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Let’s try out conservative economic theories on rich people!

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, June 12, 2014 14:45 EDT
 
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So I’m reading about another idiotic Republican candidate—John Johnston of Indianafloating the widely discredited theory that social spending causes poverty by discouraging people from working. Johnston got in some hot water for writing a Facebook post where he said “no one has the guts to just let them wither and die,” the “them” being low income people who need government assistance. While claiming to apologize later, he basically reasserted the argument by saying, “I think a lot of the poor have no way out, and there’s no motivation to improve your position. It’s like training a child, either you enable them or force them out at some point.”

Okay, we all hear variations of this argument all the time, that if people have money, they will grow soft and lose all ambition and won’t work ever again. There’s no reason to believe it, especially since poor people on government assistance have such meager lifestyles there is no way they could ever be considered “soft”. But you know, there is a way to test this theory that force privation encourages ambition: On rich people.

If having all your money stripped from you gets you up and out the door a-hustling, then why on earth do we have any rich people at all? Especially people who make money off investments or inheritance, which they do not work for? If the theory is that the best way to get people up and working is to strip them of all their creature comforts, let’s start with the rich. Let’s start with the richest people in society. Take all their money, put them out on the street and let’s see what happens! If the conservative theory is right and privation is really what gets someone working, then those rich people will immediately turn from indolent slobs into incredibly productive citizens.

Yes, I realize that conservatives already believe the rich are the hardest working, most special people in our society, but that makes no kind of sense. If you really, truly believe that the specter of starvation is what gets people out of bed in the morning—and that even the knowledge that they will eat today is enough to make them indolent—then, by your own theory, rich people should be the laziest people on the planet. After all, even those who did make all their money through hard work could quit working today and know that they will have food on their plates tomorrow. If starvation is the sole and most important factor—as opposed to say, opportunity—in getting asses in gear, then no wealthy person should work, ever. They just aren’t afraid of starving. No reason to be.

But hey, I’m all for testing this. Let’s take everyone who is sitting on a million dollars or more in assets, take it all from them, and test this theory that privation is more motivating than opportunity. It’ll be a better test than constantly stripping more benefits from poor people, because there’s a control in there. They were rich before and now they’re poor, so we can measure how successful and hard-working they are in both situations. If privation encourages success, then they’ll be doing much better after being forcibly impoverished than they ever did while being wealthy.

Have you considered screaming and running away?

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:44 EDT

Well, ladies? Have you considered all your options in rape prevention? So I wrote a post explaining that Miss USA’s response to a question about sexual assault, in which she focused strictly on the idea that women need to be “aware” so they can defend themselves, is a problem because it feeds into this larger tendency to see rape prevention as a woman’s responsibility. I pointed out that it’s clear that when rape prevention is…

 

Las Vegas shooting highlights how right wing violence has changed since the 90s

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:39 EDT

The horror show that went down in Las Vegas on Sunday, when Jerad and Amanda Miller reportedly shot two police officers, a third person, and then themselves was awful and terrifying but sadly not surprising. As with Elliott Rodger back in May, the thing that’s important to remember is that…

 

Anti-choice website supposedly chronicle pro-choicers, actually displays anti-choice propensity to lie

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, June 9, 2014 10:57 EDT

Welp, I’m not writing about Game of Thrones today, because while that was entertaining to watch, it was just straightforward action and all the thematic stuff is getting clearly punted to next week. I can’t even speculate without getting deep into spoilers from the books. So I’ll leave it here.…

 

There is no “scientific” argument for claiming deliberately childless people are failures

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, June 6, 2014 17:51 EDT

I was on CNN to talk about a piece I wrote for the Daily Beast about the pope shaming people for not having kids. As usual, I think the pope has an amazing track record of being wrong in nearly every utterance about child-bearing, marriage, sexuality, etc. So you can…

 

Turns out the thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a hall monitor with pepper spray

By Amanda Marcotte

Tragic story of another school shooting at Seattle Pacific University, but luckily the damage was clearly limited compared to what it could have been. While the police believe he intended to kill many, many people, he only hit four and only one has died. That is because, as reported, a…

 

Sorry, Ross Douthat, but old Hollywood icons of masculinity were violently misogynist

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, June 5, 2014 14:42 EDT

He didn’t even mention Clark Gable, probably because one of his most famous scenes is him literally raping his wife as she fights him.* Ross Douthat, as everyone knows, is on a crusade to blame basically anything that goes wrong in society to that sordid imaginary day, occurring sometime in…

 

NRA apology to Open Carry shows that the NRA is a gun marketing group, not a rights lobby

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:16 EDT

They say, once you own ten of these, your wife starts wearing an apron and your dick grows two inches! Well, that didn’t last long. In a story that spread like wildfire, the NRA seemingly distanced themselves from the Open Carry Texas nuts, the guys whose anxieties about their suburban,…

 

Quin Hillyer may not have much, but he’ll cling to that “politically incorrect” life raft

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 17:09 EDT

Why must your sign oppress Quin Hillyer’s sparkling discourse? Hey, the conservative media can’t be wholly dedicated to taking a new and surprisingly hostile view towards the practice of trying to get POWs home safely with their families. Quin Hillyer decided to mix it at the National Review with a deeply…

 

Game of Thrones asks: When does the desire for revenge go too far?

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, June 2, 2014 9:39 EDT

Now that Mad Men is over, I have some space freed up to talk about the last three episodes of Game of Thrones. Scott Kaufman has recapped last night’s shocking episode here, so I won’t be doing that, but I want to add a couple of thoughts about the themes…

 
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