LETTER: An insult to Ebenezer
By Republican-era standards, Ebenezer Scrooge was a nice guy.
Even Scrooge didn’t take pleasure in others’ suffering, or in spending money to make the lives of the poor worse. We can’t say that about Republicans in leadership in D.C. or Harrisburg.
After all, the explosion of the budget deficit under Trump shows that Republican claims to care about fiscal responsibility were always humbug, that they’re perfectly willing to slash taxes on the rich without offsetting spending cuts. Furthermore, because America spends relatively little money helping the poor, even the latest harsh cuts on food stamps, save only tiny amounts compared with the cost of tax cuts.
Then look at Harrisburg’s dismal record this year — we are now one of 14 states limiting access to Medicaid by imposing stringent work requirements. This may sound like a cost-saving measure, but it isn’t — trying to enforce work requirements, it turns out, costs taxpayers $408 million nationally, according to the Government Accountability Office. Pennsylvania also eliminated the General Assistance Program in 2019 — a stop gap for the most vulnerable.
This is why I support the www.PoorPeoplesCampaign.org. We believe that people should not live in or die from poverty in the richest nation ever to exist. Blaming the poor and claiming that the United States does not have an abundance of resources to overcome poverty are false narratives used to perpetuate economic exploitation, exclusion, and deep inequality.
There are more people than we like to imagine who rejoice in the suffering of anyone they see as unlike themselves, especially anyone they perceive as weak. The enthusiastic nastiness Trump and his supporters exhibit at political rallies often reflects the worst of human nature.
Our Republican legislators who make a travesty of the impeachment hearings also debase themselves. I can understand those who wish to remain in office feel they must support the president no matter what he does. I am sorry that they choose party over country, but at least their fear and motivation are clear to me. What I don’t understand is the silence of those who choose to leave or are forced out. These are people who could begin to crack the veneer of the president’s so-called power. And his abuse of power. They could be a voice for truth and decency in a time when America needs it most.
So I’m going to stop calling today’s Republicans Scrooges. We’d be in much better shape if Trump and company were merely heartless misers. What they really are is much, much worse.