5. Liberals are a bunch of elitists who hate decent working- and middle-class Americans.
...as opposed to those sainted corporate men-of-the-people who fly around in private jets and pull down eight-figure salaries while closing plants and cutting 10,000 jobs at a time. That's what real populism looks like, you betcha.
Liberals are funny people. We think that sending well-paid American jobs overseas is a bad idea. We think the minimum wage should be big enough to cover life's necessities, with some left over. We think it's insane that over half the bankruptcies in the country are due to lack of adequate medical insurance. We think everybody who has the grades should have a shot at college. And we believe that middle-class prosperity is absolutely essential for maintaining a healthy democracy—because history (via Kevin Phillips) has taught us that no democracy that's tolerated our current levels inequality has ever survived for long.
You'd be surprised (or maybe not) at how many conservatives making this accusation have never stopped and taken stock of the role government has played in making their own middle-class life possible. Their dad or granddad got through college on the GI Bill. They financed their own education with Pell Grants and federally-guaranteed loans. They grew up in FHA or VA-funded houses, and collected fat mortgage interest deductions—which, right there, ensured their family's place in the middle class. They went to decent public schools—and, perhaps, state universities. They're several thousand dollars richer every month because they're off the hook for Grandma's living expenses, thanks to Social Security and Medicare. They or their parents may have started businesses with help from the Small Business Administration, or relied on government advice and subsidies to keep the farm going. They work for businesses that depend on government contracts.
And then they'll sit there over the second helping of candied yams and loudly insist that they made everything they had, all by themselves, with no help from anybody and especially not from the government.
All you can do is laugh. And then, because they're family, go back to 1945 and start re-telling the family story—this time with Uncle Sam's forgotten role in the drama front and center.
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