Really. I’m quite surprised to see that people are going so soft on the Mittster, saying that Romney inadvertently stated what he really believes. Mitt, like all Republicans nowadays, cares about the very poor very much. This is primarily for three reasons:

1) He needs the very poor to serve as the scapegoat for the Republican war on the middle class. “You” are getting screwed by Washington because it is giving “them” all your money. Who do you think “they” are?

2) Although Republicans have no serious plan to cut government spending, they always need to find something to cut, and that something is pretty much always programs for the very poor. Mark is right that Medicaid mostly serves people in nursing homes, but about one-third of it IIRC is for medical care for the poor. Guess where the cuts are going to come from. As a general budgetary matter, this won’t do much, but it will give Republican Congressmen something to celebrate.

3) And finally, Republicans need the very poor to serve as a lumpenproletariat to keep wages down. You don’t like working at minimum wage? There’s someone else who would. Now, that’s not completely true, because the GOP nowadays uses illegal immigrants for that, and then uses them to stir up anti-immigrant racism and cultural anxiety. But hey, that’s just multitasking.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Jonathan Zasloff is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.