We hear constantly... Oh, it is dinned into our ears... what our two major political parties are going to do for the middle class. The middle class, the middle class, the middle class.
Now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in September 2011, the number of people defined as poor was 46.2 million, the highest level since 1993. That's a hell of a lot of people to ignore. Why? Here are some possibilities:
- Poor people don't vote. Well, yes. Looking at change.org, "those with a family income below $25,000 [...] are 1.5 times less likely to vote than those with family incomes between $25,000 and $75,000, and two times less likely to vote than those with family income of more than $75,000." And, of course, those 46 million poor include toddlers of two up to age 98.
- Many of those who by definition are poor don think of themselves as poor. They think of themselves as middle class.
- Many of the poor expect to rise to the middle class. It is probable that in actuality more people sink from middle class to poor -- but who wants to think about that?
- To concern yourself with the poor implies government handouts -- food stamps (Newt G. called Obama the "food stamp president") and subsides. That means entitlements piling on our national debt.
- It is widely thought that the poor have nobody to blame but themselves.
It wasn't always thus. In March 1964, President Johnson declared War on Poverty. Congress passed Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start and more. There is no appetite for that now.
Jesus said, "The poor ye will always have with you."
He was right.