Microwaves. Air-Conditioning. The Good Life!

In the Wall Street Journal yesterday one of Mitt Romney’s economic advisers opined that America isn’t really as unequal as it is seems because more people now have air conditioning, dishwashers, and microwaves. Because having access to a microwave means you’re living the “good life.”

via ThinkProgress

Yet the access of low-income Americans—those earning less than $20,000 in real 2009 dollars—to devices that are part of the “good life” has increased. […]

Appliances? The percentage of low-income homes with air-conditioning equipment rose to 83.5% from 65.8%, with dishwashers to 30.8% from 17.6%, with a washing machine to 62.4% from 57.2%, and with a clothes dryer to 56.5% from 44.9%.

The percentage of low-income households with microwave ovens grew to 92.4% from 74.9% between 2001 and 2009. Fully 75.5% of low-income Americans now have a cell phone, and over a quarter of those have access to the Internet through their phones.

Sound familiar?

This is a favorite talking point on the right.

Here’s Hannity from earlier this year

Hannity: 47 million Americans are in poverty.

Caller: There you go. There’s 47 [million Americans] that are going to bed hungry.

Hannity: No that does not mean they’re going to bed hungry. If you look at some of the poorest people in the country. I went through these stats last week. Most people have refrigerators, and freezers, and air conditioners, and televisions, and DVRs or DvDs, or something, and stereos and cars. They just don’t have the best and the latest and they don’t live in the nicest neighborhood.

Most Americans even in poverty have a basic level of living, a standard of living, that is decent. It’s not great. It’s not ideal. It’s not where we want people to be. I believe that people can work their way out of it.

But this idea that Americans are going to bed hungry, do know how much for example, do you ever go shopping? I go shopping sometimes. I hate it but I do it. Do you ever go?

Caller:

Hannity: You can get things, for example, I have friends of mine that eat rice and beans all the time. Beans protein. Rice inexpensive. You can make a big pot of this for a week for relatively negligible amounts of money.

Americans should stop complaining about economic inequality because they have rice and beans, microwaves, and stereos! It’s the good life!

I suppose if more people were forced to dry their clothes on a clothes line and heat their cheap, processed food on a wood-burning stove, then they would be justified in pointing out that the top 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 40 million Americans.

If having a microwave and a diswasher means you’re living the good life, what does having a car elevator mean?

(NSFW)

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  • muselet

    If Sean Hannity—or any other prominent Righty—had to live in poverty for more than five minutes, we’d never hear the end of the wailing. Suddenly that “basic level of living, a standard of living, that is decent” would look pretty lousy.

    Not that they’d change their opinions about how those filthy poor people live, of course.

    I can bring the tar, but someone else will have to provide the feathers.

    –alopecia

    • Victor_the_Crab

      How ’bout a big, cast iron pot filled with monkey shit to dump Hannity into?

      • muselet

        Nah, he’d only fling it.

        –alopecia

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    These idiots are clueless.

    17 million children in the US go to bed hungry every single damn day. This is why we have school lunch (and in some cases, breakfast) programs. Those meals are frequently the only sustenance these children get on a daily basis.

    Millions of Americans are homeless, 1/4 of those are children.

    Fuck the right fucking wing and the horse they rode in on!

    http://yourlife.usatoday.com/mind-soul/doing-good/kindness/post/2011/03/with-17-million-children-going-hungry-in-the-us-al-roker-says-its-time-to-act/148571/1

  • Ned F

    Yeah, I know, they even have indoor plumbing now, those ungrateful poor people. I find it more bizarre that people are comfortable electing a guy for president that keeps bank accounts in Switzerland and the Caymans . I mean, WTF? Doesn’t anyone see anything wrong here? What ever became of those tax returns anyway?

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Sean Hannity will be among the first ones to be slowly, brutaly, and painfully killed when the revolution comes.

    • mrbrink

      Yeah. They better start building their gated military base communities, now.

  • rob black

    Weird. I just finished commenting on another blog about how as various celebs turn out to be Romneybots, it turns out to be ones I hated or could care less about anyway….(see Meatloaf on driftglass).
    I didn’t even know Hunt was a liberal…but I always thought she was hot…somehow now..she seems… smokin!!

  • rob black

    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2012/10/if-helen-hunt-had-lick-of-beautyty-shed.html#disqus_thread
    Damn..two tabs..posted to wrong blog..sorry cant delete..
    ..but since I can edit:

    “Sean, you look like you are in great shape! I guess its easy to stay in great shape when you shovel shit all day”! – Triumph the insult comic dog to Sean Hannity’s stupid face at the last debate. Via Charlie Pierce

  • Iain Henry

    There’s a reason that poor people generally have poorer health as well – because they’re constantly have to make do with cheap, poor quality food. Yeah, rice and beans are inexpensive…they’re also not a complete source of nutrition. You live off just that and I guarantee you’ll wind up needing a doctor (who you can’t afford because you have no health insurance).

  • mrbrink

    Having $200 dollars worth of necessities, or accumulated assets, or net worth, is why poor people need to get behind ending the Estate tax. We could be passing on our microwaves made in China tax free!

    I hate these fucking people.

    When we resort to cannibalism, we’re eating them first.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      “I hate these fucking people.

      When we resort to cannibalism, we’re eating them first.”

      co-sign.

      • mrbrink

        The thing is, too, Nicole, I don’t “hate” easily, and I never use that word loosely. But I look at Romney making declarations like, “I’ll deliver a real recovery, not dependency!” And I think to myself, “you shameless dirty fucking cocksucker. I fucking hate you. You and your whole party of sick and delusional petty little twisted fucks!”

        Stop hurting us! Stop torturing, and raping, and legitimating your lies, false accusations, and your overt threats to reason and democracy!

        They make good people fear, and stress, and they divide us all unnecessarily. It’s the Democrats who want good government and the reason there has ever been any semblance of bi-partisanship, or harmony. But right wing conservatives have robbed this country of its Democracy; of its treasury; of this president’s full potential– putting in its place a rhetorical drunken barroom brawl that ends with women, children, and minorities getting dragged in and punched in the face, while the friendly cops(media) let the white guy off with his 900th warning because his polished prick face appears on some billboards as a somebody in some community somewhere.

        They’re whole platform is all about trying to take away rights, not expand them, as this president has done. Whether it’s the right to vote, or discouraging, and suppressing it. To be openly gay, or bullying those that are, or those who are thinking of coming out. The right to an abortion. Even the right to actually have our rights read to us! “Liberals… always Mirandizing…” Republicans are there trying to lock millions and millions of people out of the American dream.

        The 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

        They have not the right, nor the authority, to revoke, deny, or disparage any of these rights we seek, or seek to protect. Including rights not yet realized. And they hate the 9th amendment. They dismiss it as a novelty amendment. It’s not. It’s just as important as all the rest, if not more, because it serves as a reminder of why we’re all here. To secure these rights. To seek them out and protect these rights whenever the enemies of democracy show their ugly, off-to-glory faces.

        The fact that we’re so cool about all this and they’re so fucking mental, should be telling to all. Most of us are rational, factually-minded. Compassionate. Sincere, even when we don’t have all the opposition research on hand to combat their rapid-fire bullshit. Our hearts have caught up with our heads, though. It’s the core of modern Progressivism to consult both. And that makes for a better alternative to Republicans who are out there bragging about being bat shit crazy motherfuckers, trying to crash and depress an economy, or whipping up a racially-coded frenzy to the point where there’s no more ammunition left on the shelves and gun makers can’t make them fast enough.

        It’s a sick society they’re after. One where power is the true measure of right and where justice and fairness is bought openly on the “free market.”

        So, yeah. I hate these motherfuckers, but they make it so.

        • Brutlyhonest

          What he said (as usual).

          All I’ll add is that we will never convince the true believers™ that lazy brown people aren’t the problem. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that as a kid I was on the free lunch program for years (my youngest sister attended headstart). Even while we were being helped by these programs, my father and his co-workers would rail about the blacks and Mexicans (not the words they used) living off the government.

          While I learned the importance of helping people in need, my father just became more and more racist – to the point we hardly speak anymore. Sadly, most of central NC (and much of the rest of the rural parts of this Country) are just as ignorant.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          “I don’t “hate” easily, and I never use that word loosely. ”

          I don’t either, mrbrink.

          I do not have your eloquence, but I do absolutely share your hatred of these fucking fascist, selfish, whining baby assholes with every bone in my body.

          goddammit, these people are bent on destroying every fucking thing that’s good in this country, and as long as there is breath in my body, I will fight them.

  • trgahan

    To take this arguement a step further, if having a microwave, AC and a pantry full of rice and beans means the poor are doing just fine and need to stop bitching then it makes sense that the rich can easily affort a “good life” with these same items and need to stop bitching about their tax rate.

    “What do you mean taxed to death? You have a microwave, don’t you?”

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Excellent, excellent point! Of course, these numbnuts will then try to go Galt over everyone if that’s ever mentioned.