What Do You Think? Do Poor People Have It Too Good?

I want to hear what you think about this.

The other day, a reader emailed me an exchange he had with a Facebook friend.

The Census Bureau recently reported that in 2010 over 46 million – nearly 1 in 6 Americans, lived in poverty.

While the media dramatized these findings, my reader shared his reaction to the report on Facebook. Essentially inviting others to weigh in.

Apparently, Facebook is a platform where you can discuss the complex social issues facing America. Here I thought it existed solely for people who derive a sick satisfaction from butchering the English language and misspelling commonly used words.

Below is the conversation I received. I’ve changed the names of the two characters involved to protect their anonymity.

I have my own opinions about the matter, but I won’t say too much.

Read through it.

Let me know how you feel about the treatment of America’s poor.

Methuselah Honeysuckle:

When I ride through any impoverished area, I see late model cars. I see overweight people. I see new shoes. Liquor stores. High priced cigarettes. I see houses with $150 cable packages.

I am a Section 8 landlord.

I’m telling you. The poor have more protections than my free market tenants.

My properties get inspected yearly. I bet the federal government doesn’t pay for your home to be inspected once a year.

Who do you think pays for all this?

I’ll never forget walking into one of my Section 8 rental properties and seeing grown men, in the middle of the day, watching the NFL Network. At the time, you had to have the digital tier to get the channel. My tenant had satellite TV installed.

The Heritage Foundation’s report found very few poor people live in substandard housing.

Where does this notion that they are homeless come from?

I have tenants that have had a baby and get rewarded with a larger home. Why? Because the government says so. The average American doesn’t get a bigger house for having a child. They are competing against you and me for housing. But they [Section 8 tenants] have the credit of the US government behind them. That drives prices up for everyone.

To think, with all we do for the poor, on the first day of school in Detroit, roughly 50% of the recipients of all this largesse couldn’t even be bothered to send their kids to school. Essentially guaranteeing another generation.

These are the hidden costs of our underclass. They are living far too good. Sooner or later, this has to come to an end.

Who’s going to be left to pay for all this?

Longbranch Pennywhistle: The kids are embarrassed to accept free lunch because people in this country still blame all poor people for being poor without considering that sometimes, they ARE doing everything they can and for one reason or a few, are in need of assistance.
Everyone is making money off them but those same people condemn them.

How many times have you stopped judging those men watching football to offer them a job?

I’m sure that if you have rental properties, you have maintenance needs, have you ever asked one of them if they have skills they’re trying to put to use?

I’m not trying to come down on you, Methuselah, but until you’ve BEEN where these people are, I find it distasteful that you would lump them all in the “trifling, useless, taking advantage of the system” category.

Yes, those people DO exist.

I actually know one, but for a while, after 9/11, I WAS one.

I had a $2,000 mortgage and a $600 car payment, and after two years I’d gone through my savings, my unemployment, found myself having to take three week consulting assignments working for half of what I was worth.

And when I found myself needing a little assistance, I was denied BECAUSE I had a mortgage and a car note so trust me, the system isn’t designed to help people get ahead.

As for late model cars, most people in “impoverished” neighborhoods are REQUIRED to get a late model car if they are getting it financed and are trying to build/rebuild credit.

They are usually overweight because it’s cheaper to eat bad. McDonald’s doesn’t have a salad on the Dollar Menu; chicken, lean cuts of meat and fresh veggies are much more expensive than hot dogs, ground beef and potato chips.

Being poor is about as adventageous as being a leper.

Every organization takes advantage of them….and don’t get me started on liquor stores in impoverished neighborhoods!

I’m an educator and the jobs are not here. My husband is an aircraft electrician. We both have master’s degrees. You are living in your own dream world.

What crystal ball are you looking in?

Methuselah Honeysuckle: Well go where the jobs are, Longbranch! Don’t just sit there and go broke!

So what do you think? Do poor people in the United States have a good thing going?  

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