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The War on the Poor Is Already Underway


The War on the Poor Is Already Underway

Bob Herbert

It was just a little over two months ago that the Census Bureau reported the very good news that real median household incomes had increased by 5.2% from 2014 to 2015, and that the poverty rate had fallen by 1.3 percentage points. The bureau also told us that the percentage of people without health insurance coverage had continued to decline substantially.


The "war on the poor" turned into more of a descent into poverty program when Dubya became POTUS. Today its more of a war on the middle class as more and more Murkins get pushed down into poverty. With Trump, Pence and Eddie Munster at the top of the pyramid, this trend will only accelerate.


Bob Herbert gives Obama and the Democrats too much credit for accomplishing not much, in my opinion. There is no doubt that the poor will pay a high price for a Trump Presidency, but if economic inequality had been modified just a little, Clinton would have won.


I think the important thing to get in here is that neoliberals have a pattern of taking out the middle class around the world, lastly in Greece. It may be the US will be their next victim. How long can the government run on even more tax cuts?

The American people have been beaten to death by going on 50 years of neoliberal rule by Democrats as well as Republicans. Obama is a neoliberal, and democrats can't seem to accept that both of their Presidents since Reagan were neoliberals, Clinton by commission, Obama by omission. Obama didn't cooperate like Clinton but didn't slow down the neolberal juggernaut. Obama had both houses of Congress for two years and did nothing with them. He let the GOP get up off the mat with that weakness after hammering them in 2008. He turned his back on the people who got him elected to take money from Monsanto (Michael Taylor was in his transition team).

The GOP runs for office for 4 years, and they took the government away from Obama in 2010 and now they have all three branches. The Democrats stood by an let the GOP gerrymander the crap out of the country so they control something like 27 states and they keep rolling, keep the big money coming in, and keep working on people with their control of linguistics that's not about factoids.

No one represents the middle class. They're toast, bound for Tent City on the dump.

When LBJ spent the massive amount of his political capital to pass the Civil Rights Act, he said the Democrats would lose a generation for it. It's going on two generations because the GOP has mastered the dog whistle that trumps any fact. When the Dixiecrats went to the GOP, Democrats seemed to wilt before their ability to hold power and haven't spent enough political capital in the South to prevent the South from winning the Civil War. They're not done.

Trump could take the US back to pre-Civil War conditions, with the aristocrats in full control. The core neoliberal component and money source is self selected aristocrats. They want "their" country back, and they have the strategy they've been running since Nixon fully developed, with no detail left to chance. This is what 1% of the population, well organized and funded, can do. Minority rule, and it's just getting worse. They run their propaganda 24/7 as they own the media. Who knows why the Democrats let it keep running after the people gave them the government. The GOP has never in my memory done anything positive for the working class, but their propaganda is so effective that it makes the working class vote for them. That draws a duh from the Democrats, and they go to Wall Street with their hats in their hands, keep neoliberals in charge of the party, and lose again, and STILL has no sign of a clue why. The neoliberals screwed the Dems' chance to hold the White House and possibly take the Senate by screwing Bernie, who would have got a lot of the votes Trump got, progressives who refused to vote for Hillary.

So now, the neoliberals want to hold power in the Democratic Party. They'll fight for that like they don't fight the GOP. Progressives need to win the fight this time so that there's any significant difference between the Democrats and GOP. and progressives need to champion the middle and working class so they can do the right thing for the poor, such as the 75% of our children growing up poor because neoliberals don't have the family values they claim, and they've been at war with the middle class for 50 years. We live the result. 90% of the country is not represented in government. To whom is that democratic?

Democratic self-governance includes everyone affected by its decisions, so there won't be 75% of our children growing up in poverty.

The aristocrats wonder why Democrats care about someone with no money. Neoliberals in the Democratic Party wonder the same thing, and democrats vote for them again, thinking wrongly that the platform determines what a neoliberal will do, once in office.

The war now is on the middle class. The poor are already conquered, since so many of them are children of single mothers.

Doesn't anybody think this is fucked up? If not, why does it continue?


The Owners are getting ready with more militarized police to enforce their new policies as more and more people grovel for survival.


The war on the poor has been ongoing since Reagan. Besides bailing out the banks and auto companies, Obama did little for the economy except hire people that have put an expert spin on economic and employment reports to make it appear there has been big improvements where there has been little or none. He and the Democrats certainly did nothing for the poor. Even his ACA allowed states the discretion to refuse Medicaid, that would have helped many poor, and many states did refuse. Obama did little for the middle class and many more of them began slipping into working poor or non-working poor status, against their will. That began before Obama and was the reason his "hope and change" message went over big. No change, no hope, and more and worse poverty explains Trump. It is that simple. People just couldn't stand the thought of more of the same. If Trump and the Republicans do the things Paul Ryan wants to do, this nation will be a tinderbox. And they probably will.


Strong and very accurate analysis of these past 50 years of US administrations, healinghawk.


If they did not have someone to scapegoat, the elites would destroy themselves. They are a sick breed who cares about nothing but money, and most of them inherited it.


The owners of what? Money? Remember , most of them do not know how to work with their hands.


They do not care about anyone without money because they could not envision being without it. They were born into it. Trump wouldn't know a poor or middle class person unless he/she was working for him without getting paid.


Just thought about something: They complain about "big government" but they ARE the government. Anyone else here catch that?


One more: Lots of comments here, but is anyone here helping anyone who needs a hand even with donating food? ( I have). Homeless animals need help as well. I also heard something: Trump wants to make having a pet considered to be a "luxury". In other words people are not supposed to have pets either. wonder how true that is. I did here that he thinks that people make too much money( except him of course.)


The idea is to have no government at all probably unless it is for them and by them. Also, most presidents raise taxes when the US is involved in wars. Bush 2 did just the opposite and look where it got us.


I think you are right, however there are an awful lot of us out there. Rich people used to be just rich. They did not bother anyone. This that we are seeing is more like a disease that is out of control.


Just to add: Newt Gingrich when he was with the CLinton administration wanted poor children to go to orphaniages( no help from the government).


If, as I believe it will be, this is about reprising Mussolini (Trump's
idol), the government and corporations and the investor class (the true
parasites) organize into a single entity on the same page, strip-mining
all options to make an exhausted life system produce wealth like it
always has for capitalism, and this is the capitalism on steroids called
neoliberalism, which is a religion with no connection with real reality
- the only one is ecological reality, and ecology was barely being born
as a science when Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek hatched it at the
University of Chicago - Naomi Klein says with CIA funding. The first
trial run was in Chile after the CIA rigged a coup against Salvador
Allende, a democratically elected socialist, and Friedman would go to
Chile to pal around with his dictator bud, General Pinochet, and this
was all either aided or allowed by the Nixon administration and
manipulated for US foreign policy advantage by Henry Kissinger, then
Secretary of State, but whose foreign policy remains US foreign policy
today, as does Nixon's turning over all the country he could lay his
hands on to the budding US neoliberals who flocked to his White House
with their hands out. It's been trying to get here since then, going on
50 years, but it really started in the 1930s right after the 1929 stock
market crash when the aristocrats like Nelson Rockefeller and J.
Randolph Hearst were making deals for priceless Italian art in order to
fund Mussolini's dictatorship in Italy and entry into WWII. That art
now hangs in museums in NYC, testament to the sellout of a country. We
never got over WWII - hell, we haven't got over the Civil War yet and
now it's bit us in the butt again, and for the same reason - white
supremacy and the supremacy of the Master's religion. Nixon's deal with
Strom Thurmond, the racist Dixiecrat who basically controlled the South,
called the Southern Strategy, had Dixiecrats becoming Republicans to
give Republicans critical mass of the consent of the governerule the
country. Democrats govern, Republicans rule, and all these things come
together in Trump, who has an IQ of 156, which would make him the
smarted president since John Quincy Adams and JFK, who also had a 156
IQ, and he's known since he started his campaign, exactly how he would
do it, and it worked because the DNC and Hillary screwed Bernie out of
the nomination. Few deny that Bernie would have won the Presidency.
But Hillary was in it for her own self-aggrandizement, and we'll get
Trump for it, barring some monster vote fraud by the Republicans and
Trump's operatives being discovered in the recounts that, if they were
rigged, could make Hillary our President, but she doesn't want that
ball, because she's the only person in the US that the Right hates more
than Obama and if she runs with that ball, Kane will finish her first
term in office and the same people Trump was to empower will still be
empowered because Hillary is one of them, the aristocrats empowered by
the Constitution, as James Madison, sole author of the Constitution,
admitted. He saw no reason the "rich and wellborn" would give up
power. They haven't, and they've run the country aground again after
the Depression. This time it's because the biosphere can't be
strip-mined and make the same profit it used to, because the planet's
life system is going down under the grasping of a human species overshot
by a factor of 4, meaning 3 out of every 4 humans on Earth are not
ecologically supported without cheap oil in amounts that aren't cheap
anymore. So the neoliberals are screwed, and a dictatorship is the only
way they can get enough time to leave the planet when their spaceships
are ready for them. Meanwhile, they'll take all they can from a life
system that hasn't got any more to give without shutting down. That
shutting down is called the Sixth Mass Extinction and the neoliberals,
after 1980, pumped it up so the rate of extinction is 1000 times normal
extinction rates up to then, and since 1970, 56% of the wildlife that
was here in 1970 is now extinct. The neoliberals know they have screwed
up on such a huge scale that all they can do is leave the planet and
hope NASA's found them a place to go, which is why Trump is going to
stop NASA research of climate change (a subsytem of the SME) and pour it
all into space exploration. What we're watching is what physicists told
the European aristocrats would happen if they ran with their new greed
machine, capitalism. It's been going in this direction since before the
American Revolution. The Founders were capitalists, many of them
slaveholders. WWII's end and the Bretton Woods agreements finished off
the planet, but it took 70 years to get us to the point where anybody
with an ounce of ecological literacy can see where we're at. We don't
have time for Trump to back into full scale strip-mining of the
biosphere again. We must turn around and make more than a WWII-scale
effort to restore enough of the damage capitalism did to the life system
for life to continue on this planet. We're not going to get that
restoration time as the capitalists need to get off the planet more than
they need for us to save Earth's life system from what they've done. So
it's not no government. It's government to enlist every bit of
resources it can muster to get the capitalists off the planet and headed
to somewhere life may be possible. "Earth First! We'll fuck up the
other planets when we get to them." It's always been all about them,
the European nobles who came to the New World to plunder it. About 250
years later, it's plundered almost to death. More than 150 species per
day go extinct, and they're the life forms - the biodiversity - that, in
a form of radical cooperation called symbiosis, combine to do the work
of making ecological structures like ecosystems that provide all we
require to live - air, water, and food. The people - not the "alt
right" cannonfodder - who ran Trump, like the libertarian billionaires
he names to his Cabinet, have a fire under their butts, and they hope
they can hold us off long enough for their ships to be ready.
Meanwhile, the plunder continues at the highest level they can manage.
Since I was 14 I've been right about the political direction of the
country, and since 2001, I've been right about the politics and the
ecology of the country. I saw it going here in 1969, after Nixon packed
his people into the effort to advance neoliberalism, which had no name
then, specifically. Are we screwed? We have been, since Obama took
office with both houses of Congress Democratic and didn't do anything
with it but save the Wall Street bankers who collapsed the global
economy, and he waited until the back side of his 8 years to push the
global effort to address climate change after he spent the first 6 years
of his time stonewalling the process. That was the end of our fighting
chance to avoid the worst of climate change, which is an element in the
system of global warming, which is a subsystem of the SME. For what
it's worth, Hillary wasn't going to make the required scale of
mobilization to address climate change and she's not even admitting the
SME yet. So what do we do? We localize into economies at a scale we can
run, local economies, to keep our little spot of the planet in as good
of shape as we can, and if the atmosphere doesn't fail and the methane
released by temperatures in the Arctic that have Anchorage warmer than
Miami doesn't take us out in a giant fireball, an exploding planet, we
can get through this and start over, and imprison anyone who wants to
start down this trail again. We need to organize locally and statewide
to take Congress from the Republicans in 2018, if we're still here (as
we localize our economies), and throw them all the way out in 2020 and
then make as big an effort as we can, at that point, to adapt to what's
in store for those of us who survive, like our kids and grandkids, who
have been betrayed like no one has ever in human history been betrayed
before. Some of those I've told this to have become preppers, but
that's as wrong-headed as Trump, because it's helping no living thing
except them and their little band of cowards who haven't the courage or
compassion to shake their libertarian religion and help their fellow
beings to survive this horror we let ourselves be talked into to benefit
the top predators in the life system - the capitalists. Running off and
hiding is not a solution. So we organize, and get to know our neighbors
and become powerful enough to act in the life system's behalf to survive
the worst extinction event ever. We must act as if we have time for
this work, but we need to do it as quickly and as well as possible
because we'll have to stick together and have each others' backs in case
it's enough and we survive. If we don't do it, we won't. I dislike
this worse than anyone, and I've carried this truth for so long I'm sick
of it, but my work is to tell it to anyone who can hear it without
shutting down in case they can and will join the mobilization. We can
pull carbon pollution out of the atmosphere by reforesting and restoring
the native prairies in the bare spots and the more we do of that, the
better chance we have. We grow our food, and we grow seedlings to
plant, and our work is to restore what was in the holes in the life
system our species made. In community, we can, believe it or not, be
happy, because the purpose of our species is to tend the land and keep
it thriving, something we haven't done for 10,000 years or so. We may
get another chance, if we make it happen by doing what we should have
been doing since 1986, when James Hansen told Congress this was coming
and what we had to do to keep it from being bad. The poles wouldn't be
melting. So get to work, and good luck.


KS and MO both give breaks to corporations and both face huge deficits next year. KS cut education + food stamps and unemployment to make up for revenue loss but to no avail. Trump will follow the KS model and will fail the American poor and especially the destitute.


Someone who thinks as I do- and yes, I heard some of that all the way back in the 1980s but without the detail you have provided. I just read Tribe by Sebastian Junger which addresses some of this as our society has become less about community and more about the individual the big ME.


I also heard that Trump et al hates people who grow their own food ( oh no)! and believes that people should relinguish their pets because they are a "luxury." Many people don't even pay attention to this goon anymore. However, the neoliberals and neocons who believe that wealth makes them superior are certainly not. Many of them count money, but do not know how to blow their own noses.


156- really. Well, he might have the iq but has the eq ( emotional) of a child thin skinned and overreactive. Also, iq does not define all of "smarts." Commonsense does. And destroying a planet does not equal common sense. Plus, there are rich people who genuinely care about the planet. In fact this " all mine" mind set sounds like a child. A person can be smart but still be mean and vindictive. Or a person can be smart and kind. People also are hurting. They are working multiple jobs, having trouble paying the rent, and even living in poverty. Smart and kind people would not let that happen. He sounds like nothing but an empty suit. Also what did the Wall Streeters who crashed the economy prove- that they too were small minded and selfish and destructive- kind of like the definition of a sociopath.

You mention "get to work" . I do work. I also volunteer, and I am an older person. Get to work on what- helping people and animals who need it? Donating to the food bank from the garden? Lots of people do this all of the time- it is nothing new.