While poverty isn't a joking matter, I can't help but laugh whenever I read about politicians, celebrities and pundits on both sides trying and failing to live on food stamps and the minimum wage. It's obvious they have never been poor nor are they very resourceful individuals.
At the same time that liberals are posting the horrors of starving kids in New York City, Michele Obama is bemoaning the rise of childhood obesity that only she can stem. As a native New Yorker who has always lived in both the poorest and richest neighborhoods here in New York City, I can attest that if children here are starving, it's their parents' fault. I speak from experience.
I have never been wealthy and the highest salary I have ever received was $35,000 a year yet my husband and I managed to send our six children to private school for twelve years because it was a priority. Thrift shop bargains, yard sales, and care packages from family were godsends. I grew up in a Spanish Harlem slum before the War on Poverty was implemented. This behemoth government enterprise has spent over 22 trillion dollars since 1965 (Adjusting for inflation, that's three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution) and shocking as it may seem (smile) there are still poor people. In fact, there is a higher percentage of poor people in America than ever before. Now how can that be?
Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed a program that would consolidate all the anti-poverty agencies into one that would be administered by the states. While on Meet the Press, host David Gregory made the obnoxious comment that perhaps Ryan doesn't have a "lot of sympathy" for poor people. His remark is so typical of the bleeding heart liberals who nonetheless enjoy the perks of capitalism allowing them to spend millions on lavish homes. Gregory just bought one for $4.5 million that will never house the indigents he bleeds for except as paid help.
Rep. Ryan may be trying hard to alleviate the burden of taxpayers with his proposals but the basic problem with that is that all anti-poverty programs are useless unless they change the fundamental cause of that economic status.
I went to Catholic school in a very poor neighborhood in Manhattan's Spanish Harlem. All my fellow students lived in what would now be described as a slum. Nevertheless, in our classroom we were given little cardboard boxes to collect for the Maryknoll missions. We would drop our meager pennies in every week and during class we'd read the Maryknoll magazine that showed how desperate the people who lived in the third world countries of Africa and South America.
As poor as we were, we were not starving because our mothers knew how to stretch dollars to provide home cooked nutritious meals. We also had a roof over our head even if the ceiling was cracked or the bathtub took forever to fill. We did not live in mud huts or drink contaminated water that made us ill.
In short, we learned to appreciate the great gift of being born in America. That gratitude is sadly missing from those living by a government check when they could be self sufficient if they really desired to be.
So now we have liberal politicians who really don't give a whit for the poor try to push their redistribution agenda by tugging at the heartstrings of the naive. What is most reprehensible is when they try and push a guilt trip on the voters by citing scripture when they haven't the faintest idea that admonitions within scripture for charity are for the individual not for action by a secular government. Taxpayers do not get the spiritual gifts or grace from money exacted from them without their permission for entitlement programs.
21 trillion dollars later and we have only created an America that is half-filled with takers dependent on governmental largesse.
I have always lived in or near an inner city where I've witnessed the good-hearted neighbors distribute food and groceries to those who are neither impoverished nor starving.
In July, Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) wrote an article for Politico Magazine: "For all of last week, I worked hard to live on the budget of a minimum wage worker. That meant I had $77 to spend on food, transportation, activities and other personal expenses for the week. I didn't make it. Most mornings started with eggs and toast, bought last Sunday during a grocery trip costing more than $15. Lunches were normally leftovers, macaroni and cheese or McDonald's. There were no big dinners or coffee stops on a whim. But the challenges were beyond food. Wednesday morning, I had a meeting about a mile from my apartment, but in the opposite direction of my office. I would normally take a cab, but this time, I took off my jacket and walked the mile in 90-degree heat, then walked back almost 2 miles to my office." This is how liberal Democrats try to identify with those voters who are having some difficulty and would welcome government assistance. Inevitably they accuse Republican rivals as not being able to connect with that 47% Romney said would never vote for him. Gov. Strickland, I recommend that you try shopping at Dollar Tree and Deals. You will find that the minimum wage goes a long way to feeding a family of four.
I watch the ads with celebrities pleading with us to help the hungry children as if America is a third world country. If children are hungry it's probably due to a broken home, drug addled parents, or neglectful teenaged parents.
I saw this announcement on CNN at the beginning of the summer: The U.S. Agriculture Department has set a goal of serving 178 million free meals to children now that school is out. That's 10 million more meals than were served last summer. "Admittedly, this is an aggressive goal, and we can't do it alone," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a column posted on the USDA website. "With strong support from individuals, communities, local governments and advocates, we can reach more kids with nutritious meals during their time out of school."
The government offers free summer meals to anyone 18 and under at approved sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children. USDA notes that teenagers "face the same risks of food insecurity in the summer, so make sure your teens are taking advantage of free summer meals, too!"
I happen to know one woman who takes her children to be fed at the local school. She is a single woman who collects welfare via an ATM card, food stamps, a section 8 apartment, free furniture, free phone, free HEAP heating assistance though she doesn't pay for heat. Meanwhile, young struggling working class couples are put through the hoops to get help and are told to try Catholic Charities. This administration which has brought thousands of illegals into the cities is making sure that these 'undocumented' immigrants receive benefits with ease.
When this column is posted on Twitter, it will garner hateful comments calling me an insensitive, unfeeling and a typical cold-hearted conservative.
But at least my eyes are open.