Who’s Rich? Who’s Poor?

Almost eighty Catholic educators recently criticized U.S. House Speaker, John Boehner, due to speak at Washington’s Catholic University.  They claim his record is “among the worst in Congress” when it comes to protecting the poor.  The letter called on Speaker Boehner to “reawaken your familiarity” with church teachings on the subject of poverty.  The letter also mentioned the 2012 budget and called it “particularly cruel to pregnant women and children.”

This irked me for a number of reasons.

While many others condemned Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to give the commencement address in 1969 because of his pro-abortion stand, I wonder if these same eighty Catholic educators wrote a similar letter to Notre Dame or President Obama for failing to adhere to the Christian teaching of pro-life.

I also wonder if any of this band of eighty ever criticized other politicians, like Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry, both cafeteria Catholics, who are pro-abortion and living in open defiance of Catholic teaching.

The missive also criticizes the tax cuts for the wealthy.  This brings me to my second point.  Who exactly are the wealthy in this country?  If you believed President Obama, you’re rich if you and your spouse earn $250,000 a year.  Well, to someone earning minimum wage, $250,000 sounds like a whole lot of money.  Actually, to most people, including me, $250,000 is a lot of money.  But does earning that amount make someone “rich”?

I don’t know how you define “rich,” but, in my opinion, if someone, no matter what age, can stop working today, and still maintain the same lifestyle he or she enjoyed while working, relying only on their accumulated assets, I would consider that person “rich.”  But then the next question is, “so what?”  If that person has been able to amass a sufficient estate to take care of himself and his family, for the rest of his life, without government assistance, I say, “GREAT!” and the government shouldn’t penalize someone for making money, investing it, and planning ahead for their family’s future.

Which brings me to my final point.  The poor.  How do you define “poor”?  I find this question a lot harder to answer.  Rich people either inherit their money or earn it.  On the other hand, the issue of poverty, whatever your definition of poverty is, results from a wide variety of factors.

There was a time in this country when family, friends, church and community took care of the poor.  That’s the way it should be.  Those who provided the help and those who received help were accountable to each another.  The community knew when someone needed help and the person in need could not scam the givers.  People gave voluntarily.

But then the government stuck its nose somewhere it didn’t belong.  The 9-to-5 civil servants who couldn’t wait to punch out, started doling out money to anyone who asked for it, without any concern whether there was a legitimate need or not.  After all, it wasn’t the government workers’ money – so who cared?

The coffers have been hemorrhaging money ever since and the lines of those with their hands out have gotten longer and longer.

President Obama, for example, is a perfect example of someone who wants to force charitable giving by being “neighborly,” a euphemism for income redistribution.

Of course, there are people who are in real need.  But, because there’s no real oversight, no one will ever be able to determine who is deserving of public assistance.  The entitlement monster created by the government is so gigantic and out of control at this point, it’s impossible to stop the fraud even though we’re $14 trillion in debt and can’t afford to continue to throw money away.

In my line of work, child abuse and neglect, I’ve seen so much government waste trying to provide families with services.  I’ve seen parents who receive bus passes to visit their children turn around and sell those passes for drugs.  I’ve seen parents who receive aid panhandle and pick up a hundred bucks a day.  How about the guy in Michigan who won $2 million in a lottery but continued for nearly a year to swipe his food stamp electronic card?  When questioned about it, he said, “If you’re going to ….try to make me feel bad, you aren’t going to do it.”  And let’s not forget the $1.4 billion of Katrina funds used by scammers to fund vacations, porno and a sex change operation.

It’s also unbelievable to me that someone could actually receive 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for not working.  How many people are receiving benefits but have cash-paying jobs on the side?  Just like welfare, being handed money by the government for doing nothing clearly removes the incentive for looking for a job.  I wonder how many people miraculously find work after their benefits run out.

Because government is involved, there’s no way to ever track dishonest people who scam the system. We’re now seeing how difficult it is to stop these handouts to anyone who asks for them under the guise of being “needy” or “poor.”

Speaker Boehner is trying to rein in spending but the recipients and their spokesmen, like those eighty Catholic educators, are yelling and screaming, “You can’t stop giving away free money to people who do nothing for it because they’re needy and poor.”  Really?  By whose definition?

I’m afraid I do get it – it’s the nature of the beast.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Mick

    I’m a masters degree ME with 35 years experience who works for a major corporation and makes right around $100K per year. My wife is a stay at home mom and always has been. We’ve raised three lovely children and they are all doing very well. And yes, to me $250K is not only rich, it is an awful lot of money over a 10 year period!!!

  • chief98110

    I just saw a segment on national geographic’s Taboo series about a scammer named Stanley Thornton, who is collecting disability from the Fed’s due to his infantalism. He lives his life as an infant but is well enough to run a support group for others and build his own giant size baby furniture! He is cared for by his nurse roommate who is also collecting disability.
    I’m glad I went to work today, lord knows how needy Mr. Thornton and his roommate are for my tax dollars.

  • Ron

    The Catholic educators objected to Speaker Boehner because they said “the Magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor”. I have no idea if that is actual church teaching. If it is church teaching and these educators believe, wherther correctly or wrongly, that Speaker Boehner violates the policy, why is there a problem with their protesting his speaking at the university as a matter of conscience. I applauded the Catholics who protested President Obama speaking at Notre Dame as a matter of conscience. I may disagree with these protestors and cannot understand why they would object to Speaker Boehner giving an address at a Catholic university but it doesn’t bother me that they might not have protested President Obama’s speach. By the same token, did the protestors to President Obama’s speach at Notre Dame hold all other speakers to the same standard. We are partisan. We generally criticize those we disagree with. Republicans objected to President Obama’s stimulus plan. How many of them voted for TARP and the previoius stimulus plans by President Bush. President Obama voted against raising the debt limit. Now he thinks it is harmful if the Republicans vote against raising it. On the other hand, Republicans voted for previous increases in the debt limit. Democrats objected to deficits when President Bush was in office. Republicans object to deficits now.