Donald Trump Could be the Next President of the United States of America

I have a friend who lives in a house with three roommates. They decided to look for subletters recently. I don’t know what reasons were behind their decision to seek more roommates, but in any case they decided collectively to seek one or more additional tenants.

Now, one incumbent roommate, we’ll refer to her as Barbara, found a subletter fairly quickly. My friend greeted this news with enthusiasm; why wouldn’t she, her rent just decreased by 20% in her mind. But Barbara had different ideas. Her logic worked to rationalize that, since she found a subletter, she no longer needed to pay rent. There would still be four roommates paying rent, just like before. In her mind, she did her part, no one had to pay MORE, and so there was nothing wrong with her living rent free from that point on.

It is FAIR for Barbara to continue paying rent while she lives in the same house, and to split the rent five ways instead of four, saving everyone money.

But Barbara is not concerned with saving her roommates money. She is concerned with saving herself more money. She will say to her housemates, “Find yourself a subletter, than you won’t have to pay rent, either.”

Barbara denied her housemate’s an opportunity for increased financial flexibility, in favor of greatly increasing her own. And then she rationalizes this by championing her own ability to find a subletter. Does this sound familiar? It should. This is how the rich keep the poor poor. They do not take from the poor. They merely keep the poor where they are, and profit from them.

They rationalize this oppression by saying, “Stop complaining and get a job.” Find your own subleaser.

If only it were that easy. If only the real world had a level playing field like my friend’s housing situation. My friend can, in fact, find a sub leaser and stop paying rent if she wanted to.

The real word is far harsher. Say you grow up in a low income family. You didn’t choose to be poor, this was just the situation you were born into. You probably live in a low income neighborhood. You have access to less quality education. You can’t afford to go to college, nor are you educated well enough to succeed if you could. Without a degree, only low paying jobs with no opportunity for advancement are available to you. Say you are of average intellect and creativity, and you don’t really stand out in any way. How is it possible for you to attain “The American Dream?” You can probably hold down your low paying job, you might even be able to support a family if you are extremely responsible with your money and life choices.

But God help you if you make a mistake somewhere along the line. If you become a parent before you’re financially able to support a child. If you resort to criminal activity as an alternative to starvation. If you develop an addiction you can’t really afford to have. If you become sick, or disabled. If any of these things befall you, by your own imperfections as a person or by random chance, your options dwindle. Welfare can help you, but social safety nets are increasingly under fire by people like Barbara, who will say that America is the land of opportunity, that if she did it, why can’t you? She will tell you to stop whining and get a job, and point to examples of “rags to riches” Americans who overcame what you’re facing. Without considering that perhaps those examples of “great Americans” were incredible people with some combination of remarkable creativity, intellect, or determination.

And to add insult to injury, Barbara implies that she has those qualities, and that is why she has a nice job, and a German car, and her kids go to private school.

Barbara grew up in a middle class neighborhood. Her family wasn’t wealthy, but they could afford name brand cereal. She received a quality education, and even though her intellect and creativity were only average, she was able to get good grades in school because her parents expected her to. This, as well as her family’s ability to afford college, allowed her to attend a decent university, the University of Minnesota. She worked hard in college, and graduated with a degree.

She was not without some hiccups along the way. She developed a dependence on the drug, Adderall, and had to take a semester off and spend time in treatment. Her family was able to afford to put her into a treatment facility, and she recovered. Her friends and family called her “brave” for overcoming her addiction and earning a degree.

She became pregnant at one point, but was able to afford a safe abortion. She said it, “Was the hardest decision I ever had to make.”

She made friends in college and one of them set her up with a great internship right after graduation. She called this friend a whore behind her back.

Within a few years, Barbara was making more than 60,000 dollars annually. She credits her success to hard work and determination. Her parents are proud of her. “She’s overcome so much.”

If you’re Barbara the sky is the limit. If you’re poor, the limit is the sky.

This myth that the playing field is equal, that anyone can be successful, that if you’re great you’ll be rewarded, is deeply tied into our subconscious. So much so, that a large section of this country believes in taxing the rich LESS in proportion to the poor. They expect us to believe that the rich having more money to spend will result in that wealth trickling down to the poor. That cutting funding for social safety nets will help the poor. Because not having the option of government assistance will force them to seek the American dream.

But what can the poor say about this? They have no voice, no representation. And since when do they have time to make political messages? They have to work three jobs just to avoid starvation.

While the poor get their meager incomes taxed, the businesses people like Barbara own are getting tax breaks. They say these tax benefits are “funding innovation.” It’s a reward for ingenuity. As if there is no ingenuity to be found in the poor classes. It all comes back to the rich rationalizing that since they are rich, they are inherently better than poor people. Social Darwinism. It certainly is a comfortable feeling, that if you’re successful, you are because of your own merit, not the random chance of you being born into an upper middle class white family.

Oh yes, not being white puts you even further behind the eight ball. Good luck getting employed if you have an afro, or a very dark complexion. White employers associate these traits with violence and crime. If you’re a minority race, you better cut your hair and act like Al Roker or Mario Lopez, or you’ll be deemed too dangerous and different to find quality employment. In other words, you can be successful as a minority race, but it’s even more important for you to have a college degree, and how successful you are is unfortunately tied in pretty closely with how white you act.

There are some affirmative action programs designed to make up for this imbalance. But Barbara opposes these, too. She says, “If they really want equality, they should have the same shot as me. Nothing should be given to them.”

And then Barbara will say that we need to “secure our borders,” because otherwise cheap Mexican labor will take all the jobs away from hardworking Americans. Which jobs? Not Barbara’s job; you need to speak English and have a college degree for that.

No matter how serious politicians say they are about tightening up border security, isn’t it odd that illegal immigrants just keep coming? Almost as if those with money and power see some sort of benefit in hiring people that work for less and don’t require fancy add-ons to their employment like health insurance, wage increases and maternity leave.

Yeah, Barbara hires illegal immigrants. Oh, maybe she doesn’t. But the people she hires do. And she saves a pretty penny. And guess what? The poor actually don’t benefit from this.

But Barbara will say she didn’t take anything from these poor people. They don’t have to pay more rent because of her hiring illegals.

Barbara doesn’t see what they’re so pissed about, either. After all, she does volunteer at a soup kitchen.

It’s a dog eat dog world, she says. If she can save 300 dollars a month, she will, even it comes at the expense of others. Especially when these savings are institutionalized.

The Republican budget proposal includes 6 trillion dollars worth of cuts over the next ten years, with much of those savings coming by completely overhauling Medicare and Medicaid, which provide assistance to, guess who, the elderly and poor, respectively. Also in the proposal is a reform cutting corporate and personal income taxes for the wealthiest Americans, slicing the top rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. This will cost the government trillions in tax revenue.

This accomplishes three things:

1) Makes the poor poorer.

2) Makes the rich richer.

3) Does not solve the budget crisis.

This is real.


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