That’s the message of several posts (like this one by TPM’s Josh Marshall) I’ve seen pop up recently on lefty blogs. Medicaid, you see, “pays the bill for 66% of all nursing home residents.” And, Josh informs his readers, “these aren’t the indigent – most\many of them are the result of middle-income people who have already run through their own money paying for their nursing home costs, and then become eligible for Medicaid. If Medicaid doesn’t pick that up anymore, who’s left? The children of the residents?”
So Josh cares about Medicaid and thinks his readers should too. But he assumes they won’t care, at least not enough, unless they believe that Medicaid cuts will affect them personally. As long as it’s just poor people suffering and dying because they can’t access medical care, that’s apparently no biggie, but raising the specter of middle class folks burning through their savings to pay for their once-middle-income parents’ nursing home care–now, THAT will get their attention. This isn’t just a case of people caring more about things that hit closer to home. Intentional or not, these posts have the unmistakable ring of “Medicaid isn’t just for those undeserving poor people; GOOD PEOPLE LIKE US could be affected!”
There are several interesting assumptions here. The first, of course, is that the readers of these liberal and progressive blogs are predominantly middle class. It never seems to occur to Josh and the others who have written similar posts that their readership could include a large percentage of poor and working class people. Assuming that they know the demographics of their readers better than I do, this would explain a lot about the focus and allegiances of the major lefty blogs. I mean, who could forget AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis complaining about not getting a stimulus check when he’s barely scraping by on $75,000/year (as a single dude with no kids, no less)? As a person who is REALLY barely scraping by, I feel a profound disconnect from much of the lefty blogosphere, particularly from the major high-traffic blogs. Reading their posts and comments, it’s abundantly clear that most of these people inhabit a world that’s very different from the one I experience every day. It’s also clear that they’re not really talking to people like me, though they sometimes talk about us.
Read the rest of this entry »
I was going to say what I’m about to say in a comment at Corrente, but my login there isn’t working. Rather than spend another thirty minutes trying to figure out why their site says I’m logged in when I look at the homepage but logged out when I click on the post in question to comment, I thought I’d write a quick post on the matter on my own blog. Besides, Lambert is hardly the only lefty guilty of this offense.
The offense I’m referring to is calling poor people “weak” (as in, “the GOP wants to slash welfare programs because they don’t care about the weak,” or “both legacy parties want to kill the weak so 20% DISemployment suits them just fine”) or some variation thereof. Liberal KGO radio host Bernie Ward would always emphasize the importance of donating money to help “the least of us.” By that he meant the very poor, particularly the homeless, and especially individuals with mental health and/or substance abuse problems. I know he meant well and yes, I also know the phrase is from the bible. And yet it always rubbed me the wrong way to hear this extremely privileged man with his six-figure income refer to poor people in this manner. If the poor and homeless are “the least of us,” what does that make the wealthy?
Calling poor people “weak” is particularly problematic. I’d like to see some of those rich trust fund kids survive even 10% of the crap life has thrown my way. “The Poor” lack a lot of things: Opportunity. Justice. Health care. Affordable housing. One thing most of us don’t lack is strength. Or resilience. Or resourcefulness. We more or less have to have those qualities or we don’t survive. So to hear people call us “weak” because the odds are stacked against us, while those handed every advantage get to flatter themselves that they’re “strong” is pretty much the ultimate insult.