I have read a number of times about Colorado Springs – a city of Focus on the Family fame – and their current economic problems. When residents voted down a measure to triple their property taxes, the government decided they would run out of money for some basic things. Buses stopped running on the weekends and evenings, street lights are turned off (unless a person adopts one for $75/year), the city is asking residents to take care of the slowly decaying public areas, and the police force has been butchered down to a few officers. In Philadelphia, a young boy was killed in a fire, despite living a block away from the nearest fire department. The problem? The fire department (located in a poorer section) was closed early due to budget cuts. In Camden, NJ (now the poorest city in the US) the unemployment rate is over 20%. While the state of Utah is considering getting rid of the twelfth grade in public schools. The list of basic amenities being cut goes on and on.
An argument can be made that this all makes sense because of the system we have. The vast majority of public resources are paid for with tax dollars and when the country is hurting as bad as it is now; some things have to be cut. Hell, the path to my personal Utopia would probably include many victims who suddenly lack food and electricity. The problem lies not in the fact that we are running out of money, but that the effects are being felt almost 100% by the (ever decreasing) middle and (ever increasing) lower classes. In Colorado Springs – like almost every city in this country – there are poor people, middle class people, and rich people. The people who work two or three jobs to support their family are the people who often take buses. So, when buses stop running in the evenings and weekends, I wonder who will suffer. A person making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year can easily afford to “adopt” a few streetlights; therefore the upper crust areas will be well lit, while the poorer areas will become even more dangerous than they already are. The smaller police force can only respond in person to a small amount of the calls they get. When they receive a call of a breaking and entering in the nice part of town at the same time they get a call of an assault in the not so nice part, which do you think they will respond to? In Utah, children of college educated, upper class people will have no problem becoming college educated, upper class people themselves, as their parents can easily afford to send them to a private school for 12th grade. What kind of colleges will accept a student who didn’t finish high school- no matter whose fault it was?
There are many here among us who feel that the way things are going is fair. Of course the police would respond to the rich section first- their salary is more dependent on that side of town. The parents who can afford to send their children to private school in Utah have the money to do this because they worked harder than the cash strapped parents of the lower classes. I might go along with this argument under the following circumstance. Two people are born under the exact same conditions, they are both equally talented, have the same skin color, hair color, and are presented with the exact same opportunities, and one works harder for whatever reason. The person who worked harder will obviously have more (because she probably wants more), but that shouldn’t mean that she will have a lot while the less hard workingone has none. It should mean that they will both have their basic needs (food, water, shelter, etc) met, but the one who works harder maybe gets more vacations or has a wider selection of clothing.
The only way the crushing hand of the US can be stopped is if we manage to see everyone as human and feel and try to understand the pain inflicted upon them so we can have just a little bit more stuff. How on earth can we understand the connection that our support for this system has on a child in Yemen, if we can’t even understand how if effects the adult on the other side of town. Right now, the poor factions rely on handouts from the richer factions, but that will only last for so long. The larger and poorer the poor group grows, the angrier they will get. Everyone has a bursting point.
Other articles I have read today: