Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hard Times

While many Americans have suffered financial losses in the current economic meltdown, few really understand what it’s like to be poor. A lot of us fear poverty, but most of us don’t have a clue what it’s like to live in poverty day after day after day.

Those who complain about their 401K losing 50% of its value don’t understand what it's like to choose between food and fuel oil. Those forced to switch from employer-supported health insurance to a COBRA plan won’t have to ignore symptoms and avoid the doctor. They won’t have their childrens' teeth pulled instead of repaired because it’s cheaper.

Most Americans will never experience the shame of justifying their situation to a cynical welfare worker. They won’t beg a utility for a few extra days before shutoff off and get shut off anyway. They won’t have to face the fact that their children and grandchildren will never attend college. And they won’t suffer the constant grinding down of their self-esteem until it is finally gone.

Most Americans can’t imagine what it’s like to make less than a living wage. The working poor are invisible to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment