The Ways We Punish the Poor

Ever missed a bill and then you’re slapped with the NSF fees? Suddenly that $40 bill is charging you over a hundred from the bill issuers and the banks. That’s a poor tax.

On the topic of banks, know how all of those accounts where the fees are waived if you carry over a certain balance? That’s a poor tax.

Now, let’s think about school. Taking out student loans? You can be sure you’ll be paying significantly more than your more economically stable peers who you’ll be learning along side. Poor Tax.

Now consider the stress differences between those two students. Many students also work at least one job while going to school as well, so not only is there a financial disparity but there’s a physical and mental cost too. Poor Tax.

And when you might fail your test because you were worried about making that payment, or you had a late shift with a crappy customer, you really feel that poor tax.

Eventually you graduate, now you’re an Adult. How about buying a home or car? You still have your student loans, and you may have poor credit ratings from missing payments. Your mortgage rate will be significantly higher since you don’t have the cash for a more impressive down payment, assuming you’re accepted for a mortgage at all.

So you end up renting from the person who buys your dream home and over the course of the years you spend way more than the downpayment would have been, Oh, and your landlord’s mortgage is less than your rent.

The world is set up to be run first and foremost by those with inherited wealth, the majority of whom are settlers.

Reconciliation isn’t saying sorry and continuing to act in the way that caused harm in the first place, and yet those making decisions for us all are those who have inherited elitism, security, status and comfort. (Current systems also are optimized for predominantly Cis-gendered, white males, and their allies as their right hand, which is a notable position but still second class.)

While I like to think it’s not intentional and merely an oversight since the panels making decisions are comprised mainly of white, cis men, but that explanation doesn’t account for current actions. Once you know better you should do better, and they can’t deny they hear the complaints when they’re asking protests to stop.

We are at this critical time where we have the blankest-slate we’ve had in our lifetimes; We HAVE to rebuild systems, and it’s our choice as to how we build it. Let’s assess the needs of all and re-imagine what world we could have.

We can have it all; money isn’t going away anytime soon, but value is more than money. We need to integrate ethics into the core of everything we do.

We cannot look at people-serving systems in the same manner we look at products systems; Humans have fluctuating needs, affected by life experiences and environment; we cannot be inventoried and compartmentalized into tidy boxes no matter how much they try.

When we look only at the surface, we’re missing 98% of the story.

We need to take the extra time and effort to understand more, connect more, empathize more before making decisions that have the power to destroy or save our environment, and our people.

We have to ensure we are empowered and resilient, armoured, yet open to trying new things because through play and in discovery we find inspiration. We encounter sparks of ideas that may light the fuse between two seemingly-unrelated things to evolve into new technology, life saving procedures, manifest joy.

The options are endless, and all of these opportunities live inside each of us. We all have the capacity to be gods, superheros, the divine. But we also have the power to be destruction too, cause pain and loss. The thing is, we need to create a world we can all live in.

With power comes responsibility, and it’s time we empower everyone instead of overpowering them for financial needs, and ask those who have taken the privileged of power but not the responsibility of it to right their mistakes.

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