We Idolize the Rich

We shame the poor, as if it was their fault, and Idolize the Rich, as if they were special because of the money they have.

In keeping with our public attitude towards poverty, many welfare and shelter workers humiliate the poor, using them as a scapegoat, rather than as people who need help, and are struggling to support themselves and their families. When making cuts in the federal budget, we allow cuts in funding for food stamps, affordable housing, health care, and education rather than corporate subsidies, and rather than increasing the taxes paid by the rich.

I have volunteered in a public welfare office.  I heard workers tell their clients that they had to live with a friend or a relative, whether or not this was possible. As the office closed, mothers and children were turned out on the street.

While I was volunteering, I played card games with the youngsters in the waiting room. I made sure to lose so they could have a winning experience. One mother said to me “My son is losing the game to you, isn’t he?”

“Oh no,” I assured her, “he has a huge pile of winning cards there beside his knee.” She was so discouraged that she assumed failure.

How do families manage when they cannot find enough work to pay for food and housing? When they can, they join relatives and friends, in overcrowded small apartments. They live in their cars and abandoned buildings. They live on stairways, or beside a bit of heat on the sidewalk. Sometimes they get temporary housing in a shelter. But they also work, and search for enough food and affordable housing.

In Massachusetts, our Senate has proposed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour. Please ask your senator to support this bill. Though this is not a living wage, it will help to keep people housed and fed. You can reach the Massachusetts Senate switchboard at (617) 722-1455.

Please support an increased minimum wage in your State!

Posted: February 22, 2015 in: Child Poverty

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