VIDEO – Blaming the poor and unemployed distracts the public from corporate welfare.
The Federal government and state governments all over the U.S. are drowning in debt and deficits. It has been suggested that big corporations have some tax loopholes closed to alleviate these shortfalls. But, Republicans have another way: take benefits away from the poor and unemployed. Laws that demonize the poor and unemployed work wonders to distract the public from looking at how big corporations can pay no taxes at all if the right loopholes are exploited.
The state politicians bought by big money are working hard each day to find new and creative ways to take benefits away from the poor and middle class. Recently, they have introduced legislation that would force these people to give the government their blood or urine to be tested for drugs in order to get benefits. This kind of legislation is another step towards saving their big corporate tax loopholes.
This week, the Arizona State Senate approved a bill to require people that were layed off to pass drug tests to get unemployment benefits. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) said, “You’re so fortunate enough to live in a nation where when you’re down on your luck, there are programs in place to help you survive and live while you’re looking for a job, the very least you ought to be able to do is prove that you’re of sound mind to get a job. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re on drugs, you probably won’t make the best applicant or interviewee.”
If you or your friends own a drug testing company, you can get the added benefit of these laws leading to new profits! Last year, Florida introduced a law that would require welfare recipients to submit to drug testing in order to receive benefits. Florida Governor Rick Scott is championing the law. He also co-founded Solantic, an urgent care company that cites drug testing as one of its more popular services. Of course, Scott divested his interest in Solantic before the law was passed, with the controlling shares going to a trust in his wife’s name.
Similar laws are being introduced in 23 states. Demonizing the poor is easy. They play on the idea of people getting ”handouts” and “free rides” that working people are “paying for”. Then, they just have to ignore the fact that most people pay into the unemployment system through years of working and paying income taxes, only using it to get by between jobs. All of this keeps the focus on the poor and middle class receiving help from the government and diverts attention from the loopholes they bought to keep their big corporations from paying taxes.