Keith Barnhart: Quit blaming the poor for so many problems
FACT: Nine percent of your tax dollars goes to aid those who cannot provide for themselves. Best-guess estimates claim out of THAT 9 percent, 3 percent was paid out to fraudulent abusers of government assistance.
So if you paid $100 in taxes, $9 went to welfare, and roughly 30 cents went to abusers. I don't like people abusing the system any more than you do. But even with the abuse, I have to ask how many of them fudged information because, even with assistance, it still wasn't enough to survive. But I digress.
Bill Mahr recently had a panelist, an ex-Republican congressman, who was complaining about how the lazy and the abusers are bringing down the economy. (Of course the average congressman only works 2.5 days a week, factoring in the multiple vacations and federal holidays, but I'll let that slide for now.) I only highlight his ignorance because I am hearing or reading about this everyday by a conservative, a tea party member, or a Republican.
People who got ill, or lost a limb, or have hungry children, or folks whose homes got illegally foreclosed, or their job got eliminated or shipped overseas, did not cause our deficit, yet alone the scant 3 percent out of those folks who are scamming the system.
There is massive waste and abuse in a lot of government programs, but those funds don't go to aid those in need. So you won't hear much about the abuse of those programs, simply because there'd be no one to blame except the lawmakers who enacted them and/or the croneyed-in recipients who prosper by them. Members of Congress could never start pointing the finger at themselves. Their sustained "credibility" demands always blaming someone else, ALWAYS.
The easiest of targets have historically been the weakest, enslaved or impoverished. Then, the easily suggestible buy into the rhetorical hype because it's being spewed to them on a daily basis until they finally believe. So now, you can go to any political forum on the web, or turn on FOX, and hear, everyday, someone complaining about the poor. The media folks in general are rarely brave enough to question our own SERVANTS, whom we pay for, the real questions about war profiteering, tax cuts for the super rich, or corporate welfare, each of which take more of your tax dollar than the lowly welfare abusers.
You'd think if this was such a problem, they'd actually do something about it. After all, they ARE the lawmakers and they all have been elected presumably to be a success, not a failure. As poverty rates rise, its obvious they ARE a failure, yet they are re-elected, term after term. I can't think of any other job that rewards its employees so well for such poor service. If it were any other company, they'd surely be fired.
But poverty is a symptom, not a cause, of much bigger problems: lack of quality education, the erosion of the nuclear family, livable wages, available jobs, discrimination and high costs of living. Drug abuse (mistakenly associated with the poor) also gets wrongly categorized, as it too is a symptom of various problems. Drugs don't discriminate; they are abused by people of all tiers.
There have always been lazy people and unless we are going to go old-testament and have Ramses literally whip them into submission, they will remain.
Five percent of the gross defense budget could end poverty. Taxing the churches could end all food stamps and homelessness. So, I guess the poverty problem isn't that bad after all, is it? Only when it's convenient to blame someone, but never enough to do anything about it. If there was no poverty, who'd be left to blame?
Keith "Plex" Barnhart is a Huntington resident.
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