Poverty: our hidden family

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In our area %40 of the people are on some form of government assistance. These are the working poor and their children for the most part plus the disabled and elderly. THINK of what that means. Which grocery stores do their money go to? Which landlord do their rents go to? Which doctors? Nursing facility, daycare? 100% of their income goes through them. None sticks in a bank, much less stocks or bonds or savings can in the back yard. Who serves them? Social service agencies feed them, clothe them, fight with the utilities--landlords for them--local drives for essentials---neighbors or businesses looking for a tax right off. More deeply hidden yet actively participating in the underground economy are the nameless drug dealers, addicts, the prostitutes. Beyond even those are the invisable homeless--and yes the few and more visable fakers and opportunists with cardboard signs. 40%. Think of it. Now--How do you think they will react if y2k removes what they survive on? Can you look into the face of want and need and shut them out of your soul? My guess is definitely yes. Because we have. We have been practicing neglect and have it down as a fine art of pervasive avoidance. Look the other way. Fund my own interest. Red line "their" areas. THINK what you and I have done to our own. Now think how it could be different. What can you do. Very tired social worker looking at what most won't see.

-- jes passin through (sorrowing@home.com), November 27, 1999


--- a lot, not all, but a lot of the economic misery in this country is CAUSED by all too intrusive government, and sky high taxes. If people were allowed to keep more of their own money, instead of having it depeted 5 fold by running their tax money through endless layers of governmental bureaucracy, than those below poverty line people wouldn't be below the poverty line. The gov steals your money, then provides "assistance" back to the people. If you want to keep your money, you are made out to be a criminal. If you want to be independent of the gov, you are made out to be a dangerous survivalist wacko or right wing cultist conspiracy freak extremeist. The gov takes away, you then are forced to "vote" to keep those bozos in power in order to get some of your money back. This system is NUTZ. The answer is really simple, end the income tax. End too large and cumbersome big bro government. Stop the "war on drugs", the prohibition that only servres the needs of the doods in suits at the top who run the banks that launder the money, the ones who own and control the "illegal' drug distribution networks, and the ones who work in and benefit from the police state. Just those two simple steps would do a lot to alleviate poverty, human misery, crime, and the feelings of helplessness that are rampant in the poorer communities. It would also create real wealth universally. Domestic economic serfdom just isn't working. The welfare state isn't working. And the size and complexity of big government is DANGEROUS to maintaining prosperity and freedom. You don't feed everyone by giving them a fish, you teach them how to fish, and let them keep their money so they can get a boat and a fishpole, figuratively speaking.


-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), November 27, 1999.

I see them, and I wonder. With help wanted signs everywhere, why are they still begging on the street? I assume it's a combination of drug abuse and depression. But I agree that if they can't get off the streets when the economy is booming, it's hard to see how they'll cope with a recession/depression and fewer government services.

Crime, I guess...

-- You Know... (notme@nothere.junk), November 27, 1999.

Well, I deal with welfare recipients in this area, they are not inner city, or minorities, they are prozac lazy. However, after several months of effort we have gotten one on her feet but there are three large, human, adult ticks sucking on her now that she has money, and a car. Do they help her with the cost of repairing the car? No. They call me up and demand that I do something. Why don't THEY do something? We'll fix the car again!

I'll always feed some one but if things go bad I will demand that they work. They should work now.

"Because we have. We have been practicing neglect and have it down as a fine art of pervasive avoidance. Look the other way. Fund my own interest."

The "WAR ON POVERTY", remember, BILLIONS of $?

Don't make me feel guilty! If it is minorities you are referring to then all I can say is that I have worked for many "minorities" who make a whole lot more money than me. If one can do it another can. One was uneducated but turned a janitorial business very profitable.

Feel sorry?

-- Mark Hillyard (foster@inreach.com), November 27, 1999.

After a strong glance at what the food hyperinflation is going to look like, I think you'll find yourself walking away from "helping others," and will be very concerned that those prices may go the route of "chronic."

You're going to see this. There is no way one huge chain is going to sit out there with these prices like a big sore thumb. My local area is seeing it now.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), November 27, 1999.

ZOG-- No argument about the cause. The situation is right here under our noses. Now to the question. What can you-me-others do given these circumstances, for a particular person, child--disabled, elderly or homeless person. Fighting for and waiting for the system to change is a pitiful rationalization and an incredibly frustrating approach in my estimation, when facing this day's person who is having this day's problem with this day's resources and facing those in contol's of the economy's beliefs about their personal value to society. Just how many of us "bleeding hearts" go home from legislative attempts to get a living wage passed! So are you going to give grandma in the nursing home a fishing pole?---how the #@#@ is she going to get to the water in her wheel chair? Rant off. jes passin through

-- jes passin through (sorrowing@home.com), November 27, 1999.

We originally moved to our rural NY area (one of the poorest in the state and the Northeast) mainly so Ms. BigDog could offer quality birthing care, both home and hospital, to teens and poor families. We put our lifestyle where our confession was.

Folks here have been demoralized by four decades of destruction to a farm economy that used to be the pride of the state, bringing most of the milk to NYC and Philadelphia.

Still, there is a spirit of self-reliance and a readiness to make do that would shame a lot of suburbanites. Call them "poor" and you're likely to get poked im the nose, if you're lucky. Or worse, just be shunned. Treat them as equals (which they are) and you've got loyal friends for life who will end up helping you more than you thought you would help them.

We can't feed the county next year if TSHTF and won't hesitate to protect our family to the hilt from marauders, standing alongside our neighbors, whether the baddies be local or extra-local. But we did buy hundreds of dollars of seeds, both hybrid (they can be planted for several years with reasonable germination) and non-hybrid and could, with neighboring farmers, partially feed one heck of a lot of people in 2001.

We're currently looking for a miracle so we can get a small motor home from some OTHER folks nearby desperate for money so Ms. BigDog (reg. nurse as well as midwife) could use it as a floating clinic next year around the county if the nearby hospital goes belly-up. Those of you who are Christians, pray with us.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), November 27, 1999.

Big Dog and Wife. THANKYOU!!!!!!!!! BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!

-- jes passin through (sorrowing@home.com), November 27, 1999.

To the liberals I say it is time to start calling low income people what they are: workers. I have never met a poor person who has not spent years working at minimum wage jobs. To the conservative republicans I say if taxes bug you so much, it is time to get really, really bugged about the profit tax your employer takes out of the wealth that you produce for him/her. This is a much larger percentage of the wealth you create than the part the government takes. If you want to get to the heart of the problem it rests in workers not having enough to live on because their employers pocket the majority of it. To the employers I say: GIVE IT BACK.

-- Brian McNeill (BRIAN.MCNEILL@prodigy.com), November 27, 1999.

zog, I love it when you talk like that!

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), November 27, 1999.

The TODAY show estimated that on top of all those fed Thanksgiving Dinner by Non-profits, an estimated 10,000,000 (ten million) households (meaning even more and mostly children) went hungry. In the US folks. The gap is growing wider/ w i d e r / w i d e r

-- karla (karlacalif@aol.com), November 27, 1999.

Mark. Exactly. And having worked in many of those programs my observation is that the money went LAST to the poor and FIRST to business in the form of incentives.

-- jes passin through (sorrowing@home.com), November 27, 1999.

The system ain't nuts, it's by design, and working as intended.

Create a constituency, and use it to stay in power.

Hegelianism at its finest!

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), November 27, 1999.

Thanks, but I really meant what I said -- folks around here have given back to us at least as much as we give to them.

Also agree with Zog. We have a vast system of unintended consequences that has us all more-or-less enslaved. Abolishing the income tax would begin to cut the Gordian knot. The grand illusion we have is that doing something like that would cause millions to suffer. Perhaps. But millions are suffering today under that "system". There are no utopias, but we need a twenty-first century solution to today's problems, not a "New Deal" solution.

Y2K was a tremendous opportunity for opening up a serious dialogue about systems of all kinds, not just the computerized type, but our culture seems to have missed the opportunity, at least to date.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), November 27, 1999.

Y2K was a tremendous opportunity for opening up a serious dialogue about systems of all kinds, not just the computerized type, but our culture seems to have missed the opportunity, at least to date.

Yep, BigDog, my thoughts as well. Grievous error. Keeping my fingers crossed that enough people will keep pushing for that dialogue; not just the same worn out "solutions" applied with hope of garnering different results-the quintessential definition of insanity.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), November 27, 1999.

Karla---yes---children. Somehow we have been sold a bill of goods about poverty. Practiced misinformation delivered long enough becomes truth.(could this be true for y2k?) The social programs against poverty started here in the US by a bunch of well-to-do women with a horror of what they were seeing being done to women and children. The focus was to train women and get the kids out of the mines and other forms of child labor. I guess we could argue all over the place about progress. Underneith all this is a sanitized class war and you will note when it looks like the great unwashed are becoming restless and threaten violence to get their share, there is a "poverty" program put into place that will settle the mob, while at the same time keeping a selected percentage of the population precisely where they were--grubby little worker bees--millions feeding the select few queens. And damn us social workers, we are the freyed red line holding back those multitudes with society's promises and pittances? (MIddle of the night wrestling with personal and social ethics---)rant really off now--heading for Eagles to get more STUFF.

-- jes passin through (sorrowing@home.com), November 27, 1999.

The problem is in the families not the goverment. As said; the system works the way it was ment to. No one went without when families worked together. Kids stayed at home and helped out with the expenses, raised thier familes (with the help of mom and dad, not day care). Took care of the older family members (not nursing homes). Pooling money and other resoures is the way to stay afloat these days. Throwing your kids out at 18 and see how fast they'll sink just isn't working. It's this "new" way of doing things that makes the "system" [work]. Did you ever wonder why those old houses in the country are so large? It's not because 2 people needed room to "have some space" (like the new houses being built for todays "empty nesters"). If the people on public welfare would just pool their limited resourses and help each other out, we wouldn't have to pay as much in taxes. Am I too idealistic here?

-- P.A. (willowfarms@noproblem.y2k), November 27, 1999.

If as you say 40% of the population is on gov't assistance, what percent of the WORKERS are working in jobs that receive gov't funding to help those people? If you add up all the WORKING people at social service agencies that receive gov't funding to help the old, disabled, sick, etc. you begin to see that if there is any breakdown in the IRS, the SSA, the HCFA, etc. the results on society will be tremendous. Hospitals, Head Start programs, schools, Health Departments, Veteran's services, landlords of subsidized housing apts., group homes, nursing homes, hospices, day services for elderly or developmentally disabled, agencies for the blind, orthopedically handicapped, deaf, etc.; WIC or food stamp workers, medical clinics, Mental Health and counseling agencies; employment agencies, childcare places for the working poor, etc.

Not just the "dependents" are dependent.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), November 27, 1999.

jes passin,

Finally! I was wondering when somebody would bring this issue up. There are a LOT more homeless out there than most suspect. Thanks. Now I don't have to bring it up and run.

zog, I agree with you that the welfare state has a lot to do with it, but there's more to it than that. Ask any job seeker over 40.

Mark, Yes, a lot of 'em are lazy, and a lot of 'em are parasites, but not all of 'em are. Some of 'em are really trying to find work. Why don't they get it? Because, all too often, the hiring managers reject them for purely subjective and politically correct reasons: too old, wrong gender, no recent experience (even at flipping burgers), newcomer in town, and so on. Sure there are great-grandmothers working at WalMart. I've seen lots of 'em. But they're local folks. Newcomers to town have to wait until all the locals have been satisfied. That doesn't happen very often, because too many of them don't want to lower their lifestyle...they still want their satellite TV, their SUVs, their boats, their skiis, their new clothes every season, and dinner at a good restaurant.

At least that's what I have been seeing. There are a lot of minimum wage jobs out there, yes. But they're not open to just anyone.

-- hunter (way@up.north), November 27, 1999.

---job seeker---I was one of those over 40's who all of a sudden had to find another career. sucked bigtime for awhile. and now y2k--man o man i gots plenty of jobs now! farmer, woodcutter, water humper, guard, teacher, carpenter, mechanic, yada, yada, yada..........

---donna, and I LIKE IT when you are up on that hilltop, the wind is blowing hard, and I get a good peek under the sheets...........

zog, boy gawker, star gazer, cloud buster, and romantic dreamer....

-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), November 27, 1999.

I was once a welfare caseworker. People who don't work are not what you think--lazy and scheming. Many are mothers with children. And these women are confused, without a clue as to how to make their lives better. We who are lucky enough to have been born to families that trained us differently, should simply give thanks and not look down on others who haven't had the same good fortune.

But will those without a clue survive next year?

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), November 27, 1999.

"We toured Hong Kong, a most vibrant city, in rickshaws pulled by barefoot coolies. We enjoyed a nine-course dinner while delighting in the dancing of glittering girls, fiery dragons and smashing gongs. There could have been some male dancers also, but I dont remember. We cruised around a floating city where more than 200,000 people lived on wooden junks and sampans. Families shared their boats with pigs and chickens. There were floating stores and floating schools. Boys dove from the high poops of the junks into the harbor poop, to retrieve the coins that we tossed them from our ship. A woman in an open boat carried her baby on her back, cooked a meal over an open fire, all the while trying to catch our presents with a long-handled basketball net.

"Thousands of refugees from Red China lived on the hillsides in squalor under scraps of tin and cardboard. They enjoyed the same luxury that I had savored only eight years before in my tideland shack. They had no real toilets either. However destitute, these people with little education were striving to improve their lot through hope, not dope, vision and hard work. Their poverty gave them incentive, they were not paid to sit and mope and pout. The fruits of their labors were not stolen through excessive taxation.

"One afternoon I visited a tailor to be fitted for two wool suits, each with two pairs of pants. In the evening, I returned to try on the cutout patterns; the next day the finished products fit me like gloves. These busy beavers had even stitched my name on the inside coat pockets.

"Hong Kong was a wealth-creation haven for two major reasons: low taxes and "cheap" labor of thousands of immigrants. The highest income tax rate in Hong Kong was only fifteen percent, which was paid by only the wealthiest. Average families paid no income taxes at all. Consequently many Hong Kong middle class families would become multi- millions in spite of accommodating tens of thousands of impoverished refugees over a period of many years.

"I can hear it again, Yeah, but they have cheap, but they shouldn't, but I had a bad childhood, but Im only reporting the facts.

"Many of these families have now moved to Vancouver, B. C., one of the wealthiest, cleanest and most beautiful cities I have ever visited."

-- Not Again! (seenit@ww2.com), November 27, 1999.

Linda, thanks for pointing out that there are a lot of other people who would be one step away from welfare if they weren't working for the welfare industry. It's systemic, like Y2k. I've been on food stamps, I've had a gold card. I know that when I've had a gold card,I've been in places where lots of people have them treat those who serve them like shit. When I needed to use food stamps during a health emergency years ago, I remember all the judgements from others. The wheel keeps turning, sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down. Lots of times you are a little kid who doesn't have any control over their situation. Remember the kids. Or are you all going to be tough-guy social darwinists about them too?

I'm upstate as well, BigDog. Lot of poverty here, but the thing that will save us if anything does is we have a big tradition of self-reliance. We can't run for the hills, we're already there.

-- Firemouse (firemouse@fcmail.com), November 27, 1999.

Y2K was a tremendous opportunity for opening up a serious dialogue about systems of all kinds, not just the computerized type, but our culture seems to have missed the opportunity, at least to date.

A city councilman told me that 50% of the people in our county (Butte, 90 mi. north of Sacramento) are government dependent, ie recieve a gov't check. Includes I suppose welfare, food stamps, social security. Butte Co. Populaiton 180,000. Thousands of gov't workers, teachers, county & city employees. Economy is booming: unemployment down to 5.something %. Just talked to a transplant from Austin TX, a social worker working as a class room paraprofessional. Her income here is less than half what she earned in TX.

Office manager for a doctor's practice: $8 p.hr.

When time are hard unemployment goes up to 12 or 15%.

A newspaper editorial said the welfare office has increased its office space quite a bit and its budget is more than 1/3 higher than last year. Editor wonders why. No clue re Y2K.

Welcome to the instant poor in 2000. Jobs disappear, etc etc etc.

"We have met the poor, and we are them."

I write this knowing, of course, that many wonderful type people -- Clinton, Gore, Kissinger, Trump, usw-- will probably grow even fatter, and happier.

-- johno (jobriy2k@yahoo.com), November 27, 1999.

johno - hi neighbor (I'm in Plumas Co.).

Imagine the levels of connection.

First there are the people on various forms of welfare. It is easy for many to right them off... better to be rid of the useless eaters. Forgetting that we all occupy different points on the dependent/independent wheel as time goes by, what happens if those welfare payments are suddenly cut off. Not only the primary welfare recepients are hurting but now you effect the...

Secondary welfare recepients. All those who work in helper organizations (as mentioned above). If there was a serious breakdown in the funding for welfare programs all these people would be out of work too. And if the primary and secondary welfare recepients have a sudden loss of income, guess what... it effects...

Everybody else. The consuming power of a huge chunk of the society drops and that will lead to lower sales, lower production, and mass lay offs for even for those folks who see themselves as the REAL WORK FORCE.. producing REAL goods.

Its a web folks. We're all connected.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), November 27, 1999.

[stupid brain!] That should have been "its easy for people to _write_ (not right) them off.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), November 27, 1999.

Big Dog and wife: bless you, bless you, bless you. You are angels upon the earth. My husband and I will pray for you that your wife may have the resources to help the ill after the rollover (even if nothing happens, which I doubt).

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), November 27, 1999.

I was watching CNN yesterday and a comentator was talking about how people didn't have to stay in minimum wage jobs, that the opertunities were out there for them to work at higher paying jobs and that it was their own fault that they were the working poor. I wondered just how those who were financially stable would have it so good if there was no-one to work the minimum wage jobs. It is those working in minimum wage jobs that make life so easy for them. The working poor do all of the jobs They pack their groceries, serve the food at resteraunts, clean their offices, drive the school busses, work at day care. wash their cars, eait on them is stores, pick and package their food and serve their country to protect them. Yes the low ranking military are working poor and have had to use food stamps to feed their families for decades. What makes it worse is that low paying jobs come without health insurance a lot of times. What has been expressed abouve and not realised by a lot of the working "well to do" is that they are living better only because of credit. If it were not for their plastic and credit, they could not afford the life style they live and were they to loose their jobs, or even be unable to work for 6 months for some reason, they would be worse off then the working poor. At least the working poor have learned to live within their means where those who appear to be well to do would not know how to survive on little money. That is why I wonder why people worry about the poor rioting if they don't get their checks due to Y2K. They know how to survive, where those who are used to having others do their grunt work will have a difficult time even knowing how to cook for themselves.

When the power went out in SanFransisco, the poor did not riot, but there were people who worked in the business district who were demanding that they be let into their building to work, they didn't they they were effected, yet how were they supposed to get to their offices without elevators to take them up 60 floors and what would they do when they got there? Also they went around looking for a place to eat and coffee and complained because there was no place open to sell it to them! These are the people who do not have food stocked up at home for more than a few days. The poor buy food uncooked and not pre-made. They know how to cook from scratch, they are the ones who have always bought food on sale in bulk, ironed their own clothes, been content with what they could afford without having to "charge" things to keep up with the Jones'.

If power goes out and the stores run out of food, it will probably be the poor who will "suffer" less than those who are used to having the money to "buy" anything they need.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), November 27, 1999.


sounds like you either got lucky, or you're in the right place. I've been in the wrong places all this time. More staunchly DWGI that otherwise, and the GIs all believe that the term "rugged individualist" applies to them.

The rest just don't want to be in the same place as an old, graying, grunt (aka baby burner). Too spooky.

-- hunter (way@up.north), November 27, 1999.

The photo on the bottom of this page reminds me:

"We traveled by train to East Frisia where we met M. He bought us new clothes and we spent a few days visiting his and our relatives. When he drove us to the Port of Bremerhaven, he casually asked us:

What are you going to do in America?

"Again Little Brother and I did not detect the warning flag. We had no idea what we would do, but he, ever submissive, wanted to accommodate him and simply said:


"Maybe he remembered the German adage: Arbeit macht frei. I know better now, I learned it the hard way, it is this: To think makes you free. To act on your thoughts makes you free.

"Slaves are told: Work makes you free.

"I did not answer M.s question. Had I done so, I would have told him that I did not know what we were going to do in America because I really did not know; I had never thought about it. But I knew that in America you were either a cowboy or an Indian and I wanted to be friends with the Indians and hunt buffaloes with arrows and spears.

"In Bremerhaven, amid great fanfare, we boarded the huge ship, the "MS XXXXXX". A brass band played happy tunes while colorful confetti fell from the gray and drizzly sky. Was this a happy time or was this a dreary time for us?

-- Not Again! (seenit@ww2.com), November 27, 1999.

"the term "rugged individualist" applies to them" ---hunter

I know a lot of "rugged individualists". Rugged from praying, praising and thanking Almighty God, Jesus for their blessings. I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for those who, finding themselves in need, are too proud to humble themselves and get down on their knees before Almighty and Merciful God for their petitions. Instead, they take it as their ABSOLUTE RIGHT to live off the sweat of their neighbors with no accountability. Live any way they damn well please. Have babies with no husband. "Don't judge me". Too proud to darken the door of a church but instead will buy into the lies of the government gods and will bow before these same government gods with their utopian socialist schemes who will promise and provide stolen booty.

I have heard their cries. "I will not be made to grovel before your God" they say. Fine, but Babylon is coming down. My God will see to it. And whoever said we could serve 2 masters?

-- S. David Bays (SDBAYS@prodigy.net), November 27, 1999.

Cherri,..don't take this the wrong way...I mean it only as praise...this is one of the most well composed posts I've read of yours....thank you for your input.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), November 27, 1999.

Being poor is nothing to be ashamed of, staying poor is the sin.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), November 28, 1999.

"Being poor is nothing to be ashamed of, staying poor is the sin."

What would you recommend? "Get a job" doesn't work any more, unless you happen to be politically correct. If you are, of course, and have little or no scruples, then you can be president of the US, but what would you say to those who are politically incorrect? Rob a bank? Beg forgiveness?

-- hunter (way@up.north), November 28, 1999.

What exactly is being poor? Is being poor <10,000 year, <15,000 year, more, less? MOST individuals on assistance have cable tv. How many have an automobile? Smoke spend more than $10.00 week on alcohol?

If you ask me about the poor in third world countries you have my attention. Whole families working for $400.00 a year now that is poverty. Where exactly did the founding fathers of our country write that all citizens have the right to cable tv? Where exactly did the government become the guarenteer of assistance to "families" who cannot afford 1 child, support for 2/3/4 children. How many well meaning social welfare programs from well intentioned social workers have destroyed the very inner cities YOU claim to help. You demand more of our money to throw down your ratholes because you know better.

Part of that neglect is a feeling that at some point enough is enough. That same feeling permeates societies feelings on crime, lock them up and throw away the key. There has been some hardening of attitudes but ask yourself are all the people waiting for money doing all that they can.

If Mother Theresa admonished me at least she carried the weight of her life of selflessness. Some day you will look past the people in front of you and ask how did I create this and look to solve the problem not feed off the machine.

-- squid (Itsdark@down.here), November 29, 1999.


"Whole families working for $400.00 a year now that is poverty."

Compared to living standards here and in similar "first world" countries, yes. For some families, $400 a year is the equivalent of $40,000 a year. Depends on the country, and the cost of living where they live.

"...ask yourself are all the people waiting for money doing all that they can."

Some are, some aren't. Of those who are, some find barriers to their goals that aren't there for many who aren't. Not too long ago, one of those barriers used to be called "affirmative action." Since then, of course, they've changed the name.

"Some day you will look past the people in front of you and ask how did I create this and look to solve the problem not feed off the machine."

If only there was some way to get those in government offices and government jobs to ask themselves the same question and look to solve the problem instead of make it worse with new names for the same old politically correct policies and programs.

Elections won't work. That's how we got Arkansas version of Jack the Zipper in the WH.

-- hunter (way@up.north), November 29, 1999.

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