Embarrassing Americans: Where are those who will be the face of the 17%?


I remember a conversation I had with someone when I first got here in KC and it was about the minimum wage debate the state of Missouri was going through that the state didn’t increase by the way. It seemed I came off to passionate about the working poor and no one in the room could understand why. Its crazy the one politician that wasn’t afraid to tackle the issue of the lower class ended up being a fucked up person. Romney has classified the poor as a statistic, which always devalues the problem and the people in that percentage.  There are real people who are poor and they’re not all lazy, poorly educated and truly it’s not exclusively a people of color issue.

While watching CNN over the weekend I saw GPS and the What In The World piece focused on the poor in our country. The piece was spot on, the images however seemed to feed America’s view of who the poor is.  The stills were mostly people of color. I’m not going to get into a race issue here but I will say it’s a proven fact that in America you put a white face on it change will happen. Now that many white people have been interviewed and are making minimum wage, news stories have popped up breaking that issue down.

With that said to bring that same logic to those poor in our country will not be cool at all. If Americans looked at how we judge the poor thing would be different. We judge class by household earnings. So if either people or parents working earn a combined 60 thousand, yes they’re middle class but as individuals that middle class status falls for at least one no matter how you do the math. We see it in the commercials where most of the time the man of the house died and the wife will lose her home. Of course the number of her earnings never comes up but as I see it that’s what it boils down to, alone she can’t stay afloat. Truth is many Americans fall into that boat but we as a country will not break it down like that for some reason. So instead we fall back on the people color and poor education which of course equals lower class poor Americans.

Our country will not increase the minimum wage to a living wage EVER and investing in training poor Americans isn’t on the agenda either. So it seems there isn’t a plan to help the poor get by. The days of low income housing has vanished in many cities and that makes it hard for poor people to even begin to save. Wealth starts there, you have to have money saved. A person making 70 thousand a year can easily become poor if they’re not saving and living beyond their means. The first thing that person will be blame for is being foolish with their money. To be working a low paying job and make less 30 thousand in a house of four, requirements of poor by the Obama Care guidelines, where can that family begin to save at? Banks don’t want to deal with those people, banks have figured out ways to weed lower class Americans out with all the fees they have started bringing back. So If I can’t save my money in a bank where what little interest is still something on my money saved, where do I go? I’ve said it before it seems the only place not looking to help the working poor with their taxes and tax money are banks. Most poor Americans don’t have bank accounts and if they’re smart have a prepaid debit card, if not you go to the bank you see on the check or even worst a check cashing place. Those who do go to banks that I know never come away feeling the bank wanted to deal with them. Even if a person is asked to open accounts for the children of the person cashing their tax check at least something will be done for that persons children.

We know its many factors that keep the poor in that situation. The news networks love talking about how to rebuild the middle class. One answer, the answer one would think it is obvious, bring the poor up to the middle class never comes up.  I’ve watched and heard many shows focus on that topic and the people interviewed and doing the interview as well as those with call in comments on the talk radio shows never bring that point up. We are a social status country and for some reason that as well as again the stereotype of poor people play a part in not even thinking of having some kind of structure that brings more money and opportunity to poor people to have them become part of the middle class.  Obama thinks he has that figured out with blue collar labor manufacturing jobs. That idea is being chopped at from every angle because for one most news shows only focus on college educated people and blue collar work isn’t on their mind. Again somebody has to flip those burgers, stock those shelves at the hundreds of thousand stores, make beds at hospitals and hotels, load and unloads trucks with packages, clean building with vacuums and some kind of cleaning solution and do many of the other lower paying jobs. Yeah the suits love to go to their favorite eatery during their hunch break and to never wonder who would do this job during the school year if it wasn’t for those who are there now is just arrogant.

Everyone working many lowing paying jobs aren’t under educated, many just haven’t caught that break, the ball didn’t bounce their way. I worked at a job with a lady who had a degree in psychology. Why, well because her mother got sick and to wait around for someone to hire her or investing money into her own practice and hoping it catches on wasn’t an option, she needed to generate income fast. Many people fall in that boat, we used to hear about those people, those were kinda the human interest stories on how they refuse to just give up even though they are fulfilling their personal dreams. Hell our movies and television shows had that as a topic and people used to be able to relate to that. Not anymore. Now we are telling the president those manufacturing jobs will not make people middle class yet there are no suggestions on what can do that. I would love it if one of these news networks, network television or even dare I say it BET have a show dedicated on focusing on the working poor or poor people in general and show what the poor can do to try and save what money they can afford to. Of course that will never happen because you’d have to show the earned income that makes you poor and as much as people like to believe they’re not poor they may be surprised they’re closer to that 17% than they ever thought they were, and that’s what the media and politicians don’t want you to know.

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