The Poverty Brand™ August 4, 2011Posted by Michael in Economics.
Everybody agrees that our fiscal problems are directly attributable to “entitlement spending.” Nobody agrees on what to do about it.
During the Great Depression, my Grandpa Dave worked for the Works Progress Administration building roads. (This was FDR’s failed “stimulus” plan.) I heard about how he would come home exhausted and drenched in sweat. He worked himself half to death, because he was ashamed to be receiving public assistance and wanted to prove to himself that he had earned his pay. That is the attitude we need today. Instead, we have created a culture where women think it is perfectly OK to make a career out of being sluts, pumping out babies, and expecting the public to take care of them and their bastards.
I have the solution. Let’s make poverty shameful again. Let’s expurgate the entire concept of “entitlement” from our public discourse, and go back to the concept of charity. Poor people should feel pitied. Instead, they feel oppressed if they don’t think the government is doing “enough.”
See, I have no issue with a social safety net. I just think the beneficiaries of this net should be grateful and embarrassed. Instead, we have a growing population who thinks they are “entitled” to food stamps, AFDC, Section 8 housing, a free cell phone, health care, a nice hot lunch for the kids instead of Mom packing a lunch box (even in the summer), and on and on.
The “entitlement” mentality perfectly suits the massive bureaucracies that support their dependencies and are very well paid to do so, and the fraudsters who prey on the system. So, in America we have “poor” people who, by any global standard, are living large with cable TV, air conditioning and internet access. Meanwhile, the average taxpayer is getting raped.
In order to stop this, poverty needs to be understood as it used to be — something that is shameful. Consider this as a marketing exercise. We need to create a brand identity for poverty.
Start by picking a color. I nominate orange, because it is the most annoying color.
Next, we need a logo. Here’s a candidate:
OK, now we need a jingle to associate with poor people.
The first 20 seconds of this song come to mind:
So far so good. We now have the essential elements of the Poverty Brand™, oriented around the color orange and the “loser” theme. How do we use it? The possibilities are endless.
1. Food stamp recipients should be given a plastic debit card that is orange and about three times as large as a credit card, so it is real conspicuous. When they check out at the grocery store, an orange light should go off (like the K-Mart “blue light specials” of yore). The PA could announce, “poor person checking out register 3” and then the jingle could be played.
2. Anyone receiving public health care assistance should wear an orange hospital gown, and the Loser Logo should be posted on their hospital door so that passers-by can walk into the room, view the objects of their charity, and (hopefully) receive their heartfelt gratitude. The Loser Jingle should be piped into their room.
3. All Section 8 housing should have orange doors with the Loser Logo.
4. Children enrolled in Head Start, which is nothing more than a massive free babysitting service which achieves no educational objectives (according to DOE’s own study) should have to wear orange T-shirts while in attendance. The kids won’t care; the parents will be ashamed.
5. Kids who get free school lunches should be required to wear an orange hat during the lunch period. Hey kid, maybe Mom should make your lunch.
6. If you get AFDC, your hair must be dyed Loser Orange™ or you will lose your benefits. We’ll pay for the dye.
7. Free or subsidized phones should be orange with the Loser Logo prominently stamped on them.
I could go on, but you get my point. Once again, poverty should be a stigma, not a self-righteous badge of oppression. Please feel free to contribute your own ideas for the Poverty Brand™ in the comments.