Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ryan's "Creative War on Poverty" Would Destroy the Poor - NOT Poverty!

Defeated VP candidate Paul Ryan has had a novel brain fart,....errr...plan. He describes it as a "creative war on poverty" designed to vastly reduce the number of Americans on food stamps (46 million, or a "record" according to a lead story in USA Today, Dec. 5, p. 1A).

The piece focuses on one Ohio County (Miami County) which has seen "a sharp increase in poverty among children and the unemployed". More disturbing is that despite an unemployment rate that's among the lowest in the nation (5.8%) a majority of the families are on food stamps. According to these workers, the problem isn't being bums or looking for handouts, but rather not enough good (i.e. living wage) paying jobs that enable a family to get ahead and not merely survive. As one worker quoted in the piece puts it:

"Minimum wage stays the same but the price of food goes up, the price of gas goes up and the electric goes up. How do you pay all your bills with 40 hours a week at $8 an hour?" (The OH minimum wage is actually at $7.70/hr, while the federal level is $7.25/hr. To my way of thinking, with such LOW wage rates, the feds absolutely need to include food stamps just for fairness' sake!)

In answer to the Ohio worker's question: you don't! SO how does Ryan expect to fight poverty in such circumstances? He'd have to ensure price controls on all the rising commodities, from fuel to food, and then MAYBE he can enable a cutback in the access to food stamps. But that's not what he wants! As an old guard Ayn Rand- worshipping libertarian, the last thing Ryan would do is place price controls on anything. That means food and gas prices would continue to go up - leaving very little disposable income for groceries after key bills like mortgage and utilities are also paid, hence driving the need to access food stamps.

As one Ohio pastor (a real one) put it, "without those food stamps and the help of our churches the people starve, especially their kids".

Given Ryan's libertarian instincts this means his only "creative" solution to fighting poverty would be to foursquare eliminate the means of poor people to survive while in poverty! This would be analogous to a draconian dictatorship asserting it will manage a "creative war on overpopulation" but by exterminating one-sixth of the people!  Instead of providing good jobs and remuneration so the people don't have to reproduce so much, this sort of bunch takes the "axe" to the numbers directly!

The other intractable problem noted in the article is the absence of any upward job mobility in the area. That is, the inability of all the low paid workers to find new jobs that pay better. To try to overcome this problem, the workers would have to leave for "greener pastures"- maybe to another state. But to be able to leave, they'd have to first be able to sell their homes, and they can't. NO one wants to buy them! So they are stuck in place with no potential for job enhancement. Even going to school to improve skills requires money for tuition, etc. and they don't have it.

Coupled with this is another problem that neither Paul or his 'pukes mentions much: the offshoring of the GOOD paying service jobs overseas, to reduce labor costs. Approximately 663,000 such jobs have been outsourced to eastern Europe, China and Mexico since 2002 including: information technology, human resources, finance and purchasing orders ('More Service Jobs Go Overseas', USA Today, Dec. 7, p. 1B).  The jobs pay a respectable wage of about $16 an hour - more than double the pathetic $8/hr. of the Ohio workers. In other words, these jobs would have allowed those in the poor areas to have lived dignified lives as opposed to going to food stamps for assistance.

Worse, The Hackett Group, a consulting firm, projects another such 375,000 jobs will be offshored by 2016.  Again, these are from companies "with a least $1 billion in annual revenues" and which represent 75% of the market for offshoring jobs. How can U.S. workers win in such an environment which has engineered a race to the bottom as far as labor costs? The answer is they can't.

Yet Paul Ryan expects us to believe he has a "creative solution" to the war on poverty which now affect nearly 1 in 6 Americans and 21% of all children, nearly 15 million to be exact. (A family of 4 is considered poor if it has an annual income below $22,350. )

Would Paul Ryan, one of the original self-described "Young Guns" on Capitol Hill, take the bread from those 15 million kids in order to win his "war on poverty"? You had better believe it! This is also why Obama and the Dems can't give one inch on the "fiscal cliff" discussions - in terms of spending cuts if the Reeps don't cede REAL increases in tax RATES, as opposed to smoke and mirrors revenue increases via closing unnamed loopholes.

We cannot allow the reptiles to extract painful cuts, or raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 by letting them give up nominal revenue while the rich still get richer.

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