By Mansfield Frazier
You might have seen this citizen’s Channel 19 editorial; it starts like this: “I’m Marc Kotora, an owner of Gallucci’s Italian Foods – a small business in Cleveland, Ohio. Today’s welfare system is in direct opposition to the American principles of independence, hard work, and self-reliance.”
All I can say is what a crock of shit — independence, hard work, and self-reliance — coming from the grandson of the founder of the small business he references. This cluck was born on third-base with a silver spoon in his mouth, and now swears he’s hit a homerun as he heads for home plate … and hopefully a seat on City Council in Solon.
Left to make his own way in the world, he’d probably be standing behind one of those ubiquitous hot dog carts you see all over town. But hey, he was slick enough to snooker the folks at Channel 19 and get some free name recognition for his political ambitions … so he can’t be all that stupid. Or, it could be that he knows someone at the station and they’re providing him with some free face time and name recognition. I wonder if his opponent will be given the same break.
What Marc and others of his ilk conveniently overlook is that the need for the bloated “welfare system” he references (which are coded, dog whistle words to denote lazy minorities) is due in large part to those good ‘ol “American principles” of discrimination and bigotry.
Or, put another way, “last hired and first fired” (if hired at all). But I’m just making this shit up, right Marc? Never happens in this country; we blacks just want something to complain about because we’re too lazy and shiftless to work. Sure, Marc, sure.
He continues, “Studies done by the CATO Institute [those fine folks who are to the right of Attila the Hun] have shown that in 35 states, including Ohio, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job. The result is that people are paid more not to work than they would earn at an entry-level job. This is not to suggest that welfare recipients are lazy; but they are not stupid either. If welfare pays more than an entry-level job, why work?”
What this disingenuous twerp fails to mention is that if the folks on welfare take that low-wage job they’ll lose their healthcare benefits for themselves and their children. But since Marc is no doubt against universal healthcare in the first place (and probably has a great plan for himself and his family), what does that matter?
In Marc’s world, if you’re too poor to afford healthcare, then just die; those on the right simply call it “thinning the herd.” They’ve got theirs, so screw you.
If welfare pays more than minimum wage as Marc posits, the problem isn’t with welfare; the problem is that the minimum wage in America is so scandalously, shamefully — virtually criminally — low. Duhhh. And if the term “welfare” bothers you so much Marc, maybe we can do what Wall Street and corporate titans do: Call it a “subsidy.” Now, doesn’t that sound better, much more palatable? Plutocrats want to keep the focus of Americans on the crumbs supplied by the social safety net while they’re literally stealing billions upon billions from taxpayers via policies designed to reward the super-wealthy.
He goes on: “We know that many an entry-level job has been the introduction to a successful career.” Yeah Marc, especially if it’s an entry-level job at the company your grandpa started. Pulled yourself all the way up by your bootstraps, didn’t you, Marc?
“Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas started out flipping burgers,” this sage of American entrepreneurial enterprise continues. “Our present welfare system is broken in principle and crippled in practice. America has prospered because of the independence, diligence, and determination of its people.”
Well, wrong again buddy boy … America (at least white America) has prospered because of access to credit … the ability to borrow the money to start a Wendy’s — something that has too often been denied to people of color in this country. Have you ever heard of “redlining,” Marc? It’s not a myth, it’s not an excuse, it’s a reality … that is, if you’re a minority.
See the Forbes Magazine article here.
Nonetheless, this jerk who likes to fashion himself as a paragon of and testament to American hard work, ingenuity and stick-to-it-ness (after all, he did hang around the family business long enough to become part owner) concludes his specious diatribe with: “Let us not permit a broken welfare system to turn the American dream into the American nightmare.”
Uh, hate to wake you up Marc, but America has been a nightmare for poor and working-class people of all hues for quite a few years now, and it’s only going to get worse as long as plutocrats — that really wealthy one percent — are able to convince suckers like you to do their bidding and dirty work of blaming the poor for their poverty as a means of (and reason for) keeping entry-level wages in the country artificially suppressed. That’s what this really is all about, isn’t it? “Welfare” is only a smelly red herring … that by now is beginning to stink to high heaven.
If you want to score cheap political points by denigrating and insulting the less fortunate in our society, there can be a price to pay. Now, who’s your daddy?
From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available again in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author by visiting http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com.