Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Give me $20,000!

I have found a fine example of the welfare state and the sense of entitlement it has created. A man being interviewed in New Orleans described the buses as 'slave ships' and complained that he was only given $700 instead of the $2,000 he was expecting (from FEMA). His demand for what he thinks is fair?

$20,000 per person effected by the hurricane.

His reasoning?

"I would like for them to give us at least $20,000 apiece, so we can, you know, get our life together, you know. We didn’t ask to come on that that that bus slave…it’s like a slave ship, it’s like, you know, back in history, you know, they put us on a slave ship, they separated us from our family, they did it — You know, this is just modern day slavery, you know? Just give us what the fuck we deserve…"

Umm...let me about...NO?!

This...this in particular illustrates what people think and why the welfare state is terrible. This man honestly believes that he deserves $20,000 without effort, without personal responsibility, and without anything other than he was effected by a disaster. Guess what doesn't work that way! If you want $20,000, I hope you have insurance...because if you don't, you're going to be really PO'd about what you're not going to get.

If this man was transported by bus, chances are fairly good that he didn't have a car. I imagine he'd say he couldn't afford one. Funny, but he was able to afford sunglasses that cost several hundred dollars. Also, since FEMA has been there, he has spent seven hundred dollars. Now, if my necessities were paid for, I'm having difficulty imagining how I'd spend seven hundred dollars in a few day's time when all I needed would be clothes and such. Could it be this person has a serious lack of impulse control? Could it be a lack of planning on his part that has him in a bad situation?

This goes full circle back to my original point. The only people I have sympathy for are the kids and the disabled who could not leave.

Hat tip:



Anonymous Colin Lee said...

Having stayed through three or four hurricanes with no car, I have zero sympathy for your position. A hurricane goes near New Orleans every four years and near Florida, where I lived, almost every year. If you have nowhere to evacuate to and no money to live outside of town, you take your chances, board your windows, and try to weather the storm. Maybe you go to the Superdome or a neighbor's stone house, the same way all the neighbors came to visit us. Not all of New Orleans had mandatory evacuations before the storm hit.

Like all the storms in life, you can't always run away. Certainly, you of all people must know that, given your childhood. $700 isn't enough to move to a new town to start a new life and find work if your credit is already ruined, you're a minority, and your employment history is spotty. Finding work takes time.

The guy said his opinion. I'm sure if you had what little you owned destroyed by a hurricane with no insurance, you would want some assistance, too. Insurance is a profit industry uninterested in offering reasonable premiums for poor folks who only need to insure essentials. They don't serve poor folks. Insurance is braindead in some cases and you know it. By the time such renter's insurance would pay off, the person would already have paid 3-5x the payout and still need to pay a huge deductible. A poor guy is far better off with a safety fund in a bank, if he can afford it after debt payments.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

My point is closer to the fact that this person failed to plan ahead when he clearly had some means to do so. He then called it slavery because he wasn't given enough free money and had to ride a bus.

How does that work?

Something I didn't mention that happened when I was a kid (because it wasn't pertinent to being poor) is that we were once run out of a neighborhood under threat of death. My brother had gotten into a fight and the kid turned out to have a titanic family that was composed almost entirely of thugs.

Anyway - we had to take up and move immediately. After the fight, my brother and I had to leave ASAP, so we went to other people's houses and by the time anyone else in the family got home, all of our stuff was destroyed (glass broken, paint over everything, anything that could be stolen or smashed was...that kind of thing).

We had a police escort out of town to make sure they didn't follow us (they tried at first). After that, the mother of the kid involved attacked a cop and our former landlord for not telling her where we were.

We had to move on less than $700 and lost most of what we had in the process (call it $400 in today's dollars...). I'd call that similar to a hurricane in scope...I mean, 90% of our stuff was ruined (clothes torn, furniture mangled, and electronic equipment destroyed), we had to pay for some of the damages to the house, and vandalized our car.

Yes - it was one of the rare times we had a car. What we didn't have was expensive sunglasses or nice clothing - we focused on what was necessary, not what looked good...if he didn't have a car, it's clear what his focus was.

So after all that, we went to live with family for a while. No, I didn't get to see my friends anymore. No, I didn't get to have nice things. What I got was a quick move to another location with limited resources.

I've got experience that goes bone deep. It's led me to make a lot of stupid decisions and have some weird habits, but I know what it's like to be poor and have disaster strike. What you don't do is behave irresponsibly.


10:46 AM  

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