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  Afro Inequality

The Voice of Inequality
economics (34K)

Now that poverty and the poor in America have finally gotten some attention, there is currently a brief window of opportunity in which the poor can be heard. A chance to dispute and query the ideologies of the rich and prosperous and to maybe draw an inkling of understanding from them and what it is like living beneath then shadows of their success.

The popular mentality of the prosperous in this country is that they are the ones supporting the poor through government taxes that pay for programs to assist the underprivileged. Programs such as welfare, Medicaid, childcare and the like. One prime example of this mentality comes from a well-known critic of such named Bill O'Reilly of Fox news. He is quoted as saying:

O'Reilly"Hard-working Americans are providing the poor with Medicaid, food stamps, supplemental security income, that's free money, child nutrition programs, welfare payments, child daycare payments, temporary assistance to needy families, foster care, adoption assistance, and health insurance for children."

Mr. O'Reilly and those who share his sentiments - which number in the millions - have taken a great burden upon themselves by supposing that it is they who are supporting poor people directly out of pocket, but nothing can be further from the truth. In theory it sounds logical but in reality it is simply not true.

The prosperous [and the poor] pay taxes for many, many things the government does for the country and at most 2% goes to the well being of the poor, the rest goes mainly to military expenses, research, roads and highways, schools, environment, business regulation and much more that make-up the great America. However, the prosperous would rather believe, from the depths of their vanity, that they literally take care of poor people, but self-flattery only goes so far.

History proves that every governmental system has its flaws. For instance, while aversion toward the rich is considered by many (mainly the rich) as a weakness of socialism - which has a more humane ring to it - indifference toward the poor is the flaw of capitalism, which reeks with the stench of greed and selfishness.

Poverty would not be a problem if certain things were not a common practice and necessity of capitalism. Many people in society are faced with challenges that are more difficult to overcome than others, simply because no one has a choice as to who or in what conditions they are born. Thus proving that poverty has no preference as to intellect or personality.

Yet, intellect and personality - and might race be added - are of the most prominent variables in American capitalism when attaching the rules of success to individuals, especially where it pertains to race. When the prosperous speak of poverty and the underprivileged, of whom are they mostly implying...Blacks comes to mind first because this is the persona that American capitalism has created for the American poor. Thus, when animosity is shown toward the poor, it automatically attaches itself to Blacks, Katrina being a prime case in point.

Government laws, bureaucratic policy of banks, educational institutions, utility companies, employers, health care and many more economic engines of American society apply stringent rules to survival year after year making survival that much more difficult. Wage rates are never in line with cost of living, (a necessity of capitalism) thus, the working poor are always one paycheck away from poverty.

When any prosperous person speaks of coming from a poor family or having a modest beginning, it does not mean the same as the struggles of the working poor or the poverty poor. If a person is born to a middle class family and works toward success, they have no knowledge of what it means to live in poverty thus can never criticize the poor for their plight. When they do it is a blasphemous act against God's poor children.

Nevertheless, when a person is born into poverty, meaning housing projects and welfare checks, they face more challenges, not only of economic proportion, but of human ones also, of reaching and accomplishing hopes and dreams, a natural human instinct. And though some make it out of extreme poverty, they are only a small percentage.

Now if the poor are to survive from the basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter, and never go into debt and refrain from possessing the modern conveniences of American life, such as big screen TVs, cell-phones, cable TV, expensive cars and SUVs, fashion or of the like, they are still faced with everyday challenges of living and survival.

Extreme laws, policies, and legislation imposed on society hurt the poor most of all, in addition to social stigmas such as racial stereotyping, profiling, and personal discrimination. In turn, if the poor cannot meet the rules honestly or manage to slide by social stigmas, they are still faced with jail time or fines and penalties that drain any free finances they have leftover from working.

Car insurance, environmental regulations and taxes are some. Another is late fees of any kind, interest rates, taxes on food, higher gas prices, parking, tolls, school fees, clothes and supplies, and many unexpected cost like car maintenance or accidents, hospital and doctor visits (especially without health insurance), family deaths and illnesses, and any other unforeseen misfortunes of life.

The credit system is a sure hindrance. Credit companies prey on everyone regardless of income level. Some companies will approve loans knowing the applicant cannot make the payments, but to assure the company money and the applicant debt. The health care system charges outrageous fees for service. Banks and many other utility companies and businesses charge interest like there is no tomorrow. All this adds to the struggles of people, the rich and the poor, only the rich and prosperous have the income to better meet these challenges in addition to enjoying the fruits of modern conveniences.

Well, according to the ease at which the rich would suppose life is, they would suggest education and hard work for the poor, which sounds logical and could work, but this is where social profiles, personal and institutional discrimination comes in. In the educational system, the justice system, banking, health, and economic structure of America, there are factors not favorable for Blacks.

This is a fact that many "poverty pundits" simply refuse to face. And this is what keeps poverty alive, the refusal to face reality and a choice to live in denial. Furthermore, logic ask, how can one succeed in a society that is discriminatory toward the ones attempting to succeed?

Mixed with the arrogance of self-flattery and the supposition that the rich carry the poor, the problem of poverty will never subside simply because the indifference multiplies by reason of animosity for a supposed obligation. Thus, if one has animosity for the poor because they believe they have to support them, then they will refuse to do so, yet under false pretenses. Such is the case with Bill O'Reilly.

He has told the people they foot the bill for the poor implying inconvenience and bringing animosity toward the poor. So to exercise what they would believe is tough love, they push for legislation that would do away with programs that supplement the poor believing it will give incentive to the poor to work harder. As logical as it may seem on paper, the actual logistics of it create a cycle powered repetitively by social racism and classism, and because society and times change.

As long as employers pay just enough to get by, corporations are pacified by the government, and the dynamics of social discrimination and racial profiling are common practices in America, then poverty will continue as always and the rich and prosperous will always bare the burden of the poor, so get used to it or put a stop to it, but do not blame the poor.

© by CR Hamilton


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