Normally, I don’t post petitions on my Facebook page. People know how to find causes they support without my help. But recently, I made an exception: a petition to Congress to pass the unemployment extension. As a child, I remember how important unemployment checks were to my mother and me during the lean times.
My petition hadn’t been posted long when someone countered: “Sure… Extend benefits but cut the funding somewhere else… It is insanity to think we can continue to pay for all this stuff!!!” A second reply soon followed. It suggested we cut the full salaries and medical benefits for members of Congress after they retire.
We all have our favorite ox to gore. Unfortunately, the poor, being the least politically savvy, are the first to be sacrificed. They pose no threat to the rest of us, so it’s easy to dehumanize them and blame them for the poverty they endure. They should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” is a phrase most often heard.
People who express this latter view assume that a paycheck will melt financial worries away. It doesn’t, as Nicole Goodkind points out in Yahoo Finance. http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/no–you-can-t-just–bootstrap–yourself-out-of-poverty-172104522.html. What’s needed is a living wage so that life’s necessities don’t remain luxuries. Owning a car is prohibitive for many who are poor, but so is public transportation. During World War II, my mother worked swing shift, her second job, at a small parts aircraft factory in California. Monday through Friday, I watched her disappear into the night – the thumb of her one hand stuck out, hoping for a ride because she didn’t have bus fare to get to work. Hitchhiking was dangerous. We both knew that, but she had no alternative.
Giving the poor a living wage makes them consumers and lifts our economy. Giving them extended unemployment when times are tough is a similar investment. In plain words, meeting the needs of the poor is good for the heart and economy of the country.
(Courtesy of www.squidoo.com)