Tall boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a tool to provide greater force in pulling the boots on. The saying "to pull yourself up by your bootstraps" was already in use during the 19th century as an example of an impossible task. Bootstrap as a metaphor, meaning to better oneself by one's own unaided efforts, was in use in 1922. This metaphor spawned additional metaphors for a series of self-sustaining processes that proceed without external help. (Wikipedia)
Americans are generally big on self-sufficiency. Given the vast amount of wide-open, uninhabited land and the lack of services and assistance for miles around, you'd have to be. But that was back in the days of the "Wild, Wild West," when vast acreages were available to anyone with enough brass and grit and gumption and whatever other campy resource people had in those days, and when Native American tribes had yet to enjoy the economic benefits of reservation casinos.
Today, those days are practically over, and the tools used by countless Americans to better themselves and their families are slowly being pulled off the table. Meanwhile, increasingly poor Americans are being told to go "pull themselves by their own bootstraps." Which would be fine if the people being told this actually had boots to pull up -- those had to be returned back to Wal-Mart for food and gas money, just before the car was repossessed and the lights were cut off. Let's face it, people need help now and again. A social safety net could be the difference between them making it until they can get it together or falling through society's many gaping cracks.
Other nations across the globe have social nets in place to make the lives of the least among them a bit more bearable -- universal health care coverage, low-cost or no-cost public secondary education systems, unemployment benefits to keep those temporarily out-of-work from starving and rules on work hours and employee benefits to keep those employed from burning out. Of course, these things require taxes and quite a bit of regulation, two things that the Teabagger sect of the GOP and their lest strident conservative fellows strictly abhor.
Nations that don't have these social nets in place are usually the worst when it comes to livability for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Coincidentally, these nations are often the cheapest places for multinational corporations to set up production -- low initial start-up costs, lax or nonexistent regulations and a workforce that's used to a low standard of living, yet thankful for the low wages paid to them.
Now, you have to wonder why the Teabaggers and other conservative "low information voters" (LIV) would willingly discard workers' unions and other social safety measures for the sake of multinationals who see them as being just as expendable as their much-poorer Third World counterparts. The answer seems to be a combination of things that culminate in a perfect storm of general ignorance and willful stupidity.
The first seems to be a trait that's found in nations all over with strong social safety nets -- those nations don't mind having those as long as large numbers of the ethnic majority of that population are enjoying them. To wit, the Swedes don't mind other Swedes using their social welfare programs, but they become rather concerned when large numbers of Turks and other ethnic minorities start using them. The consensus is that the Swedes are generally known as hard working folks who'll put into the system what they take out. Meanwhile, those ethnic minorities are sometimes seen as lazy louts who take out more than the meager amounts they put back in.
The second involves conservative Americans and their reluctance to pay taxes for anything unless it happens to directly benefit them and their immediate communities. Many of these folks suspect that if they willingly vote in a tax increase, that increase simply remains permanent and the politicians will simply burn through the money like a coke fiend on payday. When the coffers are dry, the politicians will go back to the people for another hit, ad infinum, until the tax base becomes too broke to pay anything and the entire system collapses. Most people have little to no trust in politicians other than the representatives of their districts, and even then, there's not much trust there.
How does the second relate to the first? Considering some Americans are already reluctant to pay taxes on things they don't use or think they don't need, they're really hesitant to pay taxes to fund things that benefit other people. Or better still, other ethnic groups.
This is where the "Cadillac-driving welfare queen buying filet Mignon with her EBT food card" meme comes in. It's something designed to tweak the color-arousal in certain folk, with the intent of whipping them up in a racially-motivated frenzy without the need for any explicit racist speech. All you need to do is to tell Average Sam and the other LIVs that those "lazy blacks" don't deserve the unemployment benefits or the food stamps that are paid with your "hard-earned taxpayer dollars." Note how they personalize something that's already in the custody of the local, state and federal governments by the time you're staring at your paycheck stub. The company already deducted that money out of your check and remitted it to the government, but by golly that's still "your" money. Even though you have as much control of it as you do the seasons of the year.
That racial rhetoric not only works on blacks and Hispanics (those damn illegals), but also on poor whites. You know, those people who didn't work hard enough to be well-off like the rest of America and are, in effect, well deserving of their poverty. There's nothing that sets off well-off white American disgust than the sight of poor white trash.
The best way to tell those blacks, Hispanics and poor white trash you don't want your money going into their filthy hands is to tell them to, you guessed it, "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Nevermind if they didn't have boots in the first place - not your problem. They can go to a church-based charity and cop some well-worn boots. Did I mention how Teabaggers tend to be big on church-based charities supplanting welfare programs on a national scale? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but think about it - hundreds, if not thousands of churches doing the work of federal and state governments. The logistics of that would amaze many. The prerequisites that some churches would pose would insult many. (I'll get into my personal theories on "Faux Christians" and how they tend to treat others later on.)
The Teabagger types also support loosening regulations on certain industries, on the rationale that the stringent pollution laws hurt towns that'd rather trade clean air and fewer respiratory diseases for more jobs. Unions are considered a huge impediment towards corporate progress, since people really don't need the bargaining powers afforded to them by union membership and besides, union workers are usually lazy louts who are overpaid and make non-union workers making lower wages jealous. An interesting concept I've personally seen in regards to strident non-union attitudes is that of filial piety towards employers - if you do right by your employer (by making it as easy as possible for him to run his company), he'll do right by you and yours in return. Filial piety works in serf/lord relationships on manor farms, sharecropping operations and some small businesses. The Deep South tends to be stridently anti-union, in order to poach the jobs from up north, and generally fearful of establishing unions, for fear of running those jobs off to Mexico or China.
Add the generally crappy economic climate, lack of jobs and high unemployment rates, and you have a perfect storm of sorts that both corporations and Teabaggers love. People are scared shitless of leaving their crappy jobs or asking that their jobs be less crappy, for fear of losing said job and not being able to find another. So things like higher pay, better benefits, less brutal hours and lunch breaks that don't result in "eating on the fly" as you lack time to sit down for a few minutes are out of the question. Complains garner ridicule and the admonition that...you know. If you can't make enough money to pay ever increasing bills, bootstraps.
Aside from student loans, medical bills are a huge contributor towards debt. Unless you have a damn-good medical insurance plan or if you're wealthy enough to pay out-of-pocket without a second thought, the doctor's office is a wallet-screwing event. So people just wait until they have to hit the Emergency Room to deal with medical maladies. Universal Health Care could take care of all this, but you know, bootstraps. No one wants to pay for it out of their "hard earned taxpayer dollars." At least not the Teabaggers.
Teabaggers have a hard-on for cutting education costs. Instead of a low-cost or no-cost primary (K-12) and secondary education system that can keep scores of college students from lugging student loan bills from now until death, Teabaggers would rather defund those institutions in favor of charter schools and private institutions for the primary level and a mix of private institutions and corporate "DeVry"-type franchises that mint Associate's degrees like clockwork. Not that there's anything wrong with an Associate's, but these institutions have a bad rep for a reason.
No more public institutions, no more public financial aid. The main effect this will have on education is scores of students effectively priced out of the education market. Bootstraps. Private universities go back to relying on the largess of wealthy scions for continued operation - places like Harvard and Yale won't be hurting any. Scores of young Americans economically denied education opportunities either emigrate (if they have the funds) or hunker down for a life at a Foxconn-type factory somewhere in the Deep South. Bootstraps for all.
All the while, Teabaggers are completely oblivious to the fact that they're being used as pawns by corporate entities and other wealthy Powers That Be™ to achieve their goal of a U.S. that can operate at a cost parity with Chinese. Think about that for a second. These folks want the standard of living to sink until Americans can sustain themselves at the bare minimum with Chinese wages. And those wages may be too high, considering how some companies are looking beyond China in terms of lower wages. Sinking that standard means ripping out any and all social nets that artificially inflate the current standard of living, under the pretenses of "deficit reduction," "right-sizing government," "austerity" and "saving taxpayer dollars." You're not gonna see a single red cent of those dollars.
The people who want "their taxpayer dollars back in their pockets" won't keep a single red cent of it. Human nature dictates that any savings will go straight back into the economy in the form of food and other essentials, or a new bass boat for the "Fair Tax" yahoo down the street. Forget having a social safety net when you can take it out on the lake for some fine fishin' once a year, if you ever get enough off-time to get around to it. Unlike Average Sam, Wealthy Walt can afford to stack his tax savings back in his many interest bearing accounts, all the while living off of the interests he's accrued so far and only has to pay capital gains taxes on while making even more money.
I almost forgot - taxing the wealthy is a sacred NO, on the rationale that the wealthy among us are "job creators," and that higher taxes will only cause them to flee the country in search of tax havens and other locales that are more amenable to their wallets. High taxes will make the jobs go away, so you keep the taxes low enough to keep them happy and planted here in the U.S. of A. But you have to wonder how few taxes you can collect before you notice your national infrastructure going to pot. Imagine H.D. Woodson Senior High School on a national scale.
If you can't handle any of newer, leaner America's privations and austerity, then you should really pull up those bootstraps. Nevermind if you had to turn in your boots at the end of the day and walk back home barefoot. Privations, you know? Oh, and bootstraps.