Burch: The curious collusion between the rich and poor

Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 9:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Here in Tennessee and all around the United States, but particularly in the South, there is a very curious collusion between the rich and poor. An unfortunate result of this endlessly strange relationship is that the poor end up voting against their own interests, particularly their economic interests.

Since the working classes are increasingly poor and/or disadvantaged in relation to the rich and super-rich, one might suggest that anyone who votes for a Republican politician is, in effect, siding with the top 5 percent of American wage earners against the other 95 percent. It’s a bizarre form of economic warfare in which the vast majority shoot themselves in the foot, ensuring their own defeat.

The Tea Party, while it professes to uphold Christian and family values, is actually resorting to what I call “Darwinian economics” (i.e., survival of the strongest and most ruthless, at the expense of the poor, children, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed and people struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck). Who can possibly imagine that Jesus Christ, his apostles or the Hebrew prophets would have ever sided with the sharks against their defenseless prey?

Every thinking person understands that big business in pursuit of profits often acts like a shark swimming through a school of dolphins. Predators are by nature heartless and ruthless when they have their prey in sight. Modern civilization is, to a large degree, a compact that protects its weakest citizens from people who would take advantage of them. The Tea Party undermines that compact with its Tarzan-like mantra: “Business good. Government bad.”

Why would someone who isn’t rich vote for Republican politicians who, as lackey-like agents for the rich and their “special interests,” demonize what they call “entitlements,” making it clear that they intend to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to the bone, rather than repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?

There is a simple solution. We live in a democracy, and if voters cast their ballots for politicians who vote with their own economic interests in mind, the GOP will be forced  to change its tactics. 

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com

58 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 6:10

The GOP is like a human's appendix.
No longer functional, needed, used, or necessary.
The "Tea Party" is nothing more than an extreme version.
They are sore losers who slept thru 8 years of Bush & Co. and as soon as their Republican shuck McSame & Bobble-Head lost in '08 woke up and started bitching.
Watch them become positively catatonic when Obama wins a 2nd term.

By: yogiman on 9/30/11 at 7:03

Mike,

Your suggestion that the rich are only Republicans makes me laugh. May I ask: How many Democrats, compared to Republicans, in our national congress are millionaires?

Life has sho0wn me there everyone has the opportunity to gain wealth. Some have had t"want" energy, desire and tact to make it all the way to the top. Others have no desire to do more with their life than have enough money in their pocket to pay their rent and buy their food to eat.

And of course if their wasn't any rich people, they would all be poor. And also of course, it takes the poor to make the rich.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:14

The salient difference between Democrats and Republicans is what Burch pointed out: Democrats want to provide social services, now called entitlements, to the less fortunate.
Republicans want to slash all social services and are indignant that people would even need help or assisstence.
Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and Mother Teresa were all Democrats.

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 7:17

Heh. Mike Burch wonders why everyone isn't a dirty socialist weasel who would force others to pay his miserable way, like he and his fellow far-Left Democrats have just recently become.

We don't want your system of 'equality', because, Burch, many people have pride in self and have retained a backbone, and cherish independence, and value the freedoms that comes from telling Big Government to f*ck off as much as possible, and to just leave us alone to make our own way, or fail if that be the case.

We all have the right to pursue happiness; we don't have the right to enable a government to provide it to us at the expense of others.

If your attitude, that of a larval LeftLibProgg, had been present and prevalent prior to 1776 we would've still been under dominion of King George until well into the 19th century. Luckily, good men and women chased all of your loyalist arses into Canada.

Can I buy you a one-way ticket?

By: richgoose on 9/30/11 at 7:18

Unfortunately I see a lot of rich people who vote for Democrats. In fact I would guess there are more rich people voting for democrats than there are lower income people voting for Republicans.

I think that is because somehow in their twisted minds they think all people are created equal.

That is not the case and never has been the case and never will the case. Unfortunate but sadly true.

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 7:20

Let me get this out of the way:

G'mornin', Loner!

JOOOOOOOOOOS! ISRAEL!

By: richgoose on 9/30/11 at 7:20

SERR8D.......I have read your posts for several years. Never have you been so eloquent and so correctt.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:21

Definition of "the less fortunate": unemployed, infirmed, elderly.
Republicans are agast that people have a nasty tendency to AGE.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:23

Goose: So when are you and serr8'd entering the priesthood?

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 7:23

An American-born al-Qaeda agent was turned into sand-flea-bait yesterday; we await word as to if the Yemeni forces or American forces pulled the trigger(s). That should be easily answered.

In Iran, a Christian pastor is set to be executed by forces of Mohammed, because he turned his back on crappy Islam and became a Christian. We await word as to if the 'Religion of Peace' kills the Christian.

By: govskeptic on 9/30/11 at 7:27

Just another Class Warfare story that's we're going to hear a lot of over
the next 12 months. Those senseless unwashed voters, especially those
of us within the south that both our own and national press like to berate
as often as possible, just aren't' buying into it.! The country and parties are
much different today than 50 years ago, when one virtually dominated the
nation and the other went along to get along.
We all now know this President and his Hollywood supporters aren't nearly
as interested in the poor as they are in getting more and more into the free
ride of Socialism wagon and fewer and fewer left out there to pull the wagon!

By: govskeptic on 9/30/11 at 7:32

Just another Class Warfare story that's we're going to hear a lot of over
the next 12 months. Those senseless unwashed voters, especially those
of us within the south that both our own and national press like to berate
as often as possible, just aren't' buying into it.! The country and parties are
much different today than 50 years ago, when one virtually dominated the
nation and the other went along to get along.
We all now know this President and his Hollywood supporters aren't nearly
as interested in the poor as they are in getting more and more into the free
ride of Socialism wagon and fewer and fewer left out there to pull the wagon!

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 7:34

Dargent, in the past prior to FDR and LBJ and other dirty socialist 'progressives', families took care of aging parents, and communities, strengthened by Churches, provided for the poor and others who needed a (temporary) boost.

With the advent of the 'social' (read: enslaving) 'entitlement' services, now people can turn their backs on their aging relatives and foist them off onto Government. Since Democrats (the Official Party of Atheism) hate religions, they've marginalized the community churches and taken over their functions. Now, Government assumes the Godhead, and desires to be both worshiped and to provide (enslave) it's minions.

We will have to return to the old ways, after the coming economic collapse, you know. We just can't afford to provide these so-called 'essential' services and stay afloat economically.

If you take all the capital from all the rich people in America, just strip it away, there still wouldn't be enough there to satisfy the greed and hunger of the Democratic party. They must be put down in this next election, and hard, or this Republic will fail.

It's beginning to look like Mr. Obama will be landslided out. After the 2010 TEA Party election victory, and another coming in 2012, we can just pray to God that we've gotten there in time.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:36

Happy trails, appendix breath!

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:51

FDR started Social Security. It is NOT an "entitlement".
LBJ was famous for "The Great Society" or something like that, but, being 2 years old, I don't know.
I've paid into the SS fund, "Ponzi Scheme", since I was 17 and I'd like .40 cents on the dollar when I turn 62.
You, like all Republicans, look at sociey as "me vs them". "What's mine stays with me...let them get theirs".
Democrats, like myself, realize we have to help the less fortunate. They're not going away and will raise up and kill for survival. Know that.
Republicans had no problem following GW Bush's lead with, "freeing the Iraqi people" to the tune of ONE TRILLION dollars.
Honestly, do you give a shit about "the Iraqi people"?
Wars based on lies have a special place in Republican's hearts.
Killing, rampage, murder are all ok.
Democrats prefer to talk thing out.
Your party is dead on arrival and yet you don't know it.
You feel it and it scares you.

By: girliegirl on 9/30/11 at 7:52

There are just as many RICH Democrats, and to be honest, MORE of the Rich Dems living in this area than Republicans. LMAO Burch is twit, clearly. Burch, get out....mingle...drive through Belle Meade and Green Hills. Look at the political signs in their yards.

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 7:56

Heh. Yours, with fava beans. )

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 7:59

GG: Williamson County is 99.99% Republican.
I'd rather live in Pulaski than Williamson.
You meet a better class of people.

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 8:02

Just because FDR started Social Security means it's exempt from the reality of our economy? And I remember LBJ's 'Great Society', and immediately after the implementation thereof, when Government started paying doctors, the skyrocketing costs of health care; well beyond that expected from simple inflationary costs. Government is responsible for the crazy huge cost-bubble of health care costs. As a matter of fact, anything the Government involves itself in is subjected to extraneous fiscal pressures, usually resulting in a huge cost-bubble that becomes unsustainable.

We cannot afford to pay for your 'retirement', dargent, just because you've paid into this Ponzi scheme. You can blame FDR and LBJ and the rest of your party apparatchiks for the mess we're in. Likely, you'll die freezing and starving, if the current economic paths are continued. Sorry, but it's more likely than not.

By: serr8d on 9/30/11 at 8:09

Ahhhh, music to my ears...

It's a significant disparity if you compare excitement and enthusiasm that Democrats had for Obama in 2008, where he was near messianic, to now where he actually has a record and he's rather mortal. There will be none of that enthusiasm again, it's almost impossible. It had a lot to do in 2008 with the fact that he was almost entirely unknown and was extremely eloquent and was lightning in a bottle. That is never going to happen again. He's got a record now and it's a bad one. So there is no way that you can ever get near that.

But I think even worse for Obama than the decline in the intensity of support among Democrats--because after all, where they are going to go--on election day they'll be out there for him--is the number on independents. The number on independents is staggeringly bad. 31% approval of independents.

Obama won the election of 2008 on the basis of independents, and the first hint of trouble came in the off-year elections at end of 2009 in Virginia and New Jersey, where independents in states that had gone Obama went 2-1 against Obama. Then in the Senate race for the so-called Kennedy seat in January of 2010 the independents went 3 to 1 against Democrats. And I think if Obama cannot rise from the 31% approval he has among independents he is going to suffer a landslide.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/29/krauthammer_warns_obama_will_suffer_landslide_election.html

By: govskeptic on 9/30/11 at 8:14

darg7 Says:

"Democrats, like myself, realize we have to help the less fortunate"! Great
statement, but left out is we like to vote for that, but we want other folks
to actually pay the bill for our loving kindness! " Democrats prefer to talk
things out" what a joke that one is as well! 50's thinking is not so much
in vogue when faced with a 14+ Trillion dollar debt obligation, nor will
sticking one's head in the sand continuing on as usual.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 8:16

What fuzzy math or voodoo economics are you using to say even though I paid into SS at 100% of value for 50 years, I'm not "entitled" to 40% as a pay-out?
Yet, give tax breaks to the super rich? No problem with that.
I have ZERO Capital Gains. If I did, I'd love the 15% tax vs. the 28% my middle class neighbor pays. Me too.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 8:21

GovS: Obama didn't just walk into a $14. trillion debt.
Your hero, Bush had two unfunded wars.
How you Christian Conservative, "Southern style" Republicans can turn your backs on the less fortunate is beyond me.
Maybe your Bible classes leave out the part of we're all brothers and in this thing called life, together?

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 8:22

GovS: Obama didn't just walk into a $14. trillion debt.
Your hero, Bush had two unfunded wars.
How you Christian Conservative, "Southern style" Republicans can turn your backs on the less fortunate is beyond me.
Maybe your Bible classes leave out the part of we're all brothers and in this thing called life, together?

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 8:23

Sorry about the double post...too much Viagra.

By: govskeptic on 9/30/11 at 8:49

Turning one's back on the less fortunate is not really true at all of
most Republicans and certainly not of Christians in general. The
real argument or disagreement is the taking of one's earnings by
an inefficient government to decide where that mercy and in what
amount it goes to! "Love thy neighbor", does not mean hand that
28 year old loafer with a debilitating drug or alcohol problem or
affinity toward working for someone else a monthly check!

By: BigPapa on 9/30/11 at 10:05

11 post dargent. Nice one man message board you got going.

I like how you compared Democrats to Jesus, Ghandi, and Mother Teresea. That's is GREAT work. Yes, yes... Teddy Kennedy was JUST like Jesus Christ., Obama is just like Ghandi, and Pelosi would certainly be comparable to Mother Teresea.

Great comedy.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 10:12

" 28 year old loafer..."
Who sells him the booze? Big Corporate America. Busch, Budweiser, et. al.
Who sells him the cigarettes that gives him the respitory illnesses and lung cancer, thereby needing hospital care? The Big Corporate America.
Who then denies him national health Care? The Republicans.
Who denies him health care after serving in wars based on piles of lies by Republicans?
The United States government.
If only you Republicans could connect the dots.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 10:15

Pops: And who's your poster boys?
Gingrich (3x married ), Guiliani (3x married), Romney, Cantor, Boehner, Perry, Palin, Bachmann, Huckabee, Christie.....great group of hypocrites.
Obama is far closer to Gandhi than any of those idiots all lumped together.

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 10:58

richgoose said

"SERR8D.......I have read your posts for several years. Never have you been so eloquent and so correctt."

Sarcasm? or just a damned funny coincidence?

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 11:01

richgoose said

"Unfortunately I see a lot of rich people who vote for Democrats. In fact I would guess there are more rich people voting for democrats than there are lower income people voting for Republicans.

I think that is because somehow in their twisted minds they think all people are created equal.

That is not the case and never has been the case and never will the case. Unfortunate but sadly true."

As I've stated before, it often seems that those that recite the "life is not fair" mantra, are often the ones benefiting directly from the unfairness.

By: govskeptic on 9/30/11 at 12:14

As I said 28 yr old or maybe even 55 yr old loafer that takes absolutely
no responsibility for his, his family, or the community's interest, yet there
are far too many who thinks we should blame corporate America for
those ills not that poor individual. Not just he or she but their children
and their children must be taken care of as well. Next door there is a
newly just crossed the border 8 months pregnant mother to be that's
going to need hospital and medical care for the new born, and let's not
forget she herself, her mate, and possible one or more parent is going
to need a little boost or assist for a couple of yrs as well. All thanks to the
good ole American taxpayer who can no longer make enough to educate
their own children, or assist an elderly parent, or fund their own retirement!

Yes, the Republicans and the Bushes with their wars have helped bring
all this about. That does not mean the current President and party should
be given any praise for doubling that expenditure, especially when it appears
to be going into re-election slush funds and certainly not jobs growth!

By: Loner on 9/30/11 at 12:16

It's too late to say good morning, Nashville. Let me weigh in on the issue...

First off, I'd like to thank Mike Burch, for another fine article. I support his analysis and conclusion.

Mike wrote, "Why would someone who isn’t rich vote for Republican politicians who, as lackey-like agents for the rich and their “special interests,” demonize what they call “entitlements,” making it clear that they intend to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to the bone, rather than repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?"

That was a rhetorical question, I assume. But I'll take a stab at it anyway.

It's what my brother and I used to call the Crabs in a Bucket Effect.

As boys, we used to fish, using soft-shelled crabs (crayfish) for bait. We noticed that crabs in a bait bucket try to crawl up the vertical sides of the bucket.

As soon as one crab would have any success, the other crabs would drag him/her back down to the bottom of the bucket. We pondered this and concluded that if the crabs worked together, they could use each other's bodies as a living ladder to the top, eventually, they could all escape with such a plan.

We extrapolated our observation to human behavior. Poor folks are often like those crabs in a bucket; as soon as they see somebody getting ahead, they try to drag them down...it's human nature and it's crayfish nature.

The Republican Party plays upon this tragic flaw in human nature....they play the jealousy card. They point to government assistance to the most vulnerable of our citizens, and claim that those folks are getting ahead, at your expense....they're "living it up", again at your expense.

The message of hate is now 24/7 with no "Fairness Doctrine" to restore journalistic balance. The haters tune in for their daily dose of hate. And they find it online 24/7.

As a result of the caustic rhetoric, the word "entitlement" has been thoroughly denigrated.

The Tea Party infused Republican Party - The party of screw your neighbor; it's every man for himself.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 12:50

GovS: You've not only crossed your lines but your cross-hairs.
While you "rich republicans think everything revolves around you, your family, your strata of society, be it known: we're all in this together.
Aside from Jesus's teachings, you are mandated, required, ordered, to help your fellow man.
Black, White, Asian, Latino.
You Christians always try to find loop-holes in that mandate.
Just like in your tax returns.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 1:15

Good God D7, wipe the froth from your mouth and get a grip man/woman.

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 1:17

Loner,

While I understand what you're getting at, I'm not sure your crab analogy holds up...

For one thing, the brain structure of a crab is far different than that of a human being. If there is a similarity between crab and human brains, the crab brain is probably similar to that part of the human brain called the Amygdala .... the oldest part of the brain; otherwise known as the "reptilian brain". It is this part of the brain that is responsible for controlling those human actions and instincts that would be considered "base".

Layered on top of the reptilian brain is the limbic or “mammalian” brain, the center of the emotional intelligence that gives mammals their distinctive capacity to experience emotion, read the emotional state of other mammals, bond socially, care for their children, and form cooperative communities.

The third and, in humans, largest layer is the neocortical brain, the center of our capacity for cognitive reasoning, symbolic thought, awareness, and self-aware volition. This layer distinguishes our species from other mammals. Its full, beneficial function depends, however, on the complementary functions of our reptilian and mammalian brains.

It has even been shown that people who experience brain damage to their Prefrontal cortex are less capable of showing signs of empathy for others.

So, it seems that those people (and I don't think it's tied to being poor) who are willing to drag down down others for their own purposes are more likely tied to the reptilian brain, as the type of cooperation that you're referring to would require the ability to experience things like cognitive reasoning, awareness, self-awareness, and most importantly, empathy.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 1:29

So.......can we deduce from this that poor southerners which vote republican are more in touch with their neocortical brain because their cognitive reasoning to vote for the common good transcends their poverty? And then extrapolate that poor southerners are more intelligent then the rich democrats?

By: BigPapa on 9/30/11 at 1:42

The only thing I deduce from this is that dargent is poor and has quite a chip on his shoulder about it.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 1:58

The streets of Heaven are paved with gold, say the rich man to the poor. Give me your money and I guarantee you a place in heaven.

It seem to me that Mike’s article is about the poor voting for rich Republican.

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 1:59

judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 1:29

So.......can we deduce from this that poor southerners which vote republican are more in touch with their neocortical brain because their cognitive reasoning to vote for the common good transcends their poverty?

Well..... since common good is generally defined as a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community, and given that there are far more people living in poverty in this country than there are wealthy, it makes no sense for the poor to vote for something that is not in their best interest..... because by definition doing so would not be for the common good. Nice attempt at twisting though....

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 2:05

No judyboodo the poor southerners are suckered into a semi-bondage life cycle to lick their masters boot.

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 2:08

JudyBooBoo: Just suffice it to say, "you Southners" are at one, and comfortable, with your own kind. That being; un-educated, un-evolved, un-progressive, racist white trash.
It's ok. Society needs bottom feeders.
You want to refute that with, "Why no, we're a highly educated, intelligent crop of people"?

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 2:08

Just how poor are you judy? Or maybe how rich are you?

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 2:18

dargent7 said

"You want to refute that with, 'Why no, we're a highly educated, intelligent crop of people'?

A recent poll shows that 46% of Republicans in the state of Alabama believe that interracial marriage should be outlawed..... in 2011!!! Now you can argue that Alabama isn't Tennessee.... but I would say the mentality is within shoutin' distance. I have a friend who lives in a small town near Cookeville where the most of the locals still refer to a part of town as "n*gger hill"

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 2:21

Now wait a minute. I think your use of the word "sense" is construed as acceptance that what someone else thinks is in their best interest. They may feel that the "masser in the big house" is more capable of providing for their common good. But only if the "masser" will profit from their labors or their well being. Nothing wrong with that, it's called Capitalism. Poor or wealthy really doesn't matter in the most pure sense. What matters is their reasoning of what will bring them the most benefit. "So, it seems that those people (and I don't think it's tied to being poor) who are willing to drag down down others for their own purposes are more likely tied to the reptilian brain, as the type of cooperation that you're referring to would require the ability to experience things like cognitive reasoning, awareness, self-awareness, and most importantly, empathy." So if by virtue of their reasoning for their own best benefit they should vote for republicans, then they are more in touch with their higher functioning neocortical brain. Yep, the more I think on this, southerners are more intelligent than their northern neighbors.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 2:27

How so judy?

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 2:30

So D7, since we southerners are so susceptible to being overcome by a more advanced species, The Northern Know-it-All, what makes Yankee's who come down here and stay any better than a Republican "masser"?

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 2:35

I came for the grits.............

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/30/11 at 2:35

Be gone for a little while folks, got to go forward and supervise the crews raising of the anchor. The Monte Carlo harbor captains won't let you moor in one place for to long.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 2:39

Like an empty bottle floating on polluted sea, judy drifts away.