Unfortunately, this is what too many people believe, as illustrated by this comment made by 'AggieLady02' on this KBTX.com piece
about a homeowner who held a burglar at gunpoint (the entire comment thread has since been removed because of this remark; it should be pointed out that AggieLady02 is not the only one who writes such vitriol in the comment section):
"I applaud the homeowner for doing what he is still ALLOWED to do, that is until the libs try again to take away our guns and our ability to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and our property from the parasite and moocher class of people such as this. From talking to others, I can tell that people are really getting tired of this class of people who think they are "entitled" to live off of the hard-working taxpayers and if that isn't enough, they will just take whatever they want, whether they are high, drunk, or not. And, libs, before you call me a racist; the moocher, parasite class comes in all skin colors and will continue to grow into bigger moochers and parasites as long as our government continues to hand out my HARD-EARNED tax dollars to this bunch of leeches!!!!! Think about it libs. They aren't poor, they have everything they want, courtesy of our government. They have never been EXPECTED to take personal responsibility for ANYTHING in their lives so why work? The government will take care of ALL of their needs. I remember the woman who said if Obama was elected, she would get a new car. Then there was the woman who asked him for a new kitchen........LEECHES AND PARASITES!!!!"
Aside from yet more proof that Texas A&M might be a bit lenient when it comes to writing requirements
, what's even more disturbing is that this comment was "liked
" by several other readers. All of whom apparently also believe that 'people belonging to this class
'* are vermin and only aim at stealing from 'hard-working' people such as themselves.
I'm sure everyone agrees that there really are some people out there who cheat the system and try to get a free ride on the back of well-intentioned taxpayers (see links below). But in reality, most individuals who fall into poverty would join or rejoin the workforce in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. And, I can only hope that everyone (except perhaps AggieLady02 and a few others who comment on KBTX) agrees that certainly not all people living in poverty are criminals. (Unfortunately, there is also no dispute that studies have established relationships between poverty and crime rates, as I've linked to below).
Before writing such a hateful and sophomoric comment, AggieLady02 should perhaps have familiarized herself with the literature on this subject (and maybe a book on grammar as well). But maybe that's too much to ask. After all, everyone knows that her class of people can't do research.
Here's a short sample:
"The primary cause of poverty in the United States stems from societal structuring, social or racial grouping and stereotyping, isolation from social interactions and opportunities, lack of knowledge, employment skills, education and resources.
Myths surrounding the cause of poverty in the U.S. are held by a large portion of Americans, including a small number of scholars. There are those who believe that mental illness or chemical addictions are a cause of poverty. In some cases this is true, but often, these problems are a direct result of chronic poverty, rather than the cause."
"What contributes to these events happening?
Forces largely seen as outside of the control of individuals have dramatic impacts on income, earnings, and poverty. Recessions, high unemployment, the decline in the manufacturing sector and growth in the service sector, and declining unionization depress earnings and increase poverty, particularly for disadvantaged workers. A healthy economy alone, while integral to preventing poverty, does not prevent all entries into poverty."
"Research shows that poverty can negatively affect economic growth by affecting the accumulation of human capital and rates of crime and social unrest. Economic theory has long suggested that human capital-that is, the education, work experience, training, and health of the workforce-is considered one of the fundamental drivers of economic growth. The conditions associated with poverty can work against this human capital development by limiting individuals' ability to remain healthy and develop skills, in turn decreasing the potential to contribute talents, ideas, and even labor to the economy. An educated labor force, for example, is better at learning, creating and implementing new technologies. Economic theory suggests that when poverty affects a significant portion of the population, these effects can extend to the society at large and produce slower rates of growth. Although historically research has focused mainly on the extent to which economic growth alleviates poverty, some recent empirical studies have begun to demonstrate that higher rates of poverty are associated with lower rates of growth in the economy as a whole. For example, areas with higher poverty rates experience, on average, slower per capita income growth rates than low-poverty areas."
"Less than 2% of all people on welfare in the USA commit fraud.
"The myth of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen who defrauds the system lingers even though there's no proof of it", said Erin O'Brien, a poverty expert at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
In fact, welfare fraud among Philadelphia's 95,456 recipients is "minute," according to Peter Berson, assistant chief of the government fraud unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office...
...The facts tell me that 98 out of 100 people on welfare are not defrauding the system. Ninety-eight out of one hundred welfare recipients you meet are honest people who are struggling. Isn't it time we dropped the stigma?"
"The US Department of Labor reported that 1.9% total UI payments for 2001 was attributable to fraud or abuse within the UI program."
"This paper compares the crime rates, poverty rates, and other economic statistics to determine if there is a relationship amongst the variables. The highest crime rates per capita in the world exist in developing countries; these countries also have very high rates of poverty. Is it a coincidence, or is there actually some substance to these facts? Crime is a complicated issue, and other variables like education, healthcare, and housing have to be taken into consideration. The results indicate that there is a relationship between certain types of crime and poverty, and that income inequality is significant to all types of crime."