Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Worse for Whom, Governor Haslam?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Our beloved rich-person governor is encouraging Republicans to acknowledge that being poor sucks and to not concede the point to Democrats. It goes about as well as you can expect from a man with a family fortune of over a billion dollars.

From The Tennessean:

“The Republican answer — I think, the smart answer — is to say we’re going to give everybody the opportunities that they deserve,” [Governor Haslam] said. “There’s some people who say ... we can just tax more people at the top end and that can help more people at the bottom end, (and) it’ll all work out.

“But we’ve been trying that for the past 50 years, with the Great Society and all of that. The problem has only actually gotten worse.”

Let me remind you that 50 years ago was 1964. In 1964 in the United States a white guy could kill a prominent Civil Rights leader like Medgar Evers and a jury wouldn't convict him. Civil Rights workers trying to help Mississippians vote were murdered with impunity. Segregation was still legal. A woman couldn't get a credit card without her father's or husband's permission. There was already massive student unrest over the Vietnam war. A very popular president had just been assassinated. In 1964, the national poverty rate was around nineteen percent. Our poverty rate in 2010 was 15%, but as the National Poverty Center points out, we had been doing a good job of really lowering the poverty rate. In 2000. it was 11%. Declining poverty rates. Expanding freedoms and civil rights. A decided lack of assassinations and unsolved high-profile political killings. That's pretty much the opposite of "actually gotten worse."

Democrats like these programs, that, yes, are paid for though taxes, because they work. The proof is in the pudding.

The governor can't have it both ways. He can't claim that things are worse now than it was 50 years ago, which anyone who's had a decent recent US history class would know is just laughable on its face, and expect that claim to have rhetorical weight AND to want more people to have the opportunity to have good educations. Governor Haslam, either you need a state full of people who don't know better to believe your campaign speeches or you can have an educated populace. But you can't have both. If you genuinely are committed to people being better educated, then start by talking to them like they might someday read a history book.

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