Poverty is a Circumstance

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clando
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Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #1 by clando » July 8th, 2014, 11:04 am

Here is an interesting article I ran across today in the Washington Post of an upper middle class family's experience of having to go on food stamps.

Washington Post wrote:This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

Two weeks before my children were born, my future husband found himself staring at a pink slip. The days of unemployment turned into weeks, months, and, eventually, years.

Then my kids were born, six weeks early. They were just three pounds each at birth, barely the length of my shoe.

In just two months, we’d gone from making a combined $120,000 a year to making just $25,000 and leeching out funds to a mortgage we couldn’t afford. Our savings dwindled, then disappeared.

So I did what I had to do. I signed up for Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

It’s not easy. To qualify, you must be pregnant or up to six months postpartum. I had to fill out at least six forms and furnish my Social Security card, birth certificate and marriage license. I sat through exams, meetings and screenings. They had a lot of questions about the house: Wasn’t it an asset? Hadn’t we just bought it? They questioned every last cent we’d ever made. Did we have stock options or pensions? Did we have savings? I had to send them my three most recent check stubs to prove I was making as little as I said I was.

On top of this, I had to get my vitals checked and blood work taken to determine whether I was at risk of improper nourishment without the program. It’s very bourgeois. Not. But I did it.

That’s the funny thing about being poor. Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone feels entitled to share.

And even if we had wanted to do that, here’s what people don’t understand: The reality of poverty can spring quickly while the psychological effects take longer to surface. When you lose a job, your first thought isn’t, “Oh my God, I’m poor. I’d better sell all my nice stuff!” It’s “I need another job. Now.” When you’re scrambling, you hang on to the things that work, that bring you some comfort. That Mercedes was the one reliable, trustworthy thing in our lives.

But what I learned there will never leave me. We didn’t deserve to be poor, any more than we deserved to be rich. Poverty is a circumstance, not a value judgement. I still have to remind myself sometimes that I was my harshest critic. That the judgement of the disadvantaged comes not just from conservative politicians and Internet trolls. It came from me, even as I was living it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/08/this-is-what-happened-when-i-drove-my-mercedes-to-pick-up-food-stamps/?hpid=z6

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optimusprime
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #2 by optimusprime » July 9th, 2014, 6:49 am

Interesting read. Specially when one compares being in debt and poverty. It makes a difference how one feels comfortable describing their lack of available resources, finances and aptitude.
You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.
~ Malcolm XImage

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The Oracle
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #3 by The Oracle » July 15th, 2014, 8:07 am

Who are we to judge? Oh wait..... I will! We live our middle class lives frugally. So do many poor people. We start to judge when excessive behavior becomes acceptable. When consumerism is winked at. Especially as the tax man is grabbing into our pockets to bail these people out. We should judge and lets then: heap shame on her too! Shame is a driving force for change.

A financial adviser would have told them to buy a Chevrolet and put money into a rainy day account. Just for times like those. We can judge because this person is suppose to be educated. I feel fine judging her. And it's that shame, that should propel her into something better.

The social programs that exist, to help that family land on their feet, exist. We pay for them. Great... it worked. It becomes a value judgement when you see people drive fancy cars to pick up a check. When your entire life you never spent that lavishly or recklessly.

Is there any difference between her and say..... the homeowner who has a $4000/ month mortgage who can't pay it? Or a unemployed worker who has $50k in student debt?

These things are all personal choices. And it's not my problem to fix. Or the governments. You can't fix stupid. Shame on them all for being sheep.

:mrgreen:

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Bill Bryan
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #4 by Bill Bryan » July 15th, 2014, 5:31 pm

You MUST listen to this show, Diane Rehm interviewing Nick Hanauer.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014- ... inequality

Link for listening at the top of the page. I agree with every word this billionaire said, and what he says is IMPORTANT.
"My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter."
- President Barack Obama

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The Oracle
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #5 by The Oracle » July 16th, 2014, 7:50 am

I'd argue that the revolution has already begun.

He wants to increase the pay of the bottom dwellers. What about the middle class as they hang on to their share? Isn't that where Independents, Tea Partiers, and the rest live?

I'm sick of being ignored as a working middle class person. I don't expect trickle down. And I don't want to bail out the bottom. The real bottom line is the rich expect the middle class to shoulder the cost associated with a big minimum wage boost.

A big minimum wage increase is IRRELEVANT to the rich. As as a middle class person; I do not support rich people telling me what is good for me as they PICK MY POCKET!

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Bill Bryan
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #6 by Bill Bryan » July 16th, 2014, 10:44 am

A large hike in the minimum wage would create more middle class people, as he most cogently argues.

Wages are extremely low in the Congo.

They're extremely high in Switzerland.

If you had to pick one of those countries and emigrate, which would you pick?

Did you listen to the show? Are you familiar with the arguments he's making?
"My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter."
- President Barack Obama

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The Oracle
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #7 by The Oracle » July 16th, 2014, 1:47 pm

I listened. Just another example of a smart guy making a point from a certain perspective

There's nothing prohibiting business owners from raising pay. Why don't they do that instead? Wouldn't they lose out in "the revolution" too? :mrgreen:

The vast majority of the increased wage would be paid through higher prices to the middle class consumer. Many of which would simply cut back on consumption. The middle class would pay to help others rise up and take their place.

Which is the point. This is another example of the stagnant middle class bearing the cost for another politically correct feel good moment. And it's nothing short of the middle class digging their own graves.

If the MF'ers don't like minimum wage they got 3 choices (at least)

They can quit and look for another job.

Or; they can take up arms and start a revolution............. :roll: Doing so would end up with a loss of Earned Income Tax Credits, low cost loans, Section 8 housing and the many other forms of Government assistance like minority student loans, grants, and subsidies.

Even if the minimum wage was raised; these same people would still want all that too. The idea that the bottom dwellers would actually rise up and out of poverty is uniquely West Coast.

Option 3 would be to vote for candidates who return the tax code to a fair one. We continue to tax the rich at historically low rates. And give businesses huge tax breaks as they write off stuff and make record profits.

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Bill Bryan
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Re: Poverty is a Circumstance

Post #8 by Bill Bryan » July 16th, 2014, 2:50 pm

The Oracle wrote:There's nothing prohibiting business owners from raising pay. Why don't they do that instead?

I thought he did an excellent job explaining why they don't do that.

Whatever. :D
"My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter."
- President Barack Obama


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