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Thoughts from a Disillusioned Republican

Wake

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My worldview is changing. Why is it changing? It's changing because I am realizing certain things that I hadn't given much thought to in the past.

I have been a conservative republican for most of my life. Born in a decent, middle-class home, my life was what the majority calls "normal." I will not go into the details of my life, but presently, I find it difficult to find a job. It's becoming far more difficult with each passing year. The current and past events of my life have left me and my mother living in a modest home in a safe, little town. The most I'm willing to say is that I live in Rochester, Wisconsin. My mother does not work; she has been a good mother and wife most of her life, and is now trying to piece together her life. We have no car, though after a certain event passes I will receive my car I've paid for, and my mother will receive a car as well. In our town, we have very little to no jobs available. With no transportation, we have to wait until we receive the cars. Life is tense and frustrating at this point, because another event left me, a 4.0 RN student, in another state without the means to transfer until I can get my wheels.

What is my point? Well, in this economy, life is really sucking. Were it not for certain programs and benefits to people in our position, or are poor to begin with, we would have starved a while ago. You see, we use the FoodShare program in Wisconsin [also known as SNAP], and it helps people with limited income to buy food. From this bit of info, what comes next? Well, without this program life would be miserable. IF I am correct, this program is possible because of democratic spending, rather than republican cutting.

As I write this, and I assume that bit of info is true, I see many arguments that I could make. I wonder, for one, why many conservatives/republicans which are poor, as in actually knew what it was like to be poor, would vote for the wealthy republicans and businessmen who send jobs overseas. Is this thread merely a driveby against the wealthy republicans and businessmen? Only if you're biased, I suppose. I mean, have any of you every stopped and wondered what it would be like if you were on the other end of that stick? Of course, you hear of those trashy and dirty OWS members who are just complaining against corporations and business because they can, right? Well, have you ever stopped to think what they really feel?

I am frustrated because it feels as though the wealthy republicans, "the wealthy," are feeding upon the poor and lower-middle-class republicans. And I always wonder... if you're poor and republican... why vote for the right when they cut spending to help the poor and have no problem moving jobs overseas to India or Mexico or China? My dad was an ardent republican. A brilliant computer engineer. Delphi corporation, in which he worked, layed him off and sent his job overseas. I suspect the right may have played a role in this. Then again, I am not privy to every, single detail.

Furthermore, I am not blind to the left, either, yet at least they seem to care about the poor. [Then again, my intuition tells me the left needs the left to be poor in order to exist] I disagree with the left for social reasons, yet I disagree with the right for financial/economical reasons, because I feel they don't care much at all for the poor.

We had insurance, a few months ago, and we lost it. Iirc, it was the badgercare plan. It started out at $120 per month, for both of us. Just before we lost it, it was $350, I think, per person [I may be wrong by $50]. Basically, they never sent us the monthly letter which we use to pay for it, and then they blamed it on us and cut our insurance. Later we discovered on our local news that that was a scheme in order for the business to cut off people to save money, I guess. Who knows, right? I see this, insurance companies, as another part of the problem involving the right and its many cuts.

What am I to do? Am I to continue struggling to find a job, and expect for more and more cuts to happen? Why do the wealthy deserve tax cuts, while the poor suffer? Why should we vote for the right when they send jobs overseas, yet the republicans with influence live their lives well-to-do? Why should I continue to think that the poor and the protesters are trashy, stupid, and disgusting... when this economy finds me in a situation similar to them? Why do the poor get poorer and the rich get richer? Since our constituion is a living document why shouldn't we reign in corporations and businesses in order to bring jobs to America, instead of having those assholes go overseas? Corporations aren't people, right, so they shouldn't be given rights as a living, breathing human. Why, as a republican, do I vote for the right and the wealthy when they cut/harm us and they don't give a damn about us? Perhaps the left is onto something, as in how they subtly arc the future into a revolution. Maybe they have something going for them, truly.

The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Our economy sucks. The republicans seem to care not about the poor one bit. People are suffering and dying in the streets. People are getting rightfully pissed. This **** from the right is affecting my life, it's been affecting my life for quite some time, and now I'm starting to react to that. Do I care for communism and socialism? No, not much, because I don't understand them and I remember history. However, I see how hard it is for the poor under capitalism.

Without insurance, if I tear a ligament in my leg and can't walk, my life essentially ends because I have absolutely no means to pay for surgery. Do I wake in cold sweats knowing this possibility present itself every, single day, whether it be water on tile, or something on the ground to trip me? Yes, and that nightmare is terrifying. I also brood over what other cuts will come my way. If this FoodShare program is cut, we will starve. If this event in our life doesn't resolve in time, we will be unable to pay for rent or energy costs.

Do I blame the right for screwing up our economy and hoarding the wealth? Do I want to learn everything I can about the right's twisting of our economy?

You damn right I do.
 

Thunder

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Glad to see you're coming around. Take a look at the Congressional Progressive Caucus' agenda for America. Its seeks to bring more fairness to our economy, and sanity to our financial regulations.
 

dontworrybehappy

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Wake, now you see why so many poor vote for the Democrats. And why the Dems love the poor, because they can keep you down right where they want you, dependent on the gov't.

They create the crappy economy (3 years in, this is Obama's puppy now) and are in charge of it, and then give you handouts to keep you dependent on them. That ensures you vote for them next time, because don't you know, republicans want grandma to starve?

Hey, I thought the unemployment rate was so much better, why can't you find a job????
 
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liblady

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how old are you, wake? how do you and your mother survive? do either of you have jobs?
 

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I'm very sorry you're having such a hard time. I am unopologetically liberal, and to be honest, I've always found it hard to understand why poor and working class people support Republicans. They call you lazy parasites and constantly work to undercut the safety net. They are hell bent on cutting taxes for the rich, and whether they will admit it or not, that means raising taxes for the poor and middle class, and/or cutting services that the poor and middle class rely on. They want to eliminate regulations that protect workers' safety, reduce spending on education, and eliminate environmental protection. They want to eliminate the right of workers to bargain for better wages and benefits. They oppose consumer protection and fight to make it harder for poor people to vote. I mean seriously, WHAT is the attraction?!

Okay, I understand that government is far from perfect, and ceratainly there are people who take advantage of safety net programs, but given the choice I would err on the side of being too humane every time. And despite the rhetoric from the right, there are only a very few people, way out on the far far left who actually support true socialism in this country.
 
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Thunder

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If it wasn't for the Republicans standing in the way of literally EVERY piece of legislation Obama and the Democrats have proposed since 2006, the status of the poor might not be soo bad as it is today.

When you have an entire political party determined to accomplish ONE thing, and ONE thing only over four years, being the removal of the sitting President, nothing much can get done to help the poor.

I pray, I really do, that if Obama wins again, the Republicans will devote even 50% of the energy they have spent trying to defeat Obama and get nothing done, to trying to help the middle-class and poor in the USA.
 

ChuckBerry

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I am and always will be socially conservative, but my financial and political leanings have decidedly turned moderate at the very least, for many of the reasons you state in your OP. The crass, insulting tone that conservative apologists take when you suggest that the disparity between the rich and those that do the grunt work that made them rich is too great nauseates me.

It certainly would be better for government not to have to intervene to provide a safety net to people. That could happen if the rich would not be enriching themselves so fabulously at the expense of living wages for the people that make them rich. If they would voluntarily do the moral thing and make sure that their employees are well taken care of, even at the expense of a second Italian villa or additional New York penthouse, the world would be a far better place.

The corporate aristocracy is fiddling while their house is burning, and OWS is the proof of it.
 

tessaesque

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A few things:

Republicans/conservatives (generally) don't oppose temporary assistance programs. They oppose redundant, wasteful, poorly structured assistance programs that actually make it more difficult for a person to work than for a person to sit and collect benefits.

Jobs didn't go overseas because of republican legislation or democrat legislation. Jobs went overseas because several forms of legislation and several regulatory movements made it more financially beneficial for them to go overseas.

The lack of jobs will not be fixed on the basis of liberal ideology alone, or on the basis of conservative ideology alone.

Given the image the parties have created for themselves it's very easy to look at the situation and make a change on the basis of stereotypes. What is true and what we've been presented with are often not compatible. Ideas or laws we label as "liberal" or "conservative", laws or ideals we've attributed to one party or another...in truth, they're not one-sided. Cuts will come because members of both party vote for them, and the president signs the bill initiating them. Neither party can initiate higher or lower taxes, higher or lower government spending, or any changes in law or regulation without at least SOME votes from the other. In short: This is neither a republican nor a democrat problem...and the solution will not be republican nor democrat. It will be bipartisan in the true sense of the word.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I've actually been in a similar situation only we had a car but no home. I've been on food stamps and welfare. My mother was on WIC at one point. My dad almost lost his house last year because business all but died in his industry as the recession wore on. Life sucks for a LOT of people right now. But with that knowledge comes the harsh reality that life will suck a lot worse if the entire country (government and private sector alike) doesn't reign in its spending and demands. We can't sustain on all of the income of the rich, and aruging that taxing them "just a little more" will somehow save us is...idealistic. Sure, they can afford to attribute more...but it won't fix the problems that exist. It will create a false sense of victory and distract most of us from the reality that we're still screwed if cuts aren't made.

And keep in mind, Wake...cuts don't have to come at the expense of benefits. You can cut money from SNAP on the federal level without reducing benefits. You can cut money from TANF, WIC, Pell Grant programs, and several dozen other entitlement programs without cutting benefits. We're tricked into believing that "cut" automatically means "cut in benefits" because that's where politicians go first....because we allow them to. Just like with the schools who received funding cuts...they cut teachers first, while administrative secretaries were making 80k/year plus 4 weeks of vacation, full (free) benefits, and a pension plan.
 

Wake

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This particle quote I just found really irks me:

"Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed."

~ Herman Cain

Herman Cain Tells Poor And Jobless "Don't Blame Wall St., Blame Yourself" | News One

This is the kind of attitude from the right that really gets under my skin.
 

tessaesque

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If it wasn't for the Republicans standing in the way of literally EVERY piece of legislation Obama and the Democrats have proposed since 2006, the status of the poor might not be soo bad as it is today.

When you have an entire political party determined to accomplish ONE thing, and ONE thing only over four years, being the removal of the sitting President, nothing much can get done to help the poor.

I pray, I really do, that if Obama wins again, the Republicans will devote even 50% of the energy they have spent trying to defeat Obama and get nothing done, to trying to help the middle-class and poor in the USA.

Dude, the large majority of the poor in this country live better than the rich in some parts of the world. We have one of the HIGHEST standards of living (across all income levels) in the world. I've been pretty damned poor, and it sucks. But I still lived better in those 4 years than half of this world's population live for their entire lives.
 

Thunder

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This particle quote I just found really irks me:

"Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed."

~ Herman Cain

Herman Cain Tells Poor And Jobless "Don't Blame Wall St., Blame Yourself" | News One

This is the kind of attitude from the right that really gets under my skin.

you can't blaim yourself, if the large corporations move all the good jobs overseas.

you can't blaim yourself, if the Republicans hold job-creating tax-cuts for the Middle-class hostage to controversial oil projects.
 

AdamT

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Dude, the large majority of the poor in this country live better than the rich in some parts of the world. We have one of the HIGHEST standards of living (across all income levels) in the world. I've been pretty damned poor, and it sucks. But I still lived better in those 4 years than half of this world's population live for their entire lives.

True, and ... so what? Do we really want to compete with Burkina Faso for who can have the most miserable poor people?
 

Tigger

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Wake, is it the Republican Party you're disillusioned with or Conservatism that you're leaving too?

If it's just the first, GREAT. The Republican Party needs to die, If it's the second as well.... May the Gods have mercy on your soul.
 

Wake

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Dude, the large majority of the poor in this country live better than the rich in some parts of the world. We have one of the HIGHEST standards of living (across all income levels) in the world. I've been pretty damned poor, and it sucks. But I still lived better in those 4 years than half of this world's population live for their entire lives.

I don't want to live in the filth and squalor, like the dirt poor in India.
 

Thunder

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I don't want to live in the filth and squalor, like the dirt poor in India.

and you shouldn't have to.

unfortunately, the people in Congress who want to help people in your situation....are being prevented from doing so by folks who don't give a **** about you...cause you ain't rich.
 

Wake

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Wake, is it the Republican Party you're disillusioned with or Conservatism that you're leaving too?

If it's just the first, GREAT. The Republican Party needs to die, If it's the second as well.... May the Gods have mercy on your soul.

I am particularly deserting the republican aspect. I am still somewhat of a conservative. Socially, about 90%. Financially, well, it depends. Do conservatives agree with all of the stuff I disagree with in the OP? Do they cut from the poor, and make the economy even worse? Do they aid in the aspect of "the poor get poorer and the rich get richer"? I'm all for working hard to earn my bread, but when I can't find a job and I can't afford all of the crushing costs, it's PO's me and makes me want to question the people in high places.
 

Thunder

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I am particularly deserting the republican aspect. I am still somewhat of a conservative. Socially, about 90%. Financially, well, it depends. Do conservatives agree with all of the stuff I disagree with in the OP? Do they cut from the poor, and make the economy even worse? I'm all for working hard to earn my bread, but when I can't find a job and I can't afford all of the crushing costs, it's PO's me and makes me want to question the people in high places.

you are more than welcome to remain a social Conservative, but embrace the economic ideas of Social-Democracy.
 

liblady

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one point: republicans in congress have shown no interest in bipartisanship. that may change, because the public in general is sick of it. also, a majority of us believe a tax hike for the wealthy is justified, whether you think it would help or not, it would help ease the nastiness that's been going on. i am all for spending cuts, but that alone doesn't solve the problem either. the fact that republicans refuse to compromise on this will be their undoing.


when 1 in 2 of us is now considered poor or low-income, that "class warfare" term that's been thrown around is beginning to have some meaning.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about your personal struggles, and I empathize. Being poor, you have little to no insulation from risk, save for those taxpayer-funded safety nets. What clouds these issues so often is our moralizing -- our insistence on seeing one side as the good guys and one side as the bad guys, when in reality, your predicament and the predicament of many others is the result of competing interests, not the outcome of some grand morality play.

Delphi, which you mention, is a good example of what's going on in this country. You say your dad was laid off -- was that during Delphi's bankruptcy?

Here's an article that tells the back story from the local perspective of an Indiana town.

Delphi's downfall is a story involving corporate greed, globalization, unsustainable benefits, union demands, TARP and, ultimately, political maneuvering by the White House -- it's like a microcosm of our political and economic battles.

In short, Delphi, a massive automotive parts supplier, went bankrupt, citing legacy costs (pensions). Our courts allowed Delphi, an international corporation, to end its U.S. liabilities while shielding its international assets. Thus, U.S. creditors and employees took a beating, while Delphi expanded its overseas operations.

Delphi's pensions fell to the PBGC,which meant a cut of 50% or more to most Delphi workers' retirements. However, in the midst of the auto bailout, and with pressure from the UAW, hourly Delphi employees got a bailout of their own thanks to GM ("government motors," remember?). Salaried employees, with no union protections, got the ax. They've been fighting ever since, with little success.

My point: While its tempting to see these issues as "left vs. right," it's much more complex than that. In the story above, there's plenty of "bad guys": Is it right for Delphi to offshore U.S. jobs and leave Americans holding the bag? Is it right for U.S. courts to allow international corporations to shield overseas assets while declaring bankruptcy here? Is it right for the union and Delphi leaders to negotiate unsustainable benefits packages -- basically making big promises today and letting tomorrow take core of itself? Is it right for the government to intervene -- and even influence management decisions -- in a troubled auto market? Is it right for the government to then step into the bankruptcy process and protect some pensions (those of union workers) but not all? Is it even right for salaried workers to continue to demand full pensions after they've been written off by U.S. courts?

People got hurt in this story, no doubt. I'm sorry to hear that you were one of them.
 

tessaesque

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True, and ... so what? Do we really want to compete with Burkina Faso for who can have the most miserable poor people?

No, I'm saying that we should all appreciate that we aren't living in 3rd world disease and famine and realize that as bad as we claim to have it, we don't have it that bad. We need to do a lot here, to be sure, but we should also be realistic about what "poor" is.
 

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Dude, the large majority of the poor in this country live better than the rich in some parts of the world. We have one of the HIGHEST standards of living (across all income levels) in the world. I've been pretty damned poor, and it sucks. But I still lived better in those 4 years than half of this world's population live for their entire lives.

tessaesque said:
No, I'm saying that we should all appreciate that we aren't living in 3rd world disease and famine and realize that as bad as we claim to have it, we don't have it that bad. We need to do a lot here, to be sure, but we should also be realistic about what "poor" is.

I've seen this argument made many times before and I find it empty. Pretty much every person living in any given civilization would like to achieve a decent modicum of a living standard so that they can participate in their society. Comparing poor across nations isn't really productive because we need to address income disparity and access to livelihood in this society, and access to goods within the context of the American dollar.

Not only that, I find your comparison flawed for the very reason that there are already people in America living in shanty towns, living on the equivalent of a dollar a day or less who are on long-term income assistance from the government - or, in some cases, they are completely homeless and getting no income assistance at all. We have families trying to support themselves with multiple low wage jobs in states where wage has not increased to match inflation or the costs of goods, and the money they make could hardly be called a liveable income.

So when someone comes along and tries to extol the silver lining of at least not being poor in sub-saharan Africa or India, it's kind of a slap in the face. Are people supposed to not want better conditions for themselves or their families, just because they aren't yet as poor as they could be?

I don't know about you, but I want more than that for America, and we should start with the private entities that are accepting multi-trillion dollar transfers of wealth from public coffers with almost no accountability, and no sincere attempt by congress to debug a financial system that has created widespread chaos.
 

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I've seen this argument made many times before and I find it empty. Pretty much every person living in any given civilization would like to achieve a decent modicum of a living standard so that they can participate in their society. Comparing poor across nations isn't really productive because we need to address income disparity and access to livelihood in this society, and access to goods within the context of the American dollar.

Not only that, I find your comparison flawed for the very reason that there are already people in America living in shanty towns, living on the equivalent of a dollar a day or less who are on long-term income assistance from the government - or, in some cases, they are completely homeless and getting no income assistance at all. We have families trying to support themselves with multiple low wage jobs in states where wage has not increased to match inflation or the costs of goods, and the money they make could hardly be called a liveable income.

So when someone comes along and tries to extol the silver lining of at least not being poor in sub-saharan Africa or India, it's kind of a slap in the face. Are people supposed to not want better conditions for themselves or their families, just because they aren't yet as poor as they could be?

I don't know about you, but I want more than that for America, and we should start with the private entities that are accepting multi-trillion dollar transfers of wealth from public coffers with almost no accountability, and no sincere attempt by congress to debug a financial system that has created widespread chaos.

You're welcome to want whatever strikes you're fancy. You are not welcome to demand that the things you want are given to you. I said the majority of poor live better here than anywhere else. That is true. The majority of poor in this country have a roof, food, electronics, luxury items, clothes to wear, shoes to walk in, and many of 'em have cell phones and cars to drive. And yet because they have to buy clothes at Wal-Mart, or because they can't afford a $1000 computer, or because they want to go to a nail salon once a week...what they have isn't enough and somebody else must be made to provide for them.

On top of that, you have a system that's built in such a manner that little to no incentive exists to get out of it. If you get a nice job suddenly your new found income removes your ability to qualify for free child care, or rent assistance, or utility assistance, or food stamps, or any other number of programs people in poverty are currently able to take advantage of. Suddenly, where it was relatively easy to survive, it now isn't. And sure, part of that is wages, but part of it is a program that runs from the mentality you and others are espousing, "These people should have as much as they want, even if they can't provide it for themselves". That mentality will prevent them from being successful. It provides a cushion so large that short of a lottery win or a rich new spouse there are few opportunities for them to do better off of it than they did on it.
 

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You're welcome to want whatever strikes you're fancy. You are not welcome to demand that the things you want are given to you. I said the majority of poor live better here than anywhere else. That is true. The majority of poor in this country have a roof, food, electronics, luxury items, clothes to wear, shoes to walk in, and many of 'em have cell phones and cars to drive. And yet because they have to buy clothes at Wal-Mart, or because they can't afford a $1000 computer, or because they want to go to a nail salon once a week...what they have isn't enough and somebody else must be made to provide for them.

On top of that, you have a system that's built in such a manner that little to no incentive exists to get out of it. If you get a nice job suddenly your new found income removes your ability to qualify for free child care, or rent assistance, or utility assistance, or food stamps, or any other number of programs people in poverty are currently able to take advantage of. Suddenly, where it was relatively easy to survive, it now isn't. And sure, part of that is wages, but part of it is a program that runs from the mentality you and others are espousing, "These people should have as much as they want, even if they can't provide it for themselves". That mentality will prevent them from being successful. It provides a cushion so large that short of a lottery win or a rich new spouse there are few opportunities for them to do better off of it than they did on it.

AFAIK we already did welfare reform in the 90s. Most welfare is limited to two years. US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens

Regarding food stamps, "A food stamp provision of the 1996 welfare law limits the receipt of food stamps for most people between the ages of 18 and 50 (i.e., 18- to 49-year-olds) who are not disabled or raising minor children to three months while unemployed out of each three-year period." Overview of Food Stamp Time Limits for People Between 18-50 - 12-8-00

You always have to strike a balance between providing needed assistance and creating a culture of dependency.
 

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AFAIK we already did welfare reform in the 90s. Most welfare is limited to two years. US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens

Regarding food stamps, "A food stamp provision of the 1996 welfare law limits the receipt of food stamps for most people between the ages of 18 and 50 (i.e., 18- to 49-year-olds) who are not disabled or raising minor children to three months while unemployed out of each three-year period." Overview of Food Stamp Time Limits for People Between 18-50 - 12-8-00

You always have to strike a balance between providing needed assistance and creating a culture of dependency.

Two things to consider there:

1. Welfare/TANF isn't the only program that provides money/vouchers/discounts/financial support, and
2. That food stamp limit doesn't include minor children. If you have a minor child you aren't limited to 3 months of food stamps.
 
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