Because there is no Left in America anymore…

From the annals of the “we told you so” brigade:

PHOENIX — Perhaps no law in the past generation has drawn more praise than the drive to “end welfare as we know it,” which joined the late-’90s economic boom to send caseloads plunging, employment rates rising and officials of both parties hailing the virtues of tough love.

But the distress of the last four years has added a cautionary postscript: much as overlooked critics of the restrictions once warned, a program that built its reputation when times were good offered little help when jobs disappeared. Despite the worst economy in decades, the cash welfare rolls have barely budged.

The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here, mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners — all with children in tow.

Bill Clinton and the neutered Democratic Party are as responsible for this catastrophe as much as the Republicans who openly loathe poor people.

The old program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, dates from the New Deal; it gave states unlimited matching funds and offered poor families extensive rights, with few requirements and no time limits. The new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, created time limits and work rules, capped federal spending and allowed states to turn poor families away.

“My take on it was the states would push people off and not let them back on, and that’s just what they did,” said Peter B. Edelman, a law professor at Georgetown University who resigned from the Clinton administration to protest the law. “It’s been even worse than I thought it would be.”

Yes, the end of AFDC was another example of a New Deal program sacrificed on the altar of phony Republican morality.  The poor are poor because they’re being kept poor by these programs.  Turns out that that was another Republican Big Lie, but one that the Democrats heartily embraced in the spirit of “bipartisanship.”  Have we not yet learned that you cannot strike a bargain with the devil and avoid getting burned in the process?  Well, here we are in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression and we’re all shocked, shocked that the poor are suffering after we, as a nation, nuked their safety net.

So between gutting welfare, slashing medicare and preventing the poor from voting, we should be back to the antebellum South in no time at all.  A fully dependent slave class to the capitalist system.

Far too often, “Liberal” is synonymous with “coward.”  The references are a little dated, but I do believe Phil Ochs captured the spirit of the modern liberal with crystal clarity…

İ cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don’t talk about revolution
That’s going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I’m glad the commies were thrown out
of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don’t move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can’t understand how their minds work
What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I read New Republic and Nation
I’ve learned to take every view
You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I’m almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I’ll send all the money you ask for
But don’t ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why I’m turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal


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2 thoughts on “Because there is no Left in America anymore…

  1. With Easter as a reminder of a new start and of change, we need to strengthen our resolve and our commitments to reign in the powers that be and charge them, demand them, to look out for all our interests and not simply those current MOTU who care not a wit but about anyone but themselves, regardless of the costs to the planet and the people besides them, still living here. We are viewed as dispensable, the earth we live on is viewed as dispensable. Right or left politically, we are viewed as dispensable. Nothing will change without our participation in demanding it.

    All of Congress, the SCOTUS, and the rightest-wing, Trojan horse POTUS (being one of the worst ever for our general welfare) are willingly bought and paid for, along with the MSM that keeps up the charade of a choice between either party as somehow being on, “YOUR,” side ($Billions in election year income to perpetuate the myths). They are not interested in us. Real jobless figures are above 15%. Real economic factors such as home foreclosures are on the rise, another third of a million pending in this fiscal quarter. Obama colluded with big oil to ignore the epic Mocondo disaster. XL Keystone, Obama will, “consider,” it delayed until he is re-elected. The powers that be are covering up the eminent crisis brought about by Fukushima’s present fragility and instability. Obama had the NOAA Pacific monitoring system, disabled, why? Not to worry, no further earthquakes predicted along the western edge of the Pacific rim. Right. $Trillions still flowing from our pockets to, “Wall Street,” and the New World Order where we are but slightly irritating chaff in the wind, so what if the US is still 30th place with “best,” infant mortality statistics. Pro-life for sure (snark).

    There is however, a left-wing, a populist party, not officially represented, it calls neither national political party home. A large vestige of REAL and genuinely ethical and concerned citizens, are battling for our natural resources and for our health and for our true general welfare in the best expression of being a good caring neighbor, being our brother’s keeper, being honest custodians of our charge to protect and improve the heritage entrusted to us, to be able to pass it on to our futures, is alive and breathing, here in grass-roots Wisconsin. Battling (though only just awakening in our consciousness) for our very survival. Rejoice in this today and resolve to continue, renewed.

    Phil I do appreciate the topic. I also appreciate the opportunity to speak here. Thanks. I saw this link at another site. Read it but please do not weep, there is little time, please be moved to action.

  2. Charles P. Pierce over at the Esquire Politics Blog has much, much more on the history of TANF and the collapse of the left in the welfare “reform” debate. It’s a shocking tale…

    The fact is that “welfare reform” gave everybody permission not to care about poverty anymore. It gave preening gombeens like Rick Santorum a chance to talk about “character” and “hope.” It gave the zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan a chance to mouth off about the law’s “unprecedented success,” although I’m not sure if he’s ever explained fully how hard the culture of dependency was on him when he was going through his teenage years on Social Security survivor’s benefits. It gave the political system generally, and at every level, a chance to think about anything else. It was positioned as a unalloyed triumph. It had solved poverty. And then, of course, the economy went bad.

    And the shit hit the fan…

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