Why is it easier to believe that 150,000,000 Americans are being lazy rather than 400 Americans are being greedy.
The Fundamental Attribution Error says that if you’re not wealthy, it’s because you don’t work hard enough, didn’t choose the right career path, didn’t plan well and aren’t smart enough. If I’m not wealthy, it’s because the government takes all my money in taxes and gives it to lazy, poor people.
The preceding stuff comes from a blog I regularly read called “That’s Why”. You can find it here, (http://lisahgolden.blogspot.com/2011/11/fundamental-attribution-error.html), if you want.
The writer has recently gone through, “downsizing” at her job and has been struggling for the last couple of years to make ends meet. This particular posting is about the predilection of many people to blame the poor for being poor. It talks of the way people can be convinced that those who need help in our society need help because of things that they did or didn’t do. At the same time the accuser sees any failure to progress on his own part as being caused by forces outside his control.
A long time ago people used to realize that we all need help to get through this life. Parents help their children. The society paid for good schools, not because they wanted to help people become billionaires but because they realized that an educated population was the simplest and easiest way to ensure a functioning society. Hospitals, roads, public transit are not provided because we are nice, they are provided because we all, rich and poor benefit from creating a society where all can get around, get healthy, get educated.
Very few who has ever been on welfare or even employment insurance would wish to live an entire life like that. Certainly there are some who scam the system but the vast majority are people who through no fault of their own find themselves in difficulty and need help getting back on their feet.
I retired 7 years ago with a decent though not luxurious pension. Part of my retirement package, which I had worked 30 years to attain was a cost of living allowance that should have provided for my pension to keep pace with 85% of any cost of living rise. The company that offered me that took it away 3 years after I had retired. They didn’t offer to take me back on to the work force so that I could earn the money I will need by working longer. Another part of my package was medical coverage for dugs, glasses, hearing aids, canes etc. This year they have down loaded that onto a fund that already says they will not have enough funding to keep our benefits at the sme level as time goes on.
So far neither of these developments is debilitating. Inflation has been quite low for some time now and the cost of living is only rising a few percentage points per year. I can remember though double digit inflation which may mean that in another decade or so I may be unable to pay for rent, food etc.
I have gone through a course of cancer treatment. The durgs I needed through this were paid for by my plan but if I had not had it they would have cost me a few thousand dollars. Dollars I can’t afford. If I ever have to repeat the process I may not have coverage to help me with the costs.
When I retired I looked into these things and decided that with the plan I was offered I could afford to leave my work and go on pension. The fact that I did that meant that someone else with less seniority than I could keep their job for a while. Now I might be faced with mounting costs with no way to pay for them. I might end up destitute after paying my way for a working life that lasted about 40 ears.
If I live long enough I will almost certainly have to call on others for help.
I hope if that time comes the people of Canada will understand that I didn’t end up like that because I wasted all my money, or drank it all away, or was too lazy to work. I’ll end up that way because in our society corporations are being allowed to evade the contractual promises they have given employees loading the public coffers with the costs of keeping us alive and going along giving their managers multi million dollar salaries.
A lot of what is happening to out citizens is not their fault except that we believed that when we had a contract for a life time retirement plan the government would help us enforce it. Instead the government has helped the corporations walk away form their obligations and shrugged their shoulders about the plight we are being left in.
Then to add insult to injury we are told it is our fault if we need assistance.