Oh. Chuck Asay is actually a woman.
Don’t believe me? Look at panels 3 and 4, look at the ‘Lazy, No-Good Bum’s. Tell me it’s not reminiscent of how The Onion’s Kelly will insert himself into his cartoons and not even try to hide it. Clearly “Chuck” is dissatisfied with how her husband won’t get off his ass to go looking for work and instead she needs to take on second shifts at the plant to pay the bills.
But beyond this revelation, it’s an interesting glimpse into Asay’s thought process. From panel 2 on we’re told that these people aren’t making enough money, and Asay leaps to the conclusion that this will lead to a cradle to grave social net that will sap people’s incentive to work.
What Asay doesn’t do, however, is question at all why these people aren’t making enough money to support a single-worker household. And it’s probably because s/he knows the answer: corporations, those vaunted, holy job-creators, have systematically cut wages, cut benefits, closed down factories and manufacturing plants, and done everything in their power to strip unions of power. The reason both parents in panel 2 need to work is because the husband’s salary did not rise in accordance with inflation. Or maybe he was laid off a year or so before his pension would have kicked in and replaced with a fresh-out-of-college kid earning a fraction of his salary.
And who did that? The government? The liberal nanny state Asay will heap any and all blame on with even the most tenuous of logic?
No. It’s the companies that employ these people. They set the terms, the salaries and benefits. They hold all the power in this relationship. But Asay and other conservatives are invested in the idea that corporations are overtaxed, over-regulated, helpless before unions and the government.
But they know that in reality companies have, for decades now, waged a war against the middle class, robbing them, for all intents and purposes, of the American Dream. The house, two cars, sending their kids to college. All unattainable, and it’s not because taxes are high or regulation makes it impossible for corporations to exist. It’s because the people running the companies want to keep more and more money for themselves. A greater portion of the wealth is held by a smaller group of people. This is a fact. It is known, it is undeniable.
And Asay et al try to reconcile this fact with their belief, the belief they need so desperately to hold onto, that corporations and the rich are the ones being persecuted. Even though it makes no sense, even though the facts are against it. And the easiest thing for them is to just ignore the inconvenient facts. The people in panels 2-4 don’t make a living wage from one job, so Asay ignores the reasons for that and instead turns towards the worst-case scenario that comes from this situation.
Because that’s the only way forward for Asay: head down, blind to anything that conflicts with their ideology.