Some say that the "New Poor", not to mention the "Old Poor", need to learn "personal responsibility" and stop sponging off of those rich "job creators". The rich job creators threaten to move all of the jobs offshore unless the poor start pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and stop sucking on the gub'mint's teat and asking for higher taxes....
We've been introducing some of the "New Poor" (and some of the "Old Poor" as well). We have been watching them as they suck on the government's teat while they laze on the couch.
There is nothing unusual about these stories. I personally have met all of these people, and I know enough about them to trust that their stories are basically true. There are millions of people like these people, people who came from middle class backgrounds, or people who worked themselves up from poor backgrounds, who worked, sometimes for decades, who have found themselves on the sidelines, empty and depleted, in this economy.
Many have bright, cheery profiles on LinkedIn highlighting their current mini-business endeavors. You can't see their struggles on LinkedIn or even Facebook.
I don't know how many of these people would now fall under the official poverty level, but all of them have needed government assistance; many of them have had to move, a few have been in foreclosure, some have not had health insurance or health care, others have had utilities turned off.
Some have had cars either break down or been booted due to parking tickets that couldn't be paid. Some with kids have qualified for the earned interest credit and/or Pell grants to get through college.
These people are of all races and ethnic backgrounds, though most of them are white. I'm not going to say which person is of what ethnicity.
I know the defenders of the rich will say that these people are exceptions; that most of the poor are content to laze around on the couch, eschew "personal responsibility", let the government take care of them, and have more kids than they can afford.
I'm sure there are poor people lazing around on the couch, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are a minority of the poor.. except for those who are seriously disabled and really can't move from that couch.
Since our family has started struggling in this recession, I have paid more attention to how the "poor" live, and, quite simply, many of them are more resourceful and work harder than the still-middle class or the upper classes. They sell things they don't need, they scour garage sales and thrift stores, they do odd jobs, they do temp jobs, they barter, they learn how to fix things. Some seem to be constantly wheeling and dealing.
And here's a final story about someone I didn't know:
Lazy Sponger Number 6: Disabled Wheeler Dealer
"My brother, who passed away 2 years ago, was disabled and received about 10K in Social Security a year. He did all of the above (selling stuff he didn't need, doing odd jobs, fixing stuff up, etc.). Wheeling and dealing was a way of life. Possessions came and went with necessity. He did odd jobs as his health allowed. He cultivated friendships and would always help a neighbor because he knew at some point he may well need that neighbor's help. He searched thrift shops for hidden treasures, frequented yard sales, and ran many of his own yard sales.
Many of my friends and family either are poor or live right on that edge, not quite poor but not doing much more than barely getting by. This is a way of life for a large subsection of people and most others are completely unaware.”
And yet the rich will insist that they don't want to pay a dime more in taxes to support these lazy, useless deadbeats and welfare slobs.