Blame the Poor!

While perusing the blogosphere, I came across this blog on how to train yourself to find fault in those from a low-income background.  While satirical in nature, it brought up some rather disappointing points about American society.  The poor are often blamed for our deficit when it only accounts for 13 percent of it.  A large portion of the money we spend (three-fifths) goes to defense spending; more than the next 17 countries combined.  He then goes on to debunk other misconceptions related to those making under $20,000 yearly, such as how much influence they have on the government.

While reading this article, I had two recurring thoughts.  The first was about Nike having only overseas factories in order to maximize profit.  The people of low-income in the video we saw were more than willing to do whatever Nike wanted them to.  They wanted to work, anything to help get out of poverty would do.  My other thought was on the name of the blog itself: The Same Air.  Based on a quote by President Kennedy, it insinuates that everyone breathes the same air, except for the fact that they don’t.  People are sometimes the victims of negative externalities.  In this article, the local residents didn’t choose to live where the air is polluted.  There are sure to be some who can’t move due to their job and as such have to deal with the toxic air.  The unfortunate fact is that often the poor live in dirtier areas because they are cheap, but then get health problems due to the pollution that keeps them in poverty.  It’s a vicious cycle.


3 responses to “Blame the Poor!

  1. Thank you for reading. You mention that we all do not, if fact, breathe the same air. You are quite correct. I believe, however, that the truest implication of the phrase is that when we create toxic air we will all, in one form or another, be forced to inhale.

  2. I thought the first blog on blaming the poor was a good article that shared light to a very common misconception among Americans. I personally did not realize some of the stats that were shown, such as the percent of government money given to the poor compared to national defense. I also read the article about the factory effects on the local community and I thought your point about a “vicious cycle” was very relevant. As you can see in the article, these people do not want this life for their own kids and grandchildren, but feel trapped in the continuous cycle. They did not choose to live in a area where they are prone to factory toxins, but the sad truth is many of them can not afford to move away. I thought your point about “the same air” was a good one and really connected your two articles and comment on the Nike factory workers.

  3. The idea that we breathe the same air is an important one. I agree with your point that sometimes the air we breathe is not the air we choose to breathe. Living near a factory that is emitting harmful pollutants and not having the necessary money to more elsewhere is not what many would have chosen for themselves. Literally speaking, we don’t all breathe the same air; it is often the poor who do breathe worse-off air. However, I think the same air idea is not meant to be so literal. The people who physically live near the factory are taking in the actual polluted air, but the individuals who made the decision to emit harmful pollutants are left to digest and take in the ethical consequences of their decisions.

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