New Economic Perspectives has the article Ecuador and the Media’s Selective “Victim” Memes by William K. Black.
The third media meme was that Correa is a terrible person and we should view the enormous support he has among the people of Ecuador as further evidence of how terrible he is. The smear article stated: “Correa’s generous social welfare programs have won him 70 percent approval ratings among Ecuadoreans.…”
Romney made precisely the same charge. He claimed that 47% of Americans were indolent and supported Obama because he had bribed them with “generous social welfare programs.” To use Romney’s exact words:
“[T]here are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
In Plessy v Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which upheld racial segregation under the rationale of “separate but equal,” the Supreme Court upheld Louisiana’s law segregating rail cars against the claim that the law violated the equal protection clause. The two sentences from Justice Brown’s opinion for the Court that have haunted Supreme Court Justices of conscience for over a century read:
“We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.”
Richard Kluger quotes this passage from Plessy in Simple Justice (1976) and then comments:
“Of all the words ever written in assessment of the Plessy opinion, none have been more withering than those … [of] Yale law professor Charles L. Black, Jr., who [said that in] … the two sentences… ‘The curves of callousness and stupidity intersect at their respective maxima.’”
Associated Press writer Gonzalo Solano crafted the sentence about the people of Ecuador in which the curves of callousness, stupidity, and dishonesty “intersect at their respective maxima.” He doubtless had an AP editor. Journalism students need to read truly terrible acts of “journalism” that cause them to cringe and be determined to never “pull a Solano.”
Of course we know why the Republicans think the poor ought to be altruistic to the point of voting for politicians who harm them the most. How else would they get a vote from anyone who is poor? On the other hand, they see no need for wealthy people to vote for anything but their own self-interest.
Now, why would I think poor people should vote for their own best interests and wealthy people might want to vote for social justice even if it seems to be against their own economic self-interest? The poor have little room in their standard of living to give up some of their self-interests to benefit the people who have much more than enough. Now compare what room there is in a wealthy person’s budget to give up some of their self-interests to benefit people who really need it.
It just seems so doubly mean for the wealthy to upset the balance to tilt it unfairly for their own benefit and take what rightfully ought to go to the non-wealthy. This meanness seems to be in their policies before we even get to the point of discussing tilting the balance to actually favor the poor.