The Little Ways Poor People Don’t Matter

I fully admit it: when there’s little else I’m interested in on tv (and sometimes when there’s plenty to catch my eye), I watch ‘How Its Made’ on the Science Channel. One particular episode I watched over the weekend that prompted me to think about something I think about often.

It’s easy to see and comment on the way the new potential tax reforms would benefit the rich and never the poor. Or how it’s the 99% vs. the 1%. We notice that stuff on a daily basis. There are other, more subtle ways in which the poor’s existence is invalidated.

One of the items I watched being made on ‘How It’s Made’ was ski boots. If you’ve never been skiing, they are the hard, rigid plastic boots that attach you to the ski. The ones that were shown being made had a little beacon attached at the top of one of the boots in the event that the individual wearing the boots got caught in an avalanche or lost somehow. The narrator noted, though, that only the high end (read expensive) models had that feature, though.

It occurred to me, then, that this happens a lot. I remember last year when I was looking at a car to buy, one of the ones I was considering strongly, had lane drift alert. If you’re looking down to change the radio station or switch CDs and allow your car to drift toward either lane, a beeping noise alerts you to this fact. When I went to buy the car, I learned that only the top tier of the model I wanted had that feature and the price for that car was more than I wanted to spend.

That is just one of many safety features I feel should be available to all that are available only to those who can afford high priced vehicles. The OnStar system is only available on high priced vehicles. So only people who can afford a Cadillac or other high end GMC vehicle deserve the safety features OnStar provides.

If it’s a matter of safety for the owner of a vehicle or ski boots, I feel that the price should be the same across the board for ALL drivers or skiers. If you have a car and want heated seats or a sun roof, then yeah add those on at an additional price. Neither of those have anything to do with safety. Of course these days with cell phone coverage expanding all the time, you can have a base model car and use your phone to call for help. Assuming you didn’t leave it at home.