedia: ”In 1976, the New York Times reported that a woman from Chicago, Linda Taylor, was charged with using four aliases and of cheating the government out of $8,000. She appeared again in the newspaper while the Illinois Attorney General continued investigating her case. The woman was ultimately found guilty of “welfare fraud and perjury” in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.”So one woman scammed the government out of a total of eight thousand dollars andgot caught and sentenced. From this one woman’s situation, Reagan creatively invented multiple imaginary dead fake veteran husbands (not true), a six-figure “annual salary” ($8,000 is four digits and not enough to live on for a year), a dozen fake Social Security cards (not correct), 80 aliases (no) and 30 fake home addresses (also no) and so on…in short, he created the Welfare Queen stereotype by wildly exaggerating information about a real person who got caught doing something wrong and who was punished for her criminal act.Right from the beginning, when Reagan first told the infamous Welfare Queen story, there wasn’t anyone who actually got away with welfare fraud in real life! One middle-aged woman inspired Reagan’s anecdote, and she got caught! She was punished! That fairy tale The Gipper told us has led to a lot of misery, most of it directed at the weakest members of our society: those who are the least capable of defending themselves. Are we a country of unkind assholes who lack compassion for our neighbors, now?
The same people who believe in the Welfare Queen myth also believe that people on government assistance are out blowing all that “free money” on iPhones, fancy shoes and lobster. In truth, the government provides pre-paid phones to low-income people who take part in welfare-to-work programs. When is the last time you spotted a payphone in the wild? (Was it in working order?) The government provides phones to people so they can apply for jobs. It is a bit difficult to hang out around the last surviving payphone in your area (again, if there is one) all day hoping an employer will call you. (What is more likely to happen if you hover around a payphone all day long is that the local police will assume you are selling drugs.) The government also provides phones because it needs these people to check in often and make sure that they are actually applying for work, because if they are not actively participating in job training or trying to find work, they lose the few benefits they qualify for.Are you feeling the urge to gnash your teeth and shake your fist about so-called “Obamaphones” now? It’s such a crazy liberal idea, loaning poor people a phone to use! It was particularly smart of Obama to travel back in time to the mid-1980s to start a program that helped low-income people afford telephone service. Wait…what?Except, again, as we have learned, Linda Taylor didn’t get away with anything. Ultimately she served years in jail and paid restitution. Crime did not pay. Gut social programs anyway! Better ten thousand starving children and babies than the chance that one woman get a penny more of “our” tax dollars than she is entitled to…even though over 91% of all government assistance recipients are the elderly, the disabled, children and the working poor (so much for the idea of an army of shiftless welfare recipients sitting at home on the couch, eating government cheese and food stamp-purchased bonbons all day).This suggests that the Welfare Queen archetype and the distorted view of Black Americans on welfare is well-entrenched in the White American psyche. The majority of welfare recipients are non-urban and White. The majority of food stamp recipients have jobs or are children, so comparing paychecks to food stamps makes no sense.”Let’s get this one thing straight: there are no Welfare Queens out there driving Cadillacs, having five kids specifically to get extra financial benefits from the government, getting free iPhones, and somehow getting rich off “your” money. NONE. There never were.h/t: Addicting Info
None of this is about his birth certificate. David Remnick summed it up well in April 2011:
The cynicism of the purveyors of these fantasies is that they know very well what they are playing at, the prejudices they are fanning: that Obama is foreign, a fake, incapable of writing a book, incapable of intellectual achievement. Let’s say what is plainly true (and what the President himself is reluctant to say): these rumors, this industry of fantasy, are designed to arouse a fear of the Other, of an African-American man with a white American mother and a black Kenyan father. Obama, as a politician, is clearly not a radical; he is a center-left pragmatist. If anything, he believes deeply in his capacity to lead with subtle diplomacy and political maneuvering, with a highly realistic sense of the possible; in fact, to many he is maddeningly pragmatic.
The one radical thing about Barack Obama is his race, his name. Of course, there is nothing innately radical about being black or having Hussein as middle name; what is radical is that he has those attributes and is sitting in the Oval Office.
~~~Dog-whistling “Dixie.” Here we speak of Romney’s linguistic outreach to those Republicans for whom the Civil War never ended. During the campaign for the Iowa caucuses (which Romney lost to former U.S. senator Rick Santorum, himself a master-race-baiter), Romney unveiled his nativist, dog-whistling strategy for the general election. Chauncey DeVega unpacked an awkward bit of Romney phrasing, delivered during the heat of the Republican presidential primary:Mitt Romney wants to ” keep America America .” The dropping of one letter from the Ku Klux Klan’s slogan, “Keep America American,” does not remove the intent behind Romney’s repeated use of such a virulently bigoted phrase. While Mitt Romney can claim ignorance of the slogan’s origins, he is intentionally channeling its energy.During that same period, Romney also debuted, in more subtle form, the notion of Obama as not quite American, contending that the president “doesn’t understand America.” […]
Cornell Students Using ‘Trayvon’ As A Racial Slur
The Sigma Pi fraternity at Cornell University threw objects and made a reference to the late Trayvon Martin at black students Sunday morning, according to the school’s Cornell Daily Sun.
Sophomore student Beverly Fonkwo was walking home with her friend when a group from the fraternity group’s house began to throw items at them. When Fonkwo and her friend asked them to stop twice, Fonkwo said the group continued to toss the objects and responded by saying, “Come up here, Trayvon” and other racial comments.
“I feel like it was targeted and racially motivated, we felt very threatened,” Fonkwo told the Daily Sun. “Meanwhile, the assailants were just laughing at the whole situation until we called the police and then they ran inside.”
Sigma Phi President Zach Smith told the Daily Sun that one person has been identified by the fraternity as the person throwing the bottles, but was not a member of the fraternity.
Cornell Chief of Police Kathy Zoner confirmed Fonkwo’s story, but could not disclose more information on the ongoing investigation, which is led by Ithaca Police.