There are so many sides to this issue and when one position is picked and given a no holds barred effort to promote it to the exclusion of all others it’s very easy to ignore a great deal of significant opposing facts.
While I am relatively comfortable financially due to many facts, a lifetime of hard work not being the least, I do recognize that I was lucky on a great many significant aspects of my life. And when I consider the great many people who find themselves living pay check to pay check it is easy to look at how financially foolish many of them are. But then I look back at when I was a teenager in high school and working for minimum wage, earning enough to have supported myself if I had wanted to. From the time I was 13 I had more than $1,000 in the bank and when I financed a used car at the age of 17 I did so with nearly enough to pay cash for it at the time. And from the time I was 16 my part time jobs provided healthcare insurance at such a low cost it wasn’t worth considering not taking it.
Yes, Mississippi is the poorest state in the country and has been for all my life but from the early 1960s until now the buying power of the wages of the working class have declined drastically as elsewhere. When I earned $1.25 in the early 60s gasoline was 19.9c, a hamburger with fries and a milk shake totalled 55c and 4 tires for my car cost less than $60. Wages must rise to a level that allows an honest, responsible, hard working person to support themselves reasonably and offer some hope for a future. When faced with struggling with no prospect of ever getting ahead for the effort many look around for every opportunity available from entitlements to crime and it’s not difficult to recognize how that seems reasonable to many.
“The poor man mounted will ride his mount to death.” Not because he is cruel but because he is unable to afford to care for it as he attemps to gain every minute and mile of use from it. The same with automobiles. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and if it is broke and can be patched up for a few more miles patch it. And why keep insurance when the car may not last till Friday? Same with buying tags.
I have repaired a great many vehicles for financially strapped people and some were dead beats and crooks but most were strugging to get by as best they could. In the vast majority of cases when I allowed a car to leave with an unpaid balance the owner returned to pay me just as they promised and often it was obvious that their doing so was difficult. I once had a lady call me crying on Friday to tell me she couldn’t get in on time to pay me because her boss had posted her for mandatory overtime and she would get fired if she left to pay me. I thanked her for calling and told her Monday was OK.
Most people are good and wish to support themselves earning an honest living at a job where they are respected. Such a situation is becoming very rare.