Two old white guys were sitting, sipping coffee. I know it sounds like the beginning of a joke and in a way, it is.
I had stopped into Dunkin’ Donuts for a slurp of caffeine and while I was waiting for my morning drug, these two guys — at least in their 70s — were complaining about what they had just read in the paper.
“Do you really think this health care change is going to help the poor?” one asked the other.
I slowly moseyed over closer to hear their exchange.
“Hell, poor people on welfare have it easy,” said the other one. “That guy in here the other day was talking about his new washer and dryer.”
If I weren’t fascinated by their meanness, I would’ve piped up, “That’s terrible! Poor people want to wash their clothes; what has this country come to?”
It got better. “In Hawaii, a family of four makes more than they need to survive on welfare. There’s no reason to work; they just stay lazy and keep taking money from big government,” one guy said to the other.
Being a recovering journalist, I instantly knew these codgers were repeating some false factoid they heard via some right wing “news” outlet. It had all the code words they love; welfare, lazy, big government, Hawaii. I’m surprised they didn’t toss in Benghazi, ACORN, the Second Amendment or Big Bird.
I made a mental note to investigate when I got home.
There they sat, grousing about how the poor have it so good on their governmental handouts. I started surmising — and I don’t recommend surmising on an empty tummy — these two guys were probably retired, receiving both Social Security and Medicare benefits. Now, there’s not a shred of empirical data to suggest that they receive any aid from the government. They just, you know, looked the type. I don’t want to profile them, but they fit the bill. You can never trust two old white guys sitting, drinking coffee. They’re always up to no good, right?
I should say right here that I have nothing against old white guys. Some of my best friends are old white guys.
On and on they yapped. Being too much of a scaredy cat, I grabbed my frozen coffee and exited the building without making eye contact … you just never know.
When I got home to my trusty search engine, I plunked in the Hawaii statistic and voila, there it was. With only a few clicks I discovered they were quoting a study funded by one of the Koch brothers. His “think tank” did some wonderful mathematic trickery and made some very odd assumptions. Then they included the taxes that maybe wouldn’t have to be paid and on and on, gymnastic flip after flip. So by my logical conjecture, one of the richest guys on the planet thinks Hawaiians shouldn’t do laundry.
And now that I’ve written it on the internet, you can say “I read it somewhere.”
People are calling BS (not on my laundry claim, but on the original study). Forbes says it utilized “shocking bogus methodology.” If that weren’t enough, they say it’s “complete, unadulterated nonsense.”
But sure enough, the study was repeated as fact on that right wing channel. And once it was there, those people — the two old white guys — sipped their coffee in sublime supremacy, knowing that their own personal governmental handouts were far better than some grass-skirted Polynesian’s.
My days as the captain of my high school debate team are long over. So I had no stomach for confronting this gang on a Sunday morning. Plus, you never know, people dressed like that were probably packing iron … a three iron, that is.