- Politics and Social Issues
7 Things the Middle Class Take for Granted
Growing up 'middle class' gives one a huge advantage to life
The middle and upper classes of society are an extremely fortunate group. While often caught up in deadlines, bills, and worries, these ‘wealthier’ individuals can easily forget how amazing they have it. Focusing instead, on what they don't have or what they have to achieve. This places blinders over our eyes, allows us to ignore that most people have less than the middle class. Therefore, the things you take for granted are actually luxuries far nicer than the Mercedes you've been saving for.
Here are 7 things people with financial security take for granted, yet would find their life 100% altered without.
Toxic landfills are unusable, cheap land, this is why many States have picked it up and built schools on it-- almost always for poor or working class students. If you live an area with a higher median income, your child is less likely to be exposed to harmful chemicals that later cause cancer.
SouthSide High School in Elmira, N.Y. was erected on a site full of chemicals. Now, over 24 students and faculty have developed cancer.
Back in the 1950s, the New York school district insisted on buying a large parcel of cheap land, even after being repeatedly told it was too toxic for children. After acquiring the land for $1, schools were immediately put up--playgrounds and all.
In 2006, the state of New Jersey swooped up polluted land for low-income schools.
1. School is a Safe Place
A middle class school has a couple of hard knock bullies, a few cruddy teachers, and always a shortage of funding but what they don't have are fifteen-year-old textbooks, teachers that read novels instead of teach, multiple violent gangs, not enough seats for every student, or a toxic landfill brewing beneath the classrooms.
If you were forced to pick up and move to one of the cheapest towns in America, this is what you and your children would find: schools decrepit, nonfunctioning, and even toxic.
I remember my parents picked up and moved right before I turned 5 because they wanted me in the "Poway School District." Although parents consciously chose to live in certain areas because of school ratings, I doubt that many are aware just how bad the schools in less affluent neighborhoods really are.
Well-ranked schools take new, updated textbooks, hands-on-materials, and smaller class sizes for granted. Pumping up their own egos with the idea "we are the best" when really, the only reason some schools are so much better than others is because of money.
Money... the one-thing kids can never earn, yet they still suffer the consequences of not having it.
2. Your House is not Harming your Family
Your home is clean and sanitary. If a pest were to invade, you'd call an exterminator. If your landlord refused to fix the mold in your bathroom, you can move out and go somewhere else.
A few notches down the ladder, the poor are not so fortunate. In fact, when all one can afford is cheap housing- they're practically doomed. Many cheap apartments are older, infested with rats, and seeping with mold. Children who live in low-income housing are more likely to develop asthma, not just because of the mold and cheap paint but also the rat feces, which give off a chemical that irritates our ability to breath.
3. You can Visit the Doctor
"I don't want to pay to go to the doctor-- poor people don't have to!" I've heard some variation of this from friends, family, and even strangers...
But what if by a struck of bad luck you became the person who couldn't afford medical bills? And by an even worse fate, your loved one became extremely ill, so you rush him/her to the hospital only to find, the rules have changed- without cash you can no longer enter the hospital. If you care at all about others, you'd be kicking, screaming- doing anything to get in and save your loved one. Perhaps even thinking, how is money more important than a precious life?
Be thankful if you can go to the doctor office and feel welcomed there. Recognize the significance in early check ups and appointments, how much they miss and prevent. The worry of not being able to get into a doctor or take care of your families health is enough to make any "free" hospital visit completely worthless.
4. Credit Cards
Some might say that credit cards have "ruined" their life-- that they wish they'd never met "no interest for 12 months!"
But in reality, without the ability to obtain credit, our chances of survival diminish. Most homebuyers don't suddenly save up $300,000- or whatever their home costs. Instead, they save up a portion of it and then head to the bank, where their financial security pays off once again; this time in the form of a loan.
If you make minimum wage and pay regular bills, it's nearly impossible to ever save anything. This prevents one from proving to a bank they can afford a loan and it also prevents saving up a down payment. Without purchasing a home, one is forever trapped paying rent with no future return.
This scenario stresses me out because, where does one live after their bones are too tired to work anymore? Perhaps this is why the elderly community makes up one of the largest percentages of the homeless and/or those in poverty.
Where would you want your kids to play?
5. Safe Neighborhood
You lock your doors, keep your garage clicked down, but in reality- home is a safe haven. You can sit out by the pool, leave open your windows, and kids can be heard playing outside.
It's embarrassing to even admit it, but as a kid I thought "gangs" were a thing of the past-- simply because I never saw one outside of the movies. Therefore, as any eight-year-old might, I decided that logically gangs couldn't possibly exist. My logic was very wrong, gangs do still exist, and so do a slew of other nasty problems that persist in the neighborhoods the middle class steers clear of.
Fran has a 12-year-old son who walks home from school everyday while she’s working in a different part of town. Soon as the clock strikes 3:00 her heart is in her throat, she’s watching the clock- glancing at the phone. She wishes more than anything she could be there to pick him up but she can’t, both her and her husband make minimum wage, they both must work full time in order to pay the bills. Fran's situation is not unique; many parents are forced into this same stressful scenario. In rougher neighborhoods, gangs and drug dealers look for young kids to recruit, one wrong move- a kid trying to act cool or even responding out of fear- and an entire life can go down the drain.
6. Maintaing your Car
Whenever you see a gaggle of people at the bus stop you might take a second to appreciate your car. But what about the service you can afford to maintain? The gas you put in before you run out? Or the new tires you proactively switch out before they get a chance to go bald- pop on the freeway and stick a fork in your day? These are luxuries unimaginable to some, who literally wait until tragedy strikes, before addressing the car troubles they still can't afford.
If you have the funds to routinely service your car, it’s far less likely you will deal with a failed engine on your way to work or that your child will be injured due to failed brakes- the ones you haven't changed in years. For those that can’t afford regular maintenance, car troubles have become a fact of life. Regardless of regularity, car troubles make us extremely vulnerable in our mobile world.
7. Well Fed Children
"There's nothing to eat here." Everyone complains, scouring through cabinets, fridges, and even multiple freezers packed tight with food. This is a regular American middle class experience-- we take a great abundance of food for granted.
If you live on food stamps or a very tight budget your cabinets are not exploding with food. At a middle class family dinner the cook asks, “is it good?” While the poor family asks, “are you full?” Even people who have a roof over their head, who appear well fed, and okay could be hungry.
It’s called food insecurity- being unsure where your next meal will come from- and it’s not reserved to the homeless or developing countries. Even here in America, students are going to school hungry some mornings, going to bed with grumbly tummies at night. Some schools have identified this problem, providing breakfast to the students so that they can actually learn instead of focus on how hungry they are- how jittery their fingers are, or how weak their limbs feel.
Money Buys Safety
The theme here seems to be safety. All 7 of these 'taken for granted luxuries' come with the promise of more safety- the one thing humans are constantly seeking out.
But is it fair that safety must be purchased?