So they’ve stopped saying “class war.” Now Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand worshipping cohorts call it the “politics of envy.” (Read that link, it’s an excellent column by EJ Dionne).
“You’re just jealous.”
Well, okay then. Envy is a sin. So is gluttony, by the way. And of course there’s pride, which is the number one sin, leading to all others etcetera.
But I’m not going to get Biblical here, because there’s really no need. Logic will suffice. And we are even going to spot them their own beloved Randian premise.
Contrast and compare:
- Rich dude stashes his money offshore, avoiding millions that are rightfully owed in taxes to the country that made his success possible. What do we call him? A job “creator,” a maker, a savvy businessman. I mean, who can blame him? Looking out for his own interests. That’s capitalism. Any smart businessman is going to avoid all the taxes he can. Oh yes. Smirkity-smirk. Slapping you on your well-dressed back.
- Poor lady figures out how to get a few more dollars on her SNAP card, maybe doesn’t report some house cleaning work she does on the side, because her children don’t have enough to eat. What do they call her?
You know what they call her. And if she dare complain about standing on her feet for eight hours a day and riding a bus for two more in order to make 56 bucks, they tell her she needs to be more aspirational. They don’t want her to settle for that minimum wage job. Poor thing, she just can’t see the problem is she simply doesn’t want it badly enough. But they have just the remedy. She needs more misery-motivation.
Because the poor are motivated by misery, did you know that? Misery is what’s good and ennobling for them. The wealthy work more like vending machines. You put money in and…well, then they have the money, so never mind that metaphor. All you need to know is that what ennobles them is telling you that you suck for not being them.
Paul Ryan’s heroine Ayn Rand found a depraved killer heroic because of his remorseless pursuit of his own selfish and gruesome desires. Her philosophy is all about the virtue of selfishness. So why ignore the heroism of the welfare recipient, or the collector of disability payments, if you believe they have contrived a method to get something for nothing? I NEED TO KNOW. Surely that is just a baby step version of a Bain Capital style move, playing a system for your own benefit. Is that not what you admire? Isn’t that as “aspirational” as stashing hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore havens? I’M JUST ASKING. Perhaps nipping a little extra from the food stamp program could lead a poor person to aspire to bigger things. You know, like becoming the vulture instead of the prey, trading on Wall Street, opening a payday loan franchise. Did you ever consider that?
Finally, I will just point out that, as Sarah Palin said so drunkenly just the other day, when you point the finger of envy there are three fingers pointing back to you and a thumb that is sort of unemployed. In fact, Mr. Ryan, your whole argument is that poor people have it too easy, what with their mobile homes and their food stamps, maybe a little Medicaid, living the good life pushing carts in from the parking lot at Walmart, out in the fresh air, yuk yuk yuk. What a party. It’s like a hammock, that safety net. A permanent vacation. Those guys have it way too easy. I mean, it’s like they’re laughing at you, at least as long as ramen is six bags for a dollar.
It almost sounds like you envy them.