Love for labour lost as respect for workers can’t even be faked
It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labour.
But it is also true that modern America, while it has pretty much eliminated traditional welfare, does have other programmes designed to help the less well-off – notably the earned-income tax credit, food stamps and Medicaid.
The majority of these programmes’ beneficiaries are either children, the elderly or working adults – this is true by definition for the tax credit, which only supplements earned income and turns out in practice to be true of the other programmes.
So, if you consider someone who works hard trying to make ends meet, but also gets some help from the government a “taker,” you’re going to have contempt for a very large number of American workers and their families.
Oh, and just wait until Obamacare kicks in and millions more working Americans start receiving subsidies to help them purchase health insurance.
You might ask why should we provide any aid to working Americans – after all, they aren’t completely destitute, but the fact is that economic inequality has soared over the past few decades.
While a handful of people have stratospheric incomes, a far larger number of Americans find that no matter how hard they work, they can’t afford the basics of a middle-class existence – health insurance in particular. Even putting food on the table can be a problem.
Saying that they can use some help shouldn’t make us think any less of them and it certainly shouldn’t reduce the respect we grant to anyone who works hard and plays by the rules.
But obviously that’s not the way everyone sees it. In particular, there are evidently a lot of wealthy people in America who consider anyone who isn’t wealthy a loser – an attitude that has clearly gotten stronger as the gap between the 1 per cent and everyone else has widened – and such people have a lot of friends in Washington.
So, this time around, will we be hearing anything from Mr Cantor and his colleagues that may suggest they actually do respect people who work for a living? Maybe – but the one thing we’ll know for sure is that they don’t mean it. – (New York Times service)