Are we really all that poor?

Response to this post:

One thing I learned from traveling the world is that even the poorest street bum amongst us is generally better off than the poor in any other country.  While I generally feel a bit of sorrow for the poor, I can’t say it is because of guilt.  And maybe it makes me cruel, but all I see in them is wasted humanity.

My son left home and hitchhiked all across America when he was 16.  He was gone for two years (no I never heard from him), and I worried every day.  When he came home he told me about living on the streets in San Francisco.  He said he made upwards of three hundred dollars PER DAY panhandling. He got fed every day, at least once a day, by a Chinese restaurant who put out their left overs in the ally behind the business, twice daily.  If you got there early enough, it was all still good and set out in clean buckets.  The homeless lined up there a lot.  In fact there were dozens of places like that, and if you were part of the homeless community, they shared the info with you.

He said a good portion of the homeless are there because of bad choices in life.  Drugs, prison sentences, no education, laziness.  Some were there because they were mentally ill, but all the other homeless helped to take care of them.  And the majority were there because they wanted to be homeless.  They liked the life style.  And they traveled all over the US, until they found a place they liked best and stayed. For a while anyway.

In today’s world, there is NO reason for people to be without the basics.  Homeless shelters, half way houses, places for women and children, all give residents the opportunity to find jobs, get on welfare, and move into their own places.  Our tax dollars pay for those things, and there is no shame in needing help – in the short run.

Those who are incapable, ill, have mental illnesses, aged, all need to have help for their lives, until they die.  But there are plenty of able bodied folks who simply believe that it is their right to sit on their butts watching their big screen cable TV, with their computers and fancy gear all around them.  They drive nice cars, and most of them eat much better than the average hardworking lower-income people.  Food stamps buy steaks, but my budget doesn’t always stretch past hamburger meat.  THOSE people, I have no compassion for in the least.  Never have, never will.  And No, I have never been on welfare, even when I was eligible.  Too much pride, and too hard-working.

The truly poor do need our help and charity.  Churches and the community should be helping them, not the government.  Everyone needs help at one time or another.  Our church has a storehouse system for all members in need to pull from for food.  It takes permission from the Bishop, but the food is there.

So I guess I am hard-hearted, but really, I hate to see all the wasted potential of the people who decide to let the government care for them from cradle to grave – with no desire to do more than live and die in the ghetto.  Very sad, very frustrating.

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