Learning From Poverty

Via racymind, you have to be fucking kidding me, today: 

“Look, I worked for the minimum wage,” he explained. “Two bucks an hour back in the 1970s. I had jobs that — what did I learn? I learned to show up on time, I learned certain skills, and I learned I didn’t want to make the rest of my life so I better get an education.”

You learn from cancer, too. Go suck on a tailpipe, Gigot. 

This is so poisonous, this "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" bullshit that never actually comes from anyone while they're in the middle of their suffering. It's really, really fun to wax philosophical about the mental fortitude you gained form hunger while you sit in front of a full dinner plate. I have cabinets full of food, so I can really easily romanticize the days when I was living out of the day-old bagel bin at my friend Steve's coffee shop. 

While I was poor, though? I wanted a goddamn roast beef sandwich.

What doesn't kill you does sometimes make you stronger. And sometimes it just hurts a lot, and keeps on hurting, and there's no point to it whatsoever, and you make up stuff after the fact about what it got you, so that you can get up in the morning without screaming about the injustice done to you. How you compensate for what happened to you is your business, but it's gross to say that everyone else needs to suffer the same way, on the off chance they learn the same lessons. 



9 thoughts on “Learning From Poverty

  1. Oh, yes, Paul Gigot and his degree from Dartmouth bootstraps. First, as the article notes, 2.00 in 1974 is the equivalent of almost 9.50 today…plus I’m guessing that Ivy League tuition, while not cheap, was also not so out of Gigot and/or his parent’s income range that it bankrupted or saddled him with a mountain of debt.
    I swear, they really do seem to think civilization, if not the universe, revolves around them.

  2. And, just to follow up — Dartmouth tuition in 1984, the earliest year I found, was roughly $13650. Without accounting for other expenses, or taxes, at 1984 minimum wage rates, that comes to just over 4000 hours.
    The most recent figure I found — $46,800 or thereabouts — comes to almost 6500 hours at minimum wage.
    I realize that’s not even back of the envelope calculations, and lots of other thing factor in, but I think it pokes a hole in Gigot’s bag of hot air…and I was able to do this in roughly fifteen minutes WITH a cat sitting on my lap and using one arm for a pillow.

  3. This is so poisonous, this “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” bullshit that never actually comes from anyone while they’re in the middle of their suffering.
    I hate that shit. As much as I hate, “God never gives you more than he can handle.” Well, yes, people get handed more than they can handle all the time. They go crazy, they kill themselves, they kill others. Or they just curl in on themselves and slowly the light goes out of their eyes.
    So yes, fuck all the smug, sanctimonious asses who pitch this snake oil and act like they’re helping.

  4. MIT tuition was maybe $3100 in 1974. (There was an annual anti-tuition increase rally that started at “$2900 Too Damned Much” in 1972 which was about 1973’s tuition. Harvard tuition was maybe a few hundred dollars higher, so I’m guessing Dartmouth’s was similar. Granted, that’s maybe $14,000 in today’s money. $3000 was 150 hours at the $2 an hour minimum wage or about a month of full time work.
    Wages and prices moved in step during the inflation of the 1970s. If I remember correctly, buying a median priced house at the average interest rate cost about 600 hours at the median hourly wage. This went up to about 800 hours by the early 80s, after the big interest spike killed inflation.
    Since most people work maybe 1800-2000 hours a year, this meant that buying a house required two wage owners, so you had to add child care costs to what it took to get by. The big child care boom, of course, led to the Satanic child abuse craze as a societal reaction.

  5. Let me be totally heartless and look only at me. Can you imagine the “service” you’re gonna get when the workers are in a job designed to be so bad that the only object of the job is to teach them they don’t want that job ?

  6. It appears to me that the Conservatives I know do not have the imagination to be empathetic to others whose fate they have not actually experienced. For example, my sister has an accounting degree and lives in a state where accountants are in demand. Additionally, her mother helped her get her first job and friends from the first job helped her get the one she has now. She makes good money and has never been unemployed. To her mind there is no excuse for someone to be out of work. None. The fact that there are other places with high unemployment only means those people all need to come “here” and get a job. How they will afford to get “here” doesn’t enter her equation. There is simply no excuse in her mind to be unemployed and poor. She has never been, she doesn’t have any friends that have ever been, her family members never were. Case closed.
    I think the whole tea-party, uber-conservative movement is made up of folks who have have the same inability. If it hasn’t affected them personally, it simply isn’t a problem so quit whining about it.

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