Thread: Poverty is our worst enemy

musichick3 - 9/9/2005 at 08:27 PM

What the waters have revealed
by Jim Wallis


In what may be the most catastrophic natural disaster in American history, the waters of Hurricane Katrina are washing away our national denial of just how many Americans are living in poverty, our reluctance to admit the still persistent connection of race and poverty in America, and even the political power of a conservative ideology that, for decades now, has seriously eroded the idea of the common good.


The pictures from New Orleans have stunned the nation. They have exposed the stark realities of who is suffering the most, who was left behind, who was waiting in vain for help to arrive, and who is facing the most difficult challenges of recovery. The face of those stranded in New Orleans was overwhelmingly poor and black, the very old and the very young. They were the ones who could not evacuate; had no cars or money for gas; no money for bus, train, or airfare; no budget for hotels or no friends or family with room to share or spare. They were already vulnerable before this calamity, now they were totally exposed and on their own. For days, nobody came for them. And the conditions of the places they were finally herded to ("like animals," many testified) sickened the nation.


From the reporters covering the unprecedented disaster to ordinary Americans glued to their televisions watching their reports, a shocked and even outraged response was repeated, "I didn't realize how many Americans were poor." Powerful images have emerged along with the pictures. "We have now seen what is under the rock in America," said a carpenter in Washington DC. The vulnerability of the poorest children in New Orleans has been especially riveting to many Americans, especially other parents. Many say they had trouble holding back their tears when they saw mothers with their babies stranded on rooftops crying for help or jammed into dangerous and dirty places waiting for help to arrive. And the pictures may get worse as countless bodies are brought out of New Orleans. Even Homeland Security Director, Michael Chertoff, is warning that it will be horrible and gruesome. Clearly, a very high percentage of those bodies will be poor, black, elderly, and even children. The public anger may grow.



As a direct result of Katrina and its aftermath, and for the first time in many years, the media are reporting on poverty, telling Americans that New Orleans had an overall poverty rate of 28% (84% of them African-American), and a child poverty rate of almost 50% - half of all the city's children (rates only a little higher than other major cities and actually a little lower than some others). Ironically (and some might say providentially) the annual U. S. Census poverty report came out during the Hurricane's deadly assault showing that poverty had risen for the fourth straight year with 37 million Americans stuck below the poverty line - and they were the ones most stuck in New Orleans.


Katrina has revealed what was already there in America; an invisible and mostly silent poverty that we have chosen not to talk about, let alone to take responsibility for in the richest nation on earth. This week, we all saw it; and so did the rest of the world. And it made Americans feel both compassionate and ashamed. Many political leaders and commentators, across the ideological spectrum, have acknowledged the national tragedy, not just of the horrendous storm, but of the realities the flood waters have exposed. And some have suggested that if the aftermath of Katrina finally leads the nation to demand solutions to the poverty of upwards of a third of its citizens then something good might come from this terrible disaster.


That is what we must all work toward. Rescuing those still in danger, assisting those in dire need, relocating and caring for the homeless, and beginning the process of recovery and re-building are all top priorities. But dealing with the stark and shameful social and racial realities Katrina has revealed must become our longer term but clear goal. That will require a combination of public and private initiatives, the merger of personal and social responsibility, the rebuilding of both families and communities, but also the confronting of hard questions about national priorities. Most of all it will require us to make different choices.


The critical needs of poor and low-income families must become the first priority of federal and state legislatures, not the last. And, the blatant inequalities of race in America, especially in critical areas of education, jobs, health care, and housing which have come to the surface must now be addressed. Congressional pork barrel spending which aligns with political power more than human needs must be challenged as never before.That requires a complete reversal of the political logic now operating in Washington and state capitols around the country - a new moral logic must re-shape our political habits. In the face of this natural disaster, during a time of war, with already rising deficits; new budgets cuts to vital programs like food stamps and Medicaid, and more tax cuts for the wealthy in the form of estate tax repeal and capital gains and stock dividend reductions, would now be both irresponsible and shameless.


Restoring the hope of America's poorest families, renewing our national infrastructures, protecting our environmental stability, and rethinking our most basic priorities will require nothing less than a national change of heart and direction. It calls for a transformation of political ethics and governance; moving from serving private interests to ensuring the public good. If Katrina changes our political conscience and re-invigorates among us a commitment to the common good, then even this terrible tragedy might be redeemed.


BodineFan - 9/9/2005 at 08:47 PM

I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


SmilingJack - 9/10/2005 at 03:38 PM

quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.

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I think this is generally correct (dropping all entitlements is not the answer-I think a work fare with education might help),but what I differ from is whether the Bush policies were building a strong economic base or a rich vs poor situation. I beleive the latter.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/10/2005 at 04:06 PM

quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


Haven't we had a strong, broad-based economy for about 200 years now? Why hasn't it eliminated poverty yet, if that's all it takes? That's a very simplistic statement, and is exactly the attitude he's talking about here.

Americans are opening up their wallets, and money is flowing into the affected areas. Are any of those same Americans willing to help a poor family pay their bills each month? They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?

We are the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no reason for even one family to be living below the poverty level. We need a shift in consciousness in this country, away from the abject materialism that is the prevalent attitude, and maybe this hurricane will take us a step in that direction.


Tau - 9/10/2005 at 05:11 PM

quote:
quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


Haven't we had a strong, broad-based economy for about 200 years now? Why hasn't it eliminated poverty yet, if that's all it takes? That's a very simplistic statement, and is exactly the attitude he's talking about here.

Americans are opening up their wallets, and money is flowing into the affected areas. Are any of those same Americans willing to help a poor family pay their bills each month? They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?

We are the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no reason for even one family to be living below the poverty level. We need a shift in consciousness in this country, away from the abject materialism that is the prevalent attitude, and maybe this hurricane will take us a step in that direction.




No, I am NOT willing to open up my wallet and pay someone else's bills month after month. I grew up below the poverty level, and spent many a year there after living on my own. Gradually, i learned to watch where the money I was earning went in order to spend more wisely. I learned what my strengths were and how to better utilize them in order to increase my weekly earnings. I learned not to gratify each and every desire as they came along. I learned to look beyond the moment, the day, even the week so that I might have a plan for me and my money. I did this with a basic education, no help from my parents, some help from the state, and no help from the federal government. Anyone but the more physically handicapped and the more mentally handicapped can do the same. But they must be willing. They must be willing to work hard. They must be willing to sacrifice the moment for the day, the day for the week, and so on. They must be willing to learn who they themselves are, what strengths they have and how to best utilize them They must be willing to be absolutely honest with themselves. They must be willing to apply themselves. Simply handing people money, housing, even food does nothing to motivate them except to go back to the place that they got the last installment from. Education IS the key, but our education system has long ignored one vital set of lessons: HOW to live in this country, HOW to get ahead, HOW to spend money wisely. LIFE instruction would be far more valuable to so many as opposed conjugation instruction or the algebraic equivalent of the mating ritual of the whooping crane.
Teaching people to how to improve their living skills is of far more importance than teaching them how to fill out another form so that they might merely exist for another day.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/10/2005 at 05:21 PM

Hey Sue! I just noticed it was you that posted this. I saw it was a Jim Wallis article, and I think I just assumed cleaneduphippy had posted it. Are you taking over his job? If so, good call. Jim Wallis is a prophet in our times.


DerekFromCincinnati - 9/10/2005 at 05:25 PM

quote:
They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?



These folks were busy making sure their kids were showing up at school. And, they are not murdering each other on a daily basis either.There have been times and days when the attendance rate at New Orleans schools was 20%, as in 80% not showing up. The Welfare state as it is, is a self-fullfilling prophecy. It takes both, a safety net on the one side, and folks showing up at school, making sure their kids show up at school, and wanting to get educated on the other side.

Also, during the Great Depression when the unemployment rate was over 25%, the murder rate did not go through the roof. When it is to the point that you shoot at folks who are coming to help you, it is way out of wack.


In 1920's in Harlem, New York, during the Harlem Renaissance, just 50 years after slavery and during a time of Jim Crow and lynchings, kids were born there into two parent homes at the rate of over 80%. Louisiana has the second highest rate of out of wedlock births in the nation right now at about 40%, and in the city of New orleans it is 60%, and for teenagers almost 90%. There is a story right now on CNN about a lost 18 month old baby whose mother is a lost kid herself at 13.

Jim Crow laws and mentality was pathetic and disgusting, but during that time African Americans had to run their own businesses, and be educated to do so, and so on. As for now,

quote:
The nonpartisan Tax Foundation puts Louisiana in the bottom half of its rankings for state business tax climate. The Public Policy Institute of the Business Council of New York rates Louisiana 40th of the fifty states in terms of economic freedom. The state's tort-prone legal system is rated 47th.



What is conveniently not mentioned is that the City Of New Orleans is democratically run. The state of Louisiana is democratically run.
Funny no mention of that.


What we need now is another WPA type of program where the folks that get benefits help to rebuild the city.

Past that, what Bill Cosby said........

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/billcosbypoundcakespeech.htm

DH

[Edited on 9/10/2005 by DerekFromCincinnati]


piacere - 9/10/2005 at 06:24 PM

there are a number of Biblical passages related to this but why open up THAT can of worms?

(and many of them are not what you'd think)


musichick3 - 9/10/2005 at 08:23 PM

quote:
Hey Sue! I just noticed it was you that posted this. I saw it was a Jim Wallis article, and I think I just assumed cleaneduphippy had posted it. Are you taking over his job? If so, good call. Jim Wallis is a prophet in our times.




Yea, I get Sojourners updates sent to my email and really enjoy the articles. I like this guy, he's smart and compassionate without being judgemental.


Tau - 9/10/2005 at 08:53 PM

quote:

What we need now is another WPA type of program where the folks that get benefits help to rebuild the city.




With Bush's roads bill, a WPA type of program could help a lot of people in a lot of places and help with the economy as well.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/10/2005 at 08:53 PM

I get them, too, Sue. I must admit I don't always read the whole email, tho, and must have missed this one.


SmilingJack - 9/10/2005 at 09:54 PM

quote:
quote:
quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


Haven't we had a strong, broad-based economy for about 200 years now? Why hasn't it eliminated poverty yet, if that's all it takes? That's a very simplistic statement, and is exactly the attitude he's talking about here.

Americans are opening up their wallets, and money is flowing into the affected areas. Are any of those same Americans willing to help a poor family pay their bills each month? They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?

We are the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no reason for even one family to be living below the poverty level. We need a shift in consciousness in this country, away from the abject materialism that is the prevalent attitude, and maybe this hurricane will take us a step in that direction.




No, I am NOT willing to open up my wallet and pay someone else's bills month after month. I grew up below the poverty level, and spent many a year there after living on my own. Gradually, i learned to watch where the money I was earning went in order to spend more wisely. I learned what my strengths were and how to better utilize them in order to increase my weekly earnings. I learned not to gratify each and every desire as they came along. I learned to look beyond the moment, the day, even the week so that I might have a plan for me and my money. I did this with a basic education, no help from my parents, some help from the state, and no help from the federal government. Anyone but the more physically handicapped and the more mentally handicapped can do the same. But they must be willing. They must be willing to work hard. They must be willing to sacrifice the moment for the day, the day for the week, and so on. They must be willing to learn who they themselves are, what strengths they have and how to best utilize them They must be willing to be absolutely honest with themselves. They must be willing to apply themselves. Simply handing people money, housing, even food does nothing to motivate them except to go back to the place that they got the last installment from. Education IS the key, but our education system has long ignored one vital set of lessons: HOW to live in this country, HOW to get ahead, HOW to spend money wisely. LIFE instruction would be far more valuable to so many as opposed conjugation instruction or the algebraic equivalent of the mating ritual of the whooping crane.
Teaching people to how to improve their living skills is of far more importance than teaching them how to fill out another form so that they might merely exist for another day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------
Sounds good- very, American to me on how we should strive to improve ourselves. However, there are many reasons some people don't and can't. Then it amazes me how the upper class rich folks get people who have pulled themselves from the lowest socio-economic levels, to do their dirty work for them, and beat down the people below them.


Tau - 9/10/2005 at 10:05 PM

quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


Haven't we had a strong, broad-based economy for about 200 years now? Why hasn't it eliminated poverty yet, if that's all it takes? That's a very simplistic statement, and is exactly the attitude he's talking about here.

Americans are opening up their wallets, and money is flowing into the affected areas. Are any of those same Americans willing to help a poor family pay their bills each month? They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?

We are the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no reason for even one family to be living below the poverty level. We need a shift in consciousness in this country, away from the abject materialism that is the prevalent attitude, and maybe this hurricane will take us a step in that direction.




No, I am NOT willing to open up my wallet and pay someone else's bills month after month. I grew up below the poverty level, and spent many a year there after living on my own. Gradually, i learned to watch where the money I was earning went in order to spend more wisely. I learned what my strengths were and how to better utilize them in order to increase my weekly earnings. I learned not to gratify each and every desire as they came along. I learned to look beyond the moment, the day, even the week so that I might have a plan for me and my money. I did this with a basic education, no help from my parents, some help from the state, and no help from the federal government. Anyone but the more physically handicapped and the more mentally handicapped can do the same. But they must be willing. They must be willing to work hard. They must be willing to sacrifice the moment for the day, the day for the week, and so on. They must be willing to learn who they themselves are, what strengths they have and how to best utilize them They must be willing to be absolutely honest with themselves. They must be willing to apply themselves. Simply handing people money, housing, even food does nothing to motivate them except to go back to the place that they got the last installment from. Education IS the key, but our education system has long ignored one vital set of lessons: HOW to live in this country, HOW to get ahead, HOW to spend money wisely. LIFE instruction would be far more valuable to so many as opposed conjugation instruction or the algebraic equivalent of the mating ritual of the whooping crane.
Teaching people to how to improve their living skills is of far more importance than teaching them how to fill out another form so that they might merely exist for another day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------
Sounds good- very, American to me on how we should strive to improve ourselves. However, there are many reasons some people don't and can't. Then it amazes me how the upper class rich folks get people who have pulled themselves from the lowest socio-economic levels, to do their dirty work for them, and beat down the people below them.


Yes. By not giving them any money, I am taking it away from them. Then, I hit them with my car. I told you I WAS one of them. They, in turn can be one like me. All they have to do is try. Perhaps you didn't read the part where I said that there are those that cannot. It's there. So, I must not be talking about the incapable. right? Try being blindly loyal to a failing system, why doncha?


Tau - 9/10/2005 at 11:58 PM

I'm sorry, I'm probably being unfair in my last reply. Let me ask you, SJ, are you on welfare or some other kind of government assistance? Perhaps, like me you had been in the past?


dutchoneill - 9/11/2005 at 12:22 AM

quote:
quote:
quote:
I disagree that entitlements are the way to make a difference, that's what got us in this mess to begin with. Welfare is genteel slavery, it's the most racist option there is. Collective white guilt isn't going to solve anything. Creating a strong broadbased economy will.


Haven't we had a strong, broad-based economy for about 200 years now? Why hasn't it eliminated poverty yet, if that's all it takes? That's a very simplistic statement, and is exactly the attitude he's talking about here.

Americans are opening up their wallets, and money is flowing into the affected areas. Are any of those same Americans willing to help a poor family pay their bills each month? They'll welcome families into their homes, now that they've been flooded out of their shacks, but where were they when the same folks were living in those shacks, barely getting by each month?

We are the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no reason for even one family to be living below the poverty level. We need a shift in consciousness in this country, away from the abject materialism that is the prevalent attitude, and maybe this hurricane will take us a step in that direction.




No, I am NOT willing to open up my wallet and pay someone else's bills month after month. I grew up below the poverty level, and spent many a year there after living on my own. Gradually, i learned to watch where the money I was earning went in order to spend more wisely. I learned what my strengths were and how to better utilize them in order to increase my weekly earnings. I learned not to gratify each and every desire as they came along. I learned to look beyond the moment, the day, even the week so that I might have a plan for me and my money. I did this with a basic education, no help from my parents, some help from the state, and no help from the federal government. Anyone but the more physically handicapped and the more mentally handicapped can do the same. But they must be willing. They must be willing to work hard. They must be willing to sacrifice the moment for the day, the day for the week, and so on. They must be willing to learn who they themselves are, what strengths they have and how to best utilize them They must be willing to be absolutely honest with themselves. They must be willing to apply themselves. Simply handing people money, housing, even food does nothing to motivate them except to go back to the place that they got the last installment from. Education IS the key, but our education system has long ignored one vital set of lessons: HOW to live in this country, HOW to get ahead, HOW to spend money wisely. LIFE instruction would be far more valuable to so many as opposed conjugation instruction or the algebraic equivalent of the mating ritual of the whooping crane.
Teaching people to how to improve their living skills is of far more importance than teaching them how to fill out another form so that they might merely exist for another day.


An American success, it's hard work, but you are where you are today because you looked out for yourself, and did not rely on a lifetime of handouts and excuses.
Bottom line is that the INDIVIDUAL must want to better themselves and in most cases you can.


Tau - 9/11/2005 at 02:11 AM

Mr. O'Neil has been good enough not to misread my post. Thank you.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 03:54 AM

On the other hand, imagine a world, say three hundred years from now, when we have a system much different than this one. Suppose we, as a people decide that the value of each individual in this country is equal, no matter who their family was, ingoring any and all "factors." Suppose we decided it would be much cheaper, in the long run, to put a system in place that would allow anyone that wanted to work to do any job they wanted to do. We, as a people, would train them to do whatever they wanted to do. And everyone, no matter what you did, would make exactly the same amount of money. It would be enough to have a nice lifestyle, and we would make sure that every single family in the country had the opportunity and means to go to Disneyland every year, or to the Grand Canyone, or whatever they wanted to do. Baseball games would be very affordable, because baseball players, and owners, would all make the same thing as the fans. Every single family would have the means to life like the debt-to-the-eyeballs upper-middle-class in America now. We would all be living a good lifestyle, and there would be no reason to want to make more, more, more.

This sounds like a pipedream, and it won't happen for generations, but someday I believe we will truly value human life, every single one, not just the beautiful, the white, the priveleged. All of the previous posts that are all about "me" tell you why we're still a long way away. Christians like Jim Wallis are already leading the way, reminding us that Jesus said that whatever we do to the least among us, we do to Him.

Damn that's some good bud.

Derek.. you may count my words now, Grasshopper.


TopDroog - 9/11/2005 at 04:35 AM

Sign me up. So long as we agree that anyone who thinks that those of us who go to work everyday are "suckers," or "sheep," or whatever, and that they're going to get their bread by conning, stealing or begging won't be getting said bread.



Did I read correctly? Did Derek say we need something like the WPA? That's the last time I pigeonhole anybody's ideas. .

Peace.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 04:42 AM

quote:
Sign me up. So long as we agree that anyone who thinks that those of us who go to work everyday are "suckers," or "sheep," or whatever, and that they're going to get their bread by conning, stealing or begging won't be getting said bread.


Why not? The value of those people is the same as anyone else. If everyone could do whatever kind of work they wanted, there would be very few who really just didn't want to work at all, or for whatever reason couldn't work. Those should just be given the same salary as everyone else. Rather than have them steal their bread, just give it to them. Who cares? It doesn't take away from you.


DerekFromCincinnati - 9/11/2005 at 04:48 AM



From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.


OldSchool - 9/11/2005 at 05:00 AM

quote:


From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.



Lol,sounds like communism to me as well,smoke another 1 SCB


TopDroog - 9/11/2005 at 05:28 AM

quote:
quote:
Sign me up. So long as we agree that anyone who thinks that those of us who go to work everyday are "suckers," or "sheep," or whatever, and that they're going to get their bread by conning, stealing or begging won't be getting said bread.


Why not? The value of those people is the same as anyone else. If everyone could do whatever kind of work they wanted, there would be very few who really just didn't want to work at all, or for whatever reason couldn't work. Those should just be given the same salary as everyone else. Rather than have them steal their bread, just give it to them. Who cares? It doesn't take away from you.


I would not willingly be part of a system that treated those willing to work for their bread the same as those intent on conning it or stealing it from those doing the work. I do believe that there should not be such a very large gap between the richest segment of society and the poorest (but I do believe there should be some gap - why shouldn't the Dr. who goes to school for 20 years make more than the tradesman who went to school for 12?), but if you are given an opportunity to work at the profession of your choice, but instead of embracing the opportunity you turn it down, and look for an easier way to earn your keep - hustling, stealing, living off your girlfriend's monthly check, etc., then I say that person should not be entitled to a portion of society's fruit. Their value is less.

After a generation or two of such opportunities, I agree that your belief:

quote:
If everyone could do whatever kind of work they wanted, there would be very few who really just didn't want to work at all . . .


would come to pass, but it would take a little time.

I've been in the ghetto, man. And I'm not talking about driving through or visiting for a week. Living and working there for years. Cops pulling up to the street-corner dealers, chatting while a dealer pops off a hub cap to get to the delivery hidden there. Shoot-outs on my block right at the time the schools were letting out. Mothers telling their teenage daughters to go out and get pregnant for the extra income it would bring in. Foreign store owners in German luxury cars driving to suburban supermarkets and buying cartloads of sale items with government food stamps to take back to their ghetto stores to sell at huge mark-ups. Taking foodstamps for liquor, cigarettes, or buying them outright for cash at 50 cents on the dollar. Mothers training their kids how to act "crazy" so they can be evaluated by social workers and approved for "SSI," which while I don't know the details, is apparently a nicer payout than a standard welfare check. Unemployed men fathering children on teenage girls and leaving them to the welfare system, then showing up with brand new Jordan's the day after the girls get their checks.

This is not stuff I've heard about. This is stuff I've seen over and over again. I was working in a city-college program where any resident of Chicago could literally get every single thing they needed to turn their life around - free. Basic Education, H.S. Equivalency, College, Vocational Training, Job Placement, vouchers for food, clothes, rent assistance. Many took advantage of what we had to offer. It was a beautiful thing. However, there were also a good many of all ages, male and female, of various races, who were just showing up because a judge or social worker said they had to in order to stay out of jail or get that next check.

There is a ghetto mentality out there, and it runs deep. The idea that you can beat the system, or work the system, or play the system, whatever you want to call it. I'm all for the equal opportunity of everyone in our society, but if somebody deliberately removes him or herself from that society, then I sure as hell am not going to foot their bill.

Besides, I believe your idea that "it doesn't take away from you" is flawed. If ten percent of the potential work force decides not to work, but is to reap the same benefits of society, then the remaining 90 percent who do work must work an extra 10 percent to provide for those who are not working. As the percentage of those who do not work increases, the burden on those who do work also increases.

Some may say your vision is Utopian, some might say it's Marxist, some may say it's beautiful. I say if it is to ever have a prayer of succeeding, there will be no room for slackers.

Peace.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 05:30 AM

quote:



So explain why somebody would got to medical school for 7 years or whatever rather than work at Burger King or something similar.


Because they loved practicing medicine and they knew that they were doing their part to create the tranquil society we all enjoyed. We would send them to school for free, and pay them while they went.

quote:
I think what would happen is we would develop a very lazy society. Ambition would be a thing of the past.


What do you work for now? To achieve the kind of lifestyle we're talking about. We work at jobs we hate to keep up the lifestyle. We're in debt up to our eyes, and go to work every day hoping to someday have some finacial independence. What if you didn't have to worry about getting ahead, etc, and could just do the work you love? As part of a national group effort to create the world we all say we really want? You say we'd get lazy, I say we'd get innovative, creative, and ambitious. But I did say in 300 years. We are a primitive, materialistic society now, where we absolutely value "things" more than we do human lives.


DougMacKenzie - 9/11/2005 at 06:46 AM

I love the idea of everybody doing the thing they love to do to make thier living and each helping others who are in need out of what they have to give. However, just being given something cheapens it, in my experience, and dulls the competitive fire that fuels the engine of innovation and discovery. We've seen in the past that socialism has not really worked to bring about that utopian ideal that we would all love to see. All it takes is one individual wanting more than his neighbor and the whole scheme is in trouble. Poverty has been with us as long as we have been human, and I don't see it goin' away as long as we are human. I think the best we can do is become much better at identifying and helping individuals like those posting here that have worked their way up to a better standard of living. We can't count on the 'government' to do it; one of the truest things I've heard is that you can not legislate morality. I mean you can, but it doesn't work, and always becomes the letter of the law rather than the spirit. While Jesus said all these wonderful things about how we should treat one another and help each other out, he also said "The poor will always be with you". I think we have to take it upon ourselves to be more connected and involved individually with those in our immediate community and sphere of influence to really know and assist those we actually live in a community with who are wanting and willing to do what it takes to live better and more productive lives. As always, this .02 and an additional $4.50 will get you a latte.


dutchoneill - 9/11/2005 at 01:09 PM

quote:
quote:



So explain why somebody would got to medical school for 7 years or whatever rather than work at Burger King or something similar.


Because they loved practicing medicine and they knew that they were doing their part to create the tranquil society we all enjoyed. We would send them to school for free, and pay them while they went.

quote:
I think what would happen is we would develop a very lazy society. Ambition would be a thing of the past.


What do you work for now? To achieve the kind of lifestyle we're talking about. We work at jobs we hate to keep up the lifestyle. We're in debt up to our eyes, and go to work every day hoping to someday have some finacial independence. What if you didn't have to worry about getting ahead, etc, and could just do the work you love? As part of a national group effort to create the world we all say we really want? You say we'd get lazy, I say we'd get innovative, creative, and ambitious. But I did say in 300 years. We are a primitive, materialistic society now, where we absolutely value "things" more than we do human lives.


Sure a lot of people work in trades or careers they don't like to acheive what they think is what they want. But not everyone. Actually I think a lot of people subject themselves to their jobs and whatever hardships or rewards come with them for their families and the ones they love.
I will not accept that we value material things over human life. That to me is a very narrow minded view of the world and the people in it. I believe that people are inherently good and giving.
No one ever told me that life would be easy, no one said I could work in the job that i really wanted, but what i found out was that if you apply yourself you can usually acheive more than you ever thought you could.
Negativity be damned I say.


jim - 9/11/2005 at 02:04 PM

quote:
What if you didn't have to worry about getting ahead, etc, and could just do the work you love?


Who is stopping anyone from doing that? You can do whatever you want in this country, that's what makes it one of the most dangerous places and the best place. You can do the work you love, you can even do pretty well at it, i.e the Allman Brothers Band, they do what they love and they've "gotten ahead," (whatever ones definition is of that). On the other hand, if you want to have seven children, when you probably don't have the means to have one, and you are a single parent, I call that poor decision making. The most dangerous thing, as we have seen in the last few weeks is to be totally dependent on the government, standing with your hand out. I hold the goverment and the people themselves responsible for perpetuating this, the people are utterly dependent on the governement because they have made poor decisions for themselves.

Yes, education is the key, but we've poured billions into the educational system, and what has happened, nothing, because the teachers can't teach because they have to play cop, parent, psycholigist, and lawyer in the classroom as opposed to be a teacher. At some point there should be some personal accountability. There has been a major breakdown in the American family. The overhwhelming majority of families I've seen on the news over the past weeks displaced by the hurricane are families headed by women. Where are the men? Parents are the first teachers and there are quite a few absentee parents in certain communitites.


Buzzy82 - 9/11/2005 at 02:58 PM

Great post Jim! Integrity, drive, and ambition will take you a long way in this world. That is sorely missing in many circles these days. Impossible to legislate those!


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 03:53 PM

quote:

I will not accept that we value material things over human life. That to me is a very narrow minded view of the world and the people in it. I believe that people are inherently good and giving.



People are inherently good and giving. But if you think we value human life over material goods, that is a very narrow-minded view. Step back and look at the big picture. Millions of people every year spend billions of dollars on things they don't need, while 1 in 8 people in this country live in poverty. We value the human lives of those who look like us, who live in our house, who live on our street, maybe in our neighborhood. The furthur the people live away from us, or the less they look like us, the less we care. We are good and giving, so we open our wallets when everyone else is doing it, and it makes us feel good. But how many would give up the trappings of successful life in America, to truly change the fabric of our society.

As you say, TopDroog, it will take generations. This species isn't finished evolving by any means. But someone has to start talking about it. Those who immediately start worrying about how much they stand to lose to those they think might not work as hard are the ones who will have to change their attitude for it to work.

BTW, no one has to tell me anything about what hard work and ambition can achieve. But anyone who things we all have the same opportunities in this country have their heads in the sand.


musichick3 - 9/11/2005 at 03:55 PM

I agree with Allen that if people were all treated with respect and didn't feel like they were being repressed, their attitudes would change over time. But attitude change has to start from the top (most priveledged) down, not the other way around. That's why these programs Randy speaks of aren't working. We have to empower the people who are living among the ones who need help to get these people to want to change....Just like in Iraq, we are seeing, you can't force people to change by force.
Right now, the ghetto people have such a poor outlook on they way they're viewed by society and feel there's no way out of their situation, they have no ambition or motivation to want to change their lifestyles. People are so easily brainwashed into having certain views of their place and it's very hard to change that...they don't necessarily trust the people who come to help them out of their situations, as we've seen very evident this past couple of weeks in New Orleans and again, as in Iraq. It's psychology, not logic.

[Edited on 9/11/2005 by musichick3]


RedRider - 9/11/2005 at 03:58 PM

quote:
The most dangerous thing, as we have seen in the last few weeks is to be totally dependent on the government, standing with your hand out. I hold the goverment and the people themselves responsible for perpetuating this, the people are utterly dependent on the governement because they have made poor decisions for themselves.



"The people" did have help with this one. Basically this docility was a trait that was bred for. If you were too smart etc. you didn't live to long....And the "fathers" were not around because they were generally separated from their family. Telling people to "get over" slavery isn't quite that easy. There really are deep and lasting scars that still need to be fixed.


gotdrumz - 9/11/2005 at 04:05 PM

greetings:

I believe this isn't gonna fly to well, but it is reality. When something is subsidized it flourishes. Hence when you subsidize poverty, it will flourish. The biggest problems in urban, rural, wherever impoverished areas is what the people see there. Kids who were fortunate enough to get scholarships and worked hard, often enough still end up with mediocre jobs. The ones who worked there whole lives are still there. Then they see the ones who sling dope and drive fancy big cars with 20 something inch rims, who are emulating the lyrical content of the music they listen to. Here is the choice...work hard and possibily not achieve the deisred effect or standard desired by society or more important the people in thier own enviroment. Or sling dope, have the ride, the bling, the ho's, the bank, and that so damn important street credibility. The whole while be representing your peeps and the hood/bario/area code/ whatever. The choice is the easy one folks. Most people will choose the easy way, especially if they have something there to fall back on. Which is hook up with a girl with lots of kids that are not yours and get that check. Untill you have one with her and then its time to bounce and find another one. You can offer programs to help people but a high majority will only see it as as burden to the lifestyle they already have and fail to see and/or utilize it as a benifit to them. Much less a way out of the "everybody owes me something" mentality.

Laters
Brother James


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 04:17 PM

I'm not talking about "programs." I'm talking about a shift in consciousness in our society. I'm talking about people changing how they think about all other people, not just the ones who meet their "worthiness" standard, whether it be race, gender, ambition, intelligence, income, or whatever standard you use to decide which other people have value. It starts in people's hearts, not in a government committee room.

Brother James, Jesus came onto this planet to be a living example of what I'm talking about, and nothing more. We completely missed his lesson, and turned Him into a Savior from feared retribution from God. I wish we had listened a littlle more closely.


musichick3 - 9/11/2005 at 04:20 PM

quote:


BTW, no one has to tell me anything about what hard work and ambition can achieve. But anyone who things we all have the same opportunities in this country have their heads in the sand.



Totally agreed. There's so much competition at the high school level to outdo each other now, let alone in the workforce. Unlesss you want to flip burgers for a living. And then to further that, some people just aren't smart enough to exceed in what they want to do.....


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 04:34 PM

Competition. That's a huge problem in this country. The whole idea that I should work as hard as I can to improve my lifestyle, at the expense of anyone else who is only trying to do the same, is completely counter-productive in terms of our advancement as a nation.

Competition is a primitive characteristic that we needed to get us out of caves and into houses. At some point we'lll hopefully realize that cooperation trumps competition every time. It blows my mind that we have an entire sub-culture in America that thinks the proper way to raise your children is to start as early as you can to teach them to do the things they're going to need, to get into the best schools, so they can have the best chance of positioning themselves to own the most stuff, at the expense of everyone else. Oh sure, they'll be generous, and open their checkbook when a disaster happens, but they're also being trained from birth not to let "those kinds of people" get to close to you. But it still all boils down to having the best chance of owning the most stuff, and that's why I say we value material good over human life.

Not a single one of us will take a single thing with us when we die, and we wouldn't want to anyway, but still we have built a civilization around owning more and more, bigger and better, stuff. I swear to God I saw a man standing next to his wife on TV, down in Louisiana saying he had lost everything, everything, everything. His wife looked up at him, and said, "We still have each other." He didn't even look at her, but just kind of shrugged, and said something like, yeah, whatever. Unbelievable. This hurricane is the best thing that could have happened to him, and I hope he learns the lesson it came to teach him.


captaintony - 9/11/2005 at 04:37 PM

quote:
Competition. That's a huge problem in this country. The whole idea that I should work as hard as I can to improve my lifestyle, at the expense of anyone else who is only trying to do the same, is completely counter-productive in terms of our advancement as a nation.

Competition is a primitive characteristic that we needed to get us out of caves and into houses. At some point we'lll hopefully realize that cooperation trumps competition every time. It blows my mind that we have an entire sub-culture in America that thinks the proper way to raise your children is to start as early as you can to teach them to do the things they're going to need, to get into the best schools, so they can have the best chance of positioning themselves to own the most stuff, at the expense of everyone else. Oh sure, they'll be generous, and open their checkbook when a disaster happens, but they're also being trained from birth not to let "those kinds of people" get to close to you. But it still all boils down to having the best chance of owning the most stuff, and that's why I say we value material good over human life.

Not a single one of us will take a single thing with us when we die, and we wouldn't want to anyway, but still we have built a civilization around owning more and more, bigger and better, stuff. I swear to God I saw a man standing next to his wife on TV, down in Louisiana saying he had lost everything, everything, everything. His wife looked up at him, and said, "We still have each other." He didn't even look at her, but just kind of shrugged, and said something like, yeah, whatever. Unbelievable. This hurricane is the best thing that could have happened to him, and I hope he learns the lesson it came to teach him.


I agree with every word of that - where did you copy that from?


musichick3 - 9/11/2005 at 04:40 PM

Change of attitude is the key, ultimately. People have to stop thinking so greedily and start caring more for the less fortunate, regardless of who's fault it is that they are in their situations...I'm grateful for knowing people who didn't have that attitude toward me and my children, that I didn't deserve any help becuase I made mistakes along the way. It was impossible to make ends meet on my income at times, and I was full of despair because I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know I couldn't have done it without the unselfishness of others. Not everyone has family/friends who can help them out of desparation and destitution. When kids grow up this way all their lives, they can't automatically see any other way of living.
I worked with ghetto kids who were in trouble in California years ago, and the concept of being able to live in a nice home with a car, a job and happy home life was so foreign to them. It wasn't their fault and even when they were taken out of the environment and placed into decent neighborhood foster homes, they still didn't think it would ever apply to them to have that lifestlye.



musichick3 - 9/11/2005 at 04:46 PM

That scenario of the man with his wife, etc....hits the nail on the head. I bet most people here have never had to start over compeltely from scratch, with just the clothes on their backs. It's so easy for us to judge others when we have never had to be in their situation. Allen is correct, competition, for some reason, is believed to be the backbone of our capitalist society, which it is, but apparently it's not working when we have so many poor people living in squalar while the rich keep getting richer. And why do the rich keep getting richer? Becuase they take advantage of the poor, that's why. It's all about who can push who out of their way to reach the pinnacle of wealth. That's sad.... I hear people go on and on about drive, ambition, competition...but for what? In the end, what is that going to earn you when you die?


gotdrumz - 9/11/2005 at 04:46 PM

Hey Allen:

Check it out, I am no better than anyone else. Never have been never will. What other people think doesn't really amount to anythng if you have a certain mentality about yourself. If someone doesn't wanna put forth an effort to change themselves, program or whatever, then they don't need worry about the "consciencious" of society as a whole regarding them. They made a choice and will have to live by the consequences thereof.

As to Jesus... I chose this path after witnessing the change in peoples lives from what they were before to the way they were then and are now. My fear of God is in reverence and not in the way you stated about retribution. I am not a religious person by any means, I have a personal relationship with Christ. Man has corrupted even that by labeling everything with denominations and putting thier own spin on His Word, making it all more complex than it ever was meant to be. You believe what you like, live by that choice, and be accountable for that decision like we all must do. Not gonna be bothered
debating with you about something that can't be changed. Our beliefs and the things one will submit to.

Laters
Brother James


SantaCruzBluz - 9/11/2005 at 04:50 PM

quote:


I agree with every word of that - where did you copy that from?


Out trolling again, ct? I already told you, some people actually think for thmeselves, and then they are able to write down what they think. I suggested you try it, but apparently you'd rather repeat a line that wasn't funny or clever the first time you used it. Did you just cut-and-paste from the first time you used this reply?


BillyBlastoff - 9/11/2005 at 06:54 PM

37 million live below the poverty level but, a mere 560,000 make a million or more a year. Those 560,000 control the majority of the Nation's wealth. They are also the beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts.

Is anyone on this forum one of the 560,000? Does anyone think they have a chance of joining?


DougMacKenzie - 9/12/2005 at 12:48 AM

quote:
37 million live below the poverty level but, a mere 560,000 make a million or more a year. Those 560,000 control the majority of the Nation's wealth. They are also the beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts.

Is anyone on this forum one of the 560,000? Does anyone think they have a chance of joining?

Personally, I don't care if I join them or not. My wife started out together working for pretty low paying jobs in community mental health for years and years, and though we didn't have much,we liked what we did and were pretty fulfilled in our work. Then we decided to try our hands at business and have worked hard to build our little business. We like where we live, our jobs, and most importantly we have our family. There is really nothing more that we need.


Tau - 9/12/2005 at 02:49 AM

Exactly. Not everyone has the same opportunities, but everyone has opportunities. so how about you Billy? Tell us how you hauled yourself up from the depths. Tell us about how proud you are of yourself for having done so.


BillyBlastoff - 9/12/2005 at 08:09 AM

quote:
Exactly. Not everyone has the same opportunities, but everyone has opportunities. so how about you Billy? Tell us how you hauled yourself up from the depths. Tell us about how proud you are of yourself for having done so.


Financially? I could have done better. I could have done worst. This isn't about me.

I'm not proud of a country that consistently provides welfare to corporations and tax cuts to the rich but won't provide health care for children. I'm not proud of how our system of capitalism is more focused on greed than innovation. I'm troubled that so many of my fellow Americans do not see how our system of capitalism trumps democracy and is wholly incompatible with the myth of American freedom.

The gap between the rich and poor in this country is wider than ever. Individual success stories are great but I'd rather here a story about how people joined together and lifted every American out of poverty.


dutchoneill - 9/12/2005 at 10:48 AM

quote:
quote:
Exactly. Not everyone has the same opportunities, but everyone has opportunities. so how about you Billy? Tell us how you hauled yourself up from the depths. Tell us about how proud you are of yourself for having done so.


Financially? I could have done better. I could have done worst. This isn't about me.

I'm not proud of a country that consistently provides welfare to corporations and tax cuts to the rich but won't provide health care for children. I'm not proud of how our system of capitalism is more focused on greed than innovation. I'm troubled that so many of my fellow Americans do not see how our system of capitalism trumps democracy and is wholly incompatible with the myth of American freedom.

The gap between the rich and poor in this country is wider than ever. Individual success stories are great but I'd rather here a story about how people joined together and lifted every American out of poverty.


While there is a gap between lower earning and the super rich, I suspect a good majority of people fall in between somewhere. From my travels to other countries I can tell you that from what I saw it is either one or the other, very poor or very comfortable. I didn't think we have the extreme gap other countries do.


Tau - 9/12/2005 at 11:21 AM

quote:
Tau, serious question here. Would you say that everybody has the opportunity to raise themselves above the poverty level? How about people born into that situation with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. Or home situations that are so effed up that the child has no role model?


I believe I mention handicaps earlier in the thread. I believe that in most cases, much of the opportunity afforded is helped or thwarted by choices made individually.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/12/2005 at 03:00 PM

quote:


I'm not proud of a country that consistently provides welfare to corporations and tax cuts to the rich but won't provide health care for children. I'm not proud of how our system of capitalism is more focused on greed than innovation. I'm troubled that so many of my fellow Americans do not see how our system of capitalism trumps democracy and is wholly incompatible with the myth of American freedom.

The gap between the rich and poor in this country is wider than ever. Individual success stories are great but I'd rather here a story about how people joined together and lifted every American out of poverty.


This is exactly the way I feel, BB. We call ourselves a country who sticks together, but we are a country of individuals who compete with each other to have what we want, with no regard for those who do without so we've have the things we want. And we say it is because we have more drive, more ambition, more intelligence, and it is really about fear. Fear that I might lose if someone else gains. We're a sick society, socially primitive, while technologically advancing. Those on the religious right claim God's mandate to kill thousands and ignore the poor in their own country. May God have mercy on their empty souls.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 05:46 PM

quote:
Tau, serious question here. Would you say that everybody has the opportunity to raise themselves above the poverty level? How about people born into that situation with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. Or home situations that are so effed up that the child has no role model?


Tau is lucky he was smart enough (obviously, by his ability to read/write/formulate intelligent opinions on things as he has demonstrated here) to get where he's gotten today. Some people just aren't. I wish everyone had the 'wherewithall' to motivate themselves or find some inspiration from a kind soul along the way, or an organization or theraputic program or mentor of some sort, but that's not a common scenairo as we all have witnessed. I would guess for every person who pulls themselves from the depths of desapir and poverty, there are thousands who don't. Just like small business owners, everyone knows how difficult it is to be successful. Hard work and luck are usually involved from what I hear. Sometimes it's not that the people don't work hard enough when their business fails, it's just one of those economic things. If people would stop trying to blame the poor for their plight, we might be able to help uplift everyone. Wouldn't that be much better than complaining about them and blaming them? Crime would go down, people would be less prejudice against each other, anger and violence would be rare instead of commmonplace. It's amazing how other countries who aren't as economically powerful, but who honor everyone as though they are important to their society have less crime problems than we do....why do you think that is? We've got to stop treating the poor like a disease in this country one of these days, or it will prove to be our downfall. It's so ironic that we claim to be a Christian nation while we let people suffer. It's real hard to justify to my friends in other countries. We have so many good people and good things in the US, why can't we see what's right in front of us???

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 05:51 PM


While there is a gap between lower earning and the super rich, I suspect a good majority of people fall in between somewhere. From my travels to other countries I can tell you that from what I saw it is either one or the other, very poor or very comfortable. I didn't think we have the extreme gap other countries do.




I've only been to the UK and Canada and I can tell you, their "poor" don't suffer like ours do. They still maintain a healthy middle class and upper class as well, but they take care of their people and treat them with dignity, even the unemployed of society. They also don't treat the poor with disdain and prejudice like we tend to here. They live in decent environments and are able to afford what they need to survive with DIGNITY and compassion from others. I've seen it first hand so I know what I'm talking about.

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 05:52 PM

quote:
quote:
Tau, serious question here. Would you say that everybody has the opportunity to raise themselves above the poverty level? How about people born into that situation with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. Or home situations that are so effed up that the child has no role model?


I believe I mention handicaps earlier in the thread. I believe that in most cases, much of the opportunity afforded is helped or thwarted by choices made individually.



Tau, are you speaking from experience working with underprivledged people in ghettos or just personal opinion about your personal experience when you were down on your luck?


DougMacKenzie - 9/12/2005 at 05:53 PM

I still think it is up to us as individuals to help those we can in our sphere of influence and in our communities. Waiting for the government, or someone else, to do it is just wishful thinking. And I agree with johnwott about other countries and their standards of living. We do have a "safety net" for poor families and healthcare with medicaid, although there is too large a group that falls between the cracks that I would like to see addressed. I'd still much rather live here than anywhere else and work on improving what we have. And I don't see the way things are, and have been throughout human history, changing dramatically in the future. all the more reason to take it upon ourselves as individuals to do what we can.


Brendan - 9/12/2005 at 06:05 PM

Very well said, Doug.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 06:06 PM

Over the years, children in this country have gained from programs that the Dems have come up with, but as soon as the Republicans take office, many of these programs suffer severe cutbacks.
It's not just about handouts in the form of cash...we're talking about govt funded after school and daycare programs so that adults can afford to work. Free lunch and medical care for ALL children in the US. It was heading in that direction during the Clinton years, but as soon as GW got in, many of the state funds were cut from this program and millions of children were disqualified. Why?? How can anyone justify that?
The pre-k govt programs are great. Free post high school training/college for low-income familiy kids is wonderful too. Free meals for low income kids in schools is another great program. But there needs to be more for the parents of these kids to enable them to get out of the ghettos and impoverished rural areas as well. They need help at home, not just at school. And we need to stop veiwing these people as burdens of our society. They are human beings that need to have their self-worth restored. It'll take a long time but if only a hand full of people make the effort, it'll never happen.


CEEJ - 9/12/2005 at 06:07 PM

Poverty is a social condition that correlates with limitations on ones choices and freedoms in many ways. There are places in the world where poverty is almost non-existent. Sweden is a good example. Just consider why it is that the vast majority of people who remained in New Orleans, despite the dire predictions, were impovershed? Simply put, their options were very limited (i.e. transportation, means of self-support, emotional/psychological capacity to deal with relocation). The fears associated with facing the storm were overcome by the fears of leaving as a consequence of those limitations on their real and perceived options.

Despite such limitations, there are always uplifting examples of people who beat the odds and overcome poverty. Just as I am sure, there were many poor people who did find the means to evacuate New Orleans successfully. But the fact is that the "odds" are against the vast majority of kids growing up in poverty and "making it" in this country. Unfortunately, as good as they sound, none of those feel good, "beat the odds" stories changes that fact. While individual decision making is important, the social constraints that poverty places in an individual's life can far oustrip the power of individual initiative reflective of positive decision making.

Here is an article that provides some international comparison and perspective on poverty:

http://academic.bowdoin.edu/courses/f01/econ211/dissemination/focus_interna tional_context.pdf#search='international%20poverty%20rates'

It's a somewhat dry, stuffy academic paper, but I found it quite helpful in considering some fundamental issues of poverty.

I agree with the sentiment that poverty is our worst enemy and only add that childhood poverty is especially caustic.

Peace.

Erik







[Edited on 9/12/2005 by CEEJ]


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 06:48 PM

I tried to get to that paper you posted Erik, but I couldn't directly link to it. I did poke around on that site for a bit though. I would like to know how the people who blame the individual for their poverty striken circumstances explain how so many employed people still live in poverty? WHat are they supposed to do? And I'd also like to hear their theories on why poverty is so disporportionate among ethnic groups as well. Apparently the theory of equal opportunity for all doesn't apply to everyone, according to experts in the field.

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 06:50 PM

quote:
There are places in the world where poverty is almost non-existent. Sweden is a good example.


You could say the same for Swedish-Americans.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 06:59 PM

Probably becuse they were raised in a postive environment before they came to America, KR. Environmental surroundings, education, mental and physical stability during childhood, and self-esteem are extremely powerfu factors that determine success in later life.
If they are so successful here, that speaks volumes of their homeland if you ask me.

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 07:10 PM

quote:
Probably becuse they were raised in a postive environment before they came to America, KR.


One wonders why the left this "positive environment".

quote:
Environmental surroundings, education, mental and physical stability during childhood, and self-esteem are extremely powerfu factors that determine success in later life.


Agreed.

quote:
If they are so successful here, that speaks volumes of their homeland if you ask me.


Hmmmm...apply that statement to other groups and you could get yourself into a lot of trouble.

But more to the point, Sweden, while certainly a success in nearly every sense of the word, is not without problems. They have a ferocious level of alcoholism; one that would shock even the most ardent fratboy. And there is certainly poverty there although it does not quite compare to what we saw in New Orleans.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 07:12 PM

Some people just want to come here becuase they want to roam, some because of family, or specific educational or career opportunities. Not everyone comes to escape their homeland.
I bet the Swedes take better care of their poor than we do, which says alot about how each of us value our citizens.

I have a feeling that an impoverished person in Sweden would not be accepted by our INS dept at this time. You have to have a sponsor (private family member, spouse, or, educational sponsor or employer in the US) to get into the US. If you have no job, no family or no money to get here, you won't be granted a Visa. That's why we have so many illegals.

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]

[Edited on 9/12/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 07:25 PM

quote:
I bet the Swedes take better care of their poor than we do, which says alot about how each of us value our citizens.


Well I have not done a compare/contrast as you apparently have with your "bet".

The Sweden I visited had large groups of friendly and attractive blond peoples contrasted with lesser yet significant groups of very drunk and sad peoples sitting around a piles of empties in the middle of the day as well as dark skinned peoples living a life of de facto segregation in buildings that we call "projects".

quote:
I have a feeling that an impoverished person in Sweden would be accepted by our INS dept at this time. You have to have a sponsor (private family member, spouse, or, educational sponsor or employer in the US) to get into the US. If you have no job, no family or no money to get here, you won't be granted a Visa. That's why we have so many illegals.


Swedish immigration policy, like most of Europe, is very, very restrictive. American policy, in direct contrast to your very spurious claim, is based on quotas. These quotas, since 1965, tend to be skewed in favor of the third world.

Both Sweden and the USA, as is typical of prosperous countries, have sizable amounts of illegals.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 08:14 PM

Read the current Visa regulations if you don't belive me. You can find it here.....http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/imm_visas.htm

Asylum/refugee status is another story, but I doubt that would apply to most countries of origin in Europe, aka: Sweden


CEEJ - 9/12/2005 at 08:19 PM

quote:
I tried to get to that paper you posted Erik, but I couldn't directly link to it.


Sue -

Sorry about that. I used the quotation button, instead of the url button to create the link. Clearly that doesn't work. Anyway, I went back and edited it so it should work now.

Peace.

Erik






[Edited on 9/12/2005 by CEEJ]


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 08:22 PM

quote:
Read the current Visa regulations


A casual look at New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Honolulu, and most other parts of the country shows them to be pretty generous. Most of the country is not like your beloved rural hamlet, Ms Chick. America has always been the most multiracial and multiethnic despite what you might see outside your door.

Why don't you tell me why Sweden does not take more immigrants. You can start with those Cubans who exceed the yearly 15000 and do not touch land when they flee.


CEEJ - 9/12/2005 at 08:35 PM

I don't believe that Sweden was meant to be the topic of discussion here. However, clearly Sweden is not perfect and has its share of social problems, as KR points out. However, the Scandinavian Countries, in general, have social/cultural norms that support social policy which helps minimize poverty and unequal income distribution.

Peace.

Erik


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 08:41 PM

quote:
However, the Scandinavian Countries, in general, have social/cultural norms that support social policy which helps minimize poverty and unequal income distribution


Yes you are quite correct. They have a much higher level of income redistrubtion via high income and consumption taxation than we do. No argument there.

The key factor, however, is that nearly everyone in Sweden (and the other Scandinavian countries) agrees with this and is completely dedicated to it. In other words, they have a culture of consensus that we do not have, let alone other European nations. That was the origin of my remark regarding Swedish-Americans which actually was a paraphrase of a conversation between Eisenhower and the Swedish PM of that time.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 08:42 PM

Right. I didn't want to get into a Sweden VS US immigration policy pissing contest here. I was simply responding to your claim that Swedish-Americans seem to be highly successful by saying their country values it's citizens by having an extremely low poverty rate, as noted in the paper CEEJ posted. Take a look. Also, cities in America have no say-so over who the US govt let's into this country or not. It's all through Homeland Security and they are very particular about who qualifies, depending on who is willing to take care of them once they get here. The sponsor has to make above poverty level income in order for the immigrant to be granted a Visa to become a permanent resident. Take a look, it's all there in the link I sent.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 08:46 PM

My UK friends also seem to be of the mindset that it's their responsibility to take care of their unemployed and/or poor as well. They don't seem to hold the same disdain for those less fortunate. The working people get paid enough to stay above poverty level without having to work 2 or 3 jobs too. Canada is the same from what I understand.
Why is it ok for us to have such horribly poor people living in our society when we clearly have a better economic situation and higher standard of living?


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 08:47 PM

quote:
The sponsor has to make above poverty level income in order for the immigrant to be granted a Visa to become a permanent resident.


Imagine that. What a deranged group of brutes we are, insisting that people actually have a few bucks before they come here to live. What a tragedy.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 08:50 PM

I'm not arguing with that policy. I have no problem with it at all. I'm just saying our doors are not as swung open wide to the masses as our govt would have us think, to all the poor and downtrodden in the world who wish to come to where the streets are paved with gold. I can't understand why our govt allows our own people to suffer unmercifully though while claiming to be the grandest, most generous, compassionate country in the universe.


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 08:51 PM

quote:
They don't seem to hold the same disdain for those less fortunate. The working people get paid enough to stay above poverty level without having to work 2 or 3 jobs too.


What are you talking about? The UK has some pretty scary slums. As we speak, there are ethnic riots in Ulster taking place due to marching season. By some counts, London has more crime than New York. Their welfare benefits may well be marginally better than ours, but that no more solves poverty than our programs do.


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 08:56 PM

quote:
I'm just saying our doors are not as swung open wide to the masses as our govt would have us think, to all the poor and downtrodden in the world who wish to come to where the streets are paved with gold.


Be realistic. No country can take every single person that would want to enter. Were that true, I would be tending bar on a little stretch of the Adriatic coast in Italy that I happen to love.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 09:05 PM

how many people do you know living in the UK that you are such an authority of their situation?


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 09:09 PM

quote:
how many people do you know living in the UK that you are such an authority of their situation?


I know a good many people in the UK and I have visited the country 5 times in my life. One I brought to the Beacon two years ago.

Does that make me an expert? Probably not. But it does not take an expert to see that there is poverty in the UK. How could there not be? Take a walk through Newcastle, Leeds, Belfast, Liverpool, or numerous areas of London if you do not believe me.


DougMacKenzie - 9/12/2005 at 09:12 PM

Which country is it where poverty does not exist?


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 09:14 PM

quote:
Which country is it where poverty does not exist?


Some of the pundits here seem to think all except ours.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 09:16 PM

quote:

By some counts, London has more crime than New York. Their welfare benefits may well be marginally better than ours, but that no more solves poverty than our programs do.


How do you figure that the crime rates in London are worse than NYC? Maybe pickpocketing, or namecalling, but not violence.


musichick3 - 9/12/2005 at 09:23 PM

quote:
quote:
Which country is it where poverty does not exist?


Some of the pundits here seem to think all except ours.


Ours in disproportionately higher than many others, though....but I gather by this thread that many people in the US don't have any problem with that and blame the poor for their demise. Pathetic.


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 09:27 PM

quote:
How do you figure that the crime rates in London are worse than NYC? Maybe pickpocketing, or namecalling, but not violence.


I have not figured anything but stats have revealed exactly that.

Now, you you do allude to a fair point regarding violence. There is lots of crime in the UK but it rarely involves the high level of firearm usage seen in America. A mugger there is much more likely to rely on a knife which is of course less lethal than a gun.

If you want to spin some myth about a poverty free nation, you are better off using Sweden than the UK, MC3.


DougMacKenzie - 9/12/2005 at 09:29 PM

quote:
quote:
quote:
Which country is it where poverty does not exist?


Some of the pundits here seem to think all except ours.


Ours in disproportionately higher than many others, though....but I gather by this thread that many people in the US don't have any problem with that and blame the poor for their demise. Pathetic.

Well, I don't blame the poor for their demise, at least in the cases where it is not a result of bad choices, which I believe to be a fairly small percentage, though I have no data to back that up. But how many others are we disproprtionately higher than? I know someone here probably has that info, and I'd be curious to know where we rank in that area, using the same criteria to establish where that poverty line is.


KnownRider - 9/12/2005 at 09:30 PM

quote:
but I gather by this thread that many people in the US don't have any problem with that and blame the poor for their demise. Pathetic.


I do not recall saying anything about who is to blame. And I certainly did not say I had no problem with it. I merely disputed some of your nonsense.

Poverty is a very expansive subject with lots of theories explaining it. If we knew for sure what caused it, we would not be having this discussion.


CEEJ - 9/12/2005 at 09:40 PM

quote:
quote:
Which country is it where poverty does not exist?


Some of the pundits here seem to think all except ours.


Doug, I don't understand why you asked that question, since NO ONE said or implied that there is a country "where poverty does not exist". Nor do I understand KR's response referencing "pundits" and that ridiculous concluding statement. However, both Doug's question and KR's response sound just a little snide and insincere, which is too bad. I hope I am misreading the whole thing.

Anyway, to respond to the question, no one made a claim that poverty does not exist in any other nations. However, the rates in some other nations are far lower than the US. Furthermore, despite the constant reminders that people need to be "self sufficient" and work their way out of poverty, the US seems to have a special fondness for maintaining working people in conditions of poverty. At the same time, the inequities between "those with the most" and "those with little, to nothing" continue to grow as a result of social and economic policy conditions. A very few are really making out very well, in this time in history, at the expense of a great many.

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/12/2005 by CEEJ]


CEEJ - 9/12/2005 at 10:15 PM

quote:
But how many others are we disproprtionately higher than? I know someone here probably has that info, and I'd be curious to know where we rank in that area, using the same criteria to establish where that poverty line is.
I posted a link with that information in my initial response to this thread. It is 1995 data:

Top three
Australia - 17.6 % poverty rate
UK - 15.7%
US - 13.6%

Low three
Sweden - 6.3%
Finland - 4.8%
Norway - 4.3%

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/12/2005 by CEEJ]


DerekFromCincinnati - 9/12/2005 at 11:20 PM

quote:
I posted a link with that information in my initial response to this thread. It is 1995 data:

Top three
Australia - 17.6 % poverty rate
UK - 15.7%
US - 13.6%

Low three
Sweden - 6.3%
Finland - 4.8%
Norway - 4.3%




To compare poverty the rates of the US, UK, and Australia with three Scandinavian countries is ridiculous. A lot of it has to do with immigration, both legal and illegal. I would love to see those three countries take on the numbers of immigrants that the US, UK< and Australia do and see what their poverty rates do. Even in the "Poverty Persistence In Sweden" study written by Jörgen Hansen and Roger Wahlberg that came out of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, UK, it is immigration that affects their number as well,

quote:
http://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/4539.html#provider

This Paper analyses the persistence of poverty in Sweden using a hazard rate model based on multiple spells. The model also accounts for unobserved heterogeneity and possibly endogenous initial conditions. We estimate the model on a large representative Swedish panel dataset, LINDA, for the years 1991-2001. The data contains precise information on household disposable income obtained from individual tax files. Poverty is defined using information on annual minimum needs standards determined by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. The data indicates that poverty rates are highest for immigrants, especially refugee immigrants, and for households with children. Further, poverty rates declined, both for natives and for immigrants, between 1991 and 2001, partly as a result of improved labour market conditions. The empirical results suggest that there is significant negative duration dependence in both exit and entry hazard rates. Moreover, the transition rates are significantly affected by immigrant status, educational attainment, labour market conditions, age, and family status. Accounting for multiple spells shows that for two-parent families with two children who are represented by a male person, 44% of native households that fall into poverty at any given point in time remain poor in five or more out of the next ten years. For refugee and non-refugee households, the figures are 62% and 50%, respectively.


It is the same as comparing Alaska to the mainland, as that state has, at times, begged for workers, but because of the cold environment they don'y show up. Alaska isn't exactly being over-run by illegal immigration. The same with these Scandinavian nations. Let Sweden, Finland, and Norway take on the per capita yearly legal and illegal immigration that the US, UK, and Australia have and we'll see what they end up with.




BillyBlastoff - 9/13/2005 at 12:05 AM

Am I to understand that poverty in the US is acceptable is the levels of poverty are lower than poverty levels in other countries?

Am I to infer that the greatest country in the world's goals should only inch out the next nearest country's goals?


DougMacKenzie - 9/13/2005 at 12:13 AM

Hey CEEJ, thanks for the info. I must've missed it earlier. And I really wasn't trying to be snide or insincere by my earlier remark, but will admit it was a poor post of no value. I think we can all agree that in any capitalistic society, with America leading the way, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and that has been borne out over time as evidenced by our shrinking middle class and the ever widening gap between the richest and poorest Americans. There is still room in the middle, but not as much as there once was and it shrinks all the time. I don't think we can just blame the government, it is our whole system and way of life. It's the very thing that has made us so powerful and given us, on the whole, our incredible standard of living. It has it's dark underside. I don't know how one changes that whole system of living and veiwing life and the world, since those that do have so much more than what they need are not likely to give it up. The conclusion I have come to is to do the best I can and help those I come in contact with when I can. I'm open to suggestions.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 12:29 AM

quote:
quote:
How do you figure that the crime rates in London are worse than NYC? Maybe pickpocketing, or namecalling, but not violence.


I have not figured anything but stats have revealed exactly that.

Now, you you do allude to a fair point regarding violence. There is lots of crime in the UK but it rarely involves the high level of firearm usage seen in America. A mugger there is much more likely to rely on a knife which is of course less lethal than a gun.

If you want to spin some myth about a poverty free nation, you are better off using Sweden than the UK, MC3.



Ok, where are these stats? I'd like to see this since it seems quite unimaginable to me. I was totally comfortable walking around in London, riding the tube after dark, etc. But I'd never go to certain areas of NYC anytime of day or night.

I never said UK was poverty free...on the contrary, they are just under us, BUT the difference is that their poor don't live in such dire circumstances as ours do. I know several unemployed people there and they certainly don't live in slums or have to do without a whole lot. They also can go to the doctor when they're sick or just need a check up. Their housing is supplied in addition to their monthly income, and they don't have to scrounge around in garbage bins for food. THe one's with children dont' have to worry about raising their kids in dangerous areas either.
THese people I know don't understand how we can allow our citizens to live in squalor when we have so much excess.


BillyBlastoff - 9/13/2005 at 07:11 AM

quote:
I don't think we can just blame the government, it is our whole system and way of life. It's the very thing that has made us so powerful and given us, on the whole, our incredible standard of living. It has it's dark underside. I don't know how one changes that whole system of living and veiwing life and the world, since those that do have so much more than what they need are not likely to give it up. The conclusion I have come to is to do the best I can and help those I come in contact with when I can. I'm open to suggestions.


I say start with taxes. The rich are paying far less in terms of the total cost of government. The rich gain the most as well due to out of control corporate welfare and bail outs to repair damage to the system done by greedy individuals who are apparently above the law. (Thinks S&L bailout, ENRON, BCCS, etc) I also think that any corporation who keeps money off shore to avoid paying taxes should not be allowed to bid on any government contract and should certainly NEVER be given no-bid contracts.

Our military spending needs to reviewed and the waste needs to stop. Our military budget dwarfs the rest of the world's military spending. There have been opportunities to cut back since the ending of the Vietnam War but both Democrats and Republicans have consistently increased spending. The reality is the military industrial complex is lousy with graft and corruption. Those that make the profits have no integrity. They profit from murdering poor people, why would they feel bad about padding costs and skimming off the top? Cronyism and nepotism are the order of the day. "Retired" Generals, Politicians, and former high level bureaucrats now work as lobbyists and salesmen for the corporations that sell the agents of death to the Pentagon.

Many people are afraid to cut back our military budget. Face it, all that spending could not stop commercial aircraft from attacking America. They spend the money on weapons systems that are obsolete before they come on line. Our military spending is buggery of the people of the United States. Much of that money could be spent rebuilding our infrastructure. "Troops" could be trained and provided the skills needed to rebuild the country and they would take those skills back home once their stint was up.

Education in America needs a total overhaul. The reality of the "No Child Left a Dime" program is that the kind of learning needed to pass those tests does not teach a child how to "critically think". Unfortunately the Government would like a population of morons taught to always give the "right" answer and never question Big Brother.

The greedy capitalist pigs that run this country will never willingly provide the poor the opportunity to better themselves. It is their greed that will force change. The exposure of the poor that we are seeing right now will force people to take a harder look at the inequity. Many Americans are a natural catastrophe away from being poverty stricken. The politicians that promise security will soon find that people have a broader definition of the word.

Who am I kidding? It is only middle class America that can demand change. Who among us will do that?


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 01:09 PM

quote:
I hope I am misreading the whole thing.


You are. It is called irony.

quote:
Ok, where are these stats? I'd like to see this since it seems quite unimaginable to me. I was totally comfortable walking around in London, riding the tube after dark, etc. But I'd never go to certain areas of NYC anytime of day or night.


Think about what you are saying. There are rough sections of both cities. London is bigger than New York. Is it not fathomable to you that as a tourist, you simply restricted yourself to safe areas? And would you not do the same in New York? As we all would.


quote:
I never said UK was poverty free...on the contrary, they are just under us, BUT the difference is that their poor don't live in such dire circumstances as ours do.


Their poor deal with unemployment, shoddy housing, drug abuse, violence, etc. So do ours.

quote:
I know several unemployed people there and they certainly don't live in slums or have to do without a whole lot.


I know unemployed people here who do not live in the slums. Where is the relevance? Unemployment is most often a temporary situation, not a life defining state of morass.

quote:
They also can go to the doctor when they're sick or just need a check up.


Yes, that is true. But do we not have something called Medicaid? Or is it Medicare?

quote:
Their housing is supplied in addition to their monthly income, and they don't have to scrounge around in garbage bins for food.


Housing supplied? Council houses which we call projects. Same thing, different word. And there are plenty of homeless scrounging in trash cans over there.

quote:
THe one's with children dont' have to worry about raising their kids in dangerous areas either.


That is simply not true.

quote:
THese people I know don't understand how we can allow our citizens to live in squalor when we have so much excess.


Probably because they are doing much the same although I do not see where we or the Brits are "allowing" anything.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 01:14 PM

Here is a start MC3:

London Crime Soars, Pushing Up Taxes as Blair Prepares Campaign

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Harriet Sergeant first complained to the police about rising crime in her north London neighborhood. Then she joined 24 neighbors in hiring a security guard, adding 1,000 pounds ($1,911) a year to her cost of living in the world's second-most-expensive city.

Sergeant, 50, a historian, says it's worth paying. ``When we called the police they just weren't interested, so we decided we had to do something to make the area feel safer,'' she says.

Muggings and assaults in London surged 37 percent in the year through March 2004, according to the government-sponsored British Crime Survey. A man was beheaded in north London on March 14 by an axe-wielding assailant who was later arrested. U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is campaigning for re-election on promises to increase anti-crime spending; London's city tax has soared 69 percent since 2001, partly to pay for more police.

``The police cannot target crime, they are too busy trying to solve incidents that have already happened,'' says Norman Dennis, a lecturer in psychology at Newcastle University and author of ``Cultures and Crimes: Policing in Four Nations.'' ``The situation is getting out of control.''

Law enforcement strategy has become an election issue for Blair's government, which provides the majority of funding for the U.K.'s police forces. Ken Livingstone, London's mayor, has escaped public criticism for rising crime and says he will keep increasing London city property-based taxes to supplement national funds for the police.

Election Issue

Andrew Cooper, a director at Populus, a polling company, says polls show city residents hold Blair, not Livingstone, responsible for the rise in violent crime. ``Londoners feel crime as a big problem, but regard it as a spillover of a national issue,'' says Cooper. ``They do not see it as a problem unique to London demanding a London solution.''

Crime was cited as the most important election issue by 45 percent of voters surveyed by Populus for the London-based Times newspaper, ranking it second behind the country's National Health Service. Populus questioned 1,518 adults on Feb. 4-6. The company says the margin of error for the question on crime is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

The number of incidents of violence per 10,000 adults rose to 772 from 565 in London in the year ended March 2004, according to the crime survey. The annual poll questions more than 40,000 randomly selected people about their experiences of crime, including incidents they haven't reported to the police.

`Out of Sight Is Safer'

The police have responded to the rise in drug-related crimes and street muggings with a poster campaign advising Londoners to hide their cash and refrain from using mobile phones in public. The posters, placed on the street and in the London subway, carry the rubric ``Out of Sight Is Safer.''

Brian Paddick, 46, deputy assistant commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, said in an interview that the posters were part of a wider effort to raise awareness of crime and help residents avoid becoming victims of street theft.

Blair has already faced criticism in Parliament.

``It is true that recorded violent crime is up, but overall, crime is down since we came to power,'' Blair said during Prime Minister's Questions on July 21. Crime levels across the U.K. as a whole have fallen by 30 percent as measured by the British Crime Survey since Labour came to power in 1997.

During a one-day tour of five U.K. towns last month, Blair said that increased funding for ``safer communities'' was one of the six main pledges the Labour Party will offer voters for a possible third term in office. Blair must call the next general election by mid-2006, and members of his party, including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, indicate the poll probably will be held in May of this year.

Police Funding

More than three-quarters of London's 2.7 billion-pound police budget for the fiscal year beginning in April is provided by the national government. The budget is up 6.4 percent from the previous period. London taxpayers contribute an additional 196 million pounds through one of the two levies that homeowners pay each year.

Livingstone says the city will increase the number of police officers from 30,500 now to 35,000 by 2008 -- and says Londoners should expect to pay more in taxes over his four-year mayoral term ending in 2008 to fund that move.

Employing the extra 4,500 officers will cost more than 100 million pounds each year in salary alone, according to figures from the Metropolitan Police.

No Response

Ed Budden, a commercial-property manager for U.K. bookmaker Coral Ltd., is a recent crime statistic in the London borough of Hackney. Last November, he was mugged twice in six weeks while standing at the bus stop near his apartment, he says. Violent crime rose 3.4 percent in Hackney in 2004, according to police figures.

The first time his assailants snatched his grocery bag and on the second occasion he was beaten by three men who took his cell phone and wallet. Budden, 28, says the police, whom he called both times, recorded only the second incident. When asked to respond, Paddick of the metropolitan force says the police give priority to crimes that are serious or they have a good chance of solving.

``Hiring a guard is great for those that can afford it, but for most people London is already expensive enough,'' says Budden. ``The rest of us need to see more police on the streets. That's why we pay council tax, isn't it?''

This year, Londoners will pay 5.5 percent more in their Greater London Authority property-based tax bill, to an average 255 pounds, according to Livingstone's office. The GLA tax was established in 2001 to support the new office of mayor and the city's elected assembly. That levy is in addition to the council tax set by the city's 33 boroughs, which is tied to property values. This year it averages 908 pounds, the highest rate per dwelling in the U.K.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in London ranks behind only Tokyo, according to an annual survey released by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which tracks property prices and the cost of basic daily goods such as a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

Livingstone says the increase in police numbers is a move to adopt New York's ``zero-tolerance'' strategy of the 1990s, in which even small infractions were prosecuted as a wide-ranging effort to secure neighborhoods and to jail habitual criminals.

``We have got to get a debate started about bringing zero- tolerance policing to London,'' Livingstone says. ``Tackling the small things that make our lives unacceptable is the best way to break the pattern of crime.''

Livingstone was an opponent of Blair's decision to send U.K. troops to the 2003 Iraq war. A former Labour member of parliament, he was elected mayor as an independent in 2000. He returned to the party last year with Blair's support.

Beat Officers

Ian Blair, the new chief of London's Metropolitan Police, blames a decline in visible policing for the increase in street crime.

Taking officers off the beat ``was a mistake,'' Blair said at a Jan. 14 conference on crime reduction. ``Now we have re-found the idea of the patrolling policeman and are going to use this to get rid of anti-social behavior and make Londoners feel safer.'' He is not related to Prime Minister Blair. The police declined to provide details of past shifts from street police to squad work.

Policing policy in London is complicated by controversy over the way crime levels are calculated. The ``violent crime'' category in the annual government survey of the public includes assaults and muggings but doesn't count murders, rapes, drug arrests or violence against children. Those crimes are recorded by the police as they are reported.

Street Assaults

Newcastle University's Dennis says many crimes, such as sexual assaults and thefts, are never reported, undermining the police figures. ``The way crime is recorded in Britain makes it impossible to tell the true severity of the situation,'' he says.

He also questions whether London will ever have enough police on the street to match New York's crime-fighting capability. New York has one cop for every 202 residents; in London each police officer must guard 236 people.

New York, with a population of 8.1 million, compared with London's 7.2 million, employs 10,000 more police officers than the U.K. capital.

New York has a higher murder rate, though Londoners are more likely to be robbed on the street. In 2003, New York reported 572 murders, compared with 215 for London, according to official police figures from each city. That same year, there were 42,008 robberies in London, compared with 24,105 in New York.

Auxiliary Force

Livingstone has dedicated part of the new funds for 480 additional community-support officers, who patrol the streets yet don't have the power of arrest. While a London police officer can expect to earn 28,388 pounds a year at the start of his career, a support officer receives a maximum of 20,652 pounds. Both wages include a London cost-of-living allowance.

In a London speech on March 9, Prime Minister Blair unveiled a 340-million-pound nationwide neighborhood policing plan and defended the deployment of the auxiliary force, known by their acronym of CSOs.

``CSOs are, I think, a great support in the same way teachers have teaching assistants,'' Blair said, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

Eli Silverman, a sociology professor at New York-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says an auxiliary force of 1,800 can't do the job of fully trained police officers.

``They are additional eyes and ears, which is good, but I don't think they're really going to reduce crime,'' says Silverman, who has met with British law-enforcement officials to discuss New York's crime-fighting measures.

`A Deterrent'

Sergeant, author of the 1991 book ``Shanghai: Collision Point of Cultures 1918-1939,'' says residents of her street in the neighborhood of Little Venice couldn't wait for community support officers. Seven times a week, a guard from security firm 1st Class Protection patrols the street for eight hours, and escorts residents from their cars to their houses after dark.

Steve Sherwood, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, declined to comment on crime levels in the area patrolled by the protection officer. Official figures show violent crime rose 23 percent in 2004 in the borough of Westminster, which includes Sergeant's neighborhood.

``People mainly employ us as a deterrent,'' says Yoad Perets, 32, 1st Class Protection's operational manager. Perets says his firm has been hired to patrol nine more London neighborhoods in the past year, adding to the three it already guarded.



To contact the reporter on this story:
Claire Shoesmith in London at cshoesmith@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: March 15, 2005 19:07 EST


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 01:20 PM

London crime SOS to New York

Londoners are now six times as likely to be robbed or assaulted as New Yorkers, while the rise in Yardie gang crime has been blamed for a spate of gun battles in broad daylight on the capital's streets - the most recent on Friday morning ended with the body of a man being dumped in a bullet-ridden car ouside a police station.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4353346-102279,00.html




CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 01:57 PM

quote:
I hope I am misreading the whole thing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----



You are. It is called irony.


Real irony deals in extreme concepts of truth. The suggestion that some one claimed that there is any country without poverty, or that all countries with the exception of the US, are without poverty, are both ridiculous. It is not ironic, it is a clear, simplistic misrepresentation of the discussion.

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]


Brendan - 9/13/2005 at 02:06 PM

quote:
Unfortunately the Government would like a population of morons taught to always give the "right" answer and never question Big Brother.


You live in a scary world. I'm glad I don't live there.

quote:
It is only middle class America that can demand change. Who among us will do that?

I think Doug has the right idea when he says:
quote:
The conclusion I have come to is to do the best I can and help those I come in contact with when I can.

We can't force a wholesale change of thought on our entire population. It takes all of us to try to influence those with whom we come in contact.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 02:07 PM

quote:
It is not ironic, it is a clear, simplistic misrepresentation of the discussion.


Well I cannot help it if that is the way you are reading it. Since we both agree that every nation has some level of poverty, I suggest we move on. There is poverty and it must be solved by sensitive and timely solutions rather than an endless paradoxical loop of semantical statements.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 02:21 PM

Since KR is an authority on how awful it is to live in the UK, I'll refrain now from attempting to express my own personal observations or opinions resulting from thorough discussions on this partiuclar subject with friends I have living in the UK, or ones who have lived there and now reside in the US. Dumb me, I figured these folks might know a bit more about the subject than us Americans who've only visited and read news reports, but I guess I'm a complete moron for thinking this way. lolol
Although these people probably know what their own situation is better than he does, it's apparent he will not relent in correcting me at all turns. lolol Ok, dude, you win, I give up lolol
It's difficult to have a civil conversation with you KR.

I am aware of how people in other countries percieve the US, though and to be honest, I'm rather ashamed of it. I would hope that this horrible tragedy will wake us up from our denial and we will begin to take better care of our own people with more compassion and less blame put upon them from those of us who are fortunate to have more than we need.

I may not have the answers but at least I have the right attitude, which is more than alot of people around here.

I think Billy is right on with his observations. And CEEJ is right...irony is different than false statements that were obviously made in this thread.

[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 02:33 PM

quote:
It's difficult to have a civil conversation with you KR.


Because you fill your posts with falsehoods and insults and then cry foul when someone else calls you on it. You demand evidence and then when it is given, you do an exemplary job of ignoring it.

If you want civility, try practicing it yourself. If you start a thread such as this, and it had the potential to be a great one, do not express shock that someone <gasp> disagrees with you.

Finally, try to understand that the view of a few people you happen to know in the UK is evidence of nothing. The United Kingdom, like most places, is a complex country full of different perspectives, experiences, and realities.

Cheers.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 02:36 PM

I changed my post for ya there, KR lolol


CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 02:38 PM

quote:
Hey CEEJ, thanks for the info. I must've missed it earlier. And I really wasn't trying to be snide or insincere by my earlier remark, but will admit it was a poor post of no value.
No problem. Thanks for explaining that.
quote:
I think we can all agree that in any capitalistic society, with America leading the way, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and that has been borne out over time as evidenced by our shrinking middle class and the ever widening gap between the richest and poorest Americans.
Absolutely, and social and economic policy set by the government has a siginificant impact on it.
quote:
There is still room in the middle, but not as much as there once was and it shrinks all the time.
I agree, and I see this a major problem, but apparently many do not, since they continue to vote for individuals who support polices that exacerbate the situation.
quote:
I don't think we can just blame the government, it is our whole system and way of life.
The government is the mechanism we have to balance societal power and interests. The government is reflective of our will, so of course we cannot just blame government... after all, we are government.
quote:
It's the very thing that has made us so powerful and given us, on the whole, our incredible standard of living.
It has made some powerful and an given some an incredible standard of living.
quote:
It has it's dark underside.
We allow for it to have a dark underside.
quote:
I don't know how one changes that whole system of living and viewing life and the world, since those that do have so much more than what they need are not likely to give it up.
It was not so long ago we a had a more powerful, thriving middle class. Economic, social and tax policy changes have helped erode tht middle class. New policies/changes can help stem that trend.
quote:
The conclusion I have come to is to do the best I can and help those I come in contact with when I can. I'm open to suggestions.
Agreed and well put. But individual initiative can be multiplied exponentially through organization, whether private (corporate & non-profit) or public (government) in nature.

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 02:55 PM

quote:
quote:
It's difficult to have a civil conversation with you KR.


Because you fill your posts with falsehoods and insults and then cry foul when someone else calls you on it. You demand evidence and then when it is given, you do an exemplary job of ignoring it.

If you want civility, try practicing it yourself. If you start a thread such as this, and it had the potential to be a great one, do not express shock that someone <gasp> disagrees with you.

Finally, try to understand that the view of a few people you happen to know in the UK is evidence of nothing. The United Kingdom, like most places, is a complex country full of different perspectives, experiences, and realities.

Cheers.


I don't recall insulting anyone in this thread KR.....you have though. I saw your "evidence" but until you posted it, you didn't show any for me to ignore. That's why I asked you to do so.

Maybe you should also heed your own advice above as well, KR. The UK is complex and there are bound to be different experiences, perspectives and realities. That can go both ways.

As far as falsehoods...I'm ready for you to expose me to the forum...go ahead, what have I said that is completely false? Most of what I have said is what I've been told or what I've read and it's my opinion. You can call me dumb or misunderstood, but I assure you, I'm not making any of this up.


I still for the life of me don't understand why you continue to attack and insult me with such vengence when you get a chance on these forum discussions. Usually I avoid adressing you till you say something provocative, directed at me. It's like you bait me and then wait to pounce as soon as I respond. What's your beef with me anyway? I'd really like to know what it is about me that sets you off on such vile tangents anyway.


[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]

[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 02:58 PM

quote:
I'm ready for you to expose me to the forum...go ahead, what have I said that is completely false?


You said that I said the UK was an awful place to live. That is quite untrue. All I said was that it had its own problems with poverty. Furthermore, I love the UK. Great place.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:02 PM

Before that, I mean...you speak as though most of my posts on this thread (yea, let's just stick to this one, despite the fact that you say that I "fill my posts with falsehoods and insults", indicating that I tend to do this regularly). What do you mean by that? I think I'm owed an explanation with some examples if you're going to accuse me of such things.



musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:09 PM

BTW, council houses are nothing like our slums. Most UK citizens live in them all over the country.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:13 PM

quote:
Before that, I mean


You depict the UK as a place that cares more. In reality, the UK has marginally more generous social benefits i.e. they give the poor a bit more money (it is a more expensive nation to live in). The fact is the UK is like anywhere else in that it has a wide array of viewpoints and reactions.

Also saying that we "blame the poor for their demise" is a blatant falsehood. I have not said anything of the sort. You do a very good job of putting words in peoples' mouths.

Finally, basing you analysis of one nation's poverty from what a few people have said to you is biased, unscholarly, sloppy, and quite possibly a sheer falsehood.

But I am sure you mean well.


CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 03:14 PM

quote:
Well I cannot help it if that is the way you are reading it.
Please don't attempt to shift the blame for your thoughtless post on to me. Doug wrote, "Which country is it that poverty does not exist?" implying that someone involved in our discussion had said there was a country where poverty does not exist. You replied, "Some of the pundits here seem to think all except ours."

If I am reading this incorrectly, what am I misunderstanding? Are you saying the implied message of Doug's statement, or your statement are truthful? If so, I would really like to see where anyone implied or said such things because I am missing it. I'm sorry if you might view this exchange as "an endless paradoxical loop of semantical statements". You might very well ignore it, also, which is fine. In my experience, one's actions speak louder than words anyway. Thanks.

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:17 PM

quote:
BTW, council houses are nothing like our slums. Most UK citizens live in them all over the country.


Some council houses, like some American projects, are semi decent or decent places to live. Others are hellholes.

Now if you are saying that none of theirs quite compare to let's say the Robert-Taylor (Chicago) or the Redhook Houses (Brooklyn), you would be correct.

You should check out the German variation (Wohnblocks) in Eastern Berlin and other places.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:18 PM

quote:
If I am reading this incorrectly, what am I misunderstanding?


You misunderstood the irony and the humor. Now you are making a big thing out of nothing. Get over it already.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:26 PM

Arrogance is my pet peeve...can ya tell? lolol

Why is it that the people you've apparently spoken to are right, but the one's I have are apparently wrong, making me, in your opinion "biased, unscholarly, sloppy, and quite possibly (guilty of making a) a sheer falsehood? You sure are arrogant to assume that not only myself, but all these other people who you don't know are wrong in their observations, experiences and realities.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:30 PM

quote:
Why is it that the people you've apparently spoken to are right, but the one's I have are apparently wrong,


I have not cited anyone's personal opinion as evidence of anything. You asked me if I knew anyone from there and had visited. I answered you in the affirmative and even added that it did not make me an expert, a rather modest statement that belies your latest insult (arrogance).


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:37 PM

quote:
I have not cited anyone's personal opinion as evidence of anything
And I have not either. You specifically said that my reliance on the people I've talked to about this subject makes me "biased, unscholarly, sloppy, and quite possibly a sheer falsehood.", which are pretty strong terms used to describe my apparent misunderstanding of the way things really are, according to you, KR. You're the one who keeps correcting my interpretation of what I've been told and what I've read. What makes you think you know more than I do about it?

And yea, you are arrogant.(and you and I know I'm not the only one with that opinion around here.
To some that might be a compliment. I just don't happen to like that attitude, myself.

[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:43 PM

quote:
What makes you think you know more than I do about it?


I suppose the same thing that makes you think you know more than I.

quote:
And yea, you are arrogant. To some that might be a compliment. I just don't happen to like that attitude, myself and you and I know I'm not the only one with that opinion around here.


To be arrogant around here one must take a number. Mine is 19, right behind you at 18.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:49 PM

I defend myself when attacked by a sharp tounge. I pride myself on refraining from calling people down on the carpet to make myself feel superior, unless they push me too far, which you seem to enjoy doing. But arrogant is something I'm not.

[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]


CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 03:52 PM

quote:
You misunderstood the irony and the humor.
I am all for irony and humor. But there is no irony and humor in lies and falsehoods. I will ask again, please show me where your statement has any basis, whatsoever, in truth.
quote:
Now you are making a big thing out of nothing.
Oh, am I? Thanks for filling me in. Really, I am just trying to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of "irony and humor" as they pertain to this discussion. Clearly to me, that might very well be a big thing.
quote:
Get over it already.
There is nothing to get over, from my perspective. I am still interested, however, in understanding where your statement has any basis in truth. That's all.

Peace.

Erik





[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 03:55 PM

quote:
Oh, am I?


Yes.

quote:
But arrogant is something I'm not.


Disagree.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 03:58 PM

Forget arrogant, KR....you are manipulative. I was wrong lolol
I should have recognized the pattern earlier lolol

manipulate:
to influence, manage, use, or control to one's advantage by artful or indirect means. Another pet peeve of mine as well. lolol


[Edited on 9/13/2005 by musichick3]


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 04:02 PM

quote:
Forget arrogant, KR....you are manipulative.


Well if you must smear me, please settle on the appropriate smear.


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 04:04 PM

I have now. Carry on.....


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 04:06 PM

quote:
I have now. Carry on.....


I shall.

Manipulatively yours,

The arrogant KnowItAllRider


Brendan - 9/13/2005 at 04:10 PM

quote:
quote:
I have now. Carry on.....


I shall.

Manipulatively yours,

The arrogant KnowItAllRider

Don't you think you should it should be KnowItAllReallyDisgustinglyRichRider?


musichick3 - 9/13/2005 at 04:12 PM

At least I know where I stand in all this now. lolol


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 04:15 PM

quote:
Don't you think you should it should be KnowItAllReallyDisgustinglyRichRider?


Well you know they called me about housing Katrina victims in one of my mansions. But I cannot have that rabble in my midst! Let them eat cake.


Brendan - 9/13/2005 at 04:45 PM

quote:
quote:
Don't you think you should it should be KnowItAllReallyDisgustinglyRichRider?


Well you know they called me about housing Katrina victims in one of my mansions. But I cannot have that rabble in my midst! Let them eat cake.

I hear ya'. I caught a lesser paid associate of mine staring longingly at my Bently the other day, so I had him shot. Then I blamed him for all of societies woes. Then I shot him again.


KnownRider - 9/13/2005 at 04:50 PM

Well you should have had him drawn and quartered as a bullet eats into the bottom line.


CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 06:09 PM

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
Oh, am I?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----



Yes.
Silence can speak volumes for one's character. It's too bad, because this discussion has some interesting and informative elements, as well.

Peace.

Erik


CEEJ - 9/13/2005 at 06:25 PM

quote:
The reasons for focusing on children are more than traditional and
still pertinent humanitarian concerns for those least able to look after
themselves. New insights from neuroscience and the behavioral and
social sciences underscore the importance of giving children a better
chance in life. Nurturing them in their early years is vital for attack-ing
the worst effects of poverty and may be an effective way to break
the relentless, vicious cycle of poverty that, too often, crosses genera-tions.
Children who live in poverty cannot go to school, do not learn
to read, will have difficulty finding a job, and will have little hope for
their, and their children’s, future. Poverty diminishes people’s spiritu-al
resources, peace of mind, dignity, and freedom to live fully. And,
unfortunately, poverty is like a bad gene—it is inherited.

Studies repeatedly show that children who are born in poverty, live
in unsanitary conditions, experience little mental stimulation or nur-turing,
and have poor nutrition in their first years are far more likely
than richer children to grow up stunted in both body and mind. Sci-ence
tells us that early child development is critical and marks a child
for life. The development of a young child’s brain affects physical and
mental health, capacity to learn, and behavior throughout childhood
and adult life. The wiring and sculpting of billions of neurons in the
early years establish the base for developing competence and coping
skills later. For nations, the first few years of a child’s life have a multi-plier
effect. Young children who are well nurtured tend to do better in
school and are more likely to develop the skills they will need to com-pete
in a global economy. Investing in young children is an essential
investment in human and economic development.




The World Bank (hardly a leftist or socialist organization) agrees that poverty, and particulary childhood poverty, is extremely problematic. Furthermore, its interesting that they don't just tell all those poor people to just get over it, work harder and make better choices.

The document is rather long, but the forward, by itself, is worth a look.

http://www1.worldbank.org/publications/pdfs/15050intro.pdf#search='effects% 20of%20poverty%20on%20human%20development'


Peace.

Erik






[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]


Brendan - 9/13/2005 at 06:33 PM

quote:
The World Bank (hardly a leftist or socialist organization) agrees that poverty, and particulary childhood poverty, is extremely problematic. The document is rather long, but the forward, by itself, is worth a look.

http://www1.worldbank.org/publications/pdfs/15050intro.pdf#search='effects% 20of%20poverty%20on%20human%20development'


Peace.

Erik




[Edited on 9/13/2005 by CEEJ]

I doubt you'll find many dissenting opinions.


BillyBlastoff - 9/13/2005 at 09:30 PM

quote:
You live in a scary world. I'm glad I don't live there.


It's not so bad... I've learned to duck.


CEEJ - 9/26/2005 at 07:53 PM

And then there's the President's view of poverty. Oh, how I long for the day that voters actually engage their minds before entering those booths.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20050926/cm_thenation/724486&printer= 1;_ylt=AnYTw3rZrN.x3.0NTbjlgUI__8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

Why Bush is Wrong on Poverty
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Mon Sep 26,12:22 PM ET

The Nation -- In his September 15 speech to the nation, President Bush asserted that poverty in America is mostly restricted to the nation's Southern states. Like a lot of right-wing ideologues when it comes to issues of race andpoverty in America, he's in denial.

Many Republicans seem to believe that poverty is confined to one region of the nation, that the past (i.e. what Bush called a "history of racialdiscrimination") should shoulder the blame for the problem, and that individuals make choices that determine their station in life. Bush's supporters hold the White House and the Republican agenda blameless, and argue that the president's vision for building an "ownership society" will enable America's poor to build a better life for themselves and their families.

The first thing wrong with such arguments is that poverty is not simply found in the deep South, as Bush suggested in primetime. Poverty is a fact of life in every city and state nationwide. Sociologist Andrew Beveridge (at the request of the New York Times) recently conducted an economic survey of New York City and confirmed what other studies have already shown--that New York is divided between the rich and the poor. This fabulously wealthy city has more than its share of entrenched poverty and racial economic disparities.

In the Bronx, the poverty rate is 30.6 percent, outranked only by three border counties in Texas where living costs are far lower. Overall, NewYork City's poverty rate was 21.8 percent, and people of color are more than twice as likely to be poor as non-Hispanic whites. Beveridge's study revealed as well that the bottom fifth of Manhattan's income-earners are paid two cents for each dollar that the top fifth currently earns. Economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute argues that Manhattan by itself is actually "an amplified microcosm" of poverty in the nation at large. (Manhattan is also leading the way when it comes to another ominous trend: as the Fiscal Policy Institute recently warned, the city's middle class is being wiped out.)

America's claim to shame is that it has the highest level of poverty in the industrialized world. Bush's four and a half years of trickle-down theories have failed miserably. The poor have become even poorer. The nation's poverty rate has climbed from a 27 year low of 11.3 percent to 12.7 percent last year. Thirty seven million Americans are living below the poverty line, a group so large, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter pointed out in a post-Katrina cover article, that it amounts to "a nation of poor people the size of Canada or Morocco living inside the United States."

Bush may talk about addressing poverty in this rich nation, but his coldhearted agenda has made the problems much more pronounced. His administration gave a massive tax break to corporations and the wealthiest individuals in his first term; since then, despite evidence of rising income inequalities, a growing sea of red ink, and $200 billion needed to fight the war in Iraq and another $200 billion we will spend to rebuild the Gulf region, Bush has ruled out repealing any of his tax cuts for the rich.(And this while household incomes failed to rise for five consecutive years--for the first time on record.)

Bush leads a Republican party that has refused to increase the minimum wage (stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997), tried to cut Medicaid, foodstamps, housing for the poor, Social Security, and promoted "faith-based initiatives" to rally "armies of compassion" that are supposed to assist the poor through the right-wing panacea of charitable, religious giving. His Gulf Opportunity Zone is a sham. And while this White House tries to cut worker's pay in rebuilding the Gulf region, it lines the pockets of those poster boys of corruption--Halliburton and KBR--with no-bidcontracts. As Derrick Jackson wrote in the Boston Globe last week, Bush's plan "will squeeze yet more pulp out of the poor."

If there is a bright spot amidst the despair and catastrophe, it is that some in the mainstream media have started addressing issues of poverty, race and class in America. I don't know how long this moment will last. But if some in the big media consistently and aggressively report on poverty and class as central issues in US politics and society--and a few leading political figures find the political will, the imagination and the courage to fight for policies that have proven to work in tackling such an intractable problem--maybe we will see some progress.



Peace.

Erik




[Edited on 9/26/2005 by CEEJ]


DougMacKenzie - 9/26/2005 at 09:42 PM

Thanks for the article CEEJ. I think we've cast ourselves into an interesting delimma over the years, and I don't see how we are going to vote ourselves out of it. If one is to run for political office these days, one must have the backing of corporate industry in order to compete in politics. Before we even see somebody to vote for, they are in somebody's pocket, no matter what comes out of their mouths. Sure don't see any poor folks running for office. I think most people see that we have the resources to virtually eliminate poverty and level the playing field, but it would require a basic redistribution of the wealth, and the wealthy fragment of society that control so much of the nation's resources aren't about to let that happen. Without some sort of huge crisis that reconfigures our government and the military-industrial complex I don't see how working politically is actually going to change the situation. 37 million people is alot of people living below the poverty line. Get them all voting together and maybe there is a shot at it. Wonder what would happen if they armed themselves?


SantaCruzBluz - 9/27/2005 at 03:53 AM

Good points, Doug. We have the resources to make sure that every man, woman, and child in this country had the basic necessities, a decent, secure place to live, healthy food and water, and clothes to wear. And no one would have to do without anything to make it happen. We don't care, and that's the simple, cold truth.

And you're right about it taking something to rock this country's world to start the change. I think Katrina might be the start of some serious change in this country. The images we all saw on TV will never go away.


CEEJ - 9/27/2005 at 02:14 PM

quote:
Thanks for the article CEEJ. I think we've cast ourselves into an interesting delimma over the years, and I don't see how we are going to vote ourselves out of it. If one is to run for political office these days, one must have the backing of corporate industry in order to compete in politics. Before we even see somebody to vote for, they are in somebody's pocket, no matter what comes out of their mouths. Sure don't see any poor folks running for office. I think most people see that we have the resources to virtually eliminate poverty and level the playing field, but it would require a basic redistribution of the wealth, and the wealthy fragment of society that control so much of the nation's resources aren't about to let that happen. Without some sort of huge crisis that reconfigures our government and the military-industrial complex I don't see how working politically is actually going to change the situation. 37 million people is alot of people living below the poverty line. Get them all voting together and maybe there is a shot at it. Wonder what would happen if they armed themselves?


Doug -

Thanks for the kind words. I agree with much of what you say. In response to your concluding question, I don't think violence and arms are the answer. This world has been drinking of that poison far too long, as it is.

I guess it could be called idealistic, but my vision is for a world where everyone has enough to live and thrive without forced redistribution. A world where the curse of the dead-end pursuit of material wealth is considered an absurd, outdated notion, and the focus becomes obtaining those things of the soul and spirit, which are limitless.

Hope is powerful beyond our comprehension. A quote from my favorite flick seems appropos; "hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies" (Andy to Red. Shawshank Redemption. 1994).

Peace.

Erik







[Edited on 9/27/2005 by CEEJ]


musichick3 - 9/27/2005 at 02:57 PM

quote:
Get them all voting together and maybe there is a shot at it. Wonder what would happen if they armed themselves?


I think we saw this mentality evident in NO after Katrina....people toting guns and shooting each other to protect their stuff or themselves, or to steal, some for greed, some for survival when they felt there was no help on the way, etc.


It amazes me how people discount the idea that everyone should have the basics to live in our country. Piss on the poor is the prevailing attitude. It really disheartens me to know that a huge majority of people feel this way about their fellow human beings. I'm afraid we are going to have to experience something even more disurptive (like you see in the disaster or alien invasion movies ) for people to truly understand what is important in this life we have been given.


DougMacKenzie - 9/27/2005 at 03:42 PM

I really don't believe violence is the answer either, just more of the same. My point is that it will take something very major and radical to shake loose the prevailing views and allow the opportunity for change to occur. And I love that line from Shawshank. We can always hope.


SantaCruzBluz - 9/27/2005 at 03:54 PM

Sue, my ex-wife's grandmother was talking to me about the Depression, and she said that it was bad, but not that bad, because nobody had anything. You didn't feel bad about not having anything, because no one else had anything, either. So everyone pitched in with what little they had and helped each other out, to make sure everyone had something.

It might take some more "disasters" to put us in that place again, to make this SUV-driving, stock market-watching, junk-food-eating country wake up and look around at how other people are living.


musichick3 - 9/27/2005 at 03:59 PM

Yea, I feel that it's part of the big plan...to knock people down to an equal level. And in a way, I hope I live to see that happen. I'm not wishing anything bad upon humanity, but I'd like to see the world (or the US) become a better society of decent caring people in my lifetime...I will feel like my positive vibes were doing some good, which I know they are, but It would be cool to see it together with my kids and their kids, etc.


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