Rich People: Being Poor Sounds Easy, Let's Not Be Poor, Though

image viaRich Kids Of Instagram Tumblr

Here is a terrible thing for you to read, and it is about how rich people have an extremely fucked up view of poor people, so if you don't want to have to punch your fist through a window in the next five minutes, you should probably just go watch internet videos of cats riding around on roombas. The Pew Research Center released some data recently about politics and financial security, and it was horrible in all of the ways. But one of the worst conclusions was this:

the majority of the country's most financially secure citizens (54 percent at the very top, and 57 percent just below) believe the "poor have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return."

"The poor have it easy" is the money quote here, let us see if it is even true!

[contextly_sidebar id="Zj2jGfHuKzlccNUN02Y5PgjgeXq9MkMl"]We will start by talking about Rich People. If you are A Rich Person, you probably have a good education, and a car, and a safe and comfortable place to sleep, and food to eat every single day, and a job, and money to do all or most of the things. You probably go on vacation. Your kids are in a good school, and they are under the Appropriate Supervision of a caregiver or a parent, and if they are not, your family is probably not harassed by the police about it. Your children are likely to stay rich when they grow up, hooray for them being smart enough to pick rich parents! Maybe you are even an officer of a big company or bank that has gotten corporate welfare or a bailout, and you got a big bonus last year! These things are so nice!

You might have worked very hard to be A Rich Person, although your parents are most likely also Rich People who helped you out. You might be A Rich Person because you inherited money, but you might still work very hard anyway! Or maybe not! But you probably work, and you answer ten thousand e-mails and you have to manage people who bitch at you, and those things can be Hard. But then you go home, and you get to eat dinner and change into clean clothes, and have a snack later while you are playing on your iPad, and sleep in your bed, and your cleaning lady has already vacuumed, so you do not even have to clean up tonight! And your children have enjoyed delightful stimulating activities at their excellent school and their enchanting after-school programs, and their college essay is almost written and they are only in the third grade!

Being A Rich Person sounds pretty great and is probably a nice balance of challenging and fun! So being A Poor Person must be great, too, if the Rich Persons think Poor Persons have it easy! Let's imagine, together, what A Poor Person's life is like, we can hardly wait!

If you are A Poor Person, maybe you are having as much fun as Ashley Richardson. Imagine the joy Ms. Richardson must have felt the day she had to go to the food bank with her kids, knowing her choices were meh (leave her kids at the playground and hope nothing bad happened) or total howling hell (standing in a food bank line with kids). Ms. Richardson choose "meh," and was arrested when she went back to the playground for her kids, because being poor and childcare-free is pretty much a crime. Huh, actually, it sounds like being A Rich Person might be easier in this scenario, because then we wouldn't have to choose between getting food and supervising our kids. The Poor Persons must be having an easier time somewhere else! Let us search for them!

You could be having as much fun as A Poor Person in an apartment building whose developer got huge tax breaks in exchange for including some low-income housing. Those buildings are very nice, with great lobbies and terraces with lovely views and pools! Unless, oh no, you're A Poor Person living in one of the low-income units? You have to use the special Poor Door that bypasses the nice lobby, and also you are not allowed to use your terrace that is literally outside of your apartment or the pool that you can see from your window. Sorry/not sorry! Those things are fun, and they are Not For A Poor Person. This sucks and it is not easy to be A Poor Person here, where you are humiliated in your own home (that actually, you are paying $2k per month for, so you are not even mega-poor, but you are poor enough by NYC standards to not deserve Nice Things) on a daily basis. Where could A Poor Person have even more fun?

You could be A Poor Person in one of the 12 states in US America, where you have to take a drug test to receive public benefits, because if you are A Poor Person, you are probably also A Criminal, and that is how people get to treat you. You could be A Poor Person in one of the 19 states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and if you live there, you are probably A Poor Person With Health Problems, too bad for you. If you are A Poor Person in one of the 21 states that do not have higher-than-federal minimum wage laws, and you work a minimum wage job, you are making about $15,000 per year, and you are Very Poor even if you are working full time! Plus how are you even affording child care, we are going to call Child Protective Services on you if we find out that your kids are home alone after school. You should try harder to find a nanny who charges five cents an hour, you dumb Poor Persons.

Rich People, it is categorically awful be A Poor Person, and you can go fuck yourself for thinking it is easy, or perhaps you could just switch places with A Poor Person and live that fabulous lifestyle for a while and then check back with us. Every goddamned thing A Poor Person has to do is Hard. Oh, you would like another list of what is hard? Please enjoy this list:

Finding a job if you were dumb enough to pick poor parents who couldn't send you to college. Paying for food and a place to live even if are working in a minimum wage job. Finding day care for your children. Paying for health care. Constantly being treated like a criminal. Did we even forget to include getting shot while existing as a black man? Because that is a special kind of hell that Poor Persons Who Are Black get to enjoy pretty often.

And it is a tiny bit ironic that, while voting for some people who might be inclined to help your situation seems like a way forward, actually getting to your polling place and voting? That can be very Hard, because the conservative asshats who run most state legislatures are trying to stop you by pretending that you are frauding them when you show up to vote. And it is probably Hard to care about politics if you are trying to do all of those other things, but goddamn, is it important. Plus, try to just stop being so Poor.

[Pew Research Center via Washington Post / NPR / Nat'l Conf State Legislatures]


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