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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mommy's supposed to fix it

The Girl is hungry. She stands in front of me singsonging "I'm hungee, I'm hungee" like she's 3. She wants me to take her out for lunch. I do not want to take her out for lunch. I am gassy. I don't want to put a morsel of food in my mouth. I don't want to look at food. Really, I don't.

But she is insistent. She is hungry and she wants food outside of the house. I suggest making tuna fish, but that will not do. I suggest pasta, but she doesn't not want pasta. How about a salad? No, too much work. I run out of ideas. We don't have much food in the house right now. I'm waiting on my check. It will come on Saturday. Until then, we eat what we have. Whining won't help food to appear. Even after we go shopping, there won't be much to eat. With the food prices going through the roof, we just have to make do with less. There isn't a choice. My check doesn't get bigger just because the prices of everything has increased. I have to budget within what we have, and it's not much. It certainly isn't enough.

I don't like that my kid is hungry. I don't like that I can't offer her much because the cupboards are bare. I don't like that the prices keep increasing but there is no cost of living increase. I hate that 80% of my take home money goes right to housing. I hate that I can't do more for my kids right now.

The end of the school year is always tough. There are parties to attend, field trips to go on, and they all cost a lot of money. Money I don't really have this year. Thank goodness neither of my kids have bought into the whole prom thing, because I honestly don't know what I would have done if they had wanted the dress, tux, and limo. Thankfully they are a bit more sensible and realize that the whole prom thing is a big waste of money. Or so they say.

Last night I read Barak Obama's statement for Momocrats on poverty. I wish I could say I was impressed, but he missed the most important point for changing poverty in this country. Just like every other politician, he 'forgot' that all those housing programs he was pushing are based upon the Federal Poverty Rate, and that rate hasn't changed since 1968. It is so out of date, so ridiculously low, so impossible to live within, and yet it never changes. Nobody is going to qualify for that housing unless the poverty rate is changed, and not one politician will step up to the plate and promise to make that change. So for the poor, all that talk is just talk. Unless that one action is taken, it's all cheap talk, useless talk. It won't help anyone who is really poor.

This country needs to take a long hard look at how we define who is poor. Since we don't believe in poverty, since we believe that everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they just WANT to, since we think that governments shouldn't ever have to help the poorest citizens, since we still talk about welfare queens that cheat and sell their food stamps, even though it's impossible to do so with the EBT card, we're never going to repair poverty. It will always be there, it will get worse and worse as this economy tanks, and nobody will even care. We like to turn a blind eye to poverty. We like to make it a racial divide, where the poor are black, uneducated, and have lived on welfare for generations. We love to lie to ourselves and pretend that poverty can't happen to us. But it can. And it does, all the time. To your neighbors, to your friends, to your family. Poverty is often just a paycheck or two away.

Will you see it when it happens to someone you love?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Rhea said...

Poverty should be eliminated. Food and shelter are necessities and everyone should have these and they shouldn't be able to be speculated on.

1/5/08 1:31 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I've overheard statements labeling poor citizens as "angry". I hear more frustration than anger - frustration at the rising prices, crashing economy, and seeing all of these things out of reach and out of control. Another For Sale sign went up in our neighborhood; I hope it's not a pending foreclosure. And these are people with means!

1/5/08 3:05 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Daisy,

The foreclosure problem is very serious in the Boston area. We have one street in town, a street only one block long, with 16 units (triple deckers) in foreclosure. More than half the street is boarded up. It's that bad, and part of the reason is that we have such high prices for housing.

Now with rentals, the prices are dropping, and those of us that rented years ago are paying more for our homes than you would if you rented right now. Hundreds more, but do you think the landlords would regulate the prices downward to market rate? Only when pigs start flying.

1/5/08 4:42 PM  
Blogger madamspud169 said...

It's no better here in the U.K. My husband & I eat dinner only every other day because if we ate two meals every day we wouldn't be able to eat the whole month & well, you do these things for your kids. We haven't gone out in over two years or bought anything resembling a luxury including alcohol or brand name food.

2/5/08 6:31 AM  
Blogger JaniceNW said...

I've been closer than most. I know what it is to be one paycheck away from living under a bridge.

Instead of taking care of the "world" let's take care of our neighbors and folks in our own back yard first!!!

Where's John Edwards?

3/5/08 11:10 PM  

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