Personally, I hate when writers take cheap shots at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s weight, because, well, it’s cheap. There is so much more to criticize him for. But when he accuses the rest of America of being couch potatoes? Come on Christie! Think before you speak. Okay. I’ll refrain. There is plenty to address on his words alone.
In a speech to a group that is frighteningly and unironically called, the Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth, Christie said that he had “never seen a less optimistic time in my lifetime.”
“I think it’s really simple. It’s because government’s now telling them ‘stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society,” Christie explained.
“That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally because when the American people no longer believe that this a place where only their willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity and ingenuity determines their success in life then we’ll have a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check.”
You gotta love the resiliency of Republicans. They can turn on a dime from “American exceptionalism” to “Americans are fat ass freeloaders.” Bravo, Mr. Christie.
Please allow me to translate the Governor’s words. He is merely expressing his disapproval of the idea that the people he laid off from his state should be allowed to eat when it means depriving his Wall Street (which has now moved, at least in part, to Jersey City) buddies of their hookers and coke.
Alright, let’s break down this new American dream that Christie talks about. In 2011, about 44 million people, or 21 million households collected food stamps. The average was $134 per person per month or $284 per household.
The average unemployment payment is about $1200 a month, less than the average household spends on rent or mortgage alone. People who receive unemployment are also more likely to be actively searching for jobs, mostly, I’m sure, because they have to.
Despite the fact that there is almost no way that unemployment payments will pay all the bills, let alone give anyone a lavish lifestyle, it’s usually considered too much money to qualify for welfare benefits, which are paltry.
So, basically, if you are living on the taxpayer dime, you might be bringing in around $20,000 a year to support your entire household. Where do I sign up?
Currently, about 12% of the federal budget falls into a category called “welfare.” The problem with that category is that very little of that is actually welfare. Most of it is in the form of unemployment (an insurance policy that all working people pay into) and in the form of pensions for working people. In other words, you have to actually work to receive most benefits, benefits that George Bush receives and Chris Christie will receive once he’s no longer governor.
Now, let’s talk for a moment about the real couch potatoes, those who are living off of capital gains and inheritances. Call them “job creators” all you want; they create nothing but ass dents in the cushions, yet they pay a lower tax rate than either you or me.
Now, there are ways to turn us into a more productive society and for that, we will need some help from the taxpayers. First, let’s take away the impediment toward entrepreneurialism called health insurance. How many wildly creative people are stuck in mediocre jobs just so they can have health insurance? Let’s let people become business owners by freeing them up to use their ideas and ingenuity. Let’s let more people become job creators. Let’s make sure everyone has health insurance.
Secondly, let’s make getting an education easier. If someone wants to be a doctor or a scientist, why should the cost of college stop them? Their benefit to society will far outweigh the cost of tuition.
Finally, and this is a big one, Republicans, STOP OUTSOURCING OUR JOBS! It’s kind of a no-brainer. It’s hard to be optimistic about our futures if our jobs keep disappearing.