Monday, April 15, 2013

Economy Improves at the Poor's Expense

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week announced that while certain indicators are showing improvements in the overall economy, lower income neighborhoods are still facing many difficulties. He called on local leaders and communities to help these neighborhoods.

Not sure what local communities can possibly do when the country is still unsure about its direction. We have leaders still debating the budget, minimum wage and how much control women should have over their own affairs. Issues that all have a direct impact on the poor. March's jobs report fell way below expectations and then there's the uncertainty in the global community. How can anyone possibly help the needy when those more affluently educated and wealthy are so unstable and unsure?

Even in all its sincerity, Bernanke's comment was still lacking, if not insulting. Claiming that the country is faring well except in the needier neighborhoods perpetuates the social and economic divides that ails our country. If one group is not doing well, then we should not be betting our expectations on the rest, especially where the poor are involved. Of course their situation is not improving if they were experiencing difficulties when the economy initially stumbled. To call on local communities to help the poor with so much resistance flowing in Congress seems unfair. For it is our elected leaders who set the tone. When they can't seem to agree on anything, or are unwilling to alleviate the challenges their poorer constituents face, then why expect anyone else to?

It is impossible to help all people, that is a given. There are just so many resources to go around. We must not forget though that the latest economic mess was not influenced by the poor. It was brought upon them by a market system that failed to detect shady investment practices of the rich and famous. We owe it to the poor to help them rise above their challenges, not delegate that responsibility to community members. It's time those leaders on top realize this and get this country going on the right path.

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