Vanguard, on Current TV, is like 60 Minutes on steroids by focusing on one issue for the whole hour. After the Current TV special on the GOP Iowa debate held Saturday night, Vanguard showed a program titled “Two Americas” that compared and contrasted two families on either end of the income scale. One brief statement from the unemployed Dad parroted the views expressed by Ron Paul – that the social safety net should taken down and poor people supported by charity. His comments showed the disconnect I’ve seen before by poor Republicans who keep voting for cheap labor conservatives who steal from the 99% and give to the 1%.
The unemployed family of four moved to Houston, TX to get work after the Dad lost his $55,000 construction superintendent job. The Mom had just lost her $12 an hour job the previous month and the family was living on approximately $19,000 a year in unemployment – of course until it runs out. The other family of four had a Dad who is president and CEO of an energy trading company.
After the unemployed man said he agreed with what the Republicans canidates were saying at the GOP debate in Orlando, that was being shown on TV, the Vanguard person asked:
Vanguard: Someone might say you are voting against your own interest.
Man: You’re saying because we are getting food stamps and all that?
Man: Look what I believe is obvious. Okay, it’s obvious that government should be limited. If the government wasn’t helping us with the food stamps and the unemployment somebody out there would be. The government don’t need to be helping, don’t need to be helping us, they don’t.
The end of the program said the Man did find a job but had to take a $20,000 pay cut and work out of town, but I would love to see the Vanguard people ask the same question to someone who exhausted their unemployment and they have to depend on charity.
And last year the 500-people came over a two day period. This year, 500 showed up in one day to stand in the cold, damp weather. Many were turned away and told to try again tomorrow. “Sadly, there are more people needing food and donations are down,” said food bank manager Regena Taylor. “We sent an appeal to churches, friends of community food bank to our board of directors. And we got some response but not nearly the response we hoped for or needed.”
At least in letting the government help, you don’t have to depend only on the kindness of strangers and hope the food bank doesn’t run out of food. As a side note, if the man did go on charity he would have to quit smoking so that might be a plus.
Also food stamps and unemployment are voluntary. If you feel the government shouldn’t be helping you then don’t apply for them. That’s what made me shake my head in amazement. That and the common “Gubmint” argument as if it were some monster out to eat you. The government is us – well is suppose to be us.
I think the man was in denial of his situation and disconnected from his reality. Sometimes that does help in coping with the bad times. His wife had a more realistic view of the situation while her husband kept up a happy persona.
At the end when we find out he did find a job he said he didn’t want to work away from his family but had no choice. At least he had the option and transportation. Many chronically unemployed have no reliable transportation.
Democrats need to reach the disconnected like this man in the documentary and drive home again and again that the social safety net is a good thing and the Republicans have no real plan to alleviate the unemployment crisis.