Obama Reaches Out

by Vince

For Obama’s bipartisan sake, his caving in to the Bush Tax Cut extension is a good thing. It better quell some of the huffing and puffing from the Right that he won’t “meet us on our side” and follow some unspoken order from America to take up a smaller government.

Lately, I am seeing two lanes of thought in relation to “Obama’s welfare state / dependency programs”. One side sees that these programs have people on their rolls who are ignorantly and lazily dependent on government money and the Democrats have done some sort of lobotomy experiment to make them forever follow them their handout trail. The other side sees some people on the program rolls that are generationally dependent but also many enrolled who wholeheartedly need it. A case and point example for the first side can be seen below:

The emerging deal is not all good news, of course.  It is not wise to provide extended unemployment insurance for the duration of 2011.  That’s likely to contribute to persistently high unemployment and discourage the adjustments necessary to get more people back to work.  And temporary tax cuts are much less effective than permanent ones at spurring productive investments and job creation.

The author banks on a black and white schema for unemployment insurance. He sees that this insurance provided for those out of work will just keep their butts planted down on the couch and give them no hope other than to be a parasite of the government.

Such views taken up by the author can be credited to only knowing a few people on welfare or unemployed and who also happen to enjoy not having a job and not making much off of the government. This view is quite condescending and probably comes from a privileged white ledge, far removed from their ivory towers and white suburbs. Another source of such poppycock stereotyping is Rush Limbaugh. When Rush Limbaugh makes racist jokes or jokes insinuating racial stereotypes towards Barack Obama, one not only gets a bad picture in their head of Barack but also of black people. Rush must not think too highly of black people, even ones who have risen out of a tough single parent home and gone on to be a constitutional scholar and president of the United States.

After sifting through the racist innuendos and the seemingly truth statements that “all people on welfare or who are unemployed are lazy”, one needs to ask some questions. What about there being only 1 job out there today for every 5 applicants? What about our nation being in one of the worst recessions in decades? What about our unemployment rate still not going down but hovering around 9.8%?

More times than not, the first side is held up by privileged whites who haven’t had to worry about not receiving great education, health care, living in a stable home, or living in an impoverished neighborhood. Their existence is never questioned based on their races behavior on a macro level. They simply live without having their race drag them down. The second side can tend to be a mixed bag of colors. They may make up educated whites as well as those who have been or have known someone enrolled in a state program. The words of Andrew Marin, even though spoken about the divide between the church and the GLBT community, ring true in this case: “We have to go to a culture before we know a culture” (emphasis mine).

Back to taxes, how we construct our outlook on taxes and the economy in turn directs our allegiance towards a certain direction. Sure our personal experiences play in to that as well (Growing up, my Dad always complained about extra taxes coming his way. He was, and still is, a self employed landscaper, so extra taxes hit him and he feels them). If we see taxes towards the rich as a hindrance towards job creation, especially in a recession, we will say ‘no way’ to ending tax cuts. On the flip side, if we see tax cuts for the middle class as helpful for they are the ones who are more apt to spend on the basics (food, furniture, stimulating local business) than to save in large amounts, then one would say “sure, give those guys the tax cuts”.

As I said, in the end it comes down to the reality we construct. How much of that is based on actual reality (our experiences, empirical evidence) and based on faux theology (Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Fox News), only ourselves can fully peer into that source.

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