The remark by GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz this morning to the effect that poor people may have to choose between a new iPhone or life-saving healthcare (which is like comparing apples to Mercedes) should not be viewed as an aberration with the GOP. For Republicans, it’s the norm. Hating poor people is kind of their thing, and it’s been going on for a very long time. “Limited government” is an ideology motivated by one primary factor: To prevent poor people from mooching off rich people.
That is essentially what this entire healthcare debate is about right now: The Democrats want to use the power of the government to spread the wealth of the top one percent to ensure that the bottom 50 percent are cared for. Republicans argue that healthcare decisions should be left to individuals (unless those individuals are women making decision about their bodies), which is another way to say “Fuck the poor. We will give them more healthcare choices, but less money with which to make those choices.”
The entire debate — and Chaffetz’s statement this morning — recalls a 2011 The Daily Show segment that is as relevant today as it was then. It’s one of my favorite segments from The Daily Show history, and one I still think about whenever a Republican suggests that poor people are doing fine. In fact, a few of the same people involved in the healthcare debate today appear in the segment, and while the issue was different at the time (the GOP was arguing that Democrats were waging a war on the rich), the theme is the exact same.
If you haven’t seen this, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again and pay particular attention to how upset Republicans were that we were apparently spending $6 million on First Lady Michelle Obama (meanwhile, we’re spending $182 million a year on Melania Trump’s security detail).