PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, 9/13/13, 7:03 PM ET

The right’s insensitive war on the poor

Rev. Sharpton calls out the right wing pundits for their relentless attacks and attempts to portray the poor as lazy. Maria Teresa Kumar and Lehigh University's James Peterson join to discuss.

Fighting charges that welfare recipients are lazy and living the high life


Rev. Al Sharpton has harsh words Friday for the right-wing pundits who’ve been launching attacks on Americans living in poverty.

He specifically called out Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, for pointing to the fact that welfare recipients sometimes have cell phones, color tv’s, and even computers as a sign that they are living the high life and unmotivated. He was especially tough with Limbaugh for arguing that the reason only half of those in poverty have dishwashers is because they only eat fast food.

“These are not people laying around watching a big screen, having babies,” Sharpton said. “These are people that work everyday trying to make ends meet, and on top of their struggle, they have to be castigated and denigrated by millionaires with radio and TV shows.”

Sharpton pointed to the data to make his point. Noting that 76% of those receiving food stamps are children, seniors, or disabled. He also pointed out that 58% of those on food stamps who can work, do, and that 82% worked in the year before or after they were in the food stamp program.

“What I’m saying, if you want to argue, if you want to debate social policy, if you want to debate the safety net, if you want to debate big government, fine,” he said. “But why do we have to demonize people that are really trying to make it?”

“We’re not talking about people laying around watching flat screen TV’s, getting drunk, having babies, as they’re trying to depict them,” he said. “It’s inaccurate, it’s unfair, it is absolutely horrendous to me.”

Fighting charges that welfare recipients are lazy and living the high life