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Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:17 am

Trump’s new war

Jim Hightower
PHOTO BY LARRY D. MOORE
Get ready, America – here we go ... to war! This kind of war is an affront to the values that most of us hold dear, and this war is truly nasty and evil: A war on the poor.

Generalissimo Trump is personally directing the hostilities in this assault on – surprise – the U.S. Well, obviously not every American. He’s specifically mounting a war on our country’s poor people, though he euphemistically calls it a war of liberation. The purpose, he says, is to “free” poor families from food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, and America’s other programs that alleviate poverty.

“Welfare,” he snarls, as he and his militant lieutenants conduct ruthless slash-and-burn forays to defund and destroy such benefits. Their rationale is that eliminating anti-poverty assistance will not only save billions of tax dollars and reduce the federal budget deficit, but it’ll also provide a morally beneficial incentive for poor people to get jobs and work their way up to prosperity. Like El Donaldo and his billionaire buddies did.

Uh ... actually, Trump inherited a real estate fortune from his Daddy Fred, and he expanded it by relying on billions of dollars in government subsidies, tax breaks and special favors. As for working, most poor people already have jobs, but it’s the miserly pay of those jobs that mire them in poverty and drudgery. Even more significant is the vicious, laissez-fairyland sense of moral superiority and self-righteousness that causes pampered political elites like Trump to be intentionally cruel to the poor.

Generals plan wars, but it’s the battlefield commanders who do the bloody work. So, let’s look at one of Generalissimo Trump’s commanders.

Meet Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Ben Carson, a quiet but bloodstained commandante in General Trump’s relentless war against poverty-stricken Americans. Since taking office, Commandante Carson is loyally serving in the extreme right wing’s ideological mission of destroying the very idea of housing subsidies for poor families. He has taken a budget ax to the program that enforces our society’s fair housing laws and even stripped the words “inclusive” and “free from discrimination” out of HUD’s mission statement.

Such sneak attacks, however, were deemed too subtle by Trump and his political base of hardcore haters of poverty programs, so the commander-in-chief demanded a brutal frontal assault on the poorest of the poor. Carson dutifully delivered, proposing legislation to triple the monthly rent that the most impoverished of public housing families would pay – including increased rents for the elderly and disabled. To add cruelty to this nastiness, Carson also called for eliminating child care and medical deductions that public housing families can subtract from their rent payments.

Comandante Carson has tried to pass off this cold-blooded ambush of real people as merely a bureaucratic “streamlining,” calling it necessary to cut the federal deficit. That’s a despicable ruse, for the deficit was deliberately and grossly inflated a few months ago – not by poor people, but by an exorbitant tax giveaway passed by Trump and the Republican Congress for the richest people in America.

So Trump, Carson and GOP congress critters have also added hypocrisy to the nastiness and cruelty of their ongoing war against the poor. Trump, his cabinet of multimillionaires and such Koch-headed congressional ideologues as GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are so disdainful of the needy that they have a perverse impulse to punish them – as though being poor is not punishment enough.

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