In the Face of Poverty, the Lower Class is Fighting a Battle Without Weapons

Kaitlin Mahar

There’s an article circulating on Facebook about a hardworking, metaphorical college student with a 4.0 GPA whose father (who just so happens to be a Republican), when his daughter described her friend and fellow student’s laziness and resulting 2.0 GPA, suggests that his daughter deduct 1.0 from her GPA and give it to her friend, so that they both would have a 3.0 GPA. Appalled, the dutiful student protested that she worked hard for her grades, unlike her indifferent friend. Her father’s response? “Welcome to the Republican party.” The moral was that the rich work hard and are rewarded and shouldn’t have to bankroll the poor’s laziness.

However, keeping with the college student metaphor, let’s add a third student. Like Student #1, she works as hard as possible, but, like Student #2, she has a low GPA. Maybe she has a disability that makes it especially difficult to understand what’s going on in class, or maybe she’s from another country and English isn’t her first language. Regardless of the (legitimate) reason for her low GPA, what about her? Should she have to suffer?

Income inequality in America isn’t a black-and-white issue; if it were, then it would be fixed, or at least significantly remedied, by now. The poor are used as scapegoats to provide an excuse for their lack of resources and the refusal to even out the scales. Of the 64.8% of work-eligible poor, 62.6% have full-time jobs, and this is while Congress thwarts various attempts at job creation, which, without a doubt, contributes to unemployment rates.

It’s like admonishing someone for their consumption of junk food and telling them to stop eating it, but then continuing to stock that person’s cupboards and refrigerators with nothing but crap. You can’t fix the problem if you continue to perpetuate it and give no means of fighting the situation. The poor cannot fight their destitution if they aren’t given any weapons.