WILL POWER REPORT: POVERTY IS NOT HEREDITARY

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Nothing but the truth! 

By Will Power
 
August 20, 2011 (San Diego)--In Eighteenth Century England, not only was poverty illegal but a few pounds of unpaid debt could get you sent to Australia or prison.  In those days, people actually thought poverty was hereditary, and that bad genes made you poor.
 
 
It was financial racism and both the legal and educational system were set up to pit the rich against the poor.  Our Constitutional system was set up to block this sort of institutional prejudice. Originally, our economic system was set up to reward hard work and enterprise.
 
 
But now the rich have seized the political system to protect their wealth and make upward mobility impossible. 
 
 
Lately the Neo-Cons seem to relish in bringing back the institutionalized class warfare two centuries of US history has crushed. Beginning with Bankruptcy Reform, later with Tax Cuts for the Rich, the Republican neo-cons seem intent on creating a permanent underclass with no income, no education, and no upward mobility. 
 
 
In the last thirty years, legislation and high tuition has made it harder for  schools and Universities to educate the poor.  We have a rich class of non-working investors dictating terms to the working poor, while stripping them of their healthcare, retirement, and dignity. 
 
 
The so-called rich "job-creators" have not provided jobs, except for cushy sinecures for their relatives. High unemployment and unfettered illegal immigration has crushed unions.  For many of the working poor, the only outlet is to join the military and fight corporate oil wars in the armpit of the world. 
 
 
The banking system was left unregulated, so that the poor made lousy deals on mortgages, "pay-day" loans, and dubious savings accounts tied to a failing stock market.  The poor do not understand how banks can rob them blind. 
 
 
Health care costs are the cancer on the economy. Big Pharma and for-profit health care can bankrupt a family in one month. They fought Obamacare because they might actually have to treat everyone, not just the rich. Poverty is not hereditary. Illness and death is universal. 
 
 
Big Oil has held the economy hostage for years.  Many people find it costs more to drive to work than they get in salary. 
 
In short, we are returning to the class-warfare of the eighteenth century, pitting the rich against the poor with the legal system backing the rich.  It's a system that cannot continue without serious violence and political upheaval.  But a word to the rich might be wise.  Being born poor does not grant extra political rights to the rich. Greed has consequences and all of them are bad.
 
 
Will Power is a retired history teacher and creative writing instructor. The opinions expressed reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.