During remarks at a fundraiser outside of Seattle, Republican congressional candidate John Koster derided people who had yet to achieve financial success, saying the government rewarded their “slothfulness and laziness.”
In a video obtained by ThinkProgress from a December 2011 fundraiser in Everett, Washington, Koster spoke frankly about government programs aimed at aiding the poor. Though he declined to single out individual programs, he said the system creates an “addiction” to government assistance by creating a “sense of entitlement.” “It seems to reward the mediocrity — dare I say it, slothfulness and laziness — of those who choose not to do those things,” Koster said:
KOSTER: Reform isn’t just taxing the rich, the very people by the way who create jobs. Our economic system has been the envy of the world for generations, but it seems to get more convoluted and more onerous every year. Under this administration it has become a system that punishes those who dare to dream, those who dare to invest, those who dare to work hard or succeed. It seems to reward the mediocrity — dare I say it, slothfulness and laziness — of those who choose not to do those things. Furthermore, it creates a dependency on government programs, even an addiction I would say, by virtue of the sense of entitlement that it creates. I can tell you, those people aren’t the 99 percent.
Such disdain for the poor has become increasingly common among conservatives, from Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments to the world’s richest woman saying people are poor because they’re spending too much time “drinking and smoking,” suggesting instead that they work for $2 per day.
During a fundraiser this summer, Koster expressed excitement for Paul Ryan’s selection for vice president on the Republican ticket, saying, “I love his message.” Ryan’s budget decimates funding for programs to help the poor, cutting services like Medicaid, Pell grants, food stamps, and job training by over $3 trillion.