Number of People Living in Poverty in U.S. Increases Again

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Poverty.html?hp

     
  2. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #2
    MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!

    Bush/Cheney - '04
     
  3. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    #3
    That's BS. I'm tired of Bush's trickle-down economics. There's one big problem with the trickle-down economics theory: the rich just hoard their wealth. Give ME a thousand dollars, though, and I'll actually do something with it, like finish paying for my car, buy a few CDs, that sort of thing.

    Vote Daveman Deluxe in 2004. He's not Bush. :D
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Aw, c'mon, now; somebody in another thread wuz talkin' about some wealthy NYC types remodeling $200,000 bathrooms. Whaddaya mean, they don't spend money?

    Hey, a new Gulfstream is jobs, right? Or a Rybovich? Rolls Royces ain't exactly gimmies, either.

    Whaddaya got against Barbra Streisand or Mick Jagger or Hillary, anyway?

    :D, 'Rat
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #5
    I resemble that remark.

    With more and more technical jobs going away from the U.S.A., I've had a tough time finding work.

    I never thought that I would be at the poverty level or below when I used to make enough for a small family. :(
     
  6. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #6
    yes, that was me talking about the $200,000 bathroom. I think I must have mentioned, or I should have mentioned, that 100 people putting in $7000 bathrooms is preferable to one person putting in a $200,000 bathroom. That is, if you want peope to have jobs and such.

    I should also say that those wealthy Manhattanites are holding back a bit on spending because of the uncertainty in the economy. So not only do we not have the 100 bathrooms, the $200,000 bathroom person held off on the kitchen. They have the money, they are just going to sit on it untill the general economy gets better.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I have a lot of sympathy for folks who are truly destitute and in true poverty. In South Korea in 1954, I saw kids pimping for their mothers or sisters just to get money for food. Folks fighting over our empty waxed cardboard boxes, or over the empty beer cans behind the NCO club.

    When I see somebody smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and driving some sort of car, I don't care about the technical aspect of their level of income, they ain't in poverty. Poor, maybe, but not in poverty.

    A serious problem with using a money-income definition when summing up the numbers is that "in kind" items aren't counted. Medicaid eligibility, housing subsidies, food stamps, AFDC and suchlike have a value, but that value isn't included as income. If it were, there'd be a totally different picture.

    'Rat
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    So let me see if I understand what you're saying here: Take these things away from the poor people, then they'll be living in legitimate poverty.
     
  9. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #9
    Yes, and then we could rightfully give them medicaid, housing subsidies and the like.
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #10
    What I'm saying is that if these subsidies' cash values were included as "income", many people wouldn't meet the definition of "poverty". I'm not at all suggesting taking away the subsidies. I'm just saying that as defined by the feds, the amount of poverty in this country is exaggerated. I am far more concerned about focussing efforts at assistance for the non-subsidized people that then would more realistically be considered as being in poverty.

    'Rat
     
  11. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #11
    The problems I imagine with that are twofold:

    1) The cash value of the subsidy isn't always what it seems. It may cost $100 to deliver $50 worth of food aid to the poor. Of course, to make it look good in the books, the gov't would "charge" you for the higher total. Then of course when the budget came due, they'd be cutting more -- the poor only need "$50 worth" of food, why are they getting "$100 worth?" So they'd cut it and the poor would get half what they really needed.
    Housing aid would be nearly impossible to put a price tag on. It's done through landlords who will extract the most value from their property no matter who's on it, and they'll exaggerate their costs to charge more.

    2) That total would push people far out of poverty, the government would say "hey, no one's poor anymore, we can cut the subsidies." The poor are poor because they don't have money, not because they can't afford to eat or have a house.
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    'Rat, it seems to me you are simply stating a kind of tautology: Poor people who are provided with government assistance are no longer impoverished.

    Ok, so that's true. Now what?
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    And yet rich people who get government assistance just get richer.:p
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    To keep it simple, let me use the word "welfare" to include any and all transfer payments to poor people. No negative connotations, no pejorative meanings implied.

    pseudobrit, if a one-bedroom apartment rents for $400 a month, and a welfare recipient only pays $100, it seems to me it's easy to assign a cash value to that subsidy. If the people around town in that sort of apartment commonly run utility bills of, say, $200 a month, but the welfare recipient is only required to pay $50, I find the same calculation applies.

    And, why would the same government that set up the existing welfare system wish to erase it? It is to the benefit of government to have it.

    IJ, no, the thrust of my point about a proper accounting for poverty status would allow a more proper focus on those who at present have fallen through the cracks. Those who truly need more effort on their behalf. (I don't pretend to know who they are, or how to deal with them. I merely know via various news articles from time to time that they do indeed exist.)

    'Rat
     
  15. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #15
    So your system would "charge" them $300?

    That's not going to give an accurate look at how much their subsidy is worth. A roof over one's head is the same in one area as the next (a necessity). But the cost of that housing can vary, as can the conditions. A $400 apartment in one area may be palatial compared to what $800 can get you in another. Should the first person be charged for $300 and the second $700? Would this mean the person with the more expensive housing would recieve less assistance because they are further out of poverty than the first person?

    Or is your system merely designed to show how poor people aren't really that poor because they have something eat and are out of the gutter?

    Must we starve and freeze our poor in order for them to get recognition for being poor?
     
  16. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Lord luvva duck! I'm not trying to suggest charging anybody anything! I'm merely saying that a definition of poverty which strictly focuses on cash income, but omits subsidies, has more people declared as poverty-stricken than is actually the case! Why is that so hard to understand?

    This doesn't mean the subsidized folks aren't poor, nor does it mean they should have some change in the structure of their lives insofar as help. Poor does not necessarily equal poverty.

    I guess I'm saying that these subsidized folks have been helped as much as is reasonable, and we can or should try to identify and help the remainder--which is a smaller and needier group.

    'Rat
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    Trying to define poverty is a difficult thing. An income that might be comfortable in one area of the country might be wholly inadequate in another.

    I'm not sure who you are refering to 'Rat, when you say we need to help those who aren't getting subsidies now. AFAIK most of those who qualify for subsidies get them. The others are ineligible for one reason or another. Are those the ones you want to go after?

    In addition, laws designed to protect children (won't someone please think of the children!:D ) in many cases prevent families from affording a housing situation. For instance, a single mother with 2 school-age children (assuming one boy and one girl) must have a 3 bedroom house in order to qualify for any housing aid. Now, I know things in Texas are cheaper, but around here, I'm paying $1350 for a 2 bedroom house (rent). We looked at 3 bedroom places, but decided we'd hold on to our money instead, since they were averaging around $1500/month. Now, forcing a single mother (or even a family!) to maintain a place like this or face rejection of government aid is insane. Sure it's not great to have your kids in the same room, but what's worse... sharing a room, or splitting the family up? Of course we could say that the nice areas are only for those who can afford them, but even those of us who can afford them need people to work in the service industry, as laborers, housekeepers, etc. If everyone got $50 an hour for their time, even the well-to-do wouldn't be able to afford to live here. You need a mix of incomes to maintain a community for any length of time, or that community withers and dies out. Here we are facing school closures in some parts of the county at the same time we are building schools as fast as we can in other parts because the people with children can no longer afford to live in the original parts of the city.

    Now, the definition of unemployment is also seriously innaccurate. Should we redefine it so it more accuratly reflects the number out of work, or should we do something about the people looking for work? Same with poverty. I don't care what definition you want to use, it seems to me that it is better to help a few people who don't really need it than to not help those who do. Seems like our justice system is set up on the same principle. It's better to let a guilty person go free than to wronly imprison an innocent one. If that wasn't the case, criminal cases would be decided by the 50-50 "preponderance of the evidence", rather than the much more stringent "beyond a reasonable doubt".
     
  18. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Mac, I admit I go through life in a perpetual state of "sticker shock", but those rent prices are incredible to me. (I read about them, of course, but, still...)

    "...a single mother with 2 school-age children (assuming one boy and one girl) must have a 3 bedroom house in order to qualify for any housing aid."

    For such a family, yes, such a house is a Good Thing. But to make it a requirement for housing assistance strikes me as just plain wicked.

    I guess I just gotta admit defeat. My generation just didn't know how bad off we were, I reckon, and we must have all died at an early age...

    'Rat
     
  19. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #19
    Chiming in w/ rent gripes here.

    I pay almost $1600/month for a 2/2.5 townhouse at around 1150 sq. ft.

    I'm sick of pissing away that much cash every month...
     
  20. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #20
    yeah, you could be paying a mortgage w/ that money. just that downpayment hump to get over, yes?
     
  21. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #21
    Big hump here in SoCal. Although I've heard you can sometimes get it waived as a first time home buyer...

    The amenities are great where we're at and we're not sure that we'll still be in San Diego in 2 years, so we're hesitant to buy.
     
  22. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #22
    that makes sense. hard decision to make, though.
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    Yeah it's mostly the down payment thing, it can be a pretty big hurdle when the median house price is hovering around $375,000 here. It's a trade off for the climate and having a pier nearby to go toss a line off when I feel like it though.
     
  24. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #24
    Prices are high in major cities in Texas, but still, not like California. A buddy of mine is dating a lady who has a house in Santa Barbara. 3.2.2 on the tax rolls for around $400K; the same house in a lot of smaller cities in Texas would be at most $150K. Her PITI is $3K/mo...

    And twenty years back I thought a house in Pacific Heights in San Fran was high at $100/sq-ft.

    Makes me glad that ten years back, I was able to do most of the work myself, building my little 1,500 sq-ft "hunting lodge with wal-to-wall carpet". You don't wanna know how little it cost. :) I did beat my left thumb totally into submission, however...

    'Rat
     
  25. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #25
    I didn't say you were, hence the "charge" in quotes.

    But your system would make their real circumstances ignorable by overrating their subsidies. Then we'd just perpetuate and worsen the lie of the welfare stereotype.
     

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