NO, THIS IS DIFFERENT

I owe my upbringing to the taxpayer. Both of my parents owe essentially their entire lifetime of earnings to the taxpayer. With only brief exceptions, my mother has spent her entire working life as what used to be called a secretary for several different public school districts, and my father is entering his 30th year as, at various times, a prosecutor, elected official, and judge in a county in the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Accordingly, most of their friends are similarly employed. Some of dad's friends are people I have known (and vice-versa) since 1980, which is impressive since I didn't master the art of speaking until mid-1981. As these people have watched me grow from a baby to a 34 year old adult of considerable facial hair and minimal life accomplishments, I've watched them transition from young adults to…well, seniors on the verge of retirement.

Like most people who work for the government for their entire lives, their ability to retire relies on a public pension. Those pensions will provide them in most cases with something that approximates their working salary plus health care benefits. One of the great ironies in my mind as I began becoming politically aware was how much some of these people could bitch about taxes when every penny they earned and would continue to earn was someone else's tax dollar. And now that states are in austerity overdrive – Illinois being more strapped for cash than most – some of them are all aboard the "It's all the fault of the public unions and their goddamn retirement benefits."

As I became an adult (of sorts) I became bolder about questioning this sort of logic. And I came to believe, having had this conversation numerous times over the years, that the explanation is quite simple: individuals believe that they deserve the benefits they'll get (usually because they Worked Very Hard or Worked Their Whole Life for them) while the horde-like Others do not. And no matter what they do – double-dipping, etc. – they've earned what's coming to them. It's all those other people who haven't.

At a previous public university, I worked with a textbook public pension double-dipper. She "retired" at 52 having put in the 30 years of service necessary to draw her pension, then she continued to work in a different university position that would eventually give her a second pension (and currently gave her a state salary on top of the pension). Of course she was the office's resident Teabagger, and her laziness was such that I wondered if the EPA would re-classify her as some sort of lumber. And that's one of the most amazing things about being among those employed by the government – occasionally you run into these examples who scam the system in every way possible, do no actual work, and manage to piss and moan about taxes, the gub'mint, and the usual right-wing nonsense. Their pension(s) is different because they worked very hard for it, meaning they were physically present for the mandated amount of time on most days.

It turns out that double-dipping is for pussies, though, and triple-dipping is where it's at – at least according to John Cornyn. He's being paid his Senate salary in addition to three different State/county pensions totaling $66,000 annually from previous positions held in Texas. What's amazing is how much he receives for how briefly he worked – $6000 every year for the rest of his life for four years on a county court. $48,000/yr for six years on the State Supreme Court. And so on.

So, just to recap, a teacher or postal worker who puts in 30 years is greedy and entitled, but the John Cornyns of the world spends five fuckin' minutes on a county court and gets $6000 in the mail every year until death. I wish there was a more complex psychological explanation to offer here beyond simple hypocrisy and the belief – in the face of mountains of contradictory evidence – that "Everyone is lazy except me." Based on my experience throughout my career and indeed throughout my life, the excuses are rarely more complex than that.

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55 Responses to “NO, THIS IS DIFFERENT”

  1. Sean Says:

    Never in my life did I see such a bunch of people more worried 'bout what everyone else is gettin' until I moved to a Red State…

  2. middle seaman Says:

    The excuses are as you say. In the mix, however, stands a very American double think. Brains have been been washed with double amount of OxiCapitalism. You see, businesses can organize in the Chamber of Commerce, but unions, the government, pensions are criminal. Such perspective allows easy double speak.

    Your parents are not more paid by the taxpayers than the DOD contractor companies, TBTF banks, big pharmaceuticals (illegal to negotiate taxes with).

    Lumber spreads equally between government, private sector and academia. Very useful for knock on wood, just step over to the adjective office.

  3. Xynzee Says:

    Let's not forget our friends in the military. They can be some of the most vocal whingers out there, and w/o a hint (or rather an understanding) of irony say that the gu'bamin spends too much.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Let's not forget our friends in the military. They can be some of the most vocal whingers out there, and w/o a hint (or rather an understanding) of irony say that the gu'bamin spends too much.

    This. And the reason why they are so "worried about what everybody else is getting" is because they are paying for it with their taxes. Maybe they think that because they pay taxes on their government-paid salaries they are paying their own salaries.

  5. Anonymouse Says:

    My father is retired military who then became a civilian employee. Like most of his ilk, he's a prime example of a Teatard. My mother, who never worked a day in her life, gets her own SS based off my father's work. I had them over for a barbecue on Father's Day and had to listen to FUX propaganda all afternoon.

    To put this into perspective: my mother never worked a day in her life, but upon marrying my father was giving (courtesy of the taxpayer) free housing, free utilities (electricity and maybe gas depending on where we lived), free healthcare, greatly-discounted grocery and department-store shopping, and free trips around the world (during my father's military career, we lived in Japan, Hawaii, southern California, Florida, England, Germany and Spain). To this day, she pays something ridiculous like $400/year for healthcare through the military retirement system–and she's a huge consumer of health care.

    Both my parents live in mortal fear that someone out there is Getting Something They're Not. You know someone who undoubtedly Does Not Deserve It.

  6. yokosuka14 Says:

    Have been in the military, I was always shocked to hear complaints about "Obamacare" and the horrors of socialized medicine. This was from recipients of completely free medical care delivered worldwide, probably the best socialized medicine in the world.

  7. oiojes Says:

    I have to interject a little bit here. I've worked with civil service employees of one stripe or another for years. By and large, I've found them hard working, honest and rational. I've worked with private employees. By and large, I've found them hard working, honest and rational.

    The difference between the two is the second group has to worry about layoffs from corporate whim, outsourcing to foreign countries and overwork. The former group has to worry about getting laid off by voter's whim, outsourcing to higher priced private corporations and overwork.

  8. geoff Says:

    I had the "end of life" talk with my parents yesterday.My mother worked 30+ years for the state of Florida, my dad as a broadcast engineer. She gets a modest pension and a healthcare benefits (which cover them both) through an HMO. Should she predecease him, he'll lose her pension payments and health plan, being essentially left with just social security and Medicare– i.e. fucked. Unless a lot of boomers are a lot better off than I think, pretty soon the conversation is sure to turn to "oh shit, I have to live on catfood for the last 20 years of my life" as opposed to "retired schoolteachers are leeches".

    I heard an interview with the "inventor" of the 401K recently, and he lamented that 401k's were never intended to be a replacement for pensions, but were essentially a tax dodge for employers. Talk about unintended consequences!

  9. c u n d gulag Says:

    I miss those Pee-Potty rallies from a few years ago.

    It was hysterical watching old and handicapped white people, most of whom were either getting SS or SSDI benefits, and Medicare and/or Medicaid, zipping their zip code-sized asses around in their little Medicare/Medicaid scooters, screaming for our government to keep it's filthy SocialistFascistCommunist hands off of their health care.

    And who can forget the LOL misspelled signs?
    "Abama" – precious, Grandma.
    "Niger" – precious, Grandpa.
    "Blak" – precious, Auntie.
    "Comee" – precious, Uncle.
    "MORANS" – precious, cuz. Doubly-precious!!!
    "Soshlist" – precious, bro.

    Of course, the price for that laughter, was a House of Representatives which should only be representing people kept highly medicated in straight-jacket's, in mental institutions.

    And yeah, it's all about the "Others" getting a penny that comes out of your pocket.
    We all need to feel superior to someone.

    It's like that poor white-trash kid in the deep South, walking shoeless along his Cracker dad, and asking, "Hey Pa, how come we ain't got no car? How come the roof leaks in our shack? How come I ain't got no shoes? How come I got potato sacks fer pants? How come Ma's got to stretch a piece of grisly meat 'n a can o' beans out a week, fer us to eat? And how come them Davis's own the town, and live in that mansion, when we ain't got nothin'?"

    And Cracker Pa says, "Shut-up son. See them Darkies in that shack over there? You should thank God that we ain't as bad off as them N*ggers!"

    And that's the Conservative mentality, in a nutshell – you ain't nothin', if you ain't better off than them N*ggers over there.
    'N them Sp*cks, over there.
    'N them f*ckin' F*gs over there.
    'N them Ch*nks over there.
    'N them Injuns (red, and them dot-heads) over there.

    You ain't nothin', if there ain't somebody worse off 'n you are.

    'N you're somebody, if someone else has to look at you with envy.
    Even if you ain't got much – you got more 'n they got.
    'N that's good enough!!!

  10. Major Kong Says:

    As far as I can tell, every conservative seems to think they personally invented the concept of work.

    Apparently nobody else ever did a day's work until they came along.

  11. Misterben Says:

    Just to add to the mountain of Anecdotia…

    My dad has worked in law enforcement/corrections for most of his life, and so most of his friends are accordingly from that world. They include two of the most hard-right people I know: both ex-cops who retired in their early- or mid-50s and then turned around and took a "security" job with some public institution (university or courthouse).

    Once, arguing with one of them about teacher pay reform – he was of course complaining that teachers are paid too much, etc. – I asked him if he had deferred his police pension, since he was paid a salary for his security job. He flipped his lid.

    "Defer it!? Of course not! What, are you crazy? I Worked Hard For That Pension!"

    I tried to point out that it seemed a bit unfair for him to collect a police pension AND health benefits AND a security salary from the courthouse AND the accompanying benefits, all at the same time. You can imagine how that went.

  12. Lecturer Says:

    It's not necessarily that DoD contractors, prison guards, cops, military are engaged in massive double-think. A lot of DoD contractors &c. that I know basically believe that the security forces are the only legitimate function of the state. So teachers are union thugs because public school is the gummit usurping a function of the Church. But soldiers and cops are okay because they're stopping the seething mass of Other that threatens us daily.

    It's a repellent worldview, but it's consistent…

  13. bb in GA Says:

    As your resident racistbigothomophobenaziteatardrightwinger icon,…

    I want to say for the record that I receive a corporate private defined benefit pension, SS benefits (plus my wife gets her fractioned cut off mine), and medicare.

    I am most thankful for all that I receive and I receive it all as a grace gift.

    In fact I recognize that it is likely that the system will change before my natural life cycle is over.

    I hate no one and I envy no one.

    Peace and Luv

    //bb

  14. Nan Says:

    For some reason, your post made me think of this.

  15. Big dog Says:

    The good citizens of the USA have every reason to engage in serious class war, stopping the 1-percenters from continually disemboweling us, but the fact that those 1-percenters control almost all the flow of information has enabled them to shape the message, so that we, the lower dregs of society, fight against each other…divide and conquer..it has worked for time immemorial. I believe that Al Gore has recently said it right. Capitalism as currently practiced, focusing on short term profits, is eating away at the substance of our country.

  16. Big dog Says:

    @bb. I'm OK too, so lets us be happy.

  17. Amused Says:

    This is painfully familiar. My mother is a public school teacher in a poor inner-city neighborhood. She's also a Teabagger. She takes it to a whole new level with this kind of hypocrisy, railing against the students in her own school and their parents being "takers" who live off "liberals' handouts", including secondary education and free school lunches, while honest, hard-working (white) people like her can't get a break. When, during one of those rants, I pointed out that those

  18. Amused Says:

    "liberal handouts" are the only reason she has a job at all, she stopped speaking to me for a week.

    Naturally, she reacts vehemently to any new rule or regulation designed to impose some kind of accountability on public school teachers, and the fact that those initiatives come almost exclusively from anti-union Republicans in the state legislature doesn't put a dent in her Teabaggery.

    Sorry for splitting the comment.

  19. negative 1 Says:

    I work for a public sector union. We have a retired affiliate (for people who have retired from the profession). Because we like our members employed, our PAC backs candidates who don't want to privatize all functions of government and who want to do the least amount of damage to pensions.
    Our retired chapter has bitched for years that we don't ever give Republican candidates a chance to state their positions, as they are talking on TV about how we and other unions are killing the state and we need to stop paying pensions. Here's the thing — with a straight face, they'll tell you that republicans don't hate unions or public sector employees. Confront them with evidence? They'll give you evidence back about Democrats saying nasty things about their profession. It boggles the mind.

  20. sluggo Says:

    bb,

    Haven't heard from you in ages, just glad your ok.

  21. Mo Says:

    Reading Robert Burton's On Being Certain [yeah, I know it's been out for 5 years, some of us take awhile to get around to things] seemed to distressingly confirm some of my fave axioms:

    1) Self-righteousness is a hell of a drug

    2) Human social relations are often all too similar to the pecking order in hens

    3) Old Republicans will die before they will ever change their opinions and votes about anything, being basically mentally incapable of doing either of those things. Mental arthritis.

  22. mothra Says:

    Oh, let me tell you what a delight it is to listen to my friend's winger boyfriend get on a roll with his buddy at the bar about how government is too big, there are too many taxes, yada yada yada. They are both retired military and now work for the government at high-paying positions. One for the federal courts, the other for the Army Corps. Do they see any irony AT ALL in their positions? Hell no. I particularly like it when they talk about people getting welfare and food stamps–and then go on to brag about how cheap the prices are at the commissary where they can still shop. Fuckers.

  23. Heisenberg Says:

    As many here have already pointed out, the military is a particularly frustrating example of this double standard. During my six years in the Navy (under both GWB and BHO), I always found it crazy how so many of my military brethren would rail against anything they perceived as "socialist," and simultaneously extol the virtues of the "free market" – yet they really had no idea what a "free market" was actually like!

    The US military, after all, is the closest we have in this country to a true "socialist" organization. I mean, let's just examine a few of the military's key characteristics:

    – Completely owned and operated by the government
    – Near-absolute job security (i.e. unless you do drugs or commit a capital crime, it's essentially impossible to get fired. How's that for free-market?)
    – Rigid rank and pay structure, based largely on seniority rather than merit
    – Subsidized tax rates that are about half of the rest of the population (due to the way they split pay and "allowances")
    – Free, government-operated health care (for you)
    – Heavily subsidized, government-funded health care (for your entire family)
    – Heavily subsidized government housing available to all
    – Everyone wears identical, government-supplied clothing
    – Automatic 30 days of vacation annually, beginning in your first year
    – Special stores where only military personnel can buy tax-free food, booze, and consumer products, whose prices are heavily subsidized by the government
    – Even after discharge, an entire government department that provides pensions, more government-run health care, and fully subsidized college payments

    I guess it's pretty easy to criticize the less fortunate when you're completely wrapped in a social safety net of your own. I'd like to see some of these idiots I served with, most of whom are from the South and have little to no education, try to survive the harsh realities of America in 2013.

    And the civilian defense contractors who now occupy most of the military's desk jobs? They take that sense of entitlement and hypocrisy to the next level altogether. At least the military guys are actually out risking their lives. The contractors (most of whom are retired military, and thus double-dipping) expect the same security and benefits as the military members, but they don't do ANYTHING important at all.

    'Merica!

  24. brendan Says:

    hell, we *all* owe our upbringing to the taxpayer, even if our we and/or our parents work in the private sector. without transportation infrastructure, the rule of law, national defence, etc, we'd all owe our fealty to local warlords and wouldn't have any of the opportunities afforded to us now by our public system of government.

  25. Major Kong Says:

    @Heisenberg

    The only point I think you got wrong was you can indeed get fired. If they have a RIF (Reduction In Force) you can find yourself "surplus to requirements".

    The other way (as an officer at least) was to not get promoted.

  26. Doctor Rock Says:

    Yeah. Up or out. Not a bad principle.

  27. Heisenberg Says:

    Major: Good point about the RIF issue, as well as officers not making promotions. But statistically, I don't think these things affect many members. By and large, it's still pretty darn difficult to get fired in the military. [Anecdote: I was in the officer corps, and of the hundreds of officers I worked with in my six years, I only knew of 1 (maybe 2?) who were ACTUALLY being forced out of the military because they didn't make rank.] They generally try really hard NOT to fire you. But you're right, it does happen sometimes when the timing is right.

    However, even considering these exceptions, my broader point is that military members enjoy a level of job security that is NOTHING like what the free market would provide. It's as "socialist" as it comes!

  28. Bob Says:

    I work for the Army and know at least a dozen couples that are both retired military currently holding civil service positions. Half of those couples also have at least one other source of income that comes more or less directly from government – teaching on line courses taken all but exclusively by military with the tab being picked up by gov./working retail outside the gate of the installation/etc.
    Every single one of them britches constantly about big gov. and taxes. Two people, five sources of income, entire lives lived under Big Government – and they begrudge every penny spent on anyone else.
    I really love some of these people on a personal level. But I hate every single one of them in the broader sense of what it means to be human. If they win – if they get their way – they will succeed in throwing 90% of future Americans into poverty.
    And let me say – I don’t begrudge a penny. They’ve earned what they’ve got. But without big government and taxation the opportunities they took advantage of would never have existed. They got theirs because previous generations paid in. No it’s their turn to pay in for the upcoming generations and all of a sudden they’ve discovered that taxation is theft.
    Note to Lecturer: (Said with the utmost kindness) I think you’re missing the point. They ARE engaged in massive double think. It is no coincidence that the one function of government they themselves exist within is the one function they consider legitimate. The gap between their rhetoric and their lives is so vast they recognize it and realize the need to rationalize it.

  29. Heisenberg Says:

    Bob: Great points all around. It seems that everyone who works in or with the military (no matter which branch of service or location), sees these same types of people all over the place. And here I thought it was just me!

    "The gap between their rhetoric and their lives is so vast they recognize it and realize the need to rationalize it."

    I believe you've just defined cognitive dissonance.

  30. deep tin Says:

    reminds me of that great Seinfeld episode where George is complaining about bald people, and then Elaine, with a ferocious look on her face, screams at him, "GEORGE, YOU'RE BALD!"

  31. Anonymous Says:

    I'm impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that's equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now I'm very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  32. JazzBumpa Says:

    I have no quibbles and only one thing to add.

    "And that's one of the most amazing things about being among those employed by the government – occasionally you run into these examples who scam the system in every way possible, do no actual work, and manage to piss and moan about taxes, the gub'mint, and the usual right-wing nonsense."

    This is in no way limited to public sector employees. I spent 40 years in industry and saw this all the time everywhere.

    It's just life.

    JzB

  33. JazzBumpa Says:

    bb –

    WE are similarly situated.

    I only disagree with you on one point.

    I am most thankful for all that I receive and I receive it all as a grace gift.

    It is not a grace gift. Please ponder this concept: earned benefit.

    Thank you, and have a nice day.

    Cheers!
    JzB

  34. janey Says:

    I have to take a few issues with Heisenberg. 1.the pay and allowances tax thing. It was Reagan who ran on pay raises for the military. What he did was to take away allowances and raise the base pay. Which left the paycheck the same but gave them a problem when it came to calculating retirement pay which is based on base pay, not allowances. 2. goods bought on base are tax free because it is on government, not state, land. The people who run the stores are not government but a separate entity.
    3. People in the military lose money on every move. You have to pay most of your travel expenses which are larger than the allowance made for it. You lose money on all those things you have to leave behind and you usually cannot buy a house and pay off the mortgage over those 20 years of service. You are essentially paying rent.
    4. Government provides those pensions because pay does not equal what talented people could earn in civilian life. It keeps people in instead of a few years and moving on out of the military. Businesses should do this. and we collect SS because we pay the same medicare and SS taxes on our income that anyone else does.

  35. janey Says:

    Sorry but I would also like to point out that many military enlisted who serve for 20 years or sometimes less have severe health problems that are the result of their service. My father died of something that I believe was caused by exposure to jet fuel and jet exhaust, both toxic, I believe. Someone else exposure to asbestos, and another exposure to atomic radiation in WWII.

  36. Anonymouse Says:

    @Janey: good point, but many, many blue-collar workers have severe health problems that are the result of their work. The difference? Many can't even dream of having health insurance, whereas the military folks get theirs free.

  37. Heisenberg Says:

    Janey: I appreciate the points you're raising, but they aren't really relevant rebuttals to what I said. And at least one of them is wrong.

    1. Whatever the reason for the distinction between military base pay and "allowances" is irrelevant to the point I was making: That "allowances" are tax-exempt, and thus military members' effective tax rates are MUCH lower than those of the general population. I'm not judging whether this is right or wrong, just pointing out the irony of fiscally conservative, anti-tax positions coming from people who have extremely privileged tax statuses.

    2. You're dead wrong about on-base stores not being run by the government. All commissaries are owned and operated by the Defense Commissary Agency, a full-fledged agency of the DoD. In addition, the NEX (on Navy bases) is owned and operated by NEXCOM, and the "PX" (on Army and Air Force bases) is run by AAFES – both of which are also agencies of the DoN/DoD. Look it up.

    Again, I'm not saying that the sales-tax benefit is necessarily a bad thing – I'm just pointing out the irony of conservative military members (and veterans and contractors) railing aganist socialism and welfare and "takers," while they themselves are constantly benefitting from very generous government subsidies.

    3. The idea that military people "lose" money when they move is specious, but I will accept that for the sake of argument. But even if this is true, military members receive so many other benefits and tax-free "allowances" from the government (see my list above) that this hardly constitutes a net loss. For instance, I agree that the constant moving makes it difficult to own a home. No doubt about that. Then again, being able to take advantage of a VA loan after you serve your 20 kind of softens that blow, doesn't it?

    4. I don't disagree with your point on why pensions exist in the military. Heck, I'd like to see pensions for everyone. But again, my point was to highlight the irony of staunchly conservative military members/contractors/veterans calling for the elimination of (or drastic reductions to) public pension programs for teachers and other government workers. The same argument you made about pensions compensating for lower pay applies to other government workers too.

    My bottom line? A large portion of politically conservative military members, veterans, and contractors exhibit a stunning lack of self-awareness in their political beliefs. And lots of other anecdotes above corroborate this point.

  38. Major Kong Says:

    @janey

    I'm not sure about the "lose money every move" part. I knew people that did "ditty moves" (moved themselves) and made money after getting reimbursed for it.

    Case in point. When I PCS'd (permanent change of station) the Air Force paid me for towing my boat from Base X to Base Y. It was a nice little extra paycheck as I recall.

  39. Big dog Says:

    I served many years ago as a GI in the draftee army, doing my requisite two year hitch. I don't recall anyone spouting the kind of BS that you folks are bringing up. Is the right wing buttery in today's military a recent development? Is all of this part of the radical movement to the right that has been eating away at the middle class for the last thirty to forty years?

  40. wetcasements Says:

    As long as we're celebrating the deep-seated hypocrisy of Republicans, meet my father! He's 84 and lives very comfortably on a Federal pension for 35 years of paid service as a scientist.

    How did he become a scientist? Well, he earned it you see. Using the GI bill he got his undergraduate and graduate schooling (at public universities, natch) and then at a relatively young age started working for the US government. Along the way, me and my family benefited greatly from having gold-plated insurance, a very comfortable upper middle class lifestyle, public schools in "good" neighborhoods, etc.

    Flash-forward to 2013. My dad banks a Federal pension check worth about seven thousand dollars every month (his house has been paid off for a long time, duh). The high point of his day is listening to Rush. He bitches about the workers in his relatively poor, rural county who need food stamps because the minimum wage isn't high enough. It's the workers fault, obviously, for not having gotten a "better education," and has nothing to do with the fact that Walmart doesn't pay a living wage.

    Seriously, this kind of cognitive dissonance is practically a thing of beauty in Republicans. The can't be reasoned with because they aren't worthy of being reasoned with.

  41. c u n d gulag Says:

    Big dog,
    The military has been piping Rush's show into bases on the radio, worldwide, for years and years. And other Reich Wing radio shows.

    When Air America started, the attempted Liberal counter to the monopoly the righties had or radio, they could not get on the military bases, no matter how hard they tried.

    So, I think that radio is definitely a contributing a factor.

    Rush may be one of the worst sociopathic, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic (closeted) assholes this country has ever produced – but he is a VERY effective propagandist!

  42. Xynzee Says:

    @Big Dog: "I served many years ago as a GI in the draftee army, doing my requisite two year hitch."

    A) you didn't want to be there in the first place. So you and your cohort most likely had a completely different attitude to the military and government. Where government spending on public works = good. Government spending on military = **BAD**

    B) as Nixon ended the draft there was now a need to encourage people to enlist and stay in the military. Thus more spending on benies and a pretty good pension after 20yrs of service.

    In principal I don't begrudge those in the military their benefits. Especially those who've seen conflict. I do call bullsh*t their attitude and cognitive dissonance.

  43. Major Kong Says:

    @Big Dog

    I'm not sure. When I was in the Air Force and Air National Guard, the officer corps was mostly Republican. The enlisted ranks were more mixed.

  44. JohnR Says:

    Human nature, Ed. The "work crew rule" in action – every person is convinced that he is doing more than his share of the work, while everyone else is getting a free ride. The dog in the manger was a human being.

  45. bb in GA Says:

    @sluggo

    I read more and write less – chance to learn

    @Jzb

    Yes I am receiving earned benefits – but I count them as a grace gift month by month because I know they are subject to change by the same entities that created them.

    @Nan

    Why did you bring Jesus (or if you prefer Jeebus) into this? Actually my Christology is 180 degrees from what the Lounge Lizards sing about. I find my Jesus is a friend of sinners and a seeker of the lost (see the Lost Sheep parable)

    The song is funny, but I have a criticism of the A.L.L. The musical form they are using in 'Jesus Loves Me, but He can't stand you' is called Talking Blues. As one who has written and performed in this genre, the group lacks something.

    The form dates from the mid 1920s and generally developed into a vehic;le for socio-political commentary. Woody Guthrie produced some famous TB songs.

    The approaches that I have found work best are:

    (Forgive all the boomer stuff here)

    1.) The straight ahead energetic semi-rant – Bob Dylan – Subterranian Homesick Blues

    2.) Sardonic Hipster – Tom Lehrer – almost any of his material

    3.) Burlesque/Corn Ball Humor – Homer and Jethro

    When you are singing about stuff that might piss off some in the audience I find #3 is the winner.

    The Lounge Lizards seemed to be in friendly territory, but they were very tentative and way too understated. Some of this is subjective, but I think he was going for #2 and failed.

    //bb

  46. Dennis Says:

    Along the way, me and my family benefited greatly from having gold-plated insurance, a very comfortable upper middle class lifestyle, public schools in "good" neighborhoods, etc.

    You went to Sidwell Friends, Jaim. That can hardly be described as a public school in a good neighborhood. If you lived in a good neighborhood in the DC area, then why go to Sidwell unless you were trying to get away from something that you don't want to admit now. And for all the largesse afforded you from the US Government that you call your father a hypocrite for not being appreciative enough for, that he provided much of for you, then why did leave the country for so long and now bash it from afar? Because of conservatism? Conservatism, and 'Bush's America' made you turn your back on this country and not want to give back for all the things this country, and your conservative father granted you?

    Celebrate the deep-seated hypocrisy, indeed.

  47. Big dog Says:

    Thanks for the commentary. All of this reinforces my feeling that, like the fanning of the racist flames in America, poor whites were pitted against poor blacks who were struggling, not for great wealth, but for a decent living. Now the propagandists like Limbaloney fan the flames of those who have a little against those who don't have much at all. Dog eat dog and the 1-percenters stand around the ring and laugh at us.

  48. Monkey Business Says:

    If there is one thing I have learned, it's that the upper limit of conservative hypocrisy is like the energy requirement for travelling at the speed of light: infinite.

  49. Robert Says:

    By way of contrast – my father was career USPS, and went to his grave still bowing to the memory of Saint FDR and his consort the Blessed Eleanor. Never heard him say a word about 'welfare leeches ' or any of the other RWNM tropes. He was also a disabled combat veteran of WWII, and the only veteran's group he ever had a good word for was the DAV, of which he was a life member. When I went to work for the local VA hospital, he was pleased that at least I would be doing something worthwhile. My eldest brother was teaching English at a city college, and another was career USAF (later DoD contract specialist). Lots of taxpayer money in our family, and no teabaggers that I know of.

  50. Phoenician in a time of Romans Says:

    Every single one of them britches constantly about big gov. and taxes. Two people, five sources of income, entire lives lived under Big Government – and they begrudge every penny spent on anyone else.

    Possibly because of the shock of coming out of the military where, according to other commentators, they pay effectively half the rates, and then being exposed to rates everyone else has to deal with.

  51. Delbort Says:

    I have to constantly remind my dad that he has been "suckling at the gubbmint teat" all his life, having graduated from a public school, worked for the AF for his requisite 20, and is now a civilian contractor. It is awful thrilling to remind him that I pay his salary by working a "real job".

  52. Mild Mannered Secretary Says:

    You didn't mention that double dipper frequently actually sleeps on the job. Don't lie, I know you've seen it.

  53. Andrew Says:

    I know a guy who HATES government and LOVES corporations. Every corporate job he's ever had, he's been fired from. And who gives him food stamps so he doesn't starve to death? That's right, the government. Go figure.

  54. cromartie Says:

    I take considerably solace in the fact that most of the people we're kvetching about will be dead soon.

    Unfortunately, the system they gamed to "earn" the benefits they received will have been completely dismantled thanks to their idiocy, but hey, baby with the bathwater, I guess.

  55. maurinsky Says:

    My parents are pretty lefty, so I don't have these issues – they don't believe in punching down, for one thing, and my father was able to provide for a family of 7 despite never having gone to (let alone graduate from) high school at least in part because of unions.