We Only Need One Billion:

POOR correspondent - Posted on 25 June 2010

Families, children and elders in poverty ask congress to consider giving at least one billion of the proposed 700 Billion Bailout to families and elders struggling with poverty across the nation

tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia/PNN
Friday, October 3, 2008

Thousands of families, children, and elders in poverty are barely subsisting in this country, while thousands of others are struggling to stay housed after having their houses foreclosed on, their welfare subsidies timed out(ended) and their food stamps cut off, if we were given even one billion of the 700 billion dollar bailout, that was approved by congress, we could bring hundreds of families permanently out of poverty and into economic stability.

This is an excerpt from a press advisory released last week by POOR Magazine. I made this statement as a formerly houseless and currently very poor mother. I made this statement as a director of an organization that works on visionary and real solutions to poverty. I made this statement as a resident of a country who consistently pits the poor against the poorer and decides with impunity who is deserving versus underserving of aid.

It was noted many times last week, even by so-called moderates and conservatives in casual conversation that capitalism doesn't work. Mothers, fathers and individuals in poverty have been knowing that for years. It was also noted on BBC radio (one of the few places where one can actually hear truth-media) that other countries across the globe know this but that the way they implement so-called socialism is not by saving multi-million dollar corporations in need, but rather, by setting up guaranteed housing, health care and services for their neediest citizens.

As poor people who have struggled to survive and sometimes even thrive, we have developed, through lived scholarship, logical solutions to poverty and economic instability, lasting solutions that we have figured out through our own experiences. One of our ideas include a sweat equity co-housing model that provides permanent housing, micro-business opportunities, arts education and a multi-generational, multi-lingual school for houseless families. The interesting thing is each of these models only costs 2.5 million dollars.

Once again this is a flagrant example of who is trusted with money, whose ideas are considered legitimate and whose requests for help are even listened to.

As Congress and the Senate pondered the extremely expensive corporate bailout, poor people across the nation watched in disbelief. Shelters are closing, state budgets are being slashed, services for the poor are being closed and peoples homes are being lost to foreclosures. Meanwhile economic justice advocates have been begging, pleading and requesting support for years, and our requests are continually referred to as special interests, handouts or too much government.

Finally, the saddest aspect of this odd experience is the overt example of the deserving versus undeserving mindset that informs U.S. service and resource allocation. When poor people ask for help, we are called bums, stupid, lazy and/or blamed for what got us into poverty. When the high profile panhandlers of Wall street and beyond came up with this insane corporate welfare plan, they weren't laughed at or called names for all their deadly mistakes with our tax dollars or questioned about their corporate scams that set up the average homebuyer to fail with overpriced interest rates. No, instead they were rewarded for their innovation and given 700 billion dollars.


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