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Our Perceptions About the “Unworthy Poor” Haven’t Changed


Our Perceptions About the “Unworthy Poor” Haven’t Changed

Serena Rice

I first learned about the history of the “unworthy poor” when I pursued my Master of Social Work degree. I read about the social movements in the early 20th century and how they tended to divide people in need into people whose poverty was outside of their control – for example, widows or orphaned children – who were deemed deserving of help from society; and people whose poverty could be blamed on their own bad decisions or laziness – they were written off as unworthy of assistance, or the unworthy poor.


“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”

― Herman Melville


Capitalism is by nature selfish. What is curious is the split personality of uber conservatives who will grow bomabstic about how this is a christian nation and then act so unchristian towards the poor.

Send jobs overseas - cut wages and benefits - even seek to cut social security benefits… to someone who is rich, they all sound like the poor are lazy and that’s why the poor are poor. Remember when GW the boob applauded a woman who said she worked three jobs and said isn’t America a great country … and then the woman said she was complaining about having no life and no time for family just trying to make ends meet. .

Bravo to Ms. Rice, an advocate for the poor. She has the right attitude about helping the poor i.e, helping people is a good thing.


The system basically wants people to just die.


There’s precious little opprobrium for the “undeserving rich”, isn’t there just?


USA is the only country in the world that legislates poverty.


As it seeks to legitimize it.


Combining the memes of the unworthy poor and the inferior black creates an unstoppable momentum towards the Fascist governance required by our corporate state.


The govt can easily determine if people in need are lazy—offer them a job!


I grew up in a poor working family which became a broken home. My parents could not afford to put me through college. I have often taken jobs that don’t suit me just to have a paycheck. I probably could have gone farther with a college degree, though I have friends with masters who still wait tables. I’m one of those “bootstraps” sorts because I did find some work in my field of interest, but after moving to be closer to family for health reasons at the time, living in a provincial town has proven to be a poor decision due to lack of jobs. What I have been exposed to is nothing short of the poverty nightmare.
I came to know the struggles of finding a job when one lives in a semi-rural area where jobs are normally hard to find. Unless I were a truck driver or construction worker, the only jobs available most of the time are in retail and fast food. Everyone works part time. The lucky have more than one of these jobs. I strained my back lifting boxes and doing retail duties at a chain store for $7.75 per hour, before I left I was only averaging about 8-10 hours a week. Most people I know in the service industry live with others and receive food stamps because they cannot afford to live on their own.
Finding a job where people treat you decent involves knowing someone - such as I found my last job, which was for a law firm making $500 a month base salary. During this time I lost my housing because the person I entrusted to help me make rent failed their end of the bargain. Then, I lost my job when my employer became ill and died. Then I became ill, and applied for disability but was turned down, as I did not meet their criteria.
I am scared that I may end up on the streets one day.
Here’s what really pisses me off. Someone I considered a friend insulted me because she thought if I just tried a little harder, I could get a job and get out of the little town I am in. She mocked me for the pain and sickness I have been enduring since January (luckily I am some better and will be forced to look for any fast food or retail job I can find - not having a car also hinders me some). This person is no longer my friend. Her parents pay for her apartment, her car and her healthcare. They let her do what she wants which is to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She has taken waitressing jobs when she wanted to work, but mommy and daddy always made sure they kept her sustained.
This person also recently moved because she wanted to be closer to her interests, AND to get away from “people from other cultures” who were moving into her apartment complex. She was extremely uncomfortable being around poor and non-white people.
She personifies these attitudes, described in this article, who judge the poor without ever really having to struggle themselves. The fact that people hold the poor in such disdain is telling of what kind of society we live in. The society that places competition above cooperation and greed over compassion, bearing the hallmarks of inequity and fascism, is not one I consciously choose to be a part of, and were there anything I could do to change this, I would.


A decent job.


Please! why does everyone refuse to see the wood in the trees?
There is one, and only one, cause of all our economic woes. During the early 1900’s our stupid/corrupt politicians signed away our Sovereign “rights” , that allowed us to print and issue our own interest free, debt free money; and since then we have all become “debt slaves”. Our rights to print and issue our own money out of thin air were ceded to private banking Corporations, thus now, we borrow all our money from them, and they simply print it out of thin air, and charge us interest for the privilege. Given the nature of our economic cycles, the booms and busts, it is virtually impossible for us ever to repay all such debts, especially since, when they print our borrowings, they do not also print the money to cover the interest repayments. This particular economic consequence was recorded centuries ago in the well known fable about the boy who possessed a goose that laid “golden” eggs; he sold the goose for a paltry sum and forever thereafter he was destitute.

The remedy for our problems is simple; we abrogate any agreement previously made, reclaim our Sovereign “rights” to print and issue our own debt free interest free money.

This will enable us to stop income-taxing of individuals; we may pay everyone that needs it a social wage, based on a break even computation, this will eliminate poverty and deprivation; those in receipt of the Social wage will be encouraged into employment, without loss of this Social wage, and to work for any employer for additional income, mutually agreed between them. this gives control of work and income to the “workman”. Employers will gain a workforce of people willing to accept much lower wages than previously paid, thus making the employer production cost significantly lower; plus, the employer no longer collects taxes for the Government. The employer Corporation/business will pay tax annually as usual. The collection of V.A.T. or G.S.T., consumer taxes will cease.

All Government expenditures will be provided by the planned issue of our own debt free interest free money using legislation approved by Parliament. Health, Education, University courses, Infrastructure of all kinds, etc. etc.

Provided that all of these expenditures are actually “spent” into circulation they will not create inflation; inflation will occur, for instance, when too much money chases too few “goods”. The Government must own and run it’s own Bank, just like the original Commonwealth Bank. No Private Bank or Corporation will be permitted to create money, under any guise; our financial system will revert to one of "sound " money. Sound money is that which turns around sound borrowing and lending, controlled by being liquid cash, backed by the ownership of assets, and strict criteria keeping them in balance; borrowing and lending outside of these criteria, characterised as “high risk”, will be permitted between parties willing to accept such risk, and then, only when it involves their own wholly owned assets.

Interest rates in the private sector will be set by the private sector. The floating exchange rate will be converted into “fixed” rates decided by Government, and as decided between Sovereign Nations and embodied in trade agreements. Our currency will not be traded on “Exchanges”, our Nation will be immunised against the manipulated predations of the “Market”.

The foregoing explains the broad brush strokes involved, but in summary we would have a Nation with little or no foreign debt, a Nation whose domestic economy sits on a solid unshakeable base, a Nation better able to compete in the wider World, a Nation without poverty whose peoples are empowered to think and work for themselves, a Nation rescued from the avarice of the “Money Lenders”, and above all, a Government able to be free and Independent, instead of being owned by Corporate money and influence. This is named “The Universal Economy” because it will operate anywhere.

For those who doubt the efficacy of this proposal, I suggest they study the United States example. The clever banking Corporations engineered the U.S. dollar to be the Worlds reserve currency. Ever since the U.S. has been printing money out of thin air, the only Nation to do so, now they have military bases in more than one hundred and seven Nations, they have engineered regime change and wars in countless Nations, and recently have printed trillions of dollars, called quantitative easing, and poured it into foreign banks and financial Institutions trying to prevent the next meltdown; but it is not working because their printed money was not spent into circulation, instead it inflated the prices of shares and real estate, the bust cometh.