Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Crime of Being Poor

It is unfortunate that the social welfare programs the United States has in place are called entitlements. This tends to give the perception that those who benefit from such programs are lazy folks who just want to receive money without putting forth any effort to themselves.

There have been and always will be those that will take advantage of these programs without making the effort to get off them. The vast majority who have used these programs, including Joe the Plumber, have used them during some tough periods in their lives. I used them and was able to go to college. If someone like myself receives a Pell Grant to go to college, that is a very small investment made by the American people in which significant gains were made.

I'm just one of millions who were able to go college because of Pell Grants. I'm just one who needed the low rent of Section 8 housing. I'm just one who needed food stamps after being laid off at one time and because of Hurricane Katrina.

America's investment in me has paid-off. I make a good salary. I pay taxes on my home, car, income, etc. In short, those entitlement programs have given me the opportunity to become a productive citizen. There are millions like me across the country.

Like many others, I know I'm just a paycheck or two away from financial disaster if I should lose my job, become ill, or suffer from a car accident. I know that because of the current economy, I could end up homeless, just like Henrietta Hughes.

"I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," Hughes told Obama Tuesday at a town hall rally in Fort Myers, Florida, as he pushed for passage of his stimulus plan in the Senate.

Henrietta Hughes spoke to President Obama. She is living in a car with her children because she lost her job. Many right-wing bloggers attacked her.

Blogger Michelle Malkin, in a story on the conservative Web site on Wednesday, said that if Hughes "had more time, she probably would have remembered to ask Obama to fill up her gas tank, too."

Each day, the news reports that more and more jobs are being lost. How many will end up like Henrietta Hughes and be forced to live in a car with her children. Her story is becoming too common. Michelle Malkin's comment is heartless.

Bruce Bornsby & the Range
The way It Is

Standing in line marking time
waiting for the welfare dime

'Cause they can't buy a job.
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes

Just for fun he says: Get a job.
That's just the way it is
some things will never change

That's just the way it is
but don't you believe them.

They say: Hey
little boy
you can't go where the others go

'Cause you don't look like they do.
Said: Hey
old man

how can you stand to think that way?
Did you really think
about it before you made
the rules?
He said: Son -
That's just the way it is
some things will never change

That's just the way it is
but don't you believe them.

they passed a law in '64
To give those who ain't got a little more

But it only goes so far.
Because the law don't
change another's mind
When all it sees at the
hiring time is the line on
the color bar.
That's just the way it is
some things will never change

That's just the way it is
that's just the way it is

1 comment:

Jack said...

Some people spend too much time ignoring how close to the edge they are. A lot of us could end up falling off the side.

Sometimes the help is viewed as a hand up and not a hand out. There is a difference and far too many people ignore that.