Comments on: The culture war next time. http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:51:13 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: bj http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1153662 Thu, 15 Nov 2012 01:30:48 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1153662 @Geoff

The worst part of it is that you have these welfare-to-work plans, so you can’t find a job and work without a phone and a car, but if you have a phone and a car you shouldn’t be on welfare because you’re not poor enough. So what then? And the answer, of course, is that poor and minority citizens should suffer in silence for their own moral failings, while the rest of us enjoy the well-earned fruits of our moral superiority and hard work.

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By: Linden http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152490 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:32:44 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152490 Very interesting points, Wogglebug. I never thought about how even the different ways we administer benefits are used as a marker to show which groups are favored or disfavored. If you’re applying for TANF, you’re very poor and you’re at a government office, staffed by government workers, full of other people in the same situation. You must fill out multiple forms, answer intrusive questions under penalty of perjury, be photographed and fingerprinted, and agree to have your home randomly inspected by police-like agents. Even getting the appointment is difficult — you take what time is open, regardless of your schedule, and if you miss it, you must wait to be rescheduled. Miss too many appointments, and your case is closed and you must start all over again.

Contrast this with claiming the mortgage interest tax break. Your economic class is in the middle brackets on up. You’re at a private office, meeting with a tax professional, at an appointment you were able to set up at your convenience. You’re treated as a favored client. No fingerprinting, no photographing, no questions about who shares your house with you, who fathered your children, or whether you’ve been convicted of any drug felonies. No time limit to how long you can claim the benefit. No work requirement. And yet, the value of the benefit you’re receiving far outstrips the small amount of money a family getting TANF receives.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152443 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 04:50:34 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152443 The funny thing about the Food Stamp program is that the program was initially designed as much to find reliable mercantilistic outlets for then-abundant grain belt crop yields before they figured out how to get the government to force people to fill up with “ethanol” as it was about making sure that poor kids went to bed less hungry. It also benefited corporatized grocery chains.

We should all have a ‘fess up session about the various mobility safety-net programs that we benefited from without angst over whether that meant you were welfare-dependent. When I was in graduate school, for example, the IRS did not define the stipend for being a teaching assistant as reportable income, since it was embedded in a required “educational” activity. Also, I moved into a house in West Philly with five other freaks, and to make the costs more equitable and affordable everyone who signed the lease informally agreed to sign up for food stamps (for which we were technically eligible) and to toss the stamps into a collective house grocery pot. We didn’t think of it as a “group home” in the “inner city.” And you could get unemployment after rotating off of a pre-determined cycle of semesters of grant aid for being a t.a. or a research assistant. All of these things, I think, have been legislatively or administratively erased from the C.F.R without incurring the pejorative of “welfare reform.” I didn’t “build” that career, in other words, I surfed along on the surge of mid-20th century liberal optimism and generosity.

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By: Wogglebug http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152416 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 04:26:30 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152416 The working definition of a ‘social program’ involves a program with a program administrator, and offices, and social workers. The social workers meet with clients and administer benefits.

This is why the mortgage tax deduction doesn’t register as a ‘social program’. It’s just a line on the income-tax form; it is not a ‘program’ in any way commonly understood.

It also isn’t ‘social’ in that it doesn’t obviously aim to strengthen the social fabric by teaching parenting skills or helping the handicapped integrate with mainstream society or anything else normally understood as ‘social’ goals. People mostly perceive the mortgage tax deduction as a straight-up financial benefit.

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By: Ellie http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152265 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 01:27:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152265 Meant to give the link for the NYT write-up of Mettler:

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/keep-your-government-hands-off-my-government-programs/

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By: Ellie http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152264 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 01:26:55 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152264 As important as the deserving/undeserving framework are the cultural assumptions that Linden mentions about how people define “social welfare programs.” I’m not familiar enough with US history to low how far back this goes (1980′s?), but I was really struck by the widely reported Suzanne Mettler study from a couple of years ago showing that people who benefit from policies like mortgage interest deductions, student loans, 529 savings accounts say they don’t use government social programs, presumably because they define “social programs” as affecting the poor only. This cognitive disconnect (willful misapprehension?) seems essential to understanding the current fiasco of a public debate about the budget and fiscal policy.

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By: Comradde PhysioProffe http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152244 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 01:06:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152244 A good rule of thumb for this thought process is that if benefits are means tested, they are for the undeserving, but if they are universal, they can be ok.

This is, of course, why greedy rich motherfuckers who don’t like paying taxes support means testing of Medicare and Social Security. Because once that happens, then it will be easier to choke the life out of those programs as solely benefiting the “undeserving”.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152211 Wed, 14 Nov 2012 00:32:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152211 Interesting maps. The takeaway doesn’t really surprise me, because it’s a remnant of the Solid South of the 20th C and the Nixon Southern strategy. The confederacy lives, at least among older, whiter, richer folks!

It saddens me, although the maps of Obama supporters show a lot less regionalism. That’s a hopeful sign. Perhaps we are recovering from the divisions sewn centuries ago that led to the U.S. Civil War? (How many generations of older Americans do we have to get rid of, is my question.)

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152161 Tue, 13 Nov 2012 23:18:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152161 This from the NYT is interesting, noting that the split is at the upper income ranges, not the poor:
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/red-versus-blue-in-a-new-light/?ref=politics

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By: Lady Metroland http://www.historiann.com/2012/11/12/the-culture-war-next-time/comment-page-1/#comment-1152113 Tue, 13 Nov 2012 21:59:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19918#comment-1152113 I’ve read about this before, and I still can’t really get my head around it:

“Support for Republican candidates, who generally promise to cut government spending, has increased since 1980 in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. The greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.”

The abortion comparison is spot-on.

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