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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Feb 9, 2018

The so-called “able-bodied” are now everywhere among government antipoverty programs, Republican officials claim. But, as Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz write in the New York Times Upshot, this term has long been a political as well as a moral one, dating back centuries to the 1601 Elizabethan poor law, as a proxy for separating the “deserving” from the “undeserving.” To unpack the 400-year history of the term “able-bodied,” Rebecca talks with Emily Badger. Next, on the same day that President Trump releases a budget that is expected to—yet again—slash nearly every program that helps workers and families make ends meet, to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, fast-food workers will be staging a massive walk-out in Memphis, calling for higher wages and union rights. Protesters will be marching along the same route as the sanitation workers' strike that, 50 years ago, brought Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated. Rebecca speaks with Cheri Honkala, an organizer with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, one of the groups behind the march, about her long history of civil disobedience to fight poverty—and her early years as one of the founders of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union back in the early 1990s. But first, Jeremy Slevin, aka The Slevinator, returns with some choice words for Sen. Rand Paul’s government shutdown.