Yesterday the United Kingdom decided to do the same thing we’ve been doing for some time over here: elect a bunch of nationalistic, greedy, ignorant, hateful racists into power. No, UKIP didn’t win, but the Conservatives did, and let’s face it, UKIP is just the helpfully transparent version of the general right-wing anyway. They’re the UK version of the Tea Party.
Without missing a beat, UK papers have begun asking if it’s time to consider dismantling the National Health Service, since the people have spoken and what they apparently want is austerity, privatization, and corporatism. The reality, of course, is that British voters fell for the same line of bullshit that American voters have. Billionaires have been telling them that immigrants, poors, and darkies are threatening to take what they have, so they’d better look out. Meanwhile the same billionaires fund these messages with the money they paid themselves for not crashing the economy worse than they did in 2008 when they looted pension funds and health plans.
It’s astonishing enough that we made it through the 2008 meltdown without throwing a single Wall Street asshole behind bars, or even inconveniencing a few of them. But to take a financial crisis that was solely the result of a bunch of rich people deciding they were still not quite rich enough and blame it on poor people who got home loans they shouldn’t have is just mind-bending. And yet, this is an accepted narrative.
“[A] lot of practices that should not have been allowed weren’t necessarily against the law,” said President Obama at the time, explaining why we can’t just send anyone to jail for wholesale destruction of the US and global economy. However, one of the nice things about an oligarchy is that you get to decide what is and isn’t against the law. This explains why nothing has been done to close any of the “loopholes” that were exploited by Wall Street in 2008, yet right now Wisconsin is fixing, legislatively, the problem that sometimes poor people’s food is too tasty.
Yes, the “small government” party has taken time out from being angry that poor people sometimes have one or two nice things to wonder if perhaps their food could be a little more gruel-like. Which is why the Wisconsin state legislature, a Koch testing site and birthplace of idiotic Republican ideas, is trying to make it so that food stamps can only be used in a completely onerous way to purchase food that isn’t dangerously good to eat, such as the forbidden hedonistic luxury of spaghetti sauce.
What can possibly be the justification for this? It’s not money; the program would actually cost millions to implement and enforce. As with drug testing welfare recipients, the procedure comes with a high price tag and results in no appreciable benefits other than making poor people suffer even more, lose even more dignity, and have to work even harder to maintain their current level of poverty. It’s sheer hatred, just a mean-spirited circus that has people with some paying people with most (the money for these expensive programs goes in someone’s pocket) to further harass people with little.
Meanwhile, the richest man in a Congress full of millionaires talks about how great America’s poor have it.
Here’s a little story about America (and the UK, its 51st state): A friend of a friend on Facebook posted an image recently making fun of a proposed raise of the minimum wage to $15/hour. This person is an EMS worker and his image ridiculed the idea that a person who flips burgers should get $15/hour when EMTs get $11/hour. Burger flippers shouldn’t get more than EMT workers, so no raise for the fast foodies, period. End of discussion. That’s a little story about America, where the greatest gift you can give someone is an Other beneath them that they can look down on in disgust.