This story resonated very deeply with me. Quite a few years ago I worked with a man that was forced to go back to work after the BRI X fiasco drained a large portion of his retirement savings. Beulah Barton is fortunate to have the health to be able to work. There are many who are in financial crises whose health will not allow them to re-enter the job market.
When the media speaks about the current economic down turn it often focuses on those that are losing their homes, or are having difficulty finding jobs. It rarely takes the time to discuss those that were already living on the margins before the crises hit.
Food banks are having difficulty collecting food, charitable donations are dropping and this is all occurring at time when people need the help the most. I listen daily as the GOP screams about the evils of socialism in an attempt to blind people from the fact that in difficult times it is our communal efforts as a species that have allowed us to survive and progress to the degree that we have.
As I said in All About The Middle Class, in our bid to hold on to a standard of living that we feel entitled to, we continue to promote the invisibility of the working/under class. Denying the degree of impoverishment is not going to solve this situation. Poverty does not occur because people are lazy, or not desirous of working towards their own subsistence. Poverty occurs because we have institutionalized a system that refuses to actualize the humanity of others.
How many times have you heard the refrain, in a country as rich as this how is it possible that there are so many homeless, or so many that go without food? It occurs because for all of the rights and freedoms it still has not been universally decided the food, clothing, health care, education and shelter are basic human rights.
Life, Liberty and Justice; however life has requirements. In the Downtown core of any major city the suits rush by the homeless as though they manifest some sort of disease. The elderly are regularly shunted aside, and children though they are our future, go to bed hungry at night. Vulnerability in the western world continues to grow as the gap between the rich and the poor increases each year. This is an obscenity.
A 3500 sq foot home, with two cars and a swimming pool are not necessities. To have this luxury understood as a reward for hard work, ignores the degree of exploitation at play in the racist, patriarchal, capitalist system. A lawyer works no harder than a waitress in a diner, their labour is simply valued differently. A SAHM who is on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is just as valuable as a CEO managing a fortune 500 company. It is a disconnect in worth and value that perpetuates the idea that some should live in splendour while others starve.
Stories like that of Beulah Barton are increasingly becoming the norm. Mechanization promised a reduction in the labour of all and instead we are working more hours than we ever have. At the rate that we are going retirement will only occur when we physically exhaust our ability to work or we have significantly exploited the labour of others during our working lives. For some socialism may be an evil boogeyman; however I tend to believe our inability to lead more communal lives is far more destructive.