Friday, November 8, 2013

A Poverty of Poorness

I remember hearing about poor people when I was a kid, sixty years ago. My grandmother told me something about people who had to pick the grains of corn out of horse manure for food. Later I realized it was something alleged to have happened during the Civil War. Some people who lived nearby were called "poor," but I understood later that they were just shiftless, and the members of the family who actually worked weren't poor at all. The poor ones seemed to live on some combination of charity and government relief, and were always sitting on their porch or wandering around the neighborhood.

Directly or indirectly, though, a fear of poverty was instilled into me, and I've never been without some kind of job or another — It just felt uncomfortable not to be employed — and I was also terrified at the idea of borrowing money for anything or even considering credit. So fear of poverty kept me from being poor, I guess. I have plenty of relatives who never had a problem with quitting a job before they found another, coasting for awhile on unemployment, and buying all sorts of toys and things on credit. I came to see that I had counterparts who actually made as much money as I did, or even more, but still were regarded as poor simply because they spent it all and borrowed more. Needless to say, I was kind of expected to "help out" people like that, especially relatives, because I was "lucky enough" to have a job when they didn't.  Actually, I was willing to do work that was beneath them, and prudent enough not to spend everything immediately.  So much for luck.

White liberals, bless their hearts, are all pretty much solidly middle-class or better, incomewise, so they have enormous compassion for the people I'm talking about, the ones who don't like to work but who love to spend, and look at me askance when I suggest that maybe they wouldn't be so damn poor if they behaved more sensibly. That just shows how insensitive I am. And that's with my own relatives, never mind my callous attitude towards the poor of other, disadvantaged races, who also prefer consumption to labor. I owe them some of my money because, hey, I haven't spent it and they want it. If they're criminals, that just proves how much they want/need it.

Gavin McInnes is skeptical about these poor people, too, and thinks their predicament, and their very existence, have been exaggerated:

The Myth of Poverty

Some rich brats at Salon were recently bitching about the “GOP-shredded safety net” they claim has forced moms into the workplace. In a typical example of bourgeois naiveté, they assume it’s the libertarian lack of government that’s keeping us poor and tearing apart families.

This is false for at least three reasons. One, the government can’t create wealth. It can only make people poorer. Two, the poorest we have are single moms, and it’s the left that glorifies that lifestyle, not the right. And three, the poor aren’t even that poor.

Despite a hundred years of evidence that big government equals big losses, people still think that welfare works. Even many Republicans say tax dollars were well spent in FDR’s New Deal, despite the fact that Reason exposed how it made conditions worse for blacks. Work and government are diametrically opposed. The less work they do, the more jobs we have.

One of the only sane responses to my insistence that women would rather stay home was, “Yes we would, but we can’t afford it.” We’re told families need two incomes to stay above the poverty line. Why? You’re already paying rent for your place. Add another person in there and all you need are more groceries. And if you don’t eat shitty food, groceries are still pretty cheap. Judging from the size of your average American poor person, they’re not exactly starving to death. As John Stossel asked in a recent episode, “So our biggest problem is that our poor eat too much?”

When we think of true poverty, the famous picture of the migrant mother in the Dust Bowl comes to mind, but today’s poor look more like Honey Boo Boo’s mom. They live in big houses or subsidized apartments. They play video games. They watch TV on a massive screen and they stuff their faces.

I grew up middle class in the suburban 1970s and our lifestyle then would be considered dirt-poor today. We had one black-and-white TV, one phone, and no air conditioning. If you check the welfare lineup today, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone living under those conditions. We had one car while growing up and my mom used it once a week to go get groceries. When my jeans got a hole in the knee, she’d iron on a patch. We only got presents on our birthday or Christmas and if it was something big like a bike, you’d be delirious with gratitude.

Being a single mom whose man walked out on her is about the worst financial situation a family can be in, but Democrats and the liberal media consistently turn a blind eye to the 70% single-parent rate among blacks and choose to sing “Sisters are doing it for themselves” instead.

I contacted a single mom in the Puerto Rican neighborhood next to mine in Brooklyn and asked her how much welfare money she gets. She told me she gets $400 a month, but the state handles 90% of her rent and food stamps handle about the same percentage of her grocery bills. She claimed she had to clean the occasional apartment for extra cash and I took her word for it that there was no extra boyfriend income feathering her nest. She told me it’s a myth that women get lots of money for having kids, as the state only adds $125/month per kid. She said scamming among other single moms was rare but admits she’s seen a few who get up to $800 a month in food stamps. This sounds like a dumb way to scam the state until you realize many will exchange the food for cash. Many Dominican moms use their stamps to send barrels of food back to their homeland.
(Getting exciting, no?  Read the rest HERE.)

1 comment:

  1. I grew up looking across the Rio Grande at Third World poverty and seen people in a poor nation advance themselves. Surely in America we can do the same. Oh, wait, the people of Juarez advanced themselves, not were helped up by politicians,
    Wrong expectation. Sorry.