Politics

This Jason Chaffetz Photo Proves He Still Doesn't Understand Poverty

July 25th 2017

By:
Ethan Simon

Jason Chaffetz has a vendetta against iPhones. Either that, or he's demonizing the poor for political gain, again.

Chaffetz is a former Utah Republican congressman who recently left Congress to pursue a higher-paying job as a Fox News contributor. Apparently, he's gearing up for his new job with his latest Instagram post.

On his Instagram Tuesday, Chaffetz posted the following photo:

 

NYC Times Sq 6:53am streaming video on a phone

A post shared by Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) on

It included a simple caption: "NYC Times Sq 6:53 am streaming video on a phone." The implication appears to be that this homeless person ought not have a cell phone.

The backlash was swift and biting on the social media platform. People were quick to criticize the post with very candid comments:

Jason Chaffetz Instagram

Chaffetz attempted to clarify the post in a comment he posted on the picture, writing, "I posted this pic to make people think. I stated just the facts. It is sad and I want to help, but the decades old 'war on poverty' is not working. As a conservative we must address these issues with compassion, open minds, innovative solutions, and a true desire to help. Liberals can yell and scream but they are not working to solve the problem. Conservatives, let's take a deep breath and help those in need help themselves."

To this one person responded with the following comment: "thecombatnurse@jasoninthehouse you posted this pic to cultivate hatred of the poor, which is why you're a perfect fit at Fox News."

It's not the first time he's shamed poor people for using smartphones.

In March, he caught a lot of heat for alleging that low-income Americans are choosing iPhones over their own health care. In a conversation with CNN's Alysin Camerota, he said, "Americans have choices, and they've got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care."

Of course, health care costs a lot more than a phone.

According to the Washington Post, the most expensive iPhone only comes to $800, while "[c]onversely, a year of individual insurance coverage on the open market will run you about $393 per month, or $4,617 per year."

But wait, there's more.

Chaffetz, who upon leaving the House of Representatives, claimed that representatives ought to get a stipend to pay for housing in the D.C. area. "I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress. In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress," he said in an interview with The Hill.

That's right, he actually supports housing assistance — for members of Congress, that is. There's some merit to the idea that there shouldn't be a monetary barrier to entry for citizens who want to serve in Congress.

Perhaps, most importantly, smartphones aren't a luxury.

It's a crucial rung on the ladder out of poverty. Cell phones are a portal to the outside world. For many low-income Americans — particularly, those without homes — a smartphone represents their only internet connection. However, these phones are not luxuries — rather they're necessary tools in our modern economy. The reality is that in 2017, an internet-enabled phone is probably the best tool one could buy for finding — and keeping — a job.