Stop being poor: the illegality of poverty

I am so tired of the criminalization of poverty. Our society has made it illegal to be poor. Sure, there’s no legislation specifically saying that, but the fact remains that so much of our lives are illegal when you don’t have enough money.

  • Car registration: Fines and other penalties for failure to pay the registration, furthermore in many states registration is tied to inspections for emissions or safety, so if a car fails inspection and the owner cannot pay to get it fixed, then the car cannot be registered. Now you have a car you can’t pay to get fixed and can’t drive to work to earn the money you need to pay to get it fixed. Public transportation is not universal. The closest town is five miles away from me. To get there I have to drive for miles on dangerous country roads where people drive like lunatics and a highway full of even more lunatics. That town has a population of a couple of thousand. Not a whole lot of employment opportunities. The next closest town is about 12 miles to the outskirts. More job opportunities, but regardless, if you don’t have a vehicle, you can’t get to work. Everything is too far away and there is no public transportation from where I live to anywhere. I know I’m not the only person living in this situation.
  • Utilities: Most lease and rental agreements require tenants to keep electric, water, and other utilities turned on or they risk eviction.
  • Child care: Child care is expensive and not everyone has family or friends to help watch out for little ones. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, between the need to go to work and earn money and the need to care for small children, many moms–maybe dads but I honestly haven’t heard of them in this situation–leave their child in a place or situation that someone who is not in nor has never been in that position will say is criminal, neglectful, or abusive. In a car, playing at a park, sleeping in the back of the car (taxi driver).
  • Homelessness:  Sick of vagrancy and panhandling, many cities around the nation are going to extreme measures to get rid of homeless people. From installing spikes in doorways to smashing their belongings to bits, many areas of’ ‘Murica have spoken, “You are not wanted.”
  • Free lunch programs: Children are forced to go hungry and even publicly humiliated when their lunch tabs go unpaid. Seriously. This is a poverty issue, but mostly it’s just a case of messed up priorities. They are CHILDREN for  goodness sake. BABIES. They can’t even WORK so why would they be punished and made to go hungry?
  • Debtors prisons: Many people end up in jail over unpaid fines.  A Pennsylvania woman died in jail while serving 48 hours for inability to pay truancy fines for her kids.

This is a global problem, it’s not just endemic to the US. Without doing a bunch of research or analysis, let me just share some observations:

From my perspective we should take care of each other, the government shouldn’t have to raise taxes to do it, and everyone should work hard at something to pull their weight in society. From  where I’m standing, I can see that Coach bag and those Ray Bans. I can see that shiny Audi sitting in from of that three-storied, hip-roofed, 3,600 square foot home with its professionally landscaped lawn.

A couple of weeks ago we held a bake sale to raise money for my kid’s soccer team. I like to watch people. I like to study them as they walk by. We were almost in front of a Target where American women like to joke about going in for toilet paper and accidentally spending $300 on home record and workout clothes they don’t work out in. The majority of those women walking past our game sale were nose-ups (those people who not only didn’t buy our baked goods, or donate, or say “No thank you”, but those who walked by looking constipated and offended by our presence) and they also had the nicest clothes, the best coiffed hair, the shiniest accessories, and pushed the fullest baskets as they left the store.

I’m not full of crap. It’s pretty well documented that in America, the more money you have, the less money you give.  So, not only do the rich give less, they also have the pull and the power to force legislation and punitive measures on those bothersome people who muddy up the pretty waters of their fantasies. I really see no end to this problem. I see it only getting worse. The rich and well-to-do will keep getting richer and sucking up more and more resources from the bottom until the bottom, weakened beyond repair, falls out. Then we’ll all really be in a pickle. So, just stop being poor already. You’re causing problems.

P.S. It’s not that I don’t see a solution, but it’s kind of like trying to sneak out of a shark’s mouth with all those backward pointing serrated teeth. If people could give up some of their materialism, and voluntarily share their money, that would help, but then that money wouldn’t be spent on the sunglasses and manicures which would have other impacts in micro economies, individuals, and livelihoods. So, “redistribution of wealth” whether it be voluntary or mandatory, just has other consequences that are more difficult to foresee and even harder to measure. Hence, we’re all in a pickle barrel with a rotting bottom.

P.P.S. I really don’t know to what purpose I wrote this blog, except that I’m sick of people being dicks, and treating poor people and down-on-their-luck people like scum-sucking dirt bags who don’t deserve the oxygen they breathe and as a drain on society that should be retroactively aborted really, really pisses me off.

P.P.P.S. “Like” this if you stand against the greedy nose-ups of the world and for solidarity and a slow, coordinated backing out of the shark’s mouth. Plus it’s like a virtual hug, and I need a good hug.


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