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6 Ways the Rich Are Waging a Class War Against the American People

Denying the very existence of an entire class of citizens? That's waging some very real warfare against them.

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Smearing those who face real structural barriers to achievement or who will inevitably face real and random misfortunes in a “dynamic,” capitalist society – that's some real class warfare. Here are six excellent examples of the form.

1. Registering the Poor to Vote is 'UnAmerican'

Matthew Vadum is a very special wingnut. His current pre-occupation is attacking Zombie ACORN -- an organization that sane people know to have been killed off last year by James O'Keef's selectively-edited videos but which Vadum insists is alive and well and looking to undermine America by organizing poor communities.

Vadum recently wrote a very special column in The American Thinker , in which he railed against efforts to get poor people registered to vote. What made the column noteworthy is that Vadum skipped the usual conservative blather about “voter fraud” – a problem that's virtually nonexistent – and offered a refreshingly honest take on the subject. The problem, according to Vadum, is that “the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery.”

Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country -- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

Rarely has so much wrongness been packed into so few words. Less than half of those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – the most significant anti-poverty program remaining in our welfare system after the Clinton-era “reforms” – are unemployed. About a quarter work jobs that earn poverty wages, and the rest aren't in the workforce because they're disabled, caring for a relative or they're children. In fact, almost half (48.1 percent) of all TANF families receive benefits only for the kids, not the adults. It's true that children are, in strictly economic terms, “nonproductive,” but they will be productive someday, and more so if they receive adequate nutrition, housing, health care and the like.

The other problem with this argument is the idea that the poor vote for “redistributionist politicians.” First, because all politicians are ”redistributionist” – it's what government does – and second, because, as Martin Gilens discovered, while Americans hate the word “welfare,” large majorities – 71 percent of Americans; not just the poor – believe that spending on anti-poverty programs should be increased (as long as you don't call it welfare).

Contrary to Vadum's beliefs, there is only a small number of true reactionaries who desire to live in a society that doesn't care for the poor and disabled, and it is in fact they who are “profoundly antisocial.”

2. Unemployment Benefits Have Created a 'Nation of Slackers'

Media Matters says, “It's taken three years, but America has finally graduated from being 'a nation of whiners' in 2008 to 'a nation of slackers' in 2011 — at least, that's what Rep. Steve King (R-IA) believes we've accomplished.” King, a right-winger's right-winger, took to the floor of the House to deliver this word-salad:

The former speaker of the House, Speaker Pelosi, has consistently said that unemployment checks are one of those reliable and immediate forms of economy recovery, that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you pay people not to work, and they will go out and spend that money immediately, therefore we should pass out unemployment checks and stimulate the economy. That statement is ridiculous where I come from, Mr. Speaker. To pay people not to work, and somehow in that formula it stimulates the economy.…

 
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