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Cornel West And Tavis Smiley On Poverty

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley join us to with a call to confront poverty in America.

Demonstrators calling for Gov. Mark Dayton to hold the line against cuts to the poor and working Minnesotans, Wednesday, June 8, 2011 in St. Paul, Minn.  (AP)

Demonstrators calling for Gov. Mark Dayton to hold the line against cuts to the poor and working Minnesotans, Wednesday, June 8, 2011 in St. Paul, Minn. (AP)

Everybody talks about the beating the American middle class has taken in the Great Recession. And it’s real. But what you really didn’t want to be in this recession is poor. Poverty has been the word politicians have scrambled to avoid as the economy keeled over.

But it is there. It is big. And a whole lot of once-middle-class families are now part of it too. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may not want to talk much about it, but Tavis Smiley and Cornel West do. They’re raising a ruckus. Calling out a crisis.

This hour, On Point: Cornel West and Tavis Smiley on America’s poverty reality.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Bradley Keoun, a reporter for Bloomberg-BusinessWeek.

Tavis Smiley, the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International. He’s the co-author of the new book Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. You can find an excerpt here.

Cornel West, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, he is the author of many works, including the 1993 bestseller Race Matters, Keeping Faith, The Future of the Race (with Henry Louis Gates Jr.), and Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He’s the co-author of the new book Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. You can find an excerpt here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “It’s a frightening trend we discuss in the final chapter of our newly released book, The Rich & the Rest of Us. Every month since 2001, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs. Almost seven out of every ten of those lost jobs were in the construction, truck driving, warehouse or other blue-collar sectors.”

The Root “Last summer PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley and author Cornel West embarked on an 18-city poverty tour to highlight the hardship of poor people. Despite a record number of Americans — one in two – either living below the poverty line or classified as low-income, they felt that poor people had been rendered invisible by both the government and society at large. Now, by convening a panel of experts and advocates, they’re taking another step in their mission to elevate poverty on the national agenda.”

The New York Times “They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by.”

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  • U.S. Vet.

    As long as the for-profit, privately-owned ‘Federal’ Reserve bank continues to destroy the value of the dollar for the benefit of Wall Street speculators,

    poverty rates will continue to soar as the working poor and middle class see what little savings they have left get wiped out through the stealth tax of inflation, which is wealth confiscation.

    • Hidan

       QE3 is on the horizon.

      • Still Here

        Most recently the ECB’s balance sheet was expanded by almost 800B Euros, the BOJ by 1T Yen, and numerous other central banks are cutting interest rates.  What will be the impact on the relative value of the dollar and why?

    • Still Here

      Who are our largest trading partners, what do we import from and what do we export to them, how have those levels of imports/exports changed and what has our currency done relative to their’s?  Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Devaluation of the dollar makes imports more expensive and exports cheaper; both encourage the development of jobs in this country. An example is how Iceland has recovered by devaluation of its Krona. It is not all the way back, but it is doing better than Ireland or Latvia.

      The inability of the GIPS to devalue because they are on the euro is equivalent to being on a “gold standard.” So they are being forced into austerity, which is only making their fiscal deficits WORSE. As an example, before the 2008 financial crisis hit, Spain had a 1.9% fiscal surplus and a debt/GDP of 27%, while Germany’s numbers were 0.3% and 50%.

      The problem for all the GIPS, except Greece, is that German and French banks over-lent to PRIVATE SECTOR companies, which suffered heavily with the financial crisis, thus raising unemployment and the safety net costs and reducing tax revenue. Thus the Eurozone problem is equivalent to a balance of payments (trade) deficit. But that does not suit (particularly) the Germain story line (or the Republican Party’s here).

  • Zero

    Napoleon: “The only thing keeping the poor from murdering the rich is religion.”

     

  • Yar

    “A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves, in public and in private, so to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is: How do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person” Paul Ryan
    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/74990.html#ixzz1sTCWA61p
    If the wealthy gave ten percent to the Church, maybe.  It seems the republican budget moves responsibility for the poor to the church.  They like the church to take responsibility because support then becomes optional.  Let somebody else say no, Charles Dickens, why is your work still relevant today?

    First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute. 
    Ebenezer: Are there no prisons? 
    First Collector: Plenty of prisons. 
    Ebenezer: And the union workhouses – are they still in operation? 
    First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not. 
    Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it. 

    Slavery still exists in America, today it is in the form of Economic Slavery, a person is less mobile today.  We are moving back toward the days of the civil war, not based on the color of a person’s skin but on the amount of green in their pocket.

    • JustSayin

       Socialize the losses — Privatize the gains.  It will soon replace In God we trust on our currency.

      IMO The only time the poor are important to the plutocracy is when they can be exploited for monetary gain. As was the case in the last pump and dump mortgage swindle. And what is really nasty, is the media is controlled by the same wealth, so they can once again use their power to place the blame of the ole NINA mortgage game on the poor, who were surprised that any bank would give them a loan.

      To fix the problem of poverty, the nation has to fix the problem of wealth. Like a body filled with bloated parasites, the Washington/Wall street power structure continues to drain the life blood of the nation, and sicken the America.

      • Hidan

         soon? it alreadly has, the Republicans complain about the debt and cut 500 Million to heating for poor women with children because it would reduce the deficit was the claim while increasing Foreign Aid to Israel by a few hundred million while at the same time claiming such increase didn’t matter. Republican are pushing for tax-cuts on the rich and subsidies for big business and (sic) small business while telling the poor they must take it in the chin for the good of America. Cuts to child care programs as well. Defense is still going up 5% much of the perceived cuts are from leaving Iraq.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/child-care-cuts-california_n_1402819.html

        http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/11/news/economy/obama_heating_cuts/index.htm

        http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf

        • Hidan

           Many democrats have went along with the republican attack on the poor(including the WH)

          • Anonymous

            With the Republicans demonizing the poor and getting traction with the middle class, the WH could easily lose votes from that middle class by showing any likelihood of increasing spending on the poor.

            So the Republicans win even if they lose.

    • margbi

       Thanks for quoting Dickens.  Scrooges speech reflects the realities of his day (we no longer have workhouses or debtor’s prisons) just as ours reflect today’s realities (living paycheck to paycheck, limited job mobility).

      • Yar

        Tell that to someone who stays in a job they hate only because it has health insurance. Or tell it someone with a student loan who has lost their house filed for bankruptcy and still has to pay the student loan bill each month.
        Prisons take many forms, but it is at its cruelest is when it captures the spirit.

    • Anonymous

      This fits with the Catholic Bishops response to Paul Ryan’s “budget.” See:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/ryan-budget-catholic_n_1434919.html

      http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/03/gop-releases-plan-to-save-america-from-the-poor.html

      where the link is here:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-paul-ryans-budget-actually-cuts–and-by-how-much/2012/03/20/gIQAL43vPS_blog.html

      Basically, the real wealthy see their plutocracy on the horizon and are now “doubling down” on their efforts to achieve it.

      This country will be on the way to a banana republic status if Republicans win this fall. Think Haiti, maybe?

      • Azra

        Some want us to go back to a health care system on par with Haiti, by repealing The Affordable Health Care Act.

        So, Sadly, I think you’re right.

  • Lin

    I grew up in a lower middle class, second-generation American family. Some of my family was poor–as in living in the projects and needing to search between the sofa cushions for change to buy bread. No one was on welfare. Every single woman in the family worked full-time sewing in the mills while raising families. There was certainly NO discussion about having a “choice” about staying home to be a full-time parent.

    There was little upward mobility for them at the time. A high school diploma would have made ALL the difference in earning potential, yet no one could afford to stay in school that long to earn one. Life was difficult and sometimes tenuous. My family could have used some help, and what would have been the harm if society could have lent a hand?

    I fear for today’s poor, I truly do. Why our world is so punitive regarding those of lesser means I simply cannot understand. For every one person who games the system, there are thousands of people who don’t. No one handing down these policies in our government today has an inkling of what it is like to go without, and how much a little help and opportunity could lift up the lives of good, hardworking, moral, and decent people.

    • Anonymous

      When your annual income is in the millions or higher, you don’t have to know or maybe even see anyone who is lower middle class, other than to get your shoes polished, etc., and can convince yourself that you got where you are only by hard work. So they ask why can’t those poorer people you occasionally read about in the MSM. Their ideology REQUIRES them to think the others MUST be just slackers. How else could a Chicago School of Economics spend a year or more trying to make the case that the unemployment level jumped in 2008 just because workers decided to withhold their labor?

      Even Charles Murray admits the real wealthy have lost any understanding of what life is like for the middle class, not to mention the poor.

  • No Lobbyist

    Famous Bernie Sander’s quote – “The poor have no lobbyists”.

    • Gregg

       Bernie must have been kidding.

      • Anonymous

        Nah, your posts are the real joke.

      • Still Here

        We spend more on the “poor” than we ever have as a nation, and still it is not enough.  Have we created a class of people who choose dependency or is the system somehow unfair in some way?  Not sure.  But millions of people are here illegally and find a way to make a good life for themselves with no help from the government.

        • Anonymous

          Try summing up the “tax expenditures” in the tax code and you will see that even more is “spent” on the super rich, who are the benefactors of most of it.

          They don’t need it but feel they are entitled to even more.

  • aj

    “Poverty is the worst form of violence”
    -Mahatma Ghandi

  • Gregg

    Hopefully this show won’t make race the issue but given the guest I suspect it will.

    • Hidan

      ad nauseum

    • Still Here

      Well, my brother, I’m afraid race is all Tavis and Cornell do, so be warned.  I also suspect we’re going to hear about oligarchy ad nauseum; as well as Republican bad, Democrat good.  I listen to Tavis and Cornell every weekend and it’s one giant echo chamber of a love fest, with guests reinforcing the hosts’ views.  Might be worth checking out Diane.

      • Oedipa

        I’m not sure if you’ve actually listened to him at all, or just forming opinions ad hoc, because West doesn’t have much praise for the Democratic party.

        • Still Here

          He loves his brother Barack, not unconditionally, but, for the most part, thinks it’s the bad Republicans that have stood in his way, blah blah blah.  He completely gave Obama a free pass on his super PAC flip-flop.

      • Gregg

        I usually don’t listen to Diane except on Fridays. But on your suggestion I looked at her site. Today’s show is on the Secret Service and she has some hard hitting guest. Thanks.

        • Anonymous

          Gregg, Michael Isikoff was on On Point a few days ago talking about the Secret Service scandal…http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/04/17/voters

          • Gregg

            Yes, I heard that. He’s one of the guest on Diane Rehm today along with Ronald Kessler. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I have watched Tavis Smiley, MANY times, when the subject of race NEVER came up!  He does an EXCELLENT, non-confrontational interview!
           I am a white male, so don’t try the race issue on me!

        • Still Here

          I don’t own a tv so I have no idea what Tavis does there, but when he’s with Cornel it’s all about race, and sometimes jazz, but even that is about race most of the time.

          • Anonymous

            You can’t be serious. Jazz is all about race? Well all the innovators were black and they invented the music, but jazz is very democratic by nature.

            Also you’re comments about your perception of race is very telling.
            I can see by your comments, which are  full of belligerence, ignorance of the subject. It’s real interesting when some white guy start lecturing black folk on race. The very nature of power structures and the history there of in this nation is based on the supremacy of power structures over others. That power structure is historically made up of white males.

          • Still Here

            Their discussion about it is.  Do I really have to clarify this for you?

            No belligerence, unless you are extremely sensitive, and the ignorance is all yours. 

            There are hudreds of millions of contradictions walking around here everyday to your ignorant view of history.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            “Well all the innovators were black and they invented the music”

            Are you sure about that? Seems like there were a few white dudes  in there too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    iOnePoint:

    If you want to know about poverty please ask me. don’t ask the people who never had rice and sugar for a meal.

    • Hidan

       Don’t you work for an Health Insurance company? with cheap healthcare?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Nope but if you notice a lot of hospitals in New England are merging to reduce cost and to avoid to shut down. if you work for a hospital the health insurances are cheaper.

        iknowbeingpoorbecauseigrewupinthephilippines.

        • Hidan

           my mistake, there was someone else on here whose philippino that was praising the Mass Health care and the good job they had there who had  an addition letter in front of fax.

  • Hidan

    Sweet Cornel West is always an interesting guest on onpoints show. He was fighting against stop and frisk in NY not on long ago. Which will become most likely illegal if congress passes the anti-profiling bill.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    http://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-biggest-slums-2011-2?op=1

    iOnePoint:

    See how 900 million poor people around the world live in their own slum cities.

  • Hidan

    Could Onpoint ask his guest about the “Violence Card”

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/04/17/trayvon-violence-card

    He says (Khalil Gibran Muhammad) that in the case of Trayvon Martin, instead of having a debate about why the shooting occurred, people cast aside the death of Martin (who is black) at the hands of Zimmerman (who is a white Hispanic) and turn their focus to violence that happens between black people.

    “The sense is that… [violence] is really black people’s problem and they have to fix it on their own,

    • John C

      After living in a poor inner city neighborhood for more than 10 years, I am forced to say that the anecdotal evidence I saw made me feel that this is a significant problem.  Cross racial violence was a very rare thing that I saw, to be perfectly honest.

      But I’d also say (further departing from the main point here), that almost all of it was drugs related, specifically relating to transactions.

      I am sorry Hidan, maybe I am taking your comments very far out of context, and if so, I apologize.  I frankly don’t have time to go over the link you provided and gain a contextual understanding of it.  Perhaps you could summarize if I have missed my mark?

      • Hidan

         In a sense, doubtful I can express Mr Muhammad  views as well as he did but ill try.

        Playing the “Violence Card” is used when say a unpunished police officer violence against blacks happen or instead of acting on a incident it’s rather dismissed  because black on black crime happens and the officer should rightfully associate blackness with violence’s and/or criminality. In short it’s the belief that blacks are inherently more violent and criminal than other groups and actions just or unjust should be validated.  For example in the Trayvon Martin case, ,many on the right uses black on black crime to minimize what happen to Mr. Martin. Pull up cases that had nothing to do with the Martin Case except it was a black attacking an white or black. The goal of course is to validate Zimmerman behavior and actions as normal because he was dealing with a black male.

        The “Violence Card” is used to attempt to show how blacks are inherently violent while openly ignoring the incident in the first place and justify abusive treatment of blacks because a crime was committed somewhere else in the country.

        You can listen to the piece as well.

        • John C

          Ahh much clearer now, yes I could very much empthize with your point, I think there’s a definite degree of validity to it.

      • Hidan

         ” Cross racial violence was a very rare thing that I saw, to be perfectly honest.”

        I lived all around the country and when I lived in the mid west much of the crime was done by whites but the punishment when blacks where busted for the same thing were leagues away, both my aunt and great aunt(chief) were part of the police department of the town. nearly all the drug dealers where white and when caught often the police would just take there stuff. white. Even have a officer harass me cause he thought I looked black and did so until I threaten legal action and we as talking about it at the station and my Great Aunt heard and told him who I was. He said ‘If he harasses enough of us he’s bound to get one” He later apologized  at our Christmas party and said I should have told him who my Great Aunt was or my Aunt.

        While it was well known most of the violence’s and crime were committed by whites the police would still target and harass the black in the community. We had a Meth and Cocaine problem in our community. The police department seemed to have the belief that blacks were inherently more violent and natural criminal while at the same time looking the other way. My Great Aunt used to explain it away by using the “violence card”

  • Anonymous

    Why does the Right hate the poor? 28% of them are children. 1 in 4 kids in America are on food stamps.

    The right has been instrumental in exporting our jobs through “Free Trade” and tax breaks and loopholes that actually encourage the export of jobs and capital. Two of my jobs have been exported. Our “job creators” are very active overseas thanks to these”‘market forces”.

    The US has lost 7 million middle class jobs since 2000. Our recovery has replaced well paying jobs with low wage jobs. I know many well educated, highly trained individuals with relevant skills who have had to take a pay cut. How many of you out there have had to take a pay cut?

    By exporting jobs, corporations shrink opportunity.

    We inevitably grow poorer as there is less opportunity accompanied by lower pay to spread across a growing population. So why are the poor demonized for being poor… because they can’t perform stochastic analysis on oil futures and win big?

    • Still Here

      Please, Obama just signed another free trade agreement citing all sorts of positives for American jobs. 

      The US economy is stagnant, thanks to the overbearing regulation of this president and the huge increase in taxes they see coming; and as a result companies, both domestic and foreign, are focused on other markets where people are not sitting on loads of debt because they had to take four vacations, own two cars and a boat, buy name brand this and that, flat screen tvs …  You can’t blame them.

      Only the government (and apparently isolated leftwing nutjobs) can avoid reality permanently and not respond to economic realities by continuing to spend more and more, employing more and more people, creating more and more bureaucracies, taking on more and more debt …

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘W’ admin. ADDED over 85,000 to the government payroll, as ‘CONTRACTORS’, that cost MORE, per person, than government employees!  THAT was in ‘Security’ ALONE!  EACH of the HUNDREDS of ‘contractor’ companies, have EXPENSIVE added costs, that would NOT have been incurred by just hiring more government employees, that are ACCOUNTABLE  to the government!
           HOW MANY MORE ‘HIDDEN’ COSTS WERE ADDED?

        • Drew You Too

          Don’t forget about the Tax Exemptions that those “Contractors” have enjoyed as well.

      • Victor Vito

        Do you mean President Barrack Obama?  Perhaps you could show the office the respect it is due.

        • Still Here

          You’re joking right.

          • Victor Vito

            Your response speaks volumes about you.

          • Still Here

            And yours you.  Whatever.  People get the respect they deserve, all people.

      • TFRX

        The economy is stagnant because of lack of demand.

        And it’s precious to hear you say in consecutive sentences “another free trade agreement” and “overbearing regulation”.

        This isn’t Foxnation.

    • Gregg

       You lost me at the first sentence.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        How many STRUGGLING, or poor piano players are there, for every one that makes over  $300,000 per year playing piano?
           Did that make it a little easier for you to understand?

        • Gregg

          The right does not hate the poor.

          • Still Here

            The left wants all the poor to work for the government; preferably in unionized positions so they can never be disciplined or fired.

          • Brettearle

            That is a gross, distorted sweeping–BUT sweeping–comment.

            It is the result of buying into, among other things, Right Wing Talk Radio propaganda…. 

          • Anonymous

            Well, would that not be better than being welfare queens.
            I’m betting you also think the poor are well off because they have TV’s, fridges and microwaves. 

          • Still Here

            I guess in a lefty’s mind those are probably the only options.  No wonder we are in decline.

      • Anonymous

        What part of 1 in 4 children are being fed with assistance do you not understand?

      • Gregg

         That was the second sentence.

    • Brettearle

      The Right hates the Poor–because  impoverished America symbolizes, to them, erroneously, the failure of the Right’s dogmatic inflexible values:  Rugged Individualism, Self-Reliance, and Picking One’s Self Up By One’s Bootstraps.

      The Right ignores–GLARINGLY so–misfortune, mental and physical illness, prejudice, economic downturns, difficulties in obtaining effective skill training….and anything else I’ve forgotten…..  

  • William

    After decades of failed government “help the poor programs” the idea of a negative income tax should be tried on a limited scale to see if it will work.

  • dirk in omaha

    would you please ask brother West about the late Tony Judt’s call for a social democratic movement in the US, thanks

  • Sam Walworth

    Education is the only meaningful way one can really climb out of poverty, and unfortunately unlike many other countries, its cost prohibitive in the USA

    • Gregg

      I don’t disagree about education but if that means going a couple hundred thousand dollars into debt to get a degree in philosophy then not so much.

      I did fine at Hard knocks University.

      • Brettearle

        Other people can’t necessarily follow in your footsteps–simply because you see yourself as a success.

        • Gregg

          That’s not my point. Hard knocks is not for the faint of heart. Spending a snowy night in a phone booth is no fun. I’m just saying the general notion that education has to cost tons of money is incorrect. I may have inferred Mr. Walworth wrong but he alluded to education being cost prohibitive. It also matters what you learn and the market for those skills.

          • Brettearle

            I agree with your further explanation–and those are good points.

            But please keep in mind that some men and women are simply not as resourceful, as we might want to think.

          • Sam Walworth

            Gregg,

            I am not talking about some faint heart kiddish degree.

            I mean even to get a meaniningful decent education in high tech world (Medicine, Pharma, Engineering, Comp Science etc) people in UK, Ireland, Australia and even in India, its much inexpensive (comparitively) than in the USA.

            Agreed e.g. in US the doctors make handsome money (on an average  200k), but guess what, so do they in Ireland, but there, the doctors have almost zero student debt and that put them ahead in the game.

          • Gregg

            Sure, that’s one route but it takes far more than money. It takes incredible sacrifice, a lifetime of preparation for that sacrifice, a long term plan, determination, ethics and a healthy risk. I posit that any one willing to do that will not be poor even without a college degree.

            I get your point but these days there is a whole lot of belly aching about debt from student loans and talk of bailing them out. I guess I was taking your comment as an opportunity to make that point.

          • Sam Walworth

            Well, I agree with you.

            I think its more than just a student loan issue here.

            Ask anyone who is born and raised in the USA these days and who is under 30, the answer to the most important questions to their own life would be .. “I dont know”.

            e.g. What do you want to do in life?

            What career path are you going to chose?

            What is your plan for higher education?

            Why do you need to be educated?

            When are you hoping/planning going to get married?

            When do you think you will be ready for kids?

            And boy… ask them..

            Who do you think is the next DWTS star or American Idol star, answer can compete with any PhD thesis..

          • Gregg

            Brilliant comment. Those questions and that introspection are so important.

          • Anonymous

            The government should have spent money on state schools instead of subsidizing private schools and thus allowing their costs to go out of control. 

      • Stephen Hines

        Not really.

      • Anonymous

        Again, you are out of date. Philosophy degrees are proving to be helpful in finding and enjoying the right work. Many companies have found that workers with them do better work in a number of areas.

        • Gregg

          My brother has one, he does fine but his work is unrelated and he doesn’t have the debt.

  • Gregg

    I can turn a single cheese cracker into a fish dinner. I do it all the time. I put it in a minnow trap and take it down to the creek. In a couple of hours I’ll have a dozen or so minnows with which I can catch enough fish to feed 3 or 4 people. I can add some vegetables from my garden and have a feast fit for a king. My wife is a coupon queen and we have a pantry full of food that cost next to nothing. The store actually paid us 19 cents one time for a pint of ice cream. The secret is triple coupon day.

    I volunteer to help the poor by teaching them these procedures.  I’ll leave it to others to hand out crumbs and think they’ve helped anyone.

    • Anonymous

      Well I’m sure for those not living by a creek the minnow supper would not be an option. I’m more into being creative with beans and rice (brown rice, more nutritious).
      I here you about being good with money. But this show is not about that.

      • Gregg

        Yes! And they combine to make a complete protein.

        I think good use of money is related to poverty so I disagree. I know many poor people who eat at Bojangles (or some such) every day when that same money would go much further in a grocery store. At some point it becomes imperative to cut back on expenses, make a long range plan and climb out of the hole. Triple coupon day is a good place to start.

        BTW, I can show you how to dig earthworms too. Most people have access to dirt.

        • CoudreMode

          This is a very “one-size’fits” all apporach to solving a problem.  If a working poor person spends 3 - 4 hours a day commuting to a low wage job via inadequate public tranpsortation that certianly cuts into their coupon clipping time. Earthworms are certainly useful creatures but those that live in city dirt ingest petroleum by-products, chemicals and fertilizers that have been in the soil for decades.

          • Gregg

            ” If a working poor person spends 3 - 4 hours a day commuting to a low
            wage job via inadequate public tranpsortation that certianly cuts into
            their coupon clipping time.”

            I would not recommend living that way. That person should acquire better skills or move.

          • CoudreMode

            Again a one size fits all approach.

          • Gregg

            Why would anyone live as you describe if they didn’t have to. They don’t have to.

            The welfare state is a “one size fits all approach”.

          • CoudreMode

            I don’t recall saying anything about a welfare state

          • Gregg

            You didn’t, I did.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t worry. No one takes Greggg seriously about anything.

          • Anonymous

            Wouldn’t the 3-4 hour commute on inadequate public transportation allow for plenty of time to cut coupons? 

          • CoudreMode

            It would be virtual office on the bus

          • Azra

            As long as nobody steals your purse while you’re trying to clip.

          • Anonymous

            Bring pointy sharp scissors.

          • Gregg

            I can’t believe I missed that.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Try it a couple of months, and report back?

        • Anonymous

          I have vegetable gardens and I need the worms. 

    • Anonymous

      Thank the government for the keeping the water clean enough for fishing.

      • Gregg

        Everybody loves clean water and everybody can benefit from it. And those of us who buy fishing licenses gladly pay for the management of our resources.

      • CoudreMode

        Which is not funded solely by fishing licenses

      • Azra

        Republicans are fighting our right to drink clean water, tooth and claw. Deregulation is the name of the game, so enjoy it while ye may.

        • Gregg

          That’s sick.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ALL TOO TRUE!!  You’re right, it’s sick, but GREED is the sickness that pushes it!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Some comments on here that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West will make this a show about black poverety?  Having watched Tavis Smiley many times, I’ll BET that he will bring up poverty among whites and other groups, IF you can get past your own prejudice?
      IF you can’t listen, WHY blame them for your ‘selective’ hearing and determined ignorance?
       Just put on a sandwich sign saying, in 5″ letters, I am PREJUDICED!  Wear that everywhere you go, to experience SOME of your own attitude?

    • Patrik

      You’re correct, he will.  He was on Morning Joe today speaking in a non ethno-centric tone, stating that it’s not just a black and brown issue.

  • Brothersower88

    Plutocracies only fear voters, so they “buy” voters or keep them ignorant.

    If you want change, go to the library, research, and know who you are going to vote for and why. 

    When was the last time you wrote, called, emailed, or visited your congressperson? 

    If communities of every socioeconomic standing start self-educating and become politically active, plutocracies will be forced to change.

    PS Does anyone know of any trickle down or trickle up success stories?  I hear from the left that helping the middle or lower class will help the economy, and i hear from the right that helping the upper class is better. 

    Both have been tried, but no one ever gives numbers and what difference they produced.  Can anyone cite any case studies or actual numbers (actual studies not anecdotal evidence)?

    • Brettearle

      Good comment.

      But have you ever considered that there may be NO solution to our current economic problems?

      To me, that may be the 2000 lb. Elephant, in the room. 

  • Patrik

    Let’s not forget, there is a wide perspective of what success means to everyone, which is mostly defined to us by the commercial marketers. Mr. Smiley and Dr. West are speaking to just surviving and how much it costs to do that today and how wages have not risen to meet those basic costs.  The more the world population grows, the less there is to go around and somone will be left out unless resources are spread out. Everyone, from Mr. Moneybags to the minimum wage worker will have to accept having less but less should be the minimum to survive.

    • Brettearle

      Population growth may, indeed, be a debilitating factor.

      But there may be an art to food distribution; to housing development; to urban planning; to sustaining indigenous resources; and to water distribution–all of which, it seems to me, can have a notable impact on repelling poverty.

      • Patrik

        True.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The GREEDY RICH fight that, at EVERY chance!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        We pay ‘public servant executives’ HANDSOMELY, to solve these problems!  536 in D.C., PLUS THOUSANDS OF STAFF, and experts!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HOW MANY ‘Mr. MONEYBAGS’, are accepting LESS?  CEOs find ways to INCREASE their ‘compensation’, while CUTTING workers’ pay and benefits!

      • Patrik

        Not many of them are accepting less but many are taking from workers through layoffs to increase their revenue.

  • wauch

    West & Smiley or Smiley & West 2016!!! Speak the truth to power and the masses gentlemen!

  • Sara

    I’d say povertylapping at our door.  I work at a homeless shelter and  for the first time we have a waitlist for case managers, a consistently longer waitlist for shelter, and have used or overflow room (for clients who have no other choice for a given night) more in the past year than ever in our history.  The use of our overflow room is up form 1 or 2 times a year to 2-3 times a month, sometimes more.  For people who do get section 8 housing vouchers, they are struggling to find housing with rent low enough (there are limits to rent for the vouchers.)

  • Anonymous
  • BHA in Vermont

    People should look at the history of Citi’s stock value under Pandit. He made something under $4 M in 2007.  The stock price dropped through the year. He made $38 M in 2008 while the stock slid more then crashed with the economy. There was a 1:10 stock ‘split’ a year ago and the current price of the stock is less than it was after the split. Under Pandit’s “leadership”, 10 shares of Citi stock in early 2007 was worth over $550. Those 10 shares are now one share and worth < $35.

    Tell me why he is worth a dollar, let alone $15M. Why would they WANT to give him a $10M retention bonus. The numbers say he is of no value, they would be better off if he left.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Pandit ought to be PAYING  Citi!

  • Anonymous

    One cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy middle class and plenty of expendable income to fuel economic activity. 
    Driving the middle class into poverty undermines the health of our economy. So
    by what miracle will the right’s economic initiatives that have promoted
    outsourcing of success and export of treasure suddenly reverse course?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    NICE LEAD!!  Millionaire Compensation of BANKSTERS!  EACH of these banks have COMITTED CRIMES against their mortgage holders, their customers, and the U.S. Government! 
       Yet, the LEADERS of these CRIMES, get Multi-MILLION DOLLAR ‘compensation’ packages? 
       They, and their ‘In-their-pocket-Legislators’, PROFIT from creating poverty?

  • Monica Roland

    According to all reliable sources, the three biggest routes to poverty are:  1.) not finishing high school;  2.) having a baby as a teenager and without benefit of marriage; and 3.) abuse of drugs and alcohol.  These are government statistics.  All these result from poor upbringing and poor decision-making.

    I just retired as a public school reading teacher.  I saw this first-hand.

    I am no mean-spirited right-winger.  I have volunteered time in a food pantry for 30 years; I support all local efforts to help young mothers; I have volunteered as a reading tutor.

    We have spent billions on poverty programs, but no program tells these truths to the young:  Value education and complete high school;  put off pregnancy until you are economically and emotionally ready to be parents;  and stay away from illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.

    Yes, we need to work for social justice at all levels.  But we must begin with the above truths.

    • Brettearle

      I think that your observations are narrowed–based on your career experience.

      Poverty can be much more subtle and tragic than that.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you entirely.

      If we could teach Sex Education in school and make Abortions $50.00, then we might actually get somewhere!

      • Azra

        Millions of woman wouldn’t be able to come up with $50. Abortions and other health issues must be addressed, and must be absolutely FREE, to the homeless & destitute.

    • Anonymous

      This comment smacks of self-righteousness.
        

      • Gregg

        I didn’t get that at all.

        • Anonymous

          To say it’s the fault of a young girls getting pregnant is nothing short of being self righteous. There are huge social issues at play here that go way beyond the bad choices being made by one demographic of the population. Poverty is more than high school girls getting pregnant. It’s about generations of failure in our education system, lack of resources, corruption, the breakdown of communities and the lack of people understanding the idea of civics and social awareness beyond their own self interest. 

          • Gregg

            You might have a point if she had said that. I’d say the fault is equally split with the father.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Sperm-donors say “I’ll love you forever, if you’ll let me!”, then are gone! 
              LIES, to get sex, or anything , is a form of fraud, and should be treated as the CRIME that it is!

    • ana

      My thoughts also.  Single motherhood, for most, is a direct road to poverty for themselves and their children.
      This must be addressed by such as the guests today.
      I am all for care to the needy, but it cannot be a one way street.     The problems run deep e.g. absent father often jobless or incarcerated, addiction. 
      I do think that it requires time and attention and study and a massive investment in early, early education, addiction prevention, mental health care to identify the roots of behavior that leads to debilitating poverty.

    • Azra

      It’s almost impossible to be a good student if you haven’t been eating. When you’re shakey, weak, and light-headed, with stomach pains, and the many other physical, and emotional symptoms, it’s not possible to concentrate, or to function on ANY level. Hungry people aren’t able to get even one night of sound sleep; it’s physically impossible. Lack of sleep only compounds all the problems. It’s a chronic, viscious cycle, a downward spiral. Depression naturally leads to drugs and alcohol, because they help to deaden the pain – temporarily. Hungry, depressed people can’t think clearly, so they frequently make bad decisions. It’s such a relief to be able to escape from their lives, and their hopelessly dire circumstances, that they want to feel that way all the time. Crime becomes a way of life, especially rape. Poor women can’t afford abortions, and they certainly can’t afford to raise a child. The child, who knows it wasn’t wanted, lives a sad life of rejection. Mother resents him/her, and neglects, beats/kills the children. The ones who are lucky enough to survive find that drugs make them forget, (if only for a little while), that no one loves or cares about them, and to escape from their dreary, hopeless lives . . . and the beat goes on . . .

    • Gregg

      Well said Ms. Roland. Those 3 issues are 99% of the time choices. People are free to make choices but should know better.

      • Sam Walworth

        Not neccessarily, being raped and getting pregnant is not a choice any woman desires to make.

        • Gregg

           ”…99% of the time…”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Priests have raped more than that?

    • Anonymous

      We have heard a lot lately about how the effects of PTSD explains horrific behavior among highly trained and vetted adults.  Maybe people who have been raised in profoundly troubled environments suffer from post-traumatic stress that adversely affects their ability to make the right choices.  

      • ana

        You are definately onto something.  Mental health issues emanating from violent abusive upbringing contribute greatly to low achievment and low esteem.  The psychological components that contribute to poverty are largely overlooked instead labeled lazy,etc.     As a health  care worker I have seen lives uplifted by  proper medication and therapy.

  • Michiganjf

    Gee,

        these CEOs underperform, engage in practices that are ruinous for their industries and economies at every level, joke or boast about bilking their clients…

     How dare anyone question their absurdly HUGE ”compensation” packages!!!!

    My only question:

    “Compensation” for what??!!! …making sure their corporations pour plenty of money into Republican SuperPacs????!!!

  • Anonymous

    I think the last time we heard about the poor was Mitt Romney saying that he doesn’t care about them.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      THEY don’t have an elevator for their wives’ Caddilacs?

  • David from Lowell

    The greatest obstacle to confronting poverty in this country is how the wealty decision makers use cultural issues to get the white rural poor to vote against their own economic interests.  Our government is rules via a cultural apartheid.

    • Brettearle

      Your comment is intriguing and maybe more insightful, than I might, at first, care to admit.

      The Right has found a way to convince a chunk of  lower middle-class and poverty-level voters that the Democratic party is unAmerican.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    These gentleman seem to forget that we’ve elected a Black president; this means that there is no racism any more, and in addition, no-one ought to feel bad about slavery, Jim Crow, and the like, nor consider that their effects might still be with us, ever again.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Sarcasm?  I sure hope!

  • Tina

    I admire these two men so very much, and this initiative of theirs is so very important, and they are so extremely clear.  I consider this to be the most important topic in American life, with protection of our environment next in line and connected.   Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/superflippy Susanna King

    People keep saying poverty doesn’t get attention from politicians because the poor don’t vote. How can we change this? How can we increase voter turnout among the poor?

    • Gregg

       Easy, give them free stuff.

    • Anonymous

      Vote-by-mail, making election day a national holiday, or making election day a multiple day event would help tremendously.  I think a lot of people skip voting because it takes too much time, and the jobs that pay poorly tend to be very inflexible in their timing.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HELP register the poor voters!  HELP the poor voters GET the required IDs!  ENCOURAGE these new voters, and newly-legal voters to VOTE against those that DISTRACT from the TRUTH!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    But the War on Poverty solved little.  Why would a president want to propose a new such effort with no evidence that it will work?

  • Susan

    Tom:  Yes, we ARE in denial, in denial as to the cause of the poverty.  Under a paper money standard which is what the federal government monopoly gives us, the rich always get richer and the poor poorer.  This has been the case throughout history.  Austrian Economics has the solution.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Are you suggesting a gold standard?  That would seriously shrink the economy, since there’s not enough gold in the world to sustain an economy of our size.

      • Susan

        >>there’s not enough gold in the world to sustain an economy of our size.
        That can’t be true…free markets always work with what is available and anyway how would you define “not enough gold?”  With gold, prices go up and then they go down.  With paper they go up and up and up.  Want to control your government?  Make sure it doesn’t abscond with the definition of the funds.  That is EXACTLY what the States attempted to do when the agreed to the gold and silver Coin clause in the US Constitution.  Oh yeah, our elected officials have IGNORED that clause for how long now? 

  • Erin in Iowa

    Part of the problem is that people are unwilling to identify themselves by class.  Most people THINK they are in the middle class when they are NOT.  This allows people of the same income group to be pitted against each other by the UPPER CLASS. And they all think they will eventually be rich, even though the chances of class mobility are now greater in Europe than in the US.

    • Gregg

      True, that’s why many in the upper class are ashamed of their wealth for no reason. Romney is an example.

      • TFRX

        Mitt Romney is “ashamed” of his wealth?

        When I hear him say “I’m unemployed too” I don’t hear him being ashamed. I hear a tone-deaf bid at finding common cause with a genuine not-middle-class person in a diner (as opposed to a lie-spouting Joe the Plumber) and failing.

        And if Mitt were, maybe if he had the slightest touch of noblesse oblige, he wouldn’t be.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    What is the definition of poverty?

    If half the people in the country are in poverty then why are so many obese?

    I guess US poverty is different than Biafran poverty.

    • Oedipa

       Cheaper to buy KFC than to buy fresh produce.

      • Brettearle

        Is your name derived from “Crying Lot 49″?

    • Anonymous

      Straw man arguments do nothing but show how ignorant you are. 

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Wrong.  It is a valid question.

        Are you in poverty if you have a cable package, a flat screen TV and a cell phone?

        • Anonymous

          Again, a false idea based on falsehoods.
          People in poverty cannot afford cable or new TV’s. Your comment is a straw man, period.

    • Brettearle

      I think you’re missing the point.

      Have you ever heard of cheap, fast food?

      Or the epidemic explosion of corn syrup–a scourge that is almost as bad, as Small Pox?

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         So maybe food stamps should be limited to healthy foods?

        • Brettearle

          It’s a point worth asking–but I’m uncomfortable with that sort of personal regulation.

          • TFRX

            I don’t know about the regulation part. But the idea of it founders for the effected people living in food deserts.

            In my county some people can take their regular commute and pass seven megamarts and three year-round farmstands. And go very near neighborhoods whose residents need to spend quite some time to get to a crap little store where their food dollar doesn’t go very far.

          • TFRX

             …and I just used “effected” where I meant “affected”.

        • Anonymous

          You make a good point.  More oversight and regulation by government officials would get us better results.

          • Brettearle

            Do I detect just a scintilla of sarcasm–or am I being tragically naive?

        • Julie_rohwein

           This idea has come up regularly, and whenever it does, the purveyors of all those empty calories (like the beverage companies) send their lobbyists in to strangle the idea in its cradle. 

    • TFRX

      Obesity is a sign of malnourishment and the proximity of cheap, bad calories, not undernourishment. You’re smarter than that.

    • Azra

      Yes, it’s VERY different. No McDonald’s, for one thing.

      People living in poverty are obese because they can’t afford wholesome food. Buying supermarket food is too expensive. Many can’t afford to eat well; they have no choice. They don’t have money for the very expensive food, much less pots, pans, knives, or anything else necessary for preparing wholesome meals. Some don’t have refrigerators, stoves, a hotplate, or even a kitchen, not to mention electricity. Unimaginable numbers of Americans are not able to prepare their own meals, due to any number of health problems. That, coupled with poverty, gives them no option but to have a cheap, greasy burger and fries for their one meal of the day. It’s all they can do.

      Nutritionally poor foods are loaded with the kinds of empty calories that only turn into fat. They also cause imbalances of all kinds in the human body, affecting metabolism, hormones, mood, and everything else. The only affordable foods for poor people are the ones responsible for bloating, excess fat production, combined with a slowing down of the metabolism, causing weight gain. That’s why poor people are overweight, and wealthy people usually are not. They also can’t afford to go to the gym, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have enogh energy to accomplish much, due to their poor diet. They’re in a rut, and are powerlesss to do anything about it.

      Things are different in Biafra.

      • Azra

        Why did this appear twice, I wonder, with a gap between?

  • Ron

    oh, come on, Tom, politicians are constantly talking about the poor. although they are doing it in economic terms about balancing the budget through cuts in food stamps, headstart programs, and “saving” social security and medicare.

    • Azra

      You’ve hit the nail squarely on its head.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Unlike West, Obama lost my support when he voted for the Welfare Check for Wall Street.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      FORCED, by Republicans holding Unemployment Extension and other items HOSTAGE!

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        The Welfare for Wall Street vote that I was referring to was before he was elected president. What are you talking about?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    All right, give us your solutions.  They’d better be something more beyond mere handouts.

    • LKS

      you mean like the handouts we give to corporations?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Exactly like those.  Neither makes any sense.  Government spending to promote social policy is reasonable, but we should be getting a good return on our money.

        • Gregg

           We can always print more.

    • Patrik

      I agree that we cant JUST throw money at the problem, the issue here is not enough people are taking it seriously enough to work towards a solution and a lot think all the poor are lazy drug users and boozers.  The issue is being faced with sneering dismissvie comments much like I have seen on the forum this morning.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         So far, we’ve been told that there’s a problem.  Indeed.  We knew that already.  Where’s the solution?

        • Patrik

          Again, the solution is for enough people to take it seriously and work as a collective to figure out the solution…your answer has been given, just gotta listen.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            That’s not an answer.  You’re just calling for a big talking session.  Name the actual policies, laws, and actions that will solve the problem.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HOW MUCH do we pay ‘experts’, in Congress, and elsewhere, to SOLVE this problem? 
         MAKE THEM PAY ALL THEY HAVE RECEIVED BACK, BECAUSE THEY HAVEN’T DONE THEIR JOB?
         OR will they get BONE-USes, like Multi-Millionaire CEOs that BANKRUPT the company they were hired to LEAD?

  • Anonymous

    obama and romney view  the average person (minimum wage to $35k) like the upppeclass view the homeless …walk right by

  • Anonymous

    come on now  “unskilkled labor” type work is being taken out of the country don’
    t blame us

  • Drew You Too

    Capitalism is our Religion. Deny it all you want but we ALL worship at The Temple of The Holy Dollar in this country. It seems obvious that the ostracism of the poor stems from the fact that they can’t purchase goods. The poor can’t contribute to our Consumption based Dogma. In short, the poor are Heretics and must be stoned to death. This is not my view, neither is it the view of the doctrine so many Americans profess to follow. What can we do about it?

    • Brownduncan

       In God we trust…all others pay cash.

    • Ayn Marx 666

       More subtly:  the poor show themselves to be the Damned, that is, the Preterite, predestined to torment.  Helping the poor, as with touching the LORD’s anointed wealthy by taxing them AT ALL, is against God’s Plan, as is feeling any sympathy with the poor—in fact, the torments of the Damned are among the just and righteous pleasures of the Saved.

      If we stopped believing the poor deserved all they got, and were people instrinsically different to us, we might consider that we too might become poor, and that would be unsettling.

      And if we couldn’t believe that this were a just world; we might start to believe that we haven’t made it all on our own, and that something more were required of us than self-satisfaction in our own obvious Worthiness.

    • Brettearle

      It’s a good point.

      But too many people will not want to take your comment seriously, because they don’t want to admit their own selfishness, lack of compassion….and, sometimes, their own feelings of helplessness, as to what to do about it.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     13% of the federal budget in 2011 went to the safety net.
    $466B  – of course we borrowed 40% of this and therefore put in on our children and grandchildren.

    This number does not include healthcare — which is much larger.

    • Anonymous

      19% of the federal budget went to the Defense Department.  

      I’d rather spend money on helping people than blowing them up.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        That 19% does NOT include ALL the ‘black’ projects, ‘Contractors’, and MANY other HIDDEN ‘Defense’ expenditures!

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         We are borrowing 40% of the defense budget too.

      • Anonymous

        It’s already double that when you include associated costs. And will get larger as more and more permanently damaged troops require life-long government assistance.

    • Brettearle

      Please don’t forget Bush II’s 2 wars.

      And that Obama was warned by many Economists that unless something was done about the Health Care Industry, the country would go under–solely from Health Care costs.

      Do you wish to see everything through the prism of Entitlement Program costs?

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         They were not ‘Bush’s’ two wars.  Last I checked he had bi-partisan support for both via congressional votes.  Iraq is done and the cost was about $1T.  Obama embraced Afghanistan as the ‘good’ war and escalated.

        Obamacare does nothing to lower health care costs.

        We should all be for reducing entitlement costs — by increasing jobs.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ‘W’ received a vote to use millitary power, IF ALL other avenues were exhausted.  ‘W’ chose to IGNORE those other avenues, thereby ILLEGALLY entering into the Iraq War!

        • TFRX

          Don’[t ignore that “Vote for it or you’re unAmerican” bipartisanship.

        • Brettearle

          Last I checked–with regard to Iraq–we were hoodwinked by the Neo-Cons, in Washington.

          Bush did not try to build a coalition for Afghanistan–which would have saved us billions.

          Last I checked, the early parts of the Afghanistan war, were on the cheap, because of Iraq.

          Had we put much, much more of our resources into one war–Afghanistan–it would have cost us much much less treasure of men and women and the financial costs of billions.  And the war WOULD have ended sooner.

          The Affordable Care Act is DESIGNED to prevent the country from going bankrupt, in the future.

          If men and women can find jobs, if there were less entitlement programs, then WHY ARE THERE SO MANY UNEMPLOYED MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE NOT IN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS?

          It’s not the country’s fault if you lack essential vision–because of your inflexible political dogma.

    • Robbie

       Are you forgetting those two wars started by Dubya?? Stop hating on the “safety net” and realize that lunatics like Bush and Cheney put this country in debt and put that on our children and grandchildren. Bush had a huge budget SURPLUS left by President Clinton…… or were you sleeping from 2000-2009?? smh

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Do think the safety net is effective?  Without waste and abuse?

        The waste and abuse hurts the people that really need it.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Corporate WELFARES don’t have WASTE and ABUSE?  $BILLIONS to them, for CUTTING jobs and wages, isn’t waste and ABUSE?

  • WW_ph15

    The well off want to demonize the poor so that they can avert their eyes and not offer help. As if being wealthy automatically makes one moral and superior.

    • Brettearle

      Somr also try to avoid guilt.

      • Brettearle

        Some also try to avoid guilt.

    • Azra

      It only makes them powerful, greedy, and selfish.

  • Brownduncan

    “Poverty or prison” is the choice many are faced with.  

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    We don’t need a safety net.

    We need a trampoline.

    Of course the answer is increasing jobs for the middle class.
     

  • Ajcohen

    The Republican and independent voter needs to consider the concept of “enlightened self interest.”

    Is it in the interest of the average voter to ignore the problems of rising income inequality and poverty and risk growing social instability and unrest?

    Andy

  • Anonymous

    I am concerned about the very wealthy. Many are entitled and
    do not ascribe their success to the very economic system that we have. They
    believe that their success is solely based upon their hard work. They blame
    everyone else’s failure upon them. This is reflected in their mismanagement of
    this economy and refusal to associate their tax and economic policies with our
    economic system’s decline. Sure the globalization of the economy is inevitable,
    but we’ve been packing our economic back packs with Hawaiian shirts an sandals for
    a trip to the North Pole.
     

  • Jamison

    we need to also look at the not pour that take advantage of there safety net.  Like that guy that got busted in low income housing and a 3 cars and 2 boats.

    • Robbie

       oh yea… lets do that and ignore the hungry children. Go play with your banjo dude

  • WW_ph15

    People used to be able to pay for the basics, food, shelter, health care, with a modest pay check. These days you just can’t do it. Full time work at $12/hr. or minimum wage makes you the working poor not immoral.

  • Anonymous

    Important subject these days, and the point Travis makes about this new poverty threatening our American democracy is a topic that should be further discussed by all parts of the political spectrum. It is a cancer that is and will continue to spread through our democracy.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    War on Poverty?  One of two wars that the Johnson administration blew.

    • Anonymous

      Johnson did not blow the war on poverty. The Vietnam War took away all the funding and his ability to focus on it.

  • linda

    ‘rich and the rest of us’? ‘the rest of us’? seriously?! tell me west and smiley aren’t rich. oh, the (cynical) irony!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Reportedly Tavis Smiley is worth north of $10M.

  • Anonymous

    We need jobs not high finance. The 1% and their stooges DEMAND that workers know their place. Poverty is a baseball bat used to beat workers into total submission.
    Workers must know their place. 
    Workers must accept that they have NO Rights.
    Workers exist to serve and obey and like it.

    First the 99% needs to wake up to this fact.
    The next question is what will the 99% do about this?

    For decades we have accepted the criminal extortion perpetrated by corporations and the plutocrats running them. They demand   that we give them no taxes and a docile and desperate workforce or they will move the jobs elsewhere.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    SEVERAL WHITE callers in poverty!  Puts the LIES about blacks and race of the program in the open!

  • SueFrankewicz

    Tavis quotes the late Anne Richards to describe Mitt Romney’s privileged life and propensity to misspeak, “He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  I always thought the better quote was,
    “Poor (George) (Mitt.)  He was born on third base and he thinks he hit a triple.”

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Yup he was born as valedictorian of BYU.  Hard work had nothing to do with it.

      • TFRX

        Hey, he even struggled as a student–had to sell some of his stock! Horrors!

      • Azra

        Is that also how he got out of the draft?

    • Anonymous

      Mitt’s father’s companies actually built things and employed people.  He didn’t buy companies, gut them, and fire people.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Like Staples?

      • Gregg

        You mean buy companies, restructure them and preserve jobs… don’t you? Or would you rather see EVERYONE lose their job and buildings stand empty as the tax base shrinks?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Dignity again?  That’s not a solution.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    How does the government create jobs at a living wage?

    • Anonymous

      It confers bargaining power on wage earners. 

  • Anonymous

    WHY WONT THE FEDS AJUST POVERTY LEVEL FOR INFLATION AND FORCE CORPERATIONS TO KEEP MONEY IN USA YOU AND I MUST KEEP MONEY IN USA THEY TAKE CASH OUT OF COUNTRY AND IN EFFECT TAX BRAKES TOO A REAL CRIME

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     So we have a call for protectionism?

    • Anonymous

      You mean like copyright and patent protection enforced at government expense and authority?

  • Webb Nichols

    There are more people than there are jobs. Technology reduces
    the need for labor. 7-8 % permanent unemployment will become the norm in the United States.

  • Robbie

    the last politician who really pushed the issue of poverty was John Edwards… & look at what they are doing to him.. Criminalizing his personal behavior.
    I was a diehard Obama supporter during the last campaign, however, he lost my support when he started handing out obscene amounts to the banks and corporations…. & hiring the very culprits who got us into this mess to serve in his administration. Geitner, Daley etc..
    “1 in 2 Americans” is equal to about 200 million Americans.
    Bush was bad but I never expected this from Obama.

    • TFRX

      Edwards was right about Two Americas.

      Funny how lefty ideas from losing candidates never echo inside the Beltway.

      His personal behavior, however, left a lot to be desired, to put it mildly. And that’s recognizing him as a politician who didn’t campaign on a platform of laws to improve everyone else’s private behavior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellery-Tuck/100000121509965 Ellery Tuck

    Why are we not talking about why this nation finds itself in this position?  Why are you not discussing the causation, tax cuts for job creators for the past 3 GOP Administration, the redistribution of wealth that has taken place as a result of trickle down economics,  the proposed Ryan tax plan which will accelerate this continued transfer of wealth, cut entitlements, and safty nets?

    Why not discuss the collapse of other nations which failed because of massive transfers of wealth to the top 2% in history, such as Rome and Venice. and compare that to what is happening in the US?  Why not discuss  the cost of health care. twice as much as the rest of the worlds industrialzed nations.

    Why not discuss what worked during the Clinton years, and what has failed during the Bush Administration, and  how the GOP is simply trying the same old failed policies again?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Cornel West has a large and diverse family with all of these brothers.

    So far, I’m hearing a good establishment of the problem, but pie in the sky solutions.  In my Comp. I class, this argument essay would get a C.

  • Isernia

    People are now just beginning to realize the extent of poverty and the disparity of income in the US thanks to the Occupy movement, and also because they have seen their friends, relatives and neighbors of middle class LOSE IT ALL.  The conservatives among us still have “bad” memories of Johnson’s War on Poverty….the lower middle class saw people on Food Stamps and Welfare Queens every day…they do not see (and do not read much) about the Welfare Queens of Corporate America.  

  • AC

    at the risk of sounding insensitive, i really think the problem is population. there’s just no NEED for so many (tech has replaced them) - i think we could prob, seriously, fix poverty forever if we could fix the population problem…i really believe this
    it just sounds awful in the face of the suffering going on at this moment

    • Drew You Too

      We could fix poverty forever but population reduction won’t do the trick. Only a fundamental shift in our base nature (greed) will have an impact.

      • AC

        i don’t disagree about humans and greed, but I don’t believe the argument in general – of course the problem is overpopulation….every modeling matrix i’ve thought through depends on that variable……course i’ve never actually ‘run’ the models through any program, just my mental one (which could always be defective(:  ) 

        • Drew You Too

          So let’s say there’s only two humans left on earth. There’s only one deer left and no vegetation. One has a rifle and the other has a stick. What do you think will happen? I understand your point that a decrease in population would be equivalent to an increase in resources, but the lack of resources is not and has not historically been the problem. The PERCEIVED lack of resources is a different story. For the first time in Human History we are at a point technologically that we can truly address every serious issue we face. Yet we don’t. We do what is financially profitable and disregard what is generally beneficial.

          • notafeminista

            If one isn’t profitable then one can’t pay a living wage.

          • ana

            The recently published book “Abundance” (discussed on On Point)
            points to how technology is addressing some of the great challanges of humankind.

          • Steve

            First you shoot the guy with the stick before you go to sleep with your gun.

            Old variation on “I do not have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            In EITHER scenario, civilization DIES!

          • AC

            that is interesting since i work directly in the field of addressing the serious issues with technology, i can tell you the population is growing much faster than our ability to solve the various problems we are to face soon…also, the growing population doesn’t want to help itself by funding the changes, it’s a little funny in a twisted humor kind of way.
            if you could ref. reports of the solutions you speak of, i would appreciate it!! thanks!!

          • Drew You Too

            There is not one specific technological advancement that will save us. if we combined ALL currently known technologies and had a cohesive Global effort to actually address our problems we could. The thought of how solving Global issues will be profitable has to go the way of the Dinosaur though, it will never be financially profitable in the short term to Save The World. Once the “What’s in it for me?” demon pops into our heads we get bogged down in how something is personally profitable as opposed to how it is actually beneficial. Why can’t we separate profit from potential?

            As for referencing reports, you know better than I that there isn’t a single cohesive “Save The Planet” report. That certainly doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be.

            :’P

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Encouraging people to NOT have, or start, children, so the population will NOT increase?

    • Gregg

      Be careful AC, when you start talking about controlling population there are no easy, ethical answers. Vonnegut wrote a book (I forget which one) that described a time in the future when suicide was considered noble. There were suicide parlors with very easy, ethical means for those who wanted to use them.

      I’m not suggesting that but it was a thought provoking  book. I would suggest we make suicide legal though. I don’t want to go much past that. The discussion gets creepy fast, excuse me.

      • Brett

        Was that one of his alter ego’s (Kilgore Trout) books?

        • Gregg

          “Venice On The Half Shell” was Kilgore Trout’s book but I don’t think that was it. I want to say it was in “Welcome to the Monkey House” but I’m not sure. I read them all 25 years ago.

          Where is “Vonnegutwasright” when you need him?

        • Brettearle

          Might have been TimeQuake.

          Schlact-Hof Funf was my favorite of his.

          [Billy Pilgrim lives....]

      • AC

        i like vonnegut, but nothing’s coming to me….
        harrison bergeron? lol

    • Steve

      Who gets to decide how the population is reduced?
      Is it voluntary, based on merit, education….?

      Who buys all the products that technology has made possible?….

      • AC

        the historical deciders are famine, disease, war….nothing i want anything to do with…..also, migration, but we need a big spaceship for that one….

        i’m a minamilist at heart, i hate clutter & ‘stuff’

  • Mike in PA

    As a conservative, I agree with Mr. West that it is quality jobs and a living wage.  But I see the deeper majoritive heart of the severe problem as an inherited one.  And to me, that solution is better quality education and other assurances that ensure that we stop the inherited poverty.  You cannot free the slaves, deprive them of an education, and then expect equal ability to obtain equal opportunities.  I wish, wish, Presidents Obama and Bush would have taken the bailout money and just handed it over to public education.  If we cannot agree on who is at fault for poverty, we can certainly agree that children are the innocent victims.  At least save and help them.

  • Cathy

    I am a 60 year old Australian living in USA for the past 7 years. I am curious about America’s belief that they don’t need to listen to the rest of the world. To improve the standard of living for the middle class and the poor why not welcome in the new Health Care Policy for starters. And stop foreclosing on housing – get banks to negotiate better rates and give people time to pick up. More regulation is needed. America is TOO democratic!

    • Azra

      Reasonable Americans agree with you, but Republicans are NOT reasonable; they only want power and wealth – for themselves and their cronies. After all, if they allowed the President to “do the right things” for the Country, they’ll never regain power. Their only focus is on the White House. They Have to get there, At ANY PRICE, stooping to any level. They won’t stop at anything, and now are, in a desperate attempt to get votes from people who don’t like the candidate! So, now they’re even saying that they’ll help the middle class, of course they never say how they will help. That’s typical of Republicans, though they promise a new house and all-espense-paid vacation for everone who votes Republic, (maybe thay’s their next strategy), but after they’re elected, nothing else is heard about their wild promises. All those topics are drooped like hot potatoes, and are forgotten. The most incredible thing about it is that nobody ever mentions it again, or seems to care! Remember the 2010 election, when Republicans were promising everything to us, especially JOBS? They said that they were only concerned with jobs, and, in a way, they meant it. Of course, Scott Walker neglected to mention that their top priority was getting RID of jobs, firing teachers, and everyone possible. (At least, in his case there was an uproar; too many smart people in Wisconsin. He hadn’t counted on that.)
      Just remember that Republicans always promise the opposite of what they really intend to do, and whatever they present as fact, or truth, are the most outrageous lies. It’s easy to know what they’re about, once you’ve sussed the system.

      The main thing to keep in mind is that they’re never on OUR side, the side of America. They don’t care about us, and they never will. They care only about themselves, and money. . how they can get more. Money = POWER, something they’ll never have enough of.

      If the 99% is happy, we won’t hire them. That’s why their one goal is not to make us happy. Their only goal, every second, for all these years, has been to make America (President Obama) fail. They MUST convince the gullible that, (in spite of all facts to the contrary), America is going down the tubes, especailly since Barack Obama straightened things out.

      We know that they can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time, but we certainly have more than our share of fools here in America.

  • barbara

    I am writing a paper on this very subject and I wonder where do they think the middle class is disappearing to, the middle class will be hard to bring back if the status quo is maintained. We need the buffer of the middle class to keep the poor from being pushed even further down below the cracks.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    CORPORATE WELFARE helps a FEW people A LOT!  Welfare helps a LOT of people a LITTLE! 
       Corporate Welfare recipients can use their Welfare payments to BUY lobbyists!  Lobbyists LOBBY to get MORE Corporate Welfare for the WEALTHY of Corporate Welfare!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The SAME amount of money given to ONE company on Corporate Welfare, could provide Living Wage JOBS, for hundreds, or thousands!

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    To the caller just now — Mr. Romney has acknowledged his good fortune.

  • Nancy Frey

    No one seems to want to draw the link between lack of affordable health care – and lack of access to quality health care – and poverty.  As someone who has lived on three continents and has lived in countries where health care is considered a basic right of citizenship, I have to say the absence of willingness to address this is astounding.

  • Michiganjf

    CEOs once recognized quite well their incentive for bolstering a middle class and providing Americans with jobs… it meant MORE CUSTOMERS for their products or services!!!

      These short-sighted CEOs killed the golden goose… a consumer society the likes of which will NEVER be duplicated again!!

    There simply is NO WAY, given modern economic and resource constraints, that the world will ever again see an equivalent consumer society to the one which short-term greed killed in America.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, with so much of our “economy” consisting of bad-money finance, more desperate broke people does create more customers for the schlock these businesses peddle.

  • Tim

    I think that there is the possibility that it may not be just apathy that keeps the middle class people, as well as wealthier people, from looking at people who are suffering from poverty. Often, it could be fear. Two kinds of fear: Fear of touching other people’s suffering and fear that it could easily be me in this suffering. I am curious to hear Mr Smiley and Dr West thoughts about how we can be encouraged to go past our fear and engage with the cause and the people need support?

  • Sschlabaugh

    The way to fix this problem is TERM LIMITS for our congressmen.  They are so concerned with keeping their jobs that they don’t do whats right.  Who contributes to their campaigns?  The 1%.  That’s who they serve.  NOT the rest of us. -Stephanie  Kalona, Iowa

  • Anonymous

    obama-romney view all this like a giant pitbull fight so much fun

  • david

    Writing to you from the shadows of my alma mater, Williams College, having made less than $20,000 last year  in the prime of my earning years.  This country is a joke, and your guests are ultimately just continuing the charade.  At the end of the day, they will vote for the “best of the worst” and line up behind Obama, Republicans behind Romney, and so it goes. When your guests finally talk about REALLY changing the system (such as REALLY supporting a 3rd party or unco-opted Occupy protests), then I’ll believe they aren’t just pontificating and hawking their book and feeding their egos.

  • Santafe_dude

    Short solution is to tax the elitist corporate pigs that shipped our jobs (and hence tax base) out of this country.

    The longterm solution is to tax/fine companies if they don’t bring manufacturing jobs to America. We need to regulate corporate lobbyists and clean up campaign finance.

    There is no Band-Aid solution. We need to return to an industrial base like what propelled us into Super-power world status.

  • Julia

    Caller Brenda, you ROCK!

  • Anonymous

    the upper class now are new slave owners

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Good intentions plus $1.25 buy me a Coke.  You have to have actions that work.

  • Mazie

    My husband, MBA and life-long learner, has been out of work for one year due to government regulation of the for-profit education sector.  For-profit institutions, no longer able to incent admissions reps who enroll students, went to the chopping block in 2011 as a means to protect profits and their status on Wall Street.  Like many other Americans, we are living off of a much reduced income and pay $24,000 annually for COBRA health.  Health Insurance has to be “detangled” from employment.  It makes no sense whatsoever to further oppress people for losing jobs!!!
     

    • Anonymous

      It’s not the regulations that are at fault. It’s the for profit education schools that created the situation that lead to them. Don’t blame the government when this is clearly the result of the extremely faulty busniess model on the part of this sector.  You can’t tell me that he was not aware of what was going on. These for profit schools are ripping off tens of thousands of students and they are doing it with tax payer money. They exist only because of the Federal student loans, if they could not get them all of them, and I mean 100% of these schools would close down tomorrow. This is one of the largest scandals in our midst and the GOP and some Democrats are doing everything to prevent any real investigation into what’s going on here.

      Sorry to say your husband made a bad choice. If he’s a smart capable person he should be able to find work.

       

      • notafeminista

        Wow.  If only smart, capable people could find work…OWS would be out of a movement.

        • notafeminista

          *chuckle*

  • Jim1024

    The only real answer to the problems we face in this country is a fairly simple one but extremely hard to implement.  The answer is we have too many people, reduce the population by, say 20% over time & many major problems go away.  We, as a workforce, will never need large masses of workers again.  Will mass factories ever exist again in the USA?  I doubt it, will the number of farmers increase to help small local rural economies, i doubt it.   Corporate greed will not go away, human nature does not change, I fear for the future of this country & at 49 years of age I am saddened that I have seen my country fall so far short of what I envisioned as a youth.

    • Robbie

       reduce the population?? Is that something like the “Final Solution”?? You need to put down Mein Kampf and get a good shrink.

      • notafeminista

        To both Robbie and jefe – reducing the population means a smaller carbon footprint doesn it?  Fewer consumers = less consumption.

    • Anonymous

      You can’t be serious. So you are advocating a kind of final solution, or gulag. How about bringing back slavery.

  • Ed

    What American capitalism needs is MORE outsourcing.
    CEOs and CFOs should be replaced with  English-speaking execs in India at a fraction of the cost.  THEN watch things change!  

    • TFRX

      What about our pundits?

      Somewhere between the 60th meridian E and the international date line we can find a lower-cost Tom Friedman.

    • Bigchano

       That’s a nice idea. However, it turns out we live in a FREE MARKET and NO ONE WANTS THIS or it would, in fact, be happening.

  • Trish Stauble

    Symphony of the Soil, a new movie, tells about job opportunities by turning away from industrial agriculture which is currently using 70% of the clean water in the U.S.  Turning to sustainable farming methods will revitalize jobs in rural America and begin to save our soil and water and address global climate change !

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      And for those of us who don’t want to be farmers?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    But how would you spend the trillion dollars if it went to solving poverty, rather than to fighting wars?  Specifics, people.  These generalities and good feelings mean nothing.

  • Anonymous

    force corporations to pay us minimum wage in other countries
    just like the fact that it is a crime to take a “sex trafficking”
    vacation” make it illegal for companies to exploit workers over seas.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Japan SOLD cars, made in Japan, HERE, for decades!

    • bellavida

      That’s because Detroit dropped the ball and did not learn  a thing from the oil embargo of the 70′s.  I would have happily bought an American car….15 yrs ago if they could have offered a quality, fuel-efficient, competitive car to the Civic at the time I looked at Ford, Pontiac, Saturn…..and am glad I went with the Civic…it’s still going strong, sold it for $3,000 and bought myself another Honda.   Of note…my 2012 CRV was assembled in Libertyville Ohio….and from what I’ve read is a state-of-the-art plant that pays very livable wages.  

  • Caroljordan1

    My heart goes out to all that are in desperate situations.  I just purchased the manifesto.  My questions is,  where can I best help further this mission of more and better jobs, health care for all, food on every table?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Buy local-made, local-grown, and products made by the poor.
         Buy a little extra food (nutritious), and donate it to food banks.
         Hire local poor citizens to do work for you?
         Help establish, fund, supply, and staff local health clinics.
         There are so MANY ways that people CAN help!
         IF you truly have the desire, you’ll find your own best ways!

  • Jaki Reis

    The reason why no one wants to talk about poverty is the same reason why poverty is increasing, as Travis is saying right now:  the direct connection between low wages and high profits going to the owners and the stockholders.  The owners and stockholders know that their profits are being wrung from the wages of the workers, they will use any means necessary to avert attention away from that fact. The extra $4 or $5 an hour, that would make the difference between eating, paying the rent or mortgage and health care and comfortable middle class living, multiplied by the number of workers in their corporation becomes the millions in profits that is given as salary and bonuses.

    Add to that, the weak and vulnerable position it leaves the majority in, is the exact position that makes us most manipulatable. Unless and until this fact is focussed on and addressed, nothing else we do will not be enough.

  • Brownduncan

    I don’t think Ashbrook gets it – being a Bostonian elitist at his core.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       You’re being ironic, I take it?

    • Rick Carpenter

      I don’t think you can call Tom Ashbrook an elitist when you consider his background. He’s certainly paid his dues:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Ashbrook

  • Cam

    Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income
    There were comments in the new recently that 50% of Americans don’t pay any [income] tax.  Republicans were saying that was unfair.  Sounds to me like that is the right amount for the 1 in 2 who are poor/low-income.  Republicans need to open their eyes and ears, take off the blinders so they can see the whole picture.

    • notafeminista

      Do those 50% not avail themselves of goods and services provided by the government?

      • Anonymous

        Damn those freeloading infants, children and Alzheimer-suffering elderly.  They need to start ponying up.  Or else!

        • notafeminista

          You didn’t answer the question.

          • notafeminista

            Or are you suggesting that half the US population is made up of infants and the senile?

          • Anonymous

            People under age 20 and over age 65 constitute about 40% of our population.   But really, who cares?  Are you complaining about the situation because it’s “not fair?”   What about it bothers you?

          • Gregg

            I saw no complaining just irrefutable fact. Thanks for proving my point.

          • Anonymous

            Posting random facts, irrefutable or not, does not make a point.  Just what is your point?

          • Gregg

            The one I made to Cam above. Sorry, I got my threads mixed up. Was Nota Complaining? 

          • notafeminista

            People under the age of 20?  Why not make it 26?  30? 

          • Still Here

            Half of this board perhaps, you know who you are, except perhaps in the case of the senile

    • Gregg

      Democrats claim Republicans don’t pay their “fair share” The fact that half the country doesn’t pay at all blows that argument out of the water. It has nothing to do with Republicans complaining about being taxed.

      • Anonymous

        They took more than their fair share.  Taxing them proportionately is fair. 

    • Anonymous

      The 50% of households paying zero income tax includes 48% of households making from $20,000 to $50,000; 13% of households making from $50,000 to $100,000; and 2% of households making more than $100,000.  According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, in 2010 the maximum income a married couple with two children can earn and yet pay no federal income tax, assuming no unusual tax situations, is $50,250.  There are a lot of households not in poverty that are getting a free ride when it comes to federal income taxes.

    • Azra

      Those figures can’t be accurate. There must be 50% when you count only those living in poverty.

      That can’t include the 1% who pay no income taxes at all. Can it?

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Are Tavis and Cornel donating the proceeds of their book to the poor?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       If so, which foundation?  Maybe we will also consider helping.

  • Anonymous

    Good point on manufacturing jobs. A subject that has to be discussed more in America. Companies can still be profitable if they make their products here. The logic: you can not spend decent money if you do not have a decent job, you can not have a decent job if they are overseas.

  • TFRX

    In the 80s Ronald Reagan used to mouth words about the “hard working” and “blue collar” Americans.

    He didn’t say “uneducated” (as opposed to college-degreed). There unspoken leeway about well-paying and skilled blue-collar jobs (like licensed plumber). And there were dogwhistles aplenty to race.

    But a quarter century ago the political rhetoric centrifuge dedicated to separating the poor and the middle class and setting them against each other didn’t work as well as it does today.

    There’s been so little turnover with our Beltway Inbreds it’s amazing that nobody there remembers it.

    And that Ronald Reagan, not his hagiography, would be too soft and communistic for today’s GOP.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.castronovo Jim Castronovo

    As for the discussion on how to keep jobs in the US when there is a stronger rationale for sending jobs abroad, I would like to put forth a passage from Bill McKibben’s book, “Eaarth”:

    A NM-based venture capitalist and the founder of the Slow Money movement, [Woody] Tash focuses on finding funds to help local businesses grow a little larger. Not the kind of money that’s looking for a 20% annual gain; when that happens, everything but return gets pushed aside. What Tash has in mind is a consistent, sound 3 or 4% return, which at the same time benefits the community where both the investor and the business live… You only want to grow to a point. Ben and Jerry’s was great when it was a Burlington ice cream shop, and pretty neat when it was a regional brand – but now it’s owned by Unilever.

    Maybe this is the solution, fostering local, slow growth businesses with strong community ties and identity.

  • Cam

    I think a lot of the unhappiness in the US that provokes things like the Occupy movement is due to this imbalance.  Why are CEOs taking home millions of dollars instead of sharing that among the employees, when most of the employees wages are stagnant.  It is outrageous that CEOs take credit for improving the balance sheet and the employees get no acknowledgement of their contributions.

    • Azra

      What I find even more perplexing, is the number of people who don’t seem to mind what’s happening.

  • Jessica

    1 Does anyone work harder than the poor?
    2. The war on poverty in the late 60s did end up helping to close the reading gap for poor.
    3. Places like CVS who replace people with machines should be limited

  • Jan Krause

    Isn’t a major part of the problem, the stock market? If the “job creaters” are beholden to their stock holders, they will always try to increase profits by cutting spending. Of course, there is the point that the CEOs/CFOs/ make way too much money, but that is a side issue to my point. 
    Companies that are not supported by selling stock have more freedom to balance profitability with living wages and keeping jobs in the U.S.  - not that they necessarily do.
    I think we should boycott companies that outsource; that make excessive profits; and that continually offer workers less pay; fewer benefits, etc.
    If the majority of Americans are getting poorer, who will be left to buy the products produced by corporations?

    • Azra

      The end of civilization, as we know it.

  • Rburke
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    If a Millionare buys a Lamborghini that worth $500,000 that money can help almost hundreds of starving families in Ethiopia.

    If Greed, Lust, Gluttony,Sloth,Pride,Envy and Wrath will go away. Our World will be a happier place to live

    • Azra

      Indeed. Pigs might fly . . .

      • Steve

        I tried to teach one but wound up with bacon

    • Drew You Too

      “If a Millionaire buys a Lamborghini that worth $500,000 that money can help almost hundreds of starving families in Ethiopia.”

      Slap a flat thirty percent ($150,000.000) consumption based tax on the Lambo up front and that could help starving families here in the US. Of course then the millionaire might not be as quick to make that purchase.

    • Anonymous

      If a government
       -spends half billion dollars on a green company that is going bankrupt,
      -spends $800K on a Las Vegas convention
      -spends $713K on machine-generated humor
      -spends $500K studying Facebook
      -has $3.4 billion in back taxes owed by federal employees,

      and on and on, that money could have helped millions of starving families in Ethiopia.  You can worry about the millionaire’s Lamborghini, but the real money is being wasted by the government.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        HOW MANY ‘conservatives’ have EXPOSED and PROSECUTED their financial backers, that have comitted FRAUD and ABUSE of public and private funds, and other crimes?
           ‘Conservatives’ claim the ‘moral highground’, and to be ‘conservative’ of the peoples’ money and morals?

        • Anonymous

          My response was nonpartisan.  The number of politicians and bureaucrats who exhibit fiduciary responsibility, and spend the taxpayers’ money effectively and efficiently, can be counted on one hand.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ‘Conservatives’ claim to be conservative?  Do they live up to their self-claimed title, or should they come up with a more truthful one?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            SSN, I agree with your basic premise.  My point is, that one side keeps SHOUTING in our faces that THEY are the ‘CONSERVATIVES’, when ample proof shows that they are NOT, and are corrupt by the droves!

        • Gregg

          Do you buy new cars or used ones?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Only bought 0NE new vehicle, in over 40 years of driving and owning.  Put 260,000 miles on it, aiming for a million miles.

          • Gregg

            Then give thanks for every greedy rich person who bought a new car and made a used one available to you. 

          • notafeminista

            Ok, this made me laugh!

  • Marni Rosner

    How did we get here? Where are we headed? As of May 8, 2012 our college students loan debt burden will be ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. These young people graduate from college in poverty, in debt. When I graduated from my state university in 1973 the tuition was $600 a semester. I went on to get an MA in a program that was fully funded between grants and work study. Today, my daughter in law, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa while working 20 to 40 hours per week to support herself, still graduated owing $40,000. My bank pays less than 1% interest on my savings account, yet students are being charged 6% to 9% for loands. My daughter in law had one $5000 Sallie Mae loan at 9% she had taken out when she was 18, and by the time she graduated she already owed $8000. Sallie Mae refused to restructure this loan. Our banks take our money, at .98%, and turn around and lend it to students at 6%.
    These are the best and brightest of our future thrown into poverty by an out of control banking system. Simple solution: forgive student debt OR restructure it so that the students pay back their loans AT THE SAME RATE the banks are payng us to use our money.

    • TFRX

      Would that every college grad (let alone pundit) of a certain generation (roughly yours and mine) recognize the skyrocketing cost increase in an ordinary state college bachelor’s degree that is the new norm.

    • notafeminista

      Greedy academicians.

      • Anonymous

         Are you always this obtuse or do think this above subject is a joke. It’s not, you seem to blame all the wrong people and wrap yourself in right wing rhetoric without even a thought to the what is being said.

        • notafeminista

          Fair point.  To what do you attribute the skyrocketing tuition in this country?

          • Anonymous

            I would say administration costs are a huge factor. As are sports.
            The average professor makes between 60 and 80K a year after about 15 years. They begin at about 35 to 40k. Adjuncts, which make up a huge portion of the academic world make under 30K with no benefits.

            When college presidents started making from six figures in salaries it’s clear that this is where they went the cost has gone up. Add to that the huge investments a lot of universities have made in technology, facilities and such and this is where you can see a lot of the costs. Faculty is huge, but one can’t have teaching institutions without them. You can without a football team.

          • Gregg

            Aren’t football teams HUGE money makers for colleges? Doesn’t that help the college’s academics? Or help lower tuition?

          • Gregg

            A cursory glance tells me the Television contracts generate billions for colleges. Yes, that’s a “b”.

          • notafeminista

            Tuition doesn’t pay for football stadiums.  Next?

          • Zero

            But the money made by the athletic department stays in the athletic department.  At many universities, you will see academic departments cut while the Athletic department spends more and more money.   

          • notafeminista

            All right then, my original statement is correct.  It is the academicians who are the cause of skyrocketing tuition.  Greedy.

          • notafeminista

            Money, even by your standards, they earned rightly.  Unless the anthro prof is out there on the gridiron……….

          • Zero

            Good one.  Let’s forget about Western culture and watch sports.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Yeah, just like Granny Warren who owns $10M in stocks and has a $3M house.

  • http://Scotsart.net/ Scot Borofsky

    This was the best show on America I’ve heard from any one on NPR in years. This show should last 4 hours. These are the voices we need to hear now coming up to the next Presidential Election. 
    Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are asking the questions which can save this country’s future.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      They couldn’t broadcast enough hours of it, to get ALL of the problem.

  • David

    I missed about 6 or 7 minutes of the program in the middle while coming from my car to a computer, but on the whole, not much new that I heard for solving the problem.  Doesn’t lead me to want to go find the book.  Also, is it just me, or is it ironic how after such a poignant topic as this, the guests and hosts as the show closes out exchange thanks and admiration, the light-hearted tone of which seem to belie their supposed DEEP heartfelt concern for the topic (I’m not saying they don’t care, but how deeply does it really hit home with them????)

    • Gregg

      According to admittedly unverifiable sources Cornel West  has a net worth of about 3 million and Tavis Smiley about $10 million. There is not a thing in the world about that that bothers me. God bless them. But let Ann Romney weigh in on the plight of the poor…

      • notafeminista

        Unfortunate there is no “applaud” feature.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        By ALL means, LET, nay  ENCOURAGE Ann Romney tell us her poor plight stories!

      • Anonymous

        I for one welcome Ann Romney to talk more on the plight of the poor. There is a difference, she has not spent here life in dealing with this as Dr. West has and as Mr Smiley has. There personal wealth, which I think is an interesting dichotomy, is something I wonder about. The problem for Mrs. Romney is that she does not have a record to rest on in this area. But she has had her health issues and I think that’s enough for anyone to deal with.
        She is lucky to have married well, otherwise she might not have made it.

        • Brett

          This is my sentiment, as well. Ms. Romney is living with a degenerative disease and has weathered cancer; and, even with servants, parenting is still one of the toughest jobs anyone will ever take on. However, she has been fortunate to have an array of choices at her disposal, choices some will never enjoy no matter how hard they work or how clever and righteous they are. 

        • Gregg

          I just don’t claim to know what their struggles were and were not. I admire two people working together to raise a family and amass a fortune on their own. It seems there are a lot of assumptions being made. I’m thinking if they had to live in a $62/m shack they probably didn’t have much of a household staff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wes-Nickerson/100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    Thank you for presenting this very important topic. Unfortunately the system is rigged against the poor by the extremely rich, the 1%. They fund a disinformation campaign to undermine the needs of the poor. They have declared war on the poor. But not just the poor, they have declared war on all the rest of us, the 99%.

    The 1% have two political parties. The Democrats and the Republicans are both hopelessly bought out by the 1%. The only nationwide political party that represents the interests of the 99% is the Green Party. If you really want to change things its time to put the pressure on the system by supporting the party that supports the interests of the majority. The end of poverty will happen once all Americans are fully employed. Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate for president, has a program for full employment for all of us, shifting to the new green economy, through her program, called the Green New Deal. If you really care about the poor, if you really want to end poverty, if your really care about having economy in America that works for everyone, then support the Green Party and Dr. Jill Stein. It’s time for a green revolution!

    Read here her interview: “Political Silence Has Not Been an Effective Strategy.”
    http://tinyurl.com/cjlotkt

  • Tenentproof

    A few things need to happen to take care of the poor and raise up the poor to the middle class.

    Salaries need to be adjusted to reflect that they have not kept up with inflation since 1973.

    The minimum wage needs to be a living wage.

    A forty hour work week needs to be enforced. Those employers who are taking advantage of salaried workers expecting them to work 60 to 80 hour a week every week, not just once in a while, need to be forced to hire more employees or fined heavily.

    Those employers who take advantage of their hourly employees by forcing them to punch out but continue working for free need to be fined heavily.

    The question of how much profit is enough needs to be asked. Currently pharmaceutical companies are deciding that they aren’t making enough profit on critically needed drugs and trying to shut down the production of these greatly needed drugs. How much profit is enough? The idea that profits keep going up and up seems unsustainable.

    We need to take back our government from the 1% who are happy to destroy our our health, land, air and education for their own profit. We need stronger protections to eliminate predatory banking and mortgage lending practices. We need to prevent them from being watered down to nothings. Banking monopolies need to be broken apart. The Environmental Protection Agency needs to have some teeth to its enforcement, fine those companies till it hurts to not follow the environmental law. Give our Food and Drug Agency the power, the money and the staff to really protect our food and our drugs and to prevent large companies from putting non food- substances in our food to increase profit at the expense of health and safety of Americans.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXTORTION by corporations?  GREED?  Surprised?

      • Gregg

        NPR is a corporation.

        • Alan in NH

          Guilt by linguistic association

          • Gregg

            No guilt, I love NPR but the word “corporation” is meaningless unless you get specific.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The poor, and the GREEDY RICH, are people?
            Does THAT make them the same?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    We PAY 536 elected officials in Washington, and TENS OF THOUSANDS of ‘staffers’, ‘experts’, ‘consultants’, banksters, and lobbyists, to SOLVE these problems?
       FOR GENERATIONS?
       Isn’t it PAST time, they EARNED the money we pay them?
       Shouldn’t they PAY it BACK?
       They FAILED, didn’t they?

    • Steve

      others pay much more

    • Steve

      I am afraid if you are relying on the idea of representatives being paid for solutions…..

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Isn’t THAT what they campaigned to do?   They are incompetent to do the job they applied for?   Will they admit it, GIVE BACK the money  they have been paid for incompetence, used fraudulently, and mis-handled?
           Will they RESCIND ALL the laws they passed during their reign of incopetence?

  • MJ

    A manifesto is a political and aesthetic gesture, designed to garner attention and build social transformation. Building on the hope of OWS, the yet-unrealized potential of President Obama, and the outrageous excesses of Corporation-first capitalism, Dr. West and Tavis Smiley clarify the source of so much contemporary angst and reboot the conversation entirely. Can more vigorous debate, activism and change be far away? The OWS folks are sleeping on sidewalks in Lower Manhattan now–bring sleeping bags! Meantime, thank you, thank you for the work, and for the show–I can’t wait to read the book!

  • Gregg

    For those who can’t afford housing I would suggest expressing moderately conservative views on an NPR blog. I live rent free in at least 2 commenter’s heads. There’s plenty of room.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Holman/718259282 Jason Holman

      It’s too bad there are no thoughtful comments from the other side on this issue I enjoy listening to On Point, but my complaint is that Tom does not usually have good commentary or guests presenting the other side. This show and yesterday’s show on extreme weather are good examples screaming for reasoned dissent.

      The show and the comments have become a giant echo chamber.

      • Zero

        Could it be possible that there really isn’t much of an argument on the other side?  Do you really think a conservative or two or three would have come on here and argued against West and Smiley?  I don’t think so. 

        And I bet if you asked supply-side economists at universities to come on, they might very well agree with them.  There’s no way a conservative political pundit or the like would have come on.

        • Oscarholman

          Well, of course it’s possible. But not likely. A wise pundit would welcome the opportunity to present another view, especially in good company and to an audience that they would not normally reach.

          But let’s be fair. I would not choose, nor am I asking, that your typical “right wing pundit “, come on. Tom would do his audience a great service by having the views of Richard Epstien on yesterday or Lord Moncton on the day before.

          • Zero

            Fair enough.  I can see a Milton Freedman type coming on here and making an argument.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Those addresses, in case we’d like to visit?

  • Lynnenorris

    They are right about the problem of corporations not having incentive to move jobs back to the U.S. This is why corporations are not citizens: their primary alligence is to their corporate bottom line and not to our country, so they will always do what maximizes profits and even if it means screwing American citizens and the country in the process. We largely have the (Un-American) U.S. Chamber of Commerce to thank for this. U.S. citizens were lied to about Free Trade. It has been bad for workers and bad for the country, but good for corporate profits AND politicans’ freebies, campaign funds, and future employment options.

    • Alan in NH

      The only way Free Trade ultimately works is if it is also Fair Trade; which is to say, the kind of trade where all workers receive a decent living wage, whether they are in this country or outside, rather than an indentured servant wage, a far less than minimum wage, in a working environment appropriate to human beings. Otherwise it’s just another corner being cut for a buck.

      • http://twitter.com/aloysiusokon Aloysius Okon

        But what is the living wage? And isn’t minimum wage supposed to deal with this  problem?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          When Ann and Mitt Romney raise their five children, for ten years on Minimum Wage, with NO outside help, it might be a Living Wage?

        • Gregg

          Why would anyone but entry level teenagers work for minimum wage? Anyone who is an adult and has not nourished the skills to be worth more than an arbitrary low-ball number is a loser.

  • Rburke

    “Social movements are long-distance marathons, not sprints, and they all involve a series of victories and setbacks. The better we understand this, the less frustrated we will become, the less likely we will be to lose hope due to disappointment, and the less prone we will be to becoming violent and destroying the movement from within. To be effective in any struggle for peace and justice we must balance urgency with patience, and we must be disciplined, strategic, and well trained.”  Paul K. Chappellhttp://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/db_article.php?article_id=301 

  • Rburke

    “If King had not been assassinated, he would have begun the Occupy Movement many decades ago. King had a vision called the Poor People’s Campaign, which was a plan to occupy Washington D.C. and pressure the U.S. government to create an Economic Bill of Rights. Samuel Kyles, a minister who worked closely with King and was with him during the last hour before his assassination, said: “With the Poor People’s Campaign, Martin is talking about taking these poor people to Washington, build tents, and live on the [Washington] mall until this country did something about poverty… Can you imagine what would happen if all these black and white and brown people go to Washington and build tents and live in tents in Washington?”Paul K. Chappell (excerpt)  http://www.wagingpeace…  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      It is happening again.

  • notafeminista

    “My wealth does not cause your poverty.” ~ P. J. O’Rourke

    • Terry Tree Tree

      O’Rourke was a Writer, NOT a CEO of an Equity Capital company that bought into companies, to LOAD them with debt, then PROFIT from them, whether the company FAILED, or survived?

      • notafeminista

        “Is” a writer.  The man’s not dead.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Ok.  I didn’t know.  YOU didn’t answer the rest of the question.   VERY typical of you.

          • notafeminista

            That CEO doesn’t cause your poverty. Nor did he cause the poverty of whoever did or did not work for him.  Those people made their own choices to spend the money they earned as they saw fit.

            Hey speaking of, are you down to just food and shelter yet?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I DON’T have a wife with two Caddilacs, and an elevator for them, who will advise me on issues of the poor?

          • notafeminista

            So that’s a “no”.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Like Staples?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Only ONE, of how many?

    • Zero

      During the Bush years, middle class income decreased $2,000 and poverty went up while upper class income increased (before the recession).

      During 2001-2009, did the majority of the country all of the sudden get ‘lazy’ while a slim minority (who were already rich) decide to ‘work harder’?

      Your quotation is basically saying, “God damn America, and god damn Americans if some rich guy has to pay slightly higher taxes.” 

       

      • notafeminista

        Nope.  What the quote intends to say (and does so in a succinctly clever way) is just because I have “X”  (whatever that may be), my having “X” does not, in any way shape or form, prevent you from having “X” as well.   Stop demanding I give you “X”.

        • Zero

          I made X while most of the country was losing X.  That is the reality. 

          I made X, which is only possible within a network of people known as an economy.  Since I made more money than most people in the economy, I win.  It is not my fault that the rest of the people (in a society where wealth is even possible) couldn’t work as hard as me.  I shouldn’t have to pay back to the society that makes my wealth possible.

          I realize you don’t understand economics, but there is really a finite about of wealth in a given economy.  This is why everybody can’t be millionaires.  And when a few people get a hold of most of the nations wealth, the majority of the people lose wealth. 

          So, Roarke is correct that it is not the individuals fault per se, but it is the government’s fault for not having an economic system that aims for financial equality.  And you and Roarke support the political party that has created most of America’s poverty, decreased middle class income, and made a few people very rich.

          So, Roarke is also incorrect.  Labor unions and the New Deal created the middle class, and Roarke (with his money) supports the political party that attacks labor unions and the New Deal legislation.  So yes, his wealth is making people poorer. 

          I have a question for you.  When you watch Wheel of Fortune, do you root for all three contestants to win around, say, $10 thousand each…or do you root for one contestant to blow the competition away, winning $30 thousand while the other made little to nothing?

          • notafeminista

            I root for them all knowing only one will win.  I’m an adult.

          • Zero

            No shit, one will win, but you don’t root for the rest to go away broke.  So why do you vote for a political party that is leaving a few people rich and a lot of people broke?

          • notafeminista

            You think the economy works like Wheel of Fortune and you say I don’t understand?  Right.

          • Zero

            Where did I say the economy works like Wheel of Fortune?  I’m just trying to understand your temperament towards humanity. 

            Learn how to read, learn how to think critically, and learn how to argue.
             

          • Gregg

            When you see a fat man standing next to a skinny one do you assume one has been stealing food from the other?

  • Rburke

    On January 11, 1944, in the midst of World War II, President Roosevelt spoke forcefully and eloquently about the greater meaning and higher purpose of American security in a post-war America. The principles and ideas conveyed by FDR’s words matter as much now as they did over sixty years ago…
    THE ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS:  FDRhttp://www.fdrheritage.org/bill_of_rights.htm (EXCERPT)

    It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The Second Bill of Rights of FDR will solve poverty in America

  • Pingback: On Point – Cornel West And Tavis Smiley On Poverty | The Rich and the Rest of Us

  • occam24

    I started listening with a cynical ear, but after hearing all of Smiley’s proposal, I’ve got to cheer.  (Especially his criticism of LBJ for missing the jobs side of the problem.)

    Around 1900, toward the end of the first Gilded Age, industrialists and economists were proposing something similar.  Much of that project was adopted by Henry Ford and others, which took us out of Gilded Age 1 and into the too-brief Golden Age.

    Maybe we can get out of Gilded Age 2 the same way.

    I discussed this a few days ago, with 1900-ish references and links….

    http://www.polistrasmill.blogspot.com/2012/04/henry-wasnt-alone.html

  • Noelle

    What is our definition of poverty? Last year I visited my parents  who were working with an NGO to provide clean water to people in Mongolia where half the people live in yurts in minus 40 weather.  Having seen extreme poverty there, I wonder about our definition of poverty. 

  • Bigchano

    Characterizing the situation as rich vs. poor is wholly unproductive, and reinforces “the poor” view that they are powerless to make changes. We need to have a conversation as well about spending, really cutting back spending, and getting out of the entitlement personality. I see too many young people with iPhones and MacBooks complaining about how they can’t find a job.

    I know many people from a previous generation who knew poverty because they went through the Depression. They know the meaning of thrifty – using things carefully, not throwing things away, etc. We know how to dispose of everything instead of learning basic skills to help us get more from less. America needs to grow up.

    I’m sorry, but the middle class hasn’t disappeared, we’re just calling them “the poor” now.

    • Heaviest Cat

      yes thrift is good regarless of your economic position, but there are some real class issues here, thast your rhetoric
      of ‘cutting back spending” and “entitlementpersonality” effectively marginalizes,hence favoring the rich. 

      • Bigchano

         Actually, it comes from having started and bootstrapped a small business, and when it was on the brink of failure, I figured out a way to cut out a lot of costs by looking at every single expense. It really hard, and before I did it, I didn’t think I could squeeze more out of it, but I did.

        We need a paradigm shift on both sides and roll up your sleeves mentality. There are plenty of ways to generate income if you focus on that instead of raging against primary engine of the US economy. 

        Having said that, we need better enforcement, stronger regulation, etc. The conversation just needs more balance.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The other side of the conversation IS presented EVERY DAY, by the Welfare Corporations, and the GREEDY rich!
            Have YOU not encountered regulations and other impediments to your business, that PROFITED huge Welfare Corporations?
             Do you think that is an accident?  Serendipity?

    • Anonymous

       I guess you didn’t listen to the whole show then.

      • Bigchano

         You are correct. Sounds like I missed something, downloading now.

  • Rburke
    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      President Obama can still pass the Second Bill of Rights

  • Alsand Pin

    the problem is that corporations are not actually maximizing profits… they are maximizing short term profits. if they looked at profits in a realistic way, they would see that outsourcing work hurts them in the long run because it means loss of jobs which results in loss of customers. when i was in grad school, i used to argue with my finance profs about this all the time. corporations minimize their short term costs then when they loose customers, they want the government to fix things… we do not have a problem with welfare for the poor… this is the nation that has welfare for the rich. we keep baling out rich banks and big business instead of letting actual free enterprise to work. we have the poor in this country because we are wasting money on bale out for the poor rich boys. this is nuts!!

    • Bigchano

       That’s odd…it seems to be working quite well. I guess if you maximize short term profits long enough, turns out they are long term profits.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/JP-John-Paulus/642658552 JP John Paulus

        Except short term profits in this case is more like the mortgage bubble…for the short term you look successful, but at some point, the bubble bursts, and the truth comes out.  If,as Alsand Pin is stating, looking at the LONG TERM, you and everyone around you will be far more stable…TRUE success.

  • Rburke
  • Heaviest Cat

    I’m thank ful for “On Point” finally featuring issue oriented guests that dont’ reflect the corporate agenda

  • Rburke

    I’m compelled to share these prophetic words of yesteryear… 

    We come here to-day to commemorate one of the epoch-making events of the long struggle for the rights of man-the long struggle for the uplift of humanity. Our country-this great Republic-means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy, the triumph of popular government, and, in the long run, of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him. That is why the history of America is now the central feature of the history of the world; for the world has set its face hopefully toward our democracy; and, O my fellow citizens, each one of you carries on your shoulders not only the burden of doing well for the sake of your country, but the burden of doing well and of seeing that this nation does well for the sake of mankind.  FDR

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=501 

    Surely, as countrymen/women we can unite for the sake of unity/wholeness in our day to day living.   We can no longer be defined by an Age of Terrorism…but perhaps be defined by an Age of Vitality/Reality/Morality.

  • Buddhaclown

    I’m 100% on board with Tavis and West until they make war on Obama and accuse him of being an instrument for the wealthy. These guys make a living creating dissent among the Left against Obama. They say all the right things — and it is easy to be righteous when you are a talk show host or professor — but then they use their influence to undermine support for Obama. To what end?

    I’m sorry, but these guys are in effect double agents for the Repubs. West and Smiley were both angered early on because Obama wouldn’t let them shove him around. West was virtually seething with anger that he wasn’t invited to the inaugural, and Smiley never recovered from the fact that Obama declined to appear on his show during the 2008 campaign. They have made it their mission ever since to bring the president down, and they do so not through the typical channels of conservatism which complains that Obama is a socialist, but by appealing to liberals and complaining that Obama is not socialist enough. They were complaining vigorously about Obama from day one. These guys are the lowest of the low in my book. 

    • Azra

      . . . and in the books of all thinking people.

    • Heaviest Cat

      Buddhaclown.
          THough I’m voting for Obama to keep fascist Romney out, I feel he has nonetheless given SMiley and West reason to be disaffected he bailed out the banksat taxpayer expense ,even as their CEOs were recieving exhorbitant bonuses, He’s never rasied the issue of the impact of so-called “freetrade” agreements on the environment or workers ,Undwer pressure from the GOP he ordered the EPA to rescind an air pollution rule(i froget specs) and AMnersty International has called his record on promoting human rights”disgusting”. If the gOP wre half rational ,I’d vote for Jill Stein of the Rainobow Green .Party

    • Zero

      I disagree.  Obama is spinless and he actually tries appease conservatives…as if doing what conservatives want would calm down their criticisms. 

      Liberals need a son of a bitch like FDR, and the only way we are going to get that is by a vocal liberal base. 

  • Rburke

    http://occupywallst.org/
    Americans moving for change on the status quo

  • Mitch Easter

    Have you discussed the sort of “pride factor” that makes many poor people act against their own interests?  I’m sure most of the poor white people around here (NC) vote Republican.  I don’t doubt that neither party is losing a lot of sleep over the poor these days, but surely the right-leaning policies of the past 40 years, pushed forward by Republicans, haven’t helped these people who vote for them.  It seems to me that political power in this country is driven by a sort of clan identity mechanism more than anything rational!  I’m reminded of how the peasantry usually supports the monarchy.  This may seem like an insulting take on poor people, but what can you do when, for example, so many poor Southerners are hung up on hating the government?  Private enterprise certainly isn’t going to start an anti-poverty initiative and poor people resent “handouts”.  People don’t like to think of themselves as poor!  That’s why I think the best government policies will be ones that turn away from grovelling before corporations.  The current religion of hyper-capitalism is surely the main force that has increased income stratification in the US.

  • Terra

    It is CRUTIAL to recognize that it is beneficial to all of us (including the overtly wealthy) to take measures to bring our society up as whole. As Americans, our actions are increasingly supporting a socio-ecomic divide where we should be supporting policies that benefit poverty stricken & low income as that ultimately benefits our entire society.

  • Lino485

    This country no longer revolves around the stakeholders – everything that’s done is for the stockholder. When the elite get government help it’s called a stimulus when somebody mismages the money I contributed so Social Security and need help they call that an entitlement. Whatever terminology you choose to use it’s welfare for both sides. Unfortunately too many have become like sheep.

  • Deflep1986

    Fat people protesting poverty?  Really?

  • Lowell108

    The basic problem is this: if my country makes a pair of socks for 50 cents and an American company makes a sock for 100 cents, the fifty cent sock will be the one that is purchased. What is needed is an international trade organization that levels the playing field. Here is an article with her (Keynes’) ideas.

  • Lowell108
  • Ghad

    50% of
    population is poor in U.S.? Compare to what country in the world? China, India,
    Kenya, Cuba? , Mexico? … Give me a break that is why so many people want to
    come to America? According to the census bureau the poverty rate is 16% which
    is Correlate to the single woman household numbers? What we going to about
    that? Mr. Smiley?

    50% of
    population is poor in U.S.? Compare to what country in the world? China, India,
    Kenya, Cuba? , Mexico? … Give me a break that is why so many people want to
    come to America? According to the census bureau the poverty rate is 16% which
    is Correlate to the single woman household numbers? What we going to about
    that? Mr. Smiley?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Compared to Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Rick Waggoner, Pope Benedict, the Walton Heirs, Rush Limbaugh? 
         Let’s just take it FULL RIDICULOUS, to minimize the problem?
         WHY should BILLIONAIRES care about the poor?
          Ignore the pain and misery of others, and you will WHAT?  Be closer to Jesus, God, Satan, Attila the Hun?
         Just proclaim that YOU only care about YOU, and go back to counting your money?

      • William

        You forgot Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler, Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck, Sean Connery.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Thanks!  I probably missed a few more, but, still less than 1%?

    • Sam Walworth

      Poor is a relative term, and cannot be really explained with subjective terms.

      E.g. An average person in India/China can get by using 40$ per week, try manage with that in the USA.

      E.g. without a microwave, a refrigerator and a car one can easily get by in India (fresh food is relatively cheap, and who needs a fridge and microwave when you can get fresh food with few cents or just 1 buck and finally when public transport is ok and commuting distances are less who needs a car anyway)

      If you dont believe me? go take a visit, I just had a visit to India last year.

      • Ghad

        I know all about it being poor in a foreign country, I was growing up   in a communist Eastern European  Country where we had to stay in line for potatoes. I can tell you any person in any country in the world  much prefer  to be poor in U.S , i know I am glad be poor in this country, but if we are thinking with  this socialist attitudes, feeling sorry for our selves,  we wil be ALL really poor very shortly, and I do know what I am talking about it, because I lived it.

      • Zero

        America is the best of all possible worlds, right?

  • Adk167

    Yikes. Bad book title. Somehow I doubt the two authors are poor. Doesn’t mean they don’t make any good points, but don’t try to speak for others.

    • Anonymous

      How is speaking out about topics such as this speaking for others.

      • Still Here

        They’ve never been poor, just like Ann Romney.

        • Zero

          Say there are two rich men who have never  lived a day outside of the upper class.  One fights to end poverty, while the other tells the poor to “work harder.”  Who is the better man?

          • Gregg

            Zero, you’re good. Nice emotions!

            Just one question: What’s the difference between “fighting poverty” and encouraging a strong work ethic fueled by a passionate pursuit of excellence?

            And if you will graciously indulge another: Is it possible (or advisable) for any imperfect person, given all the variables, to even define much less judge the “better man”?

          • Zero

            I know your trying that Milton Freedman bs about cutting the nanny state to encourage hard work.  Do yourself a favor and look up Germany’s social safety net–by their standards, America is barbaric  in how we treat our poor.  Do the Germans not “work hard”…?

            Second, I have argued solutions for fixing poverty a hundred times on this thread, and you even said at one point I had reasonable ideas.  Remember when I said to tax the rich to get cheep college educations and more scholarship opportunities…?  I would set up a plan where the top students from high schools in impoverished communities got scholarships to the best universities in the state, private or public.  And, I would raise public employment to about 35% of the economy, which is far lower than “Socialistic Europe,” to fill immediate unemployment, which would in turn create the demand missing in the private sector, which in turn would force the private sector to higher more people.  Moreover, the private sector would have a smaller pool of people to higher from, which would give bartering power to the laborers causing wages to go up.

            Do you see how that is a nice multiplier?  But you are caught up in that crap that it is not right to tax the rich.

            The big problem with the right wing and their so called “work ethic” is that it is also blended with anti-intellectualism, and it comes out sounding like “Arbeit Macht Frie.”  Instead of saying vapidly, “work hard,” how about saying, “Better get a graduate degree because income for everybody else has decreased.” Emphasizing the importance of a college education is far more effective than telling someone to “work hard” because a college education actually translates into success, statistically speaking.  Yet, the right wing diminishes the importance of college and sometimes even mocks college educations.  Why?

            ————-second question

            Gregg, quit being naive.  What I said could be understood by a toddler.  What you are doing is trying to make the issue ambiguous to escape the reality of who is actually a better man.  We all know who the better man is, but you are doing your damnedest to run away from the truth of the matter.  And for someone who champions “American individuality” but can’t access the better man (or the better moral), well then, you are either lying to yourself or you are a retard who knows how to read and write.  (My guess is the former.) 

            How does one judge “the better man”? 

            There have been two types of people in history: one has fought to end suffering, and the other is indifferent to suffering, blindly allowing it and sometimes causing it.

            The better man has always tried to stop suffering.  The lesser man ignores suffering as much as possible…until someone says something about suffering, to which the lesser man replies, “Oh, it’s not as bad as people think…but if you want to fix it, cut what social help they do have and they’ll be forced to do something about it”…that’s what the lesser man does…there’s no sympathy or empathy or cognitive empathy or compassion or charity or anything that has defined great human beings throughout history.

            Sometimes, I hope a republicans continue to widen the wealth gap.  Eventually, there would be a revolution.  And if you read your history, you would know that. 

            Sorry but this is what happens when you ask a liberal to answer questions like yours.  I thought this stuff out, and I have actually more to say.

             

          • Gregg

            Your world scares me on many levels. Here’s just one. If you increase the public sector then you must pay them by redistribution (the futile task of dipping water out of the deep end of the pool and pouring it in the shallow end), borrowing from China or printing more money.  It’s silly.

            The efforts to “fight poverty” have been highly destructive to our culture and economy. But the real victims are the poor. It keeps them down but it make do-gooders feel better. That’s not progress.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            So, you advocate the ‘conservative’ morals, of “Just let them die”, or work for slave wages of a GREEDY RICH?

          • Gregg

            Yea Terry, sure I do. You’re very perceptive.

          • Zero

            I see nothing wrong with taxing the rich to actually create jobs. 

            Most economists will tell you that public employment is necessary, just don’t let it get over 50% of the economy.

            Also, poverty has gone up since the Reagan-era economics began.  And once again, you ignore the economics of Germany (like every other republican) because you know damn well they are an example of everything liberals have been saying.  Where’s your economic model–turn of the century America…?

          • teachme15

            Accorsing to the U.S. Census Bureau, a poor family of three receives $61,830 in federal and state assistance on top of the family’s income. So if that family makes say $15,000 per year, they are actually taking in $76,830, which is much more than a lot of middle class people get. Keep in mind also that that government assistance is not taxed. The middle class has to work until May of every year to pay for all the taxes they incur.

            But the poor are the forgotten group, right?

          • Zero

            I’ve seen a mother of six live in a motel room. 

            Bullshit yourself, but don’t bullshit me.

  • SteveV

    My wife and I have always tried to buy “Made in the USA”, even if we had to pay more. We believed in supporting our own people. Apparently we’re in the minority. Consumers complain about jobs going overseas but will not buy local if the price is even a few pennies more.  We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life by JFK

  • Chicago35

    This conversation harkened me back to ideas John Kenneth Galbraith brings up in his book “The Affluent Society”.  Both Cornell and Tavis encourage full employment to solve poverty. That idea inevitably leads to the problems of over-consumption and the lack of savings by the American population.  We built a society in the 1950′s that has lead to American’s spending more than they earn.

    Both of the guests are spot on to highlight the problem of poverty in america, but they fundamentally fail when it comes to exposing the source of that poverty.  Politicians have not been addressing these problems for so long because the truth about America today is so economically rotten.  Honesty would lead to immediate public flogging in the polls.

    Americans must do more than ask for “Full Employment”…they must demand universal healthcare and higher taxes on EVERY citizen.  The role of government does not disappear if we shrink the budget, it simply grows ever more apparent as the country collapses.

    • Frankd

      what solves “poverty” in my simplistic view is;

      1) having a legacy and building on the base

      2) having access to a proper education or apprenticeship to provide a future

      3) living within your means to accumulate value

      4) being supportive to and getting assistance from your family as necessary

      5) MOST IMPORTANTLY passing on the residual to the NEXT generation

      it is my observation that certain ethnic peoples have surpassed their projections simply because they have accomplished, little by little, but making it all count without backsliding, from one generation to the following generation

      i’ve also read that no one got financially secure by being overly miserly and not on occassion splurging on an extravagance or enjoy living well and i agree with this

      what i do observe also is that sadly some groups “just don’t get it” and squander most every opportunity or have no resources to become self-sufficient and therefore have no chance to change as nothing is accumulated either financial or by knowledge or by legacy

      it’s all very simple, and it’s all very complicated

      frankD

      .

  • 71stingray

    The poor don’t vote. The ideological vote, even though influence is sold due to campaign finance travisty. Fix campaign money and you will solve 90% of our problems………
    Go to the root of our problems….

  • Dre333304

    Tavis and Cornel it is really tiring to keep hearing your tag team on Ashbrook, Rose etc. YOU LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES, and are at the top 3% of the earinings bracket- far from Buffet and Jobs but also far from impoverished. You keep on talking but offer no solutions. And it is further more disappointing that President Obama and wife Michelle, of African American heritage are also so out of touch with impoverishment  in America. It is tiring to continously hear Aftican Americans are not taken care of when Mr. Obama has taken  care of them with significant discount on auto loans, SSI, food stamps, healthcare for children of single mothers, education  grants and loans. BUT for the recently struck immirant be they Serb, Roumanian, Hispanic or Jew-alll would prefer to see them live in their cars, changing in train depots and trying to go to work as they strive to retain dignity and provide for their families as they receive minimal if no benefits from a system to which they have contributed over the years of their tax and work contribution.

    AS LONG AS MICHELLE OBAMA COMES TO PALM BEACH TO SHOP AT NEIMAN MARCUC AND STAY AT THE BREAKERS CHINA WILL DOMINATE. AND KARMA WILL FIND ITS WAY TO THE MESSENGERS OF U.S. DEMISE 

    • Kahsby

      HEY Michelle Obama is I’m sure a heck of a lot more in touch with ordinary Americans and our problems than Mitt and Ann Romney combined.

      Mitt was a crappy one term governor. The ultimate snake oil salesman.

      • Azra

        He is seriously SMARMY.

    • Azra

      Your message is a bit difficult to understand. It’s not quite clear who you’re lashing out at,or why.

      We agree that every human being deserves respect, but have never heard about what has happened to the immigrants you mentioned.

      Furthermore, no one here knows anything about Michelle shopping at Neiman Marcus, only J.Crewe, and Target. Please disclose your sources. Regardless of where she shops, Michelle has worked tirelessly to help all Americans, and we all love her, (and her husband). How dare you try to make someone believe rumors that she’s a spendthrift, or whatever your point was. We all know better than to believe that sort of nonsense. Since J.Crew doesn’t carry evening gowns, however, she must find frocks befitting a FLOTUS elsewhere.

      There’s one more thing. Barack Obama is not black. The father he never knew was Kenyan. President Obama is our first mixed race President. He was raised by a white family.

      Excuse me. You never claimed that he was black, just of African-American heritage. I beg your pardon.

      His mother brought him up to be a good person, and she did a mighty fine job. She taught him to be a caring, compassionate person, and she succeeded very well. He believes that we should all do community service, and he passed up a lucrative job, so he could help people. He gave it all up, to be a community organizer in the horrible slums of Chicago; an unenviable job, but one that he was passionate about. Michelle had been brought up in the same way. Neither family was wealthy. In fact, president Obama’s mother, a single mom, had to use food stamps in order to feed her family.

      What has Mitt, (or ANY Republican), ever done for anyone? How about Ann? It seems that Mitt’s father was a genuine, hard-working, decent, caring man, who believed that polititians should release all tax returns. (Sounds Democratic!) Too bad his son never knew poverty or hard physical labor. It would have taught him humility, and could have done a him a lot of good.

      Mitt’s father didn’t strike me as the kind of man who would not want to help the poor. It must have been his father’s hard-earned wealth that made Mitt the way he is. (I wonder if HE knows what a bar code is?)

      Give me a poor, relatable, kind, compassionate President, who’s looking out for us. His actions speak much louder than Romney’s
      empty promises. President Obama has proven himself to be an extremely thoughtful, caring leader.

  • lenoxlady

    I am very tired of arrogant politicians who have pensions, health care, good salaries with a ton of perks and are set for life on MY NICKLE finding fault with those of us who work hard, pay taxes, lose jobs, lose health care and lose homes  because we can’t depend on the American tax payers to take care of us LIKE THEY CAN!!!!  They don’t suffer or worry about food, roof, health care, kids, elderly parents…they are the privileged who write their own pay checks, suck up to people who keep them in office and even if they lose their seats, laugh all the way to the banks full of OUR money!!..the hospitals where we pay for their health care and who will never lose those benefits…because they designed things that way!!  What is wrong with this picture??

  • Sandy Shore

    I had no idea that poverty in America was being covered up to this extent.  It’s almost as if the leaders don’t want the rest of the world to know what is really going on here. 

    When insurance company CEOs get 50 million a year, but the sick – even those with graduate degrees  - are forced into poverty – the jig is up.  America has transformed itself into a banana republic. 

    GREAT SHOW!   

  • guest

    Great show.  Thanks to Tavis Smiley and Professor West for taking on these issues–but the only solution is to get more people from the struggling class to vote-in their own interest (as they often don’t), and to change Citizens United to get money out of politics.  And I’m one of those struggling people–but these days, I don’t feel that voting is enough.

  • Tor

    The poverty issue has been ongoing since the 1980s. Between automation, outsourcing, illegal immigration and the conversion of our economy from a manufacturing economy to a service economy the last 30 years have been a downward spiral for the working man.

    The only reason it’s news now is that people with degrees, who once could expect a good living, now find themselves in the same squeeze that the working class has long been in. 

  • Zero

    There’s nothing wrong with having businesses and corporations having competition.  Competitive markets are great, but competitive neighbors are not great.  One is healthy capitalism; the other is Social Darwinism.

  • Guest

    I didn’t get to listen to the whole piece, but I really have to question the 1-in-2 claim.  I didn’t hear any definitions of “poor” or the other classifications.  It was mostly arm-waving and hand-wringing.  I expected better quality from this show – from the guests and also from the host, who should have held them more accountable for their statements and terms.  Fifty percent is median.  Median in this country is pretty high (50K?).  I perceive a lot of people living beyond their means … but not “poverty.”

  • Guest

    May God Bless Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.
    Their powerful witness changed my heart.

  • Michael Repovich

    yes… speak truth to power… two true americans 

  • Abarbnuuma

    Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on Poverty in America was shocking and probably incomprehensible to most Americans, although the 1 out of 2 figure seems way too high.  I remember the Black Panthers in Oakland feeding children breakfast in the early 1960′s.  They were generally condemned.  The only population in America that did not know poverty until “civilization came knocking” were the American Indians.  To think that they had to deal with the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre and 23 Congressional Medals of Honor awarded the soldiers who killed 300 unarmed men, women, and children, makes their dysfunction bewildering yet understandable.

    • Azra

      NATIVE Americans. Such cruelty doesn’t bear thinking about – too horrendous.

      May God bless the American Indians, and the Black Panthers. We wish there were many more like them.

      You have our heartfelt thanks and apreciation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Jones/100002128260874 Paul Jones

       You wouldn’t know the face of the nouveau poor.  Some of us are the “new older guys” that give you your change, and smile and say “Have a great Day!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Jones/100002128260874 Paul Jones

    I am Paul…..I recently took a 24 year pay cut,   just to get back in the workforce.    My skills are in manufacturing.  I think they should put a tax on goods imported that once were manufactured here.  That would allow the government to take care of the people that need it most.  It’s time to vote!!!!

  • Ashleyyoshida

    I loved this show and the guests.  Thank-you for airing it.

        I do need to point out a glaring mistake that Tom Ashbrook made.  In response to a caller’s comments about unfair steel subsidies he stated that “these other countries” (read CHINA) are not subsidizing their goods unfairly, just paying lower wages.  China *IS* unfairly subsidizing their solar panel industry in a huge and very calculated way.  They stole the technology from U.S and Japanese manufacturers and are now selling panels at below their cost by offering outrageous subsidies to Chinese manufacturers. This was a strategic government plan to eliminate competition in other countries and dominate the world solar industry. They have been successful so far.  At the same time they are using unsafe practices to manufacture them, and poisoning whole villages…but that’s another story.

       Another example of unfair business practice is the enormous theft of intellectual property that I believe was covered by On Point…And another… their undervalued currency.  But big business turns a blind eye (even my beloved Macs are manufactured in China). 

        I also want to point out that the “wages” that are being paid in China are nowhere near living wages AND the workers are horribly mistreated. They are basically slaves.  I’m sure everyone is familiar with stories of women being locked in factories until  orders are completed, including mothers who have no one to look after their children and breastfeeding mothers.   Couples are  forbidden to marry or have children, because that would make them less productive and more expensive. Workers sleep on concrete floors marked with white lines like parking lots with no blankets or pillows. 

       One of the guests spoke of a “mean spirited America”.  This mean spirited America (read corporations and big banking) and their demonic levels of greed have created mean spirited Chinas, Haitis, Mexicos, El Salvadors, Brazils, Portugals, Indias, Thailands, Cambodias and every other poor country they have gone to.  Something has GOT TO BE DONE to regulate business practices.   Not only for Americans living in poverty, but for every precious soul living in poverty everywhere in the world…Not to mention the destruction of our very habitat.  I can’t wait to buy this book. It will enjoy a place of honor in my home. The guests were wonderful to listen to in their speech and their ideas.  Two thoughtful, kind, intelligent men, something of an endangered species these days.

  • Nfgjr1

    The fastest and easist solution to our economic/jobs problem is to pass Federal leg, that demands that all Durable goods sold in the US be made in the US.  NAFTA,CAFTA has given the American working man and women the SHAFTA.

    • Frankd

      well that wouldn’t scare me at all IF we didn’t OWE tttrillions to C H I N A

      china is america’s ATM

      what would happen if YOU couldn’t access your ATM ?

      ITALY, by comparision to us, can afford to take such a imperialistic position because ITALIANs for the most part OWN ITALIAN debt

      china OWNs too big a piece of our debt for your idea to happen without very sever unintended negative consequences

      frankD

      .

      • Celine

        I researched this idea that the China “owns us”, and the best statistics I could find were that they hold 7-8% of US debt.  I don’t think that’s common knowledge.  American citizens hold most of our debt.  There’s also the point that the Chinese do hold enough to not want us to fail and default on them.

        • tmajor

          China uses the dollars received from all of the garbage we buy from them to purchase treasury securities. The U.S. gov’t doesn’t use a dime of the money for anything. they deposit the money in a savings account where they earn simple interest on the cash. Research how sovereign nations like the U.S, U.K., Canada, China, and Japan’s monetary systems operate. They create their own currency and they don’t use tax revenues or borrow any money to fund their nations! 

    • Anonymous

      Great Common Sense! The U.S. began outsourcing in the 1950′s. The reason America Imports more than they Export has nothing to do with cheap products due to cheap foreign labor. It’s because Exports are real cost (output and labor) here, and Imports are pure benefit for the system. For the cost of the ink and paper to print the dollar the elites can buy the rest of the world’s products and service! One of the purposes for this is to get the dollar used everywhere. The dollar is used in over 80% of every financial transaction on this planet. The second reason is class warfare against the majoriy of Americans by the few evil who don’t only want us broke, they want us gone!

      The only way to rid this nation of the free trade agreements that kicked the “outsourcing” in overdrive from one of the biggest traitors to this country, Ronald Reagan, is to keep the dozen or so congressman and replace the entire U.S. Congress and gain control of our U.S. gov’t. There Are Absolutely No Other Alternatives Left! 

      Americans must learn how our gov’t and monetary system operate and stop regurgitating what they’re told!

    • Ashleyyoshida

       NAFTA also gave Mexico the SHAFTA.  It’s not only that they move the jobs, but companies know that they can exploit desperate people.  A job that may have paid decently in the US pays about $20 USD a day in Mexico.  I lived in Mexico during the transiition and watched it go to hell.

  • Anonymous

    It was disappointing at how narrow the analysis of poverty was in this discussion. It seemed to narrowly focused on the circumstances of poverty rather than the various causes of poverty in our country. Poverty is certainly a problem in this country and there were several callers in the segment that ended up on tough times through no fault of their own. Government welfare should be designed to focus on people in these circumstances that find themselves in poverty on account of health issues, layoffs, home foreclosures, etc. Government does play a role in poverty and welfare should be reformed to better address situations like some of the callers. I was also disappointed how the guests on the show vilify the 1% as part of the cause of poverty, as if taxing the rich to death while diverting their money to an often-times bloated, wasteful and inefficient government will solve the problems of poverty in this country. West, Smiley, Ashbrook and much of the radical left conveniently fail to remember the incredible generosity of many of those in the 1% (Bill Gates and the Gate Foundation, Robert Kraft, Warren Buffett, Charles Bronfman, Rockerfellers, Andrew Carnegie, Arthur Blank, Truett Kathy, etc.) 

    Further, there was zero acknowledgment of the pervasive cultural issues that lead to poverty or any concrete solutions to addressing poverty from Smiley or West. I would have liked Smiley and West to have acknowledged the elephant in the room, the cultural problems that lead to poverty (especially in the African-American community). Instead of sitting atop their ivory towers in academia studying poverty, West and Smiley might be more in tune with some of the causes of poverty if they immersed themselves in it. Having spent several years as a volunteer with a national service group called Americorps, I was granted the opportunity to work in several underprivileged schools in Massachusetts, Arkansas and South Carolina where I witnessed poverty first-hand. Having worked in these schools as a teacher-assistant and mentor where 90% of the student-populations were African-American, I was confronted with a shocking and morose reality: that well-above a majority of these students did not have fathers and were being raised by a single mother. These students never knew their fathers, hardly knew their fathers because they lived far away or their fathers were incarcerated.  It seemed the cycle of poverty that was perpetuated in these communities began with the breakdown of the family. To the small handful of students in these classes that were being raised by both a mother and father, their overall progress in school was a stark contrast to those being raised by a single mother. With no father-figure or male role models in their lives, many of the boys in these communities look to gang leaders for reinforcement and direction. They repeat the mistakes of their fathers by having children out of wedlock, pursuing gang activity, having no interest in education they sooner or later ending up in the criminal justice system. It is a horrible and discouraging pattern that needs to be addressed in the African-American community and is the proverbial elephant in the room. Until the cultural issues and root causes of much of the poverty in this country are seriously addressed, the cycle will continue for generations to come.   West, Smiley and Ashbrook, very surprisingly I might add, downplayed the importance of education, family, mentors and role models in combating poverty. This is quite ironic being that all three were raised by a father figure (father/stepfather), received a college education and are very successful in their careers. As a side note, although I am not Jewish, I am fascinated by the success of the Jewish culture. Since the beginning of recorded history, the Jews have been massacred, enslaved, persecuted, thrown into ghettos, stripped of their property rights and forced into exile. Yet their culture has prevailed despite these forces. When asked about their success as a people despite their dark history, most Jews will tell you they attribute it to hope, hard-work, valuing education and recognizing the importance of family.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      “Taxing the 1% to death.” ??
         IF the RICH paid TRUE 50% taxes, they would STILL be RICH!
         50% of $2 MILLION is $1 MILLION?     DESTITUTION??
         WHINE ON!

    • Frankd

      i feel ya

      i ride the public bus and i can predict most will not make it, either by mis-fortune or design

      but i don’t blame them, no i don’t

      what saved my family back in the day was plentiful j o b s for the uneducated and unskilled – truck drivers, repairmen, day-laborers – so that their children could become educated and skilled going forward

      their badge of honor was serving our country during war and their country was then returning the favor with opportunity for all, yes, corny as it sounds

      these days there is no way up or out for most that i see

      frankD

      .

    • Ashleyyoshida

       You’ve got it ass-backwards Scott.  It’s poverty that creates social problems.

       Exploiting people to get rich and then donating a tiny percentage of it to “charity” is evil. 

      Going back a little further…Do you remember our countries history of slave ownership? (I know, a lot of people have forgotten about it).  Did you know there are African Americans suing for reparation for generations of lost wages and stolen land plus the compound interest?  Doesn’t that make sense? Do you remember hearing about segregation?  Not many job opportunities for working black men and women during that period. (A lot of people have forgotten about that one too).  Can you not see the enormous economic disadvantage African Americans have inherited?  And how that, plus the racism that still exists (My college-educated relatives from Baton Rouge still call African Americans “niggers” and think it’s O.K.) I would challenge anyone to catch up in less than a hundred years after that kind of history in our current society.

       Jails are full of African Americans in large part because of racial profiling and the privatization of the industry.  I grew up in Washington, D.C. (80% African-American).  I lived in Mexico for fifteen years, and Thailand for a year.  I have traveled in India, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Guatemala, Brazil and many other poor countries.  I have seen a lot of poverty up close.  Poverty is poverty and creates the same social problems no matter where it is. African Americans don’t have an exclusive on poverty or the problems it creates. Where there is poverty it can ALWAYS be traced  back to corruption and exploitation by those in power. 

      About single mother families which are truly heartbreaking for so many reasons… in other more traditional countries where the families stay together the fathers are often drunk, high, abusive, unemployed and generally not helping very much. The women seem to get along in spite of their husbands.

       I agree that education is important. Key as a matter of fact, in addition to good nutrition and health care.  Education costs money.  Look at the U.S education budget compared to it’s military budget. Look at the public school system. (honestly).  Look at the junk food it serves while you are at it.  Growing up in Washington, D.C. I went to public schools and private schools.  As a teacher I’m sure you can imagine the difference between The Washington Waldorf School and Sandy Springs Friends School (private) and Deal Jr. High School or Wilson High School (public). Incidentally, there were two black students at  The Waldorf school, and none at Sandy Spring friends School when I attended in the eighties.  Let’s open our eyes and our hearts, show a little compassion, and stop blaming the victim.

      • jeff

        You obviously won’t be happy until this country becomes a marxist, communist regime. Entitlement societies do not succeed, just look at greece, spain, portugal and italy. Germany anf france have done much better than the rest of europe because they have pursued advances in engineering, technology, and science. They are leaders in europe because they are innovative and productive countries, unlike greece where a majority are living off the government which has led to bankruptcy. They are a perfect example of an entitlement society that has gone bankrupt because there is no incentive to innovate and become entrepreneurs.

        Your argument about poverty creating social problems is completely negated when you consider the history of the Jews. They have been persecuted, massacred and stripped of any rights since the beginning of recorded history. Remember the Holocaust? When nearly 6 million jews in europe had all their propert/ rights taken away and were put into gas chambers? Do you recall that those that did survive the Holocaust came here with nothing but the shirts on their back and a desire to pursue the American dream? And despite fleeing europe came here only to be called christ-killers? Despite the fact that 6 million of their population was wiped off the face of the earth just this last century and the survivors came to the US with nothing, they educated themselves, learned english on their own, worked hard, had families and became one of the most successful segments of our population.

        Therefore, your theory that povery inherently creates social problems and further poverty is false. If the Jews can overcome their long list of obstacles going back to the beginning of civilization, other groups can do the same. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

        • Ashleyyoshida

           I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.  You really are a fan of the Jewish community. Maybe you can convert or get a job in a school in a Jewish community.

  • Anonymous

    The inconvenient truth, more government spending on poverty creates more poverty and dependence on the government.

    http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/american-welfare-state-how-we-spend-nearly-$1-trillion-year-fighting-poverty-fail

     

    • Terry Tree Tree

      What does the Cato say about supporting the ‘conservative’ GROSS increases in government spending and hiring of ‘contractors’ to do government jobs, at FAR GREATER expense?

    • Frankd

      so why not just pull the plug on support for the homeless and hungry and sick and those numbers will improve simply because they will all die of exposure or starvation or disease – right ?

      is that what we want to see happen ?

    • Ashleyyoshida

       B*** ****.

  • John in Mississippi

    1st, I want to acknowledge Scott653 for his correct points on cultures (black, white, or Jewish).

    There is a basic missing subject in these discussions about poverty.  To make my point, take the recent example of Master Lock bringing back production to the USA.  They are doing this via a machine that takes the place of workers elsewhere.  And yes, the new jobs running these machines are skilled high paying jobs; just not allot of them.

    The missing issue is the excess population left over in technology’ wake.  I’m all for making things better, but I prefer doing it with other in mind.

    In general, there will never be a solution to any of the worlds problems until we make our decisions based on the common good.

  • Abarbnuuma

    The rich pay less in taxes for allegedly creating most jobs, so where’s the proof?

  • Frankd

    while i often listen to brother tavis on NPR and enjoy his commentary,  i think he and professor west are going to come up short on this issue, as basically “no one cares anymore”

    the poor are getting poorer and the middle are becoming poor at rates like never before, except during the great depression, and the rich and powerful have no time for anyone else but themselves – period

    look, i would wish the indigenous american indian could be given his culture and civilization and language and land back, along with the millions of buffalo as the basic ingredient the tribes subsisted on – but the buffalo are gone, gone forever, as is indian tribal dignity and individual self-esteem and pride

    our american basic ingredient – good j o b s, and plenty of them in the middle – are also gone forever

    yes, the black americans have a special problem, since their role in american society is diminishing, in my opinion, especially as other ethinic groups of americans supplant them in our mosaic

    the middle class will vanish as have the american indians, both for the same reason – “no one cares anymore”

    frankD

    .

  • Frankd

    having read all the comments to date below it came to my mind that poverty may be something that is perpetuated by the middle-class whom ultimately themselves become the poor

    1)people want cheaper products eventhough they have good wages at GE and Xerox and and IBM are middle-class although not highly educated
    2)companies that produce products need to manufacture cheaper products therefore need to pay less in labor than the typical $35 per hour for a high school educated line worker so the good jobs either become minimum wage jobs or are lost to china
    3)people with good xerox or GE or IBM wages lose their good paying jobs and fall into poverty and can’t afford even to shop at wal-mart anymore

    super WAL-MARTs replace the Xerox and GE and IBM plants as employers

    QED: so if you heart wal-mart you have DIRECTLY contributed to poverty

    i may be over-simplifying it i suppose but right now it seems perfectly logical to me

    frankD

    .

  • LP

    Thank you Tom! One of the best On Point shows ever… I’m sharing it far and wide!

  • Rburke

    http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2012/02/microsoft-co-founder-paul-allen-named.html
    “Last year, Allen committed $372.6 million to a variety of foundations, including $295 million to his own Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which supports the arts, culture, education and social service programs.”

    Imagine what this kind of contribution could do for a Native 
    American reservation…or any other community in deep need of a financial reservoir… without being siphoned by some foundation.

  • Jonnie

    I get so tired of listening to poverty-pimps like Smiley and West constantly blaming society for the ills of the poor. As Jesus freaks, both of them should know that someone once said the “the poor will always be with [us]” so they should take from that that there is nothing society can do to eliminate this condition.

    Besides, what is empirically bad about being “poor.” Conversely, what is so good about being “rich.” Why don’t people just get on with their meaningless lives…be born…live a few years…then die…and let the universe continue on.Also, as one caller said, why do all the “poor” have cable TV, wigh-def-TVs, cell-phones and what I don’t get…WHY ARE THEY ALL SO FAT!

    • Ashleyyoshida

      They’re fat in part because of the crap they are fed at school, and what they can afford to eat.  *See “Super size me”.  They have all of that other crap because they are mercilessly marketed at by the same companies that shipped their jobs over seas, and they are extended credit by greedy banks who know they can’t afford it, but get their money anyway.  Poverty DOES NOT have to exist.   Poverty is a result of greed.  I agree, there’s nothing good about being rich, as long as the poor can have access to good nutrition, good education, and good health care.  Speak for yourself when you say “meaningless lives”.  I am an atheist, however my life is filled with beauty and meaning.  How old are you anyway?  Like twelve?

  • Menaki_b

    Sadly it seems that until we as a nation get it that wealth and profit (gain) is not just money but looking out for the total well-being (not just handouts while ignoring essential needs of fellow humans), of all people, the current selfish and callousness ignorance grows and rules.  :(

  • Xyz

    The best program so far this year.  Thank you Tom, Tavis and Cornel.  Tavis and Cornel 2012 (with Ralph Nadar and Elizabeth Warren in the cabinet :)

  • Vance Ross

    One issue only touched on…LBJ’s War on Proverty had one enduring unintended consequence: it drove men out of the African-American family. A two-parent family did not qualify for assistance. That legacy and the tradgey it engendered affects families and continues to fuel proverty today.

  • Ashleyyoshida

    I’ll be convinced things are fair when I see a millionaire or billionaire donate more than he’s made off the backs of the poor.

  • Slipstream

    I have a very high regard for both Smiley and West, and I was moved by the callers.  Poverty is real, and it is here, and IT IS striking people who once thought they were safely in the middle class and would be there for life.  I can think of a couple of examples… a close friend from high school, lived very nicely, father a doctor, comfortable suburban home… she was doing well for a while, but then lost her job and got sick, now (after a long struggle because they are very slow to give this to people) she is on disability…

    HOWEVER I don’t think you can have a serious discussion about poverty without even once mentioning overpopulation and the high birth rate among the poor (of all races and faiths and backgrounds).  This pretty much guarantees, not just another generation of poor people, but an increasing number of poor people.  What can be done about that?  How about capping the number of children people can have in exchange for getting welfare benefits?  Or limiting payments to the number of children that someone has when they apply for benefits? 

  • Jstivers0016

    Bill Oriely sees a problem with our current poverty programs?

  • Rburke1

    Good Afternoon Readers/Thinkers

    Perhaps this documentary might put things into perspective …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMj9N5Io0ts

     

    • Ashleyyoshida

       Thank-you.   I actually watched the whole thing.  It did help to put things into perspective.  RECOMMENDED.

  • D.A.White

    This was a great show and I wish you featured it more predominantly on your web and face book page. On Point posted large pictures of economists and pictures of black people dancing on Soul Train on your wall, but no face pic of West or Smiley. 

  • Rburke1
  • Rburke1

    “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience” 
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/features/poverty-tour/

    Keep this conversation going…they need all the help they can get to arouse the conscience Americans and others.

  • Rburke1

    Martin Luther King Jr. was leading his “Poor People’s Campaign” when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.

    King’s campaign, and its call for economic fairness, was what brought
    him to the city to march with striking public-works employees.

    The day before he was killed, King addressed death threats, saying he
    “might not get” to the promised land of justice with others who sought
    it, but he knew “we, as a people,” would.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2018013158_smileywest22.html?prmid=head_main

     

  • Rburke1

    Sean Hannity Argues With Tavis Smiley And Cornel West About Poverty (VIDEO)
    Posted: 04/26/2012 10:44 am Updated: 04/26/2012 12:33 pm

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/sean-hannity-tavis-smiley-cornel-west-poverty_n_1455522.html

    Keep the Poverty Tour moving forward…

  • Rburke1

    “The last time any politician who had access to the national media
    raised the issue of poverty was John Edwards. And when his campaign
    ended, so did that conversation. It was a very short-lived
    conversation,” says Smiley.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150335489341754

    Essentially it’s us everyday people that got to move to make change.

  • Rburke1

    Open Letter To Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, And The Obama Critics
    http://newsone.com/1225865/open-letter-cornel-west-tavis-smiley-obam

    I share this letter not to attack West/Smiley/Obama/others…but as Americans can we please look beyond our humanity as buffoons at times and see the high calling of pulling in the same direction for one another regardless of our station in life…The arc of justice is long and arduous but it must be waged…please excuse the verbal negative jousting,  whoever may be engaged in it from one moment to another and look for the spirit of a man/woman who is clamoring for equity and right relationship in a shared country.  The poverty tour and the spirit behind it to reconcile our neighbors in need is necessary…and I am sure Smiley/West realize that Obama is doing all he can from his station at this time…but AMERICANS let’s not lose sight of what we can do individually/collectively to stamp out injustice for one another.  TRUTH must March forward.
     

  • W. Pearl

    “We’ve
    forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to
    leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to
    question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient
    with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will
    be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that’s
    the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to
    have the last word.”

    - Cornel West, from
    The Impossible Will Take a Little While
     

  • M. Richard
  • M. Richard

    taken from:  http://homelessalliance.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-on-poverty/

    The last major speech Dr. King delivered, four
    days before his assassination, was on poverty at the National
    Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1968. . The full text of Dr.
    King´s sermon entitled “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”
    containing the quotes below can be read here:

    http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/search%5C%5Csearchresults/f454e3641b28926618090c1340802137/
     

ONPOINT
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Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

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