Are Poor People as Lazy and Dishonest As You Think?
Are you a middle class person who feels that everyone ought to be able to get by without government handouts? Are you suspicious of people who receive welfare benefits, thinking that they are just lazy and haven't looked hard enough for work? Do you resent your tax dollars going to pay for welfare, unemployment benefits, and food stamps?
I was asked today if I would write up a few posts about social justice, so I thought the first subject I'd look at is false assumptions middle class people make when they think about low-income earners and the unemployed.
Poor People Are Lazy and Fat
A lot of the judgements middle class folks make of people living near or below the poverty line, are the result of assumptions. Usually those assumptions are based on ignorance.
Groups of welfare recipients stand around doing nothing in the government office for long periods of time, and the assumption is those people are lazy.
The truth is that those people are waiting for their number to be called. Unless they've been given an actual appointment (a rarity at many facilities) the only way to see an agent or to submit paperwork is to show up, take a number, and wait. Often for hours at a time.
Large numbers of food bank clients are overweight , and the assumption is these people don't really need the food.
In reality, most people who depend on food banks are given large amounts of day-old bread in their hampers. Or they will buy inexpensive starches like potatoes, rice and pasta with the few food dollars they have. While this food is low in nutrients it is versatile and easy to prepare, and it fills a hungry belly. The overweight poor person isn't eating too much. He isn't getting enough healthy food to meet his needs, and relies on cheap starches to stop the hunger.
People on Welfare Cheat the System
The SNAP recipient is filling up her shopping cart with cases of soda pop or other luxury food items. The assumption is she is wasting her food dollars, and doesn't care about her family's nutritional needs.
Some people who receive government benefits will stockpile luxury foods when they go on sale, and re-sell them to earn a little extra money for groceries. Because their benefits run out around the third week of the month, most people who receive government benefits will look for any loophole th ey can exploit to stretch those food dollars. It may sound mercenary or unethical, but people do what they have to do in order to feed their families.
A part-time worker gets topped up by welfare and frequents the food bank. The assumption is that she's too lazy to work full-time.
In reality, many of the people who benefit from anti-poverty measures such as welfare benefits, SNAP or the use of a food bank, are what is sometimes called “the working poor.” Many employers today will not hire any full-time workers because they want to avoid paying benefits. Hiring several part-time workers is cheaper than hiring one full-time employee, and hiring people to work on call is even less costly. Some people will be able to juggle two or three jobs and come close to what they'd earn working a single full-time job, but then there are often high cost associated with travelling between the two jobs and home.
Before you judge, try walking a mile in the other person's shoes. And remember that when you assume, “you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me!'”
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/poverty-hands-poor-font-arm-81827/