Deconstructing Marco Rubio's Nonsensical Anti-Poverty "Agenda"

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Rubio -- his anti-poverty speech filled with hypocrisy and contradictions

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Wednesday, on the 50 anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio gave what he called a “major speech” about tackling the serious issue of poverty.

Is Senator Rubio really serious about addressing poverty in America, or, is he just trying to connive votes from the very poor people his party often offers up as sacrificial lambs for political expedience?

Senator Rubio proposed what he called a new strategy to fight poverty: fighting poverty at the state level. “We must focus on policies that help our economy create those jobs and that help people overcome the obstacles between them and better paying work,” said Rubio. “The War on Poverty accomplished neither of these two things.” Mr. Rubio said the problem of poverty needs complex solutions—solutions, he feels the state is better equipped to handle.

“If states were given the flexibility, they would design and pursue innovative and effective ways to help those trapped in poverty,” said Rubio. “As we’ve seen, they could place programs that give those currently stuck in low-wage jobs access to a job training system. Our current government programs offer, at best only a partial solution. They help people deal with poverty, but they do not help them escape it.”

The Wednesday speech came on the heels of a video, released over the weekend, where the senator criticizes social policies created during the administration of President Johnson to help alleviate some of the economic inequities. “For millions of Americans living in poverty, the American Dream does not seem reachable — and that’s unacceptable,” said Senator Rubio on Sunday. “After 50 years, isn’t it time to declare big government’s war on poverty a failure?”

The Florida senator said what the country needs is a “real agenda” that “would create an economy with more good-paying middle class jobs and a government with less debt... “

"It would repeal Obama Care and it would replace it with more affordable health care options. It would save and strengthen our retirement programs for future generations,” he added.

One would like to believe Senator Rubio is serious about the issue of poverty. But any honest analysis of poverty in America would undercut the very ideas his Republican Party stands for. The fact is the Republican Party has shown their disinterest in promoting programs to help working poor people for decades.

The senator claims “big government’s war on poverty” is a “failure.” To believe this, we would have to agree there has been some sustained effort from the days of President Johnson by “big government” to address the ills of the poor—which isn’t the case. Moreover, he’s dead wrong when he pretends the initiatives of President Johnson didn’t help reduce poverty and relieve some of the suffering of poor people. Also, these programs alone were never expected to totally eliminate poverty by themselves—but represented a starting point to deal with crippling poverty.

Is the senator pretending not to know this? Hasn’t the Republican Party done much to perpetuate poverty by relentlessly fighting for greedy corporate overlords to the detriment of the American public? Republicans are currently busy sticking it to people who desperately need Food Stamps and unemployment benefits—while they argue against ending tax subsidies for oil companies who make billions in profits every quarter.

President Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, in the Eighties, launched an all-out attack on the remedial programs Mr. Rubio claims were a “failure.” Reaganomics was the to signal to the bigoted base of the Republican Party that programs such as Affirmative Action, Welfare—and those things some White-Americans perceive as constituting ill-gotten handouts and quotas for undeserving African-Americans—would be attacked and rolled back.

If that weren’t bad enough the Republicans also made it a critical part of their agenda to undercut the power of unions. The main objective being to destroy the union’s ability to extract a livable wage from the lecherous robber-baron corporations—whose only aim is to suck maximum profits while feeding off of the production of the workers they despise. In their perfect world corporations who make all the rules.

Senator Rubio says he wants to enable more people to be able to apply for high-skilled jobs. That sounds lovely. But given the astronomical cost of education and the dwindling availability of inexpensive vocational training schools and programs to help poor Americans, how are people to acquire this training? Will he seek the support of his anti-“big government” Republican colleagues to fund these programs for the good of the American people?

Mr. Rubio seems to think empowering the states is the way to solve poverty. This seems to be another attempt to push the Republican “state’s rights” philosophy—something that has been used since the Civil War by those who wanted to retain Slavery in their states. Obviously, states have a part to play in eliminating poverty. But to pretend states are somehow being hampered in instituting these “innovative and effective” ways he talks about to reduce poverty is absolutely ludicrous. Somehow he would have us think “Washington is too bureaucratic” to have any part to play in reducing poverty—but states with less resources than the federal government can somehow do it alone.

Senator Rubio wants to have it both ways, by professing to care about the poor, while he attacks the notion of “big government” as the source of all ills. We should demystify what these people are really against when they rant about “big government.” The truth is the Republican Party isn’t really against “big government.” When they denounce “big government” what they are really saying is government shouldn’t help poor citizens—and that government should always allow big business to do whatever they want without any regulations or restrictions.

For these folks being poor is a character flaw.

If they are such opponents of “big government” then shouldn’t they decry any lawmakers’ attempt to legislate what people can do with their bodies? Why aren’t they then challenging the insane drug laws that incarcerate many Americans? Why are they at every turn trying to undercut Roe v Wade? And why are they always clamoring to invade another sovereign country?

The reality is these people are the poster-children for “big government”—especially when it comes to legislating laws that will curtail the right of the average American and enrich their corporate sugar-daddies. They have no problem taking funds that will feed schoolchildren—but they squawk if anyone says we don’t need to give subsidies to oil corporations who make billions every quarter.

If the senator was serious he would be supporting those in the Congress fighting to increase the minimum wage to a more livable wage. What good is a minimum wage that can’t secure all workers with the basic necessities of life? If Mr. Rubio was serious he wouldn’t be talking about repealing Obama-Care—a law that, if given a chance, will rescue many Americans from financial ruin and bankruptcy due to the thievery of unscrupulous insurance companies.

Unfortunately, it seems Senator Rubio is only trying to rebound from the political fallout from last year where he took his lumps over supporting immigration reform. Mr. Rubio’s poverty speech appears to be just another political ploy from a politician trying to regain his footing.

But the truth is the Republican Party hasn’t been the ally of American workers—or the poor—for decades.



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