86% of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’

July 9, 2014

86 percent of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’ Illustrating the deep divide between GOP versus Democratic support for policies most benefiting the poor, a new Pew survey finds that a whopping 86 percent of steadfast conservatives think the poor “have it easy.” Similarly, business-minded Republicans 77 percent and young Republican-leaning adults 81 percent feel the same way.

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That sentiment underpins Republican arguments that programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits should be cut because they disincentivize work. And indeed, the same survey finds that at least eight in 10 Republicans from all three aforementioned demographic subgroups agree with the argument that government aid to the needy “does more harm than good.”

SOURCE: 86 percent of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’ – The Week.

This kind of information never ceases to astound me. I sadly think this mentality is due to ignorance rather than all these folk having a hardened hearts. The poor “gaming the system” is all that they have been exposed to. I am a firm believer that until you put a face on something it continues to be an abstract thing. Very few of this group has likely come face-to-face with anyone who is poor. If these folks want to see how “easy” it is maybe they ought to try and live on $1200 a month or less.

I really don’t know how large the “strident conservative” population is but I suspect it is something in the neighborhood of 20% of the overall population and of course most of those in that group are ardent Fox News viewers. That fact goes a long ways in telling us why they have the beliefs that the poor have it too easy.

I know one strident conservative who basically parroted the above beliefs but then went on to say that his sister was on welfare and Medicaid. He says she is an exception to all those others in those programs. She needs the help and all the rest are just gaming the system.  I wonder how many in this polls have similar experiences?

Many say that religion and politics don’t mix but this is one of those areas that I thoroughly mix them. Jesus made it abundantly clear that we are to be our brother’s keeper. We are to literally give him the shirt off our backs if he needs it.  Being a follower of Jesus I therefore align with helping those less fortunate in life than myself. I don’t see how I could do otherwise.

I know there are those, especially in the above group, who say it is the church’s job to help the poor not governments. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that I know it is not even a remote possibility. I am very aware that most churches spend more than 90% of their income taking care of the church/clubhouse and keeping their congregations comfortable. Even if they managed to reverse that ratio they would be quickly overwhelmed by the needs.

I think of my government as doing the people’s business.  That is the things that we as individual citizens can’t do for ourselves.  Taking care of those who struggle in our society is part of that business. I pray that my strident conservative friends some day come to realize this fact.

5 responses to 86% of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’

  1. 

    Lots of good data to mine there!!!
    I’d love to see where you got the stat that religions spend 90% of their money on ” curb appeal”. If it is true- then why has that happened? Why do people leave religions who focus their mission on the poor?
    Reading the stats- the strident conservatives are 12% of the population- while the solid liberals are 15%. I think you don’t hear as much about solidly liberal talk shows because the President doesn’t mind them :) Just hit cable to see them!
    Only 40% of solidly liberals are proud to be Americans?

    One of the facts I thought interesting is that the three groups who brought in over $100,000 a year were the Business conservatives (28%),Next generation Left (23%) and the solid left (22%). The group that brought in the least >$30,000? Skeptics – considered left in this poll- (56%) Faith and family left (45%). The two most likely groups to even participate in the poll? Very liberal and very conservative.
    I don’t disagree with the stats. I usually fall into the liberal groups with the answers to my questions. I am always just wondering why?

  2. 

    Thanks for the questions Janette. I wish I had kept the source of that info but it escapes me right now. I think it was from a Barna Group Study. Here is what I learned just googling around today.

    I ran across one post by the SBC (southern baptist convention) that mentions the goal of giving to charity causes should be 25% but they realize that this is a very lofty goal for the vast majority of their churches.

    Here is something about the Catholic Church in America:

    http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=1a685537-b674-462d-9189-21772d2f4be4

    ———————
    The church does not release financial data, but a lengthy report by The Economist last year said annual spending by the Vatican and church-owned entities in the U.S. alone was about $170 billion in 2010. While there are no hard data about the U.S. Catholic Church’s annual revenue, Slate puts those spending numbers into some perspective — noting that in fiscal 2012 Apple (AAPL) had $157 billion in revenue and that only 16 companies have more than $170 billion in revenue.

    The Economist estimates that … $4.7 billion to national charities.

    The church is also the largest charitable organization in the U.S. Its main group, Catholic Charities USA, along with its subsidiaries, reportedly has a paid staff of more than 65,000 and serves more than 10 million people. The Economist says it distributed nearly $5 billion in aid to the poor in 2010, with nearly two-thirds of those funds coming from state, local and federal government agencies.
    ——————————

    So, if these numbers are correct then the Catholic church spends about $10 billion of their $170 billion (6%) for charitable causes. But even then that number includes the salaries of the staff doing the giving. The tax exempt status of Catholic churches causes a loss of twice that amount in State and Local taxes.

    Church budgets and spending is generally a very hidden process. One of the reasons it is so low is because a big majority of local churches are small in numbers (<200 people) and they spend over half their giving just to the pastor and most of the rest to the facilities. Being a past member of a local small church council I can attest that way less than 10% was given by that church. They paid their pastor very well and almost all the rest went to the mortgage, insurance and utilities…

    • 

      I guess I wonder how you feel people are best ministered to. Did your pastor only work with your congregation? Did he never visit the sick or prisons? Was your church only used once a week for Sunday services? Were all of your congregation well off and never in need of help? Besides that- do you feel that it was a waste of Christ’s time to sit in the Temple and teach? Do you feel that people who do charitable works or God’s work should never be paid? I know many people in ministry and only the “televagelists” seem to be getting rich off of the congregations.
      I think only taking the Catholic Charity budget as the entire ministry of the Catholic Church is rather…well..silly. It must be a long time since you have been in a Catholic parish. Maybe you should go and check one out- the people- not the building.

  3. 

    After reading the article that your quote came out of (http://www.economist.com/node/21560536) I would say most of the Catholic Church money is going to the few hundred people in the sexual abuse cases.

  4. 

    I really don’t care to get into this area too deeply on this blogsite Janette. If you want to understand more about my feeling of the church you might want to browse the 500+ posts over at RedLetterLiving.net. Having said that we don’t really know how much is going to the sexual abuse cases since spending by the Catholic church, and most others are pretty well hidden from review