stop calling poor people “those striving to be middle-class”, many are just trying to put food on the table

December 27, 2017
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Liberals and Conservatives alike have a really gross problem of referring to people living in poverty as “those striving to be middle class”. A starry-eyed euphemism used to describe citizens living paycheck to paycheck, those who have to choose between feeding the kids and feeding themselves, the working poor. On Capitol Hill, those people are striving for more, not just striving to survive.

After the Rich Folks tax cut passed the House last week, I was surprised, dumbly, to hear Nancy Pelosi condemn the GOP for a plan that so outrageously rewards wealthy families and those who make money off of the work of others at the cost of middle and low-income people. Chin high, chest puffed out, Pelosi signaled that the bill passed would hurt the most vulnerable people, who “aspire to reach [the middle class]”.

Now, some of my personal aspirations include writing a best selling book, speaking to communities and students across the country and I’d, preferably, like to do these things while being financially stable. But I am a privileged person who has all of my needs met, thanks to the support of my family. And while I aspire to be a fully financially independent young person who doesn’t have to lean on my parents to bridge those gaps, I am PRIVILEGED enough to have a safety net that allows me to survive and subsequently thrive.

Without a ’social safety net’, like Medicare/Medicaid, CHIP, welfare programs, paternal leave programs, fair wages for equal work, health insurance, and other programs, low-income Americans, folks with student loan debt, disabilities, etc. are in free-fall.

“Aspirations” are about wants and desires, they shouldn’t be about basic needs. Having enough money to keep a roof over your head and feed your family isn’t an “aspiration.

You can’t Febreze the bleakness of poverty with inspiring language.



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