That’s a video segment from a debate between Rep. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) that happened last week after Sanders made the claim that poverty is a “death sentence” in this country.
“Poverty in America is in fact a death sentence, and tens and tens of thousands of our people are experiencing that reality,” Sanders said.
Paul, the subcommittee’s ranking member, rejected that view. He said correlating poverty with death in the United States is embracing “socialism” and that such a connection can only be found in the Third World.
“If poverty is a death sentence, it’s big government that has acted as judge and jury,” Paul said.
He said poor children today are healthier than middle-class adults a generation ago, and that poorer health among low-income families is due largely to such lifestyle choices as smoking. Obesity rates are also significantly higher in low-income populations.
“The rich are getting richer, but the poor are getting richer even faster,” Paul said.
That statement comes on the heels of the Republican Party launching a “war” against President Barack Obama’s plan to propose cutting payroll taxes on employees and employers and to require millionaires to pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans. In the Huffington Post article linked above, Rep. Paul Ryan was quoted as saying: “Class warfare might make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics.” In the video below, Rep. Steven King (R-IA) lamented that unemployment benefits has created a nation of slackers:
I have become nothing short of disgusted at the shaming of the poor and struggling at the hands of Republicans and conservatives in the name of limited government and “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. With a record number of people living in poverty, the right has all but turned its back on the families collecting unemployment, who are one paycheck away from facing foreclosure, who don’t make enough money to cover their basic needs and who are too ashamed to sign up for food stamps for the fear of becoming “one of those people” who mooch off taxpayer dollars.
With 46.2 million people living in poverty last year, all the Republican Party can think about is using the economic turmoil to score political points with their voting bloc and create an atmosphere that will place The Haves in one corner and The Have Nots in another, ready to brawl at the amusement of our leaders. Divide and conquer, indeed.
H/T ThinkProgress and The Hill