I hear most of the single hens clucking come each January when the magical manna from above – that EITC – is set to appear in their bank accounts. They typically buy gadgets or go on vacations or treat themselves to something nice or buy fake tits (OK, this is poorly spent student aid but same principle), but they spend the month or so before payday yammering excitedly about how much they can’t wait until it arrives. Basically, these women make the same shitty decisions with their stipend that caused them to be recipients of large amounts of free government money in the first place. Go figure.
I spend an unfortunately large amount of time around poor people, and the more I’m around them the less sympathy I have for them. To be fair, I have met some poor who were in poverty through no fault of their own: they played by the rules, made all the smart decisions, hedged their bets, but, in spite of their best efforts and precautions, life still takes a giant dump on them. There are a couple of people like this, and they have my sympathy.
Most poor people I know, however, are complete and total idiots with little or no self-discipline, and a near-complete lack of foresight. Like those that Chuck described, these people do not play by the rules. They drop out of high school, get pregnant out of wedlock, flit from job to job, refuse to save money, and generally make no plans for the future.* Their lives are terrible messes, which is to be expected since these people make decisions that history has shown to be a generally terrible idea. Failing to receive the most basic credentials of competence simply does not look good on a resume. Having to pay for and raise a child by yourself is expensive and time consuming, hindering one from saving for the future. Not maintaining stable employment is simply more of the same. And refusing to plan for the future leads to obviously negative outcomes as one has no guiding principles whereby to guide decision-making. Thus, once short-sighted people reach the future, they find that they are wholly unprepared for it.
Most of the poor people I know, then, are in a poverty of their own making. Since the collective wisdom of the ages has provided a template for escaping poverty (graduate from high school, don’t get pregnant out of wedlock, maintain stable employment, and save for the future), it takes an incredible amount of stupidity and complete absence of self-discipline to be poor in this day and age. And even then, that’s in a relative sense. Quite simply, most poor people are in a bed of their own making, and I have no sympathy for them as a result. It is dead easy to figure out what to do to avoid poverty, and it only takes a moderate amount of self-discipline.** If you can’t manage to do this, you undoubtedly deserve all the problems that life casts upon you. And no, the government shouldn’t rob me at gunpoint to bail you out.
* Additional reading: “And Ye Are Bastards.” This was an essay I wrote freshman year regarding the problems with single motherhood and pregnancy out of wedlock. In it, I explain why the theology of illegitimate birthright, and how and why God hates it when children are born out of wedlock. It can be found in my book The Early Years.
** Relatively speaking. Avoiding poverty takes considerably less self-discipline than becoming wealthy does.