According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center, 54% of those with the greatest financial security believe that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”
To test this theory, let’s chat with two men both named Tom. Tom A. lives off a trust fund from the millions his great-grandfather earned while developing the railroads in this country that exploited immigrants. Tom B. makes minimum wage working at a fast food restaurant, takes the bus to work, and lives in a tiny apartment with his wife and three kids. Let’s see which one has the easier life as we go through a typical day with the two Toms.
Every morning, Tom A. has to suffer the agonizing decision on how to spend his time. Not having a job or needing to go to school, Tom A.’s toughest decision every month is when to cash his monthly trust fund check. To top it off, sometimes he has to wait in the bank line up to ten minutes! That keeps Tom A. from lounging in the coffee shops where he can hang out with his friends, try to pick up women, and surf the Internet on his latest tablet and smartphone that he uses to check on his stock portfolio to see how many thousands of dollars he made or lost in the stock market. What a tough life!
On the other hand, Tom B. has it so much easier. After four hours of sleep, Tom B. wakes up after a night working as a security guard in a warehouse, earning minimum wage. Now he has to rush to the bus stop (subsidized by taxpayer money), wait up to 15 minutes in the cold for the crowded bus to arrive, then ride 30 minutes to a fast food restaurant that serves breakfast. Once at work, Tom B. has to work another eight hour shift at minimum wage so the combination of his two job incomes can pay his rent, his food, and second-hand clothes for his children. He never has enough money to take a vacation or buy his children anything but the most inexpensive toys for Christmas. To make matters worse, Tom B. even has the gall to accept food stamps to feed his family, and even accepts government cheese! What a freeloader!
In the afternoon, Tom A. finishes dining in the finest restaurants, living comfortably off his trust fund income that generates more money than his expenses, but that doesn’t stop Tom A. from trying! Last month he bought a Lamborghini for $250,000, got drunk, and promptly wrecked it by crashing into a telephone pole. He actually had to pay for a replacement Lamborghini out of his own pocket because his insurance company refused to cover accidents created by drunk driving. Every time Tom A. sees a public bus rumble down the street, he sighs with envy, knowing that all of those people inside only had to pay a minimal fee to ride the bus every day while Tom A. has to drive his Lamborghini himself, park it, and even pay for his own gas. Life is so unfair.
While Tom A. drives aimlessly around town in his Lamborghini, Tom B. barely takes a ten minute break before rushing back to work again. At the end of the day, he gets to wait another fifteen minutes for the bus to pick him up and take him back home. While Tom B. was working in the fast food restaurant, his children went to public school (another free perk courtesy of the rich taxpayers), located in a poor neighborhood near Tom B.’s apartment. There the children had to deal with indifferent teachers (paid for by taxpayer money), get to class past school gangs selling drugs and carrying weapons, and if they get good grades and work hard, their substandard education from a mediocre school district will reward them with an automatic rejection from almost any college in America because they simply won’t be prepared for schooling beyond the fifth grade, despite their apparent high school diploma. Tom B.’s children can then look forward to a future of minimum wage, manual labor, probably working at two jobs like Tom B. does just to get by every month. Look how easy their life is in comparison! Tom B.’s life is perfectly planned. He has to work at two jobs every day, six days a week. On the other hand, Tom A. doesn’t have to work at all, yet must spend each day in agonizing turmoil as he must decide whether to drive the Lamborghini, the Maserati, or just stay home in his mansion and swim in his Olympic size swimming pool. Too many choices! The poor obviously have it much easier!
As the day ends, Tom A. is simply overwhelmed. His days seem to drift off into the ether with little accomplished and nothing achieved beyond idle leisure either at home or on his occasional trips overseas where he flies first-class to visit cities like Paris, Beijing, London, Sydney, and Bombay just to alleviate his boredom with his life. How Tom A. longs for the rigid, strict schedule that Tom B. must follow that’s such an easier intellectual ordeal that involves no thinking whatsoever!
As Tom B.’s day ends, he has little time for leisure as he must rush to his second job as the night watchman. This means spending little time with his children so they wound up raising themselves with he help of their friends and the neighborhood street gangs that will likely initiate them into a life of crime, prostitution, drug dealing, human trafficking, and assassination. Then when Tom B.’s children inevitably get caught by the police, they’ll enjoy a care-free life in a maximum security prison where they’ll get free health care, free food, and even a bed to sleep in at night, all without having to work for it! The unfairness of this situation greatly annoys Tom A. as he mulls over all the ways the poor have it much easier than his own life as he jet sets around the world, paying for his own illicit drugs, and bedding women from around the world who are only attracted to his easy money that he throws around everywhere he goes.
Now by comparing the lives of Tom A. (the rich one) and Tom B. (the poor one), it’s obvious that the poor have it much easier than the rich. What can we do to rebalance this inequality? Let’s start by cutting all government assistance to the poor, forcing the poor to work as slaves, and rounding up the poor into slums like they do in Brazil where they can live among the trash heaps teaming with disease-carrying rats. The poor don’t know how well off they really have it. If Tom A. and his friends had it their way, he would make the poor work as indentured servants to people like himself for the rest of their lives. It’s the least the poor can do to alleviate the pain and suffering that the rich go through every day.