What is Poverty?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by 804brown, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. 804brown

    804brown Well-Known Member

    What is poverty? According to the federal government poverty for a family of four is $23,050 a year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which, if you work a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year, you would earn $15,080 a year. The average rent cost in the United States is $808 (PDF) a month or $9,696 a year. If you use the thriftiest numbers provided by the USDA (I am assuming this is not a healthy diet) groceries for a family of four averages between $507 and $582 (PDF) a month depending on the age of the children. That is $6,084 to $6,984 a year. Food and lodging for this family of four costs between $15,780 and $16,680 a year. I have not even gotten to childcare costs yet, which for a child who is around four years old ranges $3,900 to $15,540 a year (PDF) a year. There is help for this family of four though, the average amount of SNAP benefits available to a family of four? $496 a month, not enough to pay for all of their groceries, however, it is enough to prevent starvation. Even with SNAP benefits it is obvious that in the family of four only one of the adults can work, as the other has to stay home with the children. I cannot imagine how a single parent at this level of income could keep it together let alone get out of poverty.
    [​IMG]Federal Poverty Levels 2012

    Those are the numbers that define poverty in America; however, the definition of poverty goes much further than those numbers. The American Heritage dictionary defines poverty as, “the state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.”Let that soak in for a minute, “lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.” Things like food, shelter, and stability. You cannot get sick, you cannot take a day off to go to the doctor, you cannot afford to go to the doctor at all. If the price of food goes up you have to take away from some other part of your budget. But what takes the hit? Is your landlord going to allow you to pay less rent? How do you buy school supplies? How do you get to and from work? None of the figures above include transportation.
    Imagine living in a world where you don't know if you have enough money for your next meal, going without food so that your children may eat. Worrying about scraping together enough money to take your child to the doctor for things that most of us take for granted like immunizations. The feelings of inadequacy when your child wants nothing more than a candy bar and you cannot afford it. How grateful you feel when a stranger hands you a dollar bill to buy that candy bar and how miserable it makes you feel inside that you must depend on the kindness of strangers for such small pleasures in life. How hard birthdays and Christmases are when you cannot afford to purchase even the smallest of gifts (especially in our consumer-driven society).
    According to conservative mouthpieces if you have a color TV and a refrigerator you are not poor, and several of the memes that exist today say that if you have a newer car and a cell phone you are not poor, discounting that you may have purchased that newer car or cell phone before you lost your job and lost your home. That you need to be drug tested before you can receive any kind of benefits. The poor are second-class citizens who cannot be trusted with the meager benefits that are provided to them. They should, “just get a job,” and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” Great advice; however, if you are making minimum wage, you don’t have bootstraps to pull up.
    The same people who refuse to help the poor because they are, “lazy and shiftless,” have no problem giving a tax break, that is larger than what someone making minimum wage earns in a year, to someone who makes their money through investments, in other words, a tax break to someone who has never worked a day in their lives. Only because they have a higher social status they deserve what amounts to a government handout in the form of a tax break, while someone working for minimum wage every single day does not deserve a hand up.
    While I am not a religious man I find it hypocritical that the people who claim to follow Christianity do not follow some of its core teachings. When my mom forced me to go to confirmation classes at Bashford United Methodist Church in my youth I primarily went through the motions just to make her happy; however, one quote that Rev. Rick Pearson taught me has stuck with me all these years, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth - 1 John 3:17-18."
  2. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    Why are assets not considered? If I have $1 million in the bank a $500,000 paid for house and only have $11,000 in income I qualify as a poverty stricken American, but am I?
  3. 804brown

    804brown Well-Known Member

    You are kidding right?? Ok, i'll explain: poor people dont have assets like a house. They generally rent. They do NOT have bank accounts. They spent all they make on getting by. Try helping out at a soup kitchen and talk to the families that come in there. You might learn alot.
  4. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    No, I am not kidding. I am pointing out that income alone should not be the only means test for poverty. Just because someone has a small income now doesn't mean they weren't productive in the past squirreling away money for a rainy day. They are still living like kings, and have no problem affording what they need, but since the government only qualifies them based on income they can qualify for assistance they otherwise should not receive.
  5. toonertoo

    toonertoo Most Awesome Dog Staff Member

    While mostly I agree, there are people who may have been productive in the past and have a house, and a decnt vehicle and in order to get help in hard times are made to sell that car, and can only have like 1500.00 in the bank, or they have to deplete it, and get rid of the car. And then it makes it much harder to pull themselves back up. And I think that is the trick, get them stuck in the rut called welfare. By taking anything they had of value, to get them to qualify. From what I know a person with that much money in the bank would not qualify.
    Sometimes the people who need just a little help, are told all or nothing. Be totally on welfare, or no stamps, no utility help, no assistance of any kind. For instance I know of a couple who just needed some help with food. And they were offered the whole bundle or nothing.
  6. menotyou

    menotyou bella amicizia

    I take it you haven;t heard of the lottery winners collecting food stamps. It's true. Millionaires collecting food stamps. This is just one example:
    Lottery winner on food stamps even after $1 million jackpot | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News
  7. UnsurePost

    UnsurePost making the unreadable unreadabler

    Your OP would be easier to read if you just posted your opinion, then the pertinent information jmo

    You want a higher minimum wage and more handouts. Economically, it doesn't work.
  8. 804brown

    804brown Well-Known Member

  9. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Poverty is when you run out of money and there's still 'month' left!
  10. toonertoo

    toonertoo Most Awesome Dog Staff Member

    I am all over welfare fraud, but not against the people who need it.
    First off with this economy, poverty cannot improve.
    Then kids need to be made to finish school.
    Girls need to quit having babies before they marry.
    Housing complexes need to be kept clean of drugs, or legalize them, because every employer checks for drugs.
    The food program needs to be structured to buy certain foods, and hygenic products, and eliminate in large part, soda, sugar, and pre prepared meals. There should be programs set up in the soup kitchen to teach the heads of households, how to cook, spreading their food allottment farther.
    Since they are dependent on the govt, home visits need to be performed as they used to, to see wth is going on in the household.
    I wish I could get to run the dept, lol. With all the programs available now, if someone finds themselves out of work, they have the time to re educate, further educate, themselves.
  11. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    But poverty is good for the state. It's another excuse you are fed to believe you need the state in the first place and it grants the state more reason to intervene in the market to begin with. More often than not for it's criminal friends in Corp. America. If you don't think that poverty is not contrived for monopolistic business reasons, then go do your homework and find out how big an impact to the bottomline that foodstamps are to JP Morgan for example. If Walmart is taking in 25% to 40% of it's revenue from food stamps and Walmart wants more revenue for more profits, will Walmart and it's corp, allies use their lobbyists and power in Washington to lessen or grow these programs? How about JP Morgan?

    If the problem of poverty is solved, what does that do to the bottom lines of both JP Morgan and Walmart? If all of a sudden there was no food stamp program at all and 25 to 40 percent of Walmart revenue no longer came in the door, how would Walmart move product and re-attract customers to make up for that lost revenue stream? Drop prices maybe?

    If prices drop, this means less tax dollars going to Washington to serve debt and other playthings that politicians use to buy votes with to stay in office. But if public welfare is used to support aggregate demand which keeps prices high (thus making the problem worse) and you can intervene in the market to push inflation which covers the sin of debt, you got yourself a game and the sky is the limit.

    If the Occupy and Tea Party crowds could just stop for a moment from beating on their own strawmen while yelling talking points at one another, they just might combine those strawmen and begin to have a more complete picture and instead of yelling at each other, they.......oh nevermind it's not going to happen anyway.

    And however bad public welfare is, Corp welfare is 100's of times worse.
  12. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

  13. DriveInDriveOut

    DriveInDriveOut This Is The Last Stop

  14. toonertoo

    toonertoo Most Awesome Dog Staff Member

    Poverty is no food, shelter, clothes, cars, tvs, electric, heat.
    In the US no one has to live in poverty, there are too many programs to help.
    The sick and mentally disabled, or just disabled, may fall into this group because they dont have the time, or energy or ability to search out the programs.