While trying to defend Romney’s comments about the poor Fox News claimed that since more poor people have gout, the poor aren’t really poor.
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Fox News contributor Charles Payne defended Mitt Romney’s lack of concern for the poor by saying, “To supposedly alleviate the very poor, and Mitt was right. The very poor in America do have a lot of programs a lot of benefits. People aren’t dying in America. You know, in fact, the very poor suffer from gout. In fact, in the 1920s and 30s that was called the rich man’s disease, but here’s the thing, the very poor have entered into this sort of Faustian deal where they’ve said, ‘Ok, you know what? If I can go to my mailbox twice a month and get paid the same amount of money that I could get at a low paying job then I’m not going to take it. In return, you can have my vote, but give me some political cover.’ You know what, here in this country; think about it, we don’t criticize the people that suck up the lion’s share of government services, government aid, police department services, fire department services. We’re crucifying the people that pay the lion’s share of taxes, so it’s worked out great in that particular point. But here’s the problem, we have generational poverty, and in this country, that shouldn’t exist.”
According to Fox News the proof that poor people aren’t really poor is because they have gout. But the odds of having gout are increased by being poor, or more specifically the diet of many poor Americans. Four dietary causes of gout are, obesity, moderate to heavy alcohol ingestion, particularly beer, a diet rich in meat and seafood (high-purine foods), very low-calorie diets. Poor people consume lots of empty calories, because processed food is cheaper. (This is due to our government’s policy of subsidizing agribusiness, instead of natural healthy food alternatives). The fact more poor people are developing gout is a more reflection of a national food policy that is promoting obesity than the fiscal health of the poor.
More poor people are getting gout, not because they have money, but because they don’t.
Payne is also wrong about poor people dying in America. A 2009 Harvard study found that 45,000 Americas die each year from a lack of healthcare. A 2011 USDA study discovered that nearly 15% of Americans (14.5%) suffer food insecurity. Payne’s idea that people on public assistance make more money than those who work minimum wage jobs came from a widely debunked 1995 Cato Institute report. Payne’s claim that poor people get a check for not working is also false. Only 10% of those who receive federal benefits get cash assistance.
As far as poor people sucking up all the resources that everyone else is paying for, this is also not true. Consider that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy cost the government twice as much per year as it spends on programs for the poor, $250 billion for tax cuts compared to $120 billion for poverty programs. Payne’s claim that the poor are being protected by the government is absurd.
It is the rich’s ability to buy influence in our government that allows someone like Mitt Romney to pay the same tax rate as a person who makes $50,000 a year.
Charles Payne unleashed a barrage of lies and falsehoods about the poor that perfectly illustrated how the right uses class warfare. This isn’t a war against the poor. It is an attempted extermination of the programs that help keep poor people alive.
Poor people already face a lifespan that is six and a half years shorter than the non-poor, and now Fox News wants to claim that gout is a status symbol of wealth.
Image: DanCentury (Flickr)