Loss of perspective

Loss of perspective

When you’re rich, how can you understand what it means to be poor?

Every time I hear a person who makes $100,000 or more a year complaining about how much they struggle to make ends meet, I feel a sense of revulsion.  These folks, even know they’re making more than most people in the entire world, still feel the need to complain because they can’t manage to have EVERY FKN THING they want.  The big screen television, the new car, a house in the suburbs - all these are dreams far beyond the reach of most people in the world, and even far beyond most in the United States.

Welcome to the real world of poverty, people.  We live on less than $20k a year and we make daily decisions that would make your squirm.  Ever try to live on one meal a day cause you’re not getting paid for another couple of weeks and your cupboards are bare?  Ever make the decision over whether you should spend your savings on new clothes to replace the ones your kid has worn holes in or pay the rent on time that month?  How many Christmases have you had where your total gift-giving budget is $20 or less?

To the poor, the idea of owning a car is a distant dream.  Owning a house?  Not possible in our lifetime.  Even something seemingly simple as being able to put meat on the dinner table more than once a week becomes an Olympian task.  Our work hours extend to 70-80 hours a week across two or three jobs and we have no health insurance, no ability to see a dentist and if our children get sick we cross our fingers and hope that it’s not serious.

Sure, there are some social programs out there to help alleviate some of these things, particularly the life-threatening ones, but it does not stop we the poor from being locked in to a pattern that becomes increasingly difficult to get out of.  Certain laws and other systems specifically target the poor, making us unable to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, such as getting a license to drive a car or buying new clothes for an interview, if our debts have grown too high.

People complain they can’t make their mortgages while many can’t even pay rent on a shitty little one-bedroom apartment.  People complain about their kids not getting a proper education while others barely get to see their kids cause they’re too busy fighting to keep those kids alive.  It’s all a matter of perspective, and those at the very top are the worst perpetrators of this skewed viewpoint.

How do we expect our economy to be run by people who have never experience poverty in its true form?  Sure, they’ve managed to study a few books or maybe even took a trip to the ghetto to see what it looks like.  But they’ve never had to make those decisions that define one as being poor.  Food is available to them, they do not worry if they will still have a home in a month and they don’t rely on a shaky social welfare system to keep themselves from going under permanently.

In my opinion, having rich people make the critical decisions for the economy is akin to handing a gun to someone who reads a lot of books on guns and expecting them to be a crack shot.  All the book learning in the world will not give you the wisdom to make the proper decisions.  If we want to make the economic situation better, take the brilliant economists and politicians, make them live in the ghetto without access to their money for about 5 years, and then see what kind of changes they make.