The latest bankster looting scheme is the austerity flim flam. As Dave Patterson explains far better than i can in 'It's not "Austerity" - it's Grand Theft Canada, World, Everything', there is no need for austerity, we are a fabulously wealthy country. Dave's article, and many others online, prove that austerity programs like those being forced on countries in the wake of the '08 fiasco are just part of Naomi Klein's 'Disaster Capitalism' - a vehicle for transferring the assets of the common wealth to the pockets of the few.
One tactic long used to disguise that fraud is fear. The myth of upward mobility is the carrot, fear is the 'stick'. John Steinbeck put it best when he said, "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." Fear of the moral judgements of others may be even greater than the fear of poverty itself.
The elites and mass media use loaded terminology to divide us. The black single mother is a "welfare queen" who is "lazy" and has "bad morals". The poor white person is a "redneck" or a "hillbilly" with all of the stereotypes and assumptions implicit in such language. Consequently, poor white people are one of the few groups which can me made fun of and mocked in American culture without consequence or public sanction. The white poor are not toothless rural folks sitting around smoking meth and making moonshine as they are depicted in the American popular imagination. They are your neighbors, in the suburbs, rural areas, and our cities, they are right next door, and trying to get by while maintaining their dignity.
The many are divided and self-hypnotized by their fears. They turn toward mindless consumption and the illusion of middle class exceptionalism...for now. But the constant drumbeat of division itself has a backbeat that illuminates just how scared the elites are as well because the poor people, by their very existence, expose the defects of capitalism.
In 1933 George Orwell published 'Down and Out in Paris and London' [free download here]. It was a time much like ours in many ways. In it Orwell again allows us an insight into the undivided potential of the many, then and now. :
My story ends here. It is a fairly trivial story, and I can only hope that it has been interesting in the same way as a travel diary is interesting. I can at least say, Here is the world that awaits you if you are ever penniless. Some days I want to explore that world more thoroughly. I should like to know people like Mario and Paddy and Bill the moocher, not from casual encounters, but intimately; I should like to understand what really goes on in the souls of PLON-GEURS and tramps and Embankment sleepers. At present I do not feel that I have seen more than the fringe of poverty. Still I can point to one or two things I have definitely learned by being hard up. I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, nor enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. That is a beginning.
THE END - George Orwell