Sen. Roger Katz knows how to darken a sunny April morning. There is nothing like a dose of ideological bile to sour one’s morning coffee. If people read “Democrats sing Groucho Marx song about welfare reform” in the April 3 newspaper, and they’ll see what I mean.

Katz, R-Augusta, uses the tired trope of the “undeserving poor” to rebuke House Democrats for voting against L.D.1820, a bill to put the screws to poor people. Democrats did the right thing by voting against this ill-conceived initiative.

Katz issues a challenge: “I have mentioned this bill to at least 20 people, and I am still looking for the first person to disagree.”

This is a challenge that shouldn’t be ignored. Katz may feel invulnerable politically because of his clever triangulation of policy questions; but in this column, he betrays his true colors. Does he increase his own political vulnerability in the process? That depends on what people do.

Katz’s attack on TANF recipients is a cheap shot that scapegoats the poor at the expense of all working class people, the vast majority, if not the 99 percent. Solidarity with the poor, not scorning the less fortunate, is the way to prosperity.

There are no undeserving poor, for no one, regardless of their circumstance or their position in life, deserves to be poor. The problem that we face is the problem of poverty, not imaginary layabouts. If the senator is really interested in finding people who take more than they give, he should search his own demographic.

Katz is looking for the “first” person to disagree with him. Please, let’s not make the first person the last. Let’s give him a response that will last through to his defeat at the ballot box in November.

Chris McKinnonAugusta

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