“I wish I could pay taxes,” Sandy shared a few weeks back in a conversation that has stuck with me since. “It would be nice to be able to do my part.”
Sandy is an old friend who was one of the inspirations for starting A Wider Circle. She was born in poverty and rarely knew a life that was not characterized by high need and intense desperation. What she wouldn’t give to be a free, independent human being.
Every time I talk with Sandy, it debunks the myths about people in poverty not wanting to work. Nobody I meet – and I meet thousands of people in poverty every year – wants to live off assistance rather than find the freedom and independence that comes with a job and steady income. It is our great opportunity right now – in this day and age – to dedicate ourselves to creating a society where poverty is a thing of the past. And we do that by creating opportunity for those born and raised in poverty. We have the intelligence and creativity as a species to do this; we just need the will.
It is often the argument that we must gentrify or otherwise create a better tax base for this city or that city. I know a lot of people who want to pay taxes. Let’s focus on them.