Both the United States and the United Kingdom are making utter fucking asses out of themselves right now. It’s pathetic. Both seem to be trying to outdo the other to tell poor people that they’re crap. You’ve got numpties like Bush the Third telling people they just need to work harder to take care of their families. Um, wow… what a dickweed. I know he thinks he’s down with the average folk because he’s got a Hispanic wife and all that, but really. REALLY. The hours on the minimum wage it takes to get an apartment across the US is ridiculous; there is no state in the country were a single person can afford an apartment by themselves on one full-time job. Many of those ‘lazy’ poor people work several jobs, and then have their nose ground in the fact they obviously aren’t doing it right because they’re not snorting cocaine off of a hooker’s ass with a hundred dollar bill (don’t do drugs, kids, unless you really want to, then do them safely).
Over here in the United Kingdom, Darth Osborne has just laid out yet another ‘the poor are lazy’ Budget. There’s a promise of a so-called living wage… in a few years… that isn’t actually going to be a living wage in London. It’s the usual handout to his rich buddies while punishing the poor. The whole line is basically ‘if you’re working, you’re going to be able to live’.
Dude, fuck that noise, murdering asshole. This austerity bullshit has out and out murdered some 60+ people over the past five years. Even with him making the current round of ridiculous cuts ‘gentler’ and more gradual, I am terrified to see how many more people the government is going to kill without the Lib Dems as a moderating influence (if you voted Tory to thumb your nose at the Lib Dems, you’re a fucking moron, btw). Their policies have made it exceedingly clear that the people who are disabled are a drain in their book; only people who work matter. Which is why the policies also disproportionally affected children, college students, working class families… and oh… not their rich friends, who get a tax cut.
‘Downing Street said the combination of the living wage, higher personal tax allowance and welfare changes meant the typical family with a full time worker on the minimum wage would be better off in 2020.’
From: Budget 2015: Osborne offers country ‘new contract’
Let’s look at that. Full time worker. That is their focus — that if the hoi polloi work full time, then by gosh, they’ll get an extra tuppence at Christmas, they will! But yanno, we’re all supposed to tighten our belt because the system is unsustainable and we all have to work together to make more of less… except yanno, there would be oodles in the coffers if they actually taxed the freaking business and the rich properly. That goes double for the US, where the tax rate paid by the rich is like, 2% or something ridiculously low because of all the loopholes they can take advantage of.
The problem is, of course, the rich set the poorer against each other. Many US states drug test Welfare recipients, for example. ‘Oh but I have to get drug tested for my job so it’s only fair!’ Wow okay, for one? I think that drug testing is a gross violation of guilty until proven innocent. I think that people should perhaps protest that above all. And also, that drug testing? Something like 2% of people on Welfare actually pop positive because, surprise surprise, they don’t have the money to do drugs. And while they’re waiting to hear back on their tests, they are out of pocket because many states make them pay for the test upfront, and then pay them back afterwards. And who benefits? Hrm, how about the guy who made up the policy in the first place, seeing how he and his wife owns the fucking company that sells the drug tests. But yanno, America is somehow still fully sold on the concept of the Welfare Queen as dreamed up by Reagan, and it’s so much easier to blame someone less well off for your own lack of upwards mobility.
Here in the UK, it’s about blaming the poor and the foreign. There’s all sorts of bullshit claims about how they have to ‘get tough’ so people don’t just come here and get on benefits. The average Briton isn’t very savvy on immigration, so don’t understand that those of us who are (were; I’m a citizen now) immigrants had to pay out the ass for the privilege to be here. I had to pay $500 for the first visa, and the another… £600? six months later. Then another £800 or so a few years later, and then about £900 for settlement. And then, oh, another £900 or so for citizenship. That’s a fuckton of money, yo. And you know what you don’t get during that time? Benefits.
Well what about Europeans? Me, I call them migrants to differentiate. And as much as people whine about them coming over and taking jobs (that old tired trope, taking jobs AND benefits somehow!), a country should be proud that it is an attractive place that people want to come live and work in. I despair in all the xenophobia plucked and exploited to blame the rest of the world for the economic problems that exist here (rather than yanno, not taxing companies for fear they might dare to leave rather than do business here). Deity forbid that anyone wants to come here at all, especially to study and contribute and the like!
Well, we need to train up people here… Sure, it would be great if the collegiate system let people study for free and then take those skills into the British economy… oh wait. Instead, we’re making people get lots of loans, and then more loans in place of grants? And then moving the goalpost on what educated enough is? I get the idea that people want ‘highly trained’ staff in say, their hospitals, but I’ve had it firsthand from any number of midwives — they could not become midwives in the current climate because they could not afford it. But I guess that all those nurses coming in from the EU are just skivvers wanting to subvert our way of life. OH WAIT.
The long and the short of it is thus, really — if the ruling class is telling you that X or Y person is the reason your life is less well off, it is almost guaranteed that they are setting the cat amongst the pigeons so they can continue to benefit from the strife and fear they’ve stirred up. Fear makes people irrational, and we’ve seen a loooooot of fear laid on in the West this century.