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Your Opinion: "Status quo' not American ideal

Your Opinion: "Status quo' not American ideal

August 29th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

A recent writer upheld the conservative view of two Americas with a cavalier "life goes on" conclusion. There are beggars and the wealthy he boasted. So what? This is standard "free market capitalism" which is just one type of capitalism. "Free market capitalism" finds virtue in wealth and greed. Those who are not wealthy are without virtue and deserve whatever happens to them.

This writer pronounced America's War on Poverty" a " ... complete failure". Who says? By what measure? In 1979, 80 out of 100 families in poverty received assistance. In 2009 only 27 of 100 families in poverty received assistance. This data is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If you thought the program (TANF -Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) was to help the poor then the program is definitely not working. We are going through the worst recession in 80 years and TANF is only reaching 28 percent of those in poverty. In 1995 75 percent of all families in poverty received assistance.

But this is not what the writer had in mind with his sneering attitude. The poor get free cell phones and you do not! Wow! Who wants to be poor in America? He makes it sound cushy on the one hand but then he calls the poor beggars. Are they using their phones to get jobs or arrange drug deals? Jobs, I hope. But the wealthy, those "free market" jobs creators, are letting us down and sitting on their wealth.

The divide between the upper tier in America and the bottom is at an all-time high (discussion at Millions of Americans in the middle class are being shoved into the lower class. This is wrong. The writer had no solutions. Just accept it he says. It's socialism and beggars that are trying to wreck it for you. Wrong again. Modern governments should make every attempt to provide citizens decent work for all who want to work. And yes, it should be in the private sector if possible. Otherwise, in crisis times the government should provide meaningful work.

This writer of "the status quo" is very far from the American ideal of "rags to riches" as typified by Horatio Alger. He would never be singing "Tomorrow" from Annie.

Is America a place for dreams? Or do we just "get ours" and the heck with those beggars? It seems too many are just concerned about themselves.