What is the benefit to the rich of killing the poor?
June 27, 2017 9:49 AM   Subscribe

There's a lot of rhetoric about the healthcare bill killing the poor. Certainly it will have a disproportionate effect, but why would rich people actually want to do this, when the poor serve the rich and consume what they make? Hypothetical inside.


Chet, who owns a large chain of discount retailers called C-Mart and is absurdly rich
Dave, a project manager at an accounting firm who makes about $75k/year
Joe, a burger flipper at Cheese Queen who makes minimum wage and is married with a child

All of Joe's income is spent as soon as he's paid. He mostly shops at C-Mart because it's inexpensive. He is below the poverty line for a household of three so they receive Medicaid and other benefits like WIC, EBT, rent assistance, whatever. Most of that money is also spent at C-Mart (which carries groceries).

Chet lobbies to reduce or abolish the minimum wage and cut social service programs, which reduces his labor costs and his tax burden. He becomes even richer and buys three more yachts. Now Joe and his family are starving and have no health insurance. After losing their home, they are found lying in a ditch.

Why is this beneficial to Chet? He loses the money he would have made from Joe and people like Joe. Dave doesn't shop at C-Mart because he can afford to pay for nicer things. Assuming Chet wants to maximize his number of beach houses, it doesn't make sense to cut his customer base. His gardeners and yacht washers also don't make much money, and people like Dave are not going to work at those jobs. So now Chet has fewer customers and no one to file his toenails.

Are rich people only thinking short term, and they figure they'll die before there are economic repercussions? Is this blind, stupid hatred and nothing else? I don't know how to make sense of this.
posted by AFABulous to Work & Money (41 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Are rich people only thinking short term, and they figure they'll die before there are economic repercussions?

Ding ding ding, we have a winner, give the man a cigar.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:56 AM on June 27, 2017 [31 favorites]

To put it bluntly: they don't actually want the poor dead, they just want to be able to control the poor by threatening them with death.

"Do what I say or you will be fired and lose your healthcare and die" is a better way to control someone than "Do what I say or you will be fired but keep your healthcare and probably survive."
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:59 AM on June 27, 2017 [38 favorites]

Not all poor are created equal. Some pool will toil all of their days, pay taxes, and work factories. Those are the good poor. If they later in life need medical care... well, the rich have already extracted their value. It's like what happens to an egg laying chicken after it stop laying eggs. Do you feed it for a few years, or do you have a free chicken dinner that night?

Some poor get sick, require 100k+ in medical care, and then afterward will never be as healthy/able as they were previously. That's just throwing away good money.

Some poor get sick, require 100k+ in medical care, but continue working and will ultimately be a net benefit to society. This rich in this situation are OK with missing this investment opportunity as there's not a good way to guarantee investment.

Some poor use drugs / don't work and receive government aid. It should be obvious that especially any aid they might be receiving is a horrible slight against the taxes the rich might pay.

Essentially the rich want a lot of good egg-laying poor. Vet fees are ridiculous to them when there's either free chicken dinner, or free compost/animal feed (if the chicken is sick). They don't want all of the poor to be dead, just the least productive of the poor. And medical care is a low-cost heuristic to the productivity of a person.
posted by nobeagle at 10:01 AM on June 27, 2017 [64 favorites]

There's no reason to assume lawmakers are operating in a way you would consider "rational".
posted by dilaudid at 10:02 AM on June 27, 2017 [28 favorites]

There's also, I think, a sentiment that there is an infinite supply of poor people. And when you consider the small population of the fantastically wealthy versus the "other 99%," they ain't half wrong.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:03 AM on June 27, 2017 [12 favorites]

It's because Chet doesn't believe that Joe and family will actually end up dead in a ditch. They're going to go to the ER for healthcare, and pay $10/month on the bill every month like people are told to do here on Ask. They're going to rely on privately-funded charities for other needs.

Disclaimer: I am not taking Chet's side, I do not believe what Chet believes, IANAC, IANYC.
posted by kimberussell at 10:03 AM on June 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

Hi, I'm rich. Your simplistic model is simplistic.

Somewhat more realistically, for every marginal $1 of income to Joe, Chet pays:
  1. $1 in income (to Joe)
  2. roughly $0.08 in Social Security/Medicare (to the federal government, maybe eventually to Joe, but only partially due to government overhead)
  3. roughly $0.01 to $0.09 in unemployment insurance (to the federal and/or state government, maybe eventually to Joe, but only partially due to government overhead)
In my very simplistic model, $1 of income to Chet costs ~$1.10 to Joe (this doesn't include any other taxes, nor increased benefits costs that tend to be a function of income, like 401(k) contributions).

Of that income, Joe will pay some of it back to the government in the form of taxes (for instance, Joe's own Social Security/Medicare taxes and Joe's own income tax). So, that $1 of income to Joe nets Joe maybe $0.80-$0.90 (depending on Joe's income tax rate). Further, Joe will not likely spend all of that $0.80-$0.90 at C-Mart - although (too) many Americans are financially secure, "only" half of people have no excess income and are able to save some of it.

Say Joe returns $0.60 of that money to C-Mart and buys a lollipop. Chet has to pay for labor expenses to sell that lollipop, inventory expenses, and the cost of the goods sold. Most large markets operate on a 1%-5% profit margin, so Chet will get back $0.006 to $0.03 of that money in profit.

From Chet's perspective, why spend $1.10 to get back less than a penny?
posted by saeculorum at 10:03 AM on June 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

A lot of GOP support is ideological, without much deep thought. The Rand Paul-ish idea that government should not be involved with subsidizing any healthcare, or conservatives who think that government subsidy creates dependence. The Democrat Plantation, they call it. Plenty of BS ideas floating around out there.
posted by feste at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

The part that you may be missing is that there will always be another Joe for Chet to exploit. It's like asking how do cigarette companies manage to stay in business when their product actually kills people. They just move to other markets.

So it's not just the control feature which nebulainwdphone mentions but it's also that you sort of let people know that you hold the strings that affect their lives and they can change at any time. So like when people in Florida had to get drug tested to get their food stamps? It caught almost no food stamp recipients on drugs, cost zillions of dollars and was a joke of a program, but it got the message out to Florida's poor "We can impose arbitrary rules on you because we feel like it"

Same thing with the police. If you can't trust a cop to... say ... not kill you when you legitimately call them to help you with a thing, you stop seeing legal pathways as working for you, which means, you don't use your legal remedies, which means you get even more exploited. And you still have to pay into the system that provides the cops and provides the food stamps.
posted by jessamyn at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2017 [57 favorites]

There was a time when the rich might regularly lay eyes on the poor, maybe at church or while transacting business, maybe even at public school. When was the last time you interacted with someone who made significantly less money than you?

It's not just empathy that's lost, it's the prominence of different perspectives in making difficult, complex decisions.
posted by amtho at 10:05 AM on June 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

"Wanting them dead" is probably far beyond how most rich people think about this. What they really want/need is to have an insecure workforce. With fewer government benefits and larger gaps in the social safety net, the working classes become more and more dependent on their jobs, and therefore must accept less pay, no benefits, worse conditions, irregular hours, etc.
posted by number9dream at 10:10 AM on June 27, 2017 [12 favorites]

It is beneficial to rich employers to destroy the safety net because then sickly employees fail in work efforts and are easily replaced by younger models, who are more resilient, more appealing. When they wear out, then they are replaced by newer models. Before long they will just buy robots, no wages, only maintenance, and robot maintenance corporations, who collect up broken robots, and replace them, using robotic vehicles. Dehumanizing humans is the first step in getting rid of them, altogether.
posted by Oyéah at 10:20 AM on June 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

So like when people in Florida had to get drug tested to get their food stamps? It caught almost no food stamp recipients on drugs, cost zillions of dollars and was a joke of a program, but it got the message out to Florida's poor "We can impose arbitrary rules on you because we feel like it"

From flyover country here. I think that's a misread. I'm pretty certain folks who supported it were certain that their money was going to 'druggies,' and no amount of evidence would convince them otherwise. Just like they're certain of the existence of 'welfare queens.'

The problem that low information Republican voters have (particularly here in Greater Appalachia) with welfare is (besides the underlying racism) is that people are 'taking advantage' of the system. They think folks are cheating. That's what drives this stuff, not a desire to 'control the poor.'
posted by leotrotsky at 10:20 AM on June 27, 2017 [13 favorites]

From the POV of an outsider living in the USA to me it reads like. The less services a government has to provide, monitor, oversea the less the government has to spend so the less taxes someone has to pay the more money they can keep/make.

Throw in a touch of the whole American belief that if you're poor you deserve to be poor. Which is a startlingly alien concept to someone bought up on the Australian attitude of helping a mate out when he's in trouble and he'll help you out when you're in trouble and we're all in this together mindset. Though sadly that too is slowly being replaced with the whole "I've got mine screw you attitude".
posted by wwax at 10:33 AM on June 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

They want the poor to pay for themselves.

Typically, when Republicans are polled, they say that government programs, including food stamps, free or reduced cost meals, unemployment insurance and healthcare subsidies, breed dependency. They believe that poor people prefer to remain poor and live off taxpayer funding if they are given no incentive to do otherwise. Therefore, remove the program and poor people will simply work harder to make sure they earn what was undeservedly being given to them.

This attitude is usually conflated with a number of criticisms of poor people. That there are plenty of jobs available for job seekers. That they are lazy. That they live off the sweat of others. That they cheat the system by deliberately having large families or by committing insurance fraud. Etc., etc.

These attitudes are not restricted to the rich. They're most prevalent in white, blue collar Americans. Who make up the backbone of the Republican party.

My understanding it that this is not a "rich vs. poor" problem. It is a fundamental philosophical difference between those who believe in the value of having a societal safety net and those who don't. Between those who understand that civilization is a group effort vs., those who think they didn't have help getting ahead so why should anyone else.

The problem is, we do live in a civilization. One where each generation's successes make the next generation's successes possible and where collectively supporting those in need saves us effort and money over time. Keep people healthy and they won't get other people sick. Preventative care keeps conditions from worsening and necessitating costly medical care.
posted by zarq at 10:36 AM on June 27, 2017 [44 favorites]

Self-described rich person saeculorum up thread described exactly why many Americans are downright gleeful about killing off their fellow citizens. They see the poor and middle class (a group that never describes themselves) as straight-up a drag on society that do not pay anywhere near their fair share. Add in a dash of Calvinism/prosperity gospel -- the poor are undeserving wretches because their poverty is proof that God hates them and you should too, and you have all the working parts necessary for our current deadly clusterfuck. If you can't fork over a million bucks for your 3 childrens' type 1 diabetes treatment it is because God hates your family and they deserve to die. (Ask me how I know this.)

However, it is a pervasive myth that the rich pay more in taxes than the poor. Looking at all taxes, not just federal income taxes, the rich and poor (and middle class) woukd all pay roughly equal amounts of tax on their incomes, except that the rich cheat (to the tune of 30% of total taxes). So, actually, the poor are subsidizing the rich. And, of course, the poor and middle class actually spend their money into the economy and provide the bulk of the transactions that create the GDP. So, this health care bill will such roughly 800 billion directly out of the economy (because that money will no longer be spent into the economy, rather it will be sitting quietly in some tax haven). and we can all look forward to the next economic downturn.
posted by djinn dandy at 10:38 AM on June 27, 2017 [34 favorites]

why would rich people actually want to do this, when the poor serve the rich and consume what they make?

There are two core beliefs at play here:
1. The best use of money is for rich people to have it all and invest it.
2. People are poor because they are lazy. Taking away things like healthcare (and food stamps, employee protections, etc.) is a way to motivate them.

It's not that the rich want the poor dead. It's that they think the threat of financial ruin, up to death, is motivation to not be poor. The beatings will continue until morale improves.
posted by cnc at 10:45 AM on June 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

I think some of the rich folks are thinking about principles and generalizing from personal experience. I don't think they are concerned with cost-benefits, that's a technocrat liberal way of thinking. I believe their thinking is something like this: if someone works hard, seizes opportunities, delays gratification, and makes smart choices, then that person has earned what he has and should be allowed to keep it. It's not fair to tax them at a high marginal rate to support people who didn't work hard, seize opportunities, etc. That's how the rich person got rich, right? If we give people unearned benefits, then they won't work hard, then America will be weak, and that is bad. Some of the people I know who think this way really did live out bad childhoods under abusive or absent parents, began with little to no wealth, worked very hard with relentless focus, took risks, moved away from their families, and built relationships outside their social comfort zone. So appeals to advantage or privilege fall flat with them. I think this personal history is the source of their social and political beliefs.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 10:47 AM on June 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Part of the problem appears to be baked into our species. as we get richer, we lose empathy.

So, it's a perfect storm. The rich are rich enough to control the debate, and they do not care, because they are rich.
posted by djinn dandy at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

I mean yes, there are a lot of rich folks operating from a pure numbers perspective who do not accurately perceive the cost in lives; they sort of assume that the world works the same for poor folks as it works for them, and things they need just, I dunno, appear, when they need them, and that surely those folks have a church or whatever, everything's fine.

But I have actually had a wealthy, "Libertarian" person (whom I used to consider a friend) tell me that my ill family member (a teenager at the time) deserved to die because he was just unlucky, and he didn't have a good job and if he was worthwhile, he'd have one (remember: TEENAGER) and it's nobody's obligation to preserve the unlucky.

So for some people, it's actually that they are legit bad people who do not care about others' lives at all, and especially not if discarding someone else's life puts money in their pockets. After all, in times gone by there were groups of folks who were happy to rampage about the world murdering and pillaging. Those kinds of personality traits didn't go extinct, they just...kept up with the times.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:59 AM on June 27, 2017 [13 favorites]

(I put "libertarian" in quotation marks because I am not sure this person ever did any kind of serious study of his supposed political affiliation, and I'm pretty sure that a lot of libertarians would actually be like, "whoa dude, dial it back a notch.")
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:02 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Freakonomics just did an interview with Charles Koch which might answer some of your questions. After listening, I think he genuinely believes that social spending by the federal government is an immoral and possibly unconstitutional intrusion on personal freedom.

If you start from this point of view, you don't care about the pragmatic ramifications of a change in government policy; you only care about whether it's closer to your desired outcome of minimal government, or not.

I don't agree with this point of view, but I do think Charles Koch genuinely believes it, and he is personally responsible for a lot of the resurgence in libertarian ideas that's going on right now.
posted by miyabo at 11:19 AM on June 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

I grew up in a town where people overwhelmingly voted against funding for schools year after year after year. My high school was so crowded that we had split shifts - freshmen and sophomores went to school in the afternoons, and juniors and seniors went in the mornings. We were constantly threatened with losing accreditation. The people who voted against building a new high school weren't thinking about students or education or what this meant for the town or any of that - they were thinking they didn't want to pay more taxes.

Chet is thinking the same way. He doesn't actually want Joe to die - he isn't thinking about Joe at all (except in the vaguest way if someone brings Joe up - then he thinks Joe should work harder - after all, either his father or grandfather was Joe, and he worked hard and saved etc. etc. etc.). But Chet thinks he's paying an awful lot in taxes, and somebody is telling him he can pay less. Chet doesn't feel like he has endless money. He knows lots of people who have more than he does.

There's not going to be a massive die-off of people like Joe. There will be plenty of people to buy stuff at C-mart. As economic disparity gets worse, Dave will start shopping there too.
posted by FencingGal at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2017 [24 favorites]

I don't agree with this point of view, but I do think Charles Koch genuinely believes it, and he is personally responsible for a lot of the resurgence in libertarian ideas that's going on right now.

You don't pour the money the Kochs do into the public sphere to save a few bucks; there's much cheaper ways to do that.

They're definitely true believers; the problem is they're wrong.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:29 AM on June 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

I think FencingGal has it. The tax cuts are serious - the NYT reports $274 billion for those earning $200k to $1M over the next 10 years. So the question becomes: what is more important - health care for the poor (none of which I know) or significant additional money in my pocket? The rest is just justification.
posted by rtimmel at 11:49 AM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

One more thing: my grandfather was Joe in 1910. Joe was working in the coal mines then (getting extra pay for lighting fuses, though he decided it wasn't worth it when Chet cut costs by making the fuses shorter). Joe might have called the doctor in an absolute emergency, but he certainly had no regular health care for himself or his family. Lots of people died, of course, but there were still enough Joes for Chet's purposes. There's no shortage of Joes.
posted by FencingGal at 12:10 PM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Many of the rich have wealth which is simply not tied directly to the consumption of the poor, or indeed of anyone.

Henry Ford famously said, "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." That's because he thought of his employees, and those who sold the necessities of life to them, as also his potential customers. Many of the richest (at least outside the countries of pure quasi-governmental looting) make their money off infintesimal fluctuations in the prices of various assets. Does the value of those assets ultimately depend on the strength of the actual economy? Yes, but it's a long and winding road in between, and many are confident that any collapse in the latter will never reach them.
posted by praemunire at 12:23 PM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

These attitudes are not restricted to the rich. They're most prevalent in white, blue collar Americans. Who make up the backbone of the Republican party.

Believe me, after hearing many many times, from two unrelated exs with blue-collar roots, sentiments such as "I don't want to pay for the crackheads!" loudly and vociferously - this holds true.

Some reading I found very informative:
Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Said blue collar exes attacked her viciously for not "really" being poor when producing this book. Nonetheless I found it eye-opening.

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. It's been a while since I read this but it shows a side of poverty that the rich, or the unwilling to believe, just don't want to hear. Tirado, unlike Ehrenreich, did not have a "safety net" to fall back and just wrote her experiences as they happened to her as a poor person.

The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David Shipler. I ordered a used copy of this once, only to give it away in disgust because the previous owner had crossed out statements s/he didn't like regarding the Earned Income Credit and topics like that, and added comments such as "useless!" and other remarks (I cannot remember specifically anymore) that basically told me the reader had no belief that the poor had any right to assistance or subsidies, zero. I guess I should have kept it just as an example of how divided people are on this subject.

And, if you want to get historical about these attitudes, an essay called The Mamie Papers, which is not American, but kind of rounds out the perspective on how poverty was viewed in the Anglo world well before our time. Doris Lessing wrote it; you can find it in Time Bites: Views and Reviews.
posted by Crystal Fox at 12:56 PM on June 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

When robots do all the jobs poor and middle-class people do now, what will they do with all the extra people that are just a drain on the rich? Need to get rid of 'em somehow. Might as well start by taking away their health care.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:24 PM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's not that the rich want the poor to die. I don't think it's that the rich want the poor to remain poor and oppressed because that's a great way to get cheap house cleaners and worker bees.

I think it's several issues, some of which come from a basic world-view and some of which build and feed on each other. First, it's not their problem. We all have this to a certain extent. We know that horrible things are going on all around the world and there is only a limited amount of stuff that we have the energy to care about. So, we prioritize. They do, too.

Next, they may not believe that the solutions that have been proposed will work. They will be too expensive or too expensive for the good that they do or they might not even do any good at all. That belief is going to be a lot more common among the "Government can't do anything right" bunch.

Then they have a lack of awareness of how the working and non-working poor actually live, so their assumptions about what they need and what will hurt them are completely off (people on welfare live like kings! They get free iPhones!)

Then theyadd in a dash of moralizing. Theycan always point to some bad decision a poor person made somewhere along the way. Why should they paying for someone else's bad decision?

To add some kick to the previous point, they can always find a person who built themselves up out of nothing (take a look at Amancio Ortega Gaona. One of the very richest men in the world. His father was a railway worker and he dropped out of school at 14). Thus proving that poor people are lazy.

Finally, we get back around to the first point - it's not really their problem. Look, they donate to charity. They pay their taxes. They are doing their part.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:47 PM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have this book on order at my local library, but from the blurbs I've read it's premise is that the Koch's worldview holds property rights paramount. Property rights meaning their money. Since my property rights are paramount, taxes are immoral and thus anything funded from those taxes is immoral.

Here's the kicker:
Property rights are even a higher priority than democracy. Once you realize their world view, you see their rational for voter suppression. Suppressing Democratic leaning voters allows minority (not racial, but numbers-wise) rule: i.e. Republicans getting several million fewer votes but still winning political office. They see subverting democracy as justified to protect their property rights.
posted by LoveHam at 2:39 PM on June 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

There are obviously a spectrum of reasons. But you know that Twilight Zone episode with the Button? Well for many wealthy people (well poor people too I suppose but they lack the leverage to effect policy) reduced taxes even of a few dollars a year are the payoff and poor people are just people they don't know. I've worked with a guy like that (making less than $100K a year) who would gleefully burn down a school or eliminate transit if it meant .05% reduction in his taxes.
posted by Mitheral at 3:41 PM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

In addition to his toenail filers, Chet also has multiple Daves working for him (his middle managers/accountants/lawyers, etc), and they're going to work a hell of a lot harder when they see what happens to Joe. And probably for no additional pay because they're exempt. Some of them can probably be convinced that they can be the next Chet if they work a juuust bit harder, but for the rest, knowing that they can end up unemployed without a safety net is a pretty good motivator.
posted by eeek at 4:11 PM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Once Dave gets laid off by Chet, he's going to be Joe and have to work Joe's job and shop at Cmart. Moreover, there is a infinite supply of Joes in developing countries to do Joe's job and buy cheap products.

I live in Asia (am Asian) and have witnessed with my own eyes light manufacturing moving from country to country in search of ever cheaper workers to exploit.Once a country's wages become too expensive, they just move on to a poorer one.
posted by whitelotus at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

To put it bluntly: they don't actually want the poor dead, they just want to be able to control the poor by threatening them with death.

"Do what I say or you will be fired and lose your healthcare and die" is a better way to control someone than "Do what I say or you will be fired but keep your healthcare and probably survive."
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:59 AM on June 28 [27 favorites +] [!]

I would like to nth this from a good number of conversations with business owners. They want a blunt implement. The personal experience that sticks out most in my mind is that I used to work as chief consultant/department manager in a company that was trying to build a staff of full-timers in an industry where freelance is the norm, and I was hired from that freelance pool as well. I had an ongoing dispute with management that you don't convince freelancers to come work for you by holding a contractual club over their head. "Stability" is not preferable to "ability to leave a crap situation" for a labor pool already adapted to a lack of stability. In fact in this situation, I made it clear that I was staying at this company only because they were willing to tailor my contract such that every club they had over me was removed. I could walk away anytime consequence free. Because I was willing to show up and do the work competently at a discounted rate, and put my name and reputation on the line for their company and profits, they had to remove their ability to punish me. That was our bargain, and it worked for a few years.

Unfortunately, when it came time to hire more of me, they weren't willing to the same for new hires, leaving me chronically overworked and frustrated. Lordy I tried, but they weren't willing to drop the club, and eventually tried using rescinding promises in other people's labor contracts as leverage to get more work out of me. And I mean, I told them the whole theory. I explained to management what my red line was. "These people, like me, have a high sensitivity to threats. Put down the club, stay transparent with everybody, we build this on good faith or not at all." I quit and returned to the freelance world, and I've been just as busy since, and earning triple or more what they paid me.

They didn't shut down the program (it's a government grant thing where requirements aren't that high), and I've since seen some of their labor contracts, and they are FULL of gotcha clauses, putative performance metrics, non-competes, and pointless requirements. It's cartoonish. I heard about this because they have been having quality and retention issues that I know are affecting their bottom line. This speech, plus specifics, is now my standard answer to inquiries regarding that company, which I still get 3 years after the fact. I gave them the whole toolbox, but they set their program back a decade because they refuse to hire people with other options.

In subsequent interactions with bar/restaurant owners, owners of media/translation companies, production companies, what have you, all the usual clients I interact with as a translator, this comes up time and again. They'll negotiate with me as an equal when we're business to business, but the minute we discuss full-time employment (lots offer, and we also consult about how to improve translation of full-time staff), they want the club. They want fear to be available as a motivator. And healthcare routinely comes up as one of the examples they use to motivate employees. And translation is by nature an international business, so I see this across cultures and countries.

Institutionalized economic terrorism. Plain and simple.
posted by saysthis at 6:10 PM on June 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

A thing:
Big companies write rules to minimize competition. Meaning that 'Small Business' has a hard time adjusting to paying insurance at 5+ employees. Effectively that makes it very hard to convert from 1099s to actual W2s because once you crest that employer mandated insurance you have to be able to administer a plan - which realistically means you need another body as pure overhead to do that. It is very tough to convert a small business to a successful business, which means it is hard for these businesses to compete economically in a larger capacity. So, you write the rule to sound like you are benefiting people, but in actuality its designed to deter business acceptance / inhibit business competition. The government mandate isn't easily plug and play, and there isn't a sufficient subsidy once your business is big enough. So then the business winds up cutting their profitability by having to scale out of this mess, and that becomes challenging as the first thing to really get hacked out is usually continued capital investment and expansion... as well as pay raises...

So this group of Small Businesses itself is now threatened by current legislation... Papa Johns may have cried loudly, but that was just to stir the pot...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:26 PM on June 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

An aspect I see in this isn't that the rich/conservatives want the poor dead, but that if someone ends up dead it's because they made a big enough mistake and death is the consequence-- just look at what the people want to control: prevent women from having an abortion to correct an "accident", remove financial protections from people who took out bad mortgages; cut back on consumer protections so that if you bought a substandard product it's because you didn't research it well enough; if you don't have a good job with insurance it's because you made poor decisions leading up to this point. And, then, by comparison, people who are rich are rich because of correct, accurate decisions made in the past so should be rewarded and trusted in their opinion; there is no "shit happens" in their scenario, it's all action-causes-reward-or-punishment thinking. It's how they see right and wrong in the world, and they are going to pass laws that reflect this, regardless of the consequences or reality of the situation.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:04 AM on June 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

Cannon fodder.

I don't think that they actively want poor people to die, they just don't give a fuck.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:47 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

In fairness, which seems a bit bizarre to invoke, people probably have a variety of psychological mechanisms that put them in this mindset, many listed above, and including the belief that poor people are poor because of their moral inferiority, which allows a very rich person to feel no guilt about being rich, nor any spiritual obligation to help the poor. It also allows for actions which disproportionately hurt the poor the align themselves with a bullshit moral principle, like defunding Planned Parenthood, or care for opiate addiction.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:52 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a bit late of an addition but the comments on this article contain multiple examples of peoples' own parents declaring them, or their spouses, unworthy of medical care and/or life itself.

Previously normal people so poisoned by this discourse they cannot be arsed to care whether their own daughters, sons-in-laws, grandkids, etc., get to live long and healthy lives.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:36 AM on June 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older To infinity but close to home   |   Which movie? Animated, stop-motion tiger + bear in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.