First, growing numbers of our citizens are living below the poverty level and even, alarmingly, below half the poverty level. Growing numbers receive food stamps, live in shelters, and are daily denied emergency shelter assistance.
Second, despite the rise in poverty and inequality, the percentage of Americans who favor government help for the poor is declining. According to a Boston Globe article (“The Great Divide,” 11/4/12, p.1), the slide in approval of public benefits is especially dramatic among Republicans, whose support for aid has dropped from 62% to 40% over the past 25 years. Among Democrats, support for government assistance has also declined, from 79% to 75%.
Why is it that at a time when we should expect more compassion, we find less? These days, poor people are often described as “takers,” a stereotype which stirs up popular hostility. This hostility in turn justifies cutting public assistance and allows those in power to impose harsh demands in exchange for benefits .
To get aid the poor are proselytized to with no recourse except to leave without getting help.
The food banks provide starchy low budget food items and if they do provide produce it is so rotten it will spoil the rest of your produce if you put it with it.
Drug tests for people with no means,
Asking invasive questions in an attempt to shame the poor from not seeking help. For example to get cash aid for my child in California I was asked how many times I had sex with my abusive spouse.
Waiting rooms where you have to be patted down and searched before you can even see if the office is the right one.
Dirty noisy wait rooms where the term limbo would be insufficient.
People that say snide things if you try to buy anything but ramen and mac and cheese with foodstamps. Too bad I have food allergies and wonky digestion I should still have to eat things that make me sick because they are paid for by food stamps.
I live in HUD housing. I have no right to have a visitor enter my apartment between the hours of 11pm and 8 am.
I also have several "inspections" of my apartment each year.
We have guards that walk the halls with their radios blaring as if I were in a prison.
And even if we have problems they are ignored. I had a guard that started stalking me after my SRS. I complained and they gave him more hours.
I know there are some that will say I post these things out of self interest. But I'm not in the sense they are thinking. I do not want to live a Lord of the Flies existence.