It’s Christmas time, and that means a lot of people acting like the Good St. Nick. Unfortunately, for every Santa, you’ll also find a Scrooge. Despite this being a season to embrace those who are less fortunate, some folks just can’t seem to see past their own self-interests. Maybe they need a visit from three spirits to get them into the holiday mood?
Here are the candidates for the biggest Scrooges this Christmas:
1. The New York Post
A new report of the struggle of the homeless in New York City put a fresh and personal face on the issue. But the New York Post was unimpressed with the New York Times article, calling the rival paper’s investigation “hooey.” After calling the family profiled in the article “not really homeless” because they lived in a shelter and so had a “roof over their heads,” the editorial board then declared the real problem was that the city was “too generous.” “If the city is at fault here, it might well be for having been too generous ó providing so much that neither the father nor mother seems much inclined to provide for their kids,” the board opined.
2. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Mayor Bloomberg must have gone to the same sensitivity training as the editors of the New York Post, since his reaction to the Times piece was almost identical. He did think someone else was at fault in the hard times that the homeless face, however. God, who apparently sometimes is just sort of a jerk. ďThis kid was dealt a bad hand. I donít know quite why. Thatís just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not,Ē the Mayor said, according to Politicker.
I’m sure the poor feel quite comforted by that.
3. Georgia Rep. Jack Klingston
Is a child getting a federally subsidized lunch at school? That can’t be good for his or her self-esteem. No, Rep. Jack Klingston has a better plan: either make the student pay something, no matter how small, or have him or her work it off with janitorial tasks. “But one of the things Iíve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why donít you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
4. Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay
Being a Grinch isn’t just an American pastime. Canadian Minister of Justice MacKay has taken Ebeneezer Scrooge’s “are there no workhouses” quote literally, by demanding that regardless of how poor a person is, he or she must find a way to pay any penalties when it comes to being convicted of a crime ó and no niceties, either. “You pay it back over time. But not a disproportionate and ludicrous period of time as some judges have meted out. There are even within some prisons the ability for prisoners to be paid. And sometimes they might even have to, God forbid, sell a bit of property to pay and make compensation to their victim.” I’m sure it won’t take long at all to pay off fines on prison wages, right?
Apparently, life is good if you are a full time employee of the tech giant. And in a major perk, they even feed you and let you take food home with you. However, that rule doesn’t apply to their security staff, who is hired on contract, make below average wages and aren’t allowed to stock up at the buffet. One guard notes that when he’s on a full day shift he has “a chance to dive into Google’s famous free gourmet food buffet,” but that “he would like to bring a few snacks home for his 5-year-old daughter, but as a contract worker, he can’t.”
“I see people taking to-go boxes,” he told NPR. “They give you to-go boxes if you ask for them, but we weren’t allowed to do that.” Instead, he often finds himself needing the local food pantry.
Add in the numerous cities that have been cracking down on feeding the homeless, either because they feel it contributes to “loitering” or hurts local businesses, and we’ve got quite a list of people who will be getting coal in their stockings this year.