Around half of the folks who work with me are members of America’s army of working poor. My definition of working poor would be folks who have less than six months regular earnings saved for an emergency, who find themselves choosing between paying utility bills or buying food, or who are on some kind of government “assistance.”
These people get by because of the Walmarts of the world. Dollar General, Metro PCS, Dodge: These companies are in a race to gain market share by being cheaper than their competition – don’t worry about how good the product or service is, just make sure there is a margin. Oh, and sell LOTS of stuff.
Telling, then, is the way these friends of mine choose products that are close to their sense of self. Important are cellphones, because they are an affordable way to;
a) have a small luxury,
b) make a statement that they are rich enough to have a device,
c) escape to the glossy world of the internet.
In short, the smartphone is their stargate out of poverty…at least for a while.
I am pretty sure it’s true that the best quality item these folks possess is their iPhone or Android device. And they are incredible examples of miniaturization and silicon technology. Just as amazing is the reverence with which people hold them. Guys who drive clunkers bond with their devices like a best friend. Folks on food stamps extol the virtues of their Galaxy. It’s remarkable, the juxtaposition.
1. These things are all bought on the never-never monthly plan.
2. What draws people to these phones is the quality.
3. If you lust after quality, price is irrelevant.
When people control how money not their own is spent, control of that money vanishes.
$205,000,000 is the amount spent on the Hawaiian “Affordable” Healthcare Act website. It attracted 37,000 users, barely half the anticipated number. At one point the cost per enrollee ran at $24,000. Even at current rates, that amounts to $5,500 per person. Ugh.
Now it’s being closed down, and those who managed to navigate the foolishness must now migrate to a Federal site…the legal standing of which is in doubt.
When will we stop this nonsense?
Along the highways here spring immense billboards updating us daily on the available prize money from the Florida Lottery. There are always two numbers – for what I do not know – and the millions are assumed.
40 means 40 million dollars available. 23 means 23 million dollars available.
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of probability knows that any individual’s chance of winning this amount is as close to zero as, well, zero. You will not win. But you have a 100 percent probability of losing whatever money you choose to “invest” in these things. I find this acutely exasperating.
State-run lotteries like this are cynical revenue-raisers, a tax on the poor. In Florida, the money supposedly goes towards the education budget, an awful irony given how the system then fails to educate people on the foolishness of entering the lottery. This is a circle of increasing poverty, a spiral of declining reason.
Look for the root cause of the problem here. In my opinion, that is the fact that the state takes advantage of the citizenry. By keeping poor people poor, the state enriches itself. Worse, it hides this under the rubric of providing fun or excitement or entertainment.
Show me in the Florida constitution where any of these words appears as a legislative imperative.
In the meantime, other governmental anti-poverty programs continue. They continue to support the same fools who buy lottery tickets by using the cash taxed out of my pocket.
Take me off this hellish hamster wheel.