If an American makes $50,000 a year, he or she will pay about seven (7) dollars per year into the welfare system that supports the indigent on the bottom third of the poverty spectrum.
An in-depth analysis of the facts and statistics was done very nicely HERE on the blog Soapboxie. There are numerous other sources on the internet that echo this information, but I like the charts that this author provides, as well as the way he explains them. Very nice work, on his part.
In return for that seven dollars, a great number of tax payers are exceedingly interested in the activities of that person who receives that seven (7) dollars. They have a lot of opinions about what the poor, disabled and vulnerable should do in exchange for that tiny bit of assistance, and most of those opinions are damn mean.
In addition, the ratio of amount of assistance given, compared to the amount of control some people want over the recipients, would be hysterical if it weren't so sad. To be so focused on the money that drizzles into the pockets of the poor, while the corporate robber barons are emptying our bank accounts just doesn't make any sense.
Jesus would be appalled.
I do not receive any welfare, since I live on the Social Security that accumulated after working more than 33 years, but I very occasionally receive a donation on this blog. The cost of bringing internet into the home far exceeds the pittance I receive in donations, on a year by year basis. (I had hoped that the blog would at least pay for itself but unfortunately, it does not. I refuse to junk up my page with ads from marketers, however. I figure that, at the very least, I can give my readers a respite from the constant flow of sales pitches by corporations that they have to endure on every other page they access.)
Of the very few who donate, most are extremely kind. Others, in the guise of kindness, will assail me with a barrage of unsolicited "advice" that is not only unnecessary, but would also be insulting, if I was inclined toward that sort of response.
Although I have no choice as to whether or not I will be poor, the vast majority of monastics throughout time have been poor by choice and by chance. Ideally, it is a chosen thing, a sacrifice made for God. Even if poverty is thrust upon a monastic by circumstance, we are encouraged to embrace it. When poverty impinges upon the ability of the monastic to perform his or her functions, measures have to be taken to alleviate it. Poverty, in its essence, is not a "good" thing, but a tool in the hands of the spiritual aspirant.
Consequently, most monasteries rely upon a combination of donations and some type of work of the hands that they may sell. Whether it is coffee, candies, rosaries or liquor, most monastics have to produce something for sale in order to survive. In days gone by, most monasteries and convents survived by gifts alone, but modern times find us with far fewer devoted Christians who understand the value of what the monastic "produces" by his or her presence and prayers. Sadly, Westerners are capitalists first and Christians second, in most cases.
Being disabled and gradually becoming more so, I do not have the capacity to produce anything to any meaningful extent, which is why I have a donation request on my front page. Still, there are people who will insist upon gifting me with their opinion of what I must do to produce something worthy of payment. It is exhausting, especially since they fail to observe that I am already doing something worthy.
After trying, and failing, to get me to live under her rule, a recent small donor has gone off in a huff and unfollowed my blog. A relative who gave me a television similarly subjected me to an overbearingd brow-beating. Another who sent me a book a year or two ago erupted into a tirade of name-calling and public excoriation because I will not vote for her political candidate. Unfortunately, these people felt entitled to control my actions after contributing an extremely small amount to the household. People complain that the poor feel entitled, but my experience of life is the opposite. It is those who give with big strings attached who have a sense of entitlement.
The Bible tells us to invite those persons to our banquets who cannot afford to return a similar invitation. I definitely cannot afford to turn my life over to those who give me a few dollars. I have already given that life to God, and it is not for sale.
I have vacillated back and forth about whether or not to continue the blog or if I should dedicate the time spent writing it to some other endeavor. For the time being, I will keep it, because there are more than a few readers who tell me that their condition mirrors mine and that they receive encouragement and grace from my words.
Just as Jesus used parables to instruct, I offer the small circumstances of my life as an example that can be extrapolated to an understanding of the conditions of the poor, disabled and discarded in America, in order to rouse love in the hearts of those who denigrate the poor, and to support the faithful Christian in whom love already flows but who suffers from living in a hostile angry world.
God bless us all.
Silver Rose Parnell