Conservatives v. the unemployed

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Robindell's picture

Some Republicans in Congress have spuriously said that those receiving unemployment compensation would prefer not to find a job.  This kind of accusative mentality is facilitated by the nature of our economy.  Most people are employed.  Even though unemployment has been the highest in U.S. history in some parts of the country and the highest since the Great Depression overall, there is a majority who are employed.  Conservatives act as if the majority is right and the minority is wrong. 

William Julius Wilson is a professor of sociology and public policy at Harvard University and is author of the book, The Truly Disadvantaged, which is based on research on areas of Chicago.  (Professor Wilson was previoulsy on the faculty of the University of Chicago sociology department).  He has suggested that discrimination based on race has decreased over time in America.   The election of President Obama is an example of this.  But what we have instead is the emergence of an urban underclass.

Right-wingers are aburd and nonsensical in that on the one hand, they criticize President Obama and his administration for not doing enough to address the lack of employment, and on the other accuse the unemployed of not doing enough to try and find a job.  Also, we have uneducated people, frustrated in their own life situation without acknowledging it, telling unemployed, educated people that they must accept a lower wage than they previously received, even if it means working at a fast-food joint or big box store or some other form of labor.  The idea that talent and training means something is lost on corporate executives who aren't hiring and on conservative pundits and callers to talk shows, who claim to oppose economic equality, and yet, all of a sudden, want the educated elite to lower their station in life and become at one with the blue collar workers of America, and toil along side of them. 

I have noticed that conservatives are using this opportunity to further exaggerate and propagandize how great capitalism is and downplay the shortage of jobs by attacking welfare, otherwise known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.  One guy calling a progressive show said that he knows the people on welfare.  Needless to say, his opinion of them is negative.  He suggested talking to people waiting in a welfare office.  That is an example of the anecdotal approach used by Reagan and by many conservatives today.  Then, there is a letter-writer to the editor of a local newspaper.  The writer says that a "scholarly researcher" found that an increase in welfare spending resulted in an increase in divorce.  He then goes on to cite the familiar but highly doubtful argument about welfare resulting in an increase in out-of-wedlock births.  He then jumps to a claim which he implies is based on empirical evidence that children with single parents have lower scores on "standardized academic measures" than do children living with both parents or at least with access to both a mother and a father.  Thus, single-parent children, with lower academic achievement than their counterparts with two parents, will earn less money when they become adults compared to kids with both parents.  And this situation supposedly is brought about by welfare. 

These conservatives are ignorant of the kinds of physical and social conditions that often exist in low-income households and communities.  At the same time, not everyone who lives in inner-city or ghetto neighborhoods is unemployed, and there are educated families who live on the same street and block as lower-income households with the advent of scattered site public housing.

Conservatives are trying to convince people that with positive thinking, anyone can find a job, no matter where you live or what your educational and employment background is.  They are also trying to convince people that Obama is not creating enough jobs.  If anyone could find a job, why do we need more jobs? After all, we have a 100% employment rate, if only people would send out some resumes or fill out some job applications. 



Volitzer's picture
Here's how to mess with a

Here's how to mess with a conservative.

Conservatives support capitalism and oppose socialism.

Conservatives support Police, Fire Depts., the Military.

Police, Fire Dept, the Military is the socialist side of America's mixed economy.

Watch their faces go blank. 

Volitzer's picture
Rush Limbaugh and his

Rush Limbaugh and his conservative cohorts are the biggest hypocrites of them all.

The Bilderbergers subsidize their programming where as people like Thom Hartman, Alex Jones, Jason Bermas, and Mike Savage are more truth focused cuz that's where the radio demographics lie.

shalwechat's picture
Not a matter of messing with

Not a matter of messing with conservatives or progressives, our job market is in the gutter. The conservative are just ignoring the problem, while their right leaning economists are scratching their heads trying to understand why trickle down economic system is not working, not realizing that their economic engine has stripped out money from most every working  middle class folks out there.

At times I wonder if this the "new world order"...10 percent unemployment. 

meljomur's picture
Well it is more difficult to

Well it is more difficult to control the middle class than the lower class.  So I can understand why conservatives would have an interest in a diminished middle class.

What I fail to comprehend is how these conservatives in power have managed to convince so many in this middle class (see Tea Party movement) that its in their own best interest for them to be pushed even further down.

I just don't understand how so many people in America could be so easily brainwashed.

What on earth has happened to the USA?!!?

  Every time a conservative


Every time a conservative criticizes President Obama, Osama Bin Laden dances in the street.



Red China is not a Democracy, it is a Republic.

Robindell's picture
As Thomas Frank has pointed

As Thomas Frank has pointed out, conservatives have used the elitism argument in the past.  Progressives, in criticizing both the super-rich and Democrats who don't vote for or otherwise try and promote progressive policies, also have an anti-eltist populism as part of their argument.  Progressives are also sometimes critical of some academic and professional elites such as economists and mainstream journalists. 

Republicans don't want any talk that would unmask areas of unfairness in society, and thus they have criticized Democrats for social class "warfare."   But I have come to believe that conservatives are at their very core are social class bigots.  They don't like poor people for not having enough money to meet their "standards," whatever those are.  When you are a working class person who is not lazy and who works, when your job entails serving the public, and when you encounter conservative social class bigots in the flesh and have to provide service to them, you discover through their attitude and comments that, in actuality, they don't respect people who work for a living.  Their mission is one of social supremacy.  This is reflected in all of their opinions and policies.   It is one thing to try and encourage someone else, but it is another to talk down to them and express views that are not constructive or are merely arrogant in tone.

I think there are some conservatives who are less prejudiced against the working poor or blue collar workers and more upset with those they see as being elites, who they would like to see brought down a peg or two.  If you analyze conservative callers to radio shows, some will stick with criticizing Democrats and other progressives, while others concentrate on complaining about the lack of individual responsibility of poor people, which could include a questionable survey claiming that a majority of Americans hardly have any savings for their retirement, a finding that I think is probably as bogus as the criticicism made by conservatives that people spend too much on consumption so that they don't have enough money saved up.  Many Americans are too materialistic, but most people have sufficient common sense not to buy extravagant luxuries.  The idea that many jobs, if you can even find one, don't pay enough for a family with a few kids to sock away a lot of money and still afford the necessities of life is something the conservatives can never openly admit.  Their ideology is that captialisim is utopia, and nothing must contradict that greatly exaggerated assertion and belief. 

The common thread of conservatives' complaints is that someone else has too much, other than the very wealthy.  They talk about the unemployed or ghetto residents like Thom talks about overpaid health insurance company executives.  Speaking of which, there was a recent news report that several state Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies made more in profits than anyone had believed was possible, and yet, these very companies raised the health insurance premiums of their customers.  This is an another example of a factual story that most conservatives would never want to mention or discuss.