On Preparation and Povertygreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
It was inevitable, I suppose, but on an earlier thread one poster talked about the "average" American family not being able to afford to prepare.
This struck a nerve as I have first hand experience working with people living in poverty including long-term welfare recipients. I also happened to grow up in "poor" family, but just didn't know it at the time.
The "average" American family is not frugal. They often live right up to the edge of their income... no matter what the income level. From first hand experience, I have been amazed at the number of "poor" people who can afford cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, cable TV, fast food, lottery tickets, the tanning salon, custom manicures, new cars, and other items I consider discretionary. And they often have a deck of credit cards loaded to the limits. Yes, they are poor, and will remain so until they learn how to spend less than they earn.
By the way, I do practice what I preach. When folks see my trusty old pickup, I sometimes see the eyebrows raise. A guy in a suit climbing into a "work truck" gives some people pause, I suppose, but I decided long ago the truck was far more utilitarian (and less expensive) than most of my other transportation options.
It's a matter of priorities. Saving, investing and supporting selected charities and my church are more important to me than "new car smell." If people living in poverty simply saved what they spend on luxury items included the dreaded lottery tickets, they'd have money to "prepare."
If they tried what I call 'smart living,' in a few years many could leave poverty behind. It does take discipline and the ability to delay gratification... the same stuff many of us practiced while working our way through the service, trade school, college, grad school, or those first few years of our career. It's also the same stuff that we, as a country, learned during the Great Depression. My great grandmother would laugh, were she alive to read this post. To her, smart living was just plain, common sense.
So, we may disagree on what will happen with Y2K and how much one might want to prepare. We may disagree again, but I think almost every family can manage some degree of preparation... including making a commitment to pay down debt, spend less and save more.
-- Mr. Decker (email@example.com), May 20, 1999
Not to cavil, but yesterday you indicated your vehicle had dual air bags. Just how old IS your 'trusty old pick-up?'
-- Spidey (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
With all due respect, you are mistaken. It was not me who claimed to have dual airbags.
-- Mr. Decker (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
* * * 19990520 Thursday
The following is a list to address the issue you raise. I intend to offer it to viewers of the WTVS-PBS, Detroit Channel 56, "Back to Back" show ( live, w/viewer call-ins ), Tuesday, May 25, 1999, 5:30- 6:00pm, on which I will appear as a guest.
Constructive criticism ( ONLY ) of this document would be appreciated.
Regards, Bob Mangus < firstname.lastname@example.org > * * *
Begin Text * * * 19990525 Tuesday
Per your request, this is the preparation list as discussed on "Back to Back," Tuesday, May 25, 1999, 5:30-6:00pm. Pass it on to family, friends and neighbors.
How to prepare for Y2K with $1,000 ---------------------------------- I've had a lot of inquiries from folks with limited resources and valid concerns about how they can reasonably manage to prepare their families within a small budget. If you can manage to scrape a thousand dollars together between now and the end of 1999, you may find this guideline helpful. This preparation guideline focuses on an estimated period of three months preparation to get through the Michigan winter. ( Businesses and government agencies are stockpiling raw materials for 6-9 months; why not citizens?! ) An important variable/factor to consider in your scenario will be your home location ( i.e., metropolis, city, suburban and rural ). Tailor your plans accordingly. Further, for simplicity sake, this scenario assumes citizens need all the basics ( i.e., access to clean water, energy, sustenance, etc). These preparation guidelines could also include elderly parents. They are presented in an arbitrary order of priority: ===== BASIC ASSUMPTIONS: .. Family of four that can spend about $1,000. .. No particular assumptions about duration or intensity of Y2K. .. This preparation scenario is finance-constrained. .. A family could experience difficulties after the first three months in the worst case scenario. .. Consumption and conservation efforts for food use ( i.e., use of the cash allotment) is stretched out. .. Effective bartering skills. ====== WATER: $150 . Water drum/cistern (50-gallon container) . Water filter and non-deodorized bleach ====== FOOD: $300 . 250 lbs. beans . 250 lbs. rice . Extra supplies of other staples ====== HEAT: $250 . Re-usable emergency blankets. . Small kerosene stove (heating and cooking). . Storage for, and purchase of, clear and dyed kerosene (50 gallons) ====== LIGHT: $100 . (2) Inexpensive oil lanterns (use kerosene above) . Long-lived candles . Waterproof matches ====== COMMUNICATIONS: $75 . Crank radio or 3 month supply of batteries for existing device ====== OTHER: $125 . First aid kit. . Medical supplies as affordable for individual requirements. ====== TOTAL $1,000 ====== TOTAL ===== Additions and Disclaimers: Instead of assigning exact dollar expenditures, as costs will vary, focus on general item types rather than details. It's important, too, that this question always be at the forefront for this level of preparation: "Is this item a need ( absolute requirement ) or a want ( can do without )?" If possible, have a cash reserve of about $250 on hand. If certain items in the list above are not required ( e.g., medications ), you should be able to shuffle funds to extra cash or other areas of need. Some people would put weapons and other security measures on this list. Considering the budget constraints, this would not seem to be reasonable. Join/Form and share your time and talents with citizen neighborhood watch responsibilities. Use your judgment based on where you live and your own attitudes of community responsibility, weapons and self-defense. Wheat berries, grinders, etc., are intentionally omitted as these could be thought of as too pricey unless they can be shared with others (very reasonable strategy). Again, exercise your judgment. Conclusion: Beyond the dollar items (applying to all categories), share preparation costs wherever possible with family, GI ( Y2K "Get It" ) friends, neighbors, etc. This strategy could go along way to stretching your own dollars. Consider picking up skills that you perceive as potentially valuable to carry through tough times. Finally: Please prepare ASAP! Avoid the "Christmas" crunch. * * * End Text
-- Robert Mangus (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
* * * 19990520 Thursday
I'll try it again from a .txt file vs the above Word 97 format ... Accept my apologies? ...
Regards, Bob Mangus * * *
Begin Text * * * 19990519 Wednesday
I've had a lot of inquiries for folks with limited resources and valid concerns about how they can reasonably manage to prepare their families with very limited resources. If you can manage to scrape a thousand dollars together between now and the end of 1999, you may find this guideline helpful. This preparation guideline focuses on an estimated period of three months. ( Businesses and government agencies are stockpiling raw materials for 6-9 months; why not citizens?! )
An important variable/factor to consider in your scenario will be your home location ( i.e., metropolis, city, suburban and rural ). Tailor your plans accordingly. Further, for simplicity sake, this scenario assumes citizens need all the basics ( i.e., access to clean water, energy, sustenance, etc). These preparation guidelines could also include elderly parents. The order presented is not important:
===== BASIC ASSUMPTIONS:
. Family of four that can spend about $1,000. . No particular assumptions about duration or intensity of Y2K. . This preparation scenario is finance-constrained. . A family could experience difficulties after the first three months in the worst case scenario. . Consumption and conservation efforts for food use ( i.e., use of the cash allotment) is stretched out. . Effective bartering skills.
$150 . Water drum/cistern (50-gallon container) . Water filter and non-deodorized bleach
$300 . 250 lbs. beans . 250 lbs. rice . Extra supplies of other staples
$250 . Re-usable emergency blankets. . Small kerosene stove (heating and cooking). . Storage for, and purchase of, clear and dyed kerosene (50 gallons)
$100 . (2) Inexpensive oil lanterns (use kerosene above) . Long-lived candles . Waterproof matches
$75 . Crank radio or 3 month supply of batteries for existing device
$125 . First aid kit. . Medical supplies as affordable for individual requirements.
====== TOTAL $1,000 ====== TOTAL
===== Additions and Disclaimers:
Instead of assigning exact dollar expenditures, as costs will vary, focus on general item types rather than details. It's important, too, that this question always be at the forefront for this level of preparation: "Is this item a need ( absolute requirement ) or a want ( can do without )?"
If possible, have a cash reserve of about $250 on hand. If certain items in the list above are not required ( e.g., medications ), you should be able to shuffle funds to extra cash or other areas of need.
Some people would put weapons and other security measures on this list. Considering the budget constraints, this would not seem to be reasonable. Join/Form and share your time and talents with citizen neighborhood watch responsibilities. Use your judgment based on where you live and your own attitudes for community responsibility, weapons and self-defense. Wheat berries, grinders, etc, are intentionally omitted as these could be thought of as too pricey unless they can be shared with others (very reasonable BTW). Again, exercise your judgment.
Beyond the dollar items (applying to all categories), share preparation costs wherever possible with family, GI ( Y2K "Get It" ) friends, neighbors, etc. This strategy could go along way to stretching your own dollars.
Consider picking up skills that you perceive as potentially valuable to carry through tough times.
Finally: Please prepare ASAP! Avoid the "Christmas" crunch. * * * End Text
-- Robert Mangus (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
Ooops. Reread your polemic of yesterday, and indeed, no airbags. (Now, about the level of risk you're willing to take...). Seriously, I can't imagine many people who smoke crack, play the lotto, gorge on junk food, swill beer, etc. are going to be terribly concerned about personal preparation. We may all be living (and dying) in reduced circumstances next year. I hope not, but it's possible. The only effective response may be to overstock, so as to feed the hungry. I'd rather feed desperate people, than shoot them. Noblesse oblige? No, just nuts and bolts compassion.
-- Spidey (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
Thanks for your work!
Here are a few suggestions: Beans at $.60/lb x 250= $150 and rice at $15/50 lb x 5 = $75 Total is $225. Perhaps recommend supply of complete vitamins $15, Powdered milk (50lb=$70)especially if kids in the house, 50lb salt @ $6. This does bring it to about $300 but??? (at least the vitamins - no doubt). Thanks again for stepping up to the plate and trying to help others.
-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 20, 1999.
I agree with the last post (spidey). The Cigarette smoking, Drug and Alcohol (a drug like Cigs.) swilling people want to die or live an abbreviated life. They don't wanna work forever in downtrodden jobs. They wanna make plenty of babies though so they can givem' what they were given.....Ziltch. It just doesn't seem there are very many "clean minded" poor people out there. When I was a young person, I always wondered about the poor fatalists and never wanted to follow those footsteps. My point here is that If Y2K happens to be like a BAD PARENT, you will either follow your intentions to an early grave, Have bad karma from nasty survivalistic deeds, or become your own person who can flourish with good intentions for yourself and those around you. Preparation of even the most fundamental Items which Decker suggests will be from a person of the latter description, for the most part. If you smoke, drink and do drugs and are a well intentioned person.....my hat's off to you and I hope you do well in life.
-- Feller (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
I am not just talking about the stereotypical "poor." Some of the most financially stretched families in America are lower to upper middle class. There are families who earn six figures and are dancing on the brink of financial ruin with excessive consumer debt and no monetary discipline. I agree with the principle of charity. An increased donation to our local food bank might be wise.
I must admit, when I think about 300 pounds of dried beans, my stomach rumbles. If you go this route, you might think about large quantities of chili powder or barbeque sauce. After Y2K, you might want to host a neighborhood party for a couple of thousand people.
-- Mr. Decker (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
Right On Mr. Decker!
Just recently a fellow co-worker came to me asking advice about how could he possibly prepare for his family when it took all of his paycheck each week to make ends meet? To make a long story short I utilized alot of the excellant tips and advice that's been given to me here on the forum. Well, the following Friday after payday,I ran into this person at a local convienence store while getting some gas for the lawnmower. We greeted each other and started up a conversation while waiting in line to pay. As we talked, you could clearly see two 12 packs of beer sitting on the floor beside him. As the line moved I could'nt resist the urge to bring up what he asked me earlier in the week. So I asked him what was he going to say to his 2 little girls? With a dumb-founded look on his face, he asked what do you mean? I politely pointed out to him that for what he was spending at that moment could feed his children for several day's. What are you going to say to them when they ask their dad why they have no food? He was quiet for a few moments,then he said, oh well, I've got 7 more months!
This small example in itself basically explains why there will be a major panic in this country! People have gotten to the point where they don't think about tomorrow and what it may bring. Sad to say there are too many people that think like this. Not providing for your familiy and loved ones is totally irresponsible and immoral!
Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century! Does anyone else feel that way? I mean, look at our society today, we've become a LAX civilization,LAX parents,LAX schools,LAX discipline,Lax standards, LAX expectations and a culture that has become lax to the point of virtual indifference when it comes to morals,personal responsibility and critical thinking!
Whew! I feel somewhat better for the moment. It's people like this that just get under my skin. We can only do so much, at some point in time folks have got to start taking the initiative upon themselves.
Take care and God bless all!
-- SEMPER FI (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
Those who say they can't afford to prepare don't WANT to prepare. Plain and simple.
Depending upon your site, situation, & creativity $1k might be quite a bit more than you actually need.
Re beans. Beans, eaten regularly, DO NOT make you gassy.
-- Mitchell Barnes (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
Semper Fi, I quite agree with most of what you said. But it occured to me as I read your post that if Y2K is greater than a 6-7, we'll then be living in an ex-Lax society :-D
It has always appalled me when I read what the 'average' amount of savings is for Canada. I assume that it's no better in the States. The schools are now starting to teach basic living skills; budgets, planning, cost awareness. It's sad that parents aren't teaching these skills to their children, however, most don't have them so can't teach them. The schools may teach what they call basic living skills, but won't teach what I consider to be the most basic - priorities. Unfortunately, most parents don't teach that, either!
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
RECOMMENDED READING: "The Millionaire Next Door."
In America, there is an almost unconstrained opportunity to create a "balance sheet" reflecting of significant wealth, built within the limitations that may be imposed by almost any "income statement."
The difference almost always has to do with the values inherrent in the choices one makes......
-- Dave Walden (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
you need to get that made into a tee shirt!!! I bet you could even sell a few - I'd buy one...that's even better than the Y2K - 00h 00h shirt!
-- Arlin H. Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
Smart Living and Living Beyond Your Means
There are virtues to what Mr. Decker calls "smart living." There are vices to the way many Americans get by from one paycheck to the next. Both lifestyles are deeply woven into the fabric of American life and history. They are inherited as much as they are chosen and lived by. As I understand it, Thomas Jefferson lived beyond his means most of his adult lie. Settlers were chopping wood and hauling water while Mr. Jefferson was selling his good books to the American government (and these books would become the start of the Library of Congress).
Today, entrepeneurs are getting online by the millions, offering this or that on their little web sites. Many of them are doing this beyond their means, pushing their cash and credit to the limit in the hopes that they too will get their piece of the American Dream. And those that dared to do this (before the big companies really had a hold on the internet), were rugged electronic pioneers... they settled the web with their two cents, bad animations, and trek-like star backgrounds. And those that come now in search of gold, also contribute to the web.
There are seemingly good and bad reasons why you might not be able to prepare for potential Y2K problems. Just so, there are fair and unjust judgments about a person's financial ability to make preparations... and the personal perception of that person about their own abilities. Rich or poor, a person may need to make significant adjustments in their lifestyle. Simply frowning on those who don't live smartly is not as fulfilling to your personhood as you might think. There is need for patience, practical and pithy recommendations, and hands-on help.
Myself, I am trying hard to live smarter every day. It's not easy. I make mistakes. Some mistakes are truly my own error. Other mistakes just happen through no true fault of my own. If you order things from the wrong company, for example, and you don't get what you ordered. Well, that is a terrible mistake that could not have been foreseen. As for other risks that you take (playing the stock market, running a business, paying for kid's schooling. etc.) and keep you from "living smartly" right now... smart living should be a goal, not an obsession.
Poverty: Classical and Practical
It may not matter how many dollars per hour you earn consistently. It could be minimum wage (or less for waiters, waitresses, unemployed, under-employed, self-employed,) or $1000 (or more) per hour. As Mr. Decker points out, those who might be classically considered "rich" and "poor" may face the same hardships when it comes to Y2K. It is an interesting irony that calls our attention to the risks of moving on up and the costs of an aristocratic lifestyle that most of us pursue-- rich, middle-class, and poor. This is America, after all.
Generally speaking, our poor live as well or better than the middles class of other countries including economic competitors in Asia and Europe. Our poor often eat better, enjoy greater leisure time, live in better housing, etc. Of course, our middle class often live as well or better than wealthy foreigners (including foreigners with inherited wealth). Our rich enjoy greater luxuries, priceless art, the best of the best, etc. The "small is beautiful" idea is well considered in an air-conditioned room while drinking a ice-filled glass of coca cola.
We pride ourselves on this-- especially when we experience first hand how others live in their own countries. As much as I enjoy traveling and thinking how nice it would be if I lived in such a such city for a time, I always find myself greatly relieved to return states side and enjoy the afforable comforts of our material culture. You can't help not to take such pride in this accomplishment. This is in the weave of the very fabric of our uniquely American vision of that more perfect union. We might not like certain side-effects, but most are content.
The next time that you sneer at the thought of the seemingly rich man who thoughtlessly doesn't see how he can really prepare for the worst (whatever that is), remember that you may very well be sneering at the American Dream and his pursuit of it. In reflection, we may find that America is more defined by the spirit of capitalism, the exercise of a free person's economic initiative, and the individual's pursuit for that happiness promised to us by our consumer and material culture... than rugged individualism, self-reliance, and pioneering know-how.
Resentiment and Re-adjustment
If you have achieved "smart living" in your life, this is the kind of accomplishment to be prouf of, but not with a pride that is lorded over those who are working on living smarter. Jumping into smart living with both feet can be expensive in terms of time and money. One of my neighbors had an unusual fireplace insert that cost over $800 almost 20 years ago. He saved quite a bit over the years in terms of electrical and gas bills, but his wife wasn't too happy when she saw the bill on the day he brought home that 140 pound steel insert.
Mr. Decker has mentioned this before: it is very likely that the time you spend on a garden when you can be making real dollars is not necessarily time that is well spent. That goes for all the other time-intensive smart living projects. In terms of preparing for the worst, some practical experience is recommended (for example, some light gardening), but if you still have one dollar more at the end of every hour and after you have bought all the gourmet jarred foods than you would have if you had done it, you might just want those bucks.
Did your parents do you wrong? Did you spend 20 or more years studying in school for nothing? Did you do wrong by starting your own business? Do you make a mistake going with AOL stock? Though I have lived in the city-suburbs most of my life and lived a life of relative physical ease (not intellectual, emotional, or psychological ease!), I had a few unhappy childhood years on the family farm. (grin) However strong my cousins may be and however knowledgable they may be about soil, crops, and livestock, that life is not for me! It may not be for you.
If people were truly aware of the fragility of the structures that permit modern life in the information age, more people might see the wisdom of smart living. Smart living would still be a luxury, but more people would aspire to it as a goal. Understanding the potential threat that Y2K poses to us all may help people to make a commitment to pay down debt, spend less, save more, and be more self-reliant. It would be good for America. (laughing) So there may be some very good things that come of Y2K-- so long as it isn't that bad... that hard!
Sincerely, Stan Faryna
-- Stan Faryna (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
P.S. We live in a very complex society requiring people with a variety of education, knowledge, and skills. We can't all be farmers nor does the lifestyle of city people (programmers, engineers, law makers, teachers, researchers, artists, etc.) always allow for hobbies like gardening. To expect people to be multi-disciplined (farmer-genetic researcher) may be an unrealistic expectation. It may also not be the best thing for America. For example, do we get back to the human genome project after the harvest? After the firewood has been split?
-- Stan Faryna (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
PPS. I meant "work requirements" as opposed to "lifestyle" in the PS.
-- Stan Faryna (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
Very impressed with Mr. Decker (don't flame you Flamers), Arlin H.Adams, Semper Fi and Stan Faryna's answers. Stan and Mr. Decker put well thought Philosphical views to the heart of the matter. My reply was short and sour at best, however, I'd like to bring forth some practicle annecdotes for those who are either financially strapped or poverty stricken. I realize many abhor gardening as Stan and a few of you might have mentioned. If TSHTF or some variety of TEOTWAWKI, it would be very smart and simple to purchase a back-up plan to the fundamental Rice-n-beans and water storage scenario. At Walmart or wherever, you can get 1 case of wide mouthed Quart sized jars w/lids for 7.77 per case,12 jars per case. For 1 person per year, I figure maybe between 24-30 cases of these with a bunch....I mean Buttload of spare lid tops, not rings. They are cheap. Of course a pressure canner would be necessary with a thermometer and cheap recipe book. Water is also a requirement. This is insurance for those who want to go all-guns or over-kill on preparations. The Jars will last a lifetime and it will depend on how many spare lid tops you buy for the amount of years you want to prepare for. People in the depression, I'm sure, found this to be a fundamental necessity. What you don't eat from your garden, cannit in the Jars. Those Jars represent big bucks if you do your math or think about cause and effect or affect. Meat and Veggies are cannable or cannibal, that is if you want to feed your pets others pets, I mean strays....forgive my sense of humor. Wars and Y2k seem to be a real jader for those of us in the preparation trenches. Happy canning and enjoy the fact you may have everything you need in those food-empty boxes.
-- Feller (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1999.
It seems, then, that there are those who WILL NOT prepare and those who CANNOT prepare. For my purposes, the latter are the elderly subsisting on meager incomes and paying high prices for medical care not covered by Medicare, those who are disabled, mentally or physically, and those who innoportunely suffer a sudden, catastrophic loss at the end of the year(such as a fire). Those among the former are--well, I think we can all fill in categories of people there, most noted above.
Hence, those of us who WILL and CAN prepare might want to do so to the best of our ability and within reason (i.e., no more than five years, surely!!!). Then, if there are any problems at all with Y2K, we will be in a position to relieve greatly the load of the various aid agencies, not only by keeping us and our families out of the assistance equation, but also, if Y2k is not a complete catastrophe, by donating some or all of our excess to lessen the burden. Should there be no Y2K problems but, instead, a catastrophic winter storm in, say, February, we will be able to supply the various shelters--or neighbors--with necessities.
There is every reason to prepare to the fullest of your abilities and comfort level--whatever your own personal comfort level may be.
-- Old Git (email@example.com), May 20, 1999.
Boy, do I know what you are all saying. Am a nurse in a long-term facility I supervise CNA's who work for just above minimum wage--and work darn hard, I might addd. Everynite they go over to the convenience store and buy soda and candy and lottery tickets--one even spends $10 or more a nite on the tickets and then they sit around talking about wanting to buy a house but they can't afford it. Make jokes about my bringing leftovers to work each nite but I'm the one buying a 120 acre farm. Two of them have already filed for bankrupcy in their young lives !! Another nurse and I are into preparations and when we talk about it the one lottery gueen gets all hepped up on getting ready as she has 3 small children..so what does she do with her lg. income tax refund check ?? Take herself and hubby to Tunica gambling. They only live for the now..after awhile you have to tune out their conversations as they make me despair for them if Y2K comes a gusher.
-- MUTTI (windance @train.missouri.org), May 20, 1999.
Mr. Decker: As i am quite sure this battle of the "poor" is in response to my earlier post, i feel you deserve to know that there is another side to being "poor". First let me enlighten you and others who answered that all "poor" people are not on drugs, alcohol, welfare,or addicted to the lottery! I was a single parent for 7 years after a failed first marriage,and i was "poor" the entire time, and i did none of the above! I worked 5 days every week to support my daughter and self, i made do with clothing i had had for years, i kept my car for 10 years, and i even managed to open a savings account for my child. However, if i were still in the same situation, my preps would be limited to some water and a few canned goods, beans & rice. And that would only be if someone had taken the time to really convince me that there was a serious need to do so.
I didn't have a computer sitting in my house to investigate what was going on in the world....my world was trying to keep a roof over our heads, healthy food on our plates, and decent clothing on the back of a child who outgrew everything, every 3 months. I shopped clearence racks, yard sales, sold handmade items, had a small garden plot and pick the wild fruit that grows in this area. As cost consious as i tried to be, there still would be no way to buy all or even most of the things that i feel are going to be necessary for y2k.
Know that i am not saying that there aren't many that fall into the descriptions given in some of the above posts,because i know that there indeed are many. What i am trying to get across to anyone willing to listen, is that there are many out there who walk in the shoes that i once did. It's much too late in the preps game for those to adequately prepare.
Another posted that it might be prudent to overstock in anticipation of helping others not so far-sighted. Bravo---humanity still lives. All of my meals are designed to feed a hungry neighbor or two. Kindness will beget kindness. If we that can, are not willing to help some of the ones that cannot, then what are we fighting so hard to save in the first place?
-- kitten (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 21, 1999.
I would like to thank you for you efforts to ease the downtrodden of society. In the teachings of Christ I have read, I have never understood him to try to help the rich. This fallacy of "welfare mother" mentality is a good line for a quick vote.
"They often live right up to the edge of their income"
"It's a matter of priorities."
"It does take discipline"
"To her, smart living was just plain, common sense"
I agree whole heartedly.
-- R. Wright (email@example.com), May 21, 1999.
Christ spent his time with the poor, sick, the disabled and challenged us to do the same. He never mentioned how hard it might be.
Yes, I think there are folks trapped in a cycle of poverty who really are trying. I am strongly committed to helping these people break the cycle of poverty... personally or professionally. I also have seen people who have been on welfare for over a decade, in public housing their entire lives and have been given numerous opportunities for jobs and training. It is frustrating to have working, single mothers survive with little assistance from gov't or charities while long term welfare recipients receive housing, food, childcare, transportation, education, etc. and stay in "the system."
Thank you for the kind thoughts.
-- Mr. Decker (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 21, 1999.
"In the teachings of Christ I have read, I have never understood him to try to help the rich." - R. Wright
I can appreciate your position, Mr. Wright. But, in fact, Christ did invite the rich man to follow him also. Granted, he noted that there were special challenges for the rich in giving it all up and taking up their cross, but Christ did try to help the young man in question. God loves both the rich man and the poor man. He beckons all of us to Him.
Sincerely, Stan Faryna
P.S. It looks like I am becoming an apologist for the rich. Certainly, I am not rich and have my share of complaints and criticisms of the rich. But I also find myself pursuing the American Dream which does include some hope for greater material wealth that will enable me to more effectively continue my work towards (1) leveling the wall of racial division in this country, (2) inspiring this great nation to seek greater and more noble achievements, (3) defending what remains of a moral culture against overwhelming odds that seek the contrary.
-- Stan Faryna (email@example.com), May 23, 1999.
To refresh Decker's memory.
-- OutingsR (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 15, 1999.