On pay­ing for the poor

Cebu Daily News - - OPIN­ION -

Alet­ter writ­ten by a cer­tain Bar­bara Rank of Iowa in the US in re­sponse to her con­gress­man who ques­tioned why Amer­i­can men have to pay for “preg­nancy in­surance” un­der Oba­macare caught my at­ten­tion in light of a na­tional hous­ing pro­gram that may be doomed to fail due to the in­sis­tence of mil­i­tant left­ist ur­ban poor groups that the houses be given for free.

Rank’s let­ter which I read in a Ya­hoo! ar­ti­cle made its rounds in Red­dit and was met with en­thu­si­as­tic pub­lic sup­port with one Twit­ter user urg­ing Rank to “run for of­fice” since the Amer­i­can peo­ple need elected of­fi­cials “with her per­spec­tive.”

The let­ter read thus: “Con­gress­man Rod Blum in a town hall meet­ing asked ‘why should a 62-year-old man have to pay for ma­ter­nity care?’

“I ask, why should I pay for a bridge I don’t cross, a side­walk I don’t walk on, a li­brary book I don’t read? Why should I pay for a flower I won’t smell, a park I don’t visit, or art I can’t ap­pre­ci­ate?

“Why should I pay the salaries of politi­cians I didn’t vote for, a tax cut that doesn’t af­fect me, or a loop­hole I can’t take ad­van­tage of? It’s called democ­racy, a civil so­ci­ety, the greater good. That’s what we pay for.”

As I read it, I was re­minded about what hap­pened to a hous­ing project in­tended for sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers in Pandi town, Bu­la­can prov­ince that was over­run by mem­bers of the mil­i­tant left­ist ur­ban poor group Kadamay.

Af­ter Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte called on the mil­i­tary and the po­lice to let the Kadamay group oc­cupy the hous­ing units and promised them a bet­ter hous­ing project, Kadamay was em­bold­ened to ini­ti­ate sim­i­lar takeovers of gov­ern­ment hous­ing sites and re­jected calls by the na­tional gov­ern­ment for them to pay for the units they stole from the sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers.

Rather than pay for the hous­ing units, the Kadamay lead­er­ship said the mem­bers should pool their re­sources to pay for the main­te­nance of the hous­ing units and lots which in­cludes the power and wa­ter sup­ply.

Ad­mit­tedly, th­ese hous­ing units are small and of poor qual­ity, but they are built with tax­pay­ers’ money and the Kadamay group wants the gov­ern­ment to give them to the group and to the poor for free.

*** And rather than wal­low in a long-winded de­bate about their ac­tions and po­lit­i­cal be­liefs, I ask my­self the same ques­tion posed by Rank in re­la­tion to that is­sue: why should my tax money go to pay­ing for poorly built hous­ing units that were in­tended for the sol­diers and po­lice but were stolen by an ur­ban poor group that doesn’t be­lieve in pay­ing for it?

This is­sue also ac­quires rel­e­vance in Metro Cebu where res­i­dents should also ask them­selves why they should pay with their tax money for re­lo­ca­tion sites for the ur­ban poor and not ex­pect them to pay for their units and lots in re­turn.

They may be poor, but un­less they are phys­i­cally and men­tally hand­i­capped, they should not ex­pect and de­mand free­bies. And even the phys­i­cally hand­i­capped have shown to be able to sup­port them­selves.

In­deed, the poor can work and earn a liv­ing to pay for their houses and lots given to them by the gov­ern­ment so long as the terms and con­di­tions are rea­son­able, i.e, don’t tax them be­yond their ca­pa­bil­ity in pay­ing for it.

That’s what some ur­ban poor oc­cu­pants of the lots cov­ered by Pro­vin­cial Or­di­nance 93-1 did, and they ac­quired their ti­tles fair and square from the prov­ince with the sweat of their brows.

The com­mon and of­ten much-abused ar­gu­ment is that the rich and pow­er­ful should be made to pay more un­der the law, to pay for the poor it seems — “to whom much is given, much is re­quired,” if one wants to be bib­li­cal about it.

But while the rich should be re­quired to pay more taxes in ac­cor­dance with the law, to give more in shoul­der­ing the bur­den of sup­port­ing the coun­try and to be espe­cially held ac­count­able and pun­ished for what­ever abuses and wrongs they com­mit, that still doesn’t ex­empt the poor from pulling their own weight and do­ing their share.

The Way It Is sb­d­c­starkiller1234@ya­hoo.com

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