Posts tagged poverty

Posted 1 month ago

“Hi, I’m right here”: An open letter to Paul Ryan about poverty and empathy

In the years I spent working with low-wage families, I realized that they were not struggling because they ate at McDonald’s or had cable … but sometimes they ate at McDonald’s or had cable because they were struggling. This is an important distinction.

If you are a single parent working for low wages, you do not shop for fun. You do not go to the gym, go to the movies, remodel the kitchen, take a road trip, visit amusement parks, build a deck, go skiing, join a swim club, or sign the kids up for dance class.

Why? Because all of those things cost money, require items that cost money, or require a car reliable enough to go long distances. Your fun is limited to things that are nearby, cheap or free, that you can do after work when it’s dark and you’re exhausted, while supervising your kids at the same time. Other than reading, that sounds a lot like TV.

And while of course it’s cheaper and healthier to eat every meal at home, what if you’ve just worked 12 hours scrubbing hotel bathrooms, and the nearest grocery store is a bus ride away? Or what if it’s little Bobby’s birthday, and a Happy Meal is the only treat you can afford?

“What I had not understood until I found myself in true poverty is that it means living in a world of ‘no,’” writes Alex Andreou in the Guardian. “Ninety-percent of what you need is answered no. Ninety-nine percent of what your kids ask for is answered no. Cinema? No. Night out? No. New shoes? No. Birthday? No.

“So if the only indulgence that is viable, that is within reach, that will not mean you have to walk to work, is a styrofoam container of cheesy chips, the answer is a thunderous ‘YES.’”

Obviously none of this is cause to eat fast food every night or buy the fanciest cable package on the market — and conversations about these expenses are worth having, respectfully, with struggling families. But sometimes choices that seem foolish from the outside make a lot more sense from within.

(Source: azspot)

Posted 1 month ago

goldenheartedrose:

mresundance:

sourcedumal:

hobbitdragon:

crotchetybushtit:

usually unpopular opinion puffin pisses me off but this is so important

yes this

ALL OF THIS

Human decency is the ability to see others as, well, human. I don’t give a shit why or how people are on wellfare. I don’t give a shit if they are grifters (statistically they are not). I don’t give a shit if they are addicts or recovering addicts, if they are poor and working 3 jobs or poor and working no jobs, if they are disabled in some capacity, I just don’t give a flying fuck. I give a flying fuck if that person is cold, or hungry, though, because that person is still a fucking person, regardless of all circumstances. And I have this weird idea that people deserve dignity and respect and I dunno, being seen and treated as human beings. 

Empathy and compassion. Social conservatives should try it sometime. 

I love you.

Seriously, got a little teary eyed reading that because yes, more people need to think like this.

(Source: wildreservations)

Posted 3 months ago
Posted 3 months ago
I met a wheat farmer not long ago in Montana whose family operation was getting nearly $300,000 a year in federal subsidies. With his crop in, this wealthy farmer was looking forward to spending a month in Hawaii. No one suggested that he pass a drug test to continue receiving his sizable handout, or that he be cut off cold, and encouraged to grow something that taxpayers wouldn’t have to subsidize.
Posted 4 months ago
Posted 4 months ago

Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts

(Source: tiredofcrackery)

Posted 4 months ago
I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about? What is the retail value of a school principal who defers a bit more to your child because your mother’s presentation of self signals that she might unleash the bureaucratic savvy of middle class parents to advocate for her child? I don’t know the price of these critical engagements with organizations and gatekeepers relative to our poverty when I was growing up. But, I am living proof of its investment yield.

The Logic of Stupid Poor People

A great article about the backlash against those POC who were racially profiled at Barney’s for “spending money on items they can’t afford”

(via newwavefeminism)

This is SO true. We were “educated poor” (at a time when professors didn’t make much at all) and my dad’s status as a professor (university town, slightly odd manner of dress, big words, big briefcase) got us a lot of things we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Preferential treatment by car dealers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. This is why clothing closets, finer items, and such—and any training in “looking well-off”—are a boon to people living in poverty.

I think it’s also why people react so vehemently to the poor having nice things like clothes, phones, cars. It’s not just (or even) a sense of being defrauded, it’s a fierce defence of the class structure. If the poor can mimic you, then what’s to keep someone else from thinking you’re poor and treating you badly? 

The attack is punching down. It’s safe. It’s self-serving. Punching up rejects the notion that we should treat the poor worse than others simply on the basis of their financial status. It means we admit our class privilege and that we are, daily, receiving benefits for something that is not (as much as we would like to think otherwise) a reward for our merits. 

Posted 4 months ago

20 Things the Poor Really Do Every Day | Ben Irwin

america-wakiewakie:

1. Search for affordable housing. 

Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless.
(Source: New York Times)

2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month. 
That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3…
(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)

3. Subsist on poor quality food. 
Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is…
(Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)

4. Skip a meal.
One in six Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating.
(Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)

5. Work longer and harder than most of us.
While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. More than 80 percent of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60 percent have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.”
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts. 
Number 15 on Ramsey and Corley’s list was, “44% of [the] wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of [the] poor.” It may be true that most poor people don’t wake up three hours before work starts. But that could be because they’re more likely to work multiple jobs, in which case job #1 means they’re probably just getting to bed three hours before job #2 starts.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

7. Try to avoid getting beat up by someone they love. 
According to some estimates, half of all homeless women in America ran away to escape domestic violence.
(Source: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009)

8. Put themselves in harm’s way, only to be kicked to the streets afterward. 
How else do you explain 67,000 63,000 homeless veterans?
(Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs, updated to reflect the most recent data)

9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes. 
Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc. In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay TWICE as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%.
(Source: Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)

10. Fall further behind. 
Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you experience poverty as a child, you are 3-4 times less likely to graduate high school. If you spend your entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you.
(Sources: World Vision, Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)

11. Raise kids who will be poor. 
A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a myth.
(Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)

12. Vote less. 
And who can blame them? I would be less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud.
(Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)

13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us. 
Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government. The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters.
(Sources: NPRPew Research Center)

14. Live with chronic pain. 
Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report feeling physical pain on any given day.
(Source: Kaiser Health News)

15. Live shorter lives. 
There is a 10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet.
(Source: Health Affairs, 2012)

16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else. 
Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations. 
The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008.
(Source: Think By Numbers)

18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible. 
Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls within five years. Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

19. Have about the same number of children as everyone else. 
No, poor people do not have loads of children just so they can stay on welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

20. Accomplish one single goal: stay alive.  
Poverty in America may not be as dire as poverty in other parts of the world, but many working poor families are nonetheless preoccupied with day-to-day survival. For them, life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured.

(Source: america-wakiewakie)

Posted 5 months ago

Let me tell you some things.

I used to investigate child abuse and neglect. I can tell you how to stop the vast majority of abortion in the world.

First, make knowledge and access to contraception widely available. Start teaching kids before they hit puberty. Teach them about domestic violence and coercion, and teach them not to coerce and rape. Create a strong, loving community where women and girls feel safe and supported in times of need. Because guess what? They aren’t. You know what happens to babies born under such circumstances? They get hurt, unnecessarily. They get sick, unnecessarily. They get removed from parents who love them but who are unprepared for the burden of a child. Resources? Honey, we try. There aren’t enough resources anywhere. There are waiting lists, and promises, and maybes. If the government itself can’t hook people up, what makes you think an impoverished single mom can handle it?

Abolish poverty. Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? Daycare can cost as much or more than monthly rent. They may be inadequately staffed. Getting a private nanny is a nice idea, but they don’t come cheap either. Relatives? Do they own a car? Does the bus run at the right times? Do they have jobs of their own they need to work just to keep the lights on? Are they going to stick around until you get off you convenience store shift at 4 AM? Do they have criminal histories that will make them unsuitable as caregivers when CPS pokes around? You gonna pay for that? Who’s going to pay for that?

End rape. I know your type errs on the side of blaming the woman, but I’ve seen little girls who’ve barely gotten their periods pregnant because somebody thought raping preteens was an awesome idea. You want to put a child through that? Or someone with a mental or physical inability for whom pregnancy would be frightening, painful or even life-threatening? I’ve seen nonverbal kids who had their feet sliced up by caregivers for no fucking reason at all, you think sexual abuse doesn’t happen either?

You say there’s lots of couples who want to adopt. Kiddo, what they want to adopt are healthy white babies, preferably untainted by the wombs and genetics of women with alcohol or drug dependencies. I’ve seen the kids they don’t want, who almost no one wants. You people focus only on the happy pink babies, the gigglers, the ones who grow and grow with no trouble. Those are not the kids who linger in foster care. Those are certainly not the older kids and teenagers who age out of foster care and then are thrown out in the streets, usually with an array of medical and mental health issues. Are they too old to count?

And yeah, I’ve seen the babies, little hand-sized things barely clinging to life. There’s no glory, no wonder there. There is no wonder in a pregnant woman with five dollars to her name, so deep in depression you wonder if she’ll be alive in a week. Therapy costs money. Medicine costs money. Food, clothes, electricity cost money. Government assistance is a pittance; poverty drives women and girls into situations where they are forced to rely on people who abuse them to survive. (I’ve been up in more hospitals than I can count.)

In each and every dark pit of desperation, I have never seen a pro-lifer. I ain’t never seen them babysitting, scrubbing floors, bringing over goods, handing mom $50 bucks a month or driving her to the pediatrician. I ain’t never seen them sitting up for hours with an autistic child who screams and rages so his mother can get some sleep while she rests up from working 14-hour days. I don’t see them fixing leaks in rundown houses or playing with a kid while the police prepare to interview her about her sexual abuse. They’re not paying for the funerals of babies and children who died after birth, when they truly do become independent organisms. And the crazy thing is they think they’ve already done their job, because the child was born!

Aphids give birth, girl. It’s no miracle. You want to speak for the weak? Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty helping the poor, the isolated, the ill and mentally ill women and mothers and their children who already breathe the dirty air. You are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for children. You don’t have a flea’s comprehension of injustice. You are not doing shit for life until you get in there and fight that darkness. Until you understand that abortion is salvation in a world like ours. Does that sound too hard? Do you really think suffering post-birth is more permissible, less worthy of outrage?

“Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.

In reply to a ‘pro-life’ blogger: STFU, Conservatives: When I say I’m pro-life… (via grrrltalk) emphasis mine. (via fuckyeahfeminists)
Posted 5 months ago

If you live in the United States, there is a good chance that you are now living in poverty or near poverty. Nearly 50 million Americans, (49.7 Million), are living below the poverty line, with 80% of the entire U.S. population living near poverty or below it.

That near poverty statistic is perhaps more startling than the 50 million Americans below the poverty line, because it translates to a full 80% of the population struggling with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on government assistance to help make ends meet.

In the U.S. 49.7 Million Are Now Poor, and 80% of the Total Population Is Near Poverty

Latino and Asian Americans saw an increase in poverty, rising to 27.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively, from 25.8 percent and 11.8 percent under official government numbers. African-Americans, however, saw a very small decrease, from 27.3 percent to 25.8 percent which the study documents is due to government assistance programs. Non-Hispanic whites too rose from 9.8 percent to 10.7 percent in poverty.”

(via ethiopienne)

Posted 5 months ago
Posted 6 months ago

Lunch is free for all students in some Florida schools, due to new federal program

wintergrey:

getoutofthewelfaretag:

southernrepublicangirl:

getoutofthewelfaretag:

southernrepublicangirl:

This is a disgusting waste of tax dollars. There are people at my school who are literally millionaires, and my tax dollars are expected to pay for their kids lunches? And then there are so many kids I know who are on free and reduced lunch, but don’t have a problem with getting new designer clothes and Iphones. 

Stop wasting money!

Oh no, children are eating lunch! How terrible!

Tax payers having to pay for other people’s kids to eat lunch when those people are perfectly capable of paying for their own kids lunch is terrible. The government isn’t in charge of providing for your kids, you are.

Poor kids don’t have to deal with the stigma of being the free lunch kid! Everyone is now on equal footing with school lunch! How terrible!

BTW, a good institutional head cook can feed your kids better for far less than you can—I used to work in a large kitchen that served breakfast, two snacks, and a hot meal to hundreds of children every day. As a tax payer this is a savings and a benefit in many ways more than you’d expect. Head cooks/nutritionists/directors usually do most of their buying locally, even working out deals with local farmers to buy fresh. They employ local workers, train and educate them. Your local economy is improved.

They feed your kids balanced, varied, fresh, healthy meals for pennies a day. Ultimately, this saves you money and time—no more hassle of packing meals for your kids. Your kids get the sociable comfort of sit-down meals with their peers every day. All the kids are calmer, more focused, and less disruptive in class—your kid benefits from more teacher time, more intellectual challenge from better educated peers, and safer, happier playground time with children who are well-fed and not feeling disenfranchised by being singled out as poor.

If you are not seeing those benefits, you need to address the issue with your school board and local politicians because they are failing you, not the fact that such a program exists. This is what should be happening, what I’ve seen happen in well-run programs. While it may offend you to be feeding the undeserving poor, this kind of program is actually hugely beneficial to you and your kids, directly and indirectly. 

Posted 6 months ago
What exactly is a "food desert"? A place where food is unavailable or...?
Anonymous asked

shitrichcollegekidssay:

Areas of relative exclusion where people experience physical and economic barriers to accessing healthy food (Reisig and Hobbiss, 2000, p. 138).

What that means: there are a couple different kinds of food deserts [academically there have been like 10-11 different kinds defined?]

1) There may be fresh fruit and vegetable available, or healthy food, however it is priced so high that the average person living in the area cannot actually afford it. As opposed to unhealthy crap/non-vegetation type, which is priced ridiculously low. For example: I’ve lived places where it was cheaper to drink soda than water.

2) The fresh fruits/vegetables, healthy food literally does not exist within like 500 miles of the place in question. All that exists is the processed unhealthy shit aforementioned.

3) patchyjacket said: Arguably the most common type is in cities where no one owns a car and the only store to buy food within walking distance doesn’t sell any fresh fruits or vegetables. A supermarket is 2 miles away, but not easily accessible by public transit.


These are some of the most common types. 

Posted 6 months ago
Poverty is not simply having no money — it is isolation, vulnerability, humiliation and mistrust. It is not being able to differentiate between employers and exploiters and abusers. It is contempt for the simplistic illusion of meritocracy — the idea that what we get is what we work for. It is knowing that your mother, with her arthritic joints and her maddening insomnia and her post-traumatic stress disordered heart, goes to work until two in the morning waiting tables for less than minimum wage, or pushes a janitor’s cart and cleans the shit-filled toilets of polished professionals. It is entering a room full of people and seeing not only individual people, but violent systems and stark divisions. It is the violence of untreated mental illness exacerbated by the fact that reality, from some vantage points, really does resemble a psychotic nightmare. It is the violence of abuse and assault which is ignored or minimized by police officers, social services, and courts of law. Poverty is conflict. And for poor kids lucky enough to have the chance to “move up,” it is the conflict between remaining oppressed or collaborating with the oppressor.

Megan Lee (via sociolab)

2It is not being able to differentiate between employers and exploiters and abusers.

Probably have something to do with them being the same~

oh and check check check on arthritic joints, maddening insomnia and ptsd and heart issues

(via cursed-object)

(Source: docs.google.com)

Posted 7 months ago

buzzfeedpolitics:

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier decided to make an unconventional pitch on the House of Representatives floor Thursday to defend food stamps. Speier used a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka, and a can of caviar to point out members of Congress who had large numbers of SNAP program recipients in their districts but opposed the program. The Congresswoman pointed out many of the same members of Congress took trips around the world with large stipends for food and lodging.

“In my district, California 14, we have about 4,000 families who are on food stamps, but some of my colleagues have thousands and thousands more,” Rep. Speier said. “Yet, they somehow feel like crusaders, like heroes when they vote to cut food stamps. Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business. They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar. They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals.”

Speier went on, using particular examples of members of Congress who went on sponsored trips and spent large amounts of money on food and lodging.

“Let me give you a few examples: One member was given $127.41 a day for food on his trip to Argentina. He probably had a fare amount of steak,” she said.

“Another member was given $3,588 for food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. He probably drank a fair amount of vodka and probably even had some caviar. That particular member has 21,000 food stamp recipients in his district. One of those people who is on food stamps could live a year on what this congressman spent on food and lodging for six days,” she added.

Congresswoman Uses Steak, Vodka And Caviar To Hammer Republicans On Food Stamp Cuts