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Poverty in America Is Mainstream

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  • Poverty in America Is Mainstream

    Few topics in American society have more myths and stereotypes surrounding them than poverty, misconceptions that distort both our politics and our domestic policy making.

    They include the notion that poverty affects a relatively small number of Americans, that the poor are impoverished for years at a time, that most of those in poverty live in inner cities, that too much welfare assistance is provided and that poverty is ultimately a result of not working hard enough. Although pervasive, each assumption is flat-out wrong.

    Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high. My research indicates that nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period ($23,492 for a family of four), and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line).

    Even more astounding, if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events.

    In addition, half of all American children will at some point during their childhood reside in a household that uses food stamps for a period of time.

    Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans. For most of us, the question is not whether we will experience poverty, but when.
    Read the rest here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...instream/?_r=0

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    • #3
      Thank you Walmart for employing 1% of the US population.

      But not for long, I did notice that Walmart in investing in automated check-out systems so it can radically reduce its need for cashiers. Yes, we really need to eliminate these poverty level jobs and get the poor souls off food stamps and on unemployment and welfare where they belong.

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      • #4
        Interested to hear whether or not you read the article, Pony. Because it shoots holes in a lot of the myths you and several other "right leaning" people perpetuate here. I'm surprised by the lack of reaction and commentary.

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        • #5
          Income is a dumb way to try to quantify poverty. As was alluded to in another thread, are retired NFL players 'unemployed' or in 'poverty' just because they're not working?

          But the food stamp trend is troubling. Part of it is economic, but a big untalked about part is cultural.

          Stigma was part and parcel of the food stamp program only a decade or two ago. Growing up, had my family ever been eligible (quite possible) we would've probably starved before applying. Maybe exaggerating. Slightly.

          Anyway, accepting public welfare is much less frowned upon than it used to be. Plus the electronic food stamp cards make it a lot less tell-tale and intrusive.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
            Income is a dumb way to try to quantify poverty. As was alluded to in another thread, are retired NFL players 'unemployed' or in 'poverty' just because they're not working?
            Fair point, understood. But, I'd bet that a vast majority of people are pushed into something at least approximating "poverty" when they lose their employment since a vast majority of people need regular income to pay their bills. In other words, most people live paycheck to paycheck, or close to it.

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            • #7
              Hopefully, another state will legalize gay marriage.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pony Boy View Post
                Thank you Walmart for employing 1% of the US population.

                But not for long, I did notice that Walmart in investing in automated check-out systems so it can radically reduce its need for cashiers. Yes, we really need to eliminate these poverty level jobs and get the poor souls off food stamps and on unemployment and welfare where they belong.
                You do realize that a chunk of walmart's workforce is put on public assistance due to walmarts benefits policies, right?

                Not to mention the subsidies that walmart receives FOR business. I don't know if the ROI is worth shopping at walmart.
                Last edited by alkemical; 11-06-2013, 02:29 PM.

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                • #9
                  Forbes Richest Top Ten in America
                  Rank Name Net Worth Age Residence Source
                  1 Bill Gates
                  $72 B 58 Medina, Washington Microsoft
                  2 Warren Buffett
                  $58.5 B 83 Omaha, Nebraska Berkshire Hathaway
                  3 Larry Ellison
                  $41 B 69 Woodside, California Oracle
                  4 Charles Koch
                  $36 B 78 Wichita, Kansas diversified
                  4 David Koch
                  $36 B 73 New York, New York diversified
                  6 Christy Walton & family
                  $35.4 B 58 Jackson, Wyoming Wal-Mart
                  7 Jim Walton
                  $33.8 B 65 Bentonville, Arkansas Wal-Mart
                  8 Alice Walton
                  $33.5 B 64 Fort Worth, Texas Wal-Mart
                  9 S. Robson Walton
                  $33.3 B 69 Bentonville, Arkansas Wal-Mart
                  10 Michael Bloomberg
                  $31 B 71 New York, New York Bloomberg LP

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alkemical View Post
                    You do realize that a chunk of walmart's workforce is put on public assistance due to walmarts benefits policies, right?

                    Not to mention the subsidies that walmart receives FOR business. I don't know if the ROI is worth shopping at walmart.
                    How about vending machines? Are they worth the ROI?

                    The quest for artificially high wages is ultimately counterproductive.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
                      How about vending machines? Are they worth the ROI?

                      The quest for artificially high wages is ultimately counterproductive.
                      The problem is your definition of "artifically high" seems to be "enough to make a decent living for an honest day's work".

                      Wal-Mart abuses the social safety net to boost profits. The only way they can continue to operate the way they do is because the public picks up their slack. Without that, they'd have to actually pay a decent wage.

                      Of course, at this point you'll probably responds "SEE, public assistance is a horrible thing!" or some such nonsense, which misses the point entirely.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fedaykin View Post
                        The problem is your definition of "artifically high" seems to be "enough to make a decent living for an honest day's work".

                        Wal-Mart abuses the social safety net to boost profits. The only way they can continue to operate the way they do is because the public picks up their slack. Without that, they'd have to actually pay a decent wage.

                        Of course, at this point you'll probably responds "SEE, public assistance is a horrible thing!" or some such nonsense, which misses the point entirely.
                        No, the point is either the glass is half empty or it's half full.

                        What's better... an employed checker making enough to cover at least some of their needs.

                        Or an unemployed checker replaced by a machine and who has no real marketable non-automatible skills while sitting at home and relying completely on public assistance?

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                        • #13
                          Wal-Mart: where you go to buy a $3 widget for $2.75 because you're to dimwitted to understand you're paying an additional $.50 to in taxes on "discounted" that item to support the workers on the public dole.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
                            No, the point is either the glass is half empty or it's half full.

                            What's better... an employed checker making enough to cover at least some of their needs.

                            Or an unemployed checker replaced by a machine and who has no real marketable non-automatible skills while sitting at home and relying completely on public assistance?
                            You're attempting to conflate technological progress with abuse of the social safety net. They are not the same thing.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fedaykin View Post
                              Wal-Mart: where you go to buy a $3 widget for $2.75 because you're to dimwitted to understand you're paying an additional $.50 to in taxes on "discounted" that item to support the workers on the public dole.
                              So if I underpay them, I owe extra. If I fire them and put in a robot, I'm a hero.

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