OWS = FBA (Future Bums of America)

In an excellent opinion piece in Friday's New York Post, Herman Cain stated:

To those asking for a handout on Wall Street, my message is this: "If you're not rich, don't blame the rich -- get out there and work for it. You have to earn it."

Many have said that there is no cohesive message coming from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  But Mr. Cain has certainly corralled it -- the common denominator, whether the protesters themselves know it or not, is "Give me the money that the rich have."

We all know the word for someone who is too lazy to work, or even to look for work.  We playfully call those people "bums."  They're perfectly capable of working, but they'd rather bum what they need from those who worked for what they got.

In a previous article, I wrote about my limited experience with the "professional poor," people who game the system for existence.  Some people are trapped in the system, like Mike, the man I met who was born into it through welfare parents; others just continue to gobble up all the freebies the government and well-meaning charities are willing to feed them.  But the mostly young folks of Occupy Wall Street are part of yet another category -- capable people who want corporations and "rich people" (i.e., taxpayers) to give them something for nothing.  These are the future bums of America.

The occupiers deserve nothing.  But the truly poor, those at the opposite end of the scale from the OWSer, do need the help that all of us who are better off can give.

A dozen years back, I spent time off-and-on throughout a three-year period with a woman I'll call Margaret who had lost her job in the '80s.  At the time, she was in her early fifties.  Shortly after losing her job, Margaret's landlord pulled some shenanigans and ended up evicting her from an apartment previously owned by her deceased parents.  Margaret put all her belongings into storage and went into the shelter system.

Finding the New York City shelters to be dangerous places, especially for a woman, Margaret ended up on the streets.  Without immediate family and no caring friends, she soon became just another lost soul on the streets of Manhattan.

I met Margaret through a church program designed to extend help to New York's neediest.  This is where I learned of her past troubles.  She dragged whatever possessions she could behind her in a shopping cart.  Because she did not trust the government, Margaret rarely stayed in state-run facilities -- and never took her prescribed medications.  It was obvious that Margaret's mental and emotional emergency was as bad as her physical one.

There was only so much the church could legally do for Margaret, since she was not technically "a danger to society," even though one could argue she was still a danger to herself.  Bu without Margaret's consent, we could only make appointments with her and hope that she would show up.

One thing we were able to do was help her with the rent on her storage space.  Margaret was still receiving government assistance, but all the money that came in went to pay for storing her old furniture (she clung to the hope that someday she would receive restitution from her previous landlord -- a person whose name she could not remember).

The church lost touch with Margaret at one point, but she showed up on the radar again after a serious fall in the streets.  An ambulance had taken her to the emergency room of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, and from there they placed her into a comfortable bed for about two weeks.  The doctors who took care of her also prescribed the proper psychotropic medication -- and the transformation was astonishing.

When I found her in her hospital room, she was clean and had her hair fixed -- and was clipping coupons from a Rite Aid flyer!  At the church, we worked desperately to find housing for her, but after a week, Margaret was once again released into the streets.  She reverted back to her former destitute self and, unfortunately, we lost track of her again.

About two years later, lo and behold, through yet another accident, Margaret wound up in a room in a senior-care center.  She was still refusing to take her medication -- or take showers -- but she was off the streets.  I spent every Sunday afternoon with her for about six months.  Soon after the staff at the center was able to finally get her into a shower, an emergency examination revealed that Margaret had ovarian cancer.  She allowed me to be her health proxy, and I signed the papers for her surgery.  Even though the surgery removed the cancer, it was far too advanced, and Margaret died about three weeks later.

Through myriad unfair and unpredictable circumstances, a woman with a previously typical American life, who worked and contributed to society, had lost it all.  She needed all the help she could get.

Let me state the obvious: Margaret was poor.  On the other hand, the Occupy Wall Street crowd are just bums.

Those cluttering lower Manhattan (and dozens of other cities across the country) will end up being a drain on a system that should take care of the real poor and destitute like Margaret.  If the OWSers are genuinely interested in changing America for the better, until they take Herman Cain's advice and "get out there and work," volunteering to help others truly in need would be the best use of their time and talents.

In an excellent opinion piece in Friday's New York Post, Herman Cain stated:

To those asking for a handout on Wall Street, my message is this: "If you're not rich, don't blame the rich -- get out there and work for it. You have to earn it."

Many have said that there is no cohesive message coming from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  But Mr. Cain has certainly corralled it -- the common denominator, whether the protesters themselves know it or not, is "Give me the money that the rich have."

We all know the word for someone who is too lazy to work, or even to look for work.  We playfully call those people "bums."  They're perfectly capable of working, but they'd rather bum what they need from those who worked for what they got.

In a previous article, I wrote about my limited experience with the "professional poor," people who game the system for existence.  Some people are trapped in the system, like Mike, the man I met who was born into it through welfare parents; others just continue to gobble up all the freebies the government and well-meaning charities are willing to feed them.  But the mostly young folks of Occupy Wall Street are part of yet another category -- capable people who want corporations and "rich people" (i.e., taxpayers) to give them something for nothing.  These are the future bums of America.

The occupiers deserve nothing.  But the truly poor, those at the opposite end of the scale from the OWSer, do need the help that all of us who are better off can give.

A dozen years back, I spent time off-and-on throughout a three-year period with a woman I'll call Margaret who had lost her job in the '80s.  At the time, she was in her early fifties.  Shortly after losing her job, Margaret's landlord pulled some shenanigans and ended up evicting her from an apartment previously owned by her deceased parents.  Margaret put all her belongings into storage and went into the shelter system.

Finding the New York City shelters to be dangerous places, especially for a woman, Margaret ended up on the streets.  Without immediate family and no caring friends, she soon became just another lost soul on the streets of Manhattan.

I met Margaret through a church program designed to extend help to New York's neediest.  This is where I learned of her past troubles.  She dragged whatever possessions she could behind her in a shopping cart.  Because she did not trust the government, Margaret rarely stayed in state-run facilities -- and never took her prescribed medications.  It was obvious that Margaret's mental and emotional emergency was as bad as her physical one.

There was only so much the church could legally do for Margaret, since she was not technically "a danger to society," even though one could argue she was still a danger to herself.  Bu without Margaret's consent, we could only make appointments with her and hope that she would show up.

One thing we were able to do was help her with the rent on her storage space.  Margaret was still receiving government assistance, but all the money that came in went to pay for storing her old furniture (she clung to the hope that someday she would receive restitution from her previous landlord -- a person whose name she could not remember).

The church lost touch with Margaret at one point, but she showed up on the radar again after a serious fall in the streets.  An ambulance had taken her to the emergency room of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, and from there they placed her into a comfortable bed for about two weeks.  The doctors who took care of her also prescribed the proper psychotropic medication -- and the transformation was astonishing.

When I found her in her hospital room, she was clean and had her hair fixed -- and was clipping coupons from a Rite Aid flyer!  At the church, we worked desperately to find housing for her, but after a week, Margaret was once again released into the streets.  She reverted back to her former destitute self and, unfortunately, we lost track of her again.

About two years later, lo and behold, through yet another accident, Margaret wound up in a room in a senior-care center.  She was still refusing to take her medication -- or take showers -- but she was off the streets.  I spent every Sunday afternoon with her for about six months.  Soon after the staff at the center was able to finally get her into a shower, an emergency examination revealed that Margaret had ovarian cancer.  She allowed me to be her health proxy, and I signed the papers for her surgery.  Even though the surgery removed the cancer, it was far too advanced, and Margaret died about three weeks later.

Through myriad unfair and unpredictable circumstances, a woman with a previously typical American life, who worked and contributed to society, had lost it all.  She needed all the help she could get.

Let me state the obvious: Margaret was poor.  On the other hand, the Occupy Wall Street crowd are just bums.

Those cluttering lower Manhattan (and dozens of other cities across the country) will end up being a drain on a system that should take care of the real poor and destitute like Margaret.  If the OWSers are genuinely interested in changing America for the better, until they take Herman Cain's advice and "get out there and work," volunteering to help others truly in need would be the best use of their time and talents.

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