Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Don't Feed the Beast

Yesterday, I went up to New York City for a huge convention, as part of my job. While I was waiting on the Acela Express line back to DC, I decided to eat dinner at Roy Rogers (the only decent place in Penn Station). A clearly homeless man was wandering about the station and he walked into the Roy Rogers, skipped ahead of me, and ordered food. While this was annoying, I let it go because the sooner this guy leaves, the better. But while he was ordering, a man walked up to him and gave him a few dollars, made some small talk and left. While I know that this man believes he was doing the homeless man a favor, I know that he really wasn't. This is because in America, there is no reason for you to be homeless or in "poverty."

I put poverty in quotes because there is no such thing as poverty in America. Just recently, it was found that panhandlers in Oregon make more money than a Wal-Mart worker (up to $300 a day, tax free). While this may be an exception to the norm, I highly doubt that to be the case. Why do you think the homeless tend to hang out in urban areas where they have to sleep on concrete? A rural area would be more appealing because it would have softer surfaces to sleep on and would allow for you to hide from those who might hurt you. No, they tend to stay in urban areas because of the higher population density creates a larger likelihood of collecting more money. Simple economics really.

In any case, there is no such as poverty in America. I don't care how many so-called downtrodden folks there are, they all have it much better than pretty much the rest of the world. Here's a quick list to help you understand whether or not a person is living in poverty or not:

-If you have a choice between paying your heating bill and paying your cell phone bill, then you are not living in poverty.

-If you live subsidized housing but your children have cell phones and fashionable clothing, then you are not living in poverty.

-If you have to take public transportation because you cannot afford the gasoline to fill up your car, then you are not living in poverty.

-If you are living solely on Social Security, then you are not living in poverty.

-If you own a home, a car, a TV, and a phone, then you are not poor, despite what your income tax return statement says.

-If you are obese, then you are not poor.

-If you have food, clothing, and shelter, then you are not poor by any reasonable standard.

The fact is, there are no poor in America because 99% of Americans have their basic needs met in some way, shape, or form. If they do not, then they simply are not making the proper choices to ensure that their needs are met. I have no sympathy for people who make stupid decisions in their lives and then turn around and demand that the government take other people's property away to fund their lifestyles. That's not compassion folks, that's theft.

Understand that I will help the downtrodden, but always with strings attached. If I give a homeless man money, it will be on my terms and not his. If he wants food, I'll buy him food, but never will I give him money to buy food himself. If he needs a place to stay, I will bring him to a shelter but I will not pay his rent or drive him around for job interviews. This is something he or she needs to accomplish on his or her own.

So please, do us all a favor and DON'T FEED THE BEAST!