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BS: Poverty in the USA

Peace 09 Mar 07 - 12:22 PM
Amos 09 Mar 07 - 12:27 PM
Jean(eanjay) 09 Mar 07 - 12:27 PM
Peace 09 Mar 07 - 12:34 PM
Jean(eanjay) 09 Mar 07 - 12:47 PM
Jean(eanjay) 09 Mar 07 - 01:04 PM
Ebbie 09 Mar 07 - 01:08 PM
Partridge 09 Mar 07 - 01:16 PM
beardedbruce 09 Mar 07 - 01:18 PM
KB in Iowa 09 Mar 07 - 01:37 PM
Donuel 09 Mar 07 - 01:47 PM
KB in Iowa 09 Mar 07 - 01:50 PM
JohnInKansas 09 Mar 07 - 01:54 PM
Little Hawk 09 Mar 07 - 02:04 PM
beardedbruce 09 Mar 07 - 02:10 PM
Scoville 09 Mar 07 - 02:13 PM
beardedbruce 09 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM
Ebbie 09 Mar 07 - 02:43 PM
Scoville 09 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 03:17 PM
Ebbie 09 Mar 07 - 03:44 PM
Little Hawk 09 Mar 07 - 03:47 PM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 07 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 04:26 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Mar 07 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Member 09 Mar 07 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Member 09 Mar 07 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,mgarvey 09 Mar 07 - 04:50 PM
Peace 09 Mar 07 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,MarkS 09 Mar 07 - 04:58 PM
Dickey 09 Mar 07 - 05:02 PM
Wesley S 09 Mar 07 - 05:03 PM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 07 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 05:20 PM
Donuel 09 Mar 07 - 05:25 PM
dianavan 09 Mar 07 - 06:11 PM
Dickey 09 Mar 07 - 06:12 PM
Bee 09 Mar 07 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 06:21 PM
Little Hawk 09 Mar 07 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 06:32 PM
number 6 09 Mar 07 - 06:35 PM
Little Hawk 09 Mar 07 - 06:43 PM
GUEST, Ebbie 09 Mar 07 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Mar 07 - 07:19 PM
Janie 09 Mar 07 - 07:20 PM
Bobert 09 Mar 07 - 07:57 PM
mg 09 Mar 07 - 09:58 PM
Peace 09 Mar 07 - 10:16 PM
Dickey 09 Mar 07 - 10:26 PM

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Subject: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Peace
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:22 PM

This thread is for people who wish to discuss, argue, reiterate, spew, state, declare, avow or otherwise attest that there is or isn't poverty in the USA. This thread is not about tits, Iran, nuclear weapons, Saddam Hussein or Natalie from the Dixie Chicks. Poverty in the USA was caused by Canada. (I figured I'd get THAT on the table to begin with.) Hope y'all have a happy discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Amos
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:27 PM

Thank you, PEace. I would like to begin the discussion by pointing out that there is, indeed and beyond doubt, poverty in the USA, and has been for a long time. There is also poverty in Canada and Latin America.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:27 PM

Nice one :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Peace
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:34 PM

http://poverty2.forumone.com/webguide/region/9

Poverty in Canada? Damned right there is. I live in Canada's richest province and about 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line. However, the thread wasn't started to slag thge USA. It was in response to a few posters who are discussing it on other threads meant for other things. (I was one of 'em.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 12:47 PM

One of the previous points of discussion was the percentage of people below the poverty line in the USA and in the UK. It was difficult to decide if the UK figures were actually western figures or not. We certainly have poverty in the UK and there is definitely poverty in the USA, I think it is the degree of poverty that was difficult to determine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:04 PM

Poverty
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poverty is a condition in which a person or community is deprived of, or lacks the essentials for a minimum standard of well-being and life. Since poverty is understood in many senses, these essentials may be material resources such as food, safe drinking water, and shelter, or they may be social resources such as access to information, education, health care, social status, political power, or the opportunity to develop meaningful connections with other people in society.

Poverty may also be defined in relative terms. In this view income disparities or wealth disparities are seen as an indicator of poverty and the condition of poverty is linked to questions of scarcity and distribution of resources and power. Poverty may be defined by a government or organization for legal purposes, see Poverty threshold.

Poverty is also a type of religious vow, a state that may be taken on voluntarily in keeping with practices of piety.

There is a lot more and it gives ways for measuring poverty. It is interesting to look at the definition in relative terms.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:08 PM

I don't live in a heavily populated "inner city" area of the US so my observations may not hold true country-wide.

However, one thing that I *have* seen in the areas where I have lived, (Oregon, Virginia, Michigan and Alaska) is that no one- child, woman or man - should have to go hungry. We have soup kitchens and shelters that see to that. And another one pops up whenever one shelter is at capacity.

Going homeless in preference to sleeping or hanging out in a shelter is a more problematic question. I have known homeless men who say that they prefer to sleep under a bridge, for instance, to staying in a shelter. As one man told me, in the shelters there is always a boss, a bully, who is the one who decides what time the lights go out, if the windows are open or shut, if there is any talking.

My only 'expertise' in this area is that I have done volunteer work (tutoring, as well as helping serve dinner) in a shelter and I have often hired workmen from there as casual laborers. In the process I have talked with many.

One man, perhaps more motivated than most, agonized over it. As he said, How do I start over? A few days of painting or hauling or cleaning won't bring me enough money to get an apartment. If you don't have an address, you're not going to get a job...

In one way a woman with small children is in a better situation than a single man is. There don't appear to be as many options for men; fewer people care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Partridge
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:16 PM

"Poverty in the USA was caused by Canada"

I don't understand this, how did Canada do this?

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: beardedbruce
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:18 PM

Canada is to blame for all the evils of the world, didn'tyaknow?

8-{E


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: KB in Iowa
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:37 PM

Canada not only caused the poverty in the US but they are also responsible for all those d*mnable cold fronts. I say we invade.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Donuel
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:47 PM

There was once a truely revealing and interesting thread that discussed poverty in our own lives, but the premise of this thread is sophmoric yet probably of valuable for a middle school curriculum.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: KB in Iowa
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:50 PM

I think it was started to get Dickey's poverty discussion off a couple of other threads but he hasn't shown up yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 01:54 PM

Poverty is caused by the few rich people who have all the money.

MSNBC had an extensive article about how many billionaires are now in London about 5 hours ago, showing that it's largely London's fault; but apparently someone paid them to take their name down so they hid the entire article. Maybe BBC has it up, but I'm too poor to pay the connect time to look.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:04 PM

The worst poverty I've seen yet was in Trinidad. Pretty awful. It is ameliorated to some extent by the fact that it doesn't get cold down there, so you can sleep outside or in some pathetic shack you built and not freeze to death.

One of the side effects of the Trinidad poverty is a tremendously high crime rate. You DON'T go out at night there if you are wise. Kidnappings, murders, break-ins, and robberies are very common. The police are little help, because they're corrupt. There are private detective agencies you can hire which are quite effective, but only people who are quite well off can afford their fees. Example: Someone stole your car. Don't bother calling the police, because it won't do you any good. Instead, hire a private detective agency. They will find the guy(s) who stole your car, shoot them dead, and return it...for a hefty fee! It's worth it if it's a valuable car.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: beardedbruce
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:10 PM

The worst I have seen was driving into Acapolco back in the 70's. The mountainside AWAY from the ocean was covered with people living in less than boxes- two posts and a top cover were the better ones I saw.

Then we visited the 15th century Catholic Church in the nearby inland town, and saw the silver alter rails a foot in diameter, and the box the people were putting their centavos into...


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:13 PM

Men have fewer options than women with small children?? Are you kidding me? Because the last time I checked, there really is no reliable form of affordable childcare for people who cannot pay for it out of pocket, and current welfare laws are notorious for trapping people--if you work too much, you lose all your benefits (but still don't make enough to get by), so you have to stay on welfare, and pretty much anything you do to improve your economic lot on your own results in the government pulling another rug out from under you.

The U.S. isn't nearly as badly off as a lot of places, but a lot of people here are much worse off than they should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: beardedbruce
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM

"The U.S. isn't nearly as badly off as a lot of places, but a lot of people here are much worse off than they should be."


This is a comment I can agree whole-heartedly with. The poverty that I saw in Mexico was painful to see, but the poverty I saw in Native American reservations was heart-rending, although not quite as bad. As an American, I felt , in some fashion, responsible for what the people living on the reservation had to deal with. That bothered me, that the US government had made treaties, then repeatedly broke them and driven those people to marginally livable areas.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:43 PM

I read somewhere, bb, that the ONLY treaty the Native Americans made with the newcomers that was not broken was the one they made with the Quakers. The government broke them whenever circumstances changed, such as wishing to open a new territory to settlers.

Scoville, I did mention "a single woman with small children"- local governments will go to work to settle them into an apartment, while they tend not to do anything of the kind for a single man.

As time passes and children grow older, I agree that the welfare system is morally bankrupt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM

They tend not to do much more, though, and I'm not sure that offsets the incredible additional burden of raising small children without a safety net, especially considering the terrible long-term effects of not having stable housing, good nutrition, or a safe neighborhood and home environment (since poor kids seem to be disproportionately at risk of abuse by stressed-out and underequipped mothers or stepfathers/boyfriends) when kids are young. A man without kids doesn't have those worries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:17 PM

It's complex, but made worse by overpopulation in general, loss of traditional ways of earning a livelihood, women having children out of wedlock, and drug and alcohol use. Lack of mobility of populations because they are attached (and rightly so) to a particular place and occupation. Megafarms rather than smaller family farms and self sufficiency. There is a "psychogene", a word I just heard of..but expectations are passed down of poverty. I know that is true in my family. Education. Too many dropouts. Too much curriculum for the college bound and the rest be damned. A lot lot lot of poverty could be reduced and often eliminated by mother and father getting vocational training in high school, hopefully another level at a community college, being married, having a small number of children and avoiding drugs and alcohol. And diet Pepsi. So there are ways to break into the cycle. Birth control. Expectations that girls will not get pregnant before marriage (what a concept) and will complete an education. Same same boys. No tolerance of drugs or crime, which makes the experience of poverty so much worse if you are afraid for your life..and makes people who would step in to help or to house you afraid to do it...

Education of course, combined with social parameters that make it hard for people to drop out of school, get pregnant early and unmarried, use drugs etc. Government as a last resort for employment and for housing, and all housing on public dime drug-free or else in high lock-down places with high security where all adult drug users are assembled and children not exposed to them. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:44 PM

Damn, Scoville. Read my sentence: In one way a woman with small children is in a better situation than a single man is.

You are jousting at a non-existent enemy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:47 PM

BB - Yeah, I know what you mean about Mexico. I've seen that too. Pretty comparable to what I saw in Trinidad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:58 PM

I've been taking a 33-week Catholic social justice class called JustFaith at my church, exploring social justice concerns and programs in my community, in the US, and in the world. We've done a huge amount of reading, including one of the several books Jonathan Kozol wrote about the South Bronx; and Cloud of Witnesses, a collection of short biographies of social justice activists that was published in Sojourners Magazine, edited by Jim Wallis; along with other books on compassion, racism, and Catholic Social Justice teaching. I got to hear Jim Wallis speak in Los Angeles last weekend on the theme of his recent book, God's Politics: God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It.

I suppose the most disturbing book we read was Dispossessed, Mark Kramer's study of the urban slums of Nairobi, Manila, Mexico City, Bangkok, and Cairo. We don't have that kind of poverty in the United States.

The program also involves four "immersion experiences," face-to-face contact with the poor. We ate with the homeless and later cooked for them and provided them lodging in our church hall in a program called The Gathering Inn. We spent a day in Colusa in the Central Valley of California, touring substandard housing and talking with organizers and volunteers in a local community organizing project of the PICO network. We attended a Mexican-American fiesta and talked and feasted with Catholics from our area we'd never met before. And then this week, we spent two disturbing hours in the county jail (on a tour). I do volunteer work every week at a women's center in Sacramento, and I have contact with the poor there, too.

In Colusa, we found twenty housing units in the back yard of an old house. The apartments were little bigger than jail cells - about 10 feet wide by 15 feet deep, with a bathroom and shower facility in a separate building. Those twenty units were shut down by the city six months ago, but another apartment we visited smelled of gas and had obviously dangerous electrical and plumbing connections. The occupant was a farmworker, about fifty years old, who hasn't seen his family in Mexico for eleven years.

Yes, there's poverty in the United States. I suppose many of the poor here have television and aren't starving, but they don't have the security of stable housing and employment and health care and a home with two parents. They may have a car to drive, but can't afford to insure it. I suppose many of the poor are mentally ill or lacking in intelligence and skills, but certainly society has an obligation to help them deal with those shortcomings. I suppose that drugs also have a lot to do with the causes of poverty in the U.S. Recent immigrants also have a tough time during their early years here, especially if they came here illegally.

Every once in a while, I'll hear somebody blame the poor for their poverty, and that kind of thinking drives me crazy. I've met a lot of poor people, but not many of them seem to be poor because they're lazy. Usually, their poverty seems to be caused by the hopelessness of their situation, but their inability to find a way out of the deep hole of their poverty. If you grow up in an area plagued by violence and drugs, how likely would you be to have the strength to find a way out? Many of the American poor just don't have the intellectual ability and focus to be able to do a job – there are a number of people I've met that I can't imagine anybody wanting to hire.

So yes, there's lots of poverty in the United States. It's all around us, but often not easy to see. And there aren't any easy solutions to it. Before we pass judgment on the poor, we should make sure we've taken the time to mingle with them and to see things their way. Think about how we'd deal with such a hopeless situation. Certainly, there are heroes who have pulled themselves out of their poverty - but how many of us would have that sort of courage in a similar situation?

A decade or two ago, there was a short time when it was almost fashionable to have compassion with the homeless in the United States. I don't know what happened - I think people got bored with the issue of homelessness, and forgot about the poor. Maybe once again, it's Time to Remember the Poor.

-Joe-

Here are a couple of worthwhile Jim Wallis links:


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:26 PM

One of the worst obstacles to poverty is people shutting up other people who have possible suggestions. They just drift away out of the problem.

It has to be untangled.Providing safety for poor people has to be one of the most important things..where old women are afraid to leave their public housing units..or private...Where children are afraid to go to school or ride the school bus. Where there is safety, there are ways for the human spirit to find ways to move up and out of bad situations. A flower pot here and then a garden and then a fruit orchard in an abandoned lot. People cutting each other's hair and minding each other's kids while one works. Fixing each other's cars. The violence of various areas makes everything so much harder..where firefighters and taxis don't want to enter an area. We could go in with guns a blazing and clean some of those places up and put in semi-jails (with freedom to come and go but with restrictions) the thugs who make it so hard for their neighbors.

More later. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:31 PM

Is poverty relieved by charity, welfare, compassion, reform?

Or revolution?


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,Member
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:41 PM

Years ago when we were in a position to do so we gave regular contributions to an international aid organization and through that helped support a family in South America. One Christmas when we had more money that usual due to settlement of a contract, we were able to send some extra money. About three months later the case worker sent us some photographs. The family had bought some bags of cement, tin sheets and cinder blocks. The covered their roof because it had always been leaking in the rain; they put a cement floor in their kitchen area--it had been dirt floor until then, and the cinder blocks were used, I think, to make some raised sleeping platforms so they didn't have to be on the floor. The father worked--he is a carpenter, and he and his wife had three children. The son for whom we provided x dollars per month received his first pair of shoes because of the aid organization, his first trip to the dentist and his first school supplies. That put some stuff in perspective for me. I think back to those pictures and realize that just because I miss a meal doesn't mean I'm starving, and just because I need a patch on my jeans doesn't mean I am destitute. Sometimes we take the luxuries we have for granted. The folks in South America were in need of necessities. Big difference there. Now, if I have no milk or sugar for the tea I have it without. If there's no tea, water is fine. Sometimes we just don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,Member
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:43 PM

Good question, Richard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mgarvey
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:50 PM

Extensive police work to prevent spread of violence and drugs

Proper nutritional use of food stamps with mostly true foods and a small percentage for treats

Medical clinics.

Workfare.

Emergency shelters.

WPA type programs.

Subsidized housing, range of houses depending on behavior and lifestyle of tenants.

Mandatory vocational training for every student in America, including those with Harvard buildings named after them.

Drug tests throughout school and in any state colleges.

Bully pulpits from the president on down (and I hope President Obama expands on what he is saying now) telling teens especially to quit bullying each other (hear me cute little cheerleaders), stay in school, get trained, don't vandalize property, don't join gangs (and a lot of people join for protection as a viscious circle)...

First and foremost, make it safe for people to come out of the bunkers. Make sure there is basic food and shelter (and for single folks that could be a cot in an old warehouse and leftover school lunches that are thrown away by schools). Have many many public bathrooms with showers and washing machines, staffed in part by the users themselves. Lots of stuff can be done. The City of Hope I think in LA..big huge complex..takes people off the streets, feeds them, and sends them back onto the streets cleaning up graffiti, picking up trash, and going from house to house in teams asking what do you need? Could be a new roof, or appliances moved or whatever. It is really interesting to see.

Also those microloan things are working well in other countries. We have so many regulations here, I don't know...

We have to get men back in the equation. Another vicious circle..they were essentially thrown out of their families and out of public housing and the nation has never recovered. Get them back with their families, encourage women to show respect to those who are not violent or abusive, even if they don't have great jobs...Give some parenting classes....women have learned how to raise children without fathers..not always with great results. If they truly don't want a father for their children, or can't arrange to get a good one before the biological alarm clock buzzes, they can be foster mothers or adopt. There is no excuse on the face of the earth except one that makes me think a single woman anywhere should deliberately bring a child into the world (the one exception is if husband is in combat).

Well, that is all for now. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Peace
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:54 PM

"the one exception is if husband is in combat"

It would be nice to end that, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,MarkS
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:58 PM

A curious side question might be:

What causes prosperity?

Ignore for the moment those who have inherited, won, or married lots of money; they are really a small minority of the prosperous anyway.

Lets hear some prescriptions for prosperity!

Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Dickey
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 05:02 PM

Yes indeed, there is poverty in the United States.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 05:03 PM

"Is poverty relieved by charity, welfare, compassion, reform?
Or revolution? "

Perhaps the correct answer is - all of the above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 05:19 PM

Many of the "charity" programs have moved away from long-term handouts, and have changed to a focus on providing seed money for community organizing so that people can pull themselves out of poverty.

The books I've been reading differentiate between charity and justice. Charity is giving people things to fill their temporary needs. Justice is giving people what they deserve - the right to be able to provide for their needs themselves.

Both are necessary, but justice is the long-term solution. I don't think that violent revolution will accomplish anything good - but there certainly is room for a strong but nonviolent revolution.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 05:20 PM

LIsten to Suse Orman..she was really getting into that with women last night on a PBS special. She brought up some interesting points..she had 8 points for prosperty. I missed most..but two were generosity and cleanliness. She said you can't be prosperous if you are dirty and/or cluttered. May or may not be true but it is osmething to think about and to get home ec back into the schools for. Rush Limbaugh said something similar..that where there is poverty there is chaos. Eliminate some of the chaos, which can be done in some places of US...and prospertity has a chance. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Donuel
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 05:25 PM

It used to be that business made something or served somebody for a profit for the owners and workers. Customers were served and workers were paid.
Now it seems that a business is to serve the stockholders with huge holdings who would neither use the product or service of a company.

Workers be damned. Customers be damned. Its the Board that matters.

The poverty tread mill begins with anyone but the super rich having to go into debt for a meaningful education.

Banks and credit institutions are now exploiting the poor as never before. Interest rates of 30% are not uncommon.
You might sign a crdit document that says your interest rate is 17% but the credit card company can raise it as much as they want whenever they want.

Credit companies now make sure that your "DUE DATE" is payable on a Sunday or the last day of a holiday so that they can induce fines if you even try to pay on the due date.

Your deposits take 3 seconds to enter the bank. But if you try to draw on it, the typical wait is 7 days. All the interest goes to the bank and you are fined if you try to cash a check for your money,

Charging people for what they already own also induces poverty.

In Bolivia Bechtel coporation has made it illegal for people to collect rainwater. They MUST use piped water which is a1/4 of the income of the poor - or risk jail and fines.

In the US we are charged and fined to use our own money.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: dianavan
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:11 PM

"In Bolivia Bechtel coporation has made it illegal for people to collect rainwater. They MUST use piped water which is a1/4 of the income of the poor - or risk jail and fines."

Thats why water should be considered a basic human right. If we could start there, the world would be a better place.

Comparing the poverty in the Western world to poverty elsewhere is comparing apples and oranges. On a world scale, we should focus on clean water. If we could provide water purifiction units to developing countries, the labour of women and children would be greatly reduced. So much of a woman's time is spent trying to keep her family clean and healthy. I think its the least we should do.

Yes, we should re-define poverty. What is considered poverty in North America and Europe is different than poverty in S. America and Africa.

But lets talk about the Western World. Most of us do have access to clean water and food is available through welfare, food stamps, etc. - maybe not the best food but there is really no excuse for children starving.

What is needed is adequate housing and access to education. There is no excuse for any child to live in the U.S., Britain or Canada, surrounded by such abundance and be denied the basics. If we have the will, shelter could be made available to all. To stop the cycle of poverty, we must also insure that childcare is available and that minimum wage is increased. We can certainly do better. The only thing stopping us is greed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Dickey
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:12 PM

I agree that credit card companies are ripping off the public.

It is probably the results of Lobbying that allow them do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Bee
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:16 PM

Guest mg, some of your ideas are interesting, some I find frighteningly dehumanising and aggressive. There is also a faint hint of misogyny, as you sound out regarding out-of-wedlock pregnancy with apparently little regard for the fact that in or out of wedlock, children have fathers, and rather than being in combat, perhaps some of those out of work fathers should be encouraged to stay at home with their children while the perhaps more employable mothers work.

Workfare, where it has been tried, has been immensely expensive: mothers need costly childcare, upgraded education, often have no work appropriate clothing (office clothes can be expensive, if you have no basic wardrobe - I don't), cannot afford transportation to distant workplaces. Homeless men on welfare often have psychiatric issues and are simply unemployable. Workfare only sounds good to the righteously indignant about poor people getting some of 'their tax dollars'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:21 PM

I am all for men staying home with their children and I said men should be back in the picture and respected, regardless of their employment status. I would work with the easiest people to place in jobs, which would be the younger ones in general, and those without psychiatric issues. There will always be a need for total care for some people and partial care and subsidizing for others. And tax dollars are paid with great injury to their own families by workers in minimum wage jobs, slaughtering chickens etc. We need to reduce the number of people needing help..it will never be zero..but it has been reduced and can be reduced further and their taxes will help support the seriously handicapped better than now, provide universal health care etc. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:27 PM

Hmmm. Well, here are some things which I think any decent modern society should provide for its public, free of charge.

All medical care.
Pure drinking water.
Education from primary school through college.
A modern transportation grid (highways, etc) that is kept in good shape (meaning snow removal and repair).
Police forces and a justice system and good legal aid for poor people.
Shelters for homeless people and job training for same and job offers if and when such training is completed successfully.

Most of our modern societies provide some of the above services for free, but not all of them.

It all costs money, obviously, and we all know that...but whether these things ARE provided or not is not a question of whether it costs money...it's a question of whether people accept that it is something that MUST be done to have a decent society...or not.

If they feel it MUST be done, they are always willing to pay the cost.

In addition to that, running such programs would provide good, paying work for a lot of people and would further generate good returns by reducing crime, improving living standards, and improving the capabilities of many formerly disadvantaged people to contribute usefully to society.

In short, it would pay for itself soon enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:32 PM

I agree with everything up to reservatons about total college costs. If it is something society needs, where there is a reasonable chance of employment, yes. Teachers, nurses, electricians, accountants, yes. Art history ?? Not sure. Maybe partial. Ways to work off college loans through working in community projects, teaching etc. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: number 6
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:35 PM

I invite anyone posting to this thread to come here to Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada) ... visit the North End ... hey ... while your out this way take a trip up to New Waterford, or Glace Bay Nova Scotia.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:43 PM

Well, mg, regarding college, I'd say that every type of knowledge is useful to some extent in building a healthy society....but most students have something on their mind when going to college. They are concerned as to whether their college education will prepare them for a job that is both well paying and personally satisfying. As such, they will tend to gravitate toward courses that seem to promise gainful employment. So I think that things would naturally tend to balance out in that sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST, Ebbie
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 06:55 PM

I'm glad to see that it appears that rain water is no longer a luxury in Bolivia.

"Between December 3-5 (2005) , El Alto was also the site for the First National Congress in Defence of Water, Basic Services and Life, which FEJUVE and the Coalition in Defence of Water and Life from Cochabamba, headed by Oscar Olivera, were the main forces in organising. Just as the people of El Alto in January forced out the French multinational Suez, which had bought out the city's water supply following the privatisation of Bolivia's water in the late 1990s, the Coalition in Defence of Water and Life led the heroic struggle in 2000 that forced the government to break its contract with the US corporation Bechtel. Bechtel had bought out the water supply and begun charging the people of Cochabamba for rain water they collected.

More

Bechtel Corp., incidentally, has a long, somewhat unsavory history. Wikapedia:

"The Bechtel family has owned Bechtel since incorporating the company in 1925. Bechtel's size, its political clout, and its penchant for privacy have made it a perennial target for journalists and politicians since the 1930s. Bechtel has maintained strong relationships with officials in many United States administrations, including those of Nixon, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. The company also has strong ties to other governments, particularly the Saudi Royal Family."


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 07:19 PM

Read "Up from Slavery" by Booker T. Washington. It is a prescription for getting out of poverty and is the philosophy shared by any vocational educators I have known, who absolutely revere the writings of Booker T. Look at the rules that the reciipients of Gremen?? loans must agree to live by. One thing globally is not participating in dowry programs. Great idea. It is very important to teach almost everyone some basic life skills...some home repairs..very important. Teach in junior high or early high school. No reason to have rat holes etc. in houses. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Janie
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 07:20 PM

Thanks, eanjay, for posting the various definitions of poverty from Wikipedia. Which definition is under discussion here? Or rather, which shading of poverty is under discussion? To fail to delineate that leads to interesting, and perhaps, entertaining discussion. But not to much else.

There are people in prosperous industrialized countries who do indeed live in the same abject poverty as do countless people in third world countries, but not nearly as many, and for those that do, the most immediate causes, and therefore the solutions are different than for in those countries and parts of the world where abject poverty is the rule rather than the exception.

I don't expect that poverty, in any of its forms or definitions can ever be irradicated--and as the world population grows, and the resources shrink, it approaches the point where it is not even possible in theory.

That said, in countries with the resources and the means, the only reason abject poverty exists is because the majority of the citizenry of that country allow it to exist. What Little Hawk said in his 6:27 post is a pretty succinct summation.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 07:57 PM

Very intersting observations by many folks here and which I can find little to disagree with...

I've had kinda two working lives in my life, each lasting about 20 years... My second career, if you can call it that, continues on and has little to do with the discussion... My first 20 years, however, had me teaching GED in the Richmond City jail, working at a half wat house with recovering drug addicts and rounded out as a social worker in "adult services" for the Richmond Welfare Department...

So, my observations are based on what I experienced during 20 years in the trenches...

First of all, there are one heck of a lot of poor people who most people never see... Poor people tend to not be visable... Oh sure, folks see homeless folks and, like in Washington, D.C., folks livin' in cardborad boxes on steam grates but what we see isn't even the tip of the iceburg...

For years,I have driven to a barber shop in N.E. Washington to play blues and have driven thru some areas that, unless one lives there, the average person will never see... Block after block of slum and poor people and this in the nation's capitol...

When I was a social worker, there were about 10 housing projects and the poor people were kept in those projects as if the were prisoners... Yeah, they were outta sight and outta mind for most people... We social workers knew different... These projects housed (ha) tens upon thousand of people who had one thing in common... They were poor...

When it comes to numbers, it isn't an exact science since many folks just fall thru the cracks... Throw in the high cost to live in many areas and the ***defined*** poverty thresholds can be thrown out the window...

Take for example Washington, D.C... Rents for a 2 bedroom apartment average $1300 a month... Sure, some might argue that this is an average but I'd point out middle wage earners don't have to rent... They own... So if one takes the rent and multiplies it by 12 and factors in the amount of gross income it takes to afford to live in the "average" 2 bedroom apartment, that amount in itself exceeds the federal povery income levels to be consider poor and all this money is doing is paying rent...

I'll kind leave this for now as I realize that long posts somethimes don't get read but over the coming days I would like to add to some of the things that mg has allreeady brought to the discussion, especially education...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: mg
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 09:58 PM

One huge problem is people on the edge having to fill prescriptions, many of which could be avoided and some are crucial. Once the common knowledge in best-selling books dribbles up to the medical profession about diabetes cause and effect, and the nutritional considerations, lots of money can be saved in heart, diabetes and other medicines, offset by spending more money on proper food.

The lens I see things through is overpopulation. I tend not to see as much the stuff other people see. People can't exploit people who are not desparately poor...well, not as much. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Peace
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 10:16 PM

When kids go hungry in a land of plenty
When parents have nowhere to turn
When people live in cardboard houses
It's then we'll see the cities burn

If folks think that we can continue to discriminate economically against the poor in society, and if folks think that the poor 'have brought it on themselves', then folks, IMO, are thinking wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Poverty in the USA
From: Dickey
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 10:26 PM

I have been through the worst slums in DC, Savannah, Jacksonville etc. Places where you roll up your windows real tight, lock the doors and try to avoid eye contact.

And I have been to Jamaica and riding through the good part of town you see much worse. Seems like tha average inhabitant there has the long dreadlocks that look like they have been plasterd with mud, pushing a ramshackle cart on roller skates, something like those lowboy carts at Home Depot. Everything they own is aparently on the cart

I have been in Mexico near the border and You see what is apparently Indian mothers with their legs wrapped up in fake bandages with mercurochrome poured on them, holding a muchacho or two and begging. Mamacitas at the market trying to find the least rotten tomatos to buy.

I have been through El Paso and looked across the river at a city of little mud shacks with no glass in the windows. A chicken sitting in the window is an indication of being well being.

I have heard that in Cancun, when you get out of the city, a home consists of four sticks driven into the ground, wrapped with tar paper and a roof of scrap metal or old automobile hoods. Streets? Water? Electricity? Forget that.

With the exception of Canada, I kiss the ground when I get back home from a foreign country in the western hemisphere. I have never been to the eastern hemisphere. It is my belief that the poor in America are better off than the average person in most other countries.

There are always extreme cases but the extreme case of poverty in the US would not be considered extreme in other countries.

I will with hold my opinions on the eastern hemisphere because I have never been there.


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