Every Thursday, I read City Weekly while eating my lunch. While reading the May 7 issue, however, I almost lost my cookies.
Dan Senglaub’s letter “No Bailouts for the Poor” left me nauseous and dismayed. Senglaub has problems with food stamps, reduced- or free lunch, housing assistance, medical aid and school grants.
Senglaub suggests we turn these payments in to low-interest loans. Yes, kick the needy when they’re down. Like every other government “handout,” each of these programs comes with eligibility requirements, most of which are impossible to meet if you are not very, very poor. In 2007, the “poverty guideline” for a family of four was $21,027. Maybe Senglaub has some suggestions how the 37.3 million Americans living in poverty can cut their expenses in order to pay back the “lowinterest” loans he’s suggesting.
With ridiculous amounts of conspicuous consumption by celebrities, and politicians stating the average middle-class family makes $200,000 a year, it’s easy to understand why Senglaub thinks everyone must be doing as well as he is. Unfortunately, that is not the case: The annual median income for Americans in 2007 was $50,233—closer to poverty line than to the imaginary “average middleclass family.”
I find it extremely funny that Senglaub feigns indignation because of what is happening with “his money.” The amounts Senglaub (and everyone else) contributed to these programs through his 2006 taxes are as follows: food and nutrition assistance, 2.03 percent; housing assistance, 1.44 percent; Medicare, 12.42 percent; and higher education, 1.9 percent.
In all his fury, Senglaub has missed the worst recipient of “welfare”—big corporations. They get hundreds of times the subsidies given to citizens—$92 billion in fiscal 2006. Has Senglaub been asleep for the last several months? What he and other citizens should be upset about is our system of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. I’d rather my money went to people who actually need it to survive.