Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Oh, snap. Now she wants to make war on poverty.

This—Trump defying a fire marshal trying to enforce crowd restrictions for safety reasons—put another, dreadful picture into my mind, crystallizing the sense of Trump is doing to himself and his whole filthy following at this point:

Meanwhile, as Trump works to set his funeral pyre ablaze inside the great hall or big tent of the party he's occupied and some Republicans sneak out to look across the plain for some place of safety, Hillary Clinton has chosen a very odd way of picking up new Republican voters for herself, by proposing the first program dedicated to the profoundly poor since Lyndon Johnson was president.

I think (you'll correct me if that's an exaggeration). Certainly the first since her husband unwittingly enabled Newt Gingrich to destroy the old welfare leg of the New Deal.

(Bill Clinton had vetoed two versions of the Republican welfare "reform" bill and believed this version contained safeguards that would keep money flowing to those who couldn't manage without it, not believing that state governments, in particular Republican ones, would cheerfully break the commitment to use their block grants to benefit the poor in favor of keeping their tax collections low. Yes, he was wrong about that but you'll never convince me that Bill Clinton in any way intended the harm the welfare bill inflicted on some people, mostly after George W. Bush took office.)

It's a program, anyway, to raise the incomes of some 11 million Americans, including five million living in deep poverty, basically by making the child tax credit more available to the very poor (there's an excellent rundown by Dylan Matthews at Vox, which I won't try to duplicate). Every single beneficiary from this particular tweak will be somebody earning less than $10,000 a year (inside a wider plan that benefits everybody with kids of four and under).

And the thing is, as Yglesias was noting,

that she's putting it out at this particular moment, just as the possibility of a Democratic Congress suddenly begins to look imaginable. She isn't looking for Republican votes at all; she's thinking her way through to the upset that would allow the most progressive US government since Franklin Roosevelt. I'm really pumped by this.

Brunhild in goose hat, via Jonathan Bogart, from Fritz Lang's 1924 film Die Nibelungen.

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