Book Excerpt: What is Poverty?

Book Excerpt From What is Poverty?

Author:  Star Parker

One of nine children, my mother learned as a “young ‘un” that, more than anything else, poverty is a state of mind.  Her father showed her by example how to live free.  “Buy property and a gun” was his edict.  His faith and convictions told him free men have a right to own property and to protect it.  Only one generation from slavery, my granddaddy bought enough land in 1905 that today all of his children and grandchildren can retire in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina, without a mortgage.  My personal lot is two and a half acres.

My mom’s upbringing conditioned her to believe people should be free to live as they choose without imposed restraints.  When at age sixty-nine, she found out that in order to collect Social Security she would have to cut her work hours to part-time, she was furious.  To recover the Social Security payroll taxes the government had been taking from every one of her paychecks for the last fifty years, they could dictate when and how much she would work?  “Oh no they won’t,” she threatened once.  “I’ll vote Republican.”

Discovering that her retirement came with a heavy price tag in the form of government control was a real slap in the face.  She would genuinely miss her work.  I had seen how my mom’s countenance would brighten during snowy New Jersey winters as she looked upon thousands of poinsettia plants her tender loving care had nurtured.  The plants were ready for the grand moment of shipping all across the state.  They would arrive in time for the Christmas sales.  I think mom missed that feeling of accomplishment much more than the loss of pay she had to endure in order to receive seven hundred dollars a month from Social Security.

A year into receiving her government retirement checks, some of the changes Social Security made by Congress helped my mom reinstate her work hours, but we shouldn’t be fooled.  These changes were simply returning what was hers from the beginning.  Though the political class on Capitol Hill touted it as real solutions for the elderly, in reality it was just another shameful display of the kind of control politicians have over other people’s money.

What are your opinions?  Remember keep it civil.  All non-civil replies will be deleted.  :o)

Book provided by BookSneeze.

You can buy her book here.

Center For Urban Renewal and Education