Glenn Beck recently celebrated the fact that millions of people will lose their unemployment benefits by Christmas, by using his Fox News program to call the idea that the poor are suffering a lie. Beck labeled the poor greedy and said, “What’s poverty in America today? Well, we just want our stuff.”
Here is the video from Media Matters:
While defending the rich, and claiming that they don’t get justice Beck “debunked” the “lie” that the poor are suffering. Beck said, “When you get things for free you don’t appreciate them. We don’t appreciate the things we have, and I mean even me, we don’t appreciate our country because it was handed to us. Instead, we just long for things other people have. We never have enough. We shouldn’t begrudge millionaires or billionaires. Our grandparents would have taught us that we could be the next millionaire or billionaire. Hell, it’s America.”
Then Beck attacked the poor, “We’re often told about the plight of the poor in America, and there is poverty in America, but let’s put it into perspective here. The poor in America 97% of them have television sets, 25% of those television sets are big screens. That’s poverty? 89% have a microwave. 80% have an air conditioning unit. 73% of the poor in America have a car. 64% have a washer. 57% of have a dryer. We have been sold a lie that that’s not enough. How much is enough? What is economic justice? Do I need to remind Americans what poor really looks like? I got news for you in other countries they’re not washing their clothes and sitting in air conditioning watching their big screen TV’s. They’re dying. That is poor.”
After comparing today’s poor to the Great Depression, Beck claimed that the poor are just greedy, “What’s poverty in America today? Well, we just want our stuff.” The point Beck was trying to make, just hours before millions of Americans lost their unemployment benefits was that the poor aren’t really poor. They are greedy people who want more stuff, but who don’t want to work to pay for it. Beck’s message to all of the people who are facing the prospect of going hungry this Christmas is to stop being greedy and get to work.
Two million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits by Christmas, while Republicans and Glenn Beck tell us why millionaires and billionaires deserve more tax cuts. America is on pace for a record increase in poverty. The poverty level is expect to reach at or near 15% of the population, and 20% of children will be poor. Poverty among working age people is expected to hit its highest levels since the 1960s, but to Glenn Beck and the right the people are the undeserving poor.
Notice how Beck didn’t present any actual statistics about hunger and poverty? In the 1980s and 1990s the myth used to demonize the poor was that of welfare recipients driving Cadillacs. In 2010, the big screen TV has replaced the Caddy in the attack on the poor. The reality for the poor is something that Glenn Beck and Republicans don’t want to discuss. The poor in this country face a daily struggle for food and shelter. If they are lucky enough to have a job, it is probably at somewhere like Wal-Mart where pay is low, overtime is often not compensated, and benefits are non-existent.
In 2010, millions of Americans aren’t going to have a Merry Christmas. They will spend their holidays haunted by the looming specters of debt, hunger, and possible homelessness. Since this reality is not comfortable, and facing it would make the right’s position tax cuts indefensible, they have created a false reality where poverty is the fault of the poor, and they can justify not aiding the those in desperate need because they are undeserving.
People are suffering, and no amount of tax cuts for the top two percent can fix that. The issue of the unemployed and the poor is the perfect example of why bi-partisanship is an impossible dream in American politics. People like Glenn Beck are creating a false reality for the right every day. The right is living in a fantasy world where the unemployed and the poor are leaches on society who don’t deserve the government’s help.
It is true that the goal of the right is to take America back to the 1920s, and the sooner the left, and the White House, realize that the very existence of millions of Americans is under attack maybe they will stop getting distracted by TSA scanners, and start to see the real issues and the big picture. The lives of millions of Americans are literally depending on it.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association