From The State:
GREENVILLE – Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has compared giving people government assistance to “feeding stray animals.”
Bauer, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, made his remarks during a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn that included state lawmakers and about 115 residents.
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” Bauer said.
In South Carolina, 58 percent of students participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program.
Bauer’s remarks came during a speech in which he said government should take away assistance if those receiving help didn’t pass drug tests or attend parent-teacher conferences or PTA meetings if their children were receiving free and reduced-price lunches.
Later in his speech, Bauer said, “I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina,” adding, “You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s there, period.
“So how do you fix it? Well you say, ‘Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.’”
And if you don’t give anything back, then your kids can starve to death.
GREENVILLE, SC (WIS) — Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is defending his comment which compared government assistance programs to “feeding stray animals.”
[...]Bauer’s comment drew nationwide controversy and criticism as soon as it was reported. On Saturday, Bauer defended his remarks at a gubernatorial forum in Columbia.
“There’s no way that I was trying to tie animals to people, but what I was trying to talk about is the dependency culture, and just like when you feed an animal, you create a dependency,” he said.
South Carolina’s Democratic Party chairwoman doesn’t buy Bauer’s explanation.
“Andre Bauer’s crude utterances once again reveal his immaturity and poor judgment,” responded Carol Fowler. “Bauer is a bachelor who has never once had to worry about feeding a child of his own. His notion of punishing children by not feeding them because their parents missed a PTA meeting flies in the face of basic South Carolina values.”
Fowler agrees that parents need to be more involved, but that parents should be educated by the school system to do so.
Democratic candidates have also come out to speak against Bauer.
State Superintendent Jim Rex says Bauer should apologize, stating “if his intent was to blame children, who are not responsible for their own predicaments … it is regrettable.”
Candidate Mullins McLeod said, “It amazes me how some Republican politicians claim a monopoly on Christianity and then go out and say and do some of the most un-Christian things imaginable.”
“I really think it’s deplorable that people are making this so political when they don’t have the backbone to find any solutions or any ways to change, just keep it the same,” said Fowler.
Here’s an idea–South Carolina can adopt Bauer’s idea, but he has to personally tell each kid face-to-face why s/he doesn’t deserve to be fed.
From Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (blog):
Apparently, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer believes that we should try to starve the poor out of existence. Deprive them of food and they will cease breeding: Problem solved, neat as that.
For the moment, though, let’s set aside the pure viciousness of that statement and address what Bauer claims is his larger point. In effect, his thesis is that government assistance actually causes poverty because it subsidizes and encourages irresponsible actions.
Cut off those subsidies, in other words, and poverty will decrease.
In some circles, that’s a politically popular explanation for the problems of the underclass. So let’s take it seriously for a moment and try to test that analysis against what we know to be reality.
The first problem is history. Human poverty has existed in every culture and era, without exception. It is a constant of human existence, a pre-existing condition, so to speak. No matter what Bauer chooses to believe, government did not create it. South Carolina, for example, was mired in deep poverty long before school-lunch programs and welfare programs existed.
Second, if Bauer were right, we would expect that poverty would be lowest in those nations that do nothing to “subsidize bad behavior,” and highest in those countries where the government support system rewards such behavior. Yet if you look around the world, the opposite is true. Poverty levels are highest in those societies that make little attempt to address it, and lowest in those that offer some form of safety net.
We can also test Bauer’s thesis here at home, by comparing states that offer varying degrees of support for the poor. A liberal Northeastern state such as Connecticut, for example, offers a more extensive government support system to its poor than does a conservative state such as South Carolina. Mississippi offers even less support to its poor than does South Carolina. Put in Bauer’s terms, Connecticut rewards poverty while South Carolina and Mississippi try to penalize it.
If Bauer’s thesis is correct — if government support causes poverty — then Connecticut ought to be drowning in poor people while Mississippi has relatively few poor people. Yet in fact the exact opposite is true, and Census Bureau figures prove it. In Connecticut, which “subsidizes bad behavior” most heavily, 5.7 percent of families lived below the poverty line in 2007, while 16 percent did so in Mississippi, where poverty was least subsidized. (The figure in South Carolina was 11.2 percent; in Georgia it was 10.8 percent. And all those numbers are undoubtedly a lot higher in 2010.)
Nor does government assistance encourage “breeding,” as Bauer so cruelly described it. It is demographic fact that in every culture and in every era throughout history, poorer families tend to have more children than affluent families. The presence or absence of government support has nothing to do with it. By the way, Bauer’s dismay is also nothing new; in cultures throughout time, the more affluent have always been dismayed by those “breeders” in the lower classes.
Bauer did offer one concrete suggestion in his speech, proposing that parents be required to attend parent-teacher conferences and take drug tests or lose government benefits such as school lunch programs. If they want government benefits, he said, they should be required to act responsibly.
To any responsible person, that instinctively sounds great, but let’s think it through. The population that Bauer is attempting to target are by definition not responsible. They are parents who abuse drugs or simply don’t care enough about their children to ensure that they get a good education. Is that population going to change its behavior in response to a possible cutoff of free school lunches? Sadly, no. If they responded to that kind of thing, they wouldn’t be in that predicament in the first place.
And if you nonetheless go ahead and deny a free or subsidized lunch to a kid whose parents are on drugs, what have you accomplished? You condemn the child to hunger and malnutrition, heaping another significant problem on his or her already overburdened shoulders. You reduce the incentive for that child to go to school every day, where at least he or she knew food was available. And you make people like Andre Bauer feel better.
And here are some tidbits for you, kids. André’s real name? Rudolph Andreas Bauer. And he chooses to use André, accent mark and all. Not Andy, not Rudy, but André. Nah, he’s not gay.
Here’s the latest:
(CNN) – South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, under fire for drawing a comparison between needy people and “stray animals,” said Monday that he regrets his choice of words.
In a phone interview with CNN, Bauer, a Republican candidate for governor, said, “I wish I had used a different metaphor.” Bauer told an audience Friday that people receiving government assistance are like “stray animals” because “they breed” and “don’t know any better.”
“I never intended to tie people to animals,” he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: “If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?”
Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is “not against animals.”
Two things, kids. One, he’s not sorry for saying that we should be starving poor children; he’s sorry if it sounded like he was dissing animals. He doesn’t want PETA all over his ass, and since there’s no People for the Ethical Treatment of Poor Kids (PETPK), this should tamp down the criticism. Two, check out the pic with Tom Cruise. Nah, definitely not gay.