Sunday, October 25, 2015

Scarlet Letters, Star of David Patches . . . They Inch Closer to Repeating History's Ugliness ...

The Gadfly is pretty damn certain that the picture at the top of this post depicts precisely what the reaction of the Christ man would be to the subject of this story and his supporters:

Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald, a longtime critic of public assistance programs, wants to publicize the names and addresses of Mainers on welfare by creating an online registry of recipients.
Writing in his regular column in the Twin City Times, a Lewiston-Auburn weekly newspaper, Macdonald said if the public can get information about people who receive public pensions, they should be able to do the same for welfare recipients.
Macdonald said in an interview Wednesday that he has no concerns about how the column might be perceived.
“Go into a grocery store. They flaunt it,” he said, referring to people who receive welfare benefits. “I’m not sorry. I hope this makes people think twice about applying for welfare.”
Macdonald also said that putting names and addresses out there might encourage neighbors to “make a call.”
“Then we can go after all these people who are gaming the system,” he said.

When The Gadfly first got wind of this story about Lewiston, Maine's mayor Robert MacDonald advocating for publishing the names of all of his state's citizens who are receiving any form of public assistance, The Gadfly said to his self -- "I will wager a good sum of money that this man is a Republican.":

And sure enough . . .

Macdonald, a Republican who is running for re-election in November, also wrote that he plans to resubmit a bill that would limit General Assistance...

First off - let's start with the thoroughly repulsive idea of publicly shaming our fellow citizens for being in the unfortunate situation of being poor.

Why stop with just publishing names Mr. Mayor?  Why not mandate that anyone applying for welfare or food stamps have the word "MOOCHER" tattooed on the inside of their forearms?  Or how about making it a law that any public assistance recipients, when they are out in public, have to be sporting a sewn-on patch (a big yellow 'M' - for Moocher) on their clothing which clearly identifies them as welfare scum?

Secondly - note the manner in which the "good" Mayor refers to the least fortunate citizens of his state ... he basically is insinuating that most, if not all, welfare recipients are deliberately abusing the welfare system - by "flaunting" their ill gained "wealth."  He then states that one of the motivations of his idea to publish names of people on welfare is so that like-minded assholes like him will spy on their neighbors and if they "suspect" someone undeserving might be receiving some food stamps, they can "make a call" to the local gestapo . .  er . . authorities so that they can "go after" them.

This man's views are all the more appalling when one considers the fact that the vast majority of Americans who are receiving general assistance and food stamps are women and children.

A study from a year or so ago estimated that the wealthiest individuals on the planet are stashing somewhere between $21 and $32 trillion (that's between 21 and 32 thousand billions for you math flunkers) in offshore, tax-free havens.  Around 50% of that amount is generally considered to be from American elites.

So that would be somewhere between $11 and $16 trillion (once again think 11-16 thousand billions) that is being hoarded tax-free by a very small number of American oligarchs.

Now - statistics show that the federal government spends somewhere in the neighborhood of $220 billion annually on cash and cash-like public assistance programs such as TANF (Temp Assistance for Needy Families), Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, housing vouchers and the child tax credit.  And yes - those programs are being paid for by people who pay taxes in this country.  But make no mistake about it -- many of the people receiving public assistance are people who at some point in their life times have contributed tax dollars from their earnings in to that system so that in the event adverse life circumstances put them in a position of need, that safety net is there for them.

Simply put - that $220 billion is approximately 0.6% of the wealthy elite's tax-shielded hoard that is sitting in some shady foreign banks and doing absolutely nothing productive, neither for the nation that made it possible for them to gain that wealth, nor their fellow citizens.  Bottom line is - the public aid expenditures in this country are truly penny-ante chump change compared to the money that the oligarchs are squirreling away offshore to avoid having to pay their fair share of what makes America the greatest and most prosperous democracy on the planet.

So - for conservative jerks like Mayor MacFascist to be stamping their whiny ass little feet and crying about how much the poverty-stricken moochers in our society are "taking" smacks of some of the worst and most hypocritical demonizing of a whole class of people that The Gadfly can imagine.  It is sickening and disturbing and un-American and it needs to be called just that by many more people.

So fuck Mayor Robert MacDonald and his shit-for-brains ilk.  The man is an idiot in a political party which these days appears to have literally cornered the market on idiots. And quite frankly,The Gadfly doesn't give a scrawny rat's ass who that viewpoint offends.


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