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When Right-Wing Blather Killed

Irish Catholics peddling nonsense about "dependency on government" need to read a new history of the Great Famine.

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Even today, a key obstacle to a public works jobs program in this long recession is the Republican delusion that such measures coddle slackers; that only job creators, not government, can help the poor. Unfortunately, some Democrats, including at times the president, have been unwilling to identify such arguments as the ancient defense of privilege that when unchallenged has led to tragedies like famine Ireland. Maybe Romney’s defeat, and the subsequent right-wing freak out over  “dependence,” can awaken more people to the contempt and cruelty behind their politics.


Joan Walsh is Salon's editor-at-large, and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." Read more of her work at Salon.

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