Why is there so little respect among conservatives for people who work for a living?:
Love for Labor Lost, by Paul Krugman Commentary, NY Times: It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor. ...
It’s all hard to imagine now. ... For the fact is that many of today’s politicians can’t even bring themselves to fake respect for ordinary working Americans.
Consider, for example, how Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, marked Labor Day last year: with a Twitter post declaring “Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.” Yep, he saw Labor Day as an occasion to honor business owners.
More broadly, consider the ever-widening definition of those whom conservatives consider parasites. Time was when their ire was directed at bums on welfare. But ... even as the number of Americans on ... welfare has declined, the number of citizens the right considers “takers” rather than “makers” ... has exploded, to encompass almost half the population. And the great majority of this newly defined army of moochers consists of working families that don’t pay income taxes but do pay payroll taxes (most of the rest are elderly). ...
You might ask why we should provide any aid to working Americans — after all, they aren’t completely destitute. But the fact is that economic inequality has soared over the past few decades, and while a handful of people have stratospheric incomes, a far larger number of Americans find that no matter how hard they work, they can’t afford the basics of a middle-class existence — health insurance in particular, but even putting food on the table can be a problem. Saying that they can use some help shouldn’t make us think any less of them, and it certainly shouldn’t reduce the respect we grant to anyone who works hard and plays by the rules.
But obviously that’s not the way everyone sees it. In particular, there are evidently a lot of wealthy people in America who consider anyone who isn’t wealthy a loser — an attitude that has clearly gotten stronger as the gap between the 1 percent and everyone else has widened. And such people have a lot of friends in Washington.
So, this time around will we be hearing anything from Mr. Cantor and his colleagues suggesting that they actually do respect people who work for a living? Maybe. But the one thing we’ll know for sure is that they don’t mean it.