Say what you will about GOP politicians, but they’ve got brazen gall to make Caesar jealous. Can you imagine the incredible audacity, the pathologically titanium testes it must take for a congressman to criticize other people for “taking bribes” “receiving lifetime government benefits” and “not working for their money?” This, from someone who makes six figures to work 100 days out of the year. You’d think a sane person in that position would avoid mentioning those things at all. But, then again…this is the Republican Party we’re talking about.
Wisconsin’s Glenn Grothman is one of many Republicans to make it to office as a result of this year’s zombie mid-terms. He beat incumbent Democrat Mark Harris 57-40 in a state that saw a 55 percent voter turnout. Meaning, he was elected to Congress by about 31 percent of Wisconsin’s voters. And that 31 percent apparently really, really doesn’t like poor people.
On Sunday, Grothman came out with a pretty strong statement against the current welfare system. He’s said in the past that it’s “destroying families,” tangent to his rabid hatred of single parenthood. Now that he’s looking at a new office next month, Grothman has stepped up the rhetoric, claiming that the government is effectively “bribing” single parents to stay unemployed and have children out-of-wedlock.
During an interview on Up Front With Mike Gousha, Grothman (the “Constructive Conservative”) regurgitated Reagan with this:
“So your viewers are aware, a single parent with a couple kids can easily get $35,000 a year in total benefits between the health care and the earned income credit and the FoodShare and the low-income housing and what have you. And that’s after taxes. How many people make $35,000 a year after taxes? Most people don’t.
When you look at that amount of money — which is in essence a bribe not to work that hard or a bribe not to marry someone with a full-time job — people immediately realize you have a problem. Then as soon as you realize you have a problem and something has to be done, then you look at the generosity of the benefits and see what you can do to pare them back.”
All brilliant points. Except for the fact none of them are true. First, because that $35,000 figure comes from a now-debunked study by the Koch-funded Cato Institute. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found several glaring flaws in the CATO study. One is that nobody actually gets the full $35,000 in benefits they’re supposedly entitled to. And second, they don’t encourage people to stay unemployed:
“Cato wrongly assumes that a non-working family can count on TANF [welfare] and housing assistance. Cato also wrongly assumes that a family that leaves welfare for work does not receive Medicaid and SNAP [food stamps] and would lose housing assistance if the family had received it previously.”
But, then again, we should expect no less from a person dyed well in the wool of libertarian economics. This is the same person who argued for a seven-day work week, and well subscribes to the Industrial Era principle that starvation and poverty are good for keeping the price of labor down. As do the Kochs and other John Birch Society acolytes.
Though, to be fair, Industrial Era economics aren’t Grothman’s only agenda…he’s got a line on social issues, too. Mostly that teachers have a secret plan (via the NEA) to turn kids gay, and Kwanzaa is a fake holiday made up by liberals to something something black people.