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Old 01-19-2010, 06:41 PM   #181
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This is just my observation ... I appoligize - in advance - if it doesn't fit somebody's humanitarian goals:

The only starvation I've witnessed was among heroin addicts who would sell thier food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar. Then coast thru the next ten days high as kites completely oblivious to the bodies need for food. When the ride was over they gorge themselves ...sleep for several days. And wait or the next check. Took me 4 months to evict a group of 4 addicts.
Took me 4 months to evict 3 over-entitled college students.

I'd say you need to get down to the projects. The last family I helped didn't have beds. The case worker told us not to give them a laptop because it'd be stolen within a week. They didn't have a TV. Maybe the census missed them?

Sorry if that doesn't fit somebody's sense of poverty in America, Land of Plenty.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:05 PM   #182
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I owned property next to the projects ... help the ones I can.

Funny, because I just donated enough furniture to furnish a small aparment. Helped some friends that were down sizing ... and helped some one getting started.

Seems to me the ones who just arrived to the city/country certianly need a boost. The more seasoned know the ropes (where to get: food, rent, milk, used color TVs ...).

Again just my observation.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:30 PM   #183
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I would think the homeless people have no way to cook their own food (even if they could scrape up some money to buy beans and rice) so yeah, I can understand that they are never heavy.
Somehow they manage to cook their heroin.

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Many children go to school hungry. I'm sure those kids have a hard time concentrating on school work and I'm sure malnutrition affects their brain development.
Perhaps they go to school hungry, but in the US they don't stay hungry for long, at least not in any school district that I know about. They get taxpayer subsidized meals at school.

State faces explosion of schoolkids qualified for subsidized meals

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If you've ever had large, hungry kids (don't know your personal situation), then you know that the cheapest way to fill them up is rice, macaroni and cheese, corn chips--in a word--STARCH.
I think you are generally correct. I did raise two sons, and we ate our share of beans and rice. But I helped an on farm butcher and always had lots of meat too. My wife grew and froze lots of veggies, both things not generally available to people sitting on their butts eating Doritos and watching TV. In farm communities there is always meat available- perhaps not steaks but stop into any farm country small meat packer and see how much liver, kidneys, tripe, etc. you can take home for free. He is going to sell it for animal food, so if you do have to pay it won't be much.

I raised and cured my own hogs, and I went deer hunting every year. Our town had a horse butcher, who froze and shipped to France. I figured if the Harvard Club featured horse steaks on its menu, it was good enough for me and my family. My wife could turn anything into a feast. The packer couldn't legally sell to me, but as long as it was "for my dog" no problem.

I understand what you are saying, I just think that when subsidies, commodities, food stamps, school meals are figured in, many of these poor families are spending more on food than some of our well to do board members state that they are spending. I just don't think that any social program run by the US government is very likely to get anything right. After all, probably defense and state have the best quality people in any large government department, and we haven't won a war since WW2.

Ha
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:10 PM   #184
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Interesting: This conversation seems to be revolving around food (or lack thereof). In my experience transportation (or lack thereof) is the bigger issue for the poor. Food can generally be obtained from food banks, etc. But how are the poor to get to these locations?

Huge issue in my area...
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:11 PM   #185
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And about this thread, heck it's dead.
What's that you said...?
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:16 PM   #186
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I think you are generally correct. I did raise two sons, and we ate our share of beans and rice. But I helped an on farm butcher and always had lots of meat too. My wife grew and froze lots of veggies, both things not generally available to people sitting on their butts eating Doritos and watching TV. In farm communities there is always meat available- perhaps not steaks but stop into any farm country small meat packer and see how much liver, kidneys, tripe, etc. you can take home for free. He is going to sell it for animal food, so if you do have to pay it won't be much.

I raised and cured my own hogs, and I went deer hunting every year. Our town had a horse butcher, who froze and shipped to France. I figured if the Harvard Club featured horse steaks on its menu, it was good enough for me and my family. My wife could turn anything into a feast. The packer couldn't legally sell to me, but as long as it was "for my dog" no problem.

I understand what you are saying, I just think that when subsidies, commodities, food stamps, school meals are figured in, many of these poor families are spending more on food than some of our well to do board members state that they are spending. I just don't think that any social program run by the US government is very likely to get anything right. After all, probably defense and state have the best quality people in any large government department, and we haven't won a war since WW2.

Ha
This has turned into a quite interesting discussion and I hope that nobody's hackles get too far up, as it would quickly ruin things.

I think that what comes through loud and clear in this thread is that the US poor who are zaftig are lacking something that the skinny millionaires with the tiny food budgets have in abundance: intelligence and/or education. My recollection is that there have been studies showing that better health and longevity are highly correlated with educational attainment. The board millionaires are very good at making efficient use of scarce resources relative to the general US population, so why would food be any different than money in that respect?

Ha, it is interesting to hear your story, as it is not that far from my Mom and Dad's, yet very divorced from my own life. Mom grew up the daughter of a divorced waitress and spent a lot of time on her grandparents' farm in SE Ohio. Squirrel/woodchuck and potatoes were frequently on the menu because they could not afford to eat the meat they raised. Dad grew up poor and a meal was whatever you could get. When he was a young man, he was a devoted hunter of whatever walked by and I think he regularly poached deer. Otherwise food would have been very scarce.

Of course I know I am very lucky to have whatever food whenever I like, and food is easily our largest expense (more than RE taxes, the mortgage, etc.). But I feel kind of divorced from my parents' experience and sometimes feel a yearning to reconnect. No doubt I would face a humongous fight with DW (which I am not far from taking on), but I would like to learn how to hunt. I am a reasonably accomplished woodsman, hiker, etc., but have been on a total of one hunting trip with no success. I have forgotten how to cook game well, despite being a generation away from varmint for dinner (if you were lucky). Hmmm...
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:27 PM   #187
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food is easily our largest expense (more than RE taxes, the mortgage, etc.).
Really? Wow.

Bon appetit!
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:31 PM   #188
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After reading Brewer's and Ha's last post, I realize that I don't think of 'poor' and 'poverty' as necessarily being the same thing as not having a lot of money. It is for this reason that I get the feeling that many who are poor are poor and stuck, their real impoverishment is lack of choices, or at least lack of the knowledge of how to have choice.

My parents both grew up as immigrants on farms with very little money. I suspect that there were days that they ate better than others. Yet they were never stuck because their parents brought values with them from the old country that served them well. Within a generation, every one of my grandparents were doing pretty well for themselves.

Similarly, my oldest son (26) is undoubtedly below the poverty level. He has a university degree, and chooses to live the way he does. Last winter he spent in a wall tent in the Yukon in temperatures down to -40. He can do something else whenever he wants. He is making choices. He doesn't get public assistance, nor does he want it. He doesn't ask for much from me other than my time sometimes which is certainly my pleasure.

Yet I have known and seen people who are mired in the 'culture of poverty.' I doubt that they will ever get out of it. I seriously doubt that giving them food or money wouldl make much difference, whether given by individuals or by the government. Their houses, or trailers, have Wiis and big-screen TVs, and not a book in sight (this would describe some of my in-laws). They may or may not be below the official poverty line, yet by my definition and values they are impoverished.

Yet in the rural Alaskan town where I have spent many years, I have seen programs like Head Start make a tremendous difference in the lives of children, despite their parents. So I do feel that the government should have some role in helping people break the cycle of poverty. I also share a fair amount of mistrust of the government. But it irks me that there is always money to bomb brown people and bring "democracy" to people who don't want it but whenever discussion turns to helping those at home, there is always stiff resistance.

Or maybe I'm just a judgmental old fart.

I am finding this discussion quite interesting, and despite my occasionally strongly-stated opinion, I too hope nobody gets bent out of shape over it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:41 AM   #189
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But it irks me that there is always money to bomb brown people and bring "democracy" to people who don't want it but whenever discussion turns to helping those at home, there is always stiff resistance.
I couldn't agree more.At least the Europeans get something for their taxes. Over here we mostly get dead bodies, both our own troops and all the people that we set out to pacify.

Ha
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:26 AM   #190
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While I am not without sympathy for the poor (see post #2 in this thread), I think that at least some of the very poor are that way for reasons beyond their control and I'm inclined to offer help. Whether that help is a "hand up" or a "hand out" depends very much on the individual.

I do have a problem when governments decide to "eliminate poverty by such and such a date" and then define poor/poverty as anyone who has an income in the bottom X% of the population. By defining poverty this way, the poor will always be among us and therefore the elimination of poverty is impossible.

At least here in socialist Canuckistan, a large percentage of those defined as poor have a better standard of living than my (mid middle class) family did when I was growing up. They have, however, a lower standard of living than xy% of the population. What to do about it, why to do anything for these people? I don't have a clue.
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:45 AM   #191
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why are people poor
Old 01-23-2010, 07:49 PM   #192
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why are people poor

Some people overcome all these obstacles. I believe that a lot of it has to do with self-image.

My dad grew up poor. He was not educated beyond high school. He received a dishonorable discharge from the military. And my mom was no damn help to him. Yet he became a multimillionaire by starting his own business.

My view of him, personally, is that he has no better than average intelligence, and probably less than average social skills. But he believes passionately in himself. Back when he was in his early 20's, he envisioned what he wanted and he made it happen. He had not one shred of doubt that he could do it. He persisted despite several setbacks. His family of origin, whom he left behind, are jealous of his success. He ignores them.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:21 PM   #193
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After reading Brewer's and Ha's last post, I realize that I don't think of 'poor' and 'poverty' as necessarily being the same thing as not having a lot of money. It is for this reason that I get the feeling that many who are poor are poor and stuck, their real impoverishment is lack of choices, or at least lack of the knowledge of how to have choice.

My parents both grew up as immigrants on farms with very little money. I suspect that there were days that they ate better than others. Yet they were never stuck because their parents brought values with them from the old country that served them well. Within a generation, every one of my grandparents were doing pretty well for themselves.

Similarly, my oldest son (26) is undoubtedly below the poverty level. He has a university degree, and chooses to live the way he does. Last winter he spent in a wall tent in the Yukon in temperatures down to -40. He can do something else whenever he wants. He is making choices. He doesn't get public assistance, nor does he want it. He doesn't ask for much from me other than my time sometimes which is certainly my pleasure.

Yet I have known and seen people who are mired in the 'culture of poverty.' I doubt that they will ever get out of it. I seriously doubt that giving them food or money wouldl make much difference, whether given by individuals or by the government. Their houses, or trailers, have Wiis and big-screen TVs, and not a book in sight (this would describe some of my in-laws). They may or may not be below the official poverty line, yet by my definition and values they are impoverished.

Yet in the rural Alaskan town where I have spent many years, I have seen programs like Head Start make a tremendous difference in the lives of children, despite their parents. So I do feel that the government should have some role in helping people break the cycle of poverty. I also share a fair amount of mistrust of the government. But it irks me that there is always money to bomb brown people and bring "democracy" to people who don't want it but whenever discussion turns to helping those at home, there is always stiff resistance.

Or maybe I'm just a judgmental old fart.

I am finding this discussion quite interesting, and despite my occasionally strongly-stated opinion, I too hope nobody gets bent out of shape over it.
I think you are right on.

--another judgmental old fart
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:43 PM   #194
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hmmmmmmmmmmmm, maybe all you need is 1 advantage. luck, intelligence, confidence, ...
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:20 PM   #195
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I've been thinking about this for a while. I had to dig up the thread...

I think many people who were born into poor parents who have only seen poverty tend to stay at the similar socio economic level as their parents, but some rise above it. And I was thinking that maybe those who rose above it had some kind of chance incident/encounter or opportunities that made them change their expectations in life? Maybe it was a teacher who believed in them, maybe they saw their next door neighbor rose above it and something triggered in their heads saying wow, if he can do it, maybe I can too?

I was talking to someone who worked in a high school in a rural area and he was saying the majorities of the girls in a home-ec class mentioned hair stylists and massage thereapists as their career after graduation. Nothing is wrong with those professions but I am saying the kids picked these jobs because that's what they knew (perhaps through relatives/acquaintances). If you were raised in an imperised area where all they saw were people who were just getting by on minimum wage jobs, I would think it would be hard for them to think they could do much better UNLESS somewhere along the line, some incident, or someone who believed in them (=self-esteem, self-confidence?), made them believe there were other possibilities for them and that they could do better, maybe even much better.

I wonder if you call that chance (=luck).
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:38 PM   #196
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I can tell you from experience how difficult it is if you are born into a poor family. Your dreams are very limited as you grow up. You don't have a clue what's really possible. I was the youngest of six kids. From age 3 to age 7, we lived in public housing. We lived paycheck to paycheck and went on food stamps every winter. I'm 48 years old and realize what an incredibly oppressed life my mother had. We had no money, she canned all of our vegetables to get us through the winters (after we left public housing). My childhood was not any fun. However, I had a couple of teachers that believed in me. I was a straight A student and a good girl. They saw the potential in me. I didn't get to go to college right out of high school; however, I finally graduated with a B.A. at the age of 30 with two young children. When my ex left me for a much younger woman at the age of 34, it took me back to my low self-esteem days of my youth. I went from a two income household to a one income household. My kids thought we were poor. We were not poor. Yes, we had to make adjustments; but having grown up "poor", we were far from poor. That's when I realized people's definition of "poor" is all relative. Fortunately, it didn't last long and I was able to draw on the teachers and bosses that had believed in me and my abilities. At the age of 43, I hit a six-figure salary. I never go on a vacation, without pinching myself at one point during the vacation and thanking God for helping me get there.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:32 PM   #197
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Wow, Sweetlife, it sounds like you turned your life around for yourself. Thank you for sharing your story. It really touched me.

BTW, I love your username!
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:03 PM   #198
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Thank you, tmm99. I'm now trying to "pay it forward". My second husband and I have 5 grown children between us. My youngest is 25. I'm 48 and my hubby is 58. Two years ago we became foster parents to a 5 year old boy. He's now 7. Our intent was to open our door up to several foster children for about 5 years, with the goal of showing them that there's another life out there for them. This was important to me, since I had grown up not "knowing" all of the possibilities. Well, God had other plans. Our little boy was never to return home to his mother. He's a special needs child due to his behavior issues. He's extremely intelligent, but his behavior gets in the way. He had been in 7 other foster homes in an 18-month period and was going to be sent to a residential facility if we hadn't kept him. Coming from the childhood that I came from, I just couldn't give up on him. It's definitely affected our original retirement plans, but life is even sweeter with him in our lives. We are still planning on an early retirement (for me, more than my hubby, since he's 58). What we DO in retirement will change, but it's all good. Hopefully, we can make a difference in a child's life that was born into such unfortunate circumstances. Keeping this onto the 'why are people poor' topic, in some situations it can be the direct result of a highly intelligent (very high I.Q.), college-educated individual making poor, poor choices that alters their lives forever.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:16 PM   #199
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Wow SweetLife,

You are truly amazing!

I am sure you are making a big difference in his life already... and him yours, I'm sure.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:27 AM   #200
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This subject has been on my mind for quite some time. I read the book Scratch Beginnings (Adam Shepard) and it gave me some insight as to what success or failure can be attributed. The writers test was to start with $25 and in 1 year to have $2500, a working car and a furnished apartment. No help from friends or family. Needless to say it wasn't easy or fun but the writer met his goal.

I can remember a defining moment in my life in which I had to pay for a tank of gas with nickels and dimes to make it to a new job in another town. I vowed then and there to not be in that situation again.
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