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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/24/14

Finding Zero

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A Facebook meme pictured a sign, "We are out of French Frizes". Underneath was the comment, "This guy want's $15.00 per hour." We're taught and conditioned each day to hate our fellow- man. If the minimum wage were indexed to inflation, the current minimum wage would be around $22.00 per hour. Of course, we can't do that, automatic pay increases are reserved only for members of Congress.

What the author of the meme missed is that you can either pay people a living wage, or you can pay for not providing a minimum wage. Restaurant employees often go to work hungry, think about that for a second. While you're eating your steak or munching on your tasty salad, the server who brought it to you might not have eaten today. The callous comment, "Well, they should get a better job then!" We aren't talking about buying new cars; we are talking about having enough food to eat. The restaurant workers and retail workers are living off of food stamps; unable to earn subsistence, we're willing to subsidize low wage employers, by subsidizing poverty, while blaming those who are only trying to subsist.

The same politicians who told us NAFTA and free trade were going to bring us new jobs are the very politicians, who now point and call Americans lazy. The old adage says death is the great equalizer, but I think its food. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote; "The belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, it always wants more tomorrow." An empty refrigerator is more powerful than a college education. It's learning Kung Fu from Bruce Lee or boxing fundamentals by three rounds with Mohamed Ali. Pennies become precious, gas money for a raggedy old car or a bus pass, becomes a choice between trying today and eating tomorrow. Once your immediate hunger relents, comes the fear for tomorrow.

I've seen the politicians trying to relate to American poverty and hunger by living on a food stamp budget for a month. No, no, no, kudos for trying, but try six months or a year, after all the little things in your kitchen are gone. Say you need flour, that's $2.50 or $3.00 and it's the 22nd and you might only have $20.00 left for the rest of the month. These things rock along and come the first of the month, you're out of everything. You start the new month without salt or pepper, mayo, margarine, cooking oil or milk. Milk is a good example, if you only use milk to cook with like me; it goes into the miscellaneous file. You only have $185.00 per month, so you can't afford $40.00 of the miscellaneous. This pushes you into the smaller size, more expensive by volume purchases.

Poverty builds lousy consumers; $10.00 in food stamps is a better bargain than $3.00 in gas money, when you don't have the three dollars. Ditto for drug testing welfare and food stamp recipients; drugs cost money and if you don't have enough money for food"well? It's that food/poverty disconnect, the well fed believe, if you are poor there's something wrong with you. You're probably a criminal, just out to game the system. What is the most available, most abused, inexpensive drug in this country? Its alcohol, does alcohol show up on a drug test? Nope, what is the most dangerous, most destructive and violence inducing drug in America, its alcohol.

Salmon swim up-stream to spawn, they keep swimming until they either run out of water or give out from exhaustion. It's what scientists would call the "lazy salmon / drug abusing salmon" syndrome. Salmon which fail to spawn must be defective, they make poor choices! Ever heard that one before? They should have swum over to the Atlantic Ocean; or they shouldn't have been born in an inner city aquarium. They should move to where more water is available. And they would too, if they weren't so lazy and drug addled!

I wonder sometimes if a foreign visitor to this country were to step off the plane and announce: "You Americans are no good! A bunch of lazy drug addled slobs!" Let me at em! I'll show you lazy Bubba! Yet, we let our politicians say these things about us, without penalty. But again, it's not party speaking, its stomach. Ask at any food bank; "who the lazy people are in America?" They will tell you it's the politicians; the healthy have no need of physicians. If you're poor and need help, government is your last recourse. When government not only doesn't want to help, but treats you as a criminal, that's stealing your lunch and talking bad about your mama!

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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