In an August 4 post titled "If On The Dole Why Do You Still Get To Go To The Poll?" Forbes columnist Bill Flax wrote, "Before we devolve into a Third World dictatorship where the mob denies the liberties of losing minorities we ought to ponder several potential solutions." His list of suggestions:
- A basic literacy assessment;
- A non-partisan test ensuring competency of basic constitutional principles;
- A stake in the community reflected by property, employment or other measures;
- Restrict the franchise to lessen conflicts of interest regarding state employees, lobbyists, contractors, etc.;
- Surrender one's voting privileges when seeking public assistance.
The rest of Flax's post touched on familiar right-wing falsehoods: half of Americans don't pay taxes; fighting poverty is a waste of money; the poor in America aren't really poor because they can buy appliances.
As a reminder, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned the institution of "basic literacy assessment[s]" and other "voting qualifications or prerequisites" based on race. Apparently, Flax thinks it's OK to discriminate against people based on their jobs -- public employees -- or economic status -- the recipients of "public assistance" -- by removing their ability to vote.
Though Flax's suggestion that voting rights should be rolled back came in a blog post, his writing is also published in Forbes magazine.
Flax's bio says he "live[s] in Cincinnati, Ohio and work[s] in the banking industry." Last year, he had a book published called The Courage to Do Nothing: A Moral Defense of Markets and Freedom. The back cover says, "Read The Courage to do Nothing to learn economic truths ignored by the cultural elites determined to change America into a European-style socialist boondoggle."
Though Rush reads on-air the fact that the city's primary bus and rail station is located a mere five lanes from the site of the convention, he goes on to insist that the real reason for the move is because Democrats want to obscure the cameras' view of "their voters," half of whom, he claims, "live at the bus station." Because the city's main bus and rail hub is located directly across the street from the convention center, it's more than plausible that the security perimeter - remember, the President of the United States will be in attendance - will engulf the transit center.
The Charlotte Observer reported:
"One of the DNCC's top priorities is to minimize impact on Charlotteans' daily routines during the week of the convention," [Charlotte Area Transit System chief executive, Carolyn Flowers] said.
The Charlotte Transportation Center is the nerve center for the city's rail and bus service. It's not only a start-and-go point for thousands of uptown workers, it's also a hub for switching buses. It is adjacent to the CTC/Arena light-rail station, which probably would be temporarily closed as well.
As the Observer reported, the transportation center of Charlotte will likely have to be moved because of its immediate proximity to the arena:
Changing traffic patterns and roping off a security perimeter around the location of a nomination convention site is absolutely not a new practice. Take the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul Minnesota, for instance. In 2008, The Star Tribune published a map of the "no-traffic zone" around the Xcel Center:
The "no-traffic zone" designated by the city of St. Paul in 2008 stretches over a number of city blocks surrounding the arena, as the perimeter around the security perimeter around the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte likely will.
Projecting his own ugly stereotypes about the poor onto an otherwise mundane exercise in logistics is just the latest installment in Rush's multi-volume history of attacking the poor. Last summer in response to a report on children facing hunger while classes were out of session, Rush suggested they "dumpster dive" for food. He's also cast doubt on the statistic that one in 50 American children experience homelessness every year, calling the idea "bogus," and positing to his listeners, "Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?"
In recent days, Fox News has fearmongered that the United States could soon experience the economic struggles seen in Greece. But economists have pointed out that the two countries' economies are not comparable and said that it is "impossible" for the United States to experience the same economic problems as seen in Greece.
Fox hosts often complain that taxes on the wealthy are already too high and have consistently opposed any tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, even when a majority of Americans have favored such proposals several times in the past few years, in order to address the rising deficit.
Today, Fox & Friends took their opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy one step further by suggesting that middle and low-income earners are actually the ones should pay higher taxes. First, the co-hosts argued that the country's wealthiest Americans can't afford to pay any more:
DAVE BRIGGS (guest host): So do we pay their -- do the wealthy pay their fair share already? That's the big question. Now, when you look at the numbers, it appears that the wealthy already do pay their fair share, but I guess that's on the eye of the beholder. The top 1 percent already pays 38 percent of all income taxes in the United States, and you got to keep in mind, almost half of this country pays no income tax whatsoever. So for the president to say that Americans want higher taxes, well, again, half the country doesn't pay them. It's an easy thing to get away with.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): But what is fair? See, what's fair share? Obviously, those two words together are a good buzz word, and they probably, this administration has probably tested those words to see if they're effective with the American people. Yeah, most people would say, hey, things should be fair. But what does that mean when you factor in that 50 percent of the nation doesn't even pay federal income tax? Is that fair?
This graphic was aired while the co-hosts spoke:
Then co-host Steve Doocy went on to suggest that "if we're going to make things fairer, are people who currently don't pay taxes, will they have to pay something?" Yes -- he suggested that it would be "fairer" if middle-class and the poor paid more in taxes.
In an August 2 op-ed, Washington Examiner columnist Thomas Sowell used a recent Heritage Foundation study, which determined that many of those living below the poverty line own household appliances like a microwave, to claim that those defined as poor by the government are not truly poor, writing, "If there were a contest for the most misleading words used in politics, 'poverty' should be one of the leading contenders for that title." In fact, regardless of the appliances they own, the poor in America still face hardships in areas such as health, education, housing, and access to healthy food and legal services.
Sowell also claimed that " '[t]he poor' are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever-bigger spending for ever-bigger government advance toward their goal." From the op-ed (emphasis added):
If there were a contest for the most misleading words used in politics, "poverty" should be one of the leading contenders for that title.
Each of us may have his own idea of what poverty means, especially those of us who grew up in poverty. But what poverty means politically and in the media is whatever the people who collect statistics choose to define as poverty.
This is not just a question of semantics. The whole future of the welfare state depends on how poverty is defined. "The poor" are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever-bigger spending for ever-bigger government advance toward their goal.
If poverty meant what most people think of as poverty -- people who are "ill-clad, ill-housed, and ill-nourished," in FDR's phrase -- there would not be nearly enough people in poverty today to justify the vastly expanded powers and runaway spending of the federal government.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has for years examined what "the poor" of today actually have, and the economic facts completely undermine the political rhetoric.
Official data cited by Rector show that 80 percent of "poor" households have air-conditioning today, which less than half the population of America had in 1970. Nearly three-quarters of households in poverty own a motor vehicle, and nearly one-third own more than one motor vehicle.
Virtually everyone living in "poverty," as defined by the government, has color television, and most have cable TV or satellite TV. More than three-quarters have either a VCR or a DVD player, and nearly nine-tenths have a microwave oven.
Actual studies of "the poor" have found their intake of the necessary nutrients to be no less than that of others. In fact, obesity is slightly more prevalent among low-income people.
[T]he political left hates means tests. If government programs were confined to people who were genuinely poor in some meaningful sense, that would shrink the welfare state to a fraction of its current size. The left would lose its human shields.
From the July 26 edition of Fox News' America Live:
From the July 25 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News hosts are citing a Heritage Foundation report about the ownership of appliances among the poor in America to ask, in the words of Bill O'Reilly, "So how can you be so poor and have all this stuff?" In reality, the poor in America face hardships in areas that deeply affect their lives, such as health, education, housing, and access to healthy food and legal services -- regardless of their ability to purchase a microwave oven.
From the July 19 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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Co-hosts and guests on Fox & Friends advanced numerous economic falsehoods, including the claims that half of Americans "don't pay any tax"; that President Obama wants to fix the deficit only by increasing taxes; that most Americans do not favor tax increases as part of a deficit deal; and that Obama wants to "use the rich to fix his spending problem."
As negotiations over the default crisis continue, over the past two days Fox & Friends has hosted a parade of GOP representatives and officials to advance their talking points about the issue, particularly their claim that the U.S. has a "spending problem," not a "revenue problem." However, numerous economic experts have said that decreased revenue is a major cause of the deficit.
In the past two years, Glenn Beck has repeatedly invoked slavery to attack President Obama, progressives, and progressive policies, among other things. Here is a sampling.
From the June 24 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the June 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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On Fox & Friends this morning, Fox Business' Stuart Varney made a revealing departure from his normal obsession with cutting taxes. Varney began his regular morning segment by railing against the Supplemental Security Income program, which "provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter" for low-income seniors, blind, and disabled people. After whining about the "8 million" poverty-stricken seniors and disabled people receiving benefits to help pay for basic necessities, Varney attacked the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Here is what Varney thinks about the largest and most effective anti-poverty legislation in America:
VARNEY: Whenever you've got a cash welfare system you are going to have people gaming that system. What you have not got on the screen is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is by far the biggest cash -- I'm going to call it a welfare scheme. That is known as the most corrupt government program. Billions of your dollars going out there when they should not be going out there; same with the Supplemental Security Income program. It really is a scandal. At a point where we are running out of money, running a massive deficit, and Social Security itself is in trouble.
The EITC is different from traditional welfare programs in a number of distinct ways. First of all, it is a tax credit program, not a stipend or a subsidy. If the amount of credit exceeds the federal income tax paid, the EITC acts as a tax cut, providing tax refunds based on income and family size. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the credit only applies to low- to moderate-income working families and individuals. The credit was designed to be, and has been, an incentive to work for low-income Americans, making the EITC one of, if not the, most effective ways to actually lift low-income families out of poverty and contribute to local economies. The Brookings Institution had this to say about the program: