Professional Golfer Very Concerned With Laziness of "Non-Working Americans"

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The most important thing to remember about Paul Azinger is that he is not a professional politician, okay? He is not someone trying to sell you a bill of goods, or some Congressman on the take from special interests, or some bureaucrat leech drunk on tax dollars and slinging a $480 stapler at the Department of the Interior or whatever. Okay? Paul Azinger is a citizen, and a payer of income taxes—federal, not state, since he lives in Florida—and a man who won 12 titles on the PGA Tour, and has been on the PGA Tour for 29 years. He is also a co-author (of books like Zinger: A Champion's Story of Determination, Courage and Charging Back, which is about Paul Azinger and all the things in the subtitle) and an active Twitter presence.

But the most important thing to remember about Paul Azinger is that he is a taxpayer, and that he is tired of subsidizing—with his golf and co-authorship—a nation of dependents. So he reached into his golf bag, pulled out his Truth Wedge, and started taking some divots out of political correctness.

QED, pal.

Where is Azinger getting this stuff? Well, from the general conservative ether, where this particular concern for the lucky duckies—47% of the population in 2009—who did not make enough money to have to pay federal income tax is not at all a new thing. Neither, presumably, is the concern in the nation's professional golfer community that there are people out there, doing very-little-to-nothing all day—or at least very little that contributes to the common good—while somehow earning heroic amounts of money for it. Often, after dinner at Corey Pavin's house in Palm Beach or wherever, the room will grow quiet as everyone seethes inwardly at the stubborn indolence of the poor people who...actually, let me rephrase the "poor people" part.

Nice to see Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely weighing in on the situation, as well. But to the point, smart-asses, Azinger does indeed have a source. It's a study by the Heritage Foundation, one of the more popular sources for things like this. In many ways, it's a classic Heritage Foundation study, as it combines intentionally opaque data points with faintly academic language and hilariously un-academic talking point dudgeon. Federal aid programs—defined here to include everything from unemployment to Social Security to Medicaid to Medicare to Pell Grants to federal food and heating subsidies, among many others—are identified in the study as "federal dependence-creating programs." Which does, to be fair, sound more academic than "lucky duckies."

The usual outrage zones were stimulated in the Twitter conversation that followed, with Media Matters scourge Eric Boehlert jumping into the mix and Azinger adamantly defending himself against the charge that, when he said "non-working Americans" he meant anything other than the 67 million Americans who simply choose not to work, instead accepting government subsidies that, per the Heritage study, average out to more than the average per capita disposible income.

Who are these non-working Americans, besides the old and sick and people who work jobs that pay so poorly—for instance, the people waiting tables or working other low-wage gigs near Azinger's home in Bradenton—that they still qualify for things like Medicaid and SNAP? Well, they don't work all kinds of jobs, and live in all kinds of places. But you probably won't be surprised that Azinger knows where they hang out, mostly.

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