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A View from the Altar / Conspiracy against the poor
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Conspiracy against the poor

Bro. Steve has scored his first media scoop, uncovering a series of secret memos from a cabal of conspirators whose aim is the destruction of America’s poor people.  Today I expose the first of these memoranda to public scrutiny.

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January 20, 2009

Dear Fellow Oppressors:

As you know, our campaign of subversion and destruction upon the poor features two principles which must remain uppermost in the mind of the policy wonk at all times.  First, the cruelest vengeance upon the poor is to keep them poor so that they have no hope of a brighter future, for nothing sharpens misery quite so much as despair.  Therefore the poor must be convinced that every avenue for advancement is scotched.  Second, our strategy depends upon a tactical deception which causes the poor to hate their true benefactors and embrace us, their secret oppressors.

The first rule for the ruin of the poor is based on the obvious fact that work is our enemy.  Work eventually cures poverty by causing people to be paid, teaching them responsibility, a certain level of civic morality, respect for authority, and worst of all, to delay gratification of their desires until after they’ve done their duty.  Honest work done by a free man improves the man himself and thus fits him for improved stations in life.  This won’t do, and so every effort must be made to to keep the poor not working.  That is our aim, and it cannot be compromised at all.

We start by subtly persuading the poor to despise work.  Fortunately, this isn’t too hard since human nature tends to dislike exertion anyway.  Tactical deception can be preserved by suggesting that employers who expect them to toil and strive are just being mean.  We can flatter their egos by saying that some jobs are to low for them, too menial.  They must never be allowed to view menial jobs as the front door of opportunity, so these must be daily denounced as dead end jobs.  Pick whatever sound bites or slogans work in your community as long as the end result is that any poor man with a job feels put upon, degraded, humiliated, offended.

In case this doesn’t keep the poor from shunning work entirely, a variety of methods exist for discouraging employers from getting involved with them.  We therefore propose that entry level employment be legally priced beyond its true value.  If a job sweeping the floor is honestly worth three bucks an hour, we must tell the poor that they cannot accept such an insulting situation!  This is unfair!  This is evil!  This is exploitation!

Envy is a great ally here, and we can call attention to the skilled worker making $30 per hour and point out that the sweeper works just as “hard” and thus deserves as much.  The poor, easily duped by their own jealous feelings, quickly learn to vote for our candidates who promise to order employers to pay everyone a “living wage.”  This has been done successfully in many countries, and just to show how stupid our victims are, they never suspect a “living wage” law means they’ll get no wage at all, nor would they complain about it if they did since, as explained before, they’ll already loathe work anyhow.

If some employers exist who still insist on hiring these miserable wretches, we propose further measures to make it too expensive to do so.  Just as very few people can pay $10 for a quart of milk, very few employers can pay $10 for an hour of unskilled labor.   So we jack up the price of an entry level worker by compelling the boss to pay part of the worker’s tax bill.  The worker thinks he’s getting a freebie, and when he gets laid off, guess who he blames!  Or we can order the employer to pay the worker’s doctor bills or unemployment insurance, or we can write multitudes of rules under the guise of safety and health, or we can penalize bosses who give their workers more than some arbitrary number of working hours.  We can declare certain jobs off-limits for people of a certain age, or we can require employers to hire people of a certain color even if no such people are available.  We can prevent employers from firing the ones who refuse to do their jobs, sue them for “discrimination,” make them pay for a lot of record-keeping and pay again when we send our agents to audit the records… the list is endless. All these measure drive up the cost of hiring poor people, keeping them out of work while making it appear that employers are responsible for their hopelessness.

These few suggestions are enough to convey the idea: To keep the poor poor, they must come to believe that work is degrading; employers are the enemy, and that they’re entitled to more than they’ve earned.   Laws must punish employers who hire them anyway.  If this is done properly, the poor will come crawling to us like the worms they are, cursing their benefactors while scrambling aboard the ACORN bus, and we shall enjoy kicking their sorry rear ends to Shanghai.

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