Sunday, May 8, 2011

ADDENDUM

I just want to post some additional comments about poverty in America.

My theory "pleasures of the poor" is that many poor people spend money as soon as they get it - on things that give them immediate gratification (TV's, cigarettes, booze). If they hold on to what little money they get or earn someone will quickly beg, borrow or steal it or their debtors will demand it in payment. They can't take what you don't have.

And this is the Republican/Tea Party agenda at work. The more I read, the more I am convinced that the insidious Aynrandian philosophy is at the root of Tea-Republican's plan to divest America of any and all compassion and care for neighbor. All that matters is the Almighty Dollar and the ability to acquire more.

Education needs to play a larger role in fighting poverty too, however. We need to teach children how to manage finances, how not to get ripped off, how taking care of their persons and property "pays off" and other practical skills.  

The wealthy corporations take ignorance into account in planning their schemes to suck people dry.  

It is true that pouring money into poverty will not eliminate it - but teaching and giving people the skills to fight back will.  Providing motivation will be the greatest challenge.

7 comments:

Trickle Down BS said...

So it should be of no surprise to anybody that Republican-Teahadists are intent on eliminating public education as well.

saludos,
raulito

Russ Manley said...

Well yes Frank, the Republican-Teahadist movement, as raultio so aptly calls it, is at bottom a cold-hearted and mean-spirited attitude. I got mine - to hell with you. God help us all if they ever come to full power.

But now I wish you would refine your theory of the causes of poverty a little further. It doesn't do to smugly blame the victims, as Sally Kern did a while back (http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/05/03/Kern_Gives_Tearful_Apology/). I lived in grinding poverty for a number of years, and I can tell you that beer and cigs and TV along with the occasional pizza were some of the small and readily available comforts that made a barren, difficult existence bearable.

Labeling people as sinners because they manage to get a little enjoyment out of life even when they are dirt poor is not very helpful, and would be unrealistic. The causes of poverty are complex and varied: education and social programs can help some people sometimes, but in fact poverty can happen to anyone.

Sometimes, as in my case, it happens through a string of tragedies and unforeseen, uncontrollable events. Which then takes many years to dig back out of. I was fortunate to be living in a time when the government made basic grants and student loans available, so that I could eventually get my education . . . although it meant living on peanut butter sandwiches and such economies as that for a long, long time. For a period of years, I couldn't even afford to buy shaving creme or deodorant. (In which case, you use ordinary bar soap and go a little heavier on the after-shave. Grin.)

There were also long stretches when I had no telephone, or went without electricity in the depth of summer because I simply couldn't pay the bill. It's pretty rough coming home to a hot, dark, silent house every day, let me tell you. So I like to think those awful years gave me a better character and a better insight into the vicissitudes of life.

But it's a nasty little twist in human nature to want to blame the unfortunate for the misfortune. And as you say, that is more and more the message these oh-so-holy Republican snobs are putting out. A very ugly attitude, and manifestly unchristian - but they don't care, do they?

FDeF said...

I hope I didn't come across as blaming the victim. I agree the issues are complex. My point was that those who prey on people only perpetuate the problems. while those who lack the skills are ill equipped to fight the oppressive system.

You found it difficult even with your education, skills and motivation. How much more difficult for those others. And to restrict the role of government in caring for its citizens bodes ill for all of us.

Mark said...

You know what's funny, I'm a Republican and I don't think of myself as cold-hearted or out for myself. Could I have been wrong all these years?
But don't worry about me, I love Liberals. In fact, I'm married to one. And he's French! They're the biggest Libs of all.
Your Friend, m.

Russ Manley said...

We are agreed then. That Republican let-them-eat-cake attitude is so 18th century, isn't it?

Cubby said...

Great couple of posts, Frank. I think the Teabaggers may be the most un-American group to disgrace this nation in a long time.

FDeF said...

Mark, I guess it's always presumptuous to judge people, let alone to judge based on labels.

But there is a common thread running through Republican Party platforms that can be construed as being preferential to the privileged classes and an attitude that all that is required is hard work, determination and perseverance to achieve the "American Dream".

Unfortunately there are those among us who, despite hard work, determination and perseverance never achieve the "American Dream" - a dream which includes adequate and sufficient health care, a living wage, and the ability to secure one's well-being in old age, among other things.

Are we to believe the American Dream has been a myth? Could I have been wrong all these years?

Raulito, a former Republican/Conservative, I believe, in his blog, can articulate it better than I can. See Trickle Down BS by linking through his comment, above.

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