Producers Vs. Moochers, Freeloaders And Losers — The Cruel Pro-Rich Propaganda Of The Right

“Producers” and “parasites.” Cruel language justifying extreme greed seems to be mainstream now. Even Presidential candidates feel free to disparage 99% of us! In today’s right-wing folklore government by We, the People is an evil thing that takes from “producers” and gives to “moochers,” “freeloaders,” and “losers.” Government and taxes “take money out of the economy.” Decision-making by We, the People is “collectivism” and “mob rule.” And those of us who think the insanely wealthy should pay fair taxes suffer from “envy.”

In today’s discourse wealthy elites receiving $20 million a year in “capital gains” while paying almost no taxes are “producers,” while janitors or nursing home workers, working two jobs and not making enough to pay rent and feed themselves, are “moochers” and “freeloaders.” Right.

This email came in to CAF yesterday, (see also Richard Eskow’s take on it, John Galt Is A Crybaby And So Are You)

I am really curios to know what motivates the mind of a socialist. Why do you think its fair to penalize those of us who produce while rewarding those who do not? If healthcare should be a right then where does it stop?

Could one not use the same argument that everyone has a right to free housing? A free car? Perhaps free air travel? Who will pay for all this?

What happens when the government has exhausted the money acquired from the producers? I have a feeling producers will stop producing if the government is just going to take it. Again, I ask why should the people who produced be punished to reward free loaders?

Actually, a right to housing, health care and decent transportation sound like the kind of things that proud citizens in a democracy ought to demand, if you ask me.

The Ayn Rand Poison

This email and others like it echo the language of the novels of Ayn Rand, which so many Republican politicians today embrace. The people writing them are disciples of Ayn Rand. They used to be teenagers who resented being told to clean their rooms; now they are grownups who don’t want to be told to pay their taxes. Republicans have enthusiastically embraced the poison of Ayn Rand, its justification of psychopathic greed and selfishness, along with her belief that altruism and democracy are “evil.”

This Ayn-Randian idea that there are two kinds of people, “producers” and “parasites,” is reflected across the language of the right today. The wealthy “producers” are “job creators” Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, for example, regularly echoes this core philosophy of “producers” and “parasites,” saying,

I believe raising taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to hire people is the wrong idea,” he said. “For those people to give that money to the government…means it wont get reinvested in our economy at a time when we’re trying to create jobs.”

“The very people” who “hire people” shouldn’t have to pay taxes because that money is then taken out of the productive economy and just given to the parasites — “the help” — meaning you and me…

Who Is The Real Freeloader?

With the release of his (but for some reason only the most recent) tax returns we learned that Mitt Romney collects over $20 million a year, while doing nothing, from the many millions he was able to get control of by stripping companies and laying people off or making them take huge pay cuts and loss of benefits. According to the Christian Science Monitor titled, What kind of society does America want?, this is the story of what happened to the workers in one company when the Romney/Bain machine “came to town”:

The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by [Mitt Romney’s] Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.

According to the cruel language of the right, those workers are “losers.” If they need to get unemployment or food stamps they are “parasites” and “freeloaders” who are “asking for handouts.” When old, they will need the Social Security and Medicare they paid into all their lives, more “handouts.” People like Romney says these “entitlements” — the things we are entitled to as citizens in a democracy — are “draining the economy.”

Mitt Romney says government is the culprit, not people like him who show up and strip our jobs, factories, companies, industries and economy. Romney, who pays very little in taxes on the $20-plus million he receives in “capital gains” every year, wrote in a December USA Today op-ed titled, What kind of society does America want? that the very existence of government itself costs the economy jobs, writing, “With the growth of government has come an inevitable contraction of the private sphere.” Romney writes that programs like Social Security and Medicare are examples of “government dependency.” And, finally, he writes, “Government dependency can only foster passivity and sloth.”

Right. Mitt Romney, producer — who receives $20-plus million a year for not working — as contrasted with the “losers” who work two jobs at minimum wage, making so little they need food stamps just to get by. (They used to make more, but Mitt Romney came to town, buying the company they worked for, chopping it up and sending the parts they don’t sell to China, laying them off or cutting their wages in half, and taking their health care and pension.)

The Dependency Index

The conservative Heritage Foundation has published an “Index of Dependence on Government,” saying we have “unsustainable increases in dependent populations.” Heritage writes that, “Americans are haunted by the specter of enormously growing mountains of debt that suck the economic and social vitality out of this country.”

Heritage fails to mention that we were paying off the nation’s debt before Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact, at the rate we were paying off the debt when Clinton was President the entire US debt would have been paid off by now. Except for those tax cuts for the wealthy. But according to Heritage, the problem is not wealthy people paying very low taxes, it is humans who have human needs who are a “a potentially ruinous drain on federal finances.”

Please take a look at Heritage’s “dependency index.” Social Security is “government dependence.” Medicare is “government dependence.” And on and on. Heritage says nothing about the huge, bloated, corrupt, enormous, massive, ginormous military budget — that doubled under Bush. Heritage says nothing about the incredible subsidies government provides to oil and coal companies. Heritage says nothing about the cost of all of the tax cuts handed out to the wealthiest since the Reagan era. Nothing at all.

Heritage says that We, the People doing things for each other “encourages dependence.” They talk about people as if they are squirrels. Like building the interstate highway system encourages dependence or having good public schools encourages dependence or a pension after a life of hard work encourages dependence or public health programs that keep epidemics from spreading encourages dependence or giving vaccines to children encourages dependence or, I guess, in the old days helping a neighbor put up a barn encouraged dependence.

It is the Romneys, getting their $20-million-plus checks for doing nothing — the “gains” from stripping our economy and sending our jobs to China — who are dependent. Not the people that the Romneys threw out of work or cut their pay in half. Not the people working two jobs yet not making enough to pay rent and get enough to eat. The real “producers” in our economy are the 99%, the people who work, not the1%er “parasites” who use their wealth and power and connections to game the system and reap vast “gains.”

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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About Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Founder and principal author at Seeing the Forest, and a blogger at Speak Out California. Dave is a frequent public speaker and talk-radio guest and a leading participant in the progressive blogging community. He does a regular weekly segment on the popular Fairness Doctrine radio show. A featured contributor at Huffington Post, his work also appears at many other sites including TruthOut, AlterNet, Smirking Chimp and Common Dreams. Currently Dave is a Senior Fellow with Renew California working on progressive messaging, a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, where he writes about issues involving American manufacturing, trade, what might be called industrial policy. In another life Dave helped co-found Carbon Tracing, Inc., a company developing the desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US. Before this, Dave had over over 20 years of technology industry experience and has previously held senior industry positions including CEO and VP of Sales and Marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic, and he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers.
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5 Responses to Producers Vs. Moochers, Freeloaders And Losers — The Cruel Pro-Rich Propaganda Of The Right

  1. Pingback: High Crimes - Fixing the U.S. » Fixing the U.S.

  2. Josh Swanstrom says:

    I know there are many on the right that are simply trying to protect the rich, but I do think there is some value in considering some of the points being made without using hyperbole.

    I guess my position all comes down to property rights. If I build a chair, whose chair is it? Is it mine? I would hope it is mine, otherwise I am not building another one. I would hope the government wouldn’t come and take it just because it can. You said, “Decision-making by We, the People is “collectivism” and “mob rule.”” I would say that just because a law, tax, etc. is passed by a democratic system does not automatically make it good. Slavery was democratically upheld for years. Stealing my chair is wrong, even if the majority votes to make it legal.

    The problem with collectivism is that, if taken too far, it can dampen the incentives of individuals to sacrifice and work hard, setting the entire economy back.

    I don’t consider myself lazy, but if all Americans were guaranteed a nice home, car, travel, and food; I would probably not bother getting up in the morning to go to work. I would certainly not have my wife working (we don’t have kids yet) and I certainly would not work over-time and I certainly would not have picked a difficult major in college and studied as hard as I did. I understand you may not think this way, but you do have to recognize that a large number of people do.

    Romney made a lot of money because he bought things, fixed them, and sold them. That is exactly what needs to happen if we are going to compete in a global economy. If it doesn’t, we are Greece. He should get to keep the rewards from his efforts. I understand that taking failing businesses and making them competitive involves some things that cause hardship for a number of individuals. But imagine a world where no one was allowed to be laid off. We would still have thousands of people making buggy whips and horseshoes.

    I am sorry, but you have to recognize that incentives matter. When you take away the benefits of working hard and take away the pain of making bad choices, people are going to work less hard and make more bad choices.

    • Cavoyo says:

      “I am sorry, but you have to recognize that incentives matter. When you take away the benefits of working hard and take away the pain of making bad choices, people are going to work less hard and make more bad choices.”

      Real wages for the bottom 60% have stagnated or fallen for the past 30 years. Employers ask for a little more work here and there until they end up with months of free labor, nevermind the explosion of internships and other ways of obtaining labor for free. According to you this massive loss of incentives (wages) should lead to workers wanting to work less hard. However, there are 4.5 applicants for every job opening (up from 2 before the recession) and everywhere one hears the unemployed beg for someone to employ them. Meanwhile Romney gets $20 mil a year – and how hard does he work? He bragged about being “unemployed” during one of his speeches!

      I guess the amount of wages doesn’t matter if the alternative is dire poverty. Conversely, why would someone with a lot of cash want to waste their time working for even more, when they have enough to do whatever they want?

  3. Ed says:

    Absurd liberal class warfare is destroying this once great nation. They have ZERO interest in preserving the middle class as they only want two classes, the uber rich and the poor and the way they’re going about it is by demonizing the rich, getting their ignorant minions to act like the sheep they are and demand higher taxes on the rich. Well liberals, when you punish the rich, sure the rich will be poorer BUT the poor will be poorer still so you end up with more on food stamps, welfare and living in sub-standard housing. That’s the liberal dream. They literally are having a war on the poor. Obama and the Democrats so loved the poor, they created millions more.

    When the so-called evil rich make more, there’s more to go around and more businesses can be created, more jobs, opportunities, benefits, purchasing of new technology but when liberals get in charge they want to smash innovation, opportunity and creativity so they can control the purse strings. The adage of ‘trickle down economics’ WORKS as the rich get richer sure, but the poor rise up as a rising tide raises ALL boats and more people leave the Democrat Plantation of poverty to achieve the middle class American dream. All Obama & the democrats want to do is create more misery and live high off of the backs of the taxpayers like the elite’s they are.

  4. Pingback: I’ll Take a Check, but You Could Just Set Up an Account in the Caymans for Me… | Cryptic Philosopher

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