How do they do it, exactly? The following forwarded email contains just about every lie, distortion and falsehood all distilled into one place. It's a xenophobic, racist, blame-the-poor-for-everything Tea Party screed lifted right out of the Koch bros. playbook. And the worse the economy, the more such vitriol resonates with the working (formerly middle) class. This is doubly tragic because it was the manipulations of Wall Street which created the downturn and squeezed the middle class in the first place. With double digit unemployment in many part of the US, the foreclosure crisis and the stagnation of real wages, there's been more economic pain in this recession than at any time since 1982. In a classic far-right squeeze play, the same people are now using the very bleak conditions they themselves created to garner lower middle-class "envy votes."
Here's the pitch–and it's specifically directed toward those living on $20-$40K/year: "You're working hard, paying taxes and all over the country there's lazy illegal aliens getting a free ride on your dime. Not only are you paying for them, but they're living better than you. They have health care, you don't. They get subsidized rent, you don't. And even when the government is spending money on their schools, it's being wasted. The kids in public school are getting free lunches, but they don't deserve them because they have cell phones and anyway, they're all just getting pregnant at age 13 and having their babies cared for at your expense. They get free breakfast and lunch, and most of the food is wasted. And this isn't just school cafeteria food, it's more like food you'd find at the finest hotels, all being paid for with your taxes. So if you're mad as hell and you're not going to take it any more, vote Tea Party and let's cut all these programs that allow lazy illegal aliens to live better than you do."
Without getting deep into specifics, there are several obvious problems with this disgraceful email:
1) It's been going around since at least 2006, according to snopes.
2) Illegal aliens do not qualify for government benefits. Their kids may go to school, but that's the extent of it. Poor American citizens, however, do qualify for many such programs. Conflating the two lets the right kill two birds with one stone. They hate illegal aliens, but know they don't get benefits. They hate poor American citizens, too, but it's a bit hard to justify taking food out of their mouths during a recession. Put the two together, however, add waste and fraud, and true or not, it's the perfect pitch to infuriate anyone who works for a living.
3) Last time I checked, someone being overweight isn't an excuse for starving them in one of the richest countries on Earth. Nor is having a cell phone an indicator of wealth or privilege.
4) This started out in fury about illegal aliens in school, but goes on to list every benefit a U.S. citizen might get in a lifetime, including Medicare and Social Security which don't kick in until age 55 and 62, respectively. What's that got to do with a free lunch in school–or illegal aliens for that matter?
5) When has the government ever offered anyone car, homeowners, or life insurance? Since people rarely let facts get in the way of a good rant, they might as well just take it over the top, eh?
We should remember that the social safety net is basically the codification of one of the primary teachings of all the world's major religions, which is to take care of the poor. Most right-wing budget cutters claim to be God-fearing, bible-believing Christians–yet most of these hypocrites are in the upper middle or upper class–and spend their time whipping up the politics of envy among the lower middle classes to save themselves a few bucks. What they don't say is that after the very poor, it is actually the working poor who stand to benefit most from the safety net, especially food stamps, section 8 housing, and health care. Instead, these blue collar saps are being suckered into another cycle of voting to advance the interests of the top 1%, who are their (and our) true enemies.
Full text below (bad formatting in original):
The following English teacher helps to explain one area that looms large over California 's educational crisis.
This should make everyone think, be you Democrat, Republican or Independent.
"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:
Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens , Huntington Park , etc.. where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll — but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.
(OUR TAX DOLLARS ATWORK)
I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight.
(OUR TAX DOLLARS ATWORK)
I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was
already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America.
(OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less than 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them
"Putas"(whores)and throwing things,that the teachers were in tears.
Free medical, free education, free food, day care, etc, etc, etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled not only to be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?
To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime,lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc.,etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
Americans,We need to wake up.The guest worker program will be adisaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it. Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?
It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate, and an
American culture that has become so weakand worried about"political correctness"that we don't have the will to do anything about it.
If this makes your
blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know including your Congressmen and Senators.
CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?
Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.
Consumers don't want expensive produce.
Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.
But the bottom line is cheap labor The phrase "cheap labor" is a
myth, afarce, and a lie. There is no such thing as "cheap labor."
Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents,he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if hefiles an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.
He qualifies forSection8 housingandsubsidized rent.
He qualifies for
He qualifies for
free (no deductible), no co-pay) health care.
Hischildren get free breakfasts and lunchesat school.
Herequires bilingual teachers and books.
Hequalifies for relief from high energy bills.
Ifthey are or become, aged, blind or disabled, theyqualify for SSI. Oncequalified for SSI they can qualify forMedicare. All of this is at(our) taxpayer's expense.
He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.
Spanishlanguage signs, bulletins and printed material.
He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in
Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills AND his.
The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.
Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT!
Wake up people!
THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE SHOULD BE ADDRESSING TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR EITHER PARTY. 'AND WHEN THEY LIE TO US AND DON'T DO AS THEY SAY, WE SHOULD REPLACE THEM AT ONCE!'
THIS HAS GOT TO BE PASSED ALONG TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE OR WE WILL ALL GO DOWN THE DRAIN BECAUSE A FEW DON'T CARE.