I read today a quote that most governments that call themselves democracies incentivise those who have means with money, and those who do not have means with no money. In other words, we penalise the poor by adding poverty, shaming them for taking ‘handouts’. Yet we provide ease of access to money, loans, tax incentives, rebates and such to those already with wealth.
In the USA there is a violent allergic response to the word socialism. As the historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote this week in one of her daily articles, the seeds of the word socialism and its peculiar American slant is steeped in racism, and the desire to prevent people of colour from being able to access the vote plus any form of power and capital.
We live in the mythology that poor people are takers. Those with means, the middle class and wealthy, work hard for their money and are loath to see it being paid to the lazy indolent takers through taxes that fund education, health care, and the means to vote.
Even in Australia, our Liberal government is hard at propagating this myth, propping up elite private schools, keeping those without employment in dire poverty, paving the way for the powerful to maintain their power.
The asymmetries of access over generations create a crippling self-reference that takes an almighty effort to reach escape velocity from. How easy is it to blame people in this category for their indolence?
Laziness lives in all strata’s of society. Takers are often those who demand tax rebates. They are not the poor, but the wealthy. What they take far exceeds any amount that could be taken by the poor.
A civilised society, one where we are civil to each other, is one where we do enable access to quality education, health care, child care and housing for all.
It lives in the belief that there is enough to go around. That humans, when given the right ecology, rise up to the light, not down.
The precession of poverty is violence, crime, war, hate. If we did the all-in-accounting of the costs to build our security systems, our safety mechanisms, our crime prevention, we would discover that quality education and health care for all is a good investment.
To do this…oh…to do this… requires that we admit that every human, every life, has value. And if we cannot admit this, we might tell ourselves the truth…that we are the problem, that righteousness, racism, the caste system suits us.
Photo taken May 17th 2021