So the Republicans control both houses of Congress, many of them buying into the George W. Bush notion that slashing taxes for the wealthy creates jobs.  (An eight-year experiment proved that not to work.)  And that raising taxes on the wealthy kills jobs.  (A fourteen-year experiment — eight under Clinton, six now under Obama — dramatically proved that untrue, also.)

Actually, it’s the middle class, not the wealthy, who create the jobs, as Nick Hanauer explains here; and it is the middle class that’s been squeezed ever harder since Reagan, Bush and Bush — and perhaps now Bush again — have set the agenda.  (In Florida, Jeb Bush eliminated the one tax that applied only to the wealthy while slashing the state’s drug treatment program — even as he paid for his own child’s drug treatment privately because he could afford it.)

A good deal of the right-wing underpinning for all this comes from a tough five-foot-two Soviet emigre named Ayn Rand (Alisa Rosenbaum), who arrived in 1926.  It’s hard to overstate how much of a perverse impact she’s had and continues to have even now, thirty-plus years after her death.

And yet she never appeared on the Dick Cavett Show.

Here’s the story.  It’s a quick read — how she came not to be on the Dick Cavett show — and includes this little bit:

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” — [Kung Fu Monkey — Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009] ― John Rogers


Joe D.:  “I didn’t watch the video you linked to Friday (about giving the homeless man $100) because it had one of those click-bait headlines: ‘You’ll never guess what he did next!’ or something similar. And because I’m sure I can guess. He either gave some of the money to other people, or bought them gifts. It’s what poor people do.  Many years ago I read an article in Scientific American about research into this aspect of class. If a poor person receives a windfall — tax refund, lottery win, whatever — he is likely to share it with others. Poor people generally have friends or relatives who are also hurting for money. Having been a low-income person for good chunks of my life, I understand this response. If God or good fortune gives you a gift, it seems wrong to keep it all to yourself if your sister is having trouble paying her rent or your friend lost his job.  One of the points of the article was that this attitude of helping one’s fellows is one thing that keeps poor people poor. It would be prudent to put such a windfall to work improving one’s own financial situation — following advice from your book, perhaps. But to many people at the low end of the economic spectrum, that would seem selfish.”

☞ Joe’s right:  Rather than spend the $100 on booze or drugs, he helped others.  But he also told his story.  And what I took from it was not that he should take the $100, start a business, and pull himself up by his bootstraps like Ayn Rand’s hero John Galt (be a maker, not a taker).  What I took from it was that, yikes, this guy could be you or me, if one of us had encountered a spate of health and family setbacks.  For me, it suggested our social safety net is not all it needs to be, and that repeated attempts to repeal access to Affordable Care, and the refusal by Republican governors to accept Medicaid expansion, is, well, deeply unChristian . . . just as allowing our national infrastructure to crumble is deeply unpatriotic . . . and erecting obstacles to voting is deeply unAmerican.  (Say what you will: these guys are deep.)  Obviously, not everyone agrees with me.

If you do find time to watch the video, let me know what you think.  [EXCEPT THAT — UPDATE — IT NOW APPEARS THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE REAL.  YIKES.]



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