From the FOX debate in South Carolina on Monday:
[FOX NEWS REPORTER JUAN] WILLIAMS: Senator Santorum, the Obama administration has not specifically addressed high levels of joblessness and a 25 percent poverty rate in black America. They say they want to fix the economy for all, but given the crisis situation among a group of historically disadvantaged Americans, do you feel the time has come to take special steps to deal with the extraordinary level of poverty afflicting one race of America?
SANTORUM: It’s very interesting, if you look at a study that was done by the Brookings Institute back in 2009, they determined that if Americans do three things, they can avoid poverty. Three things. Work, graduate from high school, and get married before you have children. Those three things…
SANTORUM: Those three things, if you do, according to Brookings, results in only 2 percent of people who do all those things ending up in poverty, and 77 percent above the national average in income....
This was followed only a couple of minutes later by Newt Gingrich's now-famous standing-ovation moment in response to Williams asking Gingrich if he was somehow "belittling" minority teenagers by suggesting that they work at any menial job. (Gingrich points out that his own -- white -- daughter worked as a janitor when she was 13 to earn money.)
Santorum was right, and Gingrich was right. Hate to say it. I hate both men's ignorant views on gay rights (and I dislike Gingrich back from the '90s when I was a huge Clinton fan), but their views on why some people are poor are right on target. It's not racist, it's just a fact that blacks, for instance, have a higher rate of unwed mothers, have a lower rate of high school graduation, and have a higher rate of unemployment than either whites, Hispanics, or Asians --- regardless of the current economic conditions of the country as a whole. As Santorum pointed out with his stats from the Brookings Institute, if you drop out of school, get pregnant while a teen, and don't work... you're most likely going to be poor. Duh.
Juan Williams asked Santorum if "the time has come to take special steps" to deal with the "extraordinary" level of black poverty... Not sure what he meant by "the time has come"! How long have we had "Affirmative Action" in the US now? Maybe the "time has come" for people to understand the cause/effect relationship of their actions: get pregnant while a teen, drop out of school, don't work... poverty. Why should the government be even ASKED to take "special steps" to help with a continuing problem that's based a good deal on personal behavior?
As for Gingrich's speech a minute or so later: We lower-middle-class whites started out working minimum wage jobs without complaint. I personally wasn't a janitor, but I earned the same minimum wage working numbingly boring jobs at a local drugstore and then the local K-Mart as soon as I turned 16, up 'til I graduated high school. Once in college, I worked a minimum-wage job at the school library to help pay for school. As Gingrich points out in response to Williams' suggestion that Gingrich was somehow "belittling" minorities by suggesting they -- gasp -- WORK: What's so insulting about suggesting that kids learn responsibility from working?
And then on to Gingrich on Thursday's SC debate... Again, I'm not a Gingrich fan, have never been; I was around when he, as it turned out, hypocritically went after Clinton in the '90s for fooling around. I saw him, rightly, voted out of power by his own party members. But... In the below he has a very good point: CNN's John King opening a presidential debate with a question about an ex-wife's allegations from 14 years ago is COMPLETELY ridiculous.
In both of the Gingrich clips, I admire his balls for calling people on their BS. It's a huge dilemma for me. I can't vote for Obama in 2012 simply because he's done a terrible job. Bush was bad and inept (I have never voted for Bush); Obama has continued the trend of bad and inept. Except Obama is more well-spoken, and, kind of, tows the accepted social line ("kind of" but not actually for gay marriage, for example) so he gets points... but why? His money-men are exactly the same money-men who back the Republicans. (Only, the Republicans admit it, while Obama does not. Obama is especially creepy because he pretends to be "purer" than the Republicans, who just outright admit their corporate loyalties! With Bush and the Republicans, you at least knew/know exactly what you're getting!) I can't in good conscience vote for someone who's allowed the country to deteriorate EVEN FURTHER than Bush did.
But who's the alternative? Romney, I think, would make a very good manager of the economy. And that is, actually, what we need... Kind of. But it's beyond a "good manager" problem right now. Things really have gone off the rails. Outsourcing is a serious problem for American workers, and Romney did just that with Bain. (As Obama has also allowed.) I'm all for "cleaning up" and "tightening up," but...no one is mentioning that Americans are losing jobs because we're allowing corporations to outsource jobs to foreign workers who earn $2 an hour!
Romney/Obama/Gingrich are all pro-corporation. Ron Paul, whom I like the best because of his intellectual honesty, is pro "let capitalism be capitalism" and is against "big capitalism" --- But, even with him... If we "let capitalism be capitalism," then we'll likely all (unless we're shareholders of a corporation) be making $1.00 an hour unless the government somehow checks their innate greed! (Seriously... When have workers EVER received a slightly-more-than-living wage under a capitalist system? One is post-WWII in the US and in Europe. The only other that I can think of is after the PLAGUE in the Middle Ages, when so many people died and the worker shortage was so acute that the plebes finally had a little leverage!)