Within the Box
Last night, the CBS Evening News reported a great program tailor-made for helping the poor. The Individual Development Account lets low-income families build up savings by matching their deposits 3:1 with a mix of private and public funds. The money thus accrued can then be used to buy a house (which is what pricked my attention), start a business or fund higher education. Is that cool or what?
So I eagerly awaited word within the report of how to get in on this deal. Apparently each state runs its own version of the program and one has to contact that state's IDA people.
Okaaay...so, (knowing what was to come) I wrote a note to myself to check this out the next time I hit the library. Which I did today. I Googled for the info and found North Carolina's IDA page almost immediately.
So far, so good. But remember a few sentences ago when I mentioned I knew what was to come? Wait for it...
I discovered that only 55 counties in North Carolina participate in the IDA program. (North Carolina has 100 counties. A 55% participation rate in anything is piss-poor any day of the week, but wait for it...) This information was helpfully displayed as a map showing which counties participate by color-coding.
(Wait for it...)
I eagerly scanned the map to find Guilford's participation in the IDA program. I found it. The color was white, meaning...
(Here it comes...)
Guilford County, North Carolina does not participate in the Individual Development Account program.
Sadly, that didn't surprise me. And frankly, I saw it coming. In a county where the rich folk willingly, eagerly and gleefully segregate themselves from anything with even a whiff of poverty; where condos, not affordable housing is being built; where Letters to the Editor fly thicker than flocks of blackbirds to the local newspaper anytime anyone tries to raise the minimum wage or buy a lottery ticket; where more money is spent maintaining golf courses than low-iincome dwellings; where wages start out in the single digits (and even lower if Uncle Sam isn't looking); where cars are king and bicycles are to be mowed down like hay; where Riched Petty is better known than Alfred Nobel; where low-income schools are either broken up, bussed out, plowed under or underfunded; where developers have more say than citizens; where an extra penny in sales tax is tacked on any time the state even considers allowing it to; where everything stops for an International Furniture Market that was taken for granted until Las Vegas started its own; where homeless people sleep under bridges and families get foreclosed or evicted at rates higher than the rest of the state while housing funds come up for gutting; where the county Board of Commissioners is dominated by rednecks, race-baiters, know-nothings, and dunderheads of every friggin' stripe, there is no provision for helping the poor get ahead whatsoever!
And there should be! Dammit, this program is just what poor people need to get a leg up on their miserable existence and out of poverty!
Okay, alright, time to end the rant, because I feel the Beast waking up...
But the fact remains that like so many other places around the country, Guilford County's priorities are totally and completely snafu. Think of it; poor people able to save enough money to buy a house and become taxpayers capable of conducting their own independent lifestyles instead of having to beg the damned Department of Social Services for enough resources to squeak by. And getting the door slammed in their faces. Or opening their own businesses and crafting their own futures instead of kowtowing to some slime with more money than brains who takes orgasmic pleasure in playing the poor like pawns.
Hell, even poor counties like Pitt, Johnston and Haywood participate in some aspect of the IDA program. But not Guilford, which is like the second or third richest county in the state.
Maybe Guilford just doesn't give a damn about its poor people. Maybe it would just as soon see us all plowed under the spreading asphalt of the greedy developers. Maybe it pines for the long-ago days of yore when guys like me were in a cotton field all day and could be silenced with the lash of a whip. Or maybe it's just too ignorant altogether to be brought into the 21st Century any other way than kicking and screaming.
Maybe it's just time to call Guilford County what it's been all along: a sociopolitical morass that lurches along crushing decency underneath like a headless giant and trapping its citizens of lowest means within it. After all, is it any wonder it's shaped like a box?
"What good will it be for a man to gain the whole world yet to lose his soul?"-Saint Matthew
There is your answer right there, Mike. Sell your soul. I m sure everything will be alrighty then.
That help people who are in destitute situations sounds "communist" to me. This is a self-interested society we live in now, Daddy-O, get with it. I have a God given right to be greedy, although I heard him say "When I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. When I was thirsty you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you didnt not clothe me, I was sick and you did not look after me." So I said to him "When was this? If I had known it was you I d have helped you out, for shizzle ma'nizzle." I dont know if Jesus liked me calling him ma'nizzle but he didnt say anything about it. So he looks at me astutely and responds "I ll tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me." Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.