Whitman on Welfare

Meg Whitman has conducted the most imperial of campaigns for the GOP nomination for California Governor, refusing to speak to editorial boards, refusing to take questions from the audience at the few public events she has done, and plowing more and more of her money into her campaign ads that run ad nauseam on radio and TeeVee.  Her opponent, Steve Poizner, who was written off as dead in the water a few months ago, has pulled up with her in the polls. (On the back of endorsing Arizona’s SB 1070 and immigrant-bashing, but that is for another rant).

Whitman’s radio ads bashing welfare recipients are constant and continuous, even on my groovy progressive local San Francisco radio station KFOG.  So far I have been spared Whitman’s anti-immigrant ads playing in Sandy Eggo that torture Nojo.

Bashing the poor and voiceless has been a go-to strategy for politicians of both parties for generations, from Reagan to Clinton to Whitman, who to date has spent $64 million of her own money on her campaign.  While Clinton’s “End of Welfare as We Know It” in 1996 shows the equal-opportunism of campaigning by bashing the poor, the Cadillac-driving welfare queens have been the go-to boogieman in Republican primaries around the country for decades.  With the not-so-subtle coded racism and city-bashing imbedded in the attacks (nevermind that the majority of recipients of welfare assistance in this country are rural whites), it’s almost a cliché at this point.

Let’s deconstruct the ad, shall we?

In her ads attacking people on welfare, she states over and over again that we have the highest number of people on welfare in the state, and that only 22% of the state’s Cal-WORKS (our name for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) recipients “work for their benefits.”  Hold aside for now the obvious point that as the largest state in the country with one of the worse unemployment rates in the nation, it’s not surprising we have the highest number of people receiving assistance.  Her 22% statistic is a completely misleading statement when you consider that 78% of Cal-WORKS recipients are children, according to the non-partisan California Budget Project.  Adult recipients must be working or going to school in order to receive Cal-WORKS, and can be on the program for only five years over their lifetime.  Californians qualify for welfare only if they earn less than 130% of the federal poverty level, which for a family of three is roughly $18,000 annually.

The average benefit is $231 a month per recipient.  The average family receiving Cal-WORKS is a single mother with two children.  They would receive the princely sum of $693 a month, and the mother would be required to be going to school, working at least 20-30 hours a week, or demonstrate that she is looking for a job.  At least in several Bay Area counties, recipients have to bring in copies of completed job applications to their welfare worker every two weeks, or risk a cut off of all benefits.

Meanwhile, the cost of a 30 second radio ad at KFOG, which is in the Top Ten of radio stations in the Bay Area is $899. The rate for an LA station is $1,083.

So what do we have?

  • A billionaire bashing welfare families in radio ads, each ad costing more than what a family receives in welfare in a month.
  • A white billionaire using not-so-coded racist bait to primary voters, attacking people of color, who has raised a loutish son who has his own issues with minorities, and appears to be a welfare recipient of sorts.
  • A billionaire who brags about how when she’s governor the people who are on unemployment, getting food stamps or welfare will be forced to get jobs, (get to work you little kids, you 78% of Cal-WORKS recipients!) even though she oversaw a corporation that off-shored programming jobs and imported H1-B visa holders.
  • A billionaire who is a former Goldman Sachs board member, who made millions through now-outlawed “stock-spinning” through Goldman, and who promises to deliver billions of dollars in corporate welfare to businesses through additional tax breaks and concessions.
  • Since announcing her candidacy for Governor on February 10, 2009, Whitman has spent $64 million of her own money on the primary fight.  That works out to spending, as of today, $138,828.63 per day, or $5,784.53 per hour, $96.41 per minute, or $1.61 per second, on her campaign.

Meanwhile, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his revised state budget on Friday. His revised  budget completely eliminates Cal-WORKS, as well as all child care subsidies to low-income families, including for Cal-WORKS recipients who are working.   The budget also slashes funding for health care for 900,000 children whose parents don’t have insurance through their jobs but make too much to qualify for Medicaid.  More on the budget cuts here.

Democratic party leaders in the Assembly have vowed that the Guvernator’s proposal is a “non-starter,” but history has shown that there will be massive cuts to social services to the unemployed and poor.  The official talking point from the Governor on down to his minions in state agencies is that they have to completely eliminate programs because “the advocates” have sued them over past cuts and this is the only way to not have “unaccountable judges” ordering them to restore spending. To Arnie’s PR team’s credit, it’s refreshing to have the “advocates” demonized instead of their clients, the recipients of assistance.

It’s going to be a long god-damn summer in California.  Pour me another martini, darlings.

40 comments:

11:57 am • Monday • May 17, 2010

You’d be a great columnist if there were any newspapers left.

12:09 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Hippy elitist martini-drinker.

12:14 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Damn Lefty, you make my brain hurt. Good stuff.

@redmanlaw: Careful, she may run off with Mommy 1.0 and leave us stewing in our death metal/bewbies/car pron backwash.

12:31 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Nabisco: I’m not quitting my day job.

12:47 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Yes! This!

1:16 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

you want to know, IMHO, what is wrong?
campaign financing. we’ve heard a squeak or two, but we’re so far up shits creek, it’s been all but forgotten as an important issue.
cap on spending. regulation of donations.
that will change everything for everyone with the power to do it.
so of course it won’t happen. and we remain serfs.
lefty, your beautiful state is frightening me, having nothing to do with the san andreas fault. we’ll get you out as soon as they run out of water.
“it’s too late, jake”

1:48 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Pozner hit her hard on “insider trading with Goldman-Sachs” this morning in an ad. I wish brown wasn’t all up in that Kool-aide.

1:49 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I thought it was just Moonbeam’s sister that was involved with Goldman.

1:55 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

This would seem to be to be a pretty potent reason not to want Kagan on the Supreme Court. It seems to me to be a lack of judgement on a par with Janet Reno’s credulous belief in ‘recovered memory’ and fantasy – in contradistinction to genuine – child abuse and satanic ritual abuse (still with us in some accusations against Catholic priests. How many would seem to me to be an important and entirely neglected story) which so unhinged her in her dealings with Waco.

Unless of course there is stuff left out.

1:56 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

There was a financing deal between Oakland and GS that went sour for the city as well as the connection through the sister. Not much to speak of in terms of actual malfeasance, but Meg (Carly?) will make out that he was accepting wire transfers with one hand while doing blow off the backside of a hooker with the other in the Goldman-Sachs board room. Such is modern politics.

1:57 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I wish brown wasn’t all up in that Kool-aide. Explique-toi, mon brave. Alors. And such as.

2:01 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Benedick:

See above, ma chou.

2:03 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Nabisco: Re-release of “Exile on Main Street” tomorrow, May 18. I’m sure it’ll be available through the kickback box.

“Soul Survivor” and “All Down the Line” come to mind as favorites, and “Happy”, of course. Shit, they’re all good.

Coming up on the Jim Rome Sport talk radio show: Tiger Woods’ swing coach.

2:17 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I have decided to live above the fray. These people no longer interest me. I was happier when I didn’t know their names. I will do what I do when a play is over: press my internal delete and all the lines which took so many hours to learn are gone. I will spend my days in early morning hikes with the pack and frolicking in the garden. I will do my own work and plant my garden and let us…

(sings) (tenor!!)

… try before we die,
To make some sense of life.
We’re neither good, nor wise nor pure,
We’ll do the best we know.

We’ll raise our barn,
And chop our wood,
And make our garden…

(all together now!)

GROW!

Wait. What?

Oh, and also, all you slugabeds of a Sunday when the rest of us are at our keyboards, working, working, I’m reposting something that will make your heart go Bing! as you realize what Sport could be if it wasn’t such a waste of time.

2:41 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Has Meg picked a campaign song yet? If not, well

I’m gonna use every trick in the book, I’ll try my best to get you hooked…

3:04 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

RE: loutish sons. Thanks SFL, but I’m really not sure I’m glad to know that Meg has spawned, and not just once. As if the picture of her smootching with Grumpy McGramps wasn’t bad enough! We’re talking severe trauma and the potential of permanent soft-on here.

Did Meg have anything to do with the insane scheme whereby the taxpayers lent money to Goldman Sachs at no or very low interest, just so they could turn around and loan it back to us at a higher interest? Nice welfare work if you can get it!

9:06 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@redmanlaw: “Rocks Off” is one of the greatest album-openers evah.

Question 1: If I already have the vinyl, is it okay to get the digital download?

Question 2: If I am a confirmed Lennon/McCartney guy on the Stones vs. Beatles continuum, is it okay to buy this before acquiring the entire remastered Beatles catalog?

9:18 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Attorney General Moonbeam goes after the out-of-control spending of Whitman and Poizner. And he uses big words in a speech, too! Liberal commie elitist!

“The apostles of darkness and ignorance are well-heeled and they have great political consultants.”

“They are so banal,” and their expensive barrage of mudslinging is “intellectually embarrassing” to California voters.

[snip]

Whitman has put $64 million of her own money into her campaign to date, while Poizner has spent $21 million from his own fortune. Brown has spent less than $1 million.

9:30 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Benedick:

OMG that tango thing is so hawt.

9:34 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@SanFranLefty: I’m stealing that “apostles of darkness and ignorance” line from him.

9:40 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Nabisco: The answer is Yes to all of the above, follow what music gives you joy today. For me, the Stone’s greatest music was during that time in the late 70s, early 80s, when they adopted the NYC rock sound. New York City rock bands, they have a tone and attitude found nowhere else. In Some Girls, the Stones hit it, something of Velvet Underground, Lou Reed personifies NYC rock and roll, its subtle, sorta, but different. Patti Smith, Blondie, The Ramones, and nowadays, there is this “garage” movement coming out of New York, the Chesterfield Kings, how do you not love a band called The Chesterfield Kings?

9:45 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

Just to be clear here, my beloved Stinquers, I often post in a tone I think of as “magisterial,” the tone of a papal encyclical, the tone of one pronouncing truth with no room for cavil. I post my random momentary opinions, most of which just struck me that moment, and which I will completely forget tomorrow, in a tone, that is pompous, self-centered, and overbearing. My stinque friends, its been 3 years or more, we have been together, I so hope, its understood, that this is ironic? I really don’t think my opinions are the last word, ever, not ever.

9:49 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Promnight: Gabba gabba, we accept you – one of us.

ADD: @Promnight: Just to be clear my fellow Stinquers, I often comment in a tone that comes across as alternately sophomoric and world-weary, obsessed with both bewbies and my babies, and frequently snobbish in my approach to Music [ADD2] and Sport. Sadly, it is not an act.

9:57 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Promnight:

Darling! We will never mistake you, not ever, not once.

I promise.

ADD: I am oft-times vicious, can be a terrible pedant and bore, and am frequently wrong to boot. Also too the Asian boy thing gets to be too much and a little creepy at times. AND I OVERUSE CONJUNCTIONS!

Fuck it, I am what I am.

10:03 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Nabisco: That movie scared the SHIT out of me when I was young. @Promnight: At least you get to be the normal one in Beesko’s version of Freaks.

10:10 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Oh yes, I also jump to show off when I know something, I rarely do know anything, and I am obnoxious when I do know something, I apologize, for all past and future instances of this. I have told my wife, Tommcat, that you are one of the ones who always gets me, never takes offense. I have a knack for giving offense, without meaning to, I am sure that the reason my son has aspergers, is because I do, too. But I am not one of those aspergers types who is proud of it, I do so try, to understand people like a normal person does, but I have a blindness, a social blindness, I cannot tell you how often in my life I have been getting along with someone swimmingly, and suddenly I say something horrid, hurtful, and I have no idea, you have seen me do it here. Somehow I cross a line I cannot see. But I am not one to hide behind a label, I am not making excuses, everyone is a little bit of every syndrome thats ever been named, you cannot revel in being obnoxious, being likeable is a skill, you have to try. I do try. All my life I have been lonely, because I have no idea how to act with most people, only rare and very patient and forgiving people can see beyond my faux pas, you seem to be one, I am glad for that.

10:18 pm • Monday • May 17, 2010

@Nabisco: I revel in being sophomoric. I am world-weary. Like the cat in the confuse-a-cat sketch, I suffer from weltschmerz, fin de siecle ennui. I need random silliness, all the time, to stay sane.

8:40 am • Tuesday • May 18, 2010

@Benedick: Yes, yes, yes to glorious Tango!

8:49 am • Tuesday • May 18, 2010

@Benedick: I’m sure you must know the story about the young Piazzolla in Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. After hearing his tango music, she advised him to go back home to Argentina and keep right on doing what he was already doing.

9:39 am • Tuesday • May 18, 2010

@Promnight: fin de siecle ennui has a certain je ne sais what about it, n’est-ce pas?

12:15 pm • Tuesday • May 18, 2010

@lynnlightfoot: I haven’t heard that story about Piazzzolla (is it me or does that not sound like something you eat?) but there is an almost identical story about Gershwin and Ravel (could it possibly be?). Isn’t that tango something?

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Ain’t the tango grand. It’s from Tango dir by Carlos Saura. I netflixed it. I loved his flamenco Carmen. I posted it on Sunday but you were off somewhere having a life or something.

12:18 pm • Tuesday • May 18, 2010

@Nabisco: It is my legal opinion that you should get Exile and Sticky Fingers today and rock out on the veranda.

12:19 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@Benedick: After I posted that comment this morning about Piazzolla and Boulanger, I looked up both P and B on Wikipedia. There is a fairly long quote from Piazzolla about his encounter with B.

It’s past my bedtime now, but tomorrow I’ll rootle around to see if I can find the Gershwin and Ravel parallel story.

12:58 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@Benedick and lynnlightfoot: Mmm, Piazzolla. I’m suddenly jonesing for a thin-crust Napolean pie with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and oregano on top.

Anchovies extra for night-time crazy-ass dreams. Who needs mushrooms when you have anchovies?

1:16 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@SanFranLefty: Just had elk red chili over tortilla chips for my late night dinner.

1:20 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@Promnight: I often post in a tone I think of as “magisterial,” the tone of a papal encyclical, the tone of one pronouncing truth with no room for cavil.

We prefer the Majestic Plural, also known as the Royal Pronoun, because we think it’s fucking cool in print.

6:38 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@nojo: The royal we.

9:42 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@lynnlightfoot:
“rootle around” i like that…thank you!

speaking of words…lefty has once again beat me and dodge.
i know you all care so much. that is my last announcement til someone else wins.

10:34 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@Benedick: I posted “The Royal We” by Silversun Pickups the other day but got no reaction to it.

10:52 am • Wednesday • May 19, 2010

@redmanlaw: I don’t know what that is.

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