Bill Cunningham asserted on his radio show that "people are poor in America ... not because they lack money," but "because they lack values, morals, and ethics." He also said that "unlike many countries in the world ... we have fat poor people. We don't have skinny poor people. Ours are fat and flatulent."
On the October 28 broadcast of his radio show, Bill Cunningham said to Steve Malanga, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and City Journal senior editor: "You know, people are poor in America, Steve, not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics. And if government can't teach and instill that, we're wasting our time simply giving poor people money." Earlier in the show, Cunningham had stated that "unlike many countries in the world, Steve, we have fat poor people. We don't have skinny poor people. Ours are fat and flatulent."
Cunningham made similar remarks on the October 23 broadcast of his radio show. During an exchange with a caller, Cunningham asserted that "[t]he reason people are poor in America is not because they lack money, it's because poor people in America lack values, character, and the ability to work hard."
As Media Matters for America has documented, Cunningham stated on October 27, "Among the so-called noble poor in America ... [b]irth control is not used so illegitimate children can be brought into the world, so the mom can get more checks in the mail from the government."
Talkers Magazine lists Cunningham on its "Heavy Hundred" list of the "100 most important radio talk show hosts in America." Cunningham's weekend show, Live on Sunday Night, it's Bill Cunningham, is syndicated nationally by Premiere Radio Networks.
From the October 28 broadcast of Clear Channel's The Big Show with Bill Cunningham:
MALANGA: There was a certain mentality in the war on poverty, which essentially made the problem worse. With things like welfare -- we changed welfare in the 1960s, we made it permanent. We changed public housing in the 1960s. Public housing had been something people were in temporarily as they were trying to get a leg up and, you know, people who had fallen on hard times and they were then out of it.
We changed those things. We, as a result, created a dependency mentality in a lot of communities, and we made communities worse. And that's the thing that worries me the most, that we're gonna go back to a way of thinking that encourages more dependence and makes communities worse again.
CUNNINGHAM: Well, what community in America is better off with more Section 8 housing and more welfare and more food stamps? Because, unlike many countries in the world, Steve, we have fat poor people. We don't have skinny poor people. Ours are fat and flatulent. So what city in America's been helped by Section 8 housing -- more food stamps and welfare?
MALANGA: The problem is also with middle-class and upper-middle income parents, too, because in a lot of suburban school districts, they also believe that money is the answer, and you, you know, you want to start a fight in a suburban school district these days, suggest something like vouchers or charter schools as a -- as an alternative and you'll just, you know, you'll start a wicked fight because there's this notion, even among, you know, upper-middle and middle-income parents, that more money is always the answer when we know, for instance, from the example of charter schools in the 1990s, which spend less money per pupil and do a better job of educating, that money isn't the answer.
CUNNINGHAM: Steve Malanga -- the article is "Obama's counterproductive war on poverty." The war on poverty was declared in the 1960s. It was lost in the 1970s. The funding continued for poverty. You know, people are poor in America, Steve, not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics. And if government can't teach and instill that, we're wasting our time simply giving poor people money.
From the October 23 broadcast of The Big Show with Bill Cunningham:
CALLER: This guy told me, one of our employees -- not of this company here but some other companies I've worked for -- they told me, they said they've got to have one day off a week. And I said, for what? I just got to have a rest. I said, well, we work five days out of the week. You got Saturday and Sunday, and you can go to church on Sunday to learn about God. But then you got all day Saturday to do what your honey-do list. Well, I've got to have a way -- a day during the week 'cause all my brothers are down at the liquor store. We've got to go down there and hang out.
CUNNINGHAM: Right, in other words, the work ethic, shall we say, is lacking. The reason people are poor in America is not because they lack money, it's because poor people in America lack values, character, and the ability to work hard. And it's got nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with color, and Buzz, things are about to fundamentally change in this country.
I tell you, when you take San Francisco values of Nancy Pelosi, with the Massachusetts values of Barney Frank and hook them up with a political hack from the Daley political machine in Chicago named Obama, this country's gonna take a hard turn to the left and none of the working men and women are gonna like it. Most of McCain's supporters don't have the time to go to a noon rally because we're working.