One might ask: “WTF”? However, if you stop to think that Iowa is 91% white and that Santorum is targeting the Evangelicals and anyone else he can get to vote for him, his statement is not that shocking inside Iowa.
Santorum is obviously guilty of taking a page from Newt Gingrich’s talking points.
Speaking to Republicans in Iowa on Monday, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said his administration would reform welfare to the point that it would offer no welfare at all.
After suggesting that an expansion of Medicare is really just a plot to make voters more “dependent” on Washington, Santorum added: ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.”
“I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families,” he added. “The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.”
One thing he likely overlooked: white Americans account for the largest percentage of welfare payments each month, mostly because they make up the largest sector of the population.
Welfare is defined by the government as benefits funded by tax dollars, meaning that programs like Social Security, food stamps, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment and corporate bailouts all fall under that term.
What Santorum seemed to focus on, as many conservatives do, is that black people are disproportionately represented in welfare statistics, along with Latinos, as both populations have much higher rates of poverty than whites.
According to the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center, 27.4 percent of blacks and 26.6 percent of Hispanics were living in poverty in 2010, compared to 9.9 percent of whites. Unemployment statistics between the racial demographics are similarly skewed.
Despite the factually flawed nature of Santorum’s pitch on Monday, the underlying logic of his pitch is abundantly clear: census data shows that over 91 percent of Iowans are white, a community Santorum must desperately appeal to if he wants a win in Tuesday’s caucuses.
This video is from CBS News, broadcast Monday, January 2, 2012.
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- Santorum Surges, Romney Shrugs (slate.com)
- Ron Paul, Mitt Romney & Rick Santorum Headed for Photo Finish in Lily-White Iowa Caucus (themoderatevoice.com)
- Conservative divisions make Iowa hard to predict and a Romney nomination more likely (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Will Rick Santorum win in Iowa? – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Santorum says nation wants commander in chief (seattletimes.nwsource.com)