Cennamology Chief Editor
A poll conducted three weeks ago by the Pew Research Center found that about 80 percent of conservatives believe that the "poor have it easy," making one wonder why they do not just get rid of all of their money and move to the poorest neighborhood of the closest major city if they truly believe that the poor have it easy.
This poll proves that it is not just politicians that are in need of the Kuzco Treatment - it turns out that regular Americans need to interact more with those who are truly at the bottom rings of society for a reality check on what it is like to be poor and homeless in this country. This is true especially if 80 percent of people who adhere to conservative ideology are under the impression that the life of a poor person is a total cakewalk.
I do not blame the everyday conservative Americans themselves for this delusional view of the plight of the poor. I blame the conservative noise machine at Fox News for painting this picture of the poor as lazy moochers that leads conservatives to believe that the poor have easy lives, promoting the false assertion that government assistance is more than enough to live on throughout one's life.
By promoting this viewpoint of the poor, there is less demand from the people that Congress do something to help those less fortunate - believing that the poor and downtrodden in our society are just trying to freeload of the rest of us. This makes people less concerned about the very poor, permitting policymakers from shifting their attention from helping those who need it to helping those who have already made it. This is how the Republican Party, the party that helps those who already have the means to help themselves, get their base to the polls - by scaring them that if they do not vote Republican, the moochers will take their money.
In fact, the image of America that Fox News promotes is that the rich and powerful are the ones who are the victims in our society, and the rest of us should stop persecuting them. Those who have all the money and power are the ones that need the help the most, as Fox wants you to believe. Sadly, many people fall for this. They fall for the trick, fulfilling Fox News' mission to eradicate any concern people have about the very poor, and to get people to instead worry that the rich in our society are the ones being demonized.
If the people saw just how hard the poor actually have it, then referring to the poor as "lazy," or "moochers," would be political suicide. Unfortunately, it is an everyday occurrence when a Republican politician smears the lower economic classes.
Politicians propagating the "poor are lazy" distortion is nothing new. This dates all the way back to Ronald Reagan's race-baiting "welfare queens" myth. Thirty years later, we have yet to find the single mother on welfare who owns three Cadillacs and a vacation home in the Hamptons. Reagan made up the "welfare queen" myth, so the people would place helping the most vulnerable in our society low on the national agenda.
The view of the poor that the American public holds is very important, and a fiction-based view is very troubling. My very first Cennamology article was about a study I did that found that the more negative views of the poor people have, the less likely they are to support progressive forms of taxation. Progressive taxation is what organizations like Fox News and the Heritage Foundation are fighting against, which is why they are promoting the portrayal of the poor as lazy people who live comfortably off our tax dollars.
Do these conservatives who answered the poll think that it is harder to be rich than it is to be poor? My guess is that they probably do, because of the picture of the poor that has been fed to them for decades. The question "do the poor have hard lives?" should be an easy question, one a four-year-old could answer. But, many Americans have bought the lie from Fox News that their tax dollars are helping the African American single mother down the street buy an Obama phone. Lies have consequences, and this poll proves just that.