Lies You Believe About Being Poor: Poor People Don’t Want to Work

Lucinda Gunnin
4 min readAug 16, 2022

The lie, which is becoming something of a mantra to business owners right now, is that “people don’t want to work.”

Republicans echo this statement over and over, using it as an excuse to oppose anything that helps the working poor.

Lie: “We can’t offer stimulus checks those people will just use it as an excuse not to work.”

I promise, when I was poor, getting money wasn’t an excuse to take time off. It usually meant I got to keep the lights on or having something other than ramen for dinner.

Lie: “We can’t pay off predatory student loans because people misused that money. They should have to work to pay it off.”

Most of the time, and anyone who has ever been behind on a loan with interest knows this, you can’t possible work enough hours to pay it off.

Lie: “Minimum wage jobs are for kids just trying to buy their first car or have pocket cash.”

If that were true, so many Americans teens wouldn’t sell their souls in student loans trying to break the cycle of poverty.

Most of the people I know who are or were poor work harder than anyone else I know. In fact, I can absolutely say that as my income level rose, the work I did became less and less difficult, demanding, lengthy, etc.

This problem reared it’s ugly head again recently with my freelance writer friends, so let’s look at my real life experience as a freelance writer, including writing for medium.

Many of my online friends are freelance writers with varying degrees of proficiency, talent and education, but one of the things most of us have struggled with at some point is finding enough work to make ends meet.

So that means a lot of us were or are poor.

And there is most assuredly a capitalism problem for people who write online. That is to say, capitalism preys on the poor people’s need to make more money.

In 2007, I was newly diagnosed with MS and not in a good place for working a traditional job. I had weekly medication that often put me out of commission for 24 hours at a time and the disease itself made it impossible to spend eight hours or more on my feet. Some days I could barely walk.

But I have a degree in journalism, so writing online content should be easy peasy, right?

Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.