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Your Opinion: Poor people don't deserve ridicule

Your Opinion: Poor people don't deserve ridicule

October 14th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Ronald Reagan was practiced at script reading. As president he had a script of a "welfare queen" from Chicago who drove her Cadillac to the welfare office to pick up her check. It was an interesting story based on no specific events. It was meant to demean those who have little and need help. Since then Rush has heaped on layers of ridicule on the poor and now Steve Sampson joins the fun.

The poor are just so privileged. They have TVs, air conditioners, cell phones and on and on. Sampson has proven so slippery with his data that I would say that anything he says without a specific source cited that can be verified is probably baloney.

There is an argument to be made that as a society we have advanced beyond the 19th century. If we lived by their standards we would be shocked at the difficulty and austerity it required.

What elitists who have little contact and want none with the poor dismiss is the three-decade long gutting of unskilled or low skilled work in America. Beginning with Reagan our free trade brand of capitalism has exported work to Asia and elsewhere. This same class has produced two economic bubbles in the last 10 years driving millions from the workforce.

A recent article in the News Tribune about education stated that schools must prepare citizens for 21st century jobs. Work in America has become more technical. Sure, but that is like saying we can all be millionaires. We can tell thousands of college basketball players to aim for the NBA. The cruel reality is that only 30 players a year enter the NBA. There is a shortage of work for the unskilled. American corporations reward foreigners with those jobs abroad.

The health care that welfare and the working poor receive is emergency care. The new health care bill attempts to allow millions medical care that every other industrial nation in the world provides. If you are poor in America and have cancer you will simply die. It's not an emergency.

Old town in Jefferson City is 70 percent rental and full of the working poor and people on welfare. I am currently rehabbing a house there. Many of the citizens living there have no cars. Their lives are not ones of luxury as elitists imagine.

Sneering at the disadvantaged is so easy. Providing work for citizens is hard.