By MARC McDONALD
Welcome to another edition of Progressive Music Classics.
Has any First World nation ever had more contempt for the poor than America does today?
Hating the poor has become as American as apple pie. Particularly since the Reagan era, we Americans have been taught from an early age that the poor deserve no sympathy. For a "Christian" nation, we seem to be clueless about Christ himself had to say on the subject.
What's bizarre is that many Americans, particularly the Rush Limbaugh crowd, are under this delusion that the poor are actually treated well in this country.
Supposedly, there are all these lavish, generous welfare programs out there to take care of all the poor. In fact, we Americans supposedly have such expensive programs for the poor that this is the real cause of our nation's titanic deficits.
No, not George W. Bush's $3 trillion war crime in Iraq. Not the insane mega-trillion-dollar cesspool of graft, corruption and fraud that is laughably known as "Defense Spending." Not Bush's trillion-dollar tax giveaway to the crooks on Wall Street.
No, the real reason America is going broke is that we're just too damn generous to the poor. The welfare states of Sweden, France and Germany have nothing on us.
Of course, there's only one problem.
All these supposedly lavish government welfare programs for the poor simply don't exist. Don't believe me? Ask a poor person sometime just how much he's raking in from the government. Odds are, he'll laugh in your face.
If the poor were really raking it in from lavish welfare programs, then they wouldn't be poor, would they? And the reality is that the ranks of the poor are growing rapidly in America. The current trend started under George W. Bush, (particularly after the economy essentially collapsed in 2008).
The fact is, until you've experienced true poverty yourself in America, you probably have little idea of just how much utter contempt this government has for people at the bottom of the economic ladder.
In fact, because of regressive taxes (like sales and gas tax), not only are the poor butt-f*cked daily in America, but they pay more of their income into taxes than "successful" rich people like Paris Hilton and Rush Limbaugh.
People like Limbaugh remind me of the likes of Marie "Let Them Eat Cake" Antoinette. Although the quote is apocryphal, it's clear the rich and royal leech classes in France thought everything was fine and dandy in the late 18th century. I'd suspect they were so out of touch with the peasant class that the fury of the French Revolution took them by surprise.
Despite today's widening income inequality in America, I'd suspect a lot of the rich and powerful in this country give little thought to the growing ranks of poor. And they have little idea of the coming People's Revolution that will likely result someday.
After all, history has shown time and time again what happens when the rich gorge themselves while the peasants starve. It happened in England in the 1300s. It happened in France in the 1700s. It happened in Russia in 1917.
Don't think it can happen here? If so, you're kidding yourself. After all, America was born in a revolution.
Among the rich, there are a few astute observers (like Warren Buffett) who realize the current situation in unsustainable.
When Buffett argues that rich people like him aren't paying their fair share of taxes, I'd suspect it's not because he's a big fan of paying taxes. Rather, he's an astute money man and financial genius who realizes that if America goes broke and the nation's social fabric is ripped to shreds, then the rich are going to suffer with the rest of us.
But for now, the rich in America are living the high life. And they're doing it in large part with our tax dollars (see Bush's trillion-dollar bailout of the crooks on Wall Street).
America's rich have nothing but contempt for the poor. And, thanks to their stooges like Limbaugh, they've even managed to convince a sizeable (and gullible) portion of the American people to hate poor people as well.
In this brilliant song (the lead-off track on their 1980 album, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables), San Francisco punks the Dead Kennedys take this argument to its logical conclusion: since we Americans despise the poor so much in America, let's just kill them all.