All the hype going around Paul Ryan’s racially coded message about the supposed ‘laziness’ of inner city men (you know who he means) and how he tried and failed to clarify his comment only to reveal that he’s more of a prick than we thought, it has prompt articles to put his right wing elitism in check. One of them is an article at Mother Jones by Erika Eichelberger through a commenter named Verveina that debunks the top ten poverty myths that conservatives and liberals latch on to as excuses not to do a damn thing for the struggling working class.
1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.*
2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.*
3. Black dads are the problem. Among men who don’t live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids’ lives.
4. Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.
5. If you’re not officially poor, you’re doing okay. The federal poverty line for a family of two parents and two children in 2012 was $23,283. Basic needs cost at least twice that in 615 of America’s cities and regions.
6. Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household had a bachelor’s degree.**
7. We’re winning the war on poverty. The number of households with children living on less than $2 a day per person has grown 160 percent since 1996, to 1.65 million families in 2011.
8. The days of old ladies eating cat food are over. The share of elderly single women living in extreme poverty jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.
9. The homeless are drunk street people. One in 45 kids in the United States experiences homelessness each year. In New York City alone, 22,000 children are homeless.
10. Handouts are bankrupting us. In 2012, total welfare funding was 0.47 percent of the federal budget.
*Source: Analysis by Dr. Laura Tach at Cornell University.
Many upper class people have no idea what it’s like to work for little. Some are born into the high lifestyle, and are spoon-fed myths about poor people and meritocracy while living in their six to seven-figure homes in gated communities, sheltered from the harshness of poverty. Since they have power and privilege, they have more of a say in government. Some of them happen to be politicians themselves. And so, not only is poverty largely ignored, but it has gotten worse with the rich getting richer, even through underhanded criminal methods.
So, why is it when you help the poor, it’s considered a ‘handout’, but when you help the rich, it’s called a ‘bailout’? Is this economic Darwinism we’re seeing? Considering how the government has yet to punish the wealthy penny-pinching crooks that dumped the economy in the toilet seeing as how they’re “too big”, I guess you’re more likely to land in jail stealing $3.00 than $200 million.