Are you really poor?

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 11.11.31 AM.pngPoverty is an issue in our nation that impacts the wellbeing and livelihoods of all effected by it. Rarely will you find someone who is homeless or living below the poverty line who has an abundance of resources that are frivolous.

But what are the impoverished allowed to have?

Refrigerators? Microwaves? iPhones? Obviously no one who is at or below the poverty line are allowed to have these electronics. They’re poor, right? And because of this they must not need any of the items that millions of households deem necessities. It is shocking that almost 100 percent of “poor” households have an appliance that can help food stay fresh.

Are they really poor if they have these items?

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 11.13.44 AM.pngWhile those questions may sound silly, some conservatives are asking them in the wake of the Obamacare repeal that was released earlier this month. Representative Jason Chaffetz went so far as to say that instead of buying iPhones, individuals should invest more in their healthcare. But this logic is flawed. The newest, largest phone that Apple came out with costs $969. In comparison, it can cost over $46,000 a year for some healthcare plans.

But this is not new. In 2013, a reporter wrote about a phone call she received from an individual with a similar view of the poor. The caller stated that people who are poor do not deserve to have children, referencing the need for food stamps and other assistance. There was no sympathy, and certainly to plan to change the situation.

So, why instead of helping those struggling are we demonizing them for trying to live normal lives. If we are concerned with the wellbeing of these individuals, why do we look down on them for having a basic item such as a phone? A phone is a form of communication which can be a lifeline. It allows individuals to be contacted by family and potential employers and can be used to relay crucial messages. But at a time where empathy is no longer common, we can only hope that those living in poverty are given the respect they deserve.

By Allison Smith

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