Dear Madame L,
I read this headline two days ago: "How can we get the poor to save for retirement?" I practically laughed my head off. What kind of joker would write an article like that? I figured it was some rich guy with a huge retirement fund, some rich guy who only wants to help the poor.
I thought, if the poor aren't saving for retirement, it's probably because they don't really have enough to live on right now. Isn't that right, Madame L? Isn't that what it means to be poor? Helloooooo!
Toeing the Poverty Line
Madame L can't help but agree with you. However, she did read the article (and she knows you did, too), and thought it had some good ideas that might actually help the poor.
Madame L is committed to the idea that as a nation of moral people, which Madame L thinks we mostly are, no matter what religious beliefs or a-religious principles we abide by, we should be committed to taking care of each other.
Yes, it's true: Madame L believes that the rich and the members of the middle class DO have a responsibility to help the poor. Madame L is tired of hearing rich hypocrites quote Jesus's statement that we'll always have the poor with us (Mark 14:7). Madame L wonders WHY Jesus said that, WHY it's still true today. Madame L thinks it must be because we still haven't learned our responsibility toward our poor brothers and sisters. Madame L knows a lot of people who are right now toeing the poverty line, people who are upstanding, good citizens and hard workers, people who don't deserve to be poor. Madame L suspects that the poor of Jesus's day were poor for the same reasons.
Yet Madame L can't help but agree with you that it would be a more reasonable and worthy goal for now to help the poor to SURVIVE now, before making decisions to "help" them save for retirement.
As always, thanks to you and Madame L's other readers for your perceptive questions,