Thoughts on poverty and homelessness in the U.S.A.

The real reason is this:

Well, actually, it’s not so simple.  I can’t reduce this concept to a sound byte.  Sorry, TV watchers.  But this is a complex idea and will need to be explained in two blog-writing sessions.  I have to go to “work” myself this morning, so I’ll just begin this blog here then continue it later on tonight or tomorrow…

I’ve had yet just another fellow American tell me that safety nets, such as welfare, encourage laziness, that there’s no incentive to work when someone is given everything he/she needs by the government.

Ehem.

This was a very nice person, so I was able to explain my point of view, though not very well, I think, because it is complex.  How do I explain a concept that a semester of college work could perhaps barely explain?  (Yes, I do think there should be Poverty Studies courses in college.  The neo-cons are against this sort of thing.  They dislike the liberal arts in general–contains the word “liberal” after all.)  But the liberal arts teach us to think about each other, about why we’re all really here on this earth, about morality, about ethics, social responsibility and social injustice.  Right now, especially right now, we need to be thinking about those things.  For all their talk about “Christian values,” the neo-cons are anti-morality.  Their only concern is themselves, their money, their material things, and, yes, their taxes.  They don’t like taxes!

Personally, I don’t like poverty and despair.  I don’t like human suffering.  That to me is a much more serious problem than paying taxes.

But there ya’ go.  I’m not a neo-con, neo-liberal, Republic-con, or whatever they call themselves these days.

(Disclaimer:  if you’re  a Republican, rest assured that I don’t want to hate you.  In fact, I’m trying real hard not to hate you.  I know that only a few of you are addicted to money, greed, selfishness and mean-spirited, rugged individualism.  Most of you just don’t have an understanding of what is really happening in this country.  You’ve been misinformed or uninformed.  Without an understanding of how governments and societies are formed and have been formed throughout history, how can you learn of what is happening in today’s world?  So you turn on that TV set–some call it an “idiot box”–and just hope for the best.  Sadly, you make the mistake of turning on Fox News.  Naively, you trust the misinformation you’re given as “fair and balanced.”  And, being uneducated in history, sociology, and human psychology, how would you know enough to do any different?)

So there.

When people say that poor people are lazy and don’t want to work, that safety nets just enable them to not work what they are really saying is that poor people are inferior to rich people and that poor people should not have the right to pursue their own happiness but that only rich people should have that right.

Case in point:

Why is no one attacking rich people for being lazy and not wanting to work?  There are many people who were born into wealthy families who do not have to work. Yes, that’s right, they have nothing to do, nothing that they have to do.  They don’t have to work because their families are so rich that they can literally live off of their parents’ money and never, ever work a day in their lives.  Some of them become very apathetic and bored.  They begin spending their money on drugs and alcohol in a desperate attempt to alleviate the tedium by creating some obstacles for themselves.  (Poor people drink to forget about the obstacles.  The mega-rich drink to create them.  Go figure.)

Yet we don’t attack the lazy and irresponsible rich.  Why?  Because they worked for it, you say?  No, I’m talking about people who were born with  money, who never worked for it.  (I need to repeat myself here and will continue to repeat myself over and over again on these blogs because, sadly, one must repeat one’s self in order to get heard amongst the chaos and shouting in this attention-deficit-disordered, fast-paced age.  So I’ll try to make this simple and repeat myself enough times so that, I hope, some people will “get it.”

Point is this:  if we value  hard work so much (and I’m curious about that too) why do we not attack wealthy people who are lazy and don’t want to work?

(Sadly, I must work and not at what I love to do or am good at. Perhaps one day I’ll earn a living from writing these blogs or from writing in general.  However, now I must go to work at a dead-end, low-paying job that will cause me to become homeless again soon because that is the only kind of work I’ve been able to obtain in this Land of Opportunity, the USSA.)  So I’ll continue this thought later…

Okay, I’m just going to add this thought before I go.  Here’s what I would do if I were collecting welfare and food stamps, if I didn’t have to “work” at a regular job.  I’d spend my days working on my writing, writing more blogs, practicing my guitar, making my videos.  Yep, I’d be working at the things I do best.  Maybe I’d be able to make a positive contribution to society.  Maybe I’d be the next Michael Moore and make films that enlighten, educate, that make other people think differently about their society.  Oh, I guess that explains why some wealthy, powerful people don’t want people like me to really “work.”  They want us to work at low-paying, dead-end jobs that support corporate America.  They just don’t want us to work at anything that will better ourselves and our community.  And often those are the jobs for which we don’t get paid in money.  No one pays me to write these blogs, to make my videos, to produce my music.  No one pays me.  Not a penny.  I don’t even get donations.  Perhaps I should solicit for them.  But right now I want to be able to speak my mind while I still have the right to do so.  Soon the government will send in agents to arrest people like me, to shut us down for good.  I already have reason to believe that I’m on some sort of terrorist-wanted list.

But that’s the way it goes…

And I will continue this later…

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Comments on: "there’s no incentive to work! why people stay on welfare (or remain homeless) for years and years… (hint: it’s not ’cause they like being poor)" (3)

  1. “They just don’t want us to work at anything that will better ourselves and our community. And often those are the jobs for which we don’t get paid in money. No one pays me to write these blogs, to make my videos, to produce my music. No one pays me. Not a penny. I don’t even get donations.” Just a thought: perhaps these hobbies are not beneficial to yourself or the community because they’re not earning money. It is not the government’s job to ensure financial security while you pursue your goals or participate in your hobbies. That is why it is called the “pursuit of happiness.” In an idealistic economy/society, everyone would have free access to these goals and hobbies and, without being crippled by a welfare system that forces and demands dependency on government rather than self, people would be forced to capitalize on their strengths and what they’re good at. But I appreciate your thoughts, just sharing mine.

    • Sorry, but I don’t follow your “logic.” You believe that my artistic endeavors are “hobbies” that are not beneficial to myself or the community simply because I don’t get paid money to do them? So the work that people do doesn’t count if they don’t get paid for it? Seriously? You seriously measure the value of other people’s work based on how much money they earn? First of all, you don’t know me personally so you’d have no way of knowing whether or not my so-called “hobbies” make a contribution. Yet you make that assumption. Interesting. You must be a Republican?

      Your comment is incredibly mindless, to say the least, and it is obvious that you didn’t give it much thought. I don’t like to publish trolls but your statement inspired me in a weird sort of way. Every once in a while I’m reminded of how ignorant some people are. For some reason, it continues to surprise me.

      Here’s a news flash for you (though I’m sure you’ll never hear it until it’s broadcasted on Fox News):

      People do valuable work all the time and receive no money for it. Your parents worked very hard to bring you into the world and to care for you once you were born. They did not get paid to do that. So, according to your “logic,” their producing you and raising you was not beneficial to themselves or their community. I suppose the Good Samaritan story also means nothing to you, as the Samaritan was not paid for rescuing the injured man. Perhaps, according to you, he shouldn’t have rescued the man as he actually took a risk in doing so. You obviously don’t value the work of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King or other great figures of history who’ve worked tirelessly, even sacrificed their lives, and for free, to make the world a better place. Alas, in your limited, narrow-minded world, people who don’t get paid for what they do just aren’t contributing…

      We don’t have a “welfare system” in this country, as the US provides very little in social safety nets for its people. If you did some reading on or spoke with people hailing from other countries, you’d know this. We’re suffering greatly because of it, and now the US consistently rates as one of the worst of all the wealthy, industrialized countries in terms of many things: quality of life, the status of women, economic equality, et al. While many Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, their financial security, etc., our government continues to budget cut social safety nets. This is a recipe for disaster. When people need help and don’t receive it when they need it their problems get worse and can become unsolvable. In fact, social safety nets empower people and give people the bootstraps they need to pick themselves up in times of trouble. My guess is you’ve never really struggled in life. All your life there have been other people available to help you and you wrongfully just take that for granted. This is typical. Lots of people take things for granted and forget that not everyone is as lucky as they are.

      A “welfare system” doesn’t “force” or “demand” dependency on government rather than “self.” Again, you’re showing profound ignorance of human nature and the human condition. We are all dependent on each other. Always. Striving to be a rugged individualist is futile. Sooner or later, we are all forced to realize that we’re connected and our reason for being is to help and to receive help from each other.

      Sorry that you’ve become so selfish and ignorant. I’m sorry for your soul. I’m sorry for the souls of others who must live with you, interact with you, be with you on a regular basis. I wonder why you felt the need to post a personal attack on my blog. You left a fake URL, of course. Trolls always do. You make a claim to yoga. Perhaps you need to read about the yogic philosophy. Yoga was invented over thousands of years by probably millions of people–none of whom were paid money to develop this healing art. Yoga has done so much good for so many people. Yet its inventors did not profit financially from creating it. (Though there are people today who are attempting to patent yoga and charge people outrageous fees for practicing or attempting to share “their” yoga.) Frankly, I consider that to be a form of stealing. And it goes against yogic philosophy. But then again, we are forced to listen to so-called “Christians” who demonstrate their hatred for Jesus by attacking everything he stood for and using his name to do it. BTW, Jesus got angry when money was exchanged in the temple. Jesus was homeless. Jesus worked for free.

      No, you don’t appreciate my thoughts. In fact, you never even considered them. I don’t know you but my guess is you don’t give much thought to anything. Nor are you “sharing” your own thoughts. Rather you’re just spewing out more propaganda you’ve gotten from Sean Hannity or Fox News. If you really spent some time thinking about today’s state of affairs and perhaps studied it carefully you might have some genuine thoughts to share.

      But right now you’re just an ignorant troll shooting nonsense out of your…uh…your…well, I won’t type it. You can use what little is left of your imagination to think of the proper word.

      So you think that right now my responding to your mindless comment is a “hobby”? That it doesn’t benefit me or the community? That I’m asking the government to ensure my financial security, blah, blah, blah?

      Aw, that’s a shame. Wonder why you spent time on my site and felt the need to type in a comment–especially for free? I take it you haven’t been “forced” to depend on the government yet?

      Is it the government’s job then to “ensure financial security” to large corporations and billionaires while they “pursue their goals and participate in their hobbies”? The US government has been providing tax breaks and incentives as well as bailouts to encourage companies to outsource labor to third-world-countries. Our government regularly meets with business leaders to discuss their needs. I suppose that is okay with you though.

      I suppose you own a yoga studio. Are you incorporated? If so, then I guess you think it is the government’s job to ensure your financial security by protecting you as a corporation? Companies incorporate so that they won’t be held responsible, so they can escape lawsuits without shutting down. But while corporations are now considered people, we the people can’t incorporate ourselves and escape accusations of wrongdoing.

      If you teach yoga then my guess is that you have the luxury of making a living doing what you love to do but you would deprive others of that right and demote their “loves” as mere hobbies simply because they don’t make money off of them.

      Because, as the saying goes, as long as you are doing well, everyone else can go to… well, wherever. Let them eat cake! Caring about your fellow human being is socialism after all! Don’t be a socialist! Eat cake instead! Preferably the chocolate kind…

      And for what it’s worth, I personally would not pay you to teach me yoga.

  2. Saw your amazing comment here:

    http://blog.koldcast.tv/2010/koldcast-news/15-famous-people-who-were-once-homeless/

    so thought I’d check out your blog. Inspiring stuff!

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