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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.