Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This doesn't surprise me:
Poll: Americans Think Obamacare Will Help the Poor, Not the Country

More Americans continue to say that President Obama's health care law will help the poor and the uninsured rather than their own families or the country overall, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found.

... these findings show that most adults, particularly whites, view it largely as a transfer program that will mostly benefit the poor rather than the nation broadly.

... solid majorities of Americans continue to say they believe it will "make things better" for people who do not have health insurance (63 percent) and the poor (59 percent).

... the poll also finds that most Americans, especially whites, are much more dubious that the law will benefit broader groups in the country, or their own families. That confounds the anticipation of Democratic strategists who have hoped for decades that health care reform could reverse the skepticism among many voters, particularly middle-class whites, that Washington can deliver tangible benefits in their own lives.

Relatively few voters, especially whites, are anticipating such benefits from the health care law, the poll found. Overall, just 33 percent said they expected the law will make things better for "people like you and your family," while 49 percent said they thought it would make things worse....
Some of this is because middle-class Americans tend to regard their current health insurance as good (which for many of them is reasonable). and also as secure (which is not so reasonable). Some of this is because the law does create some "losers" among the self-insured in the middle and upper middle classes.

But it's also because we don't think there's a national benefit to universal coverage. No one has successfully made the case that there are tangible benefits from having a covered country (a healthier populace, less health care done at the costly emergency-room level). The moral notion -- that a rich country damn well ought to be able to provide health care for all its citizens -- doesn't seem to mean much to the middle class.

And, well, the right has said for fifty years that benefits apart from Social Security and Medicare are a zero-sum game. That message clearly hasn't lost its potency.

Aimai has been arguing in comments that much of the middle class is slipping into economic insecurity -- as she says, they're "busy fighting to keep their own jobs and their own SNAP and UI benefits." But this poll suggests that this isn't leading them to regard their interests as aligned with those of the people below them on the ladder. They still have, in Barbara Ehrenreich's phrase, a "fear of falling." They haven't accepted the premise that Obamacare will help catch them. They have accepted the premise that Obamacare will push them.


Ed Crotty said...

Why after 150 years are white people so f-ing racist?

Greg said...

I'm not saying it's logical, but this data could reflect (as such things often do in America) a ritual of class-based self-congratulation. The middle class, such as it is, likes to think it bit the bullet and took the mediocre-to-shitty jobs and made something of them...and the poor too often won't do that. They've internalized Reagan's attitude: "There's plenty of jobs in the want ads." They've lost (or never had) the sense of what a real energy drainer it is to keep one's head afloat while in poverty, particularly for those who grew up undereducated, and that they themselves might have problems pulling up bootstraps, were circumstances different.

As usual, I blame the media, advertising most of all. They keep us hooked to a dreamworld.

Victor said...

What the stupid white middle class people don't seem to realize, is that the wedge issues which the rich and powerful use to keep people divided, and that they keep falling for, are what's wedging them away from the middle class, and into a downward free-fall.

And the tragic thing is, when they find themselves finally really down-and-out, they'll still blame the minorities who are down there with them - you know, the ones who have been there all along.

Dark Avenger said...

They've done science that demonstrates the ill-effects of poverty on the human brain:

"Our findings suggest that the stress-burden of growing up poor may be an underlying mechanism that accounts for the relationship between poverty as a child and how well your brain works as an adult," said Dr. K. Luan Phan, professor of psychiatry at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and senior author of the study.

The study was conducted by researchers at UIC, Cornell University, University of Michigan and University of Denver.

The researchers found that test subjects who had lower family incomes at age 9 exhibited, as adults, greater activity in the amygdala, an area in the brain known for its role in fear and other negative emotions. These individuals showed less activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex, an area in the brain thought to regulate negative emotion.

Amygdala and prefrontal cortex dysfunction has been associated with mood disorders including depression, anxiety, impulsive aggression and substance abuse, according to the authors.

Phan said it is well known that the negative effects of poverty can set up "a cascade of increasing risk factors" for children to develop physical and psychological problems as an adult. But it has not been known how childhood poverty might affect brain function, particularly in emotional regulation. The ability to regulate negative emotions can provide protection against the physical and psychological health consequences of acute and chronic stress, he said.

aimai said...

The press have been making the argument, over and over again, that Obamacare is a transfer of wealth from the upper classes to the poor. I just read a piece at Wonkblog making exactly this argument as a matter of fact, not opinion. Its so obvious to the author that she assumes its a baseline for everyone, received wisdom.

I don't think its surprising that people who are interviewed and who are already on the right and already pisssed off at losing control of the govenrment think that the ACA is primarily about the poors. Thats what they've been told. Even though they themselves will benefit and are benfitting in Kentucky. But so what? I mean really, so what? Once people sign on for it they will stick to it like glue. That won't redound to the Democrats credit exactly--I agree people are phenomenally stupid--but they won't want to deep six it either.

Again: there's a difference between asserting that Paul Ryan's compassionate conservativism is played out and meaningless and asserting that right wing white people have renounced selfishness and stupidity. They haven't. But they also have renounced caring about it enough to care about Paul Ryan's weepy charitable work.

giantslor said...

White people suck. OK, most white people suck.

John Taylor said...

People are too dumb to realize we are in a class war not a race war. It's the 1% against the rest of us and they are winning.

Danp said...

Dark Avenger - Good comment. Thanks. Just don't tell that to the "Greatest Gemeration".

Grung_e_Gene said...

Because glibertarians and white people can't imagine the day the Capitalists treat them the way third world workers, women and minorities are treated today.

Examinator said...

Dark Avenger
Spot on old son ...some real scientific fact.
The problem is that many other commenters here and elsewhere miss the point. i.e. *Conditioning* changes brain has NOTHING to do with being dumb (aka stupid or lacking IQ etc).
I have met uneducated tribal (primitive) indigenous whose functional IQ would exceed most people. Yet they still *believe* in spirits et al.
Terms like stupid/dumb are really so subjective and tainted with cultural/racial arrogance as to be meaningless without clear context and proof.