Picture of Ebenezer Scrooge at Disney's "A Christmas Carol" train tour
We tend to think of Dickens fictional Ebenezer Scrooge as the character epitomizing miserly behavior.
Today in real life that dubious distinction belongs to the Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives by those who have bought into Ayn Rand's concept of individualism and selfishness while depicting most people as slackers that contribute nothing to society; a philosophy that somehow equivocates giving a hand up to people in need is tantamount to their taking advantage, getting something for nothing, pulling a fast one that exacerbates their dependency on the government.
But it's mean spiritedness of the worst kind and seemingly the supreme contradiction of Christian belief that has taking care of the poor and needy as being most Christ like.
From here if you asked those Repubs whether they were Christian they would probably answer in the affirmative. Yet their un-Christian, twisted logic toward those most in need is shown bytheir readiness to cut food stamps and cut off Federal unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted their state benefits.
And what's especially onerous is the way they go about it. They simply don't act. As budget deadlines approach and the funding must be renewed, (in this case for Federal Unemployment benefits), they simply let the deadline come and go.
That is what is about to happen when the House adjourns on December 13 for the Christmas holiday so shortly after Christmas some 1.3 million will lose their federal emergency unemployment benefits. How's that for "scrooge" like behavior.
As for food stamps they're indirectly tied the renewal of the multi year farm bill with the Republican controlled House wanting to limit food stamps BEFORE they'll agree to the new farm bill legislation. Call it farm bill blackmail with potentially 4 million tossed off food stamps as part of their agreement.
But before casting the Repubs as simply soul-less let's be fair. It not just the Republicans in the House and even the Senate, it's also most of the Democrats in Congress that contribute to overall Congressional dysfunction.
In fact that dysfunction and the attendant partisan, political controversies we witness have been purposely built in to the system, serving as a useful distraction away from the corporatists who exercise control of the country, the office holders whose campaigns they underwrite, get them elected to do their bidding as well as control the all important political agenda that serves their benefactors corporate interests.
The Congress is simply a handmaiden to the moneyed interests that control them.
So do the big banks and other financial interests that underwrite Congressional campaigns care about food stamps and unemployment insurance? How about the armaments industry, insurance, big Pharma, private health care, the oil and gas behemoths? They all could care less about what Congress does or doesn't do relative to the people and their interests.
That's because the interests of big money always prevail and are taken care of by their Congressional sycophants who enact the laws and regulations and provide the lax oversight and enforcement so their benefactors always get their way.
So for the moment we see ongoing Congressional controversy, government shut downs, fights over tax increases for the rich and presently the current inaction over food stamps and unemployment insurance with all the attendant squabbling from both sides of the aisle.
In a functioning democracy these problems and issues affecting real people would be taken care of fairly quickly and responsibly because the representatives the people nominate and elect would be there to represent the people's interests, not the current system that serves only the big moneyed interests that could care less about the people.