Thoughts on the White, Working Class

Over at the Plum Line, Greg Sergeant talks about a couple of issues we have discussed here. First, that you don’t pay federal taxes or even that you have received federal aid does not mean that you approve of the government’s efforts to increase dependency.

On “dependency,” the study finds that large numbers of working class whites (46 percent) have received Social Security or disability payments over the last two years; more than a fifth have received food stamps; 19% have received unemployment.

Yet the study also finds that three quarters of working class whites believe poor people have become too dependent on government assistance. There’s obviously overlap there, which bears out what some have already pointed out — many of these voters simply won’t think Romney’s comments about the freeloading 47 percent, or about government “dependency” in general, are about them.

I think this can be summed up by the line the argument that support of a social safety net does not mean that you want it used like a hammock in order to take a permanent vacation from the labor force. Of course none of these people believe they, themselves are in the hammock… even if they are.

He goes on…

But the findings on “redistribution” are also revealing. White working class voters want to soak the rich, and they agree with key aspects of Obama’s views about capitalism and inequality.

Nearly two thirds of working class whites want to hike taxes on those over $1 million. More than half say one of our biggest problems is that we “don’t give everyone an equal chance in life.” Seventy-eight percent of them blame America’s economic problems on corporations moving jobs overseas and 69 percent on Wall Street making risky decisions.

This is the issue we talked about in the post entitled “What the hell is the deal with Iowa?” Working class whites may generally support Republicans, but they don’t necessarily understand how the economy works. They often have a very simplified view of the world and believe that the rich are somehow responsible for their, well, not being rich. They are suspicious of corporations, capitalism and want more equality even if it is imposed from above. This is the populist song of Barack Obama and it is pleasant to the ears of a large subset of under-educated, white, working class person.

A white, working class, Obama supporter accepts transfer payments from the government but doesn’t see himself as in anyway dependent on the government. He believes he is the victim of “fat cats” who don’t give him a chance in order to keep him from achieving any level of social equality. These are the people at whom the Romney-Killed-My-Wife ad were directed.

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5 Responses to Thoughts on the White, Working Class

  1. notamobster says:

    Great topic. I know more than a bunch of people who are staunch social conservatives, but because of their fundamental lack of understanding of history and economics, agree with that populist class-war crap.

    They buy into that liberal yarn that they know how to do it right this time. They fail to recognize that it always ends in the same place, the gulag.

    In pinning their animus on ‘greedy bankers’ and ‘corporate fatcats’, they are striking at the branches and ignoring the root: corporatism, i.e. corrupt government, rent-seeking, influence-peddling, etc.

    Politicians have a fetish for pointing to special interests and lobbyists. It’s not the special interests or lobbyists who can fix our broken government. It’s the politicians who enable them.

  2. R.D. Walker says:

    These people think that if the right system and rules were in place, they too would have a McMansion, a Mercedes and a vacation place in Key West.

    The thing is, there has never been and there will never be a system that makes you rich because you are willing to put in 40 hours and are handy with a wrench. The world doesn’t work that way and there is no rational system that will ever make it work that way.

    The laws of supply and demand are iron clad and there are millions of guys who are willing to put in 40 hours and are handy with a wrench. The market for what laborers do is saturated. That isn’t Mitt Romney’s fault. It isn’t anybody’s fault. It is just the way the world works.

  3. notamobster says:

    This issue/idea smacks of the same limited brain function that says a person is somehow in the wrong for wanting to lower their tax burden.

    Like there is some moral imperative to paying the maximum amount possible. Of course, there is, to people who won’t be paying that extra amount.

    It’s sickening on it’s face and at it’s core.

  4. fubar says:

    we had a guy in our shop last nite who was bemoaning the fact that those upstate with property that now have natural gas wells on them, are making money. As if it was, unfair.

    People are never going to be equal, even if they have equal amounts of stuff/money. You only have to look at the state lottery. look who buys the tickets. And if they win? they are miserable and broke within a few years.

    I have, many times, seen people who owe us money for work on their vehicles, buying lottery tickets in the gas station. It takes a superior amount of self control not to lose it. But hey, we’re rich, we own our own business.///

  5. James says:

    Explaining to the uneducated that they don’t know much and will never be rich isn’t a good strategy. However, they do have the correct understanding that theft at the top is costing their livlihood. They just can’t discriminate between the takers and producers at the top, so they want to tax them all.