29 September, 2009

The rich get richer and the poor get what exactly?

In completely unsurprising news, inequality in the U.S. got worse, according to recently released Census data.

Most mornings at the social service agency I intern for there is a line of people wrapped around the building waiting for the doors to open. It's first come, first serve for appointments with case workers, who can connect people to the direct assistance programs our department offers, and those appointments are filled within minutes. If you weren't able to be seen, you'll have to come back early the next morning and maybe the next and maybe the day after that. Hopefully, in the mean time, you won't be put out on the street, or your utilities won't be cut off, and maybe you can find another food pantry and not go hungry. My criticism isn't of the department, but of the larger system. And the fact that the people we see everyday don't make the news cycle and have yet to crack the reality of too many people in this country.

It's one thing to help people escape poverty, but why not enact programs to keep them out of poverty in the first place? Why do we talk about poverty alleviation, but not eradication? I know, I know...radical, lefty, do-gooder nonsense. Or, if your some of our fantastically frightening uber-right wing pols in this country: "Socialism!" One of my greatest pet peeves is when people use an important sounding word when they have no idea what it actually means. For one of my favorite examples, see the "plethora of piñatas" scene from the film The Three Amigos. I digress...as usual.

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