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Letter to the Editor: Government assistance crucial for society

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Conservatives have written a few letters recently about how people should work for a living (Janice Gravely) and how people should be married (Julia Manning).

There are several problems with this line of thinking because work doesn’t always provide a living wage, and marriages can be abusive and the people involved are better off single.

Harvard Business Review reported that good jobs keep disappearing, and new employment opportunities tend to be insecure and underpaid. About 91 percent of the profits from the S&P 500 corporations are paid out for stock buybacks and dividends for shareholders. The corporations are not investing in productive capabilities or higher incomes for employees.

Workers are expected to work harder, longer, year after year with little or no wage increases. The top executives squeeze out all the profits for themselves and the gap between rich and poor gets wider. Ten percent of the people own 84 percent of the stocks, according to Money Magazine.

Many people have jobs that do not offer health insurance. So they work, but they can’t afford to pay for health insurance. Many of the working poor see all their money paid out for rent, food, gas and car payments and they have no chance of getting ahead. If they get sick, have to miss work or have an accident, they are in danger of eviction, bankruptcy and their credit is destroyed.

The banking industry and pay day lenders take advantage of the working poor by charging them high fees and exorbitant interest rates. For-profit schools charge obscenely high tuition and interest rates for student loans, and many of their graduates never get out from under crushing debt. This is abusive capitalism, taking advantage of the weakest members of society.

Government has had to step in to help the poor. The money spent for housing subsidies, food stamps and medical assistance goes to pay landlords, food stores and medical providers. They will all be affected if you take away all the government assistance. Instead of stopping all poverty programs, maybe the capitalist system should be reformed. We can’t build a strong democratic country if the people at the top are allowed to take advantage of the majority of citizens.

People who object to their tax dollars going to help the poor ought to try walking a mile in their shoes, and they ought to realize how much they depend on the poor workers who serve them coffee, fill their prescriptions and assist them at the stores.

Judith Mesko

Rocky Mount

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