Don't fret, American poor people! Turns out you're living better than "the rest of the world," according to Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul.
Responding to an attack from Democratic nominee Jack Conway at a candidate forum yesterday, Paul tried to defend his past statement that the president criticizing BP is "un-American." Paul launched into a spirited defense of "the engine of capitalism," and worried that assaults on it -- like the criticisms of BP from Conway and his Democratic friends -- could lead to a "day of reckoning" in the U.S., and perhaps a Depression.
This somehow led to a lesson Paul said Kentuckians should hold dear: Sure there are "problems" with the way America deals with the poor, but when they think about it, poor folks should thank goodness they're not stuck in one of those other horrible countries.
"The poor in our country are enormously better off than the rest of the world," Paul said. "Doesn't mean we can't do better, but we have to acknowledge and be proud of our system of capitalism, be proud of our American way."
How'd he get there? Paul told a little story about the Cold War to set up his argument that the poor have it pretty good in America when you really stop to think about it:
One of the important lessons that came out of the Cold War -- and this is an important description that I don't think comes up enough -- the Cold War was won by America because the engine of capitalism defeated the engine of socialism. The Soviets used to show a propaganda film -- they wanted to show how horrible America was and how our poor were doing so poorly. They filmed a building in the poor section of New York with some broken windows and they said, 'Oh this is how the poor in America lives.' But it backfired on them because the Soviet citizens looked at that video closely and they saw flickering color television sets in all those windows.
So, the takeway: Don't worry, freezing poor people with broken windows. At least you've got color TV.
Watch the video (the Engine of Capitalism stuff starts at 26:38):