Boehner Says We'll Never Have A Pro-Democracy Uprising Here Because Kids "Are Too Fat, Too Lazy, Too Addicted To TV, Fast Food..."
[UPDATE: The Taibbi interview with Boehner below may be a hoax. We're looking into it.]
And here we all thought Paul Ryan is Congress' biggest (and dumbest) Ayn Rand disciple. Apparently, not realizing he was on the record, John Boehner let lose with his petty resentments and innermost fears and hatreds in a conversation with Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi that will forever give Ryan a run for his Koched-up money. (H/T RumorMiller.)
Boehner: "Can't pay your student loan? Face it your parents were lazy and you couldn't afford college. The world needs ditch diggers and you were born into a family of them. Can't pay your mortgage? Your house was too expensive and you couldn't afford it. Your taxes going up too much? That's what you get for electing a democrat president. Never had a job after you got a degree? You learned nothing in school and you're lazy. I didn't get to be a congressman by watching jersey shore or playing xbox. You think there's no jobs for you? There used to be. There was when I was your age. You don't have fee time because you have to work all days of the week for 16 hours a day and you don't get paid hourly? Thank the unions. They made decent jobs so out of price range of the average American company that they can't hire anymore people and the works' gotta get done. These unions... I tell you they won't be happy till no one in America has a job. And health care? Don't get me started on health care- doctors study their entire lives and they barely make enough to live and yet Obama, who had his entire life handed to him on a silver plate wants to cut their pay. You know that's gonna do? Increase costs- the average persons going to have to work even harder just to see a doctor. "
Taibbi: "With mounting unemployment what do you think is the possibility that we'll see an Egyptian style uprising of the youth? Should we be worried?"
Boehner: "It's not going to happen in the US. The kids here are too fat, too lazy, to addicted to TV, fast food, cheap credit, and facebook. I have news for you-- there are plenty of jobs out there-- the unemployed don't want them. Today's college student feels entitled to make at least $24 right after college. When they find out they can collect unemployment they would rather do that. You know the average college educated unemployed person is collecting $60k a year? The CATO institute did a study-- and I mean, you and me we're hard workers we could just sit around and live, but these kids today-- that's all they've been doing their entire lives. I'm not worried for this country-- there are a few of them who actually want to work, take Mark Zucker(sic). You don't build a site like Facebook out of thin air-- it takes talent and hard work. I went to a community college and all I saw were people sitting in front of computers typing away, their eyes were fixed. Probably just facebooking away."
Last night I read a Christian Science Monitor opinion post by Anat Shenker-Osorio, that doesn't reference Boehner at all but is called Do You Think The Poor Are Lazy. I know ever since we put the billboard below in front of his home, Boehner has an avid read of DWT and he, more than anyone, should read Anat's piece. He won't. Boehner's like many Americans in that he's "in deep denial about our wealth inequality. In the US, the richest fifth have 84 percent of the wealth – and most of us don’t consider this to be a problem. In fact, we don’t even guess at the distribution close to correctly." It's always troubled me that the term, "What's he worth?" is commonly used in our society to elicit a dollar figure. Anat talks about how words, like the "wealth gap" cement a mindset in place.
In this case, the cause-effect narrative for our “gap” seems to go like this: Those who are poor have chosen this condition. Whether it’s character flaw (lazy bum), moral failure (welfare queen), inherent defect (the bell curve), or all of the above, this story tells us what have-nots have not is ambition or intelligence.
It’s no accident that we routinely refer to the wealthiest as the “top” and the rest as the “bottom.” In English, good is up and bad is down. That’s why we say, “things are looking up” and “she’s down in the dumps.” No wonder we pull ourselves up (not forward or along) by our bootstraps. Calling certain folks upper class implies they are worth more not just materially but also morally.
If being rich or poor is understood as the result of differential effort, then we can conclude each category is simply a lifestyle choice. Inequality is then a sign that our economy is doing exactly what it should-- rewarding the deserving and motivating the lazy. And the line of reasoning continues: Since there’s nothing wrong with this, there's nothing anybody should do about it.
We use this “gap” language all the time. And then we wonder why the statistics we cite, the graphs we generate, and the examples we offer of widening inequality don’t raise the eyebrows, let alone the ire, of many in our audiences. Using this language tacitly degrades individuals and makes current conditions seem natural. By employing it, we blind the public to the fact that inequality isn't an individual choice. Rather, it’s the direct result of the rules financial and political elites have crafted for their own enrichment.
...Impoverishing certain populations is, in fact, derailing our entire economy. As we suppress real wages for the majority, we shrink purchasing power and with it consumption and then available employment. Without money to maintain our homes and care for our families, we have less and less reason to follow the tacit agreements of civil society.
Instead of a “gap between rich and poor,” we’re far better served calling it a “barrier.” A barrier connotes a big, imposing wall behind which a few can hoard the goodies, while those on the other side are left wanting. When you barricade yourself in, you keep others out. Instead of asking to “bridge the divide,” let’s insist on dismantling the obstacles that keep too many from the gains produced of their own hard work.
And yes, Boehner lives in a gated golfing community. This billboard was outside the gates on the highway.