Home | About | Donate

Trying to Explain the Disdain for Poor Americans


Trying to Explain the Disdain for Poor Americans

Paul Buchheit

Americans with wealth and power don't generally care about the middle and lower classes. Even worse, they are doing real damage to the people they don't care about.

But why? Either these well-positioned people are 100 percent out of touch with the realities of middle-class life in our country, or they're contemptuous of those they consider inferior, or they believe so strongly in individual 'freedom' that even the word 'social' is repugnant to them. Or perhaps they're just not smart enough to see the value of people who are different from them.


The current hate for the poor by repubs goes back to Reagan. He vilified the poor and the repubs have been running on this message for decades.


The rich's disdain for the poor also has historical roots in the aristocracy's disdain for the peasants.
"they're just peasants who's sole purpose in life is to serve us." "they're poor because they don't deserve to be wealthy because they're peasants." "We are the civilized gentility, they are the meaner sort." Perceptions based on fantasies in order to maintain the status quo that supports the wealthy/aristocracy. Self-created delusions with no basis on reality is all it is.
Stuck up snobs....


I think that, while Reagan and administrations since have worsened the plight of the poor, the belief system that says poverty is the fault of the poor and that econimic success is proof of worthiness has been around a long time.

A book long out of print "Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self Made Man" by Garry Wills, a book first published in 1970 but which is still obtainable and which deserves to be rediscovered and included in the national discussion.

Using Richard Nixon as a way to explore thie longstanding American notion of the causes of wealth and poverty and the erroneous moral false lessons derived therefrom would increase understanding as to the whys of U.S. economic inequality and the root reasons so many people think it's fair and square that it be there.


The clown leading the circus parade is a distraction.

For those who are not among the wealthy, if the Trump Presidency is like being under assault from an AK-47, then Obama/Clinton/Carter/etc. Presidencies were like being assaulted with sledge hammers.

However, the attacks on the poor go beyond disdain by the plutocratic elite.

Both Democrat and Republican ideologies are founded on embrace of imperial militarism, espionage and repression, environmentally damaging and unsustainable economic practices, a capitalist economics that ensures that one's ability to increase wealth, and to limit the wealth of others, is a function of one's wealth, and a national and worldwide caste system whereby a some 10 million in the US (some 15 million worldwide) are extremely wealthy (and thus powerful) while nearly half the households in the US have incomes that are barely able to meet their expenses (and nearly half of the worlds population live on less than $2.50 a day). When a Democrat is in office, Republicans push to promote their version of this ideology. Now, Democrats are working to keep people focused on the clown. Democrats too, however, are seeking to promote their version of this ideology.

A structural shift in approaches to peace, justice, sustainability, and economic justice will only be achieved through grassroots community based organizing.


The democrats "version" does not seek to kill thousands of citizens by taking away their health insurance and giving the wealthy a huge tax reduction in the process. Republicans control most states and the entire Federal government. I have to assume that the typical American is both rather ignorant and suspicious and disdainful of many who are not amongst his tribe.


"Trying to Explain the Disdain for Poor Americans"

Four words: Systematic systemically reinforced IMPOVERISHMENT.

From Wallmart (a vast "fortune" scraped from the backs of slave labour in other countries for all intents and purposes) to for-profit imprisonment system to further advance SLAVE LABOUR, these are absolutely essential links in the CHAIN of production.

""Alec has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country's massive prison population.""


From the official military budget to the longstanding 'black budgets' - these are the 'cutting edge' (interesting turn of phrase among many) that inform societally determinant policies.

Our shared reality is deeper than the musical chairs abuses of governance structures hijacked by the organized crime model of CITIZENS UNITED. Note that the justice system is THE prime target identifiable by the model of organized crime being propagated.

To reiterate growing sentiment:


I agree that the Republican Party is much more violent in their governance.

The Republican health approach to health care can be summed up as, essentially: 'If your too poor to afford it, your don't deserve health care'.

However, the Democrat leadership continues to embrace a Milton Friedman model of 'privatization' of health care that leaves many uncovered and many more inadequately covered. Even with control of the Congress, Senate, and Presidency, the Democrats not only rejected single payer health care, they failed to provide adequate support for non-profit insurance co-ops that were seeking to provide alternatives to for-profit insurance providers. The Democrats also failed to address the accumulation of wealth by pharmaceuticals by promoting non-profits, or B-Corps, in the pharmaceutical industry.


Not by taking away the health care, but where you are not looking


I simply do not buy the argument that democrats had "control of the Congress." Not EVERY democrat is a fine, upstanding servant of the people. I would argue that democrats would likely need AT LEAST 2/3 majority in the Senate, for instance, to pass decent legislation. Many people are easily bought.


In America, being poor is equated with being weak, uneducated and unimportant. Philosophers and moralists reflect upon altruism and the moral imperative but the greedy capitalist usually does not. Does a fat person eating dinner in a good restaurant think about the starving in the third world? Not usually they don't.

Perhaps it is not really disdain for the poor as much as it is actual disinterest in their condition. Our society is continually fracturing and dividing itself into many unconnected groups and even more disparate attitudes. Red state or blue state, liberal or conservative etc. these divisions, we all know but we are fast becoming alienated even from each other as we merge into a technological landscape where we may 'know' the guy online quite well without ever meeting them but do not know the neighbors on our floor in the apartment building where we live. It isn't that we disdain knowing them, it is merely that we have no real need to know them and thus have no investment devoted to getting to know them.

We tend to seek out birds of our own feather though but increasingly that is less and less dependent on close personal contact. Given the distances between social classes, a rich person 'never' comes to know a poor person or even meet many of them though they see them every day. It is like there isn't a shared commonality and that has turned into a socially'accepted' lack of empathy. Poor people are supposed to need something, or they all want something etc is the unspoken attitude. Yet many a well off person will suck up to a superior in exactly the same way that they assume a poor person will 'who wants something from them'. A what's in it for me attitude that leaves the poor at the bottom rung of the ladder.

It isn't disdain as much as it is that under our billionaires know best version of capitalism, the moral imperative has been drastically weakened and we think that it is okay to not have to care about them one way or the other.

However these days, those who are in the middle class are feeling like they are being treated like the poor because it was one thing to know about there being millionaires but now billionaires are taking over and ... a little disdain goes a long way when you know it is being directed at you.


"Rex Tillerson said climate change is "an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions." "

True, because it is a problem created by two centuries of "industrial" engineering, and the we can engineer the engineering to be less invasive on the planet, or just go away.

People forget the role luck plays in the people getting some people rich.
Mostly they are less perceptive than Rex.


The low information personality who makes his or her way by doing the one thing they are capable of is a contrast to the high information empath.

Without bridges between the two worlds we will continue to elect trump.


Disdain for poor Americans was initially imported from England. The American colonies were regarded as a means of ridding England of people regarded as nothing but waste, and they were certainly treated that way once on colonial shores. The same attitudes extended to Native Americans and slaves. We simply often fail to acknowledge that we've always had a class system -- which certainly hasn't disappeared despite sometimes successful efforts to address some of its ills -- and far less social and economic mobility than popular narratives claim.


Bernie Sanders was the 'only' politician running for President in 2016 whose compassion for the poor and integrity in representing everyone, exceeded his financial wealth.

This however was not widely noticed by the masses enough to insure his candidacy as the Democratic nominee. Too many, were okay with supporting the corporate candidate with less integrity and compassion, once Bernie was summarily minimized, ridiculed and lied about by the Democratic Party Establishment, the DNC, and Hillary Clinton herself.

137 million voters chose to support the two Duopoly Divas who were the richest, most morally and ethically corrupt and whom also only feigned compassion for the poor and needy.

After Bernie was eliminated from the equation, the only candidate for President that would have represented those who are poor and needy, was Jill Stein. Jill barely received 1% of the vote. 137 million preferred to support the two most hated candidates in the history of the United States.

In voting for these two most hated candidates of all time, these voters openly showed their 'Disdain' for Poor America.

Until the majority of voters figure this out, we are all pretty much, 'Clucked', as the Chicken would say.


His words are generic and should be remembered while watching Exxon-Mobile's latest pr ad promoting oil (or is API the sponsor?) Their latest ads mean to engender the idea that there is nothing without oil. Get used to it, you can't stop us, and why should you, why would you?


I find no difference between the R and D parties. According to Nikki Haley, the President is now "CEO" of the country and he can hire and fire whoever he wants. Sadly, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama hired people who didn't do a damn thing for the citizens of the U.S. There is no argument. Martin Heinrich and Michele Lujan-Grisholm holding a rally in ABQ last Sat. on heathcare comes to mind. People were there with signs for single payer while they were talking about saving the ACA. The Democrats try to be slick; who buys into it? Meanwhile, today it's the American oligarchs against the Russian oligarchs. Can't wait to find out about ALL the politicians involved in Russia-gate while "they" get their war with Iran..


Interesting ... that definitely does not describe the orangubrat or the Koch bros -- in both cases they got money from their father.
And the author is right -- all 3 possible explanations are absolutely right!


Reagan did most of what we see today. He ran on the ideas, and once in made it clear that the poor were bad people. The messaging continued unabated through all the years he was president. An entire generation were fed this when young, many older people were tempted into it, and voila: It's now the norm belief in the land. For this alone hopefully Reagan is burning in Hell, forever really......


I agree with most of what the author says. He left out the part where many democrats, including progressives, have distain for the poor as well. How many times have I read about the "masses" as if they were a separate species? How many of the latte sippers on the Upper East side have ever actually done anything to help the poor with their great wealth? The poor are either treated as children that should just do what the better educated and wealthier say (urban poor) or as stupid rednecks and trailer trash that are beyond redemption (rural poor).