Poverty, the Stigma of Society


There’s a gag line I remember that goes, “The only thing money can’t buy is poverty.”  I suppose it’s oxymoronic, but in plain sense it is a very truthful precept.  We, the people, fund government, both state and Federal, with taxes that keep skyrocketing.  Now with the new Obamacare, it will increase more rapidly.  Obamacare, as of today, has only helped 1% of the population according to the statistics I have heard.

Preventing poverty through government agencies is nothing but a futile and never ending money pit.  I know that from personal experience.  I worked nine years for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.  I realize there are times when some individuals need help, but it is supposed to be only a stepping stone until their situations improve and once more be self-sufficient.  This doesn’t apply to the disabled or the elderly who are having a difficult time in their remaining years of their lives.

The American people are probably the most generous group in this world, as are the British.  Whether there is a disaster, or charity, or if someone is down on their luck, they are always helping and giving in one form or another, monies or goods.  Not only is there abuse, but there are so many who just plain do not want to work for a living.  The welfare department insists on helping individuals get jobs.  Do you know how often I have read letters from employers stating, “skips work, comes in late, cannot get along with the staff, cannot be trained, and the like.”  Many start their jobs and get fired, some do it on purpose. And they start the whole process again.

If I remember correctly, welfare benefits are to be utilized for two years, according to the Federal limit guidelines.  Pennsylvania offers five years, and then there are loopholes for further benefits.  It’s a waste of benefits and monies for people who can care less how much the working class pays in taxes to keep them in the feeding frenzy.  Some consider it a lifestyle.  Pennsylvania’s Welfare cost is between $35 and $40K per year, over a third of the state’s budget.  Personally I would be ashamed to buy groceries every week being on a food stamp program.

I won’t go into welfare specifics, but I will make a few suppositions.  I keep asking myself the same questions, how can society solve the poverty problem?  When I read my local paper on Saturdays, it lists, in my area, 129 churches. Just in the surrounding part of Lancaster, PA.  So I will ask this question, “How much can a church do to help the poverty here and around the country?”  It really irks me when I read about how individuals who say they are missionaries and they travel all over the world to help the impoverished.  Who pays for the travel and lodging and food while away doing missionary work?  Each country has specific traditions, beliefs and ways of life.  I will guarantee that some missionaries are there not only to help, but also convert to their religious sect.  The world is made up of different cultures that make each of them a unique and wondrous lifestyle all their own.  Why should anyone want to change that culture with a different set of values?

Every culture is a valuable asset in their own way, and changing it will only damage it and destroy something of value as they know it.  I realize that missionaries just want to help, but how much do they realize it can be a detriment to the culture.  Why not send missionaries around the U.S and help cure the poverty situation and perhaps those in need of help will be less dependent on the government and our taxes.

The impoverished continually complain that they cannot afford babysitting, that’s why they cannot work…especially those single unwed mothers.  Churches across the country can absorb one or two families, and provide help, with babysitting, food and sundries, while the parent goes to work or to school to get a better paying job, until they can go out on their own.  It would be a small price to pay for churches and their charitable actions will be sated.

This isn’t a revolutionary concept, but why don’t more churches do it?  What are they waiting for?  I know that many churches help in this manner with refugees, so why not with our own impoverished citizens?  I sometimes think that churches don’t reach their full potential concerning their conduct and beliefs.  I am ashamed of many of them for not realizing their full potential.  I’m not berating the few that really do help our impoverished. I just feel that together they all can create a tremendous opportunity of aiding those in temporary need.

A long time ago, in 1607, when settlers came to Jamestown, Virginia, life wasn’t so easy for them.  They needed to be self-sufficient, so they created a utopian commune to build, farm and raise food sources along with hunting for meat.  But with man’s free will, some didn’t bother to help with getting the food or cultivating it for all to benefit from.  There were many that complained about those certain individuals who refused to participate in those necessary activities of survival.

Some of the individuals complained to John Smith about those not doing their share, so John Smith decided he had to do something to appease the complainers.  He gathered all for a meeting and staunchly proclaimed, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  And so, the solution was heeded and all were joined together to work for the advancement of the colony.

Perhaps we should realize the fact that often we need to be harsh in our decisions.  But there are those who continually think that some will suffer without continuous help.  Man will accomplish just about anything when he puts his mind to it.  If most of us were not so adamant about our work ethic, we would have never reached the moon, or have a cell phone in our hands.

When I was an engineering Product Testing Consultant and Technical writer, I wrote a slogan on my business card that stated, “The miracle of technology is not created by magical wizards—but by the generosity of shared ideas.”  I hope that everyone can work together to solve our nation’s poverty stigma.


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