Williams (1992, 1997) traces this since the 1960s to an organized right–wing campaign to portray those receiving certain government benefits as the “undeserving poor” with a clear subtext that these people were predominantly non-white.
Lo (1995) found similar subtexts in the tax revolt of the 1970s.
Hardisty (1999) writes about the cynical use of racialized caricatures of the “undeserving poor” as “mobilizing resentment” among the white middle class to build right–wing social movements.
The outcome has had devastating results for poor families and welfare recipients (Morgen, Acker, and Weigt 2010).
Hardisty, J. 1999. Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press.
Lo, C.Y.H. 1995. Small Property versus Big Government: Social Origins of the Property Tax Revolt, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Morgen, S., Acker, J., and Weigt, J.M. 2010. Stretched Thin: Poor Families, Welfare Work, and Welfare Reform. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Williams, L.A. 1992. The ideology of division: behavior modification welfare reform proposals. The Yale Law Journal (102)3, 719–46.
_____. 1997. Decades of Distortion: The Right’s 30–year Assault on Welfare. Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates. [Online]. Available at:http://www.publiceye.org/welfare/Decades–of–Distortion.html [accessed: 12 December 2012].
Mother Jones. 2012. Full transcript of the Mitt Romney secret video, Mother Jones (web only) [Online: 19 September] Available at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full–transcript–mitt–romney–secret–video#47percent [accessed 10 November 2012].
Producers v. Parasites
The Undeserving Poor
Makers v. Takers (Romney)