Today’s stunning example of someone projecting all of his own sins and insecurities out onto liberals is Bill O’Reilly, lecturing people who vote for Democrats because we’re supposedly selfish greed heads who are trying to vote goodies for themselves. Goodies like “food” and “not dying”. All the luxuries.
It would be easy to write this sort of thing as just plain old asshattery, but really what we’re looking at is a stunning example of pure projection, because the greedy people who are sucking the taxpayers for all their worth are rich Republicans, make no mistake. Take Thomas Foley, the wealthy investor who is running for governor of Connecticut and who owns a vintage Ferrari and a fighter jet but hasn’t paid any real federal income taxes for three years running. I’d suggest he’s doing a lot worse to us than some working class mother who needs food stamps so her kids don’t starve.
But it’s not just rich people who run for office instead of buying a sports team to show off their fabulous wealth that somehow rarely gets touched by the IRS. Moyers and Company ran a piece today reminding us that many very profitable corporations make so much money because they squeeze the taxpayer to cover for the shortfall between what they pay their employees and what their employees need to be alive and well enough to show up to work. You see, McDonald’s and Walmart enjoy the major savings they get from paying employees the minimum wage or not much above it, leaving employees to languish in poverty. However, they want employees who show up to work showered, able to stand without passing out from hunger, and at least somewhat rested so they don’t forget where the buttons are on the cash register. But they don’t want to pay for that, because their executives have bigger yachts to buy!
That’s where you and I come in, with the taxes we pay because we’re not rich enough to wiggle out of them. As Joshua Holland wrote last year:
- More than half (52 percent) of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole.
- The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry is nearly $7 billion per year.
- At an average of $3.9 billion per year, spending on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) accounts for more than half of these costs.
- Due to low earnings, fast-food workers’ families also receive an annual average of $1.04 billion in food stamp benefits and $1.91 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit payments.
- People working in fast-food jobs are more likely to live in or near poverty. One in five families with a member holding a fast-food job has an income below the poverty line, and 43 percent have an income two times the federal poverty level or less.
- Even full-time hours are not enough to compensate for low wages.
Or take Walmart, where a report out of Wisconsin showed that taxpayers are ponying up over $3,000 a year per employee in social spending to make up the shortfall between what Walmart pays people and what they need to survive. That means that Walmart is raking in nearly a million extra a year in profit from every 300 person supercenter, all thanks to you, the taxpayer.
So why, you may ask, if rich Republicans make so much money because the rest of us pay the tab for the wages they won’t pay their employees, are rich Republicans like Bill O’Reilly fussing about food stamps? Isn’t that social spending a massive boon to rich Republicans, because otherwise they’d only be forced to hire homeless people whose shower access is inconsistent at best?
The reason is simple: By making a fuss over “greedy” people who get food stamps, O’Reilly gets his gullible voters to vote Republican in hopes they’ll take away the food stamps. Because Republicans keep winning, all Democratic energies go to protecting the basic social safety net items—food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance—instead of towards pushing a more comprehensive social agenda that would force employers to actually pay their workers enough and would tax the rich at higher rates so as to roll back increasing economic inequality. O’Reilly wants everyone to squabble about food stamps so the bigger picture issues get left behind. But hopefully you won’t get fooled. The people who are greedy in this country aren’t those who want medical care and livable homes. It’s the people who think three yachts aren’t enough and manipulate the political system so they can afford a fourth.