An old white man I once knew told me a story of when he was growing up on a farm in the deep south during the Great Depression. He had told me that the farmers were angry and resentful because as they were trying to eke out a living during the Dust Bowl, the "blacks" (not the colloquialism he used) were living in old wooden shacks and eating potato peels - but yet they were driving brand new Cadillacs because of the welfare checks the farmers thought they were paying them. And they accused their African-American neighbors of deliberately having lots of children to get bigger welfare checks (Aid to Dependent Children).
The term "welfare" is still used today. In politics the Republicans use the term to refer to any financial aid for the poor, and it is deliberately used to describe any social service as a bane on the American taxpayers. I receive my food stamps from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services - Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.
The phrase "on the dole" originated in the UK where unemployment benefit is called the dole, from doling out or handing out - - - as in "a government hand-out".
In most of Europe the term "welfare" is defined as a universal service, available to the rich and poor alike, thus guaranteeing a minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens without the stigma of charity...rather than being referred to as "nothing more than a lazy bum collecting a government hand-out." (or as Glenn Beck would call them, Socialists).
We witnessed the Republican's attacks on the unemployed during the Great Recession when the debate had been about extending unemployment benefits. Months later, even after many received the maximum of 99 weeks, millions have exhausted all their benefits and are still unemployed due to lack of jobs. But the Republicans still refer to them as either drunks, lazy, uneducated, drug addicted, or unwilling to accept a lower-paying job.
Now many jobless Americans were forced to apply for food stamps to help sustain their families. Just being jobless isn't the bane, but being jobless AND relying on food stamps is when one becomes "a lazy welfare case" in the Republican's eyes. Whenever the Republicans spend a tax dollar, they want a return on their "investment" - - - and just the survival of human beings isn't a priority on their list of things to save. Defense spending, corporate profits, campaign contributions, and earmarks for THEIR districts have always taken precedence over actual human lives.
The Republicans have always thought of social programs of any sort to help the most unfortunate among us as "welfare" (Pell grants, food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, etc).
|Yesterday, while monitoring Fox News I saw another old white man, the former Republican ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, who referred to Social Security and Medicare as "welfare". No, not "entitlements", but "welfare".|
All old Republican white men (rich and poor alike) thinks that anyone who needs a "hand up" during difficult times is only getting a "hand-out" and shouldn't be helped at all. They assume that EVERYONE is abusing and gaming the system, and the old Republican white men (and young white Tea Party radicals) don't want to pay one single penny to help their fellow citizens.
Exceptions to the rule: When they want a government contract, or when there is a natural disaster in THEIR state or district, then all and any help from the U.S. government is a "good thing" - - - and only THEN is government not "too big". It's only considered BIG GOVERNMENT when feeding poor people.
The Republican's plan (and now Fox News) has always been to portray the FDR Democratic institutions of Social Security and Medicare as nothing more than welfare, a "government hand-out" and a bane to the American taxpayer. For decades they've wanted to eliminate these programs because the Republican's constituents (primarily large corporations and the wealthy) don't NEED Medicare and Social Security for themselves. Being rich, they don't need "welfare", and therefore don't want the expense of contributing to programs that help the elderly, sick, disabled, orphaned, and poor in this country.
True patriots, huh? Ask a rich Republican to give a starving man a piece of bread and they'll accuse you of punishing the success of the wealthy - - - or of trying to "spread the wealth around", as though THAT (sharing) were a really bad thing.
And the Republicans seem to almost enjoy heaping shame on those who need government assistance. But for Republicans, "corporate welfare" and bail-outs for big banks is perfectly OK for them (after all, those are their election donors). For this, the Republicans feel no shame at all.
Welfare cases is a term the Republicans used to use to describe black rural and inner-city people, because they were poor. In the old days the old Republican white men (and the old white Dixicrats) didn't want to help the African-Americans at all. Now the Republicans are all equal opportunity racists - - - now they don't want to help anyone, no matter what their color, creed, or national origin. Not even me, an old white man who used to be Republican!
If you trip and fall and ask for a band-aid, the Republicans will think of you as a "lazy no-good thieving low-life drug addict and slimy shit" who should die for even asking for a band-aid. And you don't even have to be a black man or own a Cadillac anymore. Now the Republicans think we're all the same - - - whether you're an 85-year-old grandma who retired from the Post Office; a 21-year-old fork lift operator who broke his back, a 45 year-old accountant that was laid off because his job was sent to China, or an ex-con who was just released from prison. It doesn't matter. If you need food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security, you'll be defined as a despicable welfare-case by the Republicans. They want you to do without any help at all. (Remember those boot straps?) They really want you all to die.
I think it's the Republicans who should die, but just like everybody else that the Republicans have attacked, I think they should all suffer first, to feel our pain.
Because I get food stamps, I'm not forced to sustain myself on potato peels. And because of a very special person who took me in, I don't have to live in an old wooden shack. And because of State Medicaid, I can get prescriptions for the arthritis in my back. But I don't have a car anymore. Besides a job paying a living wage, did the Republicans also cheat me out of a brand new Cadillac?