Poverty in America

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Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:44 pm

I work for a small city in the U. S. I meet a fair number of poor people through my job. Many are on drugs. Some are mentally ill. Most have a debilitating reliance on anything or anyone but themselves. Many assume that the government will and should take care of their everyday needs, often because they have no friends or no friends with any kind of resources. Their families have sometimes disowned them - not because they are poor but because they are drug addicts and/or criminals.

I heard a story yesterday. There is a very successful restaurant in town. The wife of one of the owners cleans dorm rooms at a local college. Financially, she doesn't have to work at all. She loves her job. My guess is that health insurance is a major reason she works, but she and her husband would be fine if she didn't work at all or if she worked in the restaurant. They are both immigrants to this country.

I have known few poor people who could not clean dorm rooms for a living. One big problem that these poor people seem to have is that they find it difficult to pass background checks, for employment or for housing. They won't usually bother to apply for a job that requires a drug test. I know landlords that can overlook one eviction. But multiple evictions and a rap sheet makes it difficult. So one reason they live in unsafe and unacceptable apartments is that decent landlords won't rent to them. It's not really the amount of rent charged.

Overall, in my experience, a great many people who are poor are not poor because of government policies. They are poor because they have not, for a variety of reasons, made the choices that will allow them to escape poverty - or to have avoided it. They are not all born poor. Most of the poor people I encounter are white. That's just due to the demographics where I work.

There are some government policies that produce programs to help these people. few have any positive effect in the long run. That's because there doesn't seem to be much in the way of policies that change the way these people think and the decisions they make.

What policies would work?
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:54 pm

I need your detailed definition of a poor person. When they work full-time, what is their income range? Single, married, # of kids? Area of the country?
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I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:02 pm

I am talking about the poorest people in town. They don't work full time or they don't keep a job for very long.

People who can hold on to a full time job and, like most people, progress and advance in the work place, do not stay poor. This is what is lost in the stats. Real people can either better themselves or they cannot. Some people work two jobs because they don't want to be poor. Some people do not. If you are a grownup and you have been making no more than minimum for thirty years - there are usually reasons beyond whatever government policy you want to pick out of a hat.

"Poor people" is not a static group. if you are poor for your whole life, there are going to be specific reasons for that.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:08 pm

People who can hold on to a full time job and, like most people, progress and advance in the work place, do not stay poor.

Yes, they do. That is what I am trying to get you to understand in today's economy. A lion's share of the jobs don't pay enough for a stable life. Nor do those jobs offer opportunities for advancement and a raise there is 25 cents an hr., but you must work 3-5 years to get it.

I don't believe in ruining your health by working yourself to an early grave just to afford a used car for instance. If you do manual labor, one full-time job needs to pay well enough to live well enough. I'm not talking about 6 figures, but I am talking about well above (at least $15,000 above) the poverty line which would make it over $35,000, more like $40,000.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:22 pm

I'm not talking about rising through the ranks at your present job. I'm talking about getting a better job. A few years ago, a large employer closed down where I live. The state offered a variety of training programs for the displaced workers. Almost no one availed themselves of those programs. Of any of them. I mean, out of hundreds, maybe one or two.

Those who remain unskilled when they have the opportunity to gain job skills have to take some responsibility for their lives. I'm not saying that this is the whole story. I am saying that america never promised people that it would be handed to them.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby phyllo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:25 pm

Marshmallow test.

Impulse control is a big factor and practically everything in the media shows the exact opposite : "instant gratification is good". "This product will make you happy, sexy, popular, successful - get it now". "Get this book and fix your life in 24 hours".

It's not just keeping the poor down, it's destroying all of American society. People think that they can have everything with little or no time or effort. People are getting into debt in order to have everything now.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:30 pm

But that's only possible in an affluent society, where goods and credit are cheap. Credit card debt is not cheap, but credit is easy to get. Poverty doesn't cause poverty. Affluence does. The middle class lifestyle when I was a kid is a lower class lifestyle now.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby phyllo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:41 pm

America is still an affluent society. It was created by previous generations who had different attitudes towards work and progress.

Now it's spending the inheritance.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby tentative » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:58 pm

phyllo wrote:Marshmallow test.

Impulse control is a big factor and practically everything in the media shows the exact opposite : "instant gratification is good". "This product will make you happy, sexy, popular, successful - get it now". "Get this book and fix your life in 24 hours".

It's not just keeping the poor down, it's destroying all of American society. People think that they can have everything with little or no time or effort. People are getting into debt in order to have everything now.


Phyllo, I think you would have a tough time finding any society that where instant gratification isn't chased after. It isn't just the U.S. It's everywhere you look. Sure, they have different names for the process, but chasing wealth without too much effort is a human constant. There is always a small percentage of people in every society that reject the wealth-power game, but they are the few, the ghosts in the shadows. Did our ancestors work harder and have "better" values? Perhaps, but only because they had no choice most of the time. If they could have traded places with Carnegie, Morgan, and the rest of the robber barons, they would have in a New York minute. Keeping the poor down? It is always the national pastime of the wealthy and powerful. It's human nature everywhere.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:10 pm

Faust wrote:I'm not talking about rising through the ranks at your present job. I'm talking about getting a better job. A few years ago, a large employer closed down where I live. The state offered a variety of training programs for the displaced workers. Almost no one availed themselves of those programs. Of any of them. I mean, out of hundreds, maybe one or two.

Those who remain unskilled when they have the opportunity to gain job skills have to take some responsibility for their lives. I'm not saying that this is the whole story. I am saying that america never promised people that it would be handed to them.

I don't know why the classrooms were empty, but I would guess that they had to find immediate work to continue to pay their bills and that those jobs conflicted with the times the programs were offered or they carpooled, thus had no transportation other than to their old job. I'm not making excuses but I am giving legitimate reasons why they didn't show up. Also, many struggled through school the first time around and classes equal more school in their minds. The government would reach more folks with one-on-one job coaching in the beginning, then as the job coach gets acquainted with the person's situation, further help, such as classroom training could be better arranged. Since when is giving guidance a big material handout? By helping them, we help ourselves in the long run.
Last edited by WendyDarling on Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:13 pm

There is always a small percentage of people in every society that reject the wealth-power game, but they are the few, the ghosts in the shadows. Did our ancestors work harder and have "better" values?

It's time for those folks to become corporeal for the betterment of humanity and to ensure our continued survival. Yes, they did.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby tentative » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:35 pm

WendyDarling wrote:
Faust wrote:I'm not talking about rising through the ranks at your present job. I'm talking about getting a better job. A few years ago, a large employer closed down where I live. The state offered a variety of training programs for the displaced workers. Almost no one availed themselves of those programs. Of any of them. I mean, out of hundreds, maybe one or two.

Those who remain unskilled when they have the opportunity to gain job skills have to take some responsibility for their lives. I'm not saying that this is the whole story. I am saying that america never promised people that it would be handed to them.

I don't know why the classrooms were empty, but I would guess that they had to find immediate work to continue to pay their bills and that those jobs conflicted with the times the programs were offered or they carpooled, thus had no transportation other than to their old job. I'm not making excuses but I am giving legitimate reasons why they didn't show up. Also, many struggled through school the first time around and classes equal more school in their minds. The government would reach more folks with one-on-one job coaching in the beginning, then as the job coach gets acquainted with the person's situation, further help, such as classroom training could be better arranged. Since when is giving guidance a big material handout? By helping them, we help ourselves in the long run.


In my small town we have just the rehab program you have described. Almost all the clients are cleaning up from drug related issues. They are given a place to stay, small support jobs within the program while getting counseling, job training, and eventually job placement with businesses willing to give them a chance. The only unfortunate part is that it is a drop in the ocean. BUT... there are good programs out there, just not enough of them.

I owned and ran a pawn shop for twenty years. Ever legitimate excuse you described is something I saw daily. There simply isn't enough societal support to help many of these people. Most of my clientele were simply trying to make the best of a bad situation - and sadly, they knew that there would never be an end to it. Case in point: When does a dead battery in your piece of crap old car mean late to work and losing your job? It happened time after time because there was no societal kings X to help them. Are there any good answers? Possibly, but only when we collectively get past the "Fuck you, I've got mine you get yours" mentality.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:45 pm

I'm not talking about drug addicts though. I'm speaking of simple folks who never excelled at academics who could not make it through college, not even a trade school. People in trade industries usually make decent money to good money, this is where these simple folks need to be moved for they understand how to work with their hands and the technical smarts would be acquired with time devoted to hands on experience. People fix and build things in trade jobs where they can feel pride in their efforts. These simple people will do an honest days work, they just need an honest days pay.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:48 pm

WendyDarling wrote:
Faust wrote:I'm not talking about rising through the ranks at your present job. I'm talking about getting a better job. A few years ago, a large employer closed down where I live. The state offered a variety of training programs for the displaced workers. Almost no one availed themselves of those programs. Of any of them. I mean, out of hundreds, maybe one or two.

Those who remain unskilled when they have the opportunity to gain job skills have to take some responsibility for their lives. I'm not saying that this is the whole story. I am saying that america never promised people that it would be handed to them.

I don't know why the classrooms were empty, but I would guess that they had to find immediate work to continue to pay their bills and that those jobs conflicted with the times the programs were offered or they carpooled, thus had no transportation other than to their old job. I'm not making excuses but I am giving legitimate reasons why they didn't show up. Also, many struggled through school the first time around and classes equal more school in their minds. The government would reach more folks with one-on-one job coaching in the beginning, then as the job coach gets acquainted with the person's situation, further help, such as classroom training could be better arranged. Since when is giving guidance a big material handout? By helping them, we help ourselves in the long run.


Your guesses are incorrect, as it happens.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Since you surveyed them, why then?
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby zinnat » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:53 pm

Faust wrote:Overall, in my experience, a great many people who are poor are not poor because of government policies. They are poor because they have not, for a variety of reasons, made the choices that will allow them to escape poverty


That is absolutely true.

Faust wrote: The middle class lifestyle when I was a kid is a lower class lifestyle now.


That is certainly one of the problems.

People often do not understand this but it is not the earning that makes one rich. Spending slightly less than earning is what actually makes one rich over the time. But, for it one has to be patient. There is no shortcut whatsoever.

The second every important issue is to realize what one's actual needs are, without getting influenced by the social standards.

Affluence per se is not the problem. One should always seek betterment in all aspects. There is nothing wrong in it. The problem is its twisted definition and then means to get it. Everyone cannot be Mark Zuckerberg. That happens only in the rare of the rarest cases.

Faust wrote:What policies would work?


There are lot of such things. But, if you mean state policies by policies, given our present system, state cannot do much. The reason for that is that whatever the state would offer, would be monetary help in one way or other. But, the problem is not money in the most of the cases, though may be in some. if we can somehow correct our social system, i think that number of such cases would come down significantly, though some such cases will always remain there.

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Re: Poverty in America

Postby phyllo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:58 pm

Phyllo, I think you would have a tough time finding any society that where instant gratification isn't chased after. It isn't just the U.S. It's everywhere you look.
Not to the extent that it is now in America. That's why you see a different work ethic in immigrants ... they know that they have to suck it up for a while, maybe a long time, to get something.
There is always a small percentage of people in every society that reject the wealth-power game, but they are the few, the ghosts in the shadows.
That's not what I'm talking about. I'm not proposing that you have to reject wealth at all. In fact, I'm proposing that you can have more by delaying your gratification.
Did our ancestors work harder and have "better" values? Perhaps, but only because they had no choice most of the time.
Yes you have a choice now. And people are choosing a superficial temporary high. I don't know if "our ancestors" would have done the same. But I know that their hard work produced a long term prosperity. IOW, their work ethic "worked".

Now America is increasingly paralyzed. The government can't get it's debt under control. Individuals can't get their debt under control. Why? Because they can't take some temporary pain for long term gain. The solution is just to get a higher debt ceiling. Print up some more money. Loosen bank rules so the theoretical "money" is no longer tied to tangible assets.

Take action on climate change? No way. You can't see any gain, only pain. If you do it right, then climate doesn't change but you have to "give up" something.
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"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy" -Beethoven
"Everyday life is the way" -Wumen
"Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them" - Wumen
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby zinnat » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:59 pm

phyllo wrote:Now it's spending the inheritance.


Absolutely true. But, the problem is that now they are considering inheritance as their birth right.
Anything expandable has to dissipate over the time if you keep it spending without adding anything to it.

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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:01 pm

tent - "Case in point: When does a dead battery in your piece of crap old car mean late to work and losing your job? It happened time after time because there was no societal kings X to help them. Are there any good answers? Possibly, but only when we collectively get past the "Fuck you, I've got mine you get yours" mentality."

excellent example. Many people are one car repair away from economic disaster. The can't borrow a car from mom and dad and they can't rent one. And they don't have the hundred bucks for a new battery. But you can't give them the hundred and tell them to hang on to it in case they need a car repair. They just won't.

There's a program in my state for homeless people. They get $8,000. They can use that for rent or for other expenses. At the end of the year, they get nothing. If they haven't gotten a job by then, they usually lose their apartment. But the people who do get a job rarely lose their apartments. In my experience, many of those who don't get a job are either lazy, have lost hope, can't pass the drug test or have too long a record.

That's a program with good intentions that rarely actually helps anyone.

What happens with these programs is that the penalty for making bad decisions is to be on those programs, but within the programs (welfare) there are no longer any penalties for wrong choices. Well, there are some, but what happens is the is a safety net under the safety net under another safety net. We need the net, but it's gotta be a net and not an impermeable floor.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:02 pm

sanjay - "There are lot of such things. But, if you mean state policies by policies, given our present system, state cannot do much. The reason for that is that whatever the state would offer, would be monetary help in one way or other. But, the problem is not money in the most of the cases, though may be in some. if we can somehow correct our social system, i think that number of such cases would come down significantly, though some such cases will always remain there."

That's my point also. it's not just the money. Well stated.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:03 pm

People often do not understand this but it is not the earning that makes one rich. Spending slightly less than earning is what actually makes one rich over the time. But, for it one has to be patient. There is no shortcut whatsoever.

I'm talking about the working poor who struggle to pay their bills and keep up with the cost of living since wages have stagnated or been lowered over the last twenty years. These people do not live frilly lives.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby Faust » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:05 pm

wendy - I didn't survey them. i rely on information from our local "career center" (unemployment office). Generally, they don't mind collecting. And the training is contemporaneous with the benefits. They just don't think ahead.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby phyllo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:07 pm

People fix and build things in trade jobs where they can feel pride in their efforts. These simple people will do an honest days work, they just need an honest days pay.
The current attitude is that it's better to make money trading stock than in any "honest days work". "Hard work is for chumps."
"Only the educated are free" - Epictetus
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy" -Beethoven
"Everyday life is the way" -Wumen
"Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them" - Wumen
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:09 pm

Faust wrote:tent - "Case in point: When does a dead battery in your piece of crap old car mean late to work and losing your job? It happened time after time because there was no societal kings X to help them. Are there any good answers? Possibly, but only when we collectively get past the "Fuck you, I've got mine you get yours" mentality."

excellent example. Many people are one car repair away from economic disaster. The can't borrow a car from mom and dad and they can't rent one. And they don't have the hundred bucks for a new battery. But you can't give them the hundred and tell them to hang on to it in case they need a car repair. They just won't.

There's a program in my state for homeless people. They get $8,000. They can use that for rent or for other expenses. At the end of the year, they get nothing. If they haven't gotten a job by then, they usually lose their apartment. But the people who do get a job rarely lose their apartments. In my experience, many of those who don't get a job are either lazy, have lost hope, can't pass the drug test or have too long a record.

That's a program with good intentions that rarely actually helps anyone.

What happens with these programs is that the penalty for making bad decisions is to be on those programs, but within the programs (welfare) there are no longer any penalties for wrong choices. Well, there are some, but what happens is the is a safety net under the safety net under another safety net. We need the net, but it's gotta be a net and not an impermeable floor.

Getting a job is not the problem, being able to afford living expenses and the occasional catastrophe are. The car battery is a perfect example. Perhaps the government should give the companies the emergency funds to help their employees since the companies themselves don't give a shit about helping their employees through a crisis. The company uses the emergency funds to buy the employee a car battery so they stay employed, but that still doesn't earn them enough to buy their own fucking battery.
Last edited by WendyDarling on Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Poverty in America

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:11 pm

Faust wrote:wendy - I didn't survey them. i rely on information from our local "career center" (unemployment office). Generally, they don't mind collecting. And the training is contemporaneous with the benefits. They just don't think ahead.

I'm still over here waiting for you to share or is your answer that they just don't think ahead...whatever that means.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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