The cherry on the top of the sundae of poverty is…
I can’t start this entry out like that. What do poor and rich mean, anyway? I want to remark that poor people have to hear about the lives of the ultra-rich, but the ultra-rich don’t have to hear anything about the poor. Like, when an ultra-rich person has a baby or gets married or divorced, or if they buy a new suit or dress, everyone in the world has to stare at the fact because it’s on the front page of the news. The poor, on the other hand, never make the news for their life’s achievements: just like Jesus, only their death is important; and it’s usually grouped together into an anonymous bundle with similar daily facts, so the rich spit-take their champagne and mumble Egad, after reading the headline “X billion more poor souls expired this morning on the hillside of Golgotha.”
But again, I wonder: Who are the poor, and who are the rich? I suppose that everyone identifies with being poor, because one can always find someone else who has more wealth than oneself. Do even the ultra-rich think of themselves as poor? And there’s a vast group of average people, who possess much more than the “poor” but much less than the “rich.” Why can’t everyone be rich? I guess if everyone were ultra-rich then that type of wealth would just be considered average. We’d think the world had gone down the tubes.
Money is a manmade concept — am I wrong about this? Can’t we change the “rules” of money, whenever we want? Didn’t humankind invent economics? Why don’t we earthlings fix the obvious problem? It’s like that good old phrase “I’ve created a monster!” The concept’s out of control. Whoever amasses in the biggest pool of coins in a society is supposed to be the most valuable, right? Maybe I’m wrong — if so, let’s pretend I’m right, so that I can continue this line of thought. (I can’t hear you anyway, if you object.) So the wealthiest citizens are the most valuable. Well, who are the richest people in our country? I say that those who contribute to THE BASIC NEEDS OF ALL should receive the highest pay. So a truly great country would have its wealthiest class consist of farmers, nurses, builders of houses, water-processing plant workers, avant-garde poets, etc…
But here, in the United States of America, the richest people are those who shuffle money around. And so are confidence tricksters, tyrannical corporate monopolists, and politicians.
Now if we take the idea of a politician in the very best sense; that is, if we take it to mean “public servant,” then I can see why we would want them to possess ample wealth. We should pay our politicians generously, by establishing a high salary for their position, so that they are not tempted to take bribes. Senators should be billionaires because they are paid oversized dollar amounts by the government; that way, they’ll have an incentive to maintain the highest health of the government (which stands for the people, after all—or at least it should).
But these crooks who shuffle money around — why should they be rich? This is a tough question, because one aspect of the shuffling of money is investing in business, which sounds like a good thing: the first example that comes to mind is a mom-and-pop store that sells patriotic-colored windsocks: What kind of chowderhead wouldn’t want to reward farsighted investors for helping to finance such an establishment? We all need windsocks, to know which direction the zeitgeist is blowing. But how much is too much interest to charge on a loan? And how ruthless do you want to allow lenders to act toward their clients?
I intended to continue to sermonize in detail about the countless other facets of this topic; but now I’m bored with it, so I’ll stop. In truth, I’ve been bored since the second paragraph. But I continued to write, for the same reason that a spouse remains in a bad marriage. One thinks: Hey, I’ve made it this far – maybe, if I tough it out, the situation will begin to improve. …But nothing ever improves: a dull third paragraph leads to a dull fourth paragraph, and the next thing you know, you’re in your old age, your years of decline, your dotage: second childhood is upon you, and now you need this acrimonious partnership to survive the tribulations of day-to-day life.
…those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
Who travel to their home among the dead
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and longest journey go.
(That’s from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Epipsychidion.”) —Sorry about the depressing ending… I kind of like it, though.