Fox News may want to end the War on Poverty but there’s no loss of enthusiasm for its war on the poor. Yesterday, Fox’s Cashin’ In show spent about four minutes arguing that the poor have it too cushy and should get less assistance.
Yesterday’s excuse to smear the poor was a report showing $22 trillion having been spent combatting poverty. Host Eric Bolling “asked” panelist Jonathan Hoenig, “Is it time to end the most expensive war in American history?”
As if Bolling didn't know that Hoenig would like nothing better than to eliminate all social safety nets. “We can declare war on poverty but not on jihad," he said, with a gratuitous swipe at President Obama. "It’s been a failure, to your point. You don’t fix poverty by taking from one group and giving to another. …Once the war on poverty began, in fact, the poverty level stopped going down.” In Hoenig’s estimation, a better way to fight poverty would be to “get rid of the minimum wage.”
As Hoenig spoke, large graphics appeared on a split screen designed to suggest the poor are not really poor: “31% of poor households have 2 or more cars or trucks,” “NEARLY 2/3 of poor households have cable or satellite TV,” etc.) “As long as you keep people comfortable, keep them in things and they don’t have to work, what’s the incentive to work?” Hoenig “asked.”
Panelist Michelle Fields sneered, “It’s a better deal to sit at home and collect a check than it is to go out there and get a job. …Our policies are focused on making people just feel more comfortable living in poverty.”
And, of course, it’s Obama’s fault. Bolling said, “President Obama has made it easier for people to stay on these programs. He’s lifted the work requirements.” He asked the lone liberal on the panel, Jessica Ehrlich, “Have we lowered the bar or raised the bar in this case to accomplish more people getting assistance?”
“We’ve actually sort of raised the level," Ehrlich said. "It used to be, 50 years ago, when the war on poverty started, that if you were in poverty, that meant you didn’t have electricity, and you didn’t have plumbing, and you didn’t have access to education, and it was a totally different world there. Now we actually have made huge strides for everyone.”
Fields complained, “You’re disincentivizing people to work.”
In fact, the Supplemental Poverty Measure study shows poverty fell from 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012. Elderly poverty is way down, and children have been lifted out of poverty. But to this crowd, that would probably only serve as further justification to cut social safety nets more.