The Conservative In Me: I Love Obama But Not His Love For “The Poor”

October 17, 2012  |  


There’s no question that I’m voting for Obama come November 6th. That’s my boo. I trust him, and I trust his character. After all, it’s his team and party that’ll be doing the job of running the country so I need to know the President has the right spirit and moral attitude when it comes to leading. But although I’m a Obama supporter, I can’t say that I don’t cringe every time I hear his party’s politics on social welfare and protecting the poor. I’m a conservative in many ways. I’m reminded of that everytime I hear Democrats empathizing on behalf of the poor. When I say poor, I’m not talking about those rendered unemployed by the current economic crisis – I’m talking about those who have taken advantage of welfare programs and free social services for the long term.

Sorry, I’m going to offend a lot of people when I say that I believe we actually should have less social services catering to the perpetually “poor.” I grew up around many people who abused the system and can sympathize with the Republican objectives of reducing social welfare services. I believe that people need incentives to work and be productive. I’ve witnessed members in my extended family basically profit from low income housing by getting paid under the table and continuing to tell Uncle Sam that they bring in too little income to provide for their families.

One of my cousins, who is a single mother, doesn’t believe it’s worth her getting off of welfare because she’s so much better off with the free access to healthcare and daycare services for her toddler that are afforded to her. If she got a job paying over $40,000 per year, she’d be easily worse off.  Come to think of it, if I were to have a child on my own today, I’d probably be worse off or on equal footing with my cousin. The only difference would be that she would have free time and free money to pursue advanced education while I continued to trudge to work every day.

I understand that there is a lot of grey areas when it comes to economics in this country but what I do feel strongly about is that the rich aren’t evil. Although Obama and his team members represent the upper class, they continue to demonize the wealthy in this country and paint the middle and low-income folks as innocent bystanders. That kind of rhetoric doesn’t resonate with me. I’m middle class but I’m not helpless. I understand how my decisions have shaped my economic standing. I would appreciate the U.S. government having my back if I were to get laid off and lose health insurance, but I certainly don’t expect Uncle Sam to compensate for my cousin’s lack of ambition and work ethic. Obviously, my ideal party would meld the principles espoused by both parties but til then…

What do you guys think about how the two parties paint the rich and the poor?

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  • Me

    Yet despite all the sweet deals the wealthy get, the top 1% still end up paying about 40% of the country’s federal income tax.

    • Candacey Doris

      Citation? Also, if the top 1% has more than half of the cash, how is that not fair? Not to mention that taxes are still way lower than they were 60years ago, no matter how some scream over possible tax raises.

  • Nat

    No historical or sociological perspective. Just resentment for some people you deal with in your little world. More than a tad small.

  • the problem i think the author is not taking into account is the 3 largest groups who actually need welfare..children, elderly and handicapped. These people arent taking advantage of the system. obviously children and the vast majority of the handicapped (not including those who can actually work and provide for self) need these services. Take those services away and they will be greatly impacted in a negative way. its one of these situations where unless you go door to door for everyone getting these services to see if they actually need them you have to just shrug your shoulders and let it be.

  • I get both sides. Just like there are people taking advantage of the welfare system there are also wealthy people who are selfish and walk all over the less fortunate. There is bad and good on both sides and both need to be acknowledged. It’s like the crabs in a bucket story, we live in a society where it’s I’m gonna get mine and keep mine even if I have to screw somebody over to do it. I do believe that we all should help each other. Those that truly need the help shouldn’t take advantage of the help that is available to them, and the wealthy need to appreciate the “little” people that work for them and have helped them to grow their businesses.

  • KlassyRN

    I understand you were attempting to make a point.. but I failed to see it…. *wipes glasses* read again…. no same thing…I fail to see your point when the “rich” can use loophole to pay less taxes than I… and thats after putting not one but two children through college.. and although people view me as middle… never that.. Im 47% with the rest as I trudge to work daily.. while enjoying the time I spend with my grands on the weekend….as I watch taxes strangle the life out their existence… and sit here pondering should I obtain another Masters more readily suited to my field of expertise so that I can continue to support them in any manner necessary and up my portfolio in the process seeing that at retirement I may be on my own.. bc I refuse to be a victim to the system or my children but watch thousands of dollars escape my salary every month…
    I’ve had enough of the crabs in the barrel and the ones who get out and now wants everyone to find their own way.. Im so done.. better yet why not just scratch Romney and President Obama off the ticket and vote for big bird….

  • Nikki

    If I have to pee in a cup to get a job, then so should those who receive government assistance. I get that many people who use government assistance programs need them, and be worse off without them; but life is about challenges, struggles, and sacrifices.

  • clove8canela

    I do agree with your point on reforming social services. Too many people are taking advantage of the current system we have in place. Welfare, as I see it, should not be used as a source of income but rather temporary assistance, a means to what will hopefully be a self-sufficient end. I am a card carrying Democrat, but to really take it to the next level, I think welfare recipients should be required to take birth control, so that I as the taxpayer do not have to support babies 4, 5 and 6.

    I feel this way about public housing as well. This should be a temporary housing arrangement –not lifetime housing- until said party is able to get back on their feet. Although it can be said that there’s not enough incentive being provided with these services to help those in need become financially independent, I also think that it should be reformed in such a way that those on it, would want to get off it as soon as possible.

    Everyone may need a hand up at some point in time, but reform needs to be implemented for those who feel entitled to sit on their bums and have/make babies while I work everyday and pay taxes to keep them in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to.

  • Angel

    People who think just like this author are a reminder of why we had the president before the one we now have. Why not take your issues up with your lazy relatives, instead of ranting about them here? (Or mind your own business works too) Everyone who is receiving or has received public assistance are not your relatives.

  • Monica

    This author is funny to me. Surely she didn’t base an entire argument off her relatives actions when her relatives represent less than 1% of the population as a whole! I know plenty of people hustling TANF like a back alley crap game but I don’t automatically assume that everyone on TANF is full of it. There are plenty of people who were laid off from companies like ones Romney shut down who are now part of the welfare lines and they never had any intentions of being there. All it takes is for a set of bad circumstances for any one of us to be “poor”. I go to work everyday and have been since I was 15 paying right into FICA. If I become unemployed I like others would expect a return on our “investment” in FICA. It’s easy to throw stones when you’re throwing them blindfolded, but its better to take the blindfold off and aim at the ones who are guilty or don’t throw at all.

    • mac

      ^beautiful *slow clap*

    • Angel

      I agree. Many people complain about others who are on welfare, when welfare is a drop in the bucket compared to other debts of this country. It’s not the “poor” people who are putting this country in debt. Most of the rich are tapping out every source they can to keep what they have and acquire more in the process.

      • Oops

        Not so sure about that drop in the bucket theory. It was just reported that state and federal welfare expenditures topped $1 trillion in 2011.

  • rene12

    What about the children of these “lazy” poor adults? The fact is that most people are not like your cousin and really do need the help. You are generalizing a whole class of people off of your cousin and a couple people in your neighborhood….which is sad.

  • Mystic 77

    Have no problem with this article but I find it very interesting that you have a problem with low income people who live off of the system and the very few who do live off of pennies that the government throws away, but when the rich live off of the system through banks and corporations with the help of the politicians and the government, no one has a problem with that. In 2008 330 million dollars of tax payers money went into the welfare system….700 billion dollars of tax payers money went to bail out the banks, to pay salaries and bonuses to people who already had millions and even billions of dollars. So maybe your vision on who’s really abusing the system is unclear at best

  • get real

    Oh and btw, black people are the most “conservative” people on the planet. Were just socially extremely liberal because we don’t discriminate against other people (excluding you religious zealots). Don’t let your lazy cousin or the thousands of women who are having kids and doing nothing confuse you. Black people are the biggest believers in “if you don’t work then you don’t eat” “you better go out there and get it because ain’t nobody gonna give you ish” etc. Right or wrong? Even two bit street hustlers live by the creed. Foodstamps and welfare are most definetely needed but should be made a way of life. And giving financial breaks to millions and bilionaires is the reason the economy tanked in the first place. Thank you George “Dubya” Bush.

    • Adrina

      Thank you…I never understood why ppl label black ppl as lazy..we’ve always worked hard. Yes there are some blk ppl on welfare, but white ppl are the laziest of them all bc they get someone else to do their work then take the credit especially the rich.

  • tigerjmf

    Truly that’s a moot point when you realize MOST people that are now on ADC is because of lost wages ,not as a career ..of course their are ppl that take advantage ..just like their stores where the workers do we shut the stores down…Romney steals and take advantage of the labor forces across america by putting them out of jobs…but you still have ppl voting to put him in charge of this country… would you rather see ppl living on the streets and children going without..just so that no one can steal…Men /women take advantage and use each other…. do we stop engaging them because of it…every situation in life has it’s pro’s and cons…does it mean we stop trying to make it better..IJS…think about it…people steal from their own work place …does that mean they should shut the whole Co. down …or reform the rules and disciplinary actions to discourage the thieves…the working class pay into the system to have a safety net..God forbid they may need it..but “sh i t” happens …it’s there for many reasons…IJS, so many young women with children started out in the system that have now become, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and yes even part of the elite 1%…everyone that starts there does not stay there…great article but weak core! I DON’T THINK WE DEMONIZE THE RICH…nor do we sympathize with them…but I do think if you make 30million you should pay the real time tax on that 30mil…thats all anyone wants, is fair and equal accounts…as for her cousin..that’s her personal story..everyone on ADC is not her cuz…they’re millions of success stories of how people have climbed from poverty to the middle up and out!
    4 minutes ago · Like

  • get real

    “I do feel strongly about is that the rich aren’t evil. Although Obama and his team members represent the upper class, they continue to demonize the wealthy in this country”
    Have you ben hanging around that Mia Love dummy or listening to idiots like Sean Hannity? If you don’t that a rich person should pay more taxes their his secretary then you need your head examined. And that is all Obama and Democrats are saying. When Republicans give millionaires and billionaires tax breaks how do you think they tax for it? Yes the poor working and middle class. If that’s not a problem to you then you need to doctors examining that brain at once. OMG. Some of things that uninformed people say.

    • Machelle Kwan

      The rich are evil. But judgement cometh SOON.

      • Lol

        I love how there are all these sentiments not to judge the poor, but everyone is more than happy to judge the rich.

  • me-c

    Ok, this article is a good blog and all but….These welfare benefits are distributed by the states not the federal government. That’s why when you go to different places you see a different structure in the system. I for one, at one point was told that I did not qualify for medicaid when I had no job. I had diabetes and two kids…but no job. Oh, and my now husband at the time works and makes decent money and he qualified when he didn’t even apply. So no matter what any presidents says about “social welfare” the states are who in the end make the rules about who gets these benefits. I wish people would wake up and stop giving the federal govt so much power ; stop cutting these governors and locals so much slack.

  • People with able workim bodies should have 2 get jobs or loose help & as their situation gets better kinda wien them off !

  • wow

    Did you know that corporations like Wally World (who don’t pay their employees living wages and they have to rely on the govt for food stamps and health care) and the big banks are the largest benefactor of your hard earned tax dollars? Your mooching a$$ cousin and her ilk are not the reason this economy has gone to crap. Are you as mad with the bank execs who ran the economy in the ground, asked the government to bail our their banks, and they are still collecting their multi million dollar salaries and benefits packages? It’s easy to scapegoat that which you can easily identify with and try hard to avoid becoming, like poor and on welfare but somehow being filthy rich and still suckling on the government’s ta-ta’s doesn’t cause us that much heart burn b/c most of us especially black folks will hardly be in that position but the food stamp line could be right around the corner should we miss a paycheck or two. What is middle class? It’s very subjective and has very little to do with how much you make. Ask Terrell Owens and a host of other over-extended (read: broke) multi-million $ earning atheletes.. A lot of black folks confuse being hood rich with being middle class. Just b/c you’re doing well with a steady income stream does’t automatically make you middle class, especially if your back up plan to losing that income isn’t to first tap into your savings safety net but is instead to now become one of those people you currently turn your nose up at. There are alot of people in the position of having to rely on govt’ assistance who never thought they would, so don’t begrudge or judge be thankful.

  • Ok,so what about people thats on disability that cant work full time bcause of health issues social security doesnt give enough to take care of everythng so yes most have 2 turn turn 2 food stamps & public assistance! A lot would like to go out & work A part time job to fill in the gap but then guess what its said they make to much & then they can loose there disability& a lot have families to take care of then they end up completely depended on welfare system or homeless or n shelters or not being able to eat everyday bcause they had health issues that stopped them 4rm workin! So not everything is black & white sometimes there really n A grey area thats not sayin there arent people who really do take advantage & I thnk there should be guildlines

  • BlackRiceInstrumentals

    I can agree with this but at the same time welfare is what some people were brought up on and they dont know anything else. Of course we can be quick to say if everyone tried there hardest to get work they would be working. Some people lose the will, some women have to many kids, so me wouldn’t fit in a working enviorment, it sounds crazy but not everyone is fit for working a 9 to 5 like some people aren’t fit for college, you can call it lazy or whatever but at the end of the day it’s up to welfare to decided who stays on and who goes and we just have to trust there judgement even though these folk are living off the working man or womans dollar. People gotta eat somehow. I rather see people eating somehow than not getting anything at all cause when people are hungry or deprived of something like medical insurance or a place to live they go out and do crazy things which would give major states and city a significant rise in the crime rate. Last thing we need in the united states is people doing things as a last resort.

  • kb

    not sure Obama is demonizing the wealthy maybe watching Faux News, a little too much. Yes many people abuse the system , but others see it as a helping hand. Im probably in the minority but I actually feel sorry for people who think welfare , government assistance is the best they can do.

  • The writer of this OP-ED needs to consider herself blessed. I cosign with a lot of her sentiments as a working class woman but I wonder if she feels the same way about corporations who abuse the system with their tax kickbacks they get. I’m just saying.

  • I have a different point of view in that as Christian, and I do believe that President Obama is a Christian, he has a mandate to care for those who need help. In the bible it states pretty bluntly that the call to mission is not to ignore the poor or those whom are disenfranchised. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:18. I believe that President Obama is for everyone but not at the cost of ignoring certain Americans. He is for education, and free enterprise, and for having a thriving middle class but he is also for pulling those that are poor out of poverty and giving them opportunity to enter the middle class. I am a professional and have a small business, but I am not so selfish to believe that I have gotten where I am without help. I truly believe the cliche’ “no man is an island” and have experienced “it takes a village”. It is important to achieve and accomplish as much as you can but don’t forget that there are others that may have dreams of the same and in need of a little help to get started.

    • For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10. I mean you can only do so much for those who “choose” to remain in that state of mediocrity. Yes, I believe as a Christian that we are suppose to help those less fortunate but at the same time when does it end and faith without works is dead. We are also told to preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 2 Tim 4:2. We have to assist those who are willing to get better with a patient heart, but are also to reprove those who are not willing to make their lives better with a patient heart. Yes, there are poor individuals who have developed a “HoodRich” mentality which means they take on the attitude they aren’t as poor as the poorest person. So we have to come to the conclusion that, there are individuals who find it way easier to sit at home then to be productive.

    • Kim

      Not to mention that Jesus didn’t call people out of the 5,000 and say, “Oh, you are hungry because you are sorry and lazy so you don’t get fed.” He fed everybody regardless of fault. It is not our place to judge the poor. God’s wrath is clearly set on those who do. There are thousands of verses that support that.

      • Wait

        Jesus never asked the government to do it either.

        • There was no government your doorknob. And Jesus told his followers to destroy the churches that were harboring wealth. Read your pathetic holy book once in a while.

  • FromUR2UB

    This author’s view is too slanted by the shiftless acquaintances in her life. President Obama is not talking about the lazy folks who see welfare as a lifestyle, rather than a temporary means of survival. In fact, no job or educational program is going to help those people because the only help they desire is the kind they can get without expending their own time, energy and effort. She said that if she got laid off or lost her health insurance, she hopes there will be something in place to help her. That’s why the man KEEPS SAYING that if people are willign to work hard, then there should be resources to help them reach the middle class, or help then when they’re down. Even a child would reason that people who are healthy and able to take care of themselves, should. The man’s not a compassionate fool!
    However, republicans don’t acknowledge that they didn’t get where they are all by themselves. Either they were born into wealth, like Mitt Romney, or amassed it as adults at other people’s expense, like Mitt Romney. Their welfare is in the form of trustfunds, inheritance, money made passively through investments, and tax breaks. They espouse that everyone else should work for what they receive, yet they do everything possible to deny them the opportunities they had to elevate themselves. I guess they want to ensure that there will still be people to clean the bathrooms.

    • Machelle Kwan

      Real talk. Spoiled rich people who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter can’t judge people who are trying to build something from scratch on their own. These folks have never truly struggled a day in their life…Yet they have all the answers to people who weren’t born wealthy. Smh

  • IllyPhilly

    Maybe he’s speaking from experience. He knows how the system works because he’s seen it. His mom was on Food Stamps, right?? At least that’s what it says on the signs on the bus- that I see from my Benz! JK, have a serious conversation, I’m gone.

  • <3 LOVE

  • Obama has a problem with rich people playing victim and not paying their fair share of taxes and killing the middle class in the process. Why is corporate welfare ok? Is it because it’s called “bailout?” That’s what cost this country the most. The poor ARE demonized all the time, and most are not poor by choice. People had great lives before the economic downturn, and they lost everything. The rich want goods and services cut from everyone but them.
        Example: Wallstreet gets $700 billion dollars in bailout, I mean, welfare. Politicians want to make us take drug and urine tests to get money from a system we paid into.  They tend to be hypocrites who are exceptions to the rules they impose on us. I agree that there needs to be reforms on welfare so generations are not raised on it, and the same goes for Wallstreet. This time the gov’t had a responsibility to its citizens, but bailed out the people who put them in their situation. There ARE people who do work, but get assistance because they can’t make ends meet.
          I do agree that people who trudge to work should not be penalized, while able bodied but lazy people get benefits from our labor. Why can’t people on welfare be required by law to get certified in childcare so that they could be getting welfare as compesation for keeping working people’s kids? Just a thought.

    • IllyPhilly

      Plus one!!

    • Guest

      I agree

    • get real

      Thank you. These millionaires are so slick that they got middle class and poor people thinking they (meaning rich people)are victims. And the lady that wrote this article has fallin victims as well.

  • WellShoot

    I agree with the article. Poor people get so many damned handouts it’s ridiculous. I don’t feel bad for them at all. They’re better off than the majority of Americans who bust their humps every day to make ends meet. It would be nice not to have to worry about food, rent and healthcare. There is no incentive for them to work so they’ll just keep milking the system. I get sick and tired of seeing women toting five kids in the grocery store and using EBT to pay for everything. If you can’t take care of one kid without assistance why are you having four more? The whole thing is such a scam.

    • Spartan728

      I totally agree with you.

    • mac

      do you know these women’s stories?
      Do you know if she had a well paying job, then had five kids, then got laid off, injured, or otherwise fell on hard times?

      Some people are so unfeeling and unempathetic, it’s sickening.

      In many states if not all, you have to meet certain work requirements to receive welfare. Many welfare recipients will tell you, the money they get isn’t even enough to live off of solely; they have to supplement it (which is how it should be).
      So to think all of these people are just sitting at home living off taxpayers is absolutely ridiculous.
      Many if not most also “bust their humps” to make ends meet, but some fall short. Sorry not everyone is as oh-so-hardworking as you are. People face different circumstances.

      I wouldn’t get too comfortable on that high horse. Life is full of surprises; you can get fired tomorrow, get into an accident that renders you unable to work, get sick, etc. And you may have to eat these words.

      • Machelle Kwan

        Exactly. If you don’t own the company, you’re not guaranteed anything. Sometimes women are widowed or left alone to raise kids for other reasons. Not everybody on assistance has a lot of kids either.

    • Machelle Kwan

      The american dream is a nightmare and all you elitist blacks that think you’re better than everyone else is about to get a wake up call. Having a well paying job doesn’t make you part of the one percent. And they’re gonna make sure black folks are never part of it.

  • truth

    wow. I don’t think that the rich are being demonized as much as exposed. just as the perpetually poor ate using the system the rich use the system as well. you will meet be able to justify giving tax cuts to righ people and furthering taxing my already taxes paycheck. I also find it funny that the authority considered herself middle class when if left up to the republicans there wot be one for very much longer. I too used to cringe at my Bastet producing welfare queen cousins, but I learned that it takes all kinds of folks to make the world go round. as a government case worker without those very people I myself would be in the unemployment line. it’s all in the perspective.

    • star

      yes I realize the grammar and typos are a little distracting. but that’s a cell phone for ya. try to look over them 🙂

    • JaneDoe

      Yes!!! Agree 100%

  • Gracie

    I agree with this article, I know a lot of people who live off of the system when they really dont have to. Maybe the government needs to put a a limit on how long people live on government assistance.

    • Yup, let’s start with J.P Morgan Chase and work our way down.

  • JaneDoe

    I don’t agree with your stand on Obama and his team “demonizing the wealthy in this country and painting the middle and low-income folks as innocent bystanders”. There is a lot that the wealthy have gotten away with over the yrs he is just simply putting in a perspecive that makes sense. The article has many valid points but man I tell you I will role with President Obama and the democratic party’s stance all day long before I side with the republicans when it comes to helping/not helping the poor. If they had it their way the poor which in their eyes are made of more blacks will be back in chains and shackles. No thank you

    • Machelle Kwan

      Please believe, that’s exactly what those racists want. And that’s what it’s mostly about. Racism. Having a good paying job doesn’t make you white or one of “them”.