Typically I do not write on topics so divisive as politics but I think it is time to have a discussion about poverty and the need for a strong social welfare system in America. So I think some politics are in order for breakfast this morning. I was prompted to write on this after being reminded of how politicians railed against the so-called welfare kings and queens and how welfare was being abused on a large scale. The reality is that less than 1% of recipients committed fraud against the system. The vast majority of recipients are good, honest people in need of help.
Poverty is incredibly taxing on a society and places a lot of burdens on public programs. Poverty increases stress placed on human beings and may exacerbate mental illness in those suffering from it. Humans, like animals, are not meant to lead lives in constant levels of fear and stress. Stress is known to negatively impact judgement and decision-making. Poverty without support can cause people who would ordinarily not engage in crime, to do so. Why else is one of the most shoplifted items infant formula!? Mothers have a need to feed their babies and it is instinctual.
Another problem with poverty is that we have allowed our businesses and corporations to make it commodity. In every impoverished place in America you can find automobile title loan, cash for gold, and payday lending companies that charge predatory interest rates. These businesses thrive because there will always be somebody desperate that needs to pay bills or needs money for food because the existing systems are so means-tested and stripped down as to be virtually non-existent. The federal poverty level is purposely kept unrealistically at homeless levels so as to exclude the greatest number of people.
What do you tell the single working mother who is being responsible but still does not earn enough money to make ends meet? What about the mentally ill person that is struggling? Politicians tell them to work multiple jobs. Politicians tell them that they’re lazy and that they’re to blame for their own set of circumstances. I ask, “What does a politician do?” They have more paid vacation per capita than any other career. They have lifelong pensions and healthcare and would not know struggle if it slapped them in the face. I am sick of the hypocrisy and I hope my readers are too.
It is perfectly okay to want, need, and expect help from the government when you are in need. It is the government’s function to provide for the welfare of its citizens. Conservative Americans seem to want the government only to be law enforcement. It is not the government’s job to solely provide for public safety but public health and welfare as well. When we say these are entitlements, we mean that we are absolutely entitled as citizens of the United States of America to have strong social welfare programs. The entitlements need to end for the wealthy.