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The Middle Class versus the Poor

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    MSN, NYT: As Some Got Free Health Care, Gwen Got Squeezed: An Obamacare Dilemma

    This New York Times article is about another division in our society - not the middle class versus the rich, but rather the middle class versus the poor. It all has to do with Medicaid and who qualifies for free or highly subsidized Medicaid. Trump has widened that divide further such that many middle class families who are struggling to make their rising health care premiums show resentment against those who are much poorer and do qualify.

    “Democrats have begun to recognize the political costs of playing into the narrative that they only care about the poor,” said Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law and author of a recent book, “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America.”

    Republicans, on the other hand, understand this resentment and are enacting programs that penalize poor people. Several Republican states are planning to require Medicaid recipients to find work, volunteer or take job-training classes. And Trump’s new budget proposal also makes it harder for the so-called “able-bodied” poor who don’t work to receive food stamps and public housing.

    According to Mark Rank, a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, these Republican proposals reflect a “very American” view — that unless are severely disabled or struck by tragedy, you do not deserve government assistance, and anyone else benefiting by these programs is shirking.

    As one middle class person complained, “I’m totally happy to pay my fair share, but I’m also paying someone else’s share, and that’s what makes me insane.”

    There is much more in the NYT article if you care to read it. I have shared it because it goes counter to the narrative of some people that the Democrats don't care about the poor. If you are middle class struggling to make ends meet, all those "poor programs" create an inequality and jealousy between the middle class workers who pay for the programs and the poor beneficiaries of those programs.

    This is what Donald Trump does well -- stoking that divide further, and so effectively that many from both classes end up voting Republican. It is brilliant on Trump's part, but I do wonder how much help he is getting from the Russians whose goal is to divide Americans by throwing gasoline on fires.

    It will be one of the challenges for Democrats in the 2018 election...finding a middle ground between the Bernie supporters who want free everything and the hard working middle class who feel that nothing in life is free. Democrats could lose both in the election.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    "the hard working middle class who feel that nothing in life is free"

    Because the ultra right has diverted money from industry to fees with such tools as the CFMA and taught the working class to shut up and work harder. Opportunity has dissapeared for a majority.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    That is what you get if the "uneducated rich" run the show. The "poor" will pay for the "bonus" to the "rich. That is how "Rome" ended. A proper "social" system has to be "built up" from the ground. Not as is done here. It took Europe from 1945 until now to make it work, with constant adjustments. Here they just "do" whatever fits the uneducated "leaders", so that they have more money to go around which disappears in certain "pockets", either "army", wars, useless projects. No this government is only interested in their own narrow minded "ideology", instead of caring for the "people" of this country. All of this is caused by refusing to re-write certain parts of the Constitution, voting laws, 2 party system, no proper vetting of qualification of government leaders, awful education system, where only "money" counts; total country wide "corruption" on all levels, I could go on and on. Also the refusal to copy things what do work in other countries, because of the arrogance here on this "island" keeps things in turmoil forever. Sorry but re-inventing the "wheel" over and over again, does not get you anywhere. Too many "nutheads" on the "cart" makes the "cart" tip over.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch -- You have expressed similar views on numerous occasions in this website. Yes we have our problems particularly now with Trump in the White House magnifying all of our weaknesses. But your solutions are not very constructive. You have spoken often of "refusing to re-write certain parts of our Constitution, voting laws, 2 party system..."and more. There are a whole lot of people in this country that do care, and I believe they are in the majority so broad brushing everyone as not caring is erroneous thinking.

    We have a very large diversity of views in our populace -- geographic, ethnicity, racial, religious, gender, education, economic class, social, as well as inherited genetic traits -- that in one sense are collectively a strength when we come together to address society's problems, but are also a weakness when the "what's in it for me" folks have the upper hand.

    As I have discussed many times in this website, changing our Constitution is not an easy solution nor is it the answer. If I were to look at the root of all of our problems it is not the system of government but rather the electorate. We the people have the power to change every thing and make life better for so many at the lower end of the income scale, but we are seemingly more into the "blame game". We vote our emotions rather than engaging in critical thinking.

    As I mentioned before, it has been a real education for me to knock on doors and talk to the electorate. I have met all kinds, good and bad, but perhaps apathy and ignorance were the most dominant traits. Many people are indeed one issue voters who just never take the time to understand how certain legislative issues might affect them or their neighbors. On the other hand, I really enjoyed talking to many of the open minded independents and moderates in the middle of the liberal-conservative political scale (perhaps the middle third) as these are the ones who can sit down and seek a consensus. I found many of the "no compromising far left" and "no compromising far right" people really difficult to talk to. Those extreme views on the left and right have been fed a certain narrative that doesn't deal with reality.

    The Trump presidency has brought out many of our differences in ugly ways, but I do believe that we'll weather the storm of the Trump presidency and get back on course once he is gone. Lesson learned. The women's movement will be a part of that shift back, but also the young people who now have been awakened big time in Parkland, Florida.

    I am optimistic about the future, but I certainly have a lot of misgivings about the 2018 and 2020 elections as the Democrats are still pointing fingers at each other. We will lose many good people in the process by applying purity tests. And those that do pass the purity tests on the left will be poison to those on the right...and vice versa. That invites a dysfunctional government...exactly what Putin wants.