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  •  Poverty is an Institution, NOT a "Choice"!!!! (9+ / 0-) is not a "choice" like so many people think it is. Let me explain: the reason why so many "nouveau poor" are shocked is that they discover that suddenly they are "members" of this institution, which is there to exploit them and use them for the upper class benefit and profit. it is important to note that these "nouveau poor"  are only coming on board to poverty when there are millions who have been there for decades suffering under the same conditions.

    Here is a definition of institution from Websters dictionary:

    institution: [in-sti-too-shuhn, -tyoo-] noun
    a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.

    any established law, custom, etc.

    See, while it is illegal to discriminate against people in certain groups, it is not illegal to discriminate against anyone who is poor for housing, employment, financial reasons, to enact laws targeting the poor, and even to deny services to someone because they are poor.  This is supposedly perfectly fine, but it is what poverty encompasses that is the issue here.

    The Institution of Poverty is based on racism, sexism (including LGBT), ageism, classism,and disabilities.  
    People in poverty are far from a burden for the upper classes as it is often perceived, poverty is the very basis for the rest of society who depend upon the poor in order to keep their own status/class. However, the way these classes shirk the responsibility they all share in keeping this institution alive, is by denying their part in this institution using hatred for the poor and blaming the poor for their "choice" to live within those conditions.  

    Hatred of the poor is a way to group ALL those "isms" into one big package, not because they are of color. Unfortunately this now includes many more whites who are caught within the web of this institution because they also fall under the same conditions and stereotypes imposed on their brothers and sisters in poverty..

    And by "hatred" here, this is not often something that is all people in sheets. It is benign and submerged in ways that may even seem "charitable" but is in reality is a way of keeping power over others and keeping them "in their place".

    Whites who have experienced poverty are now just grouped in with all those "isms".  For instance, more whites are on welfare than any other race. Yet whenever you see any depictions of anyone on welfare, you will see a black face, you seldom see any white ones. In this way it will subtly impose on the white person that they are now "one of those". By pretending that poverty is a "choice" instead of the embedded institution it is, this way this person can be deemed as "choosing" to be poor, which includes those of color, any gender, any person who is disabled, any person who has had the nerve to become elderly.

    I could go on all day about how poverty is institutionalized in this country and how the upper classes benefit from poverty. I will try to break it down to saying that the upper classes depend on the poor in many ways.

    * They depend on the poor for cheap (and sometimes even slave) labor.

    * They use the poor for their mega-nonprofits who give them "tax breaks" for their "charitable giving".

    * It is no small thing that when there is discussion about taxing the upper class that "charitable giving" is usually 2nd on the list for the reason not to impose it.

    * Instead of getting those generous tax breaks, the poor pay the highest rate of taxes than any other class in every single state. Check out your state here:

    The poor are depended upon to do all the heavy lifting in order for the upper classes not to do it such as with care giving.

    * According to the AARP if we were to pay for all the unpaid care giving it would cost over $450 BILLION dollars per year.

    * Women lose on the average of over $400,000 performing unpaid labor over a work life time ~ and this is based on her $.77 for every man's dollar

    * The greatest proportion of people in poverty are women. This is because they are not only caring for their children raising the next generation to care for us, they also care for their elders and spouses as well.

    * Each time they have to make the agonizing decisions whether to work for a wage or for the 24/7 care of a loved one.

    Additionally, the AARP says in a study they did about caregiving in the following link, it would cost $Trillions to replace this unpaid work yet in Welfare Reform, they codified into law that all this work is "doing nothing".  Indeed most of these caregivers are expected to live off their loved one's income if they cannot work for a wage while caring for that loved one.

    Social Security calls all this unpaid work "zero years" meaning that the laborer does not merit a single cent for saving the community from those $Billions it would cost for institutions and paid care that is being replaced by the 24/7 unpaid work these workers do. They get no pay, no medical benefits, no sick leave, no vacation not a single dime for saving all this tax money.

    One of the biggest homeless populations I see are with well educated, middle aged white women who have performed this unpaid work only to find themselves on the street. They are too young and have no dependents to qualify for any assistance and yet too old and "inexperienced" for anyone to hire them. There is nothing for them after spending their years raising their children, then caring for their elders and/or spouse who has died using up all the resources, and so there is nothing left for them, not even a Social Security check because they are not disabled enough and they will never qualify for a pension (that has been taken away from their spouse by the rich CEO who decided to take the pension fund for themselves for their 2nd vacation home when their company is on the rocks).

    These women are the ones that the upper classes depend upon while not paying for it ~ and most of this labor paid or unpaid come from the poor.

    So the point I am making is that when the Institution of Poverty is ensconced within a society and yet is unseen and not properly dealt with, poverty can then become the way to be racist, sexist, ageist, and discriminatory against the disabled. Then it can be denied that any one of those illegal "isms" are the reason for the discriminations ~ it is because those people are poor and they "chose" to be that way.  By including poor whites within those "isms" is a way to pretend, "See? I did not hate that person because they are gay, brown, a woman, an old person, or because they are disabled,  I include whites in that group and this way I can pretend I discriminate against ALL low income people because they are poor..."

    As an advocate for the poor, one of the most annoying things I hear is the surprise and shock at terrible treatment that is experienced by the middle class who have fallen into poverty. They say, "B-b-b-b-u-t I worked so harrrrd! I did all the right things! I got married, I went to church, I paid my taxes.  I am not a drunk or a drug addict like "those others"!

    Like the poor who have been there haven't done all these things too? Most have worked their asses off no matter what "isms" they are, but are grouped into one slimy ball within the Institution of Poverty and then swept under the rug. There is more alcoholism and drug addictions within the upper classes but you would not think it when the neighborhoods where the poor can afford housing (IF they can afford it at all) are swarming with police patrolling and watching for any infraction, while ignoring the gated communities where this abuse is rampant behind those curtained picture windows.  

    As a white woman myself who had a racially blended family, who experienced a few of these 'isms" that I witnessed, I can say I forgive the white middle class for their ignorance. But those who fall into poverty would never have to go through the trauma as badly if they but understood that they themselves participated and believed myths about the poor that are not the true. That they themselves prepared a situation that could be overcome if they but forgot all those "isms" and realized we are all in this together.

    If any class had any sense they would understand and begin the fight against poverty because poverty affects everyone in so many ways. Not only could they become one of those "isms" at any time themselves, even if they don't, they will pay with more sickness, more ignorance, more crime, even affecting the ones who they can pay to care for them when they can no longer care for themselves.

    My 2 cents

    Cat in Seattle

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    by mntleo2 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:20:55 PM PDT

    •  I love your comment. Very knowledgeable and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      heartfelt, with good reasoning too.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:51:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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