One way of thinking about the poor, the homeless, that nation’s welfare recipients, is as refugees, internally displaced people.
These are people displaced from their proper places in the workforce, in communities, in families.
Considered this way, the poor are not losers in life’s lottery, nor are they those declared meritless in a meritocracy. Rather, they are collateral damage in the in the violence inherent to consumer capitalism. They are those who happen to stand between the wealthy and their profits, and so, by this logic, poor people must be removed. Consequently, they wash up at social service agencies, on the rolls of the few benefits programs that still exist, on the street, surfing the couches of relatives and friends.
The anger and disdain heaped upon the poor by the Powers that Be is not because the powerful despise them for who they are; the powerful despise the poor because the poor are reminders of the fact that the system that keeps the rich powerful does not, in fact, provide endless opportunities and blessings for all.
In order for the rich to feel OK with themselves, the poor must be removed from sight, from state budgets, from both our minds and our hearts as well.