A definition: Idiot rural white voters

It seems my last post—or two posts ago—generated a bit of steam. So I wanted to elaborate.

By Idiot Rural White Voters, I mean, well, Idiot Rural White Voters. They’re the ones who think the Republicans are actually talking to them when they refer to “government handouts” and “keep your hands off our paychecks.” So why are they idiots (in this area)? Because the politicians are not talking to them. They’re not even talking around them or above them. Hell, they’re not even in the room.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Keep the government out of our pockets,” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. Hell, anyone who follows this stuff knows no Democratic officeholder (at least any that I know of) have called for middle-class or lower-class tax hikes. This is fact.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Obamacare needs to go! Obamacare needs to go!” they’re talking directly to the health care industry, which—as a whole—donates millions upon millions upon millions to political campaigns, one-off advertising, etc. While Obamacare—in its present mediocre form—is far from perfect (thanks to the demise of a government-provided insurance plan—which, as a guy who pays $1,400 monthly to Blue Cross Blue Shield, I would have loved), it benefits, more than anyone, the lower- and middle-class citizen who has been priced out by the evil (and they are friggin’ evil) health care companies. There is absolutely no reason for a lower- and middle-class American to loathe universal health coverage the way my idiot rural white voters loathe it. I mean, quite literally, it makes no sense. Zero. Zip. None. But they listen and, like sheep, nod. Baaah. Baaah.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Paul Ryan’s plan is the answer!” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. Really, Paul Ryan’s plan is the answer? For many Americans, Medicaid and Medicare and the only available protections. You’ve worked hard your whole life, you lost your job or your sick or … whatever. It’s all you’ve got. So when you see Ryan speaking and nod appreciatively, well, you’re an idiot. Because he’s not speaking to you. Or even about you. He’s just hoping you believe him.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “We need to lower taxes to stimulate job growth,” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. In fact, they are literally gambling on idiot rural white voters being idiot rural white voters. They want you to think lower taxes=jobs for you. No, no, no. First off, all Bush did for eight years was lower taxes. And here we are. Second, by “lower taxes,” what the Republicans are demanding are across-the-board lower taxes. Translation: Tax reductions for corporations and our wealthiest doners, with the hope (which I’m quite certain most of the politicians know won’t come to fruition) that the savings will trickle down. In other words, they’re thinking that if a person worth, oh, $100 million receives a greater tax break, he’ll hire more people. When, in truth, he either (A) Won’t even notice; (B) Will use the money to buy that beach house in Malta.

Look, there are plenty of idiots to go around. White. Black. Republican. Democrat. Me. You. But I am sick and tired of greed ruling the day. There was a time when genuine sacrifice carried this country; when people were willing to give back and actually pay taxes to support to government. There was a time when people believed—as they still should—that the government can be there to help the poor and struggling among us; that there are necessary programs out there.

Something, however, has snapped. We’re a greedy, selfish people. Not all of us, but far too many. We also happen to be gullible beyond belief. Am I disappointed in Barack Obama? In many ways, yes. But at least, I believe, my disappointment is based upon a foundation of righteous ideals. I want a president who helps people; fuck, I want a country that helps people. I want him to ease the burden of the burdened; to think of the struggling first, the big-bellied donors second.

Alas, it doesn’t happen. Even.

We are broken.

30 thoughts on “A definition: Idiot rural white voters”

  1. Private charity is far more efficient than coerced, public charity. The welfare-warfare state cannot continue on its current path. Slash spending, keep taxes the way they are, stop printing funny money and put a stop to government intervention in the economy. The economy is not a class you can master in college, to think otherwise is the pretense of knowledge. The arrogance of Obama, Bush, Bernanke, Greenspan and Geithner to think they can trick the economy into doing what they want! The country will be a better place once the majority finally realize that government does not *actually* create jobs — the private sector does.

    I don’t despise liberals the way you seem to absolutely despise fiscal conservatives — the liberals’ hearts are in the right place w/r/t wanting to help people. What the liberals don’t realize is that the welfare state is not a sustainable model, as we’re witnessing in Europe and are starting to realize in the U.S. The path to prosperity is less government, less debauching of our currency via the Federal Reserve printing press and a cut in the unnecessary government waste that permeates.

  2. the republicans are not demanding tax decreases, they are against raising taxes. We need a real recovery to start before we raise taxes. the real probelm is spending, as nearly all commenters have noted.

  3. If the government doesn’t supply jobs, then what did the New Deal do? What does the armed forces and government-funded programs do? To say the government doesn’t supply any jobs is simply not true.

    And you say the welfare system isn’t working, but how are the Ardic countries doing? Namely, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark? It works when you have the right amount of taxes and an efficient system. We have neither.

  4. From 1933-1986, the top tax bracket was not less than 50%, and in most years was much, much higher.

    So where does this idea that lower taxes on the top earners creates jobs come from? Historical evidence suggests just the opposite, that the country thrived even with the top earners paying much more in taxes.

    Its embarrassing that they’re drawing the line in the sand to ‘protect’ lower taxes for those in the top bracket. Its even more embarrassing that they’ve convinced some of the average joe crowd that this protection is needed and will somehow create jobs. There is simply no evidence to support that claim.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States

  5. “If the government doesn’t supply jobs, then what did the New Deal do? What does the armed forces and government-funded programs do? To say the government doesn’t supply any jobs is simply not true.”

    I’m saying the government doesn’t supply real, lasting jobs. If every citizen was in the army we’d have full employment but nothing to eat. The private sector alone creates lasting, demand-driven jobs. Stimulus created jobs are just another of the many economic bubbles.

    “And you say the welfare system isn’t working, but how are the Ardic countries doing? Namely, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark? It works when you have the right amount of taxes and an efficient system. We have neither.”

    Check the immigration policies on those countries. No one can get into the welfare system there. It doesn’t work in a country like the U.S. which has so many immigrants, illegal or otherwise. The welfare state has failed. Keynesian economic policy has failed. The sooner the people in charge realize it, the better off we’ll be.

    Oh, and to Jeff and anyone else who is actually interested in broadening their horizons, and not merely being a polemic political party cheerleader, I recommend “End The Fed” by Ron Paul and “The Pretense Of Knowledge” by F.A. Hayek. They will help change your outlook on these matters.

    1. James, please tell me you didn’t just suggest Hayek. Please, please tell me you’re kidding.

      One of my biggies is this: Many on the right decry big government; programs don’t work … messy … etc. As the husband and son of women who have devoted their lives to working for not-for-profits, I can tell you—without question—what happens to needed agencies when federal funding dries up: Crippling problems.

      Seriously, the greed is maddening.

  6. To quote Bill Hicks….”I agree with the puppet on the left….well, I agree with the puppet on the right….wait…there’s one guy holding both puppets….”

  7. If we followed Hayek’s economic policy, we wouldn’t be in this economic crisis. The followers of Lord John Maynard Keynes, proponent of excessive government regulation and deficit spending, led us down this road.

    @Jeff: Hayek was a proponent of smaller government as a means to promote freedom of all kinds – social freedom, civil liberties and economic freedom. He wasn’t opposed to non-profits and charity, but he was opposed to government coercion as a means to pay for such organizations.

    The point is that non-profits, etc. are noble and have a wonderful place in the world, but not at the expense of citizens and their hard-earned money. Private charity is the way.

    Paying for the welfare state has debauched the currency via the Federal Reserve something like 97% of its value. Inflation doesn’t just *happen* — the expansion of the money supply by the U.S. government makes it happen. So while you only look at the benefits of the government subsidizing the non-profits, you ignore the deleterious effect of the cost of subsidizing those non-profits. The debauching of the currency has absolutely killed the lower class that your heart (and my heart too, believe it or not) bleeds for. They are the ones hit hardest by inflation. If you take the time to read either of those books I recommended, you might be surprised. I know I was.

    Also, thought you might enjoy this:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

  8. And not that it really matters, but I don’t care for either political party. Political party cheerleading is not my angle here. They’ve both spent and spent like mad men and there’s no end in sight. The current and prior President are both to blame for the welfare-warfare state. Neither is really that much different. I thought Obama would be, but he has been a warmongering, money printing, civil liberties-denying, Executive Branch power increasing, purveyor of corporate welfare just like his predecessor. A true disappointment.

    Also, the $4 trillion in cuts proposed over the next 10 years are a joke. The media is presenting it as some sort of grand cut, but it certainly is not. There would still be a huge annual deficit and continued borrowing from foreign governments. I’d bet money that, if agreed upon, those cuts don’t actually happen. And there’s nothing to stop pols from enacting new spending laws in the meantime, even if the agreed upon cuts do happen. Nothing will change. And the value of the gold I bought 4 years ago (thank you for the advice, Ron Paul!) will continue to skyrocket.

  9. James, you say “Hayek was a proponent of smaller government as a means to promote freedom of all kinds – social freedom, civil liberties and economic freedom.”

    Well then, with all due respect, Hayek was demonstrably full of shit. Look at where this country was, say, 100 years ago before the advent of “big government.”

    Were blacks experiencing social and economic freedom or civil liberties? What about women? What about some 12-year-old kid working in a factory or a man working in a mine trying to feed his family on a couple dollars a week? What about the poor bastards who lost their jobs and life savings in the Depression through no fault of his own and had no safety net to fall back on?

    Big government can be bad when it is dictatorial or turns into a nanny state, but in this country it has a long, proud tradition of protecting people against malfeasance, greed, and bigotry.

    I am all for big government as long as it is effective and looking out for the needs of everyone in society — which, by the way, does NOT describe our current President or Congress, both of whom suck.

  10. @Jim
    Hayek wasn’t racist and promoted social and economic freedom and civil liberties for all. Libertarians desire a color-blind society maximizing freedom. That people were shortsighted 100+ years ago doesn’t mean he was wrong.

    Also, last time I checked the women’s suffrage and civil rights moments were spawned not by big government, but by citizens.

    One more – I’d recommend reading Murray Rothbard on The Great Depression. Hoover amped up government spending during the Depression and made it even worse.

    It boggles my mind that people are so in favor of social freedoms – the right to live their life how they want, marry whomever they want, etc. – and are so against economic freedoms. They are consistent with one another. I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t eat or drink, just like I don’t want them debauching my currency.

    I do like your last point though – both Congress and the President suck.

    1. James, there’s an enormous difference between social “freedoms” and economic “freedoms.” Sans regulation, financially, greed trumps all. That is extremely obvious. And sad.

  11. Maybe not all of us that earn under 50,000 a year aim to be dependent on government resources. Also, not all of us begrudge people that earn more than us for their success or think that the government should be entitled to their money. And there are some of us that don’t want to live in a country that is trillions of dollars in debt or where people are taught that the government will solve all of their problems instead of them learning to deal with their own issues themselves.

    1. Brian, do better. Seriously, I find your points very weak. In fact, you sound exactly like the person I directed the two posts toward. Truthfully, I find your response embarrassing and, not surprising, remarkably unsympathetic. Congrats—you don’t wanna be dependent on government resources. How about the homeless kid who relies on Covenant House for shelter and employment guidance? How about the battered spouse who relies on similar agencies for support? How about the kid born in the ghetto—single parent who doesn’t parent—trying to break out and, God willing, attend college. There are thousands upon thousands of these stories across America—and to people like you, they’re invisible. Because, in your mind, if you don’t need/want help, they shouldn’t either. It’s shameful. Shameful.

      Nobody says government will solve all our problems. In fact, the only people I hear using that line are folks like yourself, trying to bash supposed liberal thinking. What I do believe is that government, used rightly, can—and does—help so many. Personally speaking, I find it fucking repugnant that someone like yourself can callously blame the government for causing people not to “deal with their own issues.” Like abandonment. Like being born into poverty. Like being abused, raped, denied a proper education.

      In fact, enlighten me: NYC’s inner-city schools blow. Not enough resources, not enough funding, not enough quality teachers. Let’s reduce taxes and solve the problem. Show me how. With that good ol’ Can Do! American spirit? Show me …

  12. I just spent five minutes on foxnews.com and read responses from the right on the defeat of the proposed BULB act (which was ludicrous to begin with).

    Jeff…these people are insane. All the govt. is trying to do is to get people to be more energy efficient and to think about our future. You’d think the govt. was trying to take their first born.

    This is what we are dealing with. A population that hates the government (especially a government with a black leader). And for some reason, they think the republicans are the answer.

    My solution: one term for all elected officials. It should not be a lifetime job. Once it becomes that, all you are thinking about is your next election and what votes you will sell your soul for.

    The entire system is corrupt but it will never change because the people who run the system are the only ones who can make the change.

    Sigh…

  13. “How about the homeless kid who relies on Covenant House for shelter and employment guidance? How about the battered spouse who relies on similar agencies for support?”

    All of this is done far more efficiently and effectively by private charity. Which doesn’t bankrupt our country and its citizens.

    Oh, and “sans regulation”? Newsflash — excessive government regulation and intervention *caused* the economic collapse. Unfortunately, the media has brainwashed America into thinking capitalism and free enterprise was the cause when in fact it’s simply not true. Read this book review (and, if you have time, the full book).

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20110704/OPINION12/107040306/George-Will-Burning-down-house

    The supposedly compassionate liberal politicians called for easing of lending standards by the banks, one of the many ways government caused the economic collapse. And they left with their checkbooks stuffed.

    It’s a tragedy. Government causes the economic collapse, claims it didn’t, then continues to pursue the policies that caused it in the first place. The way to prosperity is freedom, of the economic and social variety.

  14. One last thing, then I think I’m done, because the discourse here isn’t based on facts and statistics (similar to the sportswriting of most MSM writers).

    @Jeff

    You spend much of your time here bashing and ripping incompetent politicians from all parts of the political spectrum. And deservedly so! Most all are unprincipled liars, available to the highest bidder (except for Ron Paul, of course). Then in the next breath you call for more spending, higher taxes, bigger government – basically giving more power to these incompetents.

    Does. Not. Compute.

    We should be decreasing the power of our politicians.

  15. Jeff,

    Cities and rural areas are QUITE different. We don’t have homeless in rural areas because we have plenty of land and work to do for people who need work, food and shelter. It’s called charity and we are HELPING those people and we actually see them and look them in the eye.
    In cities, the government STEALS money from your paychecks and redistributes it to people we will never meet. Cities like New York tax the crap out of you. $6.00 each way to cross a bridge that was PAID for with tax dollars. Taxing customers for putting cream cheese on your bagel, and it goes on and on and on.
    All levels of government spend too much. Jeff, I challenge YOU to find out how much your STATE and LOCAL officials average salaries are. You would be appalled. That money is NOT feeding the poor or helping minorities from single parent homes go to college. It is going to people who were OWED political favors and got cushy jobs. Legislatures get to vote on their OWN salary increases.
    I know your heart is in the right place but government is too broke and in my opinion corrupt to create this great Utopian society you envision.
    I think if you really want to change the world Jeff, you should start a charity and you can use this forum to promote it. Educate us on the process of starting a charity and tell us all the forms the government will require you to fill out to get it going. I think it will be interesting reading.

    1. Bobby, did you really just write this? In seriousness?: “We don’t have homeless in rural areas because we have plenty of land and work to do for people who need work, food and shelter. It’s called charity and we are HELPING those people and we actually see them and look them in the eye.”

  16. Jeff–The economic collapse occurred b/c of leverage. Think about it–banks were levered 30 to 1. That means for every three dollars they had, they bet 90.

    If their stocks/investment went down from 90 to 87, they would be completely wiped out. Do you really think that all those Ivy League geniuses on Wall Street would bet money on a proposal where if a stock went down from 90 to 87 they would be completely wiped out?

    But why did they? And why did they get away with it? Because they knew that the Federal Reserve would be their to bail them out. Just like the car industry knew that the goverment would bail them out in the name of “saving jobs.”

    It all goes back to the same source–you have a government that is over-intrusive and many smart billionaires and millionaires have figured out how to use that to their economic benefit.

    Sure funding your wife’s non-profit may not seem like a back-breaker, but it is a symptom of a greater evil–a big government that gets played like a fiddle time and again by the wise and connected. You want big government? Get ready for big inflation and an even bigger wealth disparity. Which ultimately hurts the people you think big government will help.

    That is why Ron Paul is the answer.

  17. Jeff,
    The crappy New York City schools (and schools in other areas) should be given some serious competition by handing families vouchers for private schools and letting parents in those failing systems decide whether they want to send their kids to the schools run by your beloved federal government, that have a higher cost per student than the private schools that do better, or whether they want their kids to instead attend a private school. If they chose the private school, taxpayers would ultimately save money.
    Free market and outside-the-government solutions can be found to social problems, Jeff, if people would just think creatively. Letting the government just throw our money at these problems ultimately solves nothing.

    1. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! The best way to save public schools is to use vouchers? Really? Here’s exactly what happens:

      A. The vouchers can’t possibly cover full tuition—so they cover a percentage. Say, oh, 30%.
      B. All the families that can afford 70% of private school tuition jump at the chance—exodus.
      C. The remaining families—the poor—stay in the shitty public school.

      And the class warfare continues …

  18. Why is greed or self-interest inherently bad, Jeff? When you sell your books, does your portion of the money raised go to you and your family, or do you plan on “sharing” that with the rest of us?

    1. Brian, I don’t like saying this stuff, but to answer this question: Every year the wife and I make sure to donate X percentage to charities. That’s directly from income earned. And, unlike (cough) you, we don’t do it for the write-off.

  19. Let me clarify: What I mean is we don’t have beggars and people sleeping on park benches, etc..like you see in big cities.
    In a rural setting, you usually KNOW the folks who are down on their luck and OFFER to help them out. You don’t write them checks like the government does. We usually have enough land to let someone move their trailer on and because we have alot of land, it requires work and we can always use a helping hand. They OFFER to help us with any work we need done and we provide a safe place to stay, food and keep them working until they get back on their feet. Sometimes even the local church will take up a collection to help some folks out. I’m curious why you didn’t respond to my other challenges:

    1) I challenge YOU to find out how much your STATE and LOCAL officials average salaries are. You would be appalled. That money is NOT feeding the poor or helping minorities from single parent homes go to college. It is going to people who were OWED political favors and got cushy jobs. Legislatures get to vote on their OWN salary increases.

    2)I think if you really want to change the world Jeff, you should start a charity and you can use this forum to promote it. Educate us on the process of starting a charity and tell us all the forms the government will require you to fill out to get it going. I think it will be interesting reading.

  20. Charity is nice but with out some government assistance charity would come now where close to helping people who really need it. Out side of the letters for donations for cancer, heart disease etc, how much charity really goes to help for people that are hungry or need basic medical care or even medical care for serious medical care. If you don’t have insurance you are screwed. Most bankruptcies occur because of serious medical problems. As far as taxes go as some one mentioned above marginal tax rates were quite high before Reagan. The highest marginal tax rate at one time was 91 per cent. It didn’t seem to hurt discourage people from trying to do things better or produce new things. Besides no one who was in that bracket paid 91 per cent. That is why the rich hire accountants. Even today with the top rate at 35 per cent for the rich, they are not paying that. While the corporate rates are high, corporations due to creative accounting are not paying that either. It is disgusting that the oil companies are making record profits pay little or no taxes and the whine about their subsidies. As for the problems in Greece and Portugal, it is largely the fault of borrowing and getting stuck with high interest rates. It is the same thing happening here. Go read Matt Taibbi in the Rolling Stone. Google his name and Jackson county Alabama and read how the banks screwed that county up. Also google Michale Lewis, Ireland , Vanity Fair and read his article about Ireland. The republicans want to cut everything except defense. We spend more on defense than the next 5 highest countries combines. We do spend a lot, but borrowing and having to pay the interest is what is killing us.

  21. The demonization on both sides is appalling. And, ultimately, neither side is right.

    As Americans, we can address the national debt, or it can consume us. And no amount of finer-pointing, trickery, or manipulation can save us.

    Fiscal conservatism coupled with across the board tax increases is the only solution to the problem we’ve made.

    That means: Less spending. Dramatic curtailment in entitlement programs. We cannot expect the government to create and maintain services wherein the costs increase exponentially each year. Neither can we abide runaway military spending, nor the funding of never-ending occupations, nor the upkeep and maintenance of such a large arsenal.

    That also means: Increased revenue through taxation. And a mentality that it neither efficient nor smart to operate a national government at a consistent and staggering loss.

  22. …as much as I love Walter Payton, I wouldn’t buy your book on him.

    Your opinions and biased thoughts make me think your “work” is less than valid.

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