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Alaska's Joe Miller Has an Idea About How to Help the Poor: Make them Poorer

This post originally appeared on the Washington Monthly. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska, who announced late on Friday that she's seeking re-election as a write-in candidate, appeared on CNN yesterday and offered a hint about the kind of message she'll be pushing over the next six weeks. Republican nominee Joe Miller, Murkowski said, is pushing "some pretty radical things.... He has taken an approach that is just, plain and simple, more radical than where the people of the state of Alaska are." She specifically referenced her opponent's desire to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Around the same time, Miller appeared on Fox News and reiterated his opposition to Social Security and Medicare, preferring a system in which he "can put my money where the government can't steal it." What's more, host Chris Wallace noted new data showing 43.6 million Americans living in poverty, and asked the extremist candidate how he would go about helping them. Miller replied by talking about a national debt he considers "unsustainable." So, Wallace asked again about what Miller would like to do, if anything, about the tens of millions of Americans in poverty. Miller complained that Americans have "an entitlement mentality" that includes a safety net. The would-be senator wants to replace the entire system of government as it currently exists, and create a system more in line with his interpretation of the 10th Amendment. In other words, when Wallace asked what Miller would do in the Senate to look out for the interests of poverty-stricken American families, the answer was surprisingly simple: nothing. Indeed, that may be giving Miller too much credit. Given that he wants to do away with unemployment aid altogether, and those benefits saved millions from poverty, Miller actually wants to increase the number of Americans living in poverty. Did I mention that Miller is currently the frontrunner in a U.S. Senate race this year? And he enjoys the backing of the entire Republican Party establishment?