Faking Poverty

Jagrup Brar, NDP MLA for the Vancouver-area riding of Surrey Fleetwood today embarked on his vow to spend one month living on the paltry $610 that single (ostensibly “employable”) people currently receive from the province on welfare, responding to a challenge by a coalition of social groups that wants the B.C. government to raise welfare payments.

Brar plans on living temporarily in an emergency shelter before moving on to private boarding houses for the duration of his month-long challenge. After spending an estimated $450 on accommodation, $42 on bus tickets and $25 for a phone for a month, Brar will be left with less than $4 a day for food.

So what is the point of this exercise? To demonstrate that poverty sucks? Well, I think we all recognize that fact already. To de-bunk the myth that people on welfare are egregiously “milking” the system? If so, I doubt this dramatic stunt will have any effectiveness in that regard, especially seeing as he’ll inhabit the guise of someone considered at the outset as potentially “employable” rather than one of the severely damaged creatures that more typically populate the welfare rolls.

And what of the goal of this “challenge” in the first place, which is to compel the B.C. government to raise welfare rates? While a modest rise in payments may help ameliorate to a small degree the misery of some individuals trapped in the system, does it really do anything at all to address the roots of the problem?

The NDP is full of good intentions and grand gestures, but in practice it delivers almost nothing of practical value – the welfare system it decries today is the very same one that it indifferently presided over in years past when it held power in B.C. with almost no positive effect whatsoever.

Hungry Kids & Other Observations

Sorry to carry on the Thanksgiving buzzkill here, but this was another story from CNN this morning that’s both depressing and kind of uplifting at the same time, concerning Sherrie Gahn, a school principal in Las Vegas who is making an effort in that capacity to feed and clothe homeless kids attending the Whitney Elementary School.

But hang on… there’s no poverty in America! Kathy Shaidle has said so, and even if there are a few thousand genuinely poor people (according to her course reckoning from the far side of Jupiter), it’s their own damn fault anyway:

The so-called poor have cars and cable tv and free medical. They live in America in the 21st century, where school is free and libraries are free and a bus ticket to a better town costs less than a bag of crack. If they’re “poor” it’s because they were too lazy and stupid to a) finish high school and/or b) keep their pants on. Jesus had something to say about folks who didn’t properly manage their money or other people’s, and who squandered free gifts and good will. He told the adulteress to sin no more, not to find herself another baby daddy.

And there’s more “conservative compassion” from that classic rant:

No one I know uses food banks. No one THEY know uses food banks. It is a common feature of human nature to think that invisible “other people” must be suffering even though my neighbours and I are pretty much cool. The people I’ve heard about who do spend all their government cheque money on beer then go to the food bank, or dress up as poor people to scam the Daily Bread.

Well goody for her. I must travel in different circles, because I know a number of folks that rely on food banks and they’re far from invisible “other people” — one of them happens to be a very dear friend who’s unable to work and now lives on a modest disability pension. I guess that leaves him out of the privileged group that’s “pretty much cool.”

And, at the risk of testing your patience (or raising your blood-pressure) there’s this gem from the same post:

That’s why I don’t care about the poor. They’re no more real than Bigfoot. Those we and these lefty Christians call “poor” are “poor” because they’ve made a series of stupid choices; spend all their (actually, my) money on lottery tickets, beer, tattoos and manicures; are suffering from undiagnosed but easily treated mental illnesses; had too many kids too young; smoked behind the gym while I spent recess in the library, etc etc etc.

I grew up with them. They were jerks and losers. (Believe me, innocent Lefty Christians: you haven’t met real “racists” and “sexists” and “homephobes” until you’ve spent time with the “poor.”)

Jesus said “the poor will always be with you” and all the crooked exegesis on earth can’t make that line read “you are ordered by Me to eliminate poverty forever using dubious economic theories and your own stubborn yet puny human will power.”

Good grief, what a sanctimonious cunt that woman is. Note how she claims that the poor don’t exist (any more than the mythological Bigfoot), but then immediately declares that she grew up with them, before proceeding to demonize such people (who don’t really exist) as nothing more than useless slackers and immoral reprobates.

Sorry for dredging up Shaidle’s reprehensible old screed, but I couldn’t help bring it to mind when I watched this story, as I do whenever the issue of poverty raises its head in our discourse. Sadly, Shaidle’s morally superior disdain for the “ungrateful poor people” that “are a corrosive on the average heart” is quite typical of the despicable attitude held by the extreme fringe of so-called “conservatives” who presume to instruct us in matters of charity and compassion based on the callous teachings of von Hayek, Friedman and Rand.