Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah, R): “Americans have choices…they’ve gotta make a choice. Rather than getting that new iPhone that they love and they wanna spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.” Translation: “Poor shiftless Americans, many if not most of whom are non-white supporters of Democratic causes, have a long history of living louche, indulgent lifestyles that are fiscally irresponsible. 47 years ago Guy Drake, a great American, pointed this out when he wrote and recorded a popular folk song called ‘Welfare Cadillac‘, the lyrics of which still resonate today. Cadillacs, iPhones…the poor have to learn to show a little discipline and do without the luxuries.”

From “It Is Expensive To Be Poor,” a 1.13.14 Atlantic piece by Barbara Ehrenreich: “What I discovered is that in many ways, [low-level entry] jobs are a trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for child care or take a second job. And in many of these jobs, even young women soon begin to experience the physical deterioration—especially knee and back problems—that can bring a painful end to their work life.

“It is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which — in addition to its nutritional deficits — is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor — especially with children to support and care for — is a perpetual high-wire act.”

“Welfare Cadillac” lyrics, written by Guy Drake:

Well, I’ve never worked much
In fact, I’ve been poor all my life
I guess I really own is
Ten kids and a wife

This house is a lived-in mine
But it’s really a shack
But I always managed somehow
To drive me a brand new Cadillac

Backdoor steps
They done fell plum down
Front screen door’s off and laying
Somewhere out there on the ground

Wind just now whupped another piece
Of that old tar roofing off the back
Sure hope it don’t skin up that new Cadillac

Front porch?, they’re loose at the bottom
It don’t make no sense to fix them
Cause that floor just too darn rotten

Wintertime, we sometimes have some snow
That blows in through the cracks
It gets too bad, we just all pile up
Sleep out there in that new Cadillac

I know the place ain’t much but
I sure don’t pay no rent
I get the check the first of every month
From this here federal government

Every Wednesday, I get commodities
Sometimes, four or five sacks
Pick em up down at the welfare office
Driving that new Cadillac

Some folks say I’m crazy
And I’d even been called a fool
But my kids get free books and
All them there free lunches at school

We get peanut butter and cheese
And, man, they give us flour by the sack
Course, them welfare checks
They make the payments on this new Cadillac

The way that I see it
These other folks are the fools
They’re working and paying taxes
Just to send my youngins through school

Salvation Army cuts our hair and
Gives us the clothes we wear on our back
So we can dress up and ride around
And show off this new Cadillac

But things still gonna get better yet
At least that’s what I understand
They tell me this new President
Put in a whole new poverty plan

Why, he gonna send us poor folks money
They say we gonna get it out here in stacks
In fact, my wife’s already shopping around
For her new Cadillac