If I say “poverty kills” you may picture skeletal African babies with flies crawling on their eyes. If I say “poverty kills Americans” you may respond like the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation in their article, “Air conditioning, Cable TV and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?” What? They aren’t poor! Where are the flies?
Having worked with the poor for many years in the rural south, I reject the Heritage Foundation’s premise with extreme disgust. I have visited the homes, have the Koch Brothers? Or their mercenary report writers? Old ladies who are grateful to get a fan to survive the extreme heat, who buy a little kerosene to keep warm with unsafe, antiquated heaters that often burn their houses down, children who hoard food under their beds, even when they know it has gone bad.
The poorest state in the union is a red state, good old Mississippi. I wondered which state has the highest death rate-guess what? It’s good old Mississippi. Predictably, Mississippi blocked Medicaid expansion that would have covered an additional 300,000 citizens. Mississippi is only the worst, many southern states are competing for eliminating poverty by eliminating poor people through slow-motion genocide.
How does poverty kill Americans? Slowly. It looks to an outsider like they just have bad health habits; it’s their own fault they die young. Stalin no doubt had some ready-made cover stories when he starved to death millions of Ukranians. After all, he didn’t line them up and shoot them, he just refused to provide them with food and let nature take its course.
I object to poor people’s lives being shortened by slow-motion genocidal austerity pushed by billionaires, who could just enjoy their riches instead of spending them to hurt the weakest of our fellow citizens.