Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poverty, income, and footsie in the men's restroom

Well, it’s official. I have officially lost my sense of humor. I laughed when the Ted Haggard story came out; he was a top political evangelical with access to the White House. When they caught McCain’s Florida campaign chair offering that undercover cop a twenty to let him blow him, I did a very funny piece on it. When they caught the newly elected chair of the GOP trying to blow a guest while he slept on the couch, I did a funny piece on that.

But now they caught Senator Larry Craig trying to blow an undercover cop in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Okay, guys. Once, it’s funny. Twice, it’s still funny. Three times, it still gets a laugh. But now they’re beating this thing to death. Is this “secretly gay Republican leader” thing going to become some kind of ‘running gag’ in the Republican Party? If so, count me out. I’m washing my hands of the whole thing, right now, and wiping my hands on my pants because those little air dryers in the airport restrooms never work, and I’m stalking out of the men’s room to a good hard look at the substantive issues:

The AP posted the results of seven years of Bush/GOP stewardship of the economy. They posted Census Bureau data here (poverty by state), and here (household income by state). And the news is not good.

Yes, between last year and this year: a small increase in median income. But compare the figures for 1999-2000 with those for 2006, and you’ve got a financial horror story instead of the American dream.

Bush is the only president I know who could turn a foreign war into a loss of income for the American people. And that’s not counting the debt that he and the GOP ran up on behalf of Americans, when they dominated Washington. That debt is a tax; Americans owe it and it will have to be paid back.

And when you look over the figures in the Census poverty and income reports, note that some of the hardest hit states are centers of conservatism.

Colorado—median income in 1999: $57,118. In 2006: $52,015. Change : minus 8.9% in income in the past six years. (Colorado is the “Focus on the Family” state, the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) state.)

Georgia—median income in 1999: $51,346. In 2006: $46,832. Change: minus 8.8%

Larry Craig’s Idaho---median income in 1999: $45,464. In 2006: $42,865. Change: minus 5.7%. (And this man’s solution is to fly to Minnesota to blow a cop in a public restroom?)

Look at the figures for your own state, for your own cities. Poverty up, median income down. (And yes, I know that “median income” is not even the most accurate way of tracking “how we all did.” It’s very likely that we did even worse than these figures suggest, if you break the income groups into five different tiers instead of one “averaged” tier.) It’s not just the red states that are down, it’s down across the boards.

But it’s the red state numbers and voters that bug me. What have the rank-and-file Republicans been voting *for,* all these years? Higher poverty and a cut in their own incomes? Why are some of these districts still “safe” for the Republicans, after the rise in income during the nineties and the fall in income in the last seven years?

They’re nuts, but maybe if we rub their noses in this they’ll get back on their medication and stop voting for corrupt hypocrites who cut their financial throats. Personally, I don’t mind if a guy wants to play footsie in the men’s room, so long as my income doesn’t get slashed by five per cent while he’s doing it.

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At 11:48 PM, Anonymous begreen said...

i dig your take ~ it's a splendid gutter, but you found a pearl of substance...


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