Hiding the poverty consuming this nation is one of government’s big jobs these days.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics made a startling announcement. New data released by the bureau reveals that in one out of every five families — 20 percent — no one is employed. Not one person in those families has a job. This is monumental, but we don’t see it because of the remarkable effort by the federal government to hide the truth.
Why? Because seeing the government’s failure spells their political ruin. Your family and future have been designated as a sacrifice to ensure the future of incompetent — and sometimes malevolent — politicians. Hiding poverty is now Job One.
During the Great Depression, hundreds of people lined up at soup kitchens every day in every city, a resource many people used as their sole food supplier.
It’s not a good thing that people had to line up at a soup kitchen, but that’s the point. We saw the poverty, and by standing in line to get food, you felt the impact of a government that had failed in its policies and duties. There was no denying the truth. You knew something had to change.
How best to perpetrate a lie about the condition of our economy than by making invisible the truth of the matter? When no one sees people in unemployment offices, and no one sees lines of people waiting for food, and no one sees the homeless population soar, it allows the craven in Washington to prevail with lies about what’s really happening.
Today, there’s no need to stand in line for food. Your friendly federal government will send you a pre-filled debit card that you can use without anyone knowing (perhaps even yourself) how desperate your situation is.
In order to file for unemployment benefits, you used to have to stand in line at the “unemployment office,” and speak person-to-person, describing what happened and what sort of work you wanted. Even more importantly, you saw you were not alone.
These days? Go online and file a claim.
Not only do you never need to leave your house, you also never see the physical reality of how many of your neighbors are in the same boat as you are. Instead, after you get your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and click online to get your check, you hear politicians and their mainstream media propagandists on television telling you how fabulous everything is while waxing optimistically about the strength of the “recovery.”
The latest effort by liberals to hide their destruction of our lives comes courtesy of San Jose, Calif. Tired of the tent towns erected by the exploding number of homeless in this city near San Francisco, the City Council decided “to solve San Jose’s homeless problem [by] suggesting new neighborhoods consisting of small structures called “pods” or “microhouses,” according to a local TV station, KPIX.
So, voila — homelessness ended by putting people in a 150-square-foot container. Not only can you say you’ve “solved” the homeless problem, you get rid of the evidence that liberalism destroys people’s lives.
The last time I checked, people weren’t homeless because they lacked a container to live in. They’re homeless because of joblessness, inflation, drug abuse and alcoholism — all of which leads to general despair and misery.
Even more concerning is the apparent goal to convince the millions of Americans who have lost hope that this is the “new normal.” Welfare benefits keep the individual from sinking completely, while ripping away any notion that things can and should be better.
When I was a kid, my mother was on welfare and food stamps for a period of time. There was no EBT card in those days. Instead, you had to peel off coupons, actual stamps, from the food-stamp booklet, and everyone in line at the market knew your situation.
It was embarrassing for my mother, but I’ll always remember her determination to get off welfare and get a job. After one journey to the market when I was 10, she said to me, “Every time we go to the store, I am so ashamed. I’ve got to get a job. I may not be home with you as much, but I’ll be making my own money again, and I’ll be in charge of my life. Remember. Tammy, never let yourself get into a situation where you have to rely on the government so you can live your life. It’s not worth it. It’s killing me.”
My mother wasn’t a political woman, and she had no idea how political that statement really was. In fact, it was a demand for the more natural state of personal freedom and independence. For her, it was brought home when her situation became apparent to other people and, therefore, to herself. While I’m glad she had that safety net, she wanted better, and she knew it was possible.
It’s a powerful thing to know, really know, that things are bad and that you need to make a change. It’s also why politicians are determined to make sure today’s poverty is hidden not just from the public, but from the poverty-stricken themselves.
Editor's note: This op-ed originally appeared on the WashingtonTimes.com.
Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News political contributor.