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Poverty Thoughts

January 19th, 2014 at 08:43 am

I ran across this Yahoo article about poverty today. It makes me sad.

The article didn't really go so far as to suggest any way to improve the situation. Any ideas or thoughts?

9 Responses to “Poverty Thoughts”

  1. wiife of the deacon Says:


    Since we've embraced "intentional" living, I've had two occasions where one or two children want a snack at checkout. (Gum or some candy at $1.29 or whatever). We've opted out of that and are instead making a $1 donation to the local food bank. Not much at all, but something. I'm also making more donations of food items to our parish's food pantry.

  2. Jenn Says:

    Education.

    Even the author of the article assumes that everyone must have a car to be employed. MMM could teach them a thing or two. And while it's true that organically grown fresh broccoli is expensive, beans and rice aren't and they're healthy. Much healthier than the obesity-causing processed crap that financially ignorant people buy at the dollar stores. And all of us, regardless of our economic situation, would be better off without cable TV.

    I'll stop ranting. But I really strongly believe that what we call 'poverty' in the US is doesn't compare to developing countries where assistance would make so much more impact.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    The article said accessto education in this country is now hindered by not having access to the internet because so many schools use computers to access curriculum. Also, the stores that some poor have access to may not stock rice and beans, or if they do it is more expensive to buy than you and I might get because the stores we have access to are in competition with each other. The poor referenced in this article actually pick the cheapest option to buy, which in many cases is the junk food or a $1 hamburger at McDonald's. I don't think it is necessarily that ALL of them are ignorant. They don't have the same choices we do because buses aren't on their route, they don't own a bike and the closest food options within walking distance are limited. This is real here in this country.

    @Jenn: Yes, there are different levels of poverty for sure I do agree with you there.

  4. snafu Says:

    Working in English as a Second Language realm, I repeatedly see families who arrive as refugees with a suitcase of belongings. When they return for re-evaluation 3 years later, they nearly all have a remarkable story of overcoming obstacles starting with language to create a level success that is remarkable.

    I believe they have a different view of their situation than those who are 3rd generation poverty or those unable to get back employment lost in the 2008 - 2010 debacle. Family bonds tighten and everyone is expected to contribute to family needs. Parents work 2-3 jobs, one is self employment. What's most frustrating is their education and experience is not and will not be accredited in N. America. Dentists are washing hallway floors in hospitals for minimum wage for example. DKs are required to excel in school basic curriculum and do the home chores. It's Maslow's hierarchy theory in practice.

    What's to be done? Change personal opinion, the media is all powerful. It was used in WWII to teach hate, it can be used in this century to teach how to bond the family.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Here in CT, we have just a few major cities: Bridgeport, Danbury, Stamford, Hartford and New Haven. The rest of the state is largely suburbs or more rural areas. While public transit is good in the urban areas, I can tell you it's sorely lacking in the suburbs. Many towns like my own aren't on a train line and there's no bus service except for seniors. So if you happen to live in these areas, you most definitely need a car to get to a job.

    I can tell you that for the 5 months in 2013 when I had to go on the state Medicaid plan, after my COBRA health insurance expired and I couldn't yet get on a new plan under the Affordable Care Act, I felt like a second class citizen, and I spent hundreds of my own dollars just to see doctors I was used to seeing because I didn't want to wait an estimated 2 months to go to a low-income clinic at a local hospital where a few doctors agree to treat the poor. Even though this Medicaid plan indicated that my regular doctors were in network, none of my regular doctors' offices would see me. It was a very unpleasant surprise after faithfully paying $589 a month for this largely useless Medicaid plan. I can't imagine how difficult and stressful it must be for low income people to have to deal with this lousy plan for indefinite periods of time; for me, at least, it was a temporary hassle.

    So given that experience, I would say we need an entire overhaul of the Medicaid health care system which poor people rely on. Because it doesn't work. No doctors want to see you.

  6. Nika Says:

    I absolutely agree that many people start from disadvantaged position and have a much taller mountain to climb just to get to a middle class starting position. It takes a lot of determination, hard work, learning and strength to not just be doing what everyone else around you is doing. Sometimes a little luck needs to be added onto those things.

    Though I cannot agree with ANY excuse for renting furniture or appliances. I would go to craigslist or freecycle, or local message boards for used furniture and appliances people are getting rid of (they may not be pretty) before I would "rent" it.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    Here's a very similar article I just read, and it brings up even more problems the poor in our country face: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/it-is-expensive-to-be-poor/282979/

    The worst part for me that this article brings up is the demonization of the poor. There may be better choices they could be making even within the paltry amount of money that's coming in, but that doesn't mean they're lazy. I hate the implication that just because people are failing to thrive, they're not even putting any effort into their lives. Every moment is a struggle when you're poor. I used to follow a blog of a desperately poor person before it disappeared, and every small setback is potentially life-threatening (literally, as sometimes she was in danger of being homeless, or was being physically threatened by the repo men taking her car, or she couldn't afford the medications that kept her at a basic level of functionality). In her case, she was very smart, and extremely thrifty by necessity, but she couldn't find steady employment because of her health and mental health (anxiety was the main one if I remember correctly) problems.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for sharing that article, CeeJay.

  9. bluesfemme Says:

    It is the norm in that environment to have c/card debt, loans, borrow from friends, live paycheque to paycheque.

    Every pay, literally the first thing you do is pay back the bank to get some room on your maxed-out c/card. You feel so deprived you feel you are entitled to some small enjoyment, and don't think it will ever make a difference to save some. You have overdue fees, over limit fees and interest and never feel like you will escape.

    Apt to be on this blog, as i think escaping the revolving credit card is key to escape for the working poor. I was lucky - my partner rolled my total c/card debt into the car loan. Together we paid it off much quicker once i wasn't paying 20% of my pay straight out in fees and interest. I think it's incrediby hard to escape otherwise, even if you are extremely motivated, as with no spare cash/savings, every drama means you have to resort to the cards.

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