Anyone who frequents this blog even if you don't watch Fox at all, knows how terrible a lot of their "business block" coverage is on Saturday mornings because I try to make a habit of posting at least some of it when I've got the stomach for or the time to watch any of it. This was another typically horrid segment with Cashin' In host Cheryl Casone opening up the show by saying there is a "new debate" over whether spending on "entitlements" are "doing damage to America."
The premise for why this "debate" is happening -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his recent attack on Americans receiving government "entitlements" that we covered here at C&L in these two posts:
What followed was the panel of Tracy Byrnes, Jonathan Hoenig and Wayne Rogers all repeating Christie's lines about how receiving everything from food stamps, to unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, to mortgage loan modifications was somehow destroying America and turning us all into a bunch of lazy slobs that don't want to work and just sitting home waiting for their checks to arrive.
For "balance" we had former professional wrestler and conservative John Layfield actually pointing out that it might be a good idea to feed people so we don't end up having another revolution in America if massive amounts of people are starving. And milquetoast "liberal" and Fox regular Julian Epstein countering with how "reasonable" it would have been for President Obama to have made some "grand bargain" with Republicans and agreed to austerity measures in the middle of trying to recover from a recession.
And they ended the segment with regular Jonathan Hoenig, who is always reading straight from some script by Ayn Rand, saying we'd have real "freedom" in America if we just got rid of Medicaid and Medicare all together.
I have to wonder just how many people that watch these shows and take them seriously instead the sorry, sad joke that they actually are, consider themselves members of the "tea party" and are receiving Medicaid benefits. The terrible thing is segments like this would be laughable if they weren't so dangerous, because there are so many out there that buy into the nasty rhetoric they were spouting here.
Listening to these idiots talk about how terrible it is for the government to be feeding people reminded me of a point that Driftglass made during this week's podcast that he does every week with our other fellow C&L contributor who also happens to be his wife, Blue Gal, about why the National School Lunch Program was started and by whom.
There's a link up front for their podcast in the open thread here. At about the 25 minute mark, Driftglass points out that the National School Lunch Program was actually started by the Department of Defense. Why? Because so many people were starving in 1946 that they were unfit for military service. Here's a little more on that.
This is not the first time that the Department of Defense (DoD) has sounded an alarm about the endangered health of our nation’s youth. In fact, it was the testimony of Major General Lewis B. Hershey, then head of the U.S. Selective Service Administration, and work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that won passage of legislation that inaugurated the national school lunch program in 1946 (2). Individual states and the USDA had first responded in the early 1930s to the growing problem of malnutrition, largely a result of food shortages and distribution problems during the Great Depression, by establishing regional school breakfast and lunch programs (3). However, these programs declined during WWII, and by 1946, the DoD reported that a shocking four in five Americans were unfit for military service, the primary cause being malnutrition. In signing the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Program legislation, President Harry Truman commented that “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children, or more prosperous than its farmers.” America’s youth, regardless of family income, were assured at least one healthy meal a day, and farmers were guaranteed a substantial market for their commodities. Except for an austere cost-cutting downturn in funding in the 1980s (older ASPB members may recall when ketchup was declared to be a vegetable…), the program has grown steadily to the point at which it now gives 31 million children a daily meal.
I'm quite sure the wingnuts above would look at what's in that link and only focus on the problem with obese children now that was the initial point of discussion in the post, and use it to claim it means they don't need any help, rather than acknowledging it means all they have access to is cheap, unhealthy, fattening fast food and that something needs to be done about that as well.
Conservatives have been using race baiting and trying to pit working Americans against each other with language like what was used in the segment above and paint African Americans as lazy, welfare collecting bums who just want to mooch off of the government for decades. They don't even seem to be concerned about throwing out the dog whistles these days and are just demonizing everyone now. It's quite astounding just how much of the electorate they're willing to turn off and piss off if enough people actually had a chance to watch this garbage and the hundreds of segments just like it Fox churns out every week.
Republicans like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are basically saying the same thing Hoenig did here with their goal of destroying our social safety nets. They're just a little more subtle about it.