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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/29/14

Being Poor - From the War on Poverty to the War on the Poor. The System of unWelfare

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Message J.P. Whipple
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No one grandstands about the money we waste housing the poor in the prisons even though that money has little prospect for any positive returns to the society that is footing the bill. Instead, people step up the podiums to rail about all the money we spend on feeding, housing and educating the poor even though those investments have a much greater chance of being paid for in the form of productive citizens who can contribute to society. So why are our self-proclaimed financial hawks so against using our money more wisely?

Because they don't believe in welfare. They believe in "burden-fare" or to use a more familiar term:


It is not with the interest of society that these policies are codified. These politicians are anything but interested in acting on behalf of the citizens who elect them. They are acting on behalf of investors' needs for direct returns. If you are supplying the police departments and prisons your profit depends on creating more prisoners. That is an easy two-step process. Make prisons easier to get into and impossible to get out of.

It was easy for me to wind up there. I would sometimes take walks in that neighborhood on those mild Floridian evenings. Because those walks took me near the projects, the police would stop me. They would demand an ID and insist on searching me.

Being brought up in outer white suburbia, I wasn't used to be treated like a criminal. I was educated and I knew something about Constitutional Amendment that forbids unwarranted searches. When I brought up the Fourth Amendment the cops would always ask if I was a lawyer. If being able to remember my "Introduction to Civics" class makes me a lawyer then I am clearly in the wrong line of work.

As a result of my awareness of The Bill of Rights, I would raise hell whenever I was stopped and frisked. Our last encounter turned into a public debate after I fled into a local bar. The cops were not so skilled in debate. I was given a scholarship for my debating skills but they still won by slamming me into a wall and taking me to county jail.

The next time I was in handcuffs in an official capacity was out in the wilderness of Arizona. I was camping for a few days to decompress after several months on the road playing music. They insisted on searching my truck and after finding nothing, they issued me ticket with a large fine for camping there. I had not broken the rules. I had not been there longer than is allowed. I didn't built any permanent structures or done any damage to the area. In spite of my clear compliance with Federal Law, they said that because I did not have a permanent residence elsewhere I was "residing" on Federal Land. Apparently, if you are homeless you are not allowed to camp in the woods.

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J.P. Whipple is a vagabond, outcast, sleeping in a truck and staving off starvation on the outskirts of the American Dream by playing music and selling books and other artworks. Among his chief hobbies is writing political and economic essays for (more...)
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