America, You’re Funny: Poverty and Charity

I was in Argentina this August with a bunch of middle class Americans visiting the poor Jews (yes they exist you racist assholes) and these Americans were shocked by the poverty. It was interesting seeing American blindness and assumptions, given that most Americans were poor and there was no middle class prior to 1930s, Americans have an easy time thinking they were always rich and that there was no upward mobility and so they assume that the poor they encounter will never move up either. That’s why they will often say “What’s the use of helping these people, they will always be poor.” They say so without realizing that these people they call poor, because they live in tiny little homes that are about the size of a large apartment in New York, are actually are better off then they used to be. What they don’t realize is that ten years ago, these poor kids didn’t even have homes, they were living in dirt shacks in the country side and are happy to have some kind of employment after some huge company (probably American funded) left them without income or land.

What is really funny, is that in San Diego, America’s Finest City, there are poor people begging on every major crosswalk, there are tens of thousands living in the streets including children and that’s just in San Diego. These Americans walking the streets of Buenos Aires, like the Americans who go all over the world, feel so bad for all these poor and shocked to see the poverty, and yet they will walk past a begging man ten times while dressed up and heading to the club and getting useless tattoos when they could be feeding the poor. They feel sad about shacks of the poor in Brazil when the poor in America don’t even have that luxury because the cops and American laws don’t allow that dignity to the poor of the United States. They talk about social issues and yet how many liberal voting Americans get wasted everyday in front of all the poor in the streets of downtown, running bar tabs of hundreds of dollars, going into debt to party and never giving a dollar to charity?

The other side of the  coin are the conservatives who hate to pay taxes but love giving to charity, partially because charity is tax-deductible. But anyone who thinks long term will realize that taxes allow for infrastructure and large scale changes that educate and allow people to rise while charity allows people to survive and not die which means they remain poor and sad which allows for the middle class to feel good about itself. Why? Because in that case, at least it is not poor and they feel better about themselves about keeping the poor alive, they somehow feel charitable and noble. But really, it is funny how the conservatives like to go to war to save those who are poor but that same war then kills the poor, troops (who are rarely from middle or upper class) and civilians. Then   to feel better about all the things they have, they give charity somewhere halfway across the world as if those countries don’t have money for their poor and we are so much better and kinder by giving aid when those countries don’t give a shit about their people just like we don’t give a shit about ours because we have the same poor and hungry. We hate to have our tax dollars help our poor and yet we seem perfectly fine with helping the poor of other nations because those poor we deem incapable of becoming rich and our poor we deem as lazy unworthy of aid.

So in the end, America, you are poor morally and your charity is a sign of sad poverty and how rich some are in this country, rich by the labor of the poor. Maybe sometimes, the reason why other countries have less charity is not because they are stingy, but because they pay enough into their taxes and expect enough from their government to help the poor. Conversely, the countries that don’t care about their people who we give military aid and give money for the poor are only encouraged to do nothing as their poor are kept fed by our charity and therefore do not expect anything more out of their country, perpetuating governments that simply get wealthy without actually governing or improving the lives of their citizens.

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