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The Myth of the Working Poor

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posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 02:30 AM
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there seems to be an undercurrant that the poor are poor because they "want" to be. this is haw those with money tend to ligitimize ripping off those less fortunate then themselves. i wiil agree that there definately are those who just want to live without wanting to work. these include those who have babies to stay on welfare. gee why would i want to go on welfare? we had a postal strike several years back ( i am a canadian). my fther who was a transit worker was on a company baseball team that was playing right by a welfare check pick up center. what a contrast there was in the rotting hulks the bulk of the bus driver's were driveing and the nice cars driven by a lot those picking up welfare cheques. so why not go on welfare? why work hard and try to make do when you can live without haveing to work and live farely well? it is called self respect.

someone mentiont how we have time to make posts and hinted about the fact that we are on the internet and have computers. weel for one i have lots of time due to a car accident 5 months ago, followed by an accident with the bus i was rideing a few weeks ago. yes i have a computer, thanks to a friend who used to upgrade it with his old parts when he upgraded. too bad it crashes every couple of hours or so, i have a blury moniter that i bought because i could afford it when my old one finaly died as it was about 8 years old. why be on the internet? easy it is a realitively cheap way to communicate with friends and family unlike long distance calls, also it is a cheap form of entertainment ( even a ticket to go to the movies is over ten bucks a shot). this is also why you find a lot of the poor on the internet, it is cheap.

even electricity is over priced how is it that 4 lights (turned off when not used) 1 bar fridge, a freezer microwave and toaster oven seem to use $75 a month? i use a camp stove to cook as propane bottles are cheaper than power. $ about 50 bucks a month on a phone i barly use to talk on ( but required when haveing a job).

smokeing oh yes of course i am hooked on the evil weed. how did i get hooked? trying to follow the advice of my teachers on how to make friends. oops. i have tried to quit so many times over the year that i even once made a new years resalution not to make one to stop smokeing again. and this has been the source of my biggest expense next to rent. i smoke about a pack a day and it costrs me almost $300 a month, due to the fact that the government takes so much tax on cigarets they cost about $9 a pack.

i used to have a van to use to go to work in. it was not the best but it worked and was cheap to maintain and keep safe. since it was written off by the insurance company and i was not given enough to rteplace it i am now stuck on transit. many would say i should take transit why? the truth of the mater is my 30 min trip to work will now take me 3 or so hours ( if i don't have to do any waiting). this means that i will spend almost the same amount of time getting back and forth to work as at work. and the cost my god it costs more to take the bus than to drive my old gas gussler even at the price of gas today and the fare even goes up this month so now it's even more. just another example of how to make the poor poorer. let me also say that transit drive's barely make enough to live on themselves.

lets look at wages minimum wage is somewhere just over $8/hour this is what a lot of companies actualy pay. what do my company's ceo's make? a few million each a year. and then we have the billions a year in proffits. anyone else see something wrong with that? we are not being payed more not because that is what the company can afford but to line the pockets of those already rich. do you think i could even make a million bucks in my life? and the ceo's make more than that a year?


this is why we have a problem. ( and no comunisim does not work that has been well prove). what i am saying is that companies should pay fairly. if a company is makeing a proffit they can definatly pay employees more, if a ceo makes so much more than the staff he should take a major pay cut and spead it arround. why should he make so much? sure he has to make big decisions but not enough to justify such a major differance in pay.

one should be able to afford when working full time:
houseing ( i have a co-worker that is a single mother she has to live in substadized houseing. why she works full time?)
basic utillities, phone heat , water , power, ect
transportation to work
food and clothing, ( i just thank god i have uniforms i wear to cut down my expenditures).
and a bit extra for entertainment, self betterment ect. other wise why work you can do better on welfare.

as well the government needs to tkae care with unfare taxation. (cigaretts used to cost 2-3 bucks a pack not even 20 years later they cost just under 10 wages in the same time have not even doubled) yes we should quit problem is it is extreemly difficult to quit without finatual wories when streesed over money it is that much harder. i have tried to quit many times my record is two weeks, ( a friend of mine quit almost 5 years but got to the point he could not take the craveings anymore so he started back up). i agree with the new warnings i just wish they had been there to help me. remember the old "may cause health problems"? that wasn't going to stop a kid who believes they will never die, especialy when they are trying to fit in with everyone else. if they are fine i will be too.




posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:06 AM
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Originally posted by drogo
there seems to be an undercurrant that the poor are poor because they "want" to be. this is haw those with money tend to ligitimize ripping off those less fortunate then themselves. i wiil agree that there definately are those who just want to live without wanting to work. these include those who have babies to stay on welfare. gee why would i want to go on welfare? we had a postal strike several years back ( i am a canadian). my fther who was a transit worker was on a company baseball team that was playing right by a welfare check pick up center. what a contrast there was in the rotting hulks the bulk of the bus driver's were driveing and the nice cars driven by a lot those picking up welfare cheques. so why not go on welfare? why work hard and try to make do when you can live without haveing to work and live farely well? it is called self respect.


From a welfare recipients viewpoint, self-respect takes a back seat to avoiding the struggle to make ends meet. Why toil paycheck-to-paycheck when you can get life's necessities--and then some--for free? Until society can reinstill a persona of respect for the working class, and reward those who work with more than just a paycheck, the welfare system will remain the same sociological muckhole that it has become.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by edsinger

Like Shipler, in other words, Lipper has reversed cause and effect. She sees social dysfunction in Pittsfield and blames it on poverty. But it typically is personal failure and social dysfunction that create poverty. To stay out of poverty in America, it's necessary to do three simple things, social scientists have found: finish high school, don't have kids until you marry, and wait until you are at least 20 to marry. Do those three things, and the odds against your becoming impoverished are less than one in ten. Nearly 80 percent of everyone who fails to do those three things winds up poor.


Sounds like an opinion to me. I do NOT think it is the truth.



That's a crucial truth that left-wing social thinkers have tried to deny from the earliest days of the welfare-rights movement. And as these books show, even after the conclusive failure of the War on Poverty and the resounding success of welfare reform, they are still at it.


More polarized hate there Ed? I really like how the snip makes 'left-wing social thinkers' deny 'crucial truth'



Ed, How about starting a thread that doesnt try to split us up any further. You and those who force opposition are destroying America.

[edit on 3/20/05 by Kidfinger]



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:53 AM
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Originally posted by Kidfinger

Ed, How about starting a thread that doesnt try to split us up any further. You and those who force opposition are destroying America.

[edit on 3/20/05 by Kidfinger]


I'm sure he'll just say he's counteracting the "Liberal" bias on this site
Divisive political types really have no brain to speak off.(or they DO and they just choose not to use it) it's easier to think in simplified "talking point" terms, it saves people from thinking on thier own and making thier own decisions, because thats just too damn hard for those types...


[edit on 20-3-2005 by sardion2000]

[edit on 20-3-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:55 AM
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like my grandfather used to say: if you dont want to be poor , you have to learn to do something that others cant do. Thats a very good way of keeping yourself from being poor. Maybe it sounds simple, but it still takes a lot of work and determination if you want to succed in anything



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 09:13 AM
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It is hard to feel bad for the poor when we know that millions of them are in that position due to their own actions. Even the people who have all of the sudden lost there jobs due to them going overseas need to step up get another job even if that means getting 2 low paying jobs. You can not give up fighting for what you want and if you just sit there and blame the Man you will still be sitting there 10 years from now. If ther are no jobs in your area then get out and go to where they are,I have done it and it sucks and yes it is very hard to start again in a new place but it is worth it in the long run because you fought for what you have.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 09:57 AM
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Good thread. I disagree with those that claim ATS has a liberal slant, to me ATS has a 'lean to the right' of about 12 deg. Be that as it may, ed and others bring up good points. All too often we tend to shoot ourselves in the feet relative to income and wealth ratings.

How much is a store clerk worth? Apparently what they are currently making! I usually am self-employed but from time to time work for others. This puts a few extra bux in the kitty and keeps my mind right regarding my self-employment.

A few years back i worked for another guy in the same industry I had been self-employed in for a number of years. I made some heavy coin when I was self-employed but like many things times changed and bigger companies took larger pieces of the pie. Working for this other guy reinforced why some people are almost unemployable (like me). I grated at the directions and work assignments. I knew better ways to do things and couldn't use them.

Reality check: if I were right then why was I working for him? I went through these checks on a daily basis, sometimes many times a day. I am now self-employed again.


I could have stayed with him, he was satisfied enough with my work (hell, he was getting professional work for trainee wages). Every now and then I take one of his jobs away, just as he had previously done to me. He is larger, well funded and a whole lot better manager than I. He deserves his place because he saw the opportunities and grabbed them.

Back to the store clerk- save a few bux and leave for better paying work. Never quit looking for something better unless you are satisfied where you are at.

Some people, because of circumstances are destined to be forever poor. Unless the circumstances change the standing won't change. The shrinking middle-class needs to be looking into other fields. Look into something not white collar. The U.S. is the world leader in capital goods, there are opportunities aplenty there.
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.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 10:06 AM
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This all their own fault.. blame the poor for being poor.. go on.. it's not the sytem at all. Yeah right!

Get real have you ever played monopoly (the boardgame)?!?! There is only one winner the rest are poor!! Is it their fault they lost? NO! Someone else played better!

The capitalist system is about channeling capital into into less and less hands, try to argue against that fact... go on i dare you!

The poor are a by-product of the system... for every "winner" (success story, some one "making it" etc) there are at least 10 loosers.

You cannot get rid of poverty as long as the poor are feeding the rich, simple!

You can blame the poor all you want but just try to argue around this!

BTW its also very puritain not to want to help the poor for fear of making them lazy .

[edit on 20/3/2005 by Corinthas]



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by Corinthas
You can blame the poor all you want but just try to argue around this!

BTW its also very puritain not to want to help the poor for fear of making them lazy .

I almost hate posts like this. I agonize with myself.

Why couldn't I have posted that? sigh



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 01:53 PM
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Corinthas, you are correct in what you say and I don't think anyone would argue that point. Just remember if you ever want to win at anything wether it is the game of life or the game of Monopoly you need to stay in the game and not give up, learning from every failure is how you eventualy win.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 02:12 PM
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Good thread. I disagree with those that claim ATS has a liberal slant, to me ATS has a 'lean to the right' of about 12 deg.


You obviously weren't here when we all voted to see how ATS standed during the last US election. John Kerry blew Bush out of the water if memory serves me correctly. Libertarians also had a good showing as well. Only around 45% of active ATSers voted but it was still an eye opener.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 02:43 PM
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Can somebody please enlighten me, I don't see the "poor feeding the rich" angle. If you are saying that the poor are working for the rich, therefore the rich are taking advantage of the poor, then try and look at it from another angle.

The rich are employing the poor. If it weren't for the rich, where would the poor work? Why do people insist on degrading people like Bill Gates, or Sam Walton who have created jobs for millions of people. Bash the rich all you want but ask yourself, how many millionaires has Bill Gates made? How many of those original employees, who believed in the capitalist system, became rich because they believed in thier company and bought it's stock.

You also have to keep in mind that poverty is relative. Someone is always going to be poor relative to somebody else. All of you who call yourselves poor, do you have a car? Do you have a phone, or a television, or a computer and internet access? Now I am not saying you are not poor relative to others in your country, but you are not poor relative to the rest of the world. This is DIRECTLY related to the West embracing capitalism.

To each according to his ability. Remember that whenever you think someone is holding you back. The only one holding you back is yourself.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 04:32 PM
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First and foremost, partisans need not reply to what follows. It is not my intent to argue the merits of one party's approach over the other. What I would like to discuss is the possibility of a viable alternative to the social darwinism which sometimes grows out of the capitalist rationale. Our economy exists as a system to enhance our survival and our quality of life. We must decide which system of managing our economy will best achieve this goal. At the moment we are under a somewhat laissez faire form of capitalism which may not be the most efficient option. I propose that we investigate the short-comings of this system and how to improve upon it, specifically through limted central coordination in what you might call "purposeful capitalism" or "market socialism".

The major failure of laissez faire capitalism is that it relies on the random interaction of private investors, who are looking for direct benefit to themselves only. Venutres which would be unprofitable for one camp, but widely profitable to the general public (usually in non-financial ways, precluding the adjustment of prices to meet the challenge) will not be undertaken. This is the point at which the government should step in, to do for the general public what no individual would do alone. Our public education system is an outstanding example. The government undertakes the unprofitable venture of educating every child, because it generates profit activity in other industries, and yields other benefits, which make it profitable for the public in general. Another example of unprofitable business generating profits in complimentary industries is war. These examples show that government intervention in those areas where the private investor will not go can be increase the amount of wealth in our economy, theoretically creating more to go around for the working poor. Note however that if public works benefit business then minimum wage laws and the like must be passed to ensure that part of the profit goes back to the working man who made it possible both by his taxes and by his labor.

As for the working poor being a myth: it's time to redefine "poor" to keep it current with the American standard. In a nation this wealthy, if you don't have the option of getting medical insurance for yourself or your family, you are poor. When you look at the bigger picture- the number of Americans who don't have things which are well within the accepted standard of American living, and stop hiding behind the "poverty line", it's pretty clear that we need economic reforms to raise the standard of living for our working class.
The one thing I have to agree with Ed on is that making bad decisions, especially in regards to family, is the key to ending up so poor you can't make ends meet. We need to start enforcing responsibility on people who make such choices. That being said, the people who don't make such choices are still just getting by barely over the poverty line, and we need to reform our way of doing business to provide them with reasonable opportunities to build wealth for themselves. There is no reason that in a country with the resources we have that hard working people should find themselves trapped by their inability to afford a home, medical insurance, etc.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by Corinthas
This all their own fault.. blame the poor for being poor.. go on.. it's not the sytem at all. Yeah right!

Get real have you ever played monopoly (the boardgame)?!?! There is only one winner the rest are poor!! Is it their fault they lost? NO! Someone else played better!

The capitalist system is about channeling capital into into less and less hands, try to argue against that fact... go on i dare you!

The poor are a by-product of the system... for every "winner" (success story, some one "making it" etc) there are at least 10 loosers.

You cannot get rid of poverty as long as the poor are feeding the rich, simple!

You can blame the poor all you want but just try to argue around this!

[edit on 20/3/2005 by Corinthas]



Making money off of others is the predatory instinct bred into capitalism. Take credit cards for instance, that interest-bearing instrument of evil is an example of how the rich are feeding off the poor, and the poor buy into the consumerist system drilled into their heads to buy, buy, buy after a day of watching TV(especially around Christmas!).
The poor, and the so-called working poor have to exercise discipline when it comes to debt. The risky get hammered on interest. And it is such a Catch-22 situation because if you don't charge something, you'll have no credit history, no credit history, no mortgage. No mortgage, no equity...no American Dream.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 05:15 PM
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It sounds to me that you have described the current situation of the United States. Schools, roads, transportation, police, fire dept., all provided by the state. What new industries do you propose be taken over by the State? Health care? Ok, that is a legitimate position, but what else besides that?

I am not a big fan of socialized medicine simply because I am currently the recipient of govt health care through the military. I must tell you that it is at best sub-par.

The problem with socialized health care is that health care is so important that you can't afford to screw it up. People can deal with pot holes in the roads but a botched surgery is unacceptable. The reason the US has the best doctors in the world is because they are well paid. They will not be well paid in a social system and the best and brightest students will no longer seek to be doctors because the return on thier investment of time and money to pay for tuition will o longer be there.

I just don't see the government taking on health care and not screwing it up.

Something does need to be done though. Immunizations should be free to all, as well as basic medical care for all children. I just don't know how you provide universal medical care to all without limiting all medical care to mediocrity.

The current system of great medical care for some and no medical care for others is no good.

The alternative of mediocre care for all, great for none, is equally as bad. Where will the medical innovations come from if there is no longer an incentive to research? And before you say that doctors are altruistic, and work to help others out of the goodness of thier hearts, we all know that that is true only for some but it goes against human nature. Most doctors are in it for the money and status.

So what else besides healthcare needs to be socialized? What are the minimum standards that you believe meet the American Standard of Living?



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:38 PM
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So what else besides healthcare needs to be socialized? What are the minimum standards that you believe meet the American Standard of Living?


In my mind, it should be possible for any working American to make progress towards owning their home, owning their car, being able to send their children to college. The working class should be able to earn enough that through self-discipline, persistence, and sacrifice, social mobility can be achieved.

Sometimes, but not always, this can be acheived by socializing an industry to keep prices reasonable for the consumer. There will be cases where it is fitting that the government monopolize the research, development and distribution of a key item, such as medicine. Royalties to the inventors, high wages for doctors, etc all need to remain because we do need incentives. Corporate profits however need to vanish from the equation in those cases.

In other cases it is not socialization that I call for, only government manipulation of market forces to stimulate demand and therefore stimulate production, creating jobs and creating excess profits to be passed on to employees in the form of increased wages. This comes in the form of organizing and perhaps subsidizing deals which are minimally profitable or unprofitable for the investor (the government) and yet widely beneficial to complimentary industries.


A little further from the topic, there is also obvious room for discussion of progressive tax policies, not as a matter of income redistribution but as a matter of laying the burden on those who are clearly benefiting most from the things taxes pay for. An investor with over a million dollars in stock is benefiting from companies that rely on government-built infrastructure, and from the skill of employees educated in state-run schools, just as an example.
Our income tax policy should pick out people who are benefiting from commerce and demand that they invest in the national infrastructure which makes it possible, while leaving more money in the hands of the working class. The working class are not going to horde this money- it will not be lost. The worst case scenario is that they will use it to consume more, creating additional jobs and additional profits. The best case scenario is that they will invest it in homes, higher education, business ventures, etc.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:24 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with most of your post.

It is already possible for everyone, through hard work, to own thier own car and home. And every day there are students who put themselves through college with part time jobs and government loans.

I think that government intervention in the market is nearly always a bad idea.

As for limiting corporate profits, this is a VERY bad idea. The concept of the corporation is by far one of most important inventions in history. It has allowed man to discover new lands, create new inventions, and create unheard of wealth for billions. Profits are what drive corporations, without profits there is no purpose for the corporation. If you put a limit on the amount of profits that an industry can achieve, capital will flee from that industry to one where maximum profits are possible.

Progressive taxes are a good thing, but you can't go overboard. Progressive taxes only work if those being taxed don't feel as if they are being punished. People are willing to pay more, within reason. If the taxes become unreasonable the tax payers will flee or find a way to hide thier money. Pick out the countries with the most progressive tax systems and cross reference that with the Forbes list of wealthiest people. How many millionaires are there in Sweden.

As for the corporations paying more because they benefit from the employee's free education, that arguement doesn't make sense to me. Who benefited more, the company who hired an educated employee, or the citizen who was able to get a high paying job with the education. If the corporation had to pay even more into the education system then that would lower profits, which would put the corporation at risk, and therefore risk the citizen's job.

We need to get away from this idea of punishing corporations. They are not evil. They provide jobs for the people.



posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 12:13 AM
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I just wish that congress put as much effort as they do into stomping out steroids in baseball and keeping a severlely brain damaged woman on life support, as they did into fixing medicare and funding education.

What I don't understand is the whole myth thing, I mean, don't you see them Ed?

I know I do, I see them every day I drive to work. I talk to them when I'm in the grocery store buying my food. I may even wave to them as they push the carts into Target. You buy food from them, you have your car washed by them, they build your house, yet they are a myth. This I do not get.



posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
You obviously weren't here when we all voted to see how ATS standed during the last US election. John Kerry blew Bush out of the water if memory serves me correctly. Libertarians also had a good showing as well. Only around 45% of active ATSers voted but it was still an eye opener.



Well I guess your other post was spot on then, I am a counterweight to the liberal (tulip-walking) lean in here. There are lots of smart folks here and I like to hear both sides, NOTE: I said BOTH.




Originally posted by The Big O


What I don't understand is the whole myth thing, I mean, don't you see them Ed?

I know I do, I see them every day I drive to work. I talk to them when I'm in the grocery store buying my food. I may even wave to them as they push the carts into Target. You buy food from them, you have your car washed by them, they build your house, yet they are a myth. This I do not get.


Oh I see them, there are truly poor people, homeless ones in fact, and I was 30 days from being in that boat less than 2 years ago.

What I am trying to get across to you folks is that what the term 'poor' has a different meaning in the US, how many Americans actually starve? Do you see people everyday with swollen bellies from malnutrition?


We as a nation need a safety net for those people who need it, but we need to get the free-loaders off the system. Clinton actually did a good job of going along with Congress on that one.

Some of the food I see people by with food stamps is better than what I eat. I have seen this multiple times.

I am not saying we do not have poor, but when you see non-citizens working for minimum wages and sending 60-70% of it back across the border, you have to wonder at why?



posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 12:51 AM
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"when you see non-citizens working for minimum wages and sending 60-70% of it back across the border, you have to wonder at why?"

I know why, they're trying to help their families out. Also, I don't know anyone, nor can I fathom anyone, who makes minimum wage being able to send 60-70% of their wage to someone else. 5.15 an hour, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks come out to under 11 grand. If they send 60% to someone somewhere else they're getting rid of almost 6500 bucks. That leaves them 4500 to live on, that's less than $87 a week.

It's no different than a father sarificing for his children. Parents who go to bed with empty stomachs so their children don't have to.

I think the real myth in your logic Ed is the amount of people that are actually on welfare.

Myth 1. Most poor are lazy and don't want to work.
In 1990, 60% of the poor in the U.S. were not able to work due to their age (too young or too old), disability, or the lack of jobs. All of these are circumstances clearly beyond the control of the individual.

Myth 2. Most of the poor get welfare, so the aren't really suffering.
Most poor citizens do not receive aid from the government, either because they are not eligible, not willing to apply, or do not know that they are eligible.

Myth 3. Most of the poor are better off than the rest of us because the government pays them to lie around and have more babies. But we ordinary tax payers can't afford to have more kids because the government won't subsidize us like they do the "welfare queens."
In Alabama, only a minority of welfare recipients receive ANY cash aid at all. Among those who do receive AFDC payments, an average of $29 per child each month or $348 a year was paid (1990). Compared to the income tax deduction of $2,450 per child, it is clear that the middle class families have more government- supplied incentive to have kids, than the poor do. In fact, the fertility rate of women on welfare is less than the fertility rate of all U.S. women of child bearing age.

Myth 4. Families on welfare eat better than those of us who work for a living. If they didn't buy all the junk food and steaks they do and managed their money better, they wouldn't be poor.
The average Food Stamp allotment in 1990 was 79 cents a meal per person. For a poor person, no amount of good management" can result in sufficient nutritious meals through out the month, while on Food Stamps. We imagine what we see someone buy on food stamps is what they buy every week, but most food stamp recipients do one big shopping trip a month and try to make it last through the month.

Most people are poor because they have experienced a loss of a job, reduced wages, or the loss of a wage-earner in the family.

This is a good site
www.samford.edu...

The info I spouted can be found there.




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