One Reason for Not Punishing the Poor

is that we might be next.

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From our Punish the Poor files
  • Olga Zurova

    Who is punishing the poor? Are you saying we’re punishing the poor because we don’t let the entire world come here and live off of productive people’s tax money?

    • Joe

      You can write English, but can you read it?

    • S. Murphy

      No. He’s saying it’s an easy temptation to think the poor are poor due to willful incompetence, stupidity or carelessness, and that that won’t be us, because we’re too smart.
      Also – it’s an easy temptation to take their kids, or threaten to take their kids, or to charge them fines for chickenscratch offenses and then put them in jail for failure to pay. That kind of thing.

  • Elaine S.

    A lot of conservative-leaning commenters have been going off on how the author’s shame was entirely justified and she had no business applying for “food stamps” (actually, she was applying for a different program called WIC) until she had sold the Mercedes and exhausted all other resources (never mind that she and her husband needed both cars, she used the Mercedes only because her own car was on the fritz that day, and both cars were paid for).
    Others assume, without any definite proof, that she and her husband were “content” to live off the taxpayers for years on end until they found a “perfect” job and they should have been willing to take any job, no matter how low paying, rather than accept a “handout”, never mind whether or not it would leave them in even worse financial shape than before.
    Still others complain that as journalists, this couple “should have known” their profession was downsizing and been prepared to look for other work. To top it all off, they complain about the “judgmental” tone of the woman’s article… all the while proving her main point, that when you are poor people feel entirely free to judge everything you do and offer you totally unsolicited advice/criticism that they would never presume to offer you otherwise.
    Well, at least so far I haven’t seen anyone, at least on the Catholic blogs, pull out the usual trump card that comes up in any discussion of food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare: “You shouldn’t have had kids if you couldn’t afford to take care of them” (never mind that this couple was entirely able to afford them when they were concieved).
    Ultimately I wonder if a lot of the judgmentalism or “punishing” of the poor that we see in our society isn’t simply an attempt by those better off to convince themselves that “it won’t happen to me”. Because if you can find some reason, any reason, why the poor person is at fault, then you can say to yourself “As long as I don’t do that, I’ll be safe.”


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