Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Put em on the Bus

Put ‘em on the Bus


By Richard E. Noble

Compassion for the poor in the U.S. is a waste of time. Americans do not believe that there are poor, hungry people in America.

My wife doesn’t believe in poverty: my wife who needs, at the most recent estimate, seven thousand dollars worth of dental work; my wife who hasn’t been to a beauty parlor in at least thirty years; my wife who buys her clothes and furniture at the Goodwill; my wife who has traveled, along with her husband, all over the United States picking fruits and vegetables, living under bridges and equipment shelters, washing dishes in crummy restaurants, sweeping floors and working as a transient laborer the majority of her life; my wife who at best can qualify for a minimum wage job anywhere in America; my wife who was once keeping index cards for a cook book which she had tentatively entitled, “One Hundred Different Ways to Cook Chicken Necks”; my wife who, if she happens to get sick tomorrow can look forward to a cot in the corridor at the local hospital because we have no health insurance and throughout our entire working careers never, ever have had any health insurance; my wife who can’t even join in the country song … “A big old brew, my double-wide and you” because the best that we have ever been able to afford is a single-wide; my wife who called the property appraiser’s office last week because our property evaluation went ‘up’ to eleven dollars and thirty-six cents; my wife who recently received a call from a mortgage company who said that if we owned our own property, they would refinance our property, site unseen, for 100,000 - Carol was laughing so hard the man finally hung up; my wife who considers the minimum Social Security benefit a windfall.

My wife doesn’t think that she is poor; she thinks that she is “middle class.”

This is the problem here in America. We have “middle class” folks, like my wife, who watch a show about prison conditions in this country, and who say to themselves; “Man, what can I do to get into that place? free medical and dental, room and board, my own private room, church services, conjugal visits, vocational training, and educational and career training programs. It will take me the rest of my life to earn those benefits out here in the “free” world. And if I can finagle a life sentence, I don’t even have to worry about old age benefits. Wow! That’s as good as the United States Marine Corps, better working conditions, more rights, and no bullets, mud or barbed wire either.”

We have been living in a country where the welfare benefits have been better than the going to work benefits. But that has all been changed - we no longer live in a “welfare” state we live in a “welloff-fare” state. But here is the Catch-22; when all of the hard working people complained about how even life in prison was better than their lot as honest hard working people, the “middle class” decided that the prison system needed a downgrade. When working people complained that people on welfare had better health care benefits than they did, the “middle class” folks solved the problem by removing health care benefits from welfare recipients.

Hardly pays to complain, does it?

Next time any of you poor, underprivileged complain; please don’t mention my name - or any names for that matter.

In the past, I would have suggested that the homeless be packed up, put on a bus and brought to a farm out in North Dakota, but I am sure that by adhering to even Geneva Convention rules, or the SPCA commitments, the farm will very shortly be better than conditions in parts of New York, Chicago, and L.A., and people all over America will be marching to North Dakota demanding equal rights.

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