Being Part of the 99%

Whoever said money is the root of all that kills has never had the joy of a welfare Christmas

Adapted from Everclear lyrics

With the Occupy (Insert City Here) Movement, the idea of class inequality comes to the front and center of what will be on voter’s minds next year.  I have thought for years that government programs like food stamps, public housing, LIHEAP, SSI for children and a whole host of others are the way of quieting the masses.  We do live in one of the most admirable countries.  I would not want to live anywhere else.  However, I think most entitlement programs are just a balm for the poor to keep them satisfied enough to not cry out for justice.

I don’t know what  the solution would be – ending corporate welfare, flat taxes, cutting military spending in half?  I am open to solutions, but so far all I see is a restless beast that demands to be feed.  Occupy Wall Street has taken on an organic quality.  I feel the pain of the poor.  Maybe not the poorest, since I don’t have to choose between eating and shelter.  I do know that public perception is that the American pie is shrinking and the wealthy are hogging the slices.  Whether this is completely true will depend on who you ask and probably where they fit on the income scale.

I am glad to see people move in real numbers to demonstrate, even if temporarily, their agitation  for a system that values the lobbying class.  I am not for a socialist government and sometimes I think the system gives people disincentives to work.  In a world where the people who are the poorest get medical care on the government’s back and middle-class families are penalized for making too much to get these benefits.  It does chap the ass to think of going to work to support those who don’t.  Especially when the rich pay the least for the privilege of using our roads, our workers, our police system to run their profitable businesses.  I think the winter will quiet things down, just because the cold will keep people inside.  So, 2012, will that be the American Spring?

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Some opening thoughts on being low-income

I shouldn’t be this poor.  Not that I am entitled to anything more than what I have, but I could have done better for myself.  My life has been a series of choices, mostly bad, that have me sitting here on my mom’s old computer, hoping to find my voice among the millions.

I am part of the 99%, but I am not sure that taking from people who have made it into the 1% is really a solution.  I won’t lie, I would like to be up there, not worrying about things like rent or how my momma’s going to live when she can’t work anymore.  I am more fortunate than a good deal of the third world, which I try often to remind myself that I do having running water and flush toilets.  I don’t have to pick between eating or heating my home.  I am extremely grateful to have been born here in America – even if the milk and honey are served out disproportionately.

I grew up, lower middle class I guess.  My dad worked in textiles and my mom babysat children in the neighborhood, to have what she called “her money.”  I had what I would call a typically dysfunctional childhood – complete with domestic violence, molestations and being told every day I was not worth a half-penny.  I guess you would say I was the kind of kid who was told by her momma that if she hadn’t lost her virginity to that jerk, and knew about birth control, I wouldn’t be around.  I didn’t live without any joy, I suppose because I just thought all families had horrible secrets behind the shiny brass knockers.

I won’t say that hasn’t affected me, but now, at 43, I want better for myself. So, the quest begins….