02-08-2012, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Originally Posted by Grayma
Interesting fact- One important reason for this is that the government has redefined poverty over the years in order to make sure we always have a certain number falling below the line. Many of those living below the poverty line in the U.S. have a living standard that qualified as middle class in the 70s.
Both my married kids live below the poverty line. They pay their bills, eat well, and manage to put aside a little savings. They even go see a movie once in a while.
We lived below the poverty level most of our time in the military. Sometimes that was because half of enlisted pay isn't counted when the government does its poverty figures.
Also interesting- with the exception of the generational welfare families who have been deeply damaged by government programs, the poverty levels aren't static. People move up and out of poverty over time, and other people move into it- especially young people just out on their own.
There cannot be real reform and help for those stuck in poverty until there is a recognition that some of them are there because the government has taught them it's a waste of time to try to save money and spend wisely. You can't fix a problem if you don't know what it is.
Real life example- a woman I know very well who has been living on the government entirely for the five years I've known her came to me asking for a loan for a hundred dollars to fix a tire on her car. She had no money, she said. In the same conversation she told me about the 20 dollars she'd just spend on her preschooler's school pictures, the 20 dollars she wanted to spend on a field trip (one she could duplicate locally for about five dollars), She came to my house with her store bought coffee drink in hand, was going out to eat, she showed me her new shoes, and the new clothes she'd just bought. She also has redecorated her apartment using rent to own plans when there was nothing wrong with the furniture she had. She lives in poverty, according to the government. She has a computer, the internet, two cell phones, cable television, a car, and she buys so much food they throw a lot of it away (she won't keep packages past the sell by date).
I've watched her buy herself stuff like expensive nail polish, bath soaps, and perfumes at Walgreen's while picking up her son's prescription meds and then pitching a fit at being asked to pay the three dollar copay for her kid's medication. "Where am I going to get the money for that? Why should I have to pay that? I guess it will just have to come out of his Pampers money." I kid you not. She is poor. She has no job but a small one babysitting before and after school. But she will never be anything but poor because of the way she's learned to view money and government services.
All people living under the poverty line are not like this, but I guarantee that quite a few are. Taking care of poverty in American would have to include recognizing that situations like this do exist.
For being poor they sure do own a lot of stuff. Fridge, computers, air conditioner, etc....
"Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
-Thurgood Marshall, former Supreme Court Justice
"... turns out they are telling the truth