By David Anderson
If you live in a poor community, consider yourself rich. Although that’s both good news and bad news.
For starters, your chances of being cut off or run down by a Vanquish – Aston Martin’s V-12, 460-horsepower, $228,000 car – are slim to none.
“Drivers of luxury cars cut others off at intersections at a much higher rate than those driving economy cars,” according to Scientific American as reported by Freeman Stevenson in the Deseret News this past September 9.
Not to worry. In a poor community, you’ll sooner be terrified by a train than vanish under the wheels of a Vanquish. The latter doesn’t have any reason to come here. The trains however, think they do.
This coming Wednesday evening (Tillicum Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave. SW, 6 P.M.) one “of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in our city” of Lakewood will host (again) an opportunity for the poor to see how the other half lives, not on the other side of the tracks but coming down the tracks.
Abandoning the current scenic Puget Sound waterfront route, Amtrak plans to fast track along the freeway and through the heavily life-congested communities of Tillicum and other neighborhoods that border I-5, seven daily round trips at 79 mph.
Sipping fruit-based smoothies ordered from the Café car and enjoying the wonders of mobile Wi-Fi in air-conditioned bliss – their heads in restful repose on inflatable pillows while blanketed in wide reclining seats – ultra-pampered Pt. Defiance Bypass passengers will be offered panoramic views of passing scenery to include the bypassed poor of the Tillicum community.
With a guaranteed $89 million of Federal Stimulus Money to have a town railroaded, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) suffers – pejoratively – from a malady common to the wealthy, whatDavid Wolpe in an article on the LA Times called a “Compassion Deficit.”
Like those able to pay cash or to have the kind of credit to be behind the wheel of a near one-third-of-a-million-dollar Vanquish, those driving the project for an over three-quarters-of-a-hundred-
“Studies have found that the wealthy are less likely to agree with statements such as ‘I often notice people who need help,’” writes Wolpe.
At minimum Tillicum trick-or-treater goblins should at least benefit each Halloween from candy flung from the caboose of the passing trains.
But there again, says Wolpe, studies have found that wealthy people (and Amtrak – gobbling up a subsidized $41-billion and counting since it left the station with its inaugural train in 1971 – certainly should be rich by now) are shown to “consistently keep more candy for themselves, giving less to children.”
At least we poor folk don’t have the problem rich-kid’s parents do. When was the last time your free-breakfast-and-lunch Kindergartener came home from school demanding a Tooth Fairy pay raise given the other five-year-olds “are bragging on the playground about night-time exchanges that leaves them $5 richer”?
And that’s the low-end.
Cheryl K. Chumley, writing for The Washington Times this past August 30, reported that the credit card company Visa’s just-completed study revealed that some kids “actually get $50 or more.”
That’s not inflation. That’s extortion: children shaking down their parents by slamming doors – to which string-to-tooth is attached – claiming to have lost another and, a c-note richer, the next day the miniature munchkin minus two front teeth is strutting about Kindergarten campus with the latest must-have iPad mini.
Doesn’t happen in a poor community.
Count yourself rich.