S.C. Republican’s Plan: Starve the Poor So They’ll Stop “Breeding”

Poor people are like stray dogs and cats, says South Carolina’s Republican Lt. Governor, Andre Bauer. If you feed, them, they’ll just come back for more–and worse still, they’ll multiply. That’s why it’s a bad idea to give them free food or other forms of public assistance. 

At a forum in Greeneville on Saturday, Bauer, who is running for governor, told the crowd:

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.

In a later interview with the Columbia, S.C. newspaper The State, Bauer “said he could have chosen his words more carefully,” but that doesn’t change the fact that “South Carolina needs to have an honest conversation about the cycle of government dependency among its poorest residents.”

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, those “poorest residents” include 190,000 children. South Carolina is the 37th worst state when it come to child poverty, 45th worst for infant mortality, and 48th worst for low birth weight babies. Perhaps Andre Bauer can have an “honest conversation” with them–if they aren’t too hungry to talk.

Bauer, who has risen in state politics as a Christian conservative, was immediately attacked by his Democratic opponents for the governor’s seat:

“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,” said Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod, who participated in a candidates forum in Columbia along with Bauer Saturday. “… Bauer’s comments are despicable and the total opposite of the Christian values Bauer espouses.”

Those “Christian values” were much on display back in June of 2009, when Bauer was rumored to be pressuring Mark Sanford to resign after the governor declared his love for his Argentinian girlfriend. (According to state law, Bauer would have replaced him.) Bauer denied the accusations–and at the same time, attacked rumors of another kind. In the week after the Sanford scandal broke, The State reported:

In each interview, Bauer has not called for Sanford’s resignation, saying it’s not his call. But at times, he has subtly turned up the rhetoric.

During an interview Monday, Bauer, who is a bachelor, voluntarily brought up the subject of his sexual orientation, which he said has been the subject of rumors.

Asked, then, if he’s homosexual, Bauer said: “One word, two letters. ‘No.’ Let’s go ahead and dispel that now.

“Is Andre Bauer gay? That is now the story,” he said. “We’re a long way from where we were a week ago.

“We have diverted what the real topic should be here: Is the governor capable for carrying on the duties for which he was elected?”

14 responses to “S.C. Republican’s Plan: Starve the Poor So They’ll Stop “Breeding”

  1. Pingback: Waldo Jaquith - links for 2010-01-25

  2. Stefan Thiesen

    I shall only quote Wikipedia here as a comment:

    “Psychopathy (pronounced /saɪˈkɒpəθi/[1][2]) is a personality disorder whose hallmark is a lack of empathy”

    I wonder how many clinical psychopaths and sociopaths are in leadership positions. As the saying goes: a person who wants to have power should not be granted any access to it.

  3. Venita Benefild

    Most poor people r poor not bcause they choose to, but bcause of a big disadvantage of obtaining the same oppotunities & jobs as a certain race…I was raised from a family that recieved public assistance & foodstamps, i felt the struggle of everyday life. I was determined to provide my family with better opportunties in life. When i raised my 4 children i needed food stamps 2 compensate my income 4 a few years. I was finally able to find a job that i no longer needed the foodstamps…Yes i am one of the people that got laid off from GM BECAUSE OF GREED & FREE TRADE! The few people that do need help r from families of drug or alcohol abuse that can’t get out the cycle. They need help not abandoment! Shame on u ANDRE BAUER!

  4. He’s right. The fact there are 190k starving children proves him right. You feed poor people and the multiply. They have multiplied to the tune of 190k children they cant feed. This is an extremely simple, logical, albeit politically incorrect conclusion to draw from the available data.

  5. This is in addition to my previous comment. If you can not afford to have children and raise them properly, don’t have them. I do realize that people have basic biological need (sex) but the main thing that separates us from all other animals is out ability to plan for the future. Vasectomy’s are cheap, almost free when compared to raising one kid.

  6. @Ben

    Oh – from a strictly biological point of view he is rig. But what you call politically incorrect is a statement that in MY country could get you in front of a criminal court. In MY country our constitution begins with the words “The dignity of man is untouchable”. Vasectomy… forcing parts of the population to not have children for political or monetary reasons. These are arguments en par with Chinese or even Nazi Germany policy.

    But beyond this: based upon your logics I would not exist. Because when my brother and I were born my parents had nothing. Later my father became a master craftsman and a successful entrepreneur, he is now a retired contractor owning 30 condos. I hold 4 University degrees including a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. According to you I would not exist. My youth by the way was happy one, and I learned, that there are more things on Earth than material possessions and money. And according to you, the vast majority of mankind would not exist – including, for example, President Obama. Including your very self, because unless you are an offspring of a centennial old line of rich European gentry, with all likelyness there will have been a lot of very, very poor people among your progenitors. Ben – your horizon seems to stretch form one pay check to the next and your world view and beliefs centered on dollar notes and bank accounts. That doesn’t get us anywhere.

  7. First, I never said force people to have vasectomies. I said they are much cheaper than having kids. What I said was that if you can’t afford children don’t have them. If you want children but don’t want to pay for them, forcing others to pay for them for you is what I would consider evil. And the idea that paying poor people to have children will reduce the number of poor children is just insane.

    Children are extremely important and not something that should be undertaken lightly. After working at Wendy’s for a summer I found that most of the women there (16+ years old) were nothing but baby factories. They put no though into having children and the older ones had spent most of their adult lives pregnant. They essentially treated the kids like pets. And they worked and Wendy’s, they had no way to support one child let alone 11 (not even kidding). But they expected the government to pay for the children for them. And frankly speaking these people were dumb as dirt. And I can guarantee that most if not all of their kids will be dumb as dirt and have a ton of kids working at Wendy’s. This is called the cycle to government dependence. MAYBE one of the kids will make it through college. And people wonder why the gap between the rich and the poor is growing. Of the “smart” people that I know (mostly engineers) they have a couple of kids and wait until they have a stable income and housing to support these kids. They think ahead and save money BEFORE they have children. Then they can afford to send their kids though college so the kids can….so on and so on.

  8. Stefan Thiesen

    Okay Ben – sorry then about the vasectomy part – I only felt that your wording was pointing in this direction.

    Otherwise I am sure your description is accurate. The first question that comes to mind is WHY are the girls you met at Wendy’s “dumb as dirt”? Do they lack intelligence, genetically (then it is not really their fault), or did they simply never have the chance to get proper schooling (well – in this case it also is not really their fault)? Please note I am writing from a Eruopean point of view. Here it does not depend on the wealth of your parents whether you can go to a good school. We have lots of first generation refugees in Germany, who came from Asia or Africa with nothing, and who’s kids went through prep school and college smoothly. They can only take the chances they are offered. Highschool is for free here, University is basically for free, healthcare until age 18 is for free – what it does is stabilize the social situation. We also have teenage pregnancies, but they are relatively rare, and if it happens, the girls are taken care of by social workers who aid them through their daily life, help them to further their education and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And usually it doesn’t. These are investments that pay off.

    The phenomenon anywhere in the world obviously is, that poor and uneducated people tend to have the most children. Which is a problem. The question is how to cope with this problem? The European answer mainly is: reduce poverty, increase education. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it seems to work far better than just giving people money or basically leave them to cope alone (which, again, here on my side of the Atlantic would be unconstitutional, because the state is obliged by the constitution to protect children and families).

    I also tend to look at the issue in a larger context. You simply cannot go about in Africa, Latin America or Asia and tell families to stop having children. But it is known that the better off a population is, the fewer childern are born.

    It is a complex issue, but Bauers expressions are dishonorable and entirely lack empathy for the individuals in question.

  9. Well put Stefan Thiesen. It’s a shame that the US is infested with right-wing extremist calling themselves Christians

  10. Some people are soooooooo spoiled. I think the people need to reevaluate who they elect into office, if they don’t feed stray animals and they seem to like expensive shoes, make-up, top of the line suits, and expensive ties, you better take notice. If someone in jeans and a t-shirt runs — you probably have a REAL person in office. You are asking for trouble when you vote in money hungry people.

  11. @Anne: One of my favorite quotes points to the same direction. Confucius said “He who is ashamed of simple clothes and food is not yet ready to have a say…”.

  12. @Ben–You are not a monster, you are a realist. The Bill of Rights does not contain the “Freedom to Breed”. One of these days, we are going to need to have a realistic conversation in this country, not about race, but about CULTURE. Over 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. Over 35% of black children live in poverty. We have had affirmative action for “minorities” for over 40 years. Perhaps we are trying too hard, and trying to make the proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Unless and until that CULTURE changes, we will continue to have a huge number of people in this country who are not equipped with the basic intellectual talent to compete in the world of “higher order” jobs, and all of the educational spending in the world is not going to change that.

    Unfortunately, “liberal” seems to be a synonym for “naive”. Why can’t you go around Africa, Latin America and Asia and point out to them that their lives are horrible and that their kids lives will be horrible unless they do something about it, like having fewer kids.

  13. @Goerge: Explain to me why we do not have this problem – at least nowhere nearly to this extent – in the wellfare states of the European Union, where “the poor” are fed rather well? Neither does the problem seem to be a major issue in Japan or Singapore, both well off Asian wellfare states. Here in Germany a family with with two long-term unemployed adults and three children all in all gets about US$2500 / month. The vast majority of all children complete school and get a higher education, either a college degree or a three year apprenticesship leading to a technician level or artisan profession. Around 90% are eitehr graduates or otherwise trained professionals. Another interesting fact to note: despite paying high social wellfare and relatively high wages for “lower” jobs, Germany is one of the most efficient and productive countries of the world. Wages are an issue. The Supermarket chain “Lidl” in Germany for example pays about US$ 16 per hour for a cashier. This means a cashier can actually live a decent life with this one job. Motivation is an issue. In the US people are not motivated because their work is not valued – because THEY are not valued – while the big crooks always get away.

  14. @ Anne, I completely agree with you. Electing a money hungry imbecile into office to run our country is asking for trouble. This country has really almost hit rock bottom. And the sad fact of the matter is if we’d all work together on the main issues maybe something would get done. Instead of worry about the almighty dollar, maybe these so called leaders could lead this country out of the hole it is sinking into.

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