May 8, 2015

This is what Darrell Issa thinks about poverty in America:

“America’s the richest country on Earth because we’ve been able to put capital together and we’ve been able to make our poor somewhat the envy of the world,” Issa told Alesci. “If you go to India or you go to any number of third-world countries, you have two problems: you have greater inequality of income and wealth. You also have less opportunity for people to rise from the have-not to the have.”

Just before I watched Issa blurt this bullshit, I was in the market picking up a few things for morning. Ahead of me in line, a woman with her two kids was trying to buy some basics -- milk, cheese, juice, toothpaste and soy milk.

First, she was told she couldn't buy that particular brand of soy milk with her WIC card. Now I don't know why she was buying it, but I assumed it was for one of her children, who might have an allergy to dairy products. The interaction with the checker was respectful, but she was getting visibly stressed about holding up the line behind her and the humiliation she was suffering in front of her children and all the people waiting.

Then they told her the juice wasn't covered on the WIC card either. Or the cheese.

As tears welled up in her eyes, she told them to take the items and put them back. I could feel her humiliation and frustration as clearly as if it was me standing there. It was just so wrong. Everything she was buying was nutritious and clearly for her children.

I was so angry. WIC is a federal program that has been cut and hacked at until it's nearly impossible for recipients to navigate it. The checker had to refer to a booklet of approved items in order to explain why she couldn't have that juice and cheese.

I asked the checker to add those items to my bill so she could have them, and even that felt like I was piling more humiliation on her. No one wants to be standing in a market and have some stranger behind them offer to buy groceries because they can't seem to make their federal benefits work the way they used to. I wish I could have just handed her older son the cash but all I had was my own debit card, so I had no choice but to do it that way.

Is that what Darrell Issa thinks people in other countries envy? People who just want to do right by their kids and feed them decent food but can't seem to make that happen with the way our Republican overlords have structured the system? Is that something -- anything -- to envy?

By the way, it seemed as though this lady was stopping at the market on her way home from work, so tell me more about how exactly it is that working gives people the opportunity to rise from have-nots to haves?

Short answer: It doesn't, and we're moving in the wrong direction, thanks to the austerians and poor-shamers in the Republican party.

Research has shown that not only is economic mobility more stagnant in the US compared to other developed nations like Japan, Germany and Australia, but
that it has remained stagnant for the past 50 years.

“It is not true that mobility itself is getting lower,” Harvard University economist Lawrence F. Katz told the Post. “What’s really changed is the consequences of it. Because there’s so much inequality, people born near the bottom tend to stay near the bottom, and that’s much more consequential than it was 50 years ago.”

Screw Issa and the horse he rode in on. I hope he burns slowly on a spit in hell.

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