Posted by: johnhourihan | January 27, 2015

The poor today have it easy

I would like to try to explain something to all those friends who say they are tired of the poor people of this country getting fat off government programs without having to work for it, that the poor have easy lives. Somehow those who are poor in this country are seen as the scum of the earth. That is probably because in this country we measure a man’s worth by how much money he has.
Having been poor back in the 1950s, that mythical time when fruit still had seeds and there was hardly any divorce or welfare, it is disheartening that more than three quarters of conservatives in this country say the poor, “have it easy” according to a new poll.
The poll was done by the renowned and pretty much unbiased Pew Research Center. (The poll is about a year old.)
A great column covers this issue well. It was written for The Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham who is “a data journalist focusing primarily on issues of politics, policy and economics. He previously worked at the Brookings  Institution and the Pew Research Center,” according to the Post column.
Toward the end of the piece, Ingraham cites what he calls a “wildly incomplete” list of ways life is “easy” for poor people.
Here is his list:
• Compared to middle and upper-income Americans, the poor are three times less likely to have health insurance coverage, and more likely to put off or skip necessary medical treatment as a result (This fact has changed a bit with the beginnings of Obamacare);
• They are three times more likely to be victimized by crime;
• The daily stresses of living under poverty impose a cognitive burden equivalent to losing 13 IQ points;
• Poor children are three times more likely to be affected by food scarcity and obesity;
• Poor children receive a lower quality education in public school, and the ones who make it to college are more likely to drop out;
• Poorer Americans breathe dirtier air, they sleep less, and the even have less sex;
• And in the end all this “easy living” literally shaves decades off their lives.
“The notion that poor people have it easy is at odds with the data,” says Ingraham.
I would like to add that, while these poor children are trying to compete, many people have far lower expectations of them ever succeeding at anything, so teachers, parents, police, employers and nearly every other official person in their lives expect them to fail in all their attempts to climb out of poverty, and guide them into continued poverty while, at the same time, these same officials let them know it is believed that they are a drain on society who have it easy.
Please stop telling me how easy it is to be poor. I’ve been poor, and if you believe it is easy you are fooling yourself. So, to my friends who say the poor have it easy, please stop saying that. It makes you sound stupid.



  1. If being poor is living the life then the rich are a bunch of big FAT losers!!

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