The Peever takes on poverty


Gee, there are a lot of poor people. Crap, I really never noticed. Now what do we do?

— We need to talk less and do more. Fewer committees, more doers.

— ItÕs about time we confronted capitalism for what it really has become. Capitalism needs poor people to survive. Milton Friedman, economist, got in a lot of hot water saying that in the 60Õs. LetÕs face it, in a capitalist society, someoneÕs got to do the dirty work, and it ainÕt about to be the rich. Now, all of a sudden, wouldnÕt you know it, people from India, China, Russia, South America, will work for less than we can. So where does business go? The question becomes, how can wealth be more equally distributed without causing us to become poorer?

— Education is the best hope the poor have of rising up out of the muck. Education has to be good and not near as expensive as it is. It has to be contemporary enough to hold students interest. It has to be high tech and entertaining. It canÕt be leaving poor children behind. The dropout rate in Galesburg is pathetic. Drugs and minimum wage are more attractive than staying in school. How can that be? For someone who stays in school and does at least average work, college should be free if their parents are below a given financial level. It would do us all well to put up a little money to educate our young people versus incarcerate them.

— Businesses have got to pay a living wage for our labor. At $6-7 an hour, a single person, much less a couple or a couple with a child or two, cannot make ends meet. Nowadays, the trend is to pay as little as possible, with no benefits. Employers set a minimum number of hours to get benefits, and keep employees just below that. Labor laws are practically none existent after years of Republican rule, so that employers get away with just about anything. When pressure mounts, and union talk begins, employers yell out, ÒI think maybe we better go to China, or India.Ó ItÕs a capitalist game, blended with just the right amount of imperialism, that we now call globalization. Globalization is not going to help the American worker. Not now or a hundred years from now. It is only going to help the haveÕs and create more poverty for the have notÕs. Profits made by the rich have to have some kind of restraints put on them, or greed will bury the poor.

— Where did poverty begin? How is it that there are haveÕs and have notÕs? When was it exactly that someone thought their life, or the lives of their family, was more precious, or more divinely endowed, than that of someone elseÕs? None of the rich wove flax into gold.. They stole what was all of ours and turned it into personal wealth. ThatÕs how some get rich and some get poor.

— If poverty is reflected in those who are hungry, how about feeding them? Some of the best farmland in the world is now busily growing corn for fuel. It is an obnoxiously American idea, to take care of us first, and to hell with the needs of the hungry. How about paying farmers to grow food rather than receiving subsidies for growing industrial crops, or nothing at all? It is about time citizens demand some accountability from agribusiness. ItÕs said 25,000 people die from hunger every day, mainly children. While I should hope no one in Galesburg would die from hunger, IÕll bet plenty of people, again, mainly children, will go to bed hungry tonight. How about letÕs feed them?

Than thereÕs universal health-care; mentoring and helping someone poor get a job, or if an employer, hiring them; reducing regulatory burden and bureaucratic nonsense; eliminating taxation of low incomes and social security; ending a wasteful war and using our resources more responsibly; quit irresponsibly printing more and more money; and finally, growing food, not fuel. Poverty will not end until we demand it, but most of us are way to busy, or too comfortable, to worry about it. Besides, I got a committee meeting to go to. I think IÕm getting an award for all the committees IÕm on.