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True poverty.

November 1, 2008

I posted this in my personal journal. I got some pretty good feedback. A lot better than the usual anti-American, anti-Republican, and anti-McCain Palin crud I have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Okay, I guess I’m going to put some things into perspective. Let’s start with a basic definition.

pov·er·ty    n.
1. The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.

This isn’t intended to insult anyone’s intelligence or anything like that. I’m just trying to make sure we’re all starting out on the same page.

When I hear the word “poor” or “poverty” THESE are the kinds of images that pop into my head:

It’s frightening. Sad.

A far cry from section 8 subsidized housing.

America has what could be considered to be the wealthiest poor people in the world. Some people are born into poverty, some people fall into it. Some people work to get out of it, some people don’t have the motivation, hope, or desire to make that change and in few instances some people are content with it.  No matter how you look at it, there is a percentage of our tax dollars that is taken out to help those in need. To give them a hand when they don’t have anything. To help them get back on their feet. To make sure they don’t go without their every day necessities. To care for our most helpless citizens – children. Especially children who are living in poverty. It’s practically impossible to completely fail in this country.

We have government systems set up to make sure that our poor have housing, food, and access to medical care (at least for their children) in most cases. All of these come out of the taxes paid by working class folk. I’m not saying that’s wrong. It’s not wrong at ALL to help those who aren’t as fortunate as others.

Now, as I don’t have a problem with “lending a hand” to those who are in unfortunate situations, I do have a problem with the sense of “entitlement” that a lot of Americans have. The American dream is at stake, people. The American dream. To build a life for yourself, to have the ability to purchase nice things for yourself. To set your children up with the opportunity to live a life better than the life you built for yourself. You take it upon yourself to get a job, no matter what job it is, and earn money. Even if it’s not a lot, it’s a start. If you’re earning minimum wage, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a burger slinger, a dog walker, a waitress or a server, a childcare provider, there’s absolutely nothing wrong there. They’re all respectable occupations that need to be done by somebody. If you’re taking the steps to better your quality of life, you’re making progress. You can’t get anywhere in life depending on others to help you out. Third world poverty stricken countries don’t even HAVE these types of opportunities.

Now, like i said before, I’m not against helping out those in need. Single mothers. Children. The disabled. It’s hard to list everyone that might fit into the “poverty” category, but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make I guess it’s a start. What we SHOULD be doing is giving people incentives to get OFF of government programs when they don’t need it. Or, taking advantage of America’s giving nature when you can make it on your OWN, just not as comfortably as they’d like. It frees up money in the system for people who are even lower on the chain than others.

America is one of the most caring, giving, big hearted countries when it comes to helping those in need. We have homeless shelters for those who need it, our ERs don’t deny ANYONE service even if you have to pay for it.(Usually ER trips are billed to you or handled by insurance if you’re fortunate enough to have it.) We have companies like GoodWill that gives a percentage of it’s sales to the poor, we have food drives, clothing drives, and most local churches are set up with donations to help people. There are even tax incentives to get people who are better off to donate large items like cars, washers/dryers, and .. well almost any donation is a tax write off.

I see no need for socialism to come into play here in America. Sure it’s nice to think that we can make life equal for everyone, but by the same logic you need to balance the work load and desire to be productive as well.

uh… just a rant I guess. Go on. Let me have it!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2008 3:51 am

    It’s true that the US has very little of the feudal poverty you see in the Third World. It’s also true that any poverty is true poverty if you’re living in it.
    What is your point, exactly? That poor people in the US should complain less and work harder?

    Many of the people I’ve known in shelters and on the street here locally do in fact have jobs and work hard. Yet they cannot earn enough to get housed. “Working Poor” is not a contradiction in terms. Many people have to work hard in order to simply remain poor. Boilerplate and sloganeering will not change that.

    Are you offended by poverty, or are you offended by the poor? If the mere existence of poor people is an excuse to bloviate about “isms,” then you are using the poor to create political drama in your own life.

    Resentment is not policy.

  2. hahayouredead permalink*
    November 2, 2008 3:04 pm

    Well, let’s start off with one thing: I don’t resent the poor nor am I offended by the poor. In fact, I’ve been there and I NEVER had any right to complain about it. I knew that it would take work to make a change in my life. HARD work to get myself to that “comfort zone” and standard of living I had set for myself. So, I guess that would make me “working poor”. That right there voids your entire comment about resentment being my policy. Where you got that idea is beyond me.

    My point is that as a country, America is one of the most giving and caring when it comes to helping those in ‘poverty’. We don’t give our government enough credit when it comes to aiding those in need and sometimes a global perspective is important. I’m not saying our government aid programs are perfect, because I know they’re far from it, and the systems we have in place need some serious reforming. Not in the “spread the wealth” socialist kind of way, but in the way they budget and distribute the funds they already use.

    What I AM offended by is the idea of socialism. (oh no, not an ‘ism’) Now, not everyone is, but I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting on piles of cash, I don’t have health insurance, I don’t have the BEST job in the world, but I manage to keep a roof over my head, my bills get paid, and I live a relatively comfortable lifestyle. It hasn’t always been that way and yet, by the standards of the census bureau I’m “poor”. I’ve come a long way though, and I can see the importance of the decisions I make.

    Finally I’m starting to see some progress in my life and some serious lifestyle changes. I’m a partner owner of a small business that just started in my area that’s REALLY starting to take off. I’m finally thinking that all of the time and money(which we didn’t have a lot of) we invested in this company has been worth it, and the talks from Barack about “spreading the wealth” frighten me. I’ve worked REALLY HARD(along with my partner) and have made a LOT of sacrifices to get this company going, and the thought of someone taking from me, when I’ve done nothing but bust my hump to get out of “poverty” just makes me sick. Why would I want to take the steps to better my quality of life (while taking risks, investing money, and putting everything I’ve got into it) just to have someone come from behind me and punish me? That’s not the American dream, my friend.

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