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The War On Poverty, 50 Years On

Fifty years after America’s declaration of war on poverty, we’ll look at what’s been won, and what lost. Look for new thinking.

President Lyndon B. Johnson visit to Tom Fletcher residence during Poverty Tour of Appalachia (Courtesy LBJ Presidential Family).

President Lyndon B. Johnson visit to Tom Fletcher residence during Poverty Tour of Appalachia (Courtesy LBJ Presidential Family).

Lyndon Johnson grew up poor, and when he became President of the United States, he went after poverty.  Declared, 50 years ago today, his War on Poverty.  So here we are, half a century on.  And there is poverty aplenty.  And middle class fear of joining the ranks of the impoverished.  With government aid factored in, poverty has fallen.  Without that aid, it’s risen – from one in four Americans to almost a third.  While the top tier of earners has just taken off.  So what now?  This hour On Point:  poverty in America, 50 years after LBJ declared war on poverty.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. (@julianzelizer)

Melissa Boteach, director of poverty prosperity program at the Center for American Progress. Coordinates “Half In Ten: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years.” (@MBoteach)

Lee Ohanian, professor of economics, University of California Los Angeles. Where he director of the Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Alternative Poverty Rate Stuck at 16% — “In September, Census reported the nation’s official poverty rate, which stood unchanged at 15% of the population in 2012—well above the 12.5% level in 2007, before the recession. Some 46.5 million Americans were below the official poverty line of $23,492 for a family of four. On Wednesday, Census reported a more comprehensive measure — one designed to account for anti-poverty programs, regional differences in housing costs and necessary out-of-pocket medical expenses — that showed that 49.7 million people were “poor,” an increase of about 3 million from the official measure. The supplemental poverty rate was 16% in 2012, not significantly different from 16.1% in 2011.”

The Nation: Fifty Years Later, the War on Poverty Must Be Renewed — “But there is a still a long way to go before achieving President Johnson’s stated objective: ‘total victory.’ The tragic misadventure in Vietnam distracted the administration and the country from the one war President Johnson actually did declare, and more recent decades have seen the war on poverty co-opted by the proponents of austerity and turned into an unrelenting war on the poor.”

Washington Post: Paul Ryan’s claim that $15 trillion has been spent on the war on poverty — “The poverty rate is determined by the U.S. Census, and generally such government figures are fairly authoritative. The poverty rate is now about 15 percent, and the last time it was this high was in 1993. Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney said that was the year that Ryan was referencing when he said ‘in a generation.’ (Okay, a generation is generally defined as 30 years, but 20 may be fine for government work.)”

More On The War On Poverty From Around The Web

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The best way to win the war on poverty is to change our tax system. Everyone should send in all their money each week and trust that the government will send an appropriate amount back to you to cover your living expenses. The Obamas get a bit more as Michelle needs to fly back separately from her Hawaiian vacation.

    • northeaster17

      Your starting to sound like the Occupy Movement is having an affect on you. The inequaty of the 1% against the rest of us is and has been having a dragging affect on how many have to live their lives. Welcome aboard. Though you really don’t need to drag Michelle into it.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        I do think that things are stacked against the little guy and that the rich guys are hypocritical. I also think that Michelle Obama having to fly back from a vacation in HAWAII separately at an expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer is a perfect example of the utter hypocrisy of the rich. I’ve never been able to afford a vacation to Hawaii, and I certainly wouldn’t double the travel cost (out of the taxpayers’ pocket) by travelling back on a separate plane.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Look at what Nancy Reagan spent when she entered the white house. If you are laying all these problems at the feet of one party then you are being bamboozled.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Both parties are to blame in my book. The difference is that the Republicans generally are honest with us, whereas the Democrats talk a good game but deep down are just as greedy and self-serving as the Republicans. They just package it more effectively.

    • Coastghost

      I for one always find it curious that Mitt Romney and Bruce Springsteen are each worth c. $250 million. Such separate paths, such similar results: but is it to the Boss’s credit that he’s made out so well spouting a brand of populism that has generated so much wealth?
      For our class of entertainers (musicians, actors/actresses, sports figures as high-minded as Dennis Rodman, e.g.), does “the critique of wealth” really apply to their millions and tens of millions and hundreds of millions?
      Let’s don’t make the mistake of assuming the 1% are SIMPLY or ONLY members of some secretive Wall Street cabal: NO! Look at the 1% at the top of every industry, the top of every game: INCLUDING music, entertainment, sports, broadcasting (which even in its public instantiation cultivates a two-tier system of six-figure incomes vs. five-figure incomes, when not counting unpaid or nominally-paying internships), et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    • NewtonWhale

      “Responsible…”.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Globalists love to repeat the mantra that 1 Billion people have been lifted out of poverty with this new economy. That goal was achieved by moving all our manufacturing jobs overseas. Now that we have millions of unemployed people it seems to me we have not “lost wealth” just transferred it to other nations. What gets me is how this system works against both the environment and economic interests of 98% of Americans. Imagine how much bunker oil it takes to ship “products” from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. and how much diesel fuel it takes to transport it across the USA. Why double or triple our consumption of oil just to make items overseas that were made and could be made in America. Also, these nations pollute the planet at a horrifying rate. The worst impact is how being absent manufacturing jobs this nation plays games with the poor cramming them into colleges, the military, welfare, or in prison on both sides of the fence. We are tens of millions of jobs short in this nation which we exported overseas. The elites and politicians who profit from this system have betrayed their own countrymen and planet with this globalization sham!!! PS Money spent on welfare and law enforcement is necessary to keep the idle poor from pouring into gated communities and causing mayhem for our new aristocracy and I think every politician knows this which is why the “War on Poverty” will go on forever.

    • responseTwo

      Very good point. I’ve heard Alan Greenspan boast about his economic policy saying “millions of people have been lifted out of poverty” . He doesn’t mention what it has done to his fellow Americans and he certainly hasn’t suffered himself. It’s sickening. If only the people who pushed this “free trade” globalization could themselves have their livelihood destroyed at the age of 50 and have a friend or two commit suicide from job loss and depression, then we would have a whole different economy in this country.

      • Bluejay2fly

        My grand father and my father both worked at a large aluminum manufacturing plant. Their working careers spanned over 60 years and guess what I do? I am a prison guard. Law enforcement is a growth industry in this new economy not manufacturing, it is sad.

  • HonestDebate1

    Thomas Sowell is right on cue this morning.

    The “Trickle Down” Lie”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/01/07/the_trickle-down_lie_121142.html

    • Bluejay2fly

      The concept that the wealthy are “job creators” is a form of this trickle down philosophy. The problem has been the compulsion of people to invest money off shore to avoid taxation. If our wealthy can make more building a factory in Mexico or keeping their profits in a bank account in Switzerland that is what they are going to do. Conversely, our government wastes money at an insanely horrifying rate and one could argue that giving more to Uncle Sam is tantamount to throwing it in the gutter. What a shame we have greedy, selfish elites who only care about themselves and a government comprised of self-serving politicians and not statesmen who care about the entire nation.

      • HonestDebate1

        I mostly agree. You gotta wonder about a system that is so hostile to business that it is more profitable to ship jobs overseas than to keep them here. If only the poor created jobs we’d be gold.

        • Bluejay2fly

          This trend has been going on since the 50′s. Cheap crap used to be made in Japan,Taiwan, South Korea, and now China. Our industrialists are like those aliens in Independence Day moving from one host to another.

        • sickofthechit

          The government is not hostile to business. It is greed that drives them offsore, first and foremeost. Look at the trillions they are sitting on overseas that they refuse to repatriate because of dreaded taxes. If corporations want to be considered “people” they need to develop a moral core first. charles a. bowsher

    • jefe68

      Thomas Sowell? The very same Libertarian think tank Sowell who wrote a hack piece comparing President Obama to Hitler no doubt. This is what you deem credible?

      • Ray in VT

        Is that the same Thomas Sowell who criticized desegregation because a few black schools were able to flourish under Jim Crow, despite the fact that the vast majority of minority children got shafted by the system?

        • jefe68

          Yes, that’s the one and same man.
          Interesting choice for HD1 to make…

          • Ray in VT

            Well, it either him or Walter E. “the NAACP is the Klan with a Tan” Williams.

          • TFRX

            At least that last slogan rhymes. Why, I can almost hear Ken Blackwell or Herman Cain chanting it.

          • Ray in VT

            I have to admit that at least when it comes to poetry I like a rhyme scheme. This rhyme, though, is hardly one of my favorites, for all of the various glaring factual problems that it has.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t think you are a racist but the people you hang with are.

          • TFRX

            Go home, white southern troll who can’t see a white southern racists to save his bottom.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are there no racist up North? Are there no Black racists?

          • HonestDebate1

            I love Walter E. Williams, he’d be a great guest on this topic. Or maybe he and Sowell together! Williams always has Sowell on the radio when he subs for Rush. Between them and Bo Snerdly that’s a lot of black for the gazillion Rush listeners to worship… and they do.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure they do.

          • HonestDebate1

            I wouldn’t expect you to be interested in what they say but it is always enlightening. They are very smart.

            http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/07/05/dr_walter_e_williams_celebrates_twenty_years_filling_in_behind_the_golden_eib_microphone

          • Ray in VT

            If they are selling more that it is similar to what I have cited, then I am not at all interested.

          • William

            Sowell, William and Victor Davis Hanson. Tom’s head would explode.

          • HonestDebate1

            He should take one for the team. Actually, the show is much more balanced than this blog. Still I don’t expect that line up any time soon. I’d settle for any one of them.

          • William

            It would be a very dramatic change for Tom to have on any of those 3 people on his show.

        • HonestDebate1

          Thomas Sowell is not a racist, nice try.

          • Ray in VT

            Where did I say that?

            He seems to like books, or at least one, that push racist themes regarding blacks and crimes and which get hyped by white nationalist/supremacist groups.

          • HonestDebate1

            You didn’t say it, you implied it… twice now. The FBI stat are the FBI stats, it is what it is. If someone hypes them Mr. Sowell can’t stop it.

          • Ray in VT

            I implied nothing. You are inferring, incorrectly I might add. Once again, please direct me to the FBI report that says that. Not some joker’s self published book or a “report” from a white nationalist group.

          • HonestDebate1

            Three times.

          • Ray in VT

            You can count too. Congratulations. Now, just you keep working on reading and you might be able to understand what the dictionary says.

            So your answer is no. You don’t have a source from the FBI, just some guy whose goes on racist shows to promote his book about a supposed “epidemic” of black on white violence or a “report” from a white nationalist group.

          • jefe68

            That’s rich coming from someone who makes implied racist comments all the time.

      • HonestDebate1

        Do you have a comment on his thesis? Where is he wrong?

        • jefe68

          Yeah, it stinks.

    • William

      It is odd that Onpoint does not have Dr. Sowell on to comment on social and economic problems.

  • Jasoturner

    There has certainly been a shift in thinking. At one time, the notion of addressing poverty was, I think, seen as a moral and civil issue. Today, poverty seems to have been framed as a proxy for laziness and entitlement, and this allows for a reframing of allowable “solutions”. By this thinking, the answer is not to help people with food or money – which only cultivates dependence, but to empower them to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. In this calculus, rising out of poverty is strictly a matter of will, not circumstance.

    While I am willing to concede that some people may, and probably do, game the system, that is hardly a sufficient basis for universal policy decisions that presume such behavior is the norm. Indeed, if a handful of bankers or lawyers or politicians engage in illegal or deceptive practices, do we treat all bankers, lawyers and politicians as criminals (insert joke of your choice here.)

    Until the nasty and unfair rhetoric is shelved for an honest, non-partisan consideration of how to improve the lot of those who are truly cursed by bad luck, bad genes, bad health or bad educational opportunities, it seems unlikely much will change for the poor. They have virtually no advocates in government, as is true for most constituencies lacking boatloads of money to contribute…

    • Bluejay2fly

      I have grown up and work in an extremely rural and impoverished part of NYS. I was once on medicaid and food stamps while in college. We need to accept the reality that many of these recipients are not capable of fitting into our new economy. You cannot take individuals who refuse to shower, have missing teeth, or are high all the time and expect them to represent Cosco, Walmart, or First National Bank. Hygiene aside, many are not intellectual smart enough, emotionally mature enough or have the work ethic to perform something other than manual labor. My town used to have three giant factories and dozens of farms where these people could work and now they are all gone.

      • Human2013

        Really? Let’s not highlight the exceptions: the lazy, the intellectually and emotionally deficient with bad oral Hygeine. Let’s discuss the rule: the hardworking and moral that continue to watch their wages dissipate.

        • Bluejay2fly

          You missed my point entirely. Our economy is serviced based and many people are not oriented towards that kind of employment. One could also argue that most of those service based jobs pay poorly, have no benefits, and will not offer a middle class lifestyle. So you have a narrow bandwidth of jobs that pay well and the rest are left to sink in abject poverty. Those people whom I mentioned earlier could work dairy farms and melt aluminum if we still had those jobs available.

    • VinceD2

      Want to end poverty? Simple! End the quasi-religions of free trade fundamentalism and open borders.

      Corporations have shipped millions of jobs overseas, and insisted on massive immigration, legal and otherwise. There is no war on poverty, the war is against the American worker.

  • Opportunity for All

    The fact that the war on poverty divides Republicans and Democrats even after 50 years indicates why
    we should celebrate an outcome of this initiative that consistently unites people across the political spectrum.

    Debate over the past half century about Washington’s role in mitigating poverty has fueled an array of popular, non-governmental alternatives. Consider
    the massive growth of the charitable sector – 25
    percent since 2001 alone. The $316 billion Americans donated to nonprofit organizations in 2012 is, adjusted for inflation, roughly 2½ times the amount contributed in 1972.

    Many of these organizations offer programs that help poor Americans to get ahead in life – mentoring at-risk youngsters, offering kids an enriched early childhood education, making college more accessible, and moving the chronically homeless into permanent housing.

    That giving enables low-income people to access
    opportunities which would be unavailable were it not for the work of so many worthy private charities is a significant legacy created, ironically, by the political fallout of the war on poverty.

    • Bluejay2fly

      If you think education is the key then you are delusional. It may save an isolated individual but as a group it does not work. Do you know how many people I work with at my prison have advanced degrees? We ended up there because it pays better than teaching, working in a bank, working as a jeweler, etc. All college did for us was cripple us with student loans. The problem is there are not enough decent paying jobs in the economy unless you want to be part of the growth industries: law enforcement, medical, or the industrial military complex.

      • Enuff_of_this

        Then a growth industry career path is what you should have chosen. There is a certain amount of reality that you have to face. If you degree wasn’t marketable, that is no ones fault but your own. I have friends who have gotten degrees in sociology and anthropology who are stringing tennis rackets and washing dishes wishing they had chosen more wisely.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Firstly, what ever happened to a university education being something more than a “Trade School”. Believe it or not learning how to critically think and think abstractly is actually useful all around. Secondly, I am retired military (you can thank me for fighting in all of your stupid wars) and am 6 years away from my pension (2nd) in law enforcement. I saw those careers as the path of least resistance but living off tax payer dollars is not much more above workfare and is detrimental to our economic system as a whole.

          • Enuff_of_this

            It began being a “Trade School” when enrollment included more than the children of the elite class. It expanded and adapted to the needs of society.Critical thinking is the goal coupled with practical occupations that benefit society as a whole. Thanks for fighting in all of my stupid wars(I neither approved of or supported any of them), so participation was your choice seeing as the draft has been obsolete for many years. That’s the beauty of the military, done right it can provide you with an education and skills that you can take with you after your 20 are done. It sounds as though you have done that. I do have a problem with people who draw their pensions while still drawing paychecks in the civilian workforce. It is akin to double dipping as pensions are rountinely paid to retirees. to susatin them in the autumn years of their lives.

        • Don_B1

          Even in “growth industries” where more new jobs are being created than in other areas, wages are not growing relative to other areas, which indicates that it is not easier to get a job there either as the competition is just as strong for those jobs also.

          • Enuff_of_this

            But they still pay better than waiting tables or flipping burgers does which means you at least are better equipped to meet your financial obligations. Maybe to cut down on the competition for jobs, the governent could issue quotas that colleges and universities would be foced to meet that would limit the number of graduates in any given field guaranteeing all graduates a job upon graduation. If that isn’t appealing to you, then you need to find a way to rise above the field of other applicants to show that you have way more to offer a prospective employer.

  • Coastghost

    And let’s face facts early as we dare, shall we? No small amount of poverty that the poor dwell in is the direct consequence of making poor decisions and poor judgments, of poor self-management. Offering or providing free money does not address or repair such incapability. Offering “free” public education does not address or repair such incapability. All attempts to address or repair poverty yield ONLY very acute and very local results: but the chronic and widespread condition of poverty is NEVER alleviated, NEVER addressed, NEVER repaired.
    What poverty requires is TEMPORAL investment: but notice how much and how little time any champion of the poor actually dedicates to “fighting poverty”. People who are able to manage their affairs typically don’t have the length of interest needed to substantively address the habits of poor thought that the poor themselves embody.

    • John Cedar

      I wonder what Tiger Mom would have to say about this topic.
      A short while ago I attempted to buy a new Camry for a gift, partly motivated because the dealer advertised on Craigslist that they would be $6k off MSRP. When they finally quoted me it was only $1k off MSRP because i was
      not financing the car. What kind of stupendous interest rate are they charging that it makes up for $5k in discount???

      And the point is that the democrats took over in ’08 and made all this bluster about Wall Street/financial reform and yet there is still no cap on interest rates to be charged to the unsuspecting impoverished.

    • Human2013

      I consider myself “Poor”, albeit, the working poor. I have an advanced degree, live a healthy lifestyle and i’m a devoted parent. I value education! 50% of my income is spent on housing. My wages haven’t kept pace with inflation and every expense in my life continues to rise. I’m the RULE, so please stop citing the EXCEPTIONS to the rule!!!!

      • Sahbine

        Hear, here! I am a slave to education debt as well! Educated out of poverty, but still a slave.

    • hennorama

      Coastghost – whether poverty “is the direct consequence of making poor decisions and poor judgments, of poor self-management,” or whether “…making poor decisions and poor judgments, [and] poor self-management” is a “direct consequence” of poverty, is not a settled matter.

      Those who are not poor or who have never been poor or hungry have no idea how poverty and hunger can take over one’s life, and alter one’s entire perspective. It’s no accident that humankind’s cultural evolution took off once humans figured out how to produce enough nutrition so that some individuals could devote their time and energy and brainpower to topics other than simple survival.

      The Abstract of recent research published in the journal Science, titled “Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function,” indicated that the researchers “hypothesize[d] that poverty directly impedes cognitive function…” Further, the Abstract stated, “… it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity. We suggest that this is because poverty-related concerns consume mental resources, leaving less for other tasks. These data provide a previously unexamined perspective and help explain a spectrum of behaviors among the poor.”

      Here’s the Abstract in its entirety:

      “The poor often behave in less capable ways, which can further perpetuate poverty. We hypothesize that poverty directly impedes cognitive function and present two studies that test this hypothesis. First, we experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants. Second, we examined the cognitive function of farmers over the planting cycle. We found that the same farmer shows diminished cognitive performance before harvest, when poor, as compared with after harvest, when rich. This cannot be explained by differences in time available, nutrition, or work effort. Nor can it be explained with stress: Although farmers do show more stress before harvest, that does not account for diminished cognitive performance. Instead, it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity. We suggest that this is because poverty-related concerns consume mental resources, leaving less for other tasks. These data provide a previously unexamined perspective and help explain a spectrum of behaviors among the poor. We discuss some implications for poverty policy.”

      See:
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976

      From the Princeton University Office of Communications, about the research:

      “Poor concentration: Poverty reduces brainpower needed for navigating other areas of life

      “Poverty and all its related concerns require so much mental energy that the poor have less remaining brainpower to devote to other areas of life, according to research based at Princeton University. As a result, people of limited means are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that may be amplified by — and perpetuate — their financial woes.

      “Published in the journal Science, the study presents a unique perspective regarding the causes of persistent poverty. The researchers suggest that being poor may keep a person from concentrating on the very avenues that would lead them out of poverty. A person’s cognitive function is diminished by the constant and all-consuming effort of coping with the immediate effects of having little money, such as scrounging to pay bills and cut costs. Thusly, a person is left with fewer “mental resources” to focus on complicated, indirectly related matters such as education, job training and even managing their time.

      “In a series of experiments, the researchers found that pressing financial concerns had an immediate impact on the ability of low-income individuals to perform on common cognitive and logic tests. On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night’s sleep.”

      See:
      http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S37/75/69M50/index.xml?section=topstories

      One of the co-authors, Princeton Professor Eldar Shafir, said this on a recent (Nov. 4, 2013) On Point show:

      “…scarcity, when you feel you don’t have enough – money, calories, time – captures a lot of your attention and just leaves less mind to deal with other everyday matters in your life.”

      See:
      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/11/04/food-stamps-cut-snap-farm-bill (starting at about 29:45 into the show)

      This seems completely intuitive to anyone who has experienced circumstances of poverty and concerns over where their next meal will come from. But those who have not had such experiences have difficulty understanding these phenomena.

      • Coastghost

        Don’t tell me, hen, tell the geniuses at Princeton and Harvard and Boston University: education is incapable of providing any cure for poverty, the condition of poverty militates against reception of any cognitive capability needed to overcome it. (LBJ’s lost war on poverty also would seem to show starkly the extreme limitations of simple “resource [re-]distribution”: a command-economy styled assault on the purely economic circumstance of poverty demonstratively did NOTHING to alter the persistent landscape of human poverty: otherwise, more poor people than wealthy people would listen to NPR and WBUR, so LBJ’s creation of public broadcasting might ALSO be cited as a distinct failure, since its programming manifestly does not appeal to the tastes of poor people.)

    • HonestDebate1

      It’s not about the results, it’s about the intensions.

  • nlpnt

    The war on poverty worked while it was being fought – the poverty rate dropped 10 points between 1964 and 1970 before the backlash developed. By the early ’80s Reagan declared unconditional surrender and turned the (urban, black) poor into a scapegoat for all the nation’s ills.

    • Human2013

      The worst words ever muttered by a President, “Welfare Queen.”

      • Ray in VT

        She was quite a piece of work:

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/12/20/255819681/the-truth-behind-the-lies-of-the-original-welfare-queen

        A professional fraudster who may have been involved in at least one or two murders and the abduction of a child.

        • olderworker

          But clearly NOT a typical welfare recipient, though Reagan implied that she was.

          • Ray in VT

            I would hate call someone with that profile typical of anything.

      • William

        Did he ever actually use those words? I never could find any record of him saying it. He did talk about a Chicago woman Marth Miller, aka. Linda Taylor, who was convicted of welfare fraud.

        • Bluejay2fly

          NAFTA was worked on during his administration and I believe Reagan also stated “The best social program is a job”. What a piece of work.

          • William

            Reagan also thought EITC was one of the best welfare programs ever started.

    • WorriedfortheCountry
      • Ray in VT

        I just linked to something similar. What a sociopath she was.

    • TFRX

      The amazing thing is that his one anectdotal evidence was a white woman.

  • Human2013

    At one point in time, there was deep thought, analysis and consultation on how to divide resources amongst humanity. The United States maintaining the British tradition (exploit and profit) continued on with capitalism, decimating any thought of communism. If communism evokes community and sharing, than capitalism is the exact opposite. The Demagogues want us to believe that the poor “lack skills and motivation”. The truth is that income and wealth are all relative. If the “skilled” MD, IT analyst, attorney and so on, make half a million dollars a year, that’s negligible compared to the financiers and investors. In this economic system, even the “skilled” will eventually end up poor — it’s inevitable.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Good timing. Maine just released data on abuses of the Maine EBT system — spending at bars, smoke shops, strip clubs. Spending was in all 50 states including a CA golf resort where a round of golf starts at $175. Part of the data includes a large number of 1am cash ATM withdrawals near known drug dealing havens.

    It took the state of Maine over a year to release the data due to federal rules to protect privacy. This is federal money. This sort of report should be mandatory for all 50 states on a quarterly basis.

    Sure, many need support but there is also abuse and we should all support reforms that minimize the abuse that gives the program a bad name.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      So, let’s throw the baby out with the bath water!

      • JGC

        I don’t think WftC was suggesting at all that anti-poverty programs should be brought to a halt. It is all about providing smart assistance to get better outcomes.

      • Mike

        There are better ways to help the truly needy than a “carte blanche”. Turning Food Stamps / SNAP into a program like WIC where limited items can be purchased would help a lot. I know this from experience working in grocery stores where I dealt with SNAP and WIC every day.

      • HonestDebate1

        How about we throw out just the bathwater?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Obviously.

          • HonestDebate1

            There you go! We agree. Let’s hold hands and sing “Feelings”.

    • northeaster17

      In situations like this good enforcement pays for itself. I used to ride with a friend. He was a fraud investigator. He did a good job but I could not help but notice that even those who were border line fraud were still dirt poor. Not a pretty picture.

    • Sahbine

      You are assuming that regular everyday people working first, second or third shift have the choice to work somewhere else!

    • JGC

      It’s not just the EBT story out of Maine, it is also problems like the police and firefighters in New York extracting over $20-million on false disability claims, and doctors involved in Medicare fraud. And wealthy people who hide their money in secret offshore accounts! It discourages the regular taxpayers from wanting to do the right thing and provide assistance to the citizens who do need a leg up.

      Anyone who is involved in these sort of scams now is an absolute fool. It is getting easier to follow the trends and they will be found. The government should possibly even try a program similar to the one on the declaration of secret offshore accounts, but written to address social program fraud.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The NYC fraud case may reach a $400M tab.
        Amazing to see some of the pictures the fraudsters posted on social media. Hubris? Stupidity? All of the above.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/disability-insurance-fraud-may-total-400-million-dollars/

        • JGC

          Ugh. That doesn’t really surprise me too much, I guess, since the people at the head of the fraud started this decades ago.

          Their children must be very proud of them.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The lawyer for the primary fraudster said his client thought he was playing by the rules. AKA: everyone does it.

    • jefe68

      What’s interesting about your comment is you leave out the details. Out of the 240,000 EBT cards issued in the state of Maine there were 3,000 transactions from Jan. 1, 2011, through Nov. 15, 2013, at smoke shops, and more than 650 transactions at bars, sports pubs and strip clubs.

      The “massive welfare fraud” amount to two tenths of of 1 %. So out of 50,000 transactions, or 1.8 million over a 36-month survey period, with 3,701 of those transactions being tagged as fraud.

      Nice try, but no cigar for you.

      • JGC

        Thanks, jefe, for reminding that it is important to also look at the entire scope of the problem to keep it all in perspective.

        • TFRX

          “Scope” doesn’t factor. These are the same people screaming to high heaven about bare, uncontexted numbers.

          If I want that I can get it from the idiots on Fox News.

    • hennorama

      WftC — the mantra of “Stamp out fraud, waste and abuse!” is all well and good, and it enjoys wide support.

      But what we see in the present state of politics is that, like Ronald Reagan’s fictitious “welfare queens,” these small numbers of examples are being used in attempt to dismantle entire programs, rather than to “Stamp out fraud, waste and abuse!”

      This falsely paints all recipients of these benefits with a broad brush, as if they are all suspect or guilty.

      BTW, I’m not indicating that you personally are doing this.

      • HonestDebate1

        There are just shy of 11 million people on disability. If you grouped them together it would be the 8th most populous state. We are not that disabled.

  • Jon

    Here is the root cause for American poverty – over emphasizing the virtue of self-reliance and play by the rule.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Our national motto “In God We Trust” should be replaced with the more accurate “Hurray For Me, And F*** You” because that accurately represents many people’s mindset.

      • Jon

        it is a brute truth

        • Bluejay2fly

          Do not get me wrong I love America and my countrymen ,but we have become very self obsessed. We really need to start working together as a group and not a collective of individuals seeking their own personal interests.

      • Enuff_of_this

        Sad but true. It represents the dash to the extreme left or right both major parties are to blame.

    • Jon

      Here is a perfect solution for America – abolish all political parties and promote individual democracy therefore no politician has to be acting stupid or extreme because of his loyalty or solidarity of partisanship.

  • RolloMartins

    We need less attacks on individuals, and a re-distribution of power into the hands of the poor in order to remove structural barriers that keeps power in the hands of a wealthy few.

    • myblusky

      Unfortunately our politicians are part of the wealthy and they set up
      laws to protect themselves and their friends (lobbyists and corporations) – despite the fact that
      they are our employees.There doesn’t seem to be an incentive for those in power to break this system so it will continue as it is.

  • JGC

    The more recent explosion of data analysis will help better target the improved use of both public and private money.

  • Mike

    Everyone has a way out. I grew up in poverty with a single mom who never completed high school. I am now very successful, financially and otherwise as is my brother. No special intervention on anyone’s part to aid me. I was just determined that I was not bound by my background – studied hard, worked hard and succeeded. I had no special breaks. ANYONE in America can work their way out of poverty. For nearly everyone it is a matter of will, choice and decisions. (Exceptions of course are some who suffer from some types of disabilities.)

    • Bluejay2fly

      The key is doing it morally. Yes, I too can get rich selling alcohol and guns to the indians.

      • Mike

        I did everything morally. It is possible, anyone can do it.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Morality is relative. I think saying everyone can do it is pretty simplistic.

          • Mike

            Simplistic – yes, but also true.

    • hennorama

      Mike — congratulations on your success.

      It is indeed POSSIBLE for people to work their way out of poverty, but it is not solely “a matter of will, choice and decisions” for “nearly everyone.”

    • Angela

      Mike, I’m glad you are successful.
      I won’t assume that you didn’t have obstacles, however…
      There may be a person born into a similar situation but had medical issues, maybe mental illness or other illness. Maybe they were abused and suffered physically or mentally. Maybe they were not born with your IQ. Or talent. Maybe they were dyslexic.

      I could go on but I think you know the gist.

      No, it is simply not true that ANYONE can work their way out of poverty, the exception is NOT the rule.

      • Mike

        You are right. I stated in another post that we do need to make allowances for the disabled.

    • olderworker

      I do not believe that “no special intervention” occurred. At some point, perhaps a teacher offered you some extra guidance, suggested some higher level goals to you, something. Also, if you are employed, you DID have a special break, as you call it. Lots of us have worked hard, gone to school. worked for several years, or decades, etc. but still are unemployed now.

      • Mike

        Nope – no special break. NO especially inspiring teachers. I was just determined not to repeat mistakes I saw others make. My keeping a job was not a special break either. Their were jobs I wanted and didn’t get and a lost a job and took a demotion into a lower job. I worked my way out of that to an even better job 5 years later. If I were unemployed I would take any job I could get, regardless what it was. I would want to show I was not too proud to work hard. Oh, by the way, I also worked while I was in college to support mom. my parents didn’t put me through college – I paid some of their bills while I was in college. It is possible.

        • Don_B1

          And where did you get your “determination”?

          Your mother probably made a big contribution there, and maybe you were lucky and did not live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, with peer pressure driving you in the wrong direction.

  • atakemoto

    There is no true will to end poverty in this country. It would require too much education and investment and there is not enough compassion to accomplish this. How sad.

  • Mike

    Handouts don’t solve the problem. It breeds poverty and dependence. But it also breeds political allegiance.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Handouts in the form of government contracts is the worst.

      • Mike

        A government contract is not bad, wrong or evil. They can be abused and should not be. Violators should be prosecuted.

        • Bluejay2fly

          You must be a staffer. Please, go and take a coffee break.

          • Mike

            What are you talking about? Staffer? I don’t understand.

          • Mike

            I don’t know the term “staffer” please explain. I just work hard and learn hard. If it comes from Pop Culture I won’t understand it.

  • sickofthechit

    To the first “expert” guest. Johnson said “Unconditional War”, which means it has not been a “pretty good success”. It has been a failure so far what with 15% (nearly 50,000,000!) of Americans still in poverty, and a further double digit teetering on the very brink, one paycheck away from foreclosure, one paycheck away from disaster is not a “pretty good success!.
    Charles A. Bowsher

    • Sahbine

      We are fighting the poor and cutting the feet off of the middle class, and more and more folks are one paycheck away these days.

  • sickofthechit

    So fix the sticky spider web they find themselves trapped in! charles a. bowsher

  • alsordi

    Poverty in the USA ? With Food Stamps, Subsidized Housing and Medicare? Not quite Biafra.

    The poor in the US, are just like govt workers, the military, and govt contractors. They are an entity to through which transfer payments of Federal Reserve created “monopoly money” is passed on to corporations.

    Just like the perpetual extension of unemployment benefits, ends up in the pockets of bankers, property developers, cocacola, pepsi co, McDonalds, supermarkets, and Walmart.

    The real poverty is found in the sinking bottom of the middle class who are still too proud to go to a welfare office.

  • Sahbine

    The “War on Poverty” happens one person at a time. Every time a child is educated and capable, we are making strides in the “war.”

    I grew up on welfare and food stamps. They came with addiction and mental illness as well, which is often the case. With the help of our social safety net, I was able to eat enough and have medication. Grandma put a roof over our heads. I used education as a ticket out.

    As a child, I had no control over my family of origin. As an adult, they still live in poverty, but I do not. I do have control over my own destiny (and that of my child) because I benefited from food stamps, Title XIX, Pell grants, food pantries and church social programs.

    We would be remiss to destroy these things in America. Just because Rand Paul or Paul Ryan has his piece of the pie, does not mean that they little guys should have their bite taken away.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Sadly, the system is not really set up for boot strap. When I was 22 and needed medical attention I sought medicaid. I was told to quit college and start searching for a job before even being considered. If I were to have a child, guess what I would get it all. Who is that program rewarding or helping? The working poor and socially mobil often get turned away.

      • Sahbine

        It is a good question to ask, how you get the benefits to the children if the parents are unfit.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Children having children is how generational welfare and bloodline welfare dynasties are formed. In this Kinderarchy the mere thought of denying that child resources is an anathema. Family law and social policy is where gender bias is unbelievable.

  • MrNutso

    Good old common knowledge.

  • Sahbine

    Maybe we need a “War on Greed.”

    • Bluejay2fly

      That would be called a Revolutionary War.

    • pete18

      What would that look like? What does that mean? Be specific.

    • Human2013

      Don’t worry, It’s gonna happen in this century or the next.

  • OnPointComments

    What if there was a sure-fire solution to dramatically reduce poverty? Would everyone embrace the solution?

    1. Finish school and graduate from the highest level of school.
    2. Upon graduation take whatever job is available, work hard, and keep working.
    3. Marry after you have finished your education.
    4. Don’t have children until you are 21 years old and married.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Running as quickly as you can towards the fire escape may very well be the formula to save your life, but if everybody does it the exit gets blocked and everybody dies. That is called the Theory Of Commons and it is that fallacy that people like yourself and Mike cling to.

    • Sahbine

      Take what ever minimum wage job and keep living in your parents basement, because you will never get ahead.

      • HonestDebate1

        Minimum wage jobs are great for the unskilled entry level youth. Adults who have not nurtured the skills to be worth more than minimum wage are total losers.

        • Sahbine

          Even total losers deserve to at least get by; but, you are overlooking the myriad of folks who *have* nurtured those skills and *still* cannot make a living.

          • HonestDebate1

            No one works for minimum wage.

    • angie

      I completed everything in this list, and guess what I still find myself and my family in poverty. It happens to anyone, no matter what fine path you start yourself out on you don’t know if you’ll end up poor and eating the scraps from your childs’ plate or living high on the hog with so much extra stuff you throw things out with no thought at all

      • OnPointComments

        All of the items listed will decrease the chance of ending up in poverty.

        • angie

          I do not disagree completely, it must help somebody some where. The way things are now i.e. the economy, the position one held(or holds) isn’t secuiaty enough to prevent a collapse into poverty. One could make the best of choices and be doing well but hard times hit and it has far reaching effects. That is why it’s nice to have a little help in the important things

    • Human2013

      Who is left to collect your trash, install your cable, clean your office building, serve you burges and fries and basically keep society running. Shouldn’t we pay these people?

    • OnPointComments

      It would be illuminating to know which of the 4 items listed are bad ideas according to the commenters who provided the down votes.

      • hennorama

        OPC — fuggedabout it. There’s no rhyme or reason to Down votes, and those voters never ‘splain ‘em.

    • Mike

      You are correct. That will solve most of the poverty issue. It is true but hard that most poverty is a matter of choices and behavior.,

  • William

    Tom will amnesty for 20-30 million illegals help or hurt the people living in poverty?

    • Markus6

      I’m amazed how few on this forum will bring this up and how snarkly it’ll be dismissed. Ideology trumps the poor. As soon as amnesty is declared, a billion poor people in the world will figure out they can come here, take construction (my cousin has to hire them to be competitive), hotel, farm, restaurant and other work for a numbers of years then get another amnesty. It is impossible for job growth to match the number of people that come here. And I don’t blame them, I’d try to do the same thing.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Undocumented immigrants are getting paid poorly and they are taken advantage of – they are effectively slaves. So, by legalizing them, they will get paid better, and this will help our economy, because they will have more money to spend – and they will pay some income tax.

      Also, it will open up their jobs to citizens because now those industries will be forced to pay what the work is actually worth, making it better for all who want to do the work.

      • William

        Perhaps, but I think not and find it sad that the working poor and low skilled legal citizens will suffer even more with millions more people competing for the same jobs. Most won’t pay income taxes beyond FICA unless they really make a good living but will be able to legally receive welfare payments like SNAP, WIC, and EITC which won’t improve our debt problem.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Raising the earnings of the lowest paid people in the economy helps everyone, and hurts no one.

          • William

            Wages won’t go up for low skilled workers if there are too many of them going after the same number of jobs. Even the middle class will be hurt because many of the illegals have very good education and can legally apply for jobs too. The poor and middle class workers are just cannon fodder for the political and business elites in this country.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Those jobs are probably not paying minimum wage now. They would pay better because the owners of the company would have to pay at least minimum wage, and that improves the local economy, so other jobs can pay better and hire more people.

    • hennorama

      William – let’s start with the fact that, as I have pointed out to you previously, according to multiple estimates, your figure of “20-30 million illegals” is inflated by between 8.5 and 18.9 million people, a rather significant amount.

      The Pew Hispanic Center’s estimated in their January 2013 report that there were 11.1 million illegal/undocumented aliens (I/UAs) resident in the U.S, in 2011.

      See:
      http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/01/29/a-nation-of-immigrants/

      According to the Dept. Of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics, “an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States in January 2011…”

      See:
      https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ois_ill_pe_2011.pdf

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that in 2012, a bit over 25 million (25.026 M) foreign-born individuals were in the U.S. labor force, with a bit over 23 million (23.006 M) Employed. This leave a bit over 2 million (2.021 M) Unemployed.

      See:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/forbrn.t01.htm

      The Unemployed foreign-born workers therefore represented only 1.3 percent of the total civilian labor force (2.021/154.975 M). If the usual ratio of I/UA workers (about 1 out of 3) applied, that would mean that about 0.43 percent of the total civilian labor force were Unemployed foreign-born workers who were in the U.S. illegally in 2012.

      Not exactly a huge percentage to be concerned over.

      Also per the BLS, foreign-born workers participate in the U.S. civilian labor force at a higher rate that native born workers:

      “Labor Force

      “The share of the U.S. civilian labor force that was foreign born was 16.1 percent in 2012; it was 15.9 percent in 2011. (See table 1.)

      “In 2012, the labor force participation rate of the foreign born was 66.3 percent, compared with 63.2 percent for the native born. The labor force participation rate was 78.5 percent for foreign-born men and 68.6 percent for native-born men. Among women, 54.8 percent of the foreign born were labor force participants, compared with 58.2 percent of the native born.

      AND

      “The labor force participation rates for foreign-born blacks, Asians, and Hispanics were higher than for their native-born counterparts, while the rate for foreign-born whites was lower than the rate for native-born whites.”

      See:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/forbrn.nr0.htm

      The BLS information includes foreign-born workers who are in the U.S. both legally and illegally.

      Overall, about 1 in 6 workers in the US are foreign-born. Nearly half of these foreign-born workers are Hispanic, and about one quarter are Asian. Median incomes of foreign-born workers is nearly $32K, which is about 78% of the median for native-born workers. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is that foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in lower-wage service occupations.

      About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force.

      • William

        How would they actually know? A guess based on what?…best guess? Remember the healthcare debate the uninsured numbers went from 15-50 million with nobody actually being able to determine the real number.

        It has been nearly 30 years since the last amnesty program so 1 million per year is a fair estimate and most likely on the low side.

        • hennorama

          William — thank you for your response.

          You believe that your WAG (Wild Ass Guess) is “fair … and most likely on the low side,” and should be used rather than the DHS estimate?

          If that’s the case, then no amount of reason is likely to be of use.

  • Jon

    Education is not the problem. Over emphasizing education is the problem because it raises the education cost in general and produces over numbered educated and leaves nobody willing to pick up crops at the field – thus more and more undocumented workers here and manufacturing jobs overseas.

    • JGC

      Maybe you are talking about the university degree route? The pendulum is just beginning to swing back to reminding people to consider trade and technical schools.

      One person who started out on this track years ago wrote in the Globe and Mail this past weekend that trade schools should also include a Business 101 or Entrepreneurial course so that these folks can be aware of how they can leverage their manual skills into something larger.

      • Jon

        sure there are many smart peoples out there and it’s up to the public to force politicians to listen to these smart peoples instead of to their stupid inner voice.

  • Ed75

    The big event in the 1970s was legalized abortion. That changed our whole economy. What we’re watching now is the slow collapse or limping of the economy as a result, it just took a while.

    • Jeff

      Actually if you read some books, the legalization of abortion may be the reason we saw such a drastic decrease in crime going into the late 1990′s. Give Freakonomics a read.

      • Ed75

        If we kill everyone, there will be even less crime. (If one considers abortion a serious crime, one doesn’t see a decrease in crime.)

      • Ed75

        You’re probably right in that abortion killed doctors, lawyers, priests, nuns, and criminals too. But it’s not the way to achieve this end, if abortion is a serious crime itself. In the mid-1970s when NYC was (and still is) the center of abortion, the crime rate was terrible, supporting the argument that crime makes an atmosphere for more crime.

    • Kathy

      Ok I’ll bite. How did legalized abortion somehow make poverty worse? Because I have an inkling if we could get rid of the stigma about abortion, we’d be pulling a lot of people out of poverty.

      • Ed75

        Well, first, there isn’t just a stigma about abortion, it’s the killing of a human being and so is gravely immoral, sinful, for anyone. (The man involved is morally responsible to support the woman so he is very responsible also.) And seriously immoral and sinful lead to bad things generally.
        But specifically, we see that we need more young people to pay into Social Security and health care, and they just aren’t there. They would be there, but they aren’t. Most people start businesses around 30-40 years of age, and these businesses lead to hiring and jobs, but many of the people this age aren’t here.
        As predicted in 1973, it leads to a slow-motion collapse of society, which is why China, the most population nation, is having a labor shortage, and has expanded its one child policy to a two child policy.
        We would have 60 million more young people in the U.S. than we have now, all forty or younger, imagine what that many people would create and how much work they would do.
        In China the solution, horrifyingly, will probably be the euthanization of the old since there aren’t enough young people to care for them, we’ll see if they can avoid that.
        (PS The morality is not to have as many children as possible, but to accept those children that are given to us. Still, God is good, and we still have hope.)

        • Kathy

          Ok, so “because God.”

          • Ed75

            Well, the reason ‘Because God’ seems sufficient to me. But it’s also based on reason. The AMA in the late 1800s said that the only clear point to cite as the start of human life is conception, and that was the rule until they became politicized and changed it. Science points to conception as the start, I know you know all the details.
            But we’ve gone so far, it’s too late.

          • Kathy

            Keep your Ceiling Cat off my body thanks.

  • Mike

    Minimum wage is not the problem almost no primary bread winners work in minimum wage jobs, less than 5% of minimum wage workers. (I looked it up.) We need to support those that are in that situations. Doesn’t earned income tax credit do that?

    The key is to make themselves more valuable and work their way up. It is possible.

    • HonestDebate1

      It’s not only possible, it’s absolutely essential to a thriving economy.

  • Coastghost

    So we CAN claim legitimately that LBJ lost every war he waged, hunh?

    • Bluejay2fly

      Good One!

  • reid rhodes

    Maybe the problem is capitalism. Or our current joke of a gov’t that is really there only to help corporations and the ultra rich.

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    Who will you hire in 5 years? in 10 years? in 15 years?
    If someone asks me a question and I do not know the answer, I

    • OnPointComments

      If someone asks me a question and I do not know the answer, I…just quit in mid thought.

  • Scott B

    The upside-down, and corrupted, lending system we have in the country put the working poor, like me, further into the hole. I have been told I can’t re-fi my mortgage (never missed a payment, no McMansion, no hinky mortgage) because I am “not profitable”. No HAMP, no HARP. People like me never have a new car because unless one has perfect credit, and a big down payment (Impossible on min wage. Save what?) the interest rate adds up seemingly exponentially. A new car with 40MPG would save so many of us hundreds, even thousands of dollars, but instead we have to buy beaters with bad mileage and always nickle and diming us to death in repairs.

    • Bluejay2fly

      I have an old home which is a wreck. I have been working on it for over a decade. My property tax is 6K a year. If I made 30K that would be 20% of my gross. The way we are taxed in this nation is insane. I also graduated college in the early 90′s and still have 54K of student loan debt. I also cannot refinance because my house is too torn apart, yet I need money to put it back together.

  • Jim

    I remember we still have hope when we were in poverty in 80s. Now, it is an enormous struggle even for middle class people to make a living today. I just hate when politicians say unemployed people are lazy, refuse to take low paying jobs, and use a term of welfare queens created by the Reagan administration. Maybe these people need to be voted out and we should have a law banning lobbying. Maybe then, they realize what average folks are dealing with.

    • Bluejay2fly

      If you have a tank manufacturing plant in your state and that tank is militarily unnecessary and ineffective would anybody vote for the senator who closed that plant and ended that program for the good of the nation? That is the problem.

  • Ed75

    President Johnson died of a heart attack on the day before Roe v. Wade was announced, 1/21/1973. Charles Krauthammer was a liberal with President Carter but saw that the war on poverty wasn’t working, so he became a conservative. One can talk about the unintended undermining of the African American family as a result of the war on poverty.

  • JGC

    Here is a simple program that works in the province where I live, Quebec. It is a program meant to close a gap between the universal health care system and nutrition for low income mothers-to-be. They visit their local community health clinic (CLSC) where they get a pre-natal check-up and a “prescription” (coupons) specifically for free milk, eggs, orange juice and vitamins.

    It has helped to reduce the incidence of low birth weight babies by 50%. That is an amazing success, since low birth weight is linked to all manner of disadvantages that cascade into later life.

    • Bluejay2fly

      We have that it is called WIC women, infants, and children.

      • sickofthechit

        It is under constant attack from repug’s and is essentially underfunded.

        • northeaster17

          I used it once. Not a good experience. Cumbersome.

    • TFRX

      (As an aside, did you ever say you were in PQ before?)

      • JGC

        I thought I did. I’ve made and have been on the receiving end of poutine jokes.

  • skelly74

    Zero income taxation; higher taxation on sales (excluding food and clothing) higher taxation on personal assets ( a luxury tax). You play, you pay.

    Keep your hands out of the pockets of the Darma Bums…

  • Scott B

    I hear people like the Koch bros, wanting to do away with the minimum wage, claiming that it’s, somehow, holding wages back, as if pulling the rug out from under everyone will get anyone ahead. When has anyone heard of a company being able to pay workers less and raising wages? Those new profits go to stockholder and execs.

  • atakemoto

    In order for parenthood to be a choice, birth control must be available to poor people.

    • warryer

      what about the choice to engage in sex or not?

      • OnPointComments

        I have a very liberal friend who regularly spouts nonsense like “If you won’t pay for my birth control or abortion, then you should pay for the cost of raising my child.” It’s absurd. Most liberals appear to believe it is impossible to avoid conception without birth control. Many liberals also don’t believe that anyone bears any personal responsibility for their situation.

        • John Cedar

          How do become any more than acquaintances able to exchange pleasantries, with someone like that?

          • OnPointComments

            The last time, both of us refrained for four hours from mentioning anything even remotely political. I was pleasantly surprised by both of us.

        • geraldfnord

          Abstinence historically has been a singularly ineffective contraceptive method…as used in actual practice. We all bear individual responsibility, but in the aggregate we also know that some things will likely happen.

          Any given individual _could_ have resisted tobacco advertising, and many did, but the men (mostly) whopaid for it did so because they d good rwason to believe that they would make it back and more when the profits from the extra smoking kicked-in

          A decent society can live neither with complete irresponsibility nor with a mistaken believe in perfect moral autonomy.

      • atakemoto

        Why refrain from something as enjoyable as sex?

    • OnPointComments

      Let’s wait and see if poverty declines because contraception is mandated under Obamacare.

      • hennorama

        OPC — you mischaracterize one of the elements of the PPACA: for women, contraceptive methods and counseling that are provided in-network are covered without added expense.

        However, use of contraception is not “mandated under Obamacare,” as your comment implies.

        “Plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover contraceptive methods and counseling for all women, as prescribed by a health care provider.

        “These plans must cover the services without charging a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible when they are provided by an in-network provider.”

        See:
        https://www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-birth-control-benefits/

        • OnPointComments

          “contraception is” should have been “contraceptives are”

          • hennorama

            OPC – TYFYR.

            That is a slight improvement, but still misses the mark. Your preceding phrase, “Let’s wait and see if poverty declines because …,” continues to imply that the use of “contraception/contraceptives” is “mandated under Obamacare.”

            It is coverage, without added expense, of the costs of “contraceptive methods and counseling for all women, as prescribed by a health care provider” that the PPACA requires (with certain exceptions), and not the actual prescribing of, or the use of, “contraceptive methods and counseling for all women…”

            Thanks again for your response.

    • HonestDebate1

      it is. A rubber cost 75 cents or go to a high school and get them for free.

      • TFRX

        Go home, troll.

        And please, tell women everywhere you’re fine with you deciding what kind of birth control they get.

        • HonestDebate1

          I am home. I don’t care what kind of birth control anyone gets, its not my business. How can you make the case that birth control is not available to the poor? It certainly is.

    • John Cedar

      You are mixing up contemporary liberal doublespeak.
      The proper liberal term for “free” is “access to”.
      As of today, “available” still does not mean “free”.
      Unless.when you said “available”, you meant it simply needs to be available at a reasonable price…which it is.

  • Scott B

    LBJ wouldn’t have been born, had his parents only had children if they could afford them. He was born into poverty, and would grow angry and lash out when he would hear someone with him would point out a child “dressed in rags”, angrily correcting them, that those were “patched clothes”.

  • Jim

    “If you don’t have the skills”, Maybe you can TRAIN them. Oh, right, that would take away your monthly bonus you seriously do not deserve.

  • MarkVII88

    As reprehensible as the caller’s comments were, I have to agree with him that it doesn’t make social and fiscal sense for people in poverty to continue having children. I’m not saying that we need to adopt a formalized eugenics program, I am saying that it just simply doesn’t make any sense for the poor to have kids. Kids born into poverty have an incredibly hard time ahead of them and are unlikely to break that cycle given our country’s current situation. Poor kids have more unstable family lives, are more likely to be food-insecure to name just two. These issues bleed into the school systems that are burdened by having to cope with them while also trying to educate these kids. This raises the costs of education for all while not necessarily benefiting children as a whole.

    • hennorama

      MarkVII88 — on the other hand, the world would have missed out on the contributions of some great individuals who were born into poverty, had their parents decided it “doesn’t make any sense for the poor to have kids.”

      • MarkVII88

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you but I still stand by my assertion and, of course, hindsight is 20/20.

        • hennorama

          MarkVII88 — thank you for your response. I understand and respect your views.

          Now, if you’re “not saying that we need to adopt a formalized eugenics program,” then,

          1) exactly what ARE you saying?
          2) do you have some proposal to resolve what you seem to believe is an important issue?

          • MarkVII88

            Carrots usually work better than sticks, so I would suggest offering free birth control to all who have Medicaid. How about coming up with incentives for not having kids that people who fall below a certain income threshold can take advantage of? These could be things like higher Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) for low-income working people that will allow them to get further ahead.

          • hennorama

            MarkVII88 — thank you again for your response.

            You are ill-informed about “offering free birth control to all who have Medicaid.” Since 1972, Federal law has required state Medicaid programs to cover “family planning services and supplies” for beneficiaries “of child-bearing age”:

            “When Medicaid was enacted in 1965, it did not include family planning services and supplies among covered services. However, Congress amended the Act in 1972 to improve the availability of family planning services. First, Congress required States to cover “family planning services and supplies furnished (directly or under arrangements with others) to individuals of child-bearing age (including minors who can be considered to be sexually active) who are eligible under the State [Medicaid] plan and who desire such services and supplies.”

            See:
            http://www.healthlaw.org/issues/reproductive-health/qa-medicaid-coverage-of-reproductive-health-services#.Us3CAdJDt9U

            As to changing Federal tax laws, especially to increase benefits to those either without qualifying children or with fewer qualifying children, which would immediately be characterized as “anti-family” – good luck with that.

            For information from The Kaiser Family Foundation, about “State Medicaid Coverage of Family Planning Services: Summary of State Survey Findings, November 2009,” go to:

            http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8015.pdf

            Thanks again for your response.

          • MarkVII88

            Thanks for providing the links to all that information. You truly have more information than I do to fall back on to support your position. All I have is the knowledge gained from my life experiences and from having 3 children myself. I have not bothered to figure out how much I’ve spent to raise and provide for each child, averaged out per year. But I can say with certainty that my wife and I would have a lot more money in the bank now if we had 2 kids instead of 3, or 1 kid instead of 2, or 0 kids instead of 1. We are incredibly lucky because we knew as time progressed that we had enough love for and could afford as many children as we have now (barring events that can’t be foretold). If we did not have the emotional or financial means to love and/or support additional children, we would not have had them. It is the realization of this revelation that seems to be lacking and it cuts across all socioeconomic divides. You simply should not have kids if you can’t adequately love them or provide materially for them.

          • hennorama

            MarkVII88 – your response is appreciated, and you’re welcome for the links. They were provided in an effort to add to the collective knowledge of the community “in here,” and one hopes the effort had some success.

            Your point of view and actions work for you; congratulations on your progeny.

            I agree with you as a general principle, but when you mentioned “a formalized eugenics program,” even though you also indicated your view that you were “not saying that we need [one],” I thought it appropriate to challenge the parameters of your views.

            Thank you for your polite and respectful engagement on this topic. Best wishes.

      • HonestDebate1

        That is a point completely disconnected from poverty.

  • John Roberts

    If you can’t afford to have a family, don’t have one! Why should ‘society’ support people who make decisions they can’t afford? I’d like a better car, a bigger house, and a vacation in the south but I can’t afford them. If I bought them anyway, should ‘society’ bail me out because of my irresponsible choices?

    • Human2013

      Wrong question. The appopriate question: Why do we rob people of their right to have children by paying them poverty wages?

      • John Roberts

        I respectfully beg to differ. A ‘right’ is something all people should have regardless of their circumstance. Having children is a ‘privilege’ — one that should be exercised judiciously.

        • Bluejay2fly

          If we had national health and did not pay crippling taxes then that person would not cost society anything. We created this monster with the bast*rd child of predatory capitalism and nanny socialism.

          • geraldfnord

            I agree that this plan were a chimera product of our wanting to feel like Market loyalists when we actually don’t want people to die if they can’t pay…I’ve often thought that it’s like those who don’t ‘take precautions’ because they’ve been taught that only bad people in their circumstances (e.g. unmarried or gay) want sex.

        • angie

          You won’t believe this, but babies do just happen. I’m well educated, had goals, accomplished many, took precautions to prevent pregnancy and. BAM I end up with a kid. It’s called life and it does happen.

          • warryer

            i’m sure you choosing to have sex had nothing to do with it. know the risks….

          • angie

            So you are saying you live in a sexless marriage, I pity you. I do not that is why, regardless of cost, my husband & I take precautions. Never the less even with all precautions taken people end up with kids. That great paying job is downsized & you go from well off to not having enough. Point is you can make all the best decisions in the world and things still can go wrong, and life will happen.

          • TFRX

            I bet you a dollar that warryer isn’t all that hepped up on real sex ed and making sure contraceptives are available.

          • angie

            To jump to a conclusion that having zero offspring would better our society and improve the state of those in poverty is just false thinking, I bet his idea of ” knowing the risks” is to run away whenever a women comes into sight. A homeless couple could be childless, but does the lack of having child stop their woes or put them in the middle class?

          • warryer

            what’s wrong with taking responsibility for your own actions?

          • angie

            ACK! Look here that is what I have been saying. What do you think
            taking precaution means? I was taking responsibility, these things do have a fail rate. I’m poor I didn’t want a child yet, babies happen even with you take responsibility

          • warryer

            if you didn’t want the child why have sex… knowing the risks and all.

          • angie

            Hmm okay, so try this the day you get married. Turn to your new bride and say- ” I’m never going to have sex with you, ever.” Let us see how long you have a happy and unresentful marriage. Besides it is not sex or offspring that puts a person into poverty. You are purposefully missing the point. If you are so anti-sex and anti-relationship and against passing on your genes, then stay tightly locked up in your house with only the net to connect to other humans.

          • warryer

            Again with the insults/ridicule. Can’t stand up to reason?

            One should fully understand what they are doing and the consequences to said actions.

            That said. We do want children and will adjust to live within our means accordingly.

          • geraldfnord

            There must be some condition between assigning people no responsibility for their lives and believing that everyone could always be in complete control and have perfect knowledge and reason, and so everything bad that happens to them is their fault… I think it’s called ‘reasonable decency’, neither blaming some fictive god (Yahweh or History or Lady Luck) for everything nor acting as if we were gods.

          • warryer

            Reality is what it is.

            People act and consequences happen. Take responsibility for these consequences good or bad.

          • warryer

            You can’t deny my reasoning so you resort to insults.

            Sex is the number 1 cause of children. When you do it you should know what you are getting yourself into.

          • angie

            Of course that is how you make a baby, but why should the rich or the really well off be the only ones permitted to procreate? Plus some of us poor took measures to prevent pregnancy with condoms, vasectomy, tube tying. Just because a person is of low means doesn’t mean they should have the god given gift of sex or child bearing taken from them. Yes I agree that smarter decisions can be made, and some have made smart choices but still end up needing help or pregnant, or homeless. Poverty is not just for those who are of low mental ability or unwilling to work.

          • geraldfnord

            Blasphemer! Nothing bad ever happens to Good People.

        • geraldfnord

          No, having children is a precondition to there being human world, there being people productive once you no longer can be—all the money in the world won’t feed you when age or accident make you unable to grow enough food by yourself, won’t clothe you…it’s not all automated yet. I don’t hold, as has been traditional many places, that we each have an _obligation_ to breed (it is, in point of fact, El Shadai’s very first commandment) but I think it wise to help those who wish to (in moderation) breed and raise children to do so…and to believe that some parental virtues may inhere precisely in those not well-fitted for economic success, just as the characteristics of a good corporate shark or drill instructor might make one a bad parent.

      • James

        Nobody is denying people the right to have children, we’re just questioning why we have to pay for it.

  • William

    Too bad Tom did not get Ying Ma, author of the book “Chinese Girl in the Ghetto” to comment her struggle to move up the economic ladder after living in poverty and attending an inner city school in Oakland, CA.

    • TFRX

      …and the anecdotal evidence starts in.

      • Bluejay2fly

        I read a story in the news about a women who survived 3 shots to the head with a 357. So now are we going to say being shot in the head with a 357 is a survivable incident?

        • Ray in VT

          Well, that women did it, so why can’t the next guy or gal?

          • Bluejay2fly

            You first, Ray.

          • northeaster17

            Ha!!!

          • Ray in VT

            Well, I fell a few stories off of a cliff and got trampled and gored by a cow and survived, so everyone should be able to do those things, right? I’ll pass on taking a bullet unless it is absolutely necessary.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Good one, Ray.

          • Ray in VT

            Just to be clear, those things did not happen during one incident. There was no cow waiting to trample me once I hit the ground from the fall.

          • hennorama

            Now THAT would have been a story. I had envisioned you first being gored and trampled, and then tossed off the cliff. ;-)

          • Ray in VT

            I think that I got moderated for shortening raccoon.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — Nick Andersen needs to hurry up with that “rules sheet.”

            My most memorable “I coulda been killed!” story involved my brother, a tractor, and a poorly improved road. We were driving home from the fields one afternoon, on an ancient narrow front end John Deere tractor. My brother was driving, and I was holding onto the back of the bouncy metal seat, and standing on the single drawbar.

            A vehicle was coming in the other lane, so my brother edged further over to the right. Unfortunately, he went too far, and the right rear wheel dropped off into where the culvert crossed under the road. I saw this coming, so I grabbed his belt and stepped off the drawbar, just before we both would have gone over. Fortunately, we only got some cuts, scrapes and bruises.

            The township soon installed a guard rail in that spot, and the tractor was no worse for wear.

            BTW, my favorite dog from my time on the farm was Red, a black and tan coonhound that wandered into our lives one very snowy day long ago.

        • HonestDebate1

          Not after Obamacare kicks in.

          • Ray in VT

            Why? Does the ACA only cover up to two bullets?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, it disincentives doctors to excel, and ties their hands with bureaucracy.

          • Ray in VT

            How does it do that? Is it capping wages or something? What will some of these guys do if they can’t afford a 6 bedroom 4 bathroom home? They might have to cut back on their hobby horses. What bureaucracy would halt one from operating on a gun shot victim? Do the appropriate forms have to be filled out ahead of time? Do they have to get pre-clearance from the IRS?

          • HonestDebate1

            Fabulous wealth is a goal worth sacrifice to many.

          • Ray in VT

            I know, but now that my healthcare gets managed by the IRS no doctors want to be in the business. This is awful.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree having the IRS enforce Obamacare is awful. And many of our clieits are doctors. ER doctors, Heart surgeons, brain surgeons, GP’s, and on and on. they all hate it . Two have already retired early.

            And there this (BTW I could give you much much more but I went with an unassailable source):

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/obamacare-doctor-shortage_n_4519440.html

          • Ray in VT

            Oh man, but how will they afford luxuries such as horses if they retire. Those poor guys.

            Other witnesses said otherwise, suggesting some sort of protest. Chaotic situations take a while to shake out.

          • geraldfnord

            Yes, but what are being sacrificed—I’d guess ‘hornless goats’—and what manner of Being enjoys the sweet savour of such burnt offerings. Squamous, rugose…chthonic, many-winged—or merely unspeakable?

            I mean, religious liberty can be taken too far, as Galbraith remarked to Buckley, who replied ‘Aieiia! Aieeia! F’tagn shrub honkiath op cit!! ‘

          • HonestDebate1

            Did you know that goat meat can legally be sold as mutton. Delicious.

          • geraldfnord

            Well, the Divine Fist Society are suing not to have to pay for bullet-wound coverage, their religious faith holding that their paying for such would imply a lack of faith that their Iron Shirt practice and righteous will to expel the Foreign Barbarians will of themselves be sufficient.

          • Ray in VT

            How dare the gub’ment infringe upon their religion. Obama!!!

          • geraldfnord

            [RIMSHOT] Thank-you, thank-you…try your waiter, tip me, come back for your veal, it’ll be here all week.

        • geraldfnord

          And there’s this one single tetrahedral capstone on a pyramid—those other blocks must not be trying, since the existence of one pointy stone at the top implies that all the others could be pointy and topmost had they but the Will….

      • William

        She is an interesting person that has done well for herself. Certainly not the usual guest on a NPR/PBS show.

  • LianeSperoni

    Even if you educate the workforce and charge next to nothing for tuition, what are people going to do? What jobs?
    We could green our economy but that would take massive public investment and there is not even Democratic support for that at present. The only party that has supported such investment is the Green Party- but they don’t have much of a following.

    • Bluejay2fly

      In the old Soviet Union you had doctors who were bus drivers. In my impoverished, jobless area we have 7 prisons which employ over thousands of people. We have some of the best educated prison guards in the world.

      • TFRX

        Oh, don’t get me started on the “prison industrial complex”. That’s a whole nother hour in itself waiting to be had, and ties in to poverty thoroughly.

        • Bluejay2fly

          I left teaching and make way more than if I had stuck it out as an educator. I also do not have people clamoring to take away my pay and defund my prison.

          • JGC

            That is really sad! What a world…

          • Ray in VT

            You don’t work over at Dannamora by any chance, do you? I understand if you don’t want to say on here. My brother’s friend John works up there. That’s the only reason that I ask.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Yes, just 7 more years to go!

          • Ray in VT

            Boy, that has to be a tough job. I don’t see John much, but he used to work at my brother’s farm, but he saw corrections as a good income that was worth what he would have to deal with. He’s only a few years in. There are tons of COs living up near my brother. Stay safe while on the job. Nobody wants to see you disappear from On Point because you got shived or something.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I am a tough old bird ,so don’t worry about me. We call CCF the sad factory because it is just as depressing for us working there as it is for the convicts. I certainly will not miss seeing that spectacle when I retire.

          • Ray in VT

            Wikipedia says that it is called “New York’s Siberia” sometimes. I haven’t heard either of those. My dad just always talked about it when I was a kid. My dad just to call people, especially women, old birds, and my wife thought that it was hilarious.

          • Bluejay2fly

            The winter is our friend in many ways. One example is when the inmates slash each other outside and its below zero they don’t start bleeding until after they reach the hospital.

          • TFRX

            Heeheeehee.

            I bet you don’t have to buy your inmates pencils and paper from your own wallet also.

            But am I correct in thinking that everything (many) lefties are worrying about happening with privatized education has basically been proved to happen with private prisons?

          • hennorama

            Bluejay2fly — I hope your choice worked out for you, but I cannot imagine voluntarily putting myself inside a prison day after day after day for ANY amount of money.

            Best wishes.

  • Bluejay2fly

    If we ended all property tax then people could buy land and actually live outside the economy. This would do more for the working poor than any of these programs.

  • James

    The frekin hell Tom?!?!

    The idea that we should excuse people who have children they can’t afford because “we only live once” is bullshit. There are lots of life enriching things I would love to do, but I probably never will because I can’t afford it! Why? Because I can’t afford it. And I don’t expect the government to pay for my “enrichment”

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Many of the poor are poor because they got sick or had an accident and they can’t pay for health insurance. So, they can’t get sick or have accidents either, right?

      One out of four homeless men are veterans. Are they at fault for their homelessness?

      • James

        Which is true, but not in the context of conversation I was referencing.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          You are being coy – the same principle applies. If you have a good job and then have kids, and then lose your job or have an accident – you are still to blame for being poor, because you had kids?

          Life is complicated, and it is simplistic to say that poor people should not have kids. The real reasons for poverty is many other things, like a bad economy and a stacked deck that heavily favors those who already have lots of money.

          • TFRX

            I don’t know about anyone here, but there is a pernicious overwhelming background hum in our mainstream yakkers out there that Americans are just too lazy and unproductive now.

            Now.

            For some reason, there’s a meme for all those folks who were stable middles before the great recession are now lazy. And ThePoors? The strata who haven’t had a raise since the end of the millenial recession? Lazier still.

            This is the mediascape we’re fighting against.

          • HonestDebate1

            No one says lazy.

          • TFRX

            Stick your head back in the hole you pulled it out of, troll.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sometimes you can be so sweet and other times not so much. I have a soft spot for you anyway. Don’t ask me why.

          • geraldfnord

            I repeat myself, but: some people will tie themselves into any intellectual or moral knot necessary to holding that we all get what we deserve (in this best of all possible worlds), except maybe when the Worthy (coïncidentally, the group they’re in) have had their good stuff mooched away by those unworthy other ‘people’ (who look deceptively weak to unenlightened eyes).

    • Bluejay2fly

      If we had a functional day care system in this country than it would be easier to boot some teen in the ass and make them go to work. As its stands now pay 200 a week for day care basically makes you work for free.

      • Ray in VT

        That’s why I work two full time jobs so that my wife can stay home.

    • hennorama

      James — I believe Mr. Ashbrook was pointing out that if one is stuck in a bad economic cycle and unable to extricate oneself for years and years, combined with biological time limits, waiting until one’s financial circumstances improve significantly before having a family can be unrealistic.

      This is part of the exchange:

      TOM ASHBROOK: “I understand what you’re saying: Be responsible, wait until you’ve got the income and all the rest. On the other hand, we’ve got 47 million people in this country in poverty. Now if they can’t get decent-paying jobs that will support a family, what are you telling them? 47 million people — or whatever the adult portion of that is – you don’t deserve to have a family? I mean, you only live once, right?

      KEITH: No, I’m not suggesting they don’t [deserve to have a family].

      ASHBROOK: Well, what are they supposed to do? If they wait and wait, and the circumstance never come around, they’re in poverty, that’s OK? For that big chunk of Americans, to say “Nope, all of those joys, all of that living is not for you?”

      KEITH: No, no not at all. That’s not what I’m suggesting.

      ASHBROOK: OK

      KEITH: What I’m suggesting is, parenthood should be a choice, not an accident.

      ASHBROOK: OK. Point taken, but I think that my rejoinder stand there as well. If they can’t get on the ladder, what are we suggesting for them? But I appreciate your call, Keith.

      (the conversation with “Keith from Wakefield, Rhode Island” begins at about 36:35 into the show)

      • geraldfnord

        I might think like Keith except that I’m sure we’re past the point at which that were necessary. Hyperbolically: we generally forgive cannibalism in extremis (lifeboats, mountain passes, no choices but starvation, cannibalism, and [INSERT FAST-FOOD CHAIN NAME *HERE*]), but we speak harshly of it when it was occasioned by the supermarkets’ ‘not opening for another _hour_!’, and not just because hornless goat wants a slow braise that’d have taken much more time than that.

        We’re a rich country, and incredibly productive; we should take it for a point of national _pride_ that even the humble be able to afford a decent life for tiny new citizens.

  • njcs

    One major issue is globalisation. Businesses compete in global economy have to tightly control the costs, and this is where high wage jobs become scare and low wage ones stuck; while those only compete domestically and may even have some sort of association to dominant the market (pharmaceuticals, health insurance, doctors, lawyers etc) will get richer even more.

    • Bluejay2fly

      I had a nice rant about globalization at the bottom of the page. You could argue that globalization has helped the world’s poor but I believe it is at our expense.

      • Sahbine

        It is at their expense, too! Look at all of the farmers who can no longer hold over seed from one year to the next because some jerk in USA patented it and is making his fortune!

  • Human2013

    The Eugenics movement may have been on of the most successful movements this country has ever experienced. Some of us are truly convinced that the “poor” are intellectualy inferior, morally void and lazy and all they need is some gene therapy. Oh and let’s never forget the association of skin color and intellect – best marketing campaign ever.

    • Bluejay2fly

      The reality is some people are only oriented towards manual labor. That is because of lifestyle choice, intellectual limitations, etc. ,but by eliminating all those jobs it leaves a lot of people who are unemployable.

    • geraldfnord

      Before they blamed genes, they blamed Satan (and Adam’s Fall)…or credited the (obviously!) entirely just state of affairs to God’s Great Chain of Being.

      Asserting that Factor X makes the powerful powerful and the weak weak generally tells me more about your belief in Factor X’s importance than convinces me… and if you assert that all is well as it is my bogosity meter pegs.

  • Kathy

    To all the “bootstraps! bootstraps!” people explaining that the poor just need to live in the correct way and it will solve all their problems:

    Ok, yes, if everyone got an education, delayed children, worked hard, and all that, we would probably be able to raise a lot of people out of poverty.

    Here’s the bad news: Never in human history have people consistently made the right decisions.

    Some people are less resilient. Some grow up abused. Some people are just dumb as rocks. Whatever. People are not perfect and they’re not going to be. They aren’t now. They weren’t in the 19th century when we sent them to workhouses. They weren’t in the 9th century when they simply starved.

    You’re going to have to cope with the fact that there will be some people who make poor choices and we’re going to have to figure out what to do about that and to me, spending $15 to keep someone on welfare is a whole lot better than spending $60k to keep them in prison. Not to mention on the welfare option, I’m not afraid someone’s going to break into my home and steal my tv set.

    • Bluejay2fly

      It’s this assumption we can all be like the Brady Bunch is what is killing us. We socially engineered this society to force people into that mold with our expensive social programs and their expectations. Also, our economic planners eliminated factory and farming jobs which limited options, it is pathetic!

      • geraldfnord

        I’m all for eliminating factory and farms jobs, having done the first and not enjoying dirt or sweat or dung or pesticides much…the problems are:

        0.) we can’t eliminate all jobs yet, not even all those necessary to decent (say) lower-middle-class life, but even then, longer-term
        1.) we haven’t worked-out how to control people without jobs and the fear of want, or how to get beyond the desire to control that’s born of some of our basic natures but much amplified by the fear of want…a boot-strapping problem.

        The mechanisms that have served us—or at least some of us—to allocate pain and fear in the face of continual scarcity will work toward reraining them long after they’re remotely necessary.

    • HonestDebate1

      No one is chained to the station in life they are born into or fall into. That goes both ways, rich people can easily become poor, it happens all the time. If there are no consequences for bad decisions then there is no such thing as a bad decision. Hunger is a great motivator.

      • TFRX

        Pfft. On so many levels.

        Please, stop with your exaggerating and simplifying crap already.

        • jefe68

          It’s as if Disney world meets Limbaugh world, Disbaugh world…

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — I believe it’s more accurately called DIss, Bah! World.

          • HonestDebate1

            True that. Rush disses shallow dismissals daily. Honest debate is where it’s at.

          • jefe68

            How would you know?

          • Ray in VT

            Such as this?:

            http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/rush-limbaugh-global-warming-polar-vortex-hoax-101792.html

            If you think that that is honest debate, then it certainly explains why you think that what you do is honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            This global warming is freezing me to death.

            I think the left is in a pickle. Just the other day commenters were scolding those of us ribbing y’all about the cold snap saying we should learn the difference between weather and climate. So you tell me, is this cold snap weather or climate? Be careful.

          • Ray in VT

            Only a pickle to those who seem ignorant or confused, either intentionally or otherwise.

            An occasionally occurring weather pattern seems about right. Scientific American says this:

            “The polar vortex is a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic,
            flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally
            keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole. Occasionally,
            though, the vortex weakens, allowing the cold air to pour down across
            Canada into the U.S., or down into other regions such Eastern Europe. In
            addition to bringing cold, the air mass can push the jet stream—the
            band of wind that typically flows from the Pacific Ocean across the
            U.S.—much further south as well.”

            http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2014/01/06/what-is-this-polar-vortex-that-is-freezing-the-u-s/

            It isn’t an unknown phenomenon and it isn’t something that has just been “made up” to describe this. Climate change could be affecting it based upon what I heard from a guy on the radio the other day, but that isn’t clear.

          • HonestDebate1

            Is it weather or climate? Make up your mind.

          • jefe68

            Comprehension issues I see.

          • Ray in VT

            You imply a contradiction on this issue where none exists. As usual, the “pickle” exists only in your mind.

          • HonestDebate1

            Is it weather or climate?

          • Ray in VT

            Do you have a reading problem?

          • HonestDebate1

            No. You would answer if you weren’t in a pickle. See my reply to Mr. Blanchard. I’m going fishing.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps you just don’t understand my answer. Should I use smaller words?

          • jefe68

            Forget it. He thinks he’s being clever by playing word games. It’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed that some on the right use.
            They try to be coy and condescending as Rush Limbaugh is, and then wait for you to become frustrated by there lack of candor. Somehow he has this idea that he’s mocking people who believe in climate change.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that that argument has some merit.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, I think that there is merit to applying a particular quote used to describe Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh. I think that it explains why some hold him in such high regard.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t mention Rush or Newt.

          • HonestDebate1

            LAck of candor? Who?

            Is this a cold snap or is it global warming?

          • HonestDebate1

            That would help, I’ll rephrase the question: Is this cold snap caused by climate change? Yes or no?

          • jefe68

            You know what gets me about how the right wing in this country go on about winter as proof that climate change isa hoax, it’s so cartoonish. It’s as if the you folks have no idea that there is Southern hemisphere that is now experiencing some scorching weather, as it’s summer for them. The worst is senator Inhofe who says the same thing every winter. Meanwhile his state has had one of the worst droughts in over 60 years.

            I also think it’s a good idea to learn the difference between climate and weather.
            One last thing, the reason for this cold front is a change in the jet-stream caused by warm air overt the Arctic.

          • Ray in VT

            But it’s cold here today, so how can there be global warming?

          • HonestDebate1

            There has been no significant warming for decades. NOAA’s predictions of more severe hurricanes for 2012 ad 2013 were wrong. The models that said the high CO2 levels should have taken affect by now were wrong.

          • Ray in VT

            For decades, huh? For one period of time the warming, as each decade has continued to be warmer than the preceding one, was just below the level of statistical significance. 2013 was a light hurricane season, but these things happen. Almost every one for the past 20 years or so was more active than average, and models may not have taken into account the ability of oceans to absorb this energy. If oceanographers are right about that warming, then there is only so long that that can occur before an equilibrium is reached. Some more recent effects may only be buying us time.

            Lets take a look at the geniuses over at Heartland and your favorite creationist groups. I’m sure that their history on the science issue is pretty stellar. I think that Cato’s go to climate guy was predicting global cooling throughout the 1990s.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 – you probably already know this, but it bears pointing out:

            Surface area of the U.S.: 9,831,510 sq. km

            Surface area of the Earth: 510 million sq. km

            This mean the US takes up less than two percent (1.93%) of the world’s total surface area.

            The weather in a tiny corner of, or even the entirety of, the U.S., over a short timeframe, does not comprise global climate.

            Data sources:
            http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.SRF.TOTL.K2
            http://www.universetoday.com/25756/surface-area-of-the-earth/#ixzz2pqVZfhq1

          • HonestDebate1

            You clearly don’t understand you are being mocked. We righties know Sandy was weather. We know a cold winter or a hot summer is weather. We know a drought is weather. On Point does shows blaming AGW.

            The Polar Vortex is also weather but we are being told it’s AGW.

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/06/thank-global-warming-for-freezing-you-right-now.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-susan-brooks-thistlethwaite/christian-theology-climate-change_b_4545090.html

            http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/06/us/winter-weather/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

          • jefe68

            So in your view climate change is not happening and your proof is what? What you read on Rush Limbaugh’s web site?

            As to me being mocked, well that speaks to your ego and your inanity.

          • HonestDebate1

            Climate is changing.

          • jefe68

            So are the cels in your body.

            Your troll antics on this subject are noted.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            “I’m often asked whether I believe in global warming. I now just reply with a question: Do you believe in gravity?”

            – Neil deGrasse Tyson

            Saying that since it is cold in the winter, that proves that global warming doesn’t exist, is like saying that since it is dark at night, the sun doesn’t exist.

          • HonestDebate1

            I said none of that…. and I do believe in gravity.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You did:

            “This global warming is freezing me to death.”

            You also missed the point: science is not something you “believe” or “not believe” in. You may not want to accept anthropogenic climate change – but it is still a scientific fact. Gravity is what it is, whether or not you accept the science.

          • HonestDebate1

            I believe in global warming. I never said this cold snap disproved it. I was snarkely commenting on the inverse of the dynamic you ascribe to me, that this cold snap proves global warming.

            What is your opinion? Is this weather a result of AGW’s influence on the polar vortex or is it a cold snap. My view is it’s clod snap that proves or disproves nothing.

            I came up with 142 million results after doing a search for references to the polar vortex in the news. When I narrowed the search to the timeframe 1980 trough 2012 I got zero.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
          • HonestDebate1

            All I can infer from you link without comment is you believe this weather is a result of global warming.

            Saying that since it is cold in the winter, that proves that global warming exists, is like saying that since it is dark at night, the sun exist.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            That seems to be the conclusion of the article in Scientific American, and that is the working theory.

        • HonestDebate1

          Have you ever been hungry, I mean really hungry? It worked for me. It’s not complicated.

          • TFRX

            Please stop with your anecdata, baby troll.

            Or I could trump your crap with some story about “The last time I showed up at a job interview with cratered blood sugar I was given the job because I wanted it the most” scheiss.

          • HonestDebate1

            You gotta overcome it man. Dig deep and beat the odds. Be somebody.

          • TFRX

            I’m not talking about me. You, however, are fascinated with the one anecdotal example.

            Why is it that nothing encourages the working class like threats and deprivement, and nothing encourages the rich like greater rates of rewards (according to some)?

            Go home, troll.

    • hennorama

      Kathy – the “I did it so anyone can do it/bootstraps” crowd are similar in some ways to the elite athlete who becomes a coach, and quickly discovers that not everyone can “be like Mike.”

      Except they never actual discover it.

    • William

      A few people make bad decisions but tens of thousands? The rate of single mothers in the black community is over 60 percent and growing. Fifty years ago before the modern welfare state exploded this was not a huge problem. How can we sit aside and watch people continue down the path of self-destruction and not voice strong objections to so many people, tens of thousands, making very bad life choices.

      • Angela

        I would very much like to read first-person about the culture that encourages this level of single motherhood.
        This statistic discourages me.

    • VinceD2

      And our corporations have shipped millions of jobs overseas adn flooded our labor market with massive immigration, legal and otherwise. There are simply not enough jobs so it is not possible for many to even get on the economic ladder. But it’s easier to blame the poor rather than the rich job exporters.

  • geraldfnord

    The Republicans, with inadvertent help from L.B.J., crippled the badly-named ‘war’ and have been mocking it for limping ever since.

    It didn’t help when rich men ceased fearing the Commies, and so moved away from fearing the existence of poverty—and all such profit from the middle class’ fear of poverty and the hatred of the poor that is a natural consequence of it (the better to reässure oneself that it couldn’t happen to you). The middle’s contempt for those lower down divides potential enemies, makes some of them be on your side in the belief that you will thereby be on theirs (often mistaken because class and similar divisions is there largely to _obviate_ the perceived value of reciprocity) and brings down the price of even highly-priced prostitutes (and every other employee).

    And some powerful people—abominable fanciers—would rather be lords of dung-hills than citizens of anything better…probably not so many, both because these are humans and not monsters, and because many of them rarely give a thought to what’s below them save when it gets their coffee wrong or clogs up their streets or acts as if they have a right to drag their kid into court for drugs oossession or an hit-and-run.

    (Note that none of the above was meant to imply any better character for the poor…they are prey to all the moral vices of those above them, but seldom get to practise them save on each other, and who cares about that?)

  • JGC

    I wonder how Brazil’s “Bolsa Familia” program stacks up compared to the War on Poverty? Going off to read up on that now…

  • sickofthechit

    Third time is charm?
    I posted a comment they moderated off the site. Jerks!

    This is what I tried to post.

    In
    terms that might make it easier to understand what this means for the
    future, imagine a poker game where you are using 100 chips and a double
    deck of cards, but you throw away four twos from one of the decks. So
    now you have 100 chips and 100 cards to deal out. There are 100 players
    in
    the “imaginary” poker game. Shuffle the deck at least seven times to
    assure a random assortment of the cards. Each player is then dealt the
    number of chips and cards that correspond to their share of our
    countries wealth. The
    wealthiest player in the game is dealt 37 chips
    and 37 cards. That’s right, one person in the game (the “one percent”
    you hear so much about) is dealt 37 chips and 37 cards. It is “fair”
    since the wealthiest 1% of our population own 37% of our countries
    wealth. So there he/she is with their 37 chips and 37 cards. The next
    player gets a corresponding number of cards based on their wealth.

    The
    result is that the first 20 players are dealt out 88 chips and 88 cards
    amongst them of the total 100 cards. That’s right, the wealthiest 20%
    in our nation control 88% of our nation’s wealth. The remaining 80
    players are now essentially having to share 12 chips and 12 individual
    cards amongst groups of them. By the time you get to the last card, we
    now have 20 or more people having to share 1 chip and 1 card. Now answer
    another question. Do any of those (meaning us) 80 players even have a
    chance of winning this game?
    Maybe a few, but precious few at that. Not knowing any better,
    one might venture to say that the game is rigged. I certainly think it is.
    That is what I think Occupy wanted us to come to
    grips with, and solve. So when I hear of all this despair I
    have to say I understand it, but I also understand that the only way to win this “game” is to figure out a way start a new
    game. I propose one where we use “time” as the base
    of exchange for basic needs (including food, housing and Healthcare).
    Some
    will say we are waging class warfare against the wealthy and that it is
    somehow wrong, I just remember the poker game they expect us to “play”
    in. Compared to the class genocide that has been waged against the
    middle and lower classes, a little class warfare just might be a
    rational, reasonable response. Seriously, how many more hands of their
    style poker will it take before the 1% own 99% of
    the chips/wealth? I’ll give you a hint. It doesn’t progress
    mathematically,
    it progresses geometrically so that the old sign warning “The End is
    Near” carried by the Doomsayer is more and more accurate as each day
    passes. Good Luck! charles a. bowsher

    • nkandersen

      You got stuck in our filter, which runs automatically. We aren’t banning your comment or removing it; sorry for the gap in posting times.

      nick andersen
      web producer | on point radio

    • OnPointComments

      Your analogy assumes that everyone in the poker game is just as talented, just as creative, just as educated, just as smart, works just as hard, is just as inventive, and shows just as much initiative as every other person in the poker game, and that just isn’t the case.

      • middleright

        EVEN MORE REASON to celebrate smart entrepreneurs …they are in the minority, what would the untalented people do depend on politicians like Obama who never created anything in his life but divisiveness?

        • jefe68

          Interesting, a divisive comment on the imagined divisiveness of the President.

          • HonestDebate1

            You didn’t build that and the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share. Republicans don’t care about the uninsured and if I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.

          • jimino

            Telling the truth is probably divisive to a population of congenital liars.

          • HonestDebate1

            On that we agree. Just look at the replies when I say Affirmative Action is judging people by the color of their skin or there is nothing about being black that makes it harder to get a valid ID.

          • jefe68

            Again, context is something you really do have a lot of problems with.

          • jefe68

            Context is something you seem to lack, in spades.

          • geraldfnord

            0.) Most of the universe, even of the human social universe, consists of things no given person built.
            1.) See old Ben Franklin for what the rich owe society… the phrase ‘to the last farthing’ is prominent. (Or Tom Paine, or Henry George, if you want more moderate voices.)
            2.) I’m sure many Republucans do care about the uninsuredn it’s just that some who do care think the E.R. sufficient, some think a lack of care regrettable but a necessary incentive not to be poor, and still others created Romney/Obamacare at the Heritage Foundation c. 1994 C.E..
            3.) If you had a son, he would in fact look like Trayvon, being human.

      • Angela

        I wonder then about hard-working, inventive, smart low-paying workers in positions that are seen as low-skill or unimportant. For example, housekeeping, elder care, trash removal, food service. These are low paying jobs but we would sure notice if those jobs weren’t done! But those positions aren’t rewarded with higher wages no matter how talented the worker.
        And no, no everyone is gifted with entrepreneurial skills, nor do I think that should be the penultimate career path.

        • James

          Just because you are important, doesn’t mean you aren’t easily replaced.

        • OnPointComments

          Some jobs are low-skilled, and an average person can easily be trained to do the job in a very short time. This makes those jobs low paying.

          • Angela

            I agree. I guess what is unfortunate in some cases is that giftedness or talent in these positions doesn’t always result in higher wages. A caregiver who is resourceful, inventive, and gifted in relating to the elderly doesn’t make more than someone who is rough, unconcerned, or negligent.
            And in either case, wages can be so low that it is hard for those workers to meet their basic necessities.
            I also don’t think that gifted caregiver should be encouraged to start an agency or become a manger, etc. as the only way up the economic ladder. I really believe we should pay fairly for skill and giftedness no matter what the industry or position.

        • plebtocracy

          Great point Angela. The easy answer is that it’s the oldest trick in the governing of people: divide and conquer. If you can get half the population to psychologically marginalize the other half, those making the policies, e.g. governing and profiting, can exploit without notice, save a strong and robust media, which we no longer have.

    • HonestDebate1

      We aren’t limited to 100 chips in the real world so if one person has more it does’t mean someone else has to settle for less. The rich get richer and the poor get richer.

      • OnPointComments

        From John Stossel:

        “This is how the left sees the market: a zero-sum game. If someone makes money, he took it from everyone else. The more the rich have, the less others have. It’s as if the economy is a pie that’s already on the table, waiting to be carved. The bigger the piece the rich take, the less that’s left for everyone else. The economy is just a fight over who gets how much.

        “But this is absurd. Bill Gates took a huge slice of pie, but he didn’t take it from me. By starting Microsoft, he baked millions of new pies. He made the rest of the world richer, too. Entrepreneurs create things.”

        • Sahbine

          But, he also has an upper hand in deciding how the pie will be distributed to millions of others when he sets wages, lobbies, and even through his charitable giving.

          • OnPointComments

            Of course he does. It’s his money.

        • Human2013

          There are Creators and there are takers. There are more of the latter than the former as it refers to the wealthy. The truth is that most of the extreme wealth is made by suppressing and reduing wages. CEOs can really only change the math by reducing variable costs, rather than fixed costs. Their credited for being brilliant, but there is nothing brilliant about reducing wages and axing pensions. If you check the data, CEO rise in pay correlates to the stagnation of wages and the demise of the pension plan.

        • jimino

          We just went through a post-recession period in which the top 1% received more than 100% of the income gains in our economy.. How big does that pie have to get and how fast does it have to grow to overcome that distribution?

          • TFRX

            Good stuff, but I’d suggest don’t waste your time trying to teach anything to someone who’ll admit to reading John Stossel without laughing at The Mustache of Ununderstanding.

          • OnPointComments

            “…let us stipulate that we do have a growing poverty problem in this country, the contributing factors of which are many and complex. But the poor are not poor because Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are rich. No one thinks that Oprah has caused people in Appalachia to be destitute.

            “Solving our problems is far more difficult than raising public consensus (a.k.a. rabble-rousing) that the rich should be less rich so that the poor can be less poor, a feat that can only be accomplished through redistribution of wealth.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-parker-inequality-of-language-muddies-debate/2014/01/07/d69eef34-77dc-11e3-b1c5-739e63e9c9a7_story.html

          • jimino

            The issue is what should be done about an economy that utterly fails to perform its most essential function: properly assign and determine the value of risk, investment and work in a manner that promotes its long-term stable functioning.

            Or to be more blunt: What should be done when an economy redistributes the wealth created thereby to an increasingly smaller number of its members? If redistribution honestly is your compliant, that’s where you should be focused.

          • OnPointComments

            Wealth is not redistributed. It is earned.

          • jimino

            To the contrary, much of the wealth in this country is what accountants correctly term “unearned income”.

          • OnPointComments

            A tax definition or accountant’s definition of unearned income is irrelevant. One dictionary definition of earn is “to gain as due return or profit: Savings accounts earn interest.” Interest, dividends, capital gains, rents are all returns that are earned.

          • Human2013

            …But it really is though. The massive unearned income that the wealthy take in every year is a direct result of the demise of the pension and the suppression of wages. A corporation can do very litte reduce their expenses through fixed costs, so they look to variable costs like wages, bonuses and retirement plans. Their bottom line increases when they do this and thus that “Unearned Income” grows for investors. Remember that the sole purpose is to return money to their investors..not the employee!

        • Bluejay2fly

          The world has finite resource and if we continue degrading the quality of our food, our drinking water, our air, etc. everybody loses. This ever expanding pie where we can all continue to get rich is based on flawed logic!

    • plebtocracy

      Whaaaaaa?

  • Jamber

    Those who make the rules 1) understand their own needs, 2) don’t have the experience with poverty, discrimination, lack of education, lack of opportunity, etc. in order to fully understand the challenges of those who are not at the “rule making table”.

  • ozzie

    From our midwest family income for 3 people, 15% is for health care and we’re healthy, 50% is for my kid’s college, the rest is keeping the electricity on and gas in the car. It’s un-sustainable, and we can’t help the consumer spending side to help the economy. The private college I graduated from in ’82 was 6500/yr, now 25000/yr. The path to the American dream requires good health and an education, but health care costs and education are killing this dream.

    • HonestDebate1

      Look for health care cost to get higher and college education to become less valuable.

      • jimino

        So you predict the repeal of the ACA and increased off shoring of jobs requiring college education by the job creators?

        Could happen.

        • HonestDebate1

          Yea, that’s it.

    • William

      15 percent for medical insurance/care is not so bad and the education investment will payback ten times or more what you put into it over the next 40 years of a working person’s life. There is interesting nobody goes after the education-industrial complex on their ability to keep raising the cost of college education.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Multiply 25K by the number of students in that college. I bet that number is way more than the combined salaries of everyone on campus. And that is not that college’s only source of revenue. That is absolute usury!

  • plebtocracy

    The Elephant in the room of this otherwise excellent discussion and even better moderation, is that declining wages over the past 30-plus years has had a symbiotic ( a downward dragging) of wages for the educated middle class. This is evidenced in virtually every profession: college adjuncts, teachers, trades, commercial pilots, etc. Throw in skilled labor-when, for example- 1985 starting wages for being a mover are essentially the same today: $8.00 and hour! Factor this one industry stagnation (a policy result of the deregulation of the trucking industry) time dozens and dozens of like industries, and a very complicated issue gets even murkier, save the Keynesian multiplier effect along with adjusted market wages.
    Throw in a bought-and-paid for Congress that legislate policies that favor those at the top at the expense of those at the bottom , trade policies that reward multi-national corporations, shipping sustainable income manufacturing jobs overseas for lower wages and bigger profits, and the rising cost of everything, especially the cost of advancement with declining resources, and guess what happens?
    Beats me. But I’m guessing whatever it is, must be encroaching on the middle class, because when it was just the poor and working class, not a peep, except blame and shame.
    The time are-a changing.

    • VinceD2

      Between outsourcing every possible job and demanding massive immigration increases, the corporate interests have insured their profits, at the expense of the working class.

  • Grove

    There is no reason that we can’t guarantee people’s basic needs.
    If the rich are so envious, let them trade places and enjoy “the good life” that they imagine that others have.

    • OnPointComments

      “America’s welfare empire encompasses close to 200 or more federal/state programs, including 23 low income health programs, 27 low income housing programs, 30 employment and training programs, 34 social services programs, at least 13 food and nutrition programs, and 24 low income child care programs, among others.

      “Federal and state governments spend a trillion dollars a year just on these means tested welfare programs, which does not include Social and Medicare. That is more than we spend on national defense. It adds up to roughly $17,000 per person in poverty, over $50,000 for a poor family of three. The Census Bureau estimates that our current welfare spending totals four times what would be necessary just to give all of the poor the cash to bring them up to the poverty line, eliminating all poverty in America. A recent book by Charles Murray, In These Hands, further documents that.”

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/06/23/welfare-state-doesnt-adequately-describe-how-much-americas-poor-control-your-wallet/

      • Human2013

        Do you ever wonder how the world will view the United States if we had Indian style slums in the middle of Boston. Do you really think we could go around the work touting our exceptionaliam and democratic values.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Go check out Detroit or Flint Michigan. OK, those are extreme examples so take a drive around your state I guarantee there are plenty of pockets of poverty.

          • OnPointComments

            “Current poverty has little resemblance to poverty 50 years ago. According to a variety of government sources, including census data and surveys by federal agencies, the typical American living below the poverty level in 2013 lives in a house or apartment that is in good repair, equipped with air conditioning and cable TV. His home is larger than the home of the average nonpoor French, German or English man. He has a car, multiple color TVs and a DVD player. More than half the poor have computers and a third have wide, flat-screen TVs. The overwhelming majority of poor Americans are not undernourished and did not suffer from hunger for even one day of the previous year.”
            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702303345104579282760272285556

          • Charles

            I wish people would get off of using TV’s as a measure of wealth.
            I don’t disagree with what I think is your larger point, that people in financial distress should not spend money on TV’s.

            But a TV is a $400 one-time purchase.
            It’s evident to anyone who pays bills that housing, transportation, and food are the largest parts of a budget, on the scale of thousands of dollars a month.

            60 years ago, only the wealthy had refrigerators, or air conditioning for that matter. Now, they’re a commodity just like televisions and computers.

            I also don’t think that it is logical to assume that people are living better, or even as well than their counterparts in Europe because their run-down, overpriced apartment has more space.
            Those countries, by necessity, build smaller living quarters.

            My point is, just because you have a place (air conditioned) to put your few possessions, put your feet up and watch your DVD’s (whoo!) and have some food that you brought home from your second job at McDonalds, doesn’t mean you aren’t poor. If you are maxing out your income capacity and living on a razor-thin budget with little opportunity to improve your station, you’re poor.

          • OnPointComments

            “…the typical American living below the poverty level in 2013 lives in a house or apartment that is in good repair [not run-down]…The overwhelming majority of poor Americans are not undernourished [and are not living off food brought home from their second job at McDonalds] and did not suffer from hunger for even one day of the previous year.”

          • Bluejay2fly

            Charles made a great reply but one more thing. We as a nation buy cheap disposable crap. Most of us have press board furniture vs something like mahogany which will last centuries. Most of us have houses made of wood with plastic siding compared to a stone structure with tiled floors which will last centuries. Our Walmart clothing is cheaply made and disposable when compared to something well made in Europe. A rolex will last decades but that cheaply made timex usually gets thrown in the trash after 3 or 4 years. And our food, well we all know how unhealthy that is. These choices are great for our economy but bad for the environment and also sap our household incomes. I would love to buy a watch, a dining room set, dinner ware, etc. once but we have made high end products unaffordable. We live in a Walmart world of cheap crap. The next time you shop there think about what is in your cart and how long it stays in your home before in winds up in a landfill. So if we have more doodads and gizmo’s, live in larger houses, or eat more food that does not make us more wealthy if it is all cheap crap.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            often second-hand or third hand or fourth hand appliances and furniture. cars that dont run properly and cant be relied on if a car is even owned. choice between gas to get to work or food. food equals mcdonalds because anything else is too expensive. no mass transit to speak of unless you live in the eastern corridor. cities built to accomadate cars and trucks and shopping malls but not people or trees. Cities that degrade mental health.

          • The poster formerly known as t

            Norway and Japan have smaller homogeneous populations. Cooperation and solidarity are more pervasive in human societies that have those traits.

      • Grove

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

        John Kenneth Galbraith

        • OnPointComments

          It’s tough to justify that a trillion dollars a year, $17,000 per person in poverty, over $50,000 for a poor family of three, is selfishness.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Well unlike the military that money is spent all on US soil. Look at what we built S Korea or Israel into because of our military spending.

      • hennorama

        OPC — for the benefit of the audience, please define “welfare” as used by your sources.

        • OnPointComments

          The definition of welfare includes government programs to support low-income Americans. The common element to all the programs is that they are means-tested – in order to qualify for benefits the individuals and families must have income from jobs or self-employment at below a defined level. Also common to the Programs is that they are free to low-income Americans – there is no past contribution or taxes paid that are necessary to qualify. These two elements, means-tested and non-contributory, define the programs as welfare.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you for the definition.

            A follow-up question:

            If you asked 100 Americans chosen at random to define “welfare,” how many do you think would give that definition?

          • OnPointComments

            I do not know how 100 random Americans would define welfare.

          • pete18

            If you asked 100 random Americans if President Obama lied when promoting and discussing Obamacare, how many of them do you think would say, “no, he was only making unadjusted statements,” or “oh no, what he said was only partially false, therefore he wasn’t lying”?

            Just curious, since you now seem open to the 100-random-Americans question as a solid measure of how things are defined.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – good to see you are returned from your holidays. Welcome back, and thank you for your question.

            A: Since your hypothetical question (“if President Obama lied when promoting and discussing Obamacare”) seems designed to elicit Yes/No responses, I daresay no one would respond to such a question in either of the ways you described.

            To be clear, my questions about the definition of “welfare” were intended to:

            A. Get OPC to specify the definition as used in his post
            B. Imply that few if any Americans would define it in the manner OPC specified, and secondarily, that the use of the word “welfare” in these contexts is intentionally misleading

            I did not intend to indicate that “the 100-random-Americans question [is] a solid measure of how things are defined.” Rather, it is more a question of perception. I trust that the above will prove sufficiently explanatory.

            Thanks again for the question.

          • pete18

            Happy New Year.

            “B. Imply that few if any Americans would define it in the manner OPC specified”

            Yes, that was clear and was the same reason I asked you my question.I think few if any Americans would buy the euphemisms used by you and others to rationalize the falsehoods and fraudulent remarks of the President and his administration in regards to Obamacare.

            Your literal interpretation of the question, “I daresay no one would respond to such a question in either of the ways you described,” which is stuck on the letter of the inquiry rather than the spirit of it, seems like a dodge to me.

        • HonestDebate1

          Did you mean for the benefit of the class?

      • Salvor Hardin

        It seems useless to add Federal and State government figures together as if the results would be in any way meaningful. So let us instead use actual U.S. budget figures:

        http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/classic.html

        [By the way this is an extremely useful web page for showing exactly where our government spends its money and where it will spend its money in the future - it also shows state and local government spending]

        But from the actual budget figures the U.S. government will spend $393 billion dollars on welfare and $830 billion on defense. We will spend $405 billion for Medicaid but that isn’t an anti-poverty program. But current defense spending is twice that of welfare spending.

        • OnPointComments

          Government welfare is government welfare, whether it’s paid by the federal government or state governments. Medicaid is welfare.

          • Salvor Hardin

            Since the topic of the program is “The War on Poverty”,it would seem to be useful to discuss government anti-poverty programs. Medicaid doesn’t put food in anyone’s mouth, doesn’t pay the rent for anyone but the elderly in nursing homes. I assume you aren’t proposing kicking old people out of nursing homes and putting them to work.

            Since the states get a lot of their money as transfers from the federal government I don’t believe you can just easily add those two figures together without getting some double counting.

            But if you want to throw Medicaid into the numbers you are using it just makes your number totally meaningless. For one thing the person in poverty never gets that money. It goes to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.

            The math being used by the Forbes columnist is very misleading – purposely so in my opinion. He is adding up very different programs together and dividing them by the number of people in poverty which in my opinion produces a totally worthless value.

          • OnPointComments

            I am not making any proposals; I am simply defining welfare: government programs that are means-tested and non-contributory that support low-income Americans. Medicaid meets this definition.

          • Salvor Hardin

            But the $17,000 figure per person in poverty is not a meaningful value. The math used to produce that value is simply not correct and nothing can make it correct.

          • OnPointComments

            From the Brookings Institute:

            “We already spend more than enough money on means-tested programs for poor and low-income people to bring them all out of poverty. There were about 46.5 million people in poverty in 2012, a year in which spending on means-tested programs was around $1 trillion. If that money were divided up among the poor, we could spend about $22,000 per person. For a single mother and two children, that would be over $65,000.”
            http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/11/19-war-on-poverty-what-went-wrong-haskins

          • Salvor Hardin

            You seem to be exceedingly dense on this issue. You double down on deceptive math with even more deceptive math.

            Means tested programs include the Earned Income Tax Credit, Unemployment, Medicaid.

            You can’t simply divide that up among 46.5 million people. You would have to reduce Medicaid spending to 0 and hand it out to non-sick people to arrive at the ridiculous figure that Brookings came up with.

            Republican new age math:

            (3 apples + 7 oranges) / (2 apple eaters) = 5 apples per apple eater.

          • OnPointComments

            Welfare does not include unemployment insurance payments.

            Does every US citizen get the Earned Income Tax Credit and Medicaid? The answer is no. Medicaid and the EITC are non-contributory means-tested programs. Non-contributory means-tested programs are welfare.

            The US census bureau reports that there are 46.5 million people living in poverty. The Congressional Research Service reports that the US government spent $745.8 billion on non-contributory means-tested programs; state governments added $284 billion in state spending on non-contributory means-tested programs. The total US and state government spending of $1.03 trillion dollars on non-contributory means-tested programs, divided by 46.5 million living in poverty, equals $22,000 per person. Does this mean that each and every one of the 46.5 million people got a part of every non-contributory means-tested program? Of course not. Does this mean that, on average, federal and state governments spent $22,000 for each of the 46.5 million people living in poverty? Yes, that is exactly what it means.

          • Salvor Hardin

            Brookings said:

            If that money were divided up among the poor, we could spend about $22,000 per person. For a single mother and two children, that would be over $65,000.”

            You still haven’t told me how we would be able to give 46.5 million people $22,000 dollars. The $22,000 is completely meaningless. You cannot reduce the figure you gave to a cash value that could then be sent to 46 million people.

            Again, including Medicaid in a figure relating to poverty is just purposely cooking the figures in order to make it look like you have some point. It is just plain lying. The value in Medicaid is not a cash value to those in poverty and cannot in any way be redistributed to them.

          • OnPointComments

            The $22,000 is a measure of how much government is spending for each person in poverty. It is simple arithmetic.

            Is it your contention that Medicaid is not a government program that provides health benefits to low-income people? If your answer is yes, you are wrong. Providing health benefits for poor people is just as much a program for the poor as is providing food and shelter for those people.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The $22,000 is a measure of how much government is spending for each person in poverty. It is simple arithmetic.

            You mean it is simple-minded arithmetic. You are saying that the government is providing Medicaid benefits for ALL of the 46 million in poverty which is simply not true. The other benefit programs are also not being provided to every person in poverty.

            Again and again, over and over, You are adding unrelated figures and dividing by another unrelated figure to produce a totally meaningless value.

            And the whole purpose of the article and which you specifically quoted yourself stated that the purpose of that $22,000 was stating that it could be directly distributed to those in poverty and with purpose of removing the hated government middleman. $22,000 would only pay for about 3 months for an elderly person in a nursing home for example. You can’t just hand out the Medicaid money to all of the mostly healthy people in poverty.

            And again and again, this cannot be done. The useless value you have provided is not cash that can be distributed to those in poverty.

      • TFRX

        That’s Charles “The Bell Curve” Murray, if I recall correctly.

  • OnPointComments

    Your comment is the stuff from which nightmares are made.

    • Carolyn Crumpacker

      I know!! But until jobs are paid equitably…how on earth can we pull pay for equal jobs into fairness? Maybe the better question is…who should regulate fairness to citizens? It’s been left to the CEOs….and that’s not working at all. I look at it as a protection of citizens from unfair labor practices. Rather than supporting folks who can’t make a living wage…why not make sure wages are living wages? How else can it be done except by mandate?

      • HonestDebate1

        I would suggest an emphasis on merits and letting the market decide. IMHO, imposing artificial values to talents and contributions to profit dooms any business plan.

        • VinceD2

          Aye, but the old boys network of CEO’s have done exactly that, basically sitting around in a circle and giving themselves raises.

  • VinceD2

    The “war on poverty” is a myth. It’s really the war on the middle class via “Free Trade Fundamentalism”, which has become close to a religious mantra. The uber-rich are milking all of the wealth out, and these “anti-poverty programs” only serve to keep the people just above the point where they rebel.

    And Tom/NPR, go ahead and complain about low wages, while you say NOTHING about how the trade deficit exports jobs or how massive immigration (which you suport) depress the working class. Your laments are quite hollow against your constant stumping for policies that harm workers.

  • gslouch

    A few months ago I saw a bumper sticker that said something like “working American for the Republicans.” I had to chuckle heartily, The party that is sooo reluctant to pass an extension for unemployment benefits{you know for former working Americans who have lost their jobs). The party that is against increasing the minimum wage(you know, for working Americans who can’t make ends meet). The party that significantly cut the snap program for poor kids(oh yea , the party for the poor!). This individual with the bumper sticker must not own a tv or read a paper. The pubs also are eager to tinker with SS. Danger Will Robinson! Danger!!
    I have several Republican friends who are respectable people,but don’t believe for a minute that the pubs are for the ordinary working individual. Their alliances lie with big business and the rich. Their illogical talk that coincides with President Johnson’s 50th anniversary of the war on poverty is simply bluster and gobbledygook!

    • HonestDebate1

      How long should taxpayers pay people not to work? How many jobs should be lost so that the chosen few can be paid an arbitrary salary completely disconnected from the value they add to a business? How much liquor can you buy if the taxpayers buy your food? What is the argument against letting people keep what they earn so they can take care of themselves?

      • FrankensteinDragon

        if they can make you believe absurdities they can make you commit atrocities. I know people like you–just enjoy saying absurdities.

        • HonestDebate1

          They were simple questions.

          • jefe68

            From a simple mind.

          • jimino

            So what are your answers to them?

          • HonestDebate1

            6 weeks; Zero; All you want; The is none.

  • onpoint27289

    Tom dismissed a callers comments that people who can’t afford to take care of their children have them anyway. That is the real tragedy. Would you adopt a child without sufficient resources? No that would be irresponsible. So too is keeping children in poverty how in human.

  • Dan Rhayne

    Obviously a complex issue. I can’t help but think a key factor is to create more jobs. If government funding could aim at programs that employ people while strengthening communities, that investment could create more sustainable economic growth.

    I never hear there are too many staff at schools, libraries, departments of public works, social service agencies, farms that grow for the local community, local news reporters, etc. Then there’s the local infrastructure. I love when my city repaves sidewalks, weatherizes city buildings, invests in renewable energy, improves our water and sewer systems. Those investments provide long term value and stimulates the job market too.

    And those are just the typical services. How about more grants to start more locally supportive start ups? We have some seriously smart innovators… Can’t we find ways to start businesses that employ lots of local people while strengthening local communities and economies?

    How about a business focusing on refurbishing things like electronics, furniture, clothing, etc. Or an organization of businesses and residents with the goal of identifying where valuable items are being thrown away, and what the local community needs are, then fixing and re-using things so we don’t waste this planets resources and we can provide lower income people with access to affordable quality goods. Would need sales people, repair people, admin, marketing, supervisors, janitorial staff,etc.

    Just an idea. I’m sure people do things like that all over the place, and have a ton of other ideas. Bring those ideas that work in in one place to other similar places. Encourage the sharing of best practices! A strong community with a strong economy should bring more opportunities to everyone, right?

    • HonestDebate1

      I could not agree with you more… in concept. More jobs is the answer, no question about it. But there is a world of difference between jobs created in the private sector as a result of people putting their money at risk and public sector jobs. Any job created by government is a drain on the economy because the government has no money. The government cannot spend a dime until it takes that money out of the economy to pay the bill.

      • jefe68

        And yet in your view we should be going to war in Syria and go back into Iraq. Somehow there is money for that and not infrastructure.
        By the way, if the infrastructure is not maintained that’s a drain on the economy as well. You don’t know what you are talking about in this regard.

        • HonestDebate1

          I never advocated war.

      • Salvor Hardin

        @HonestDebate1:disqus This is a very simplistic view of government / private spending. Federal and state governments are an important source of private sector jobs. The Federal government provides a huge number of very high paying jobs in the defense industry as well as many jobs in supporting industries.

        http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2011/oct/29/randy-forbes/rep-randy-forbes-says-153-million-defense-jobs-are/

        “The Department of Defenses says about 6 million jobs are supported by military spending, including 3.8 million private sector jobs, 700,000 Department of Defense jobs and 1.5 million active-duty service members outside of reserve units.

        This includes millions of jobs building and resurfacing roads and other similar infrastructure projects. Plus the millions of those directly employed by the Federal government.

        The current fashionable entrepreneurial extremism that you state simply ignores the fact that the government is an important direct employer and an supporter of millions of private sector jobs.

        There has to of course be a balance but just saying “any job created by the government is a drain on the economy” simply ignores the fact that the government is probably the largest source of private sector jobs.

        • VinceD2

          Yes, and ALL of that money is taken from tax payers or borrowed from the Chinese. Government specding is necessary, we NEED defense and infrastrructure, but private job creation is a better jobs creator. Or, it COULD BE if we weren’t exporting jobs.

        • HonestDebate1

          The fact remains, the government doesn’t have a dime until it takes it from someone else, borrows it or prints it.

          • jimino

            Who does? Do you believe in some sort of variation on “original sin” that applies to money?

          • HonestDebate1

            I do, I earn it.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            so?

            corporate leviathans dont have a dime and till they use an abuse for profit

      • FrankensteinDragon

        better eliminate those social-welfare military jobs then–thats the biggest drain on the economy in the history of history. mass murder is wrong. mass murder for the rich is very wrong. the same rich exporting all jobs abroad for slave-wages.

        • HonestDebate1

          It is a Constitutional duty.

          • jimino

            Those who drafted the Constitution never envisioned a standing military anything like our present behemoth.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you say so.

          • jefe68

            That Eisenhower warned us about over 50 years ago.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            you’re funny dude, man.

  • OnPointComments

    In my opinion, Tom’s comments were a diversion and not what most people are referring to when discussing children born into poverty. I don’t think that when most people speak of the problem of children born into poverty that they are primarily referring to someone stuck in a bad economic cycle, waiting and waiting for better times, up against the biological clock. The nearly 334,000 births in 2011 to mothers under age 20 suggests that some didn’t wait very long at all.

    • FrankensteinDragon

      i dont understand what you are saying. Your writing is incoherent. Im not being sarcastic. I’m serious. I dont know what you. I can’t like or dislike because I don’t know what you are saying. didnt wait for what? Poverty is a continnuous cycel in many respects. If your born into poverty or slavery cahnces are your grandchildren will be too. Wealth and privilege is inherited. Poverty equals poor nutrition and lower IQ (in many cases) and pathetic education and pathetic jobs or no jobs…education is outrageously expensive and maintains debt-slavery–a tool deliberately used by the rich…people in debt dont cause trouble. jobs are exported. cheap labor is imported. Wages decrease. Debt rises. costs rise. Wars expand eternally, The poor fight wars–not the rich. the rich cause wars to kill poor and exploit the poor. The poor, is they survive the mayhem–return to the motherland with psychosis and suicidal and murderous and jobless…

      the rich are the cause of poverty. time to chop heads. Jack and the beanstalk time. Robin hood time.

  • FrankensteinDragon

    wage work is poverty. corporations should be illegal and small business should be encouraged and localized. people need to be their own boss. And working in co-ops. All business should be local–out of state business should unlawful and persecuted. jobs should not be allowed to be exported. This should be criminal activity because it is–and traitorous–not because america is number one but because local prosperity depends on it–humanity depends on it. Walmart and box stores and Amazon should be illegal. People should go to local tailors not target or kmart or H&M or Abercrombie…Food sould be growwn in local gardens, on rooftops, in front yards and abackyards and local organic co-ops (CSAs). We should return to local mainstreet farmer’s markets–not Krogers or pigley-wigleys or walmart.

    • jefe68

      A tad extreme methinks.

      • FrankensteinDragon

        and you dont think the world u live in is extreme? I yhink you have a lot to learn. im talking about community and empowerment and well-being. i believe if you lived in a world like i describe you wold think the world you live in or anything c;se ot it is absurd and evil.

    • Enuff_of_this

      Sounds good. How do we pay for it?

    • Bluejay2fly

      You should read the book “The Great A+P” by Marc Levinson it gives a lot of back ground of what life was like with local corner stores. It really makes you think.

      • Enuff_of_this

        I remember neighborhood markets. I miss them

  • Susal Stebbins Collins

    Eliminating poverty – of income and resources – ultimately requires completely shifting our extractive, violent economic systems to regenerative, cooperative economic systems. Our economic crises are intertwined with huge ethical and environmental crises (of which climate disruption is only one significant element). We need paid workers to make a great shift to 100% renewable energy, sustainable farming/food practices, consumer goods and practices that are 100% healthy for humans and the earth, building sustainable infrastructure, and other systems (educational, arts, health, justice) that support human well-being. The money now being taken out of the system by corporations and the wealthiest individuals is fueling more destruction and addiction/disconnection without making anyone truly better off (noticeable in movies such as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘Inside Job’). We need to build a consensus to shift this money (whether through taxation/government programs/grants, eliminating corporate personhood, changing stock market rules and/or other means) into jobs and training to do the work that is needed for ALL our well-being. Consider having Richard Wolff, Juliet Schor, and/or Charles Eisenstein as guests for powerful analyses and visions about how we got here and possible ways out.

    • Enuff_of_this

      They should be teaching that in college

      • Susal Stebbins Collins

        Thanks, Enuff…actually, I have been teaching aspects of this in three local colleges over the past few years. : )

  • marygrav

    Every time we try to argue about our own socio-economic problem as an Industrialized Country and make the comparison to the rest of the Industrial World’s benefits to its people, it it always pointed out that Europe and Canada are going broke because of their social programs. This is the lie that the Neoconservatives have fed US for so long until some of US believe. Even if the Social Investment Systems of the Other Industrialized countries have fallen on hard time; they are on hard time for 2 reasons:

    (1) They spent their money on their own people. This is something the the US has not done since the 1950s and only spent pennies then.

    (2) Europe’s financial problems have more to do to the US financial meltdown than frittering its funds away on helping its own people. Europe suffered through 2 World Wars on its land mass. All we had was 9/11 and we have acted like drama queens ever since.

    If Congress does not get its act together some Lenin is going to rise from the Middle Class and run them out of town. They always like to tell US that the Russian Revolution occurred because the people were misled. That is just a capitalist lie. People follow a leader who gives them relief from hunger and want.

    This is the riches most powerful country since the Roman Empire and to let the T-Party/GOP Obstructionist destroy it is in the PEOPLES’ hands. This is what Martin Luther King’s Dream was all about.

    • Bluejay2fly

      “The arch of the moral universe is long but eventually bends towards justice”MLK Jr. This current culture of greed and fanatical selfishness will eventually give way to a future era more in line with what we think is morally and socially fair. The only variable is wether or not the environment and the world’s resources will give us enough time to reach that end.

  • hourly_PA

    The war on the not-wealthy is not an overnight affair.
    It took ten years to transform Iraq into a sewer,
    so that today the majority of its citizens live in squalor.
    It also took roughly $2 trillion US.
    Where is the economist who can estimate for us how much
    of that sum went to the the movers and shakers of that sordid enterprise. To the present-day fortune of the Bush family let’s say.
    What the richest nation on earth does really well
    is to take care of its rich. Which includes whiting out their tracks.
    With clever theater and beautiful jingoism.

  • Sams Sam

    Why do people have kids if they can’t afford them?…….

    AMAZING question! MOST people born since time , were NOT planned! If procreation was conditional upon ability to pay, then MANY would not be here!……..how many are living in homes (with a mortgage i.e., don’t have the money…) etc? Ask the right questions: Do people care about people as we have more in common than not?

    • Cutler Hamilton

      Most people don’t have kids if they can’t afford them. Most people in poverty don’t have access to the health care system or education that will prevent them from having kids in the first place. People, especially young people will have sex. If they are not educated properly or if the public school system does not educate them properly, then they will end up having kids before graduating high school.

      • Sams Sam

        RIDICULOUS! PEOPLE HAVE SEX AND HAVE BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME….IT’S ELEMENTARY, IT’S PRIMITIVE! IT’S WHAT ANIMALS DO, SILLY….THE HUMAN ANIMAL! PLENTY OF FOLKS, MARRIED COULD AFFORD THEM. THEN THE OLD DIVORCE T BETTER THAN 50% COMES ALONG AND THERE YOU GO….> WOMEN AND KIDS IN POVERTY!

        • Cutler Hamilton

          So why don’t we teach that to our kids? That’s my point. The issue is simple to talk about between adults. I agree with your opinion wholeheartedly. The problem is we don’t treat adolescents, particularly young women, the same way. Condoms are not readily distributed and the use of abstinence as a proper teaching method is outdated. Teach kids to be responsible adults when it comes to their bodies. Don’t hide it or trust abstinence to be the proper deterrent. it hasn’t worked at all so far.

  • Sy2502

    Why?

    • Cutler Hamilton

      So people working those jobs won’t be asking the gov’t (AKA, taxpayers) to foot the rest of their bills.

      • Sy2502

        I was asking why you want to set a maximum wage.

  • Sy2502

    The most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

    • Cutler Hamilton

      To you maybe. Get over the paranoia and quit drinking the Fox News Kool-Aid flavor.

      • Sy2502

        Is that the best you could do? Empty personal attacks? I feel sorry for you.

        • hellokitty0580

          The U.S. government has helped make it possible for me to not be an economic slave (because the color of my skin) or a sexual slave (because I’m a women) and has made it possible for me to vote amongst a myriad of other achievements. No, government is not perfect, but your statement is offensive to the people who work tirelessly and have worked tirelessly to make our system work.

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