Class Warfare-Making Sure That The Wealthy Get Their Share, And Yours Too

I’m on dozens of Email lists, everybody from the New York Times to Victoria’s Secret (great articles over there) sends me Email and I spend way too much time scanning and deleting most of it daily. I subscribe to Email lists from news organizations, campaign committees, government watchdog groups and all kinds of public service organizations. I also get stuff addressing me as Dear One, with great investment opportunities in Nigeria and missives that promise to make me larger, but I delete them all summarily as I have nothing to invest and…, never mind.

Most of what I receive is of a “progressive” or “liberal” nature but in the interest of knowing what the adversary is up to, I also subscribe to publications from conservative groups, the spectrum runs from the Coulter, Limbaugh breed of invertebrates to the American Enterprise Institute and other large lizards. I”ll tell you, a little of this stuff goes a long way.

I got a real dandy this morning from the Heritage Foundation, you know, the conservative think tank that has worked so tirelessly for the Bush administration, embroiling us in various wars of empire and providing invaluable aid and advice in support of administration efforts to relieve American citizens of such pesky irritants as habeas corpus, civil liberties and due process of law, while conducting additional studies aimed at relieving us of our money.

Heritage has long fought the good fight for corporate rights and limited government. These are the guys who burn the midnight oil to come up with ways to help corporations pocket employee pension funds without exposing themselves to criminal liability while working diligently to ensure that federal regulatory agencies are toothless, and in all ways impotent. The effectiveness of their efforts on behalf of corporate America can be measured in such events as the Crandall Canyon mine collapse.

The organization, which came into existence in 1973 was bankrolled by Joseph Coors, of the Coors Brewing Company and billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, Paul Weyrich was one of it’s founders, there were no wild eyed leftists in that circle unless they were carrying a rake, polishing the crystal or cleaning the pool.

Heritage is now funded to the tune of 30 to 40 million annually by obscenely wealthy individuals and cash bloated corporations. They also receive large sums from foreign governments and such entities (it has been reported) as the Korean Intelligence agency. In return for their generosity Heritage spends about twenty percent of the take lobbying government on their behalf and publishing studies which tell them things that they want to hear and helping them market bullshit and lies to the rest of us.

In this morning’s Email from Heritage was a featured article written by “Senior Fellow” (please pause to genuflect) Robert Rector (Photo at right) at the National Review Online and titled “Poor Politics” in which he offers the following nuggets of conservative think tank wisdom regarding persons in this country who are classified as poor. From Mr. oops, “Senior Fellow” Rector:

“The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from a variety of government reports:”

“46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

I don’t know the actual numbers but I’m guessing that most of the 46% quoted own nothing more substantial than a 30 year mortgage which they struggle mightily to pay while staying ahead of such wolves as the costs of daily living and working in America. The idea that forty percent of those below the federal poverty level “own” their homes is nonsense and “Senior Fellow” Rector knows it.
In addition, what happened to the legions of people who live in houses with fewer than 3 bedrooms and the gazillions of apartment dwellers, not to mention the many people who call the porch or patio “home.”

“80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

I suppose that “Senior Fellow” Rector would feel more comfortable with the poor if they were sweltering in their “three bedroom houses” and dying quietly and unobtrusively of heat prostration. It must also be noted that those who rent houses or apartments don’t “own” their air conditioners any more than they own their homes. Either way they pay dearly in utility bills and taxes for the meager comfort of not sweating through their shorts.

“Only six percent of poor households are overcrowded; two thirds have more than two rooms per person.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

I currently live in a five room house with my cat, which I suppose places us above “Senior Fellow Rector’s” mandatory squalor requirement average. I will soon be forced to move (due to poverty) from this spacious splendor to share an apartment with my brother and his Grandson. We will then share 5 rooms, I am doing my part to “walk the walk” of the poor by cramming myself into smaller accomodations so that the ruling class may have more room to ride their horsies.

“The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

It should be noted that America as she was growing in the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, had so many more times the available land area than most European countries that there can be no comparison. Except for those unfortunate millions who were crammed into urban tenements and company “housing” “provided” by railroad, mining, factory or mill owners we have historically been able to spread our elbows regardless of economic status. It does look bad though, I admit it, all those so called poor people with so much wasted space between them. Inefficiency.

“Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

I own a car, It’s 12 years old and I bought it used back when I was not disabled and working six days a week to stay just above the poverty level. I still drive it to my physical therapy appointments at the VA hospital and the grocery store when I can afford to pay the fuel prices that Heritage helped to arrange.

“97 percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

I have two, one is 8 years old and works well, the other was given to me by a friend and sometimes works as well, there is nothing on them but lying news people reading scripts prepared at the Heritage foundation. If that violates my status as “poor” I’ll be happy to turn one over to the “unnecessary entertainment police.”

“78 percent have a VCR or DVD player.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

My wife made me buy a DVD player a couple years before she died. She was an invalid those last several years but found joy and laughter in rented Disney movies. She’s gone now, a year next month. I do feel a bit guilty for the extravagance and promise to atone.

“62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

Got me again, and, I have wireless internet as well. I must have these things, they allow me to stay abreast of those who wage this unrelenting war against the middle and lower economic classes in this and other countries. I also need it to get my Email from the Heritage Foundation and Victoria’s Secret. (good articles over there)

“89 percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.”
“Senior Fellow” Rector still quoting from a “variety of government reports.”

In all his quoting of vague “government sources,” “Senior Fellow” Rector doesn’t mention wage stagnation, the continually rising cost of living in all areas, outsourcing and offshoring of jobs in all sectors of the economy, community crippling layoffs, pension defaults, natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses, death, war and a host of other legitimate reasons why good, honest, working people have fallen into poverty yet still have that embarrassing  dishwasher in their kitchen and still reside in the three bedroom house with a patio that they lived in before their jobs were shipped off to Timbuktu.

There may be a difference between the face of poverty in Dorothea Lange’s hauntingly beautiful “Migrant Mother” from 1940 at the top of this rant and the modern version in this new century but I doubt it, you have to look at the eyes, close up, and personal to see, to know the despair.

I don’t know, Maybe “Senior Fellow” Rector hasn’t heard about those things, yeah that’s probably it.

Anyway, I’m off the hook on the last one, (is he still running on?) my ten year old nuke died and I can’t afford another, that damn poverty thing again, and alas, no dishwasher. I’ve been waiting a long time for a veteran’s disability pension to show up in my mailbox and I’m sure that it will, probably the day after they plant my butt at the VA cemetery. I’ll celebrate, maybe buy a new microwave or a … they still sell “stereos?”

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

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About BobHiggins

Lifelong liberal of the Tom Paine wing. Marine Vietnam vet. Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter and cabinetmaker. Now retired on a Veterans Disability program I spend my time writing and editing and complaining. Ahh the Golden Years.
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4 Responses to Class Warfare-Making Sure That The Wealthy Get Their Share, And Yours Too

  1. rt says:

    You make it sound as if all the poor little democrats are under funded by multi gazzillionaire Soros. Interested side note isn’t it!!!

  2. Nick says:

    Hmmm. “Variety of government reports”? Sounds like cover for “made up out of thin air” to me.

    Never forget BobHiggins, today’s right-wing movement is founded on such hatred of the poor (and even a good deal of the working and middle class as well). The advent of the neocons and the subsequent Iraq War have been titillating for the public to focus on (not to mention extremely tragic).

    But for all the talk about how the parties are defined by their foreign policy views, today’s conservative movement has economic royalism and greed as it’s cornerstone-not hawkishness on defense.

  3. Darrell Prows says:

    There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. And occasionally someone good hearted enough to expose it when they run across all three at once. Thank you.

  4. Too funny….you cannot refute the Heritage Foundation numbers, so you simply make fun of them. Typical of most Libs….nothing is ever enough..yet….you can’t take enough of other peoples money to give away to make yourself “feel” better.
    Dale