Here’s a common complaint I get when canvassing. “Why should we pay for welfare for these bums when they can afford tattoos and cigarettes and walk down the street gabbing on their cell phones?”
It annoys me also. I am well aware that much poverty in this country is cultural. The idea of delayed gratification is foreign to many of our citizens, and middle class values of thrift and hard work are not shared by a large portion of the population.
How does a liberal Democrat answer the complaint? By pointing out that people at the top are also getting all kinds of “welfare,” are cheating the government out of needed revenues, and are costing us far more than those “bums” we see on the street, many of whom really can’t work, or are children, or are developmentally disabled, or are simply unable to find a job.
The problem is that we see the bum with his tattoos and his cigarettes and his cell phone, but we don’t see the fat cat at the top donating to Corbett and getting his tax cuts.
Now I will do something totally pompous and quote a relevant passage from “King Lear.”
Through totter’d rags small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.”