So, I’ll tell you what. I’ve had this argument so many times over the past decade because it’s something that hits uncomfortably close to home, both for me individually as well as for so many people I know. So I’m just gonna make my statement and leave the conversation, because in all honesty, I'm not going to let myself have an aneurysm over this.
The problems that affect the poor today are the same problems that affected the poor yesterday. Unaffordable housing, unaffordable health care, unaffordable childcare, sub par educational opportunities, subpar job opportunities, subpar legal representation, tenants rights, labor rights, and on and on and on. To say that the poor are “better off” because now they can afford a single time purchase of an X-Box here or an I-Phone there is to go beyond trivializing the challenge they face due to poverty. It’s a a bait and switch.
You bring up air conditioning. That’s awesome. What about other living conditions such as privacy, clean water, working plumbing and electricity, fair rent rates, safe neighborhoods, and on and on and on? Just because cheaper air conditioning is available, that doesn’t mean good, affordable housing is available. You bring up penicillin and ambulatory services? Awesome. Penicillin is just one small part of the picture when it comes to healthcare. What about pre-natal and post-natal care? What about diseases like mental health, diabetes, etc.? What good is an ambulance when health insurance is beyond affordable for so many people, even with shit laws like Obamacare, and a single visit to the doctor’s office is unaffordable and an emergency room visit or a necessary surgery is all that’s needed to throw a family into crippling debt?
You can’t say “Oh, people have more options available now so obviously things are better” if so many of those options for people are still out of reach. You can’t say “Oh, these cherry picked items are affordable now” when said cherry picked items have very little to do with the big picture.
The argument framed as it is, is bullshit. Plain and simple. To even pretend otherwise is so disingenuous it really brings into question the credibility of people who want to use it.