Tag Archives: poverty

Do you know what it is like to live in poverty?

What is it like to live in poverty? Fortunately, I can not answer that question, and most of the people who make laws can not answer it either, but they are tasked with making the rules that govern the lives of the impoverished. Do they ever talk to poor people and find out about their lives or are the rules simply numerically generated? Over the past week we witnessed the events in Baltimore. We were told about Freddie Gray’s neighborhood and how so many people his age had been exposed to lead poisoning. The sad fact is the homes they lived in had not been painted by the landlord since the 70’s so the children of the 90s were victims of decades of neglect. It is easy to be judgmental and say they need to work hard and they can get out of poverty, but the reality is a lot of people caught in the poverty spiral are already working hard. What’s the answer? Don’t know but it might start with the rule makers having a conversation with people who are actually living in poverty.

Newt Gingrich thinks poor and criminal are one in the same

Newt Gingrich seems to equate poverty to criminality. He paints with a very negative brush when it comes to people he does not know or understand. There are many people who work and have worked very hard all their lives and now they find theirselves stuck in the vicious grip of poverty. These people would never consider doing anything criminal they are simply trying to get by, but Gingrich will never talk about them because they don’t fit into his negative narrative.
Read the linked story: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/12/01/newt-poor-children-have-no-habits-working

The Only Thing Worse than Poor is Dead

Last night I was watching an episode of Good Times and was struck by something one of the main characters said. This show was set in the mid 70s at the end of the Nixon era and the beginning of the Ford era. The main characters were the Evans a struggling family who lived in the Chicago projects. James the father was constantly trying to carve out a better life for his family and in this episode he was contemplating moving to Alaska to work on the pipeline. He would have made $500 a week which was a fortunate back in the day, but his wife did not want him to break up the family. He said “we are poor and the only thing worse than poor is dead.” He went on to say that nobody wants to be poor or dead. The sad thing is when we look at the news we see tent cities springing up. We see job fairs with people lined up for blocks and we see Congress co-signing bonuses for executives that helped create this bedlam.   How do you change your life if you are poor? It is easy to say pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but is that enough to break the cycle? That’s why the lottery is so successful in poor communities. It represents an instant end to poverty. “In a 1999 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and financial services firm Primerica, 40% of Americans with incomes between $25,000 and $35,000 — and nearly one-half of respondents with an income of $15,000 to $25,000 — thought winning the lottery would give them their retirement nest egg. Overall, 27% of respondents said that their best chance to gain $500,000 in their lifetime is via a sweepstakes or lottery win.” The sad thing is the odds of winning the lottery are overwhelmingly against the lottery purchasers. So what is the answer to poverty? Hopefully it is not death.