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“Alienation’s for the Rich”

Posted by purplemary54 on April 15, 2014

I guess I’ve just got money on the mind right now.  It might be all that money I sent to the government yesterday.  It might be my piddling paycheck.  It might be that we’re going to have to pay off the contractors in a couple of days.

I’ve always been middle class–although if my mother wasn’t here helping with my bills, I’d probably be destitute.  And I never really used to have anything against rich people.  They earned it.  Or inherited it.  Either way, it’s their money.  And they’re allowed to do whatever they want with it.  If they want to spend it all on parties, drugs, and ugly shoes, well that’s just peachy.  Whenever I have extra money, it goes to music, books, and socks, so I’m not really one to judge.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how much class and financial equality is tied to so many things it shouldn’t be tied to–things like sex and race.  Poverty is a generational problem, distinctly linked to so many factors that aren’t in the control of the poor that I don’t even know where to begin.  So many young African-American men are depending on their bodies instead of their brains because sports is one of the only ways to break the cycle of poverty so many of them feel trapped in.  But that’s just one of the mythical traps that powerful people sell to the powerless to keep them from questioning the real problems of inequality.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Never mind that you never got the same opportunities.  Never mind that your school was inferior because funding has always been linked to property taxes, which were artificially depressed in your neighborhood because all the financially secure white people moved out the minute a family of color moved into the area.  Don’t even think about the fact that your professional opportunities were taken away when corporations moved all the factories to other countries because they would’ve been forced to pay a living wage here.  Ignore the fact that housing and healthcare costs have skyrocketed, but the federal poverty line (you know, that magic number that determines eligibility for social services) is still calculated according to the cost of feeding a family of four.  (Which also fails to take into account all those families of more than four.)  And of course, even if you are eligible for SNAP or Section 8, or any other social safety net designed to help raise the poor out of poverty by increasing their standard of living, you can’t get enough help or you go on long waiting lists because programs like this have had their budgets slashed into near non-existence.  And never, ever, ever mention things like mental health, addiction, domestic violence, or child abuse.  Those topics are still taboo.  Just get off your lazy ass, and get to work.

Your corporate masters, of course, are allowed to pay you a criminally low wage.  And they can cut your hours to below full-time so that they don’t have to offer you insurance (which they charge too much for anyway).  They’re also allowed to prevent you from unionizing, donate as much as they want to their political causes, and a myriad of other things that are meant to keep you dependent on them for everything.  They’ve rigged the system so that not only can you not pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you can’t even afford to buy bootstraps.

The tax system is rigged to favor the rich, just like everything else.  You’ll hear stories about how much certain politicians pay in taxes, but that’s for show.  Stories like that are put out there to keep people from asking how much CEOs pay (not much).  So here’s a lament for everyone who’s realized just how hard it is to overcome this system.

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