One thing I have noticed where poor people have a problem getting ahead is the price that it takes to get ahead. Not just the initiative, not just the will, but the price. Now some of you will say that if they truly want to get ahead, they will pay that price. Others say that the floodgates have opened and there is plenty of money available for anyone to get ahead to get ahead.
The bottom line is this, you can give poor people as many tools as you want, you can throw as much money at them as you want and you can encourage them to be the best that they could possibly be. We tell them that they can’t look poor, they can’t act poor, they can’t talk poor. They are poor, but we want them to act as though they are rich. They are poor, but we want them to carry themselves in a manner that would hide the fact that they are poor.
In order for a poor person to do anything they have to jump through a bunch of hoops and go through an obstacle course of fines and fees that set them back. There are fees to get a license to do business, fees for education, fees credit reports, fees for this and fees for that. Fees to fill out applications to get approved for a loan. Fees that can never be recovered, that simply go into the pocket of the institution or entity regardless of the outcome.
So a poor person chooses the path of least resistance. Sometimes you get what you pay for and one fee, though it seems to cost a lot of money initially, could put you in a better position than another fee. Everyone knows about credit it is obvious that people who cannot get credit pay expensive fees in order to do business and conduct transactions without having to apply for credit they are not going to get. Who has paid hundreds of dollars to credit card companies, payday loan companies, title loan companies, banks, even those that prepare our income tax because we could not wait a few weeks to get our refund through the mail? If you want something now, you are going to have to pay more, if you can wait for it later you can pay less.
Ideally, some loans, such as those for a car, could be avoided altogether. A car loan is always a bad idea. We could argue that if poor people did not want to pay those expensive fees they could simply go without the goods and services that require them, or get around them somehow. Yet again, if you want something now you pay the expensive fees and go through the route of least resistance. How easy is it to get an apartment and how difficult is it to get a house? Poor people do not have the credit score that it takes to get a house and they do not have months to sit around and try to get one either they need one right now.
The older I get the more I hate debt. Some people like it depending on what side of the equation they are on but I despise it. I do not want anyone to owe me anything. I tried welfare and I hated it. I got some money in food stamps, which was cool because you could expect to get money at the beginning of the month. It was pretty cool, sure you had to go in and get asked a bunch of questions they already had the answers to but you still got a check. But I hated the fact that I could not get food from the deli.
It was hypocrisy at its best; now they give you the money but they tell you what to spend the money on. Yet I always see people spending money on junk food, beer, cigarettes, and yes, the delicatessen. Section 8 is the same way, they give you the money but they tell you where to live and you have to keep a clean house. Please, my house is clean, as far as dirt is concerned, but there are papers everywhere. I fill up the dishwasher when I am good and ready to do so and clean and mop and dust and broom when I am sick of looking at something. This is hypocrisy at its best; the same taxpayers that do not keep a clean house or prepare every single one of their meals, these are the individuals who the state takes money from and gives to the poor, but yet they have to live this immaculate lifestyle in order to qualify for the benefits.
If the poor could keep their house clean they wouldn’t need Section 8 and they wouldn’t need welfare. What I mean by that, is that if they could keep their financial affairs in order, they wouldn’t need the programs in the first place. Look at hip-hop; somewhere along the line poor people stopped playing instruments. We take the music programs out of the schools and what did we expect would happen? People learn how to master computer programs. but that isn’t the same as playing instruments. Acoustic instruments are difficult, they are temperamental, they change and expand with different temperatures and different climates and create different sounds. You abuse your body and build muscles in your hands, arms, feet, whatever part of you is manipulating the notes on the instrument. You practice diligently, you go at it under your fingers are numb or you just start to shake because you cannot hold the instrument anymore. It builds character; but instead our greed and lust for the perverse sounds that come out of a synthesizer have us in a place where we feel that we need something bigger and better than what we had before.
What are the chances of a poor person playing an instrument? How much do those instruments cost and how much is it to pay for your child’s lessons? Then there is the gas money involved in traveling to all of those recitals. We cut off our noses in order to save our face by removing music education from the public schools. We live in a cheap, low down, materialistic, low attention span type of society. The reason why people in technology are paid as much as they are is not because the work is that hard to do. It is because few people have the patience, diligence, self-determination and attention span to do it. There are still those aspects of which there are entirely too many qualified people to go around and not enough work to go around, such as tech support. So people tend to get underpaid, but there are still plenty of opportunities to do okay for yourself, and other opportunities to get in on the business side of things and make a lot of money as well.
Too often poor people are poor because they simply are not doing the right things. A lot of them do not have the creativity to find ways around all of these fees they cannot afford to pay someone to educate them. A lot of poor people are just tired and stopped trying many years ago. Most poor people simply cannot afford to go the traditional route; it is too expensive and too much of a hassle to get that four year degree. But the real battle to get ahead in this world is not about poor or rich; it is simply about finding the most creative ways to get ahead on the least amount of effort by doing the right things at the right time, knowing the right people, knowing which doors to walk through and which to avoid (because they are a waste of time ultimately). Most people, 99% of the people out there are going to give up at some point and sit down and rest. They will get passed up by someone that is energetic, full of vigor, that is not wearing themselves out with the wrong decisions but they are right on time. They know the right people, they know what needs to be done, when it should be done, and why it should be done.
Our government tells people not to worry about it. Just sign up for this program and we will take care of you. Do not get married, keep having children. The government is telling poor people not to get married, and a lot of them are not, and the homosexuals are fighting for the right to be able to get married. They say it is about their civil rights, but I think it is because they recognize the value in the lifestyle. Why are they right behind us to pick up the pieces of the institutions and rites of passage that we have failed at as heterosexuals if there were not any merit to be found in them?
When marriage is done right people are often stronger and can get a lot further in life than they can when they are single. While it is true that the motivation is there when you are single, it can be lonely at the top when there is no one to share it with. You can lie to yourself and say that you can buy all of these things but that is not the same as having someone there with you when you are down and out. When two people are together and they do not have a nickel in their pocket that is a beautiful thing. They won’t stay in that state for long one person can try to do what they can do and keep things going when the other person is stressed out and wants to give up. Eventually they will both get back on track.
There are barriers to entry that people who are in power place before us. Then there are barriers to entry that are well deserved, because of our association with people that are not trying to do anything with themselves in life. Sometimes a person has to stand alone. There are times in life when there is no strength to be found in numbers because we are standing with the wrong people. We do not want to be alone, but we may as well be alone.