In this clip from Realtime with Bill Maher, a panel of guests including Bernie Sanders and author Linda Tirado are asked what America’s poor- all 45 million of them- would really need to break the cycle of poverty that keeps them down.
“It comes down to what I need, you can ask me what I want, there’s 45 million of us, there is no easy answer. The answer is to ask, “oh my god, there’s 45 million of you, how did we screw it up so bad?” responds Ms. Tirado, author of the book Hand to Mouth.
She then rips Paul Ryan’s “opportunity camp”, a misguided attempt at getting the poor more engaged in the job search for jobs that don’t exist: “It’s essentially life-coaching for poor people, which is fantastic if you’re one of the minority of poor people who need life coaching, but sweetheart, I’m busy at work!”
Sanders took issue with the Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget committee for slashing Medicaid and food stamp money for the poor, and Tirado concluded with a statement about how America needs to change their attitudes towards poverty, to understand that it is a product of capitalism and not just “laziness”: “Well if only poor people would stop doing x, y, and z, and if we can somehow socially engineer that to happen, then poverty goes away. But that’s not going to happen, somebody’s always going to have to scrub the toilets around here. How do we make those people’s lives tolerable?”
Bernie’s answer: “You have a minimum wage that’s a living wage.”
The problem of poverty in America will only get worse if the Republican Party are allowed to have their way. The goal of the American economy should be for the majority of Americans to live comfortably, not for a tiny percentage to live like kings.
Watch it here:
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.