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True, very true.

While the poor will always be with us, due, as you say, to our nature, it does strike me that our societal treatment of them does change over time. There are periods where, as a society, we at least pay lip service and make some small gestures (occassionally, even large gestures) towards improving the situation.

Then there are times like the present. I am 52 years old. In my adult lifetime of observation, I have never experienced a period like the last decade or so to the present, where such a large segment of our society not only isn't willing to pay lip service or provide small acts of kindness towards the poor, but actually and actively blame the poor for their problems and see the solution as removing what little societal support exists.

While I am generally an equal opportunity basher of political parties, agreeing largely with your statement that "politics makes you stupid", even I have to say that today's Republican party is reprehensible for its treatment of the poor (this could be generalized to include almost all of societies "weak", the elderly, the very young, the sick, the mentally ill... essentially anybody who isn't rich and white). In my lifetime, I have never seen a political party so adamantly and obviously contemptuous of helping their fellow citizens that they unashamedly and consistently promote legislation and regulation that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor (and increasingly at the expense of the middle class). This is not to say that the Democratic party is particularly stellar in this regard. In fact, they haven't exactly been adding much to the social safety net, even when they had majorities. No, their behavior can only be considered superior when contrasted to the current policies of the Republican party... a pretty freakin' low bar indeed.

Perhaps these attitudes are cyclical and will turn. However, realistically, that seems unlikely. Over the longer term the prospects for a growing economy with surplus resources, as all here understand, ... well, what's the word?.... oh yeah... SUCK. Absent surplus, with increasing population and with less to go around, it's hard to see human behavior trending strongly towards compassion and cooperation, even though doing so would almost certainly improve the prospects for Clever Man. Unfortunately, Clever Man is unlikely to get the time he needs to evolve into Compassionate Man, due to the consequences of his clever behaviors.

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