Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not Essential, But Real

Think Progress, the website of the Center for American Progress, reports

During a town hall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa Friday afternoon, Rick Santorum argued that Americans receive too many government benefits and ought to “suffer” in the Christian tradition. If “you’re lower income, you can qualify for Medicaid, you can qualify for food stamps, you can qualify for housing assistance,” Santorum complained, before adding, “suffering is part of life and it’s not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life.”

CAP notes that many states, even since June, have cut benefits or increased eligibility requirements, or have added provider taxes or provider rate restrictions. Taking a broader view (as represented pictorially by Business Insider), the Senator ought to know that we now have the lowest percentage of citizens with the jobs since the 1980s while corporate profits are at their highest point in the past 64 years, save for a moment in 1987 before the recession hit (charts, from the St. Louis Fed, below).

In constant dollars, since 1990 (chart, whose image is from G. William Domhoff, UC, Santa Cruz, below), the pay of chief economic officers has risen 298.2%, corporate profits have gone up 106.7%, production workers' pay has risen 4.3%, and the federal minimum wage has declined 4.3%.

From 1972 to 2008, average hourly earnings in real terms declined 7.67% (chart,from Bureau of Labor Statistics, below).

According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Santorum made at least $974,000 ($293,153 as a commentator for GOP TV) last year, and Digby observes

Now I know that poor Rick is hanging on the ragged edge of the 1%, but I'm still going to call anyone who earns almost a millions dollars in one year (on Wingnut welfare no less) a very, very lucky fellow who really shouldn't be telling people who qualify for food stamps that suffering is part of life.

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