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Passions in Poetry

Poverty

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iliana
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since 12-05-2003
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USA


25 posted 09-05-2007 06:02 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Mike, I've been watching this thread.  It occurs to me that you are a misinformation master!

There is poverty in this country and there is no denying it.  Just a month ago, one of my family members had to evict a man, his wife, and child from a small cottage which she rented to them for $225 a month.  They had not paid rent for about six months.  He was an ex-con who could not find work.  The wife had MS.  My relative literally bought the little girl her going-back-to-school supplies.  My family member is not wealthy, living on fixed social security income so she could no longer afford to house the people for free.  The man, the evictee ex-con, literally stole chickens for his dinner and gigged frogs and trapped illegally on the property to survive.  That is just one example, Mike.

There are Native Americans living in this country that truly are living in poverty.  It is a disgrace.  

There are homeless, thousands of homeless.  What planet do you live on, Mike?  You can argue New Orleans and how spoiled we all are as much as you want.  I agree that most of us who are able to participate at PIP are probably spoiled to at least a low-to-average middle class life style, but you will never hear me deny there is poverty in these United States.  I lived in a third-world country for three years where per capital income per year was less than you earn in one day.  I know what poverty is and yes, it does exist here, too, and is growing every day.  With all due respect, you must be blind, brother.
iliana
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since 12-05-2003
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USA


26 posted 09-05-2007 06:11 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/IncomePovertyWelfare/HighPoverty/analysis.htm

I realize this data is from 2004, but things have certainly not improved since then or if they have, prove it!
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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27 posted 09-05-2007 08:08 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Like I don't know it could be worse...



That was precisely the point I just backspaced--and I backspaced it because my sister just called and she asked me to just don't say anything more.

We've been poor, Mike. Really poor. And if this were ink it would be the blood of my father-in-law. It's his roof that I live under and his lifesavings we are bleeding back into a system that doesn't look like it is going to support us much longer.

But for my sister, twist? I'll shaddup.

Just one more thing...

(A tip to poor folks? You can pretty much get online for free with A.O.L.---just take the free trial and just try to cancel. I posted a TON of bad poetry and worse behavior on dial-up.)

I was online for free for three years that way.

(I swear, twist, I'm outta here...)
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


28 posted 09-05-2007 09:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Actually, my point was that the poverty line is not really about anecdotes. There are always richer people, there are always poorer people.

It makes no sense to me to argue that because someone has a DVD player, they aren't struggling.

It also makes no sense to me to argue that because you only make 160 thousand a year, you have to leave government service.

The poverty line isn't about this. It's about the distribution of wealth.

This whole thing got started because of an article at NR that contested Edwards' focus on this issue. The funny part, at least to me, is that John and Mike, took it to mean that the poor aren't really struggling.

That it's a non-issue.

But the article then goes on to offer solutions to the problem:

1. immigration control

2. fewer divorces

3. fewer out-of-wedlock births

(Big government conservatism is not going to disappear when this administration leaves office.)

Like John's reference to teacher salaries, the article points out that these solutions would edge many people over the poverty line.

And then everything would be hunky dory?

Snow's apparent reason for leaving argues against such thinking.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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29 posted 09-05-2007 10:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

With Snow, I don't believe it's the money. I think it's the nagging wife.
TomMark
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30 posted 09-05-2007 10:15 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Brad is absolutely right this time.
"The poverty line isn't about this. It's about the distribution of wealth."

"Poor people" in American has hope to be self-reliance. Poor people has no much hope in many other countries.  Poverty has different meaning from the meaning of "poor" in US
my thought.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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31 posted 09-05-2007 10:18 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks Brad.

That was my sister's point, too.

The anecdotes make it seem like a competition, and truly, that does defeat the purpose of what I (and her too) are trying to say about getting "on the same page".

Thanks for saying what I want to say, but saner.

(I swear, I'm outta here. REALLY. )
Larry C
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32 posted 09-05-2007 10:50 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

SB,

Now why do ya' keep shushin' yourself? Besides, it obviously doesn't work!   

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


33 posted 09-05-2007 11:46 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Lar?

I guess it's 'cause I lived it and wrote about it to everybody here--before it happened.

Katrina didn't create poverty--she revealed it...

and I think in that regard, New Orleans is a very poignant, yellow warning flag.

And yeah, I might be partial 'cause I feel like it is mine but...

SO? *grin*

I dunno, Larry.

*shrug*

But I have a theory that the internet is going to change forever the infamous and deplorable re-writes of history, and we will no longer have to rely upon a scholar such as Howard Zinn to tell all sides for us--the people's history of the United States is being written in these forums, in our poetry, and on our webpages.

Consider my outbursts a small contribution.

Larry C
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34 posted 09-06-2007 12:03 AM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

SB,
And you dear friend are one of my favorite historians. I was only poking fun at your repeated threats you were done and meant no disrespect. Nothing is more impactful than our own experience. And to diminish someone else's experience is to diminish them personally.

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


35 posted 09-06-2007 12:20 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I pray I haven't done that.

You have a heart to hold my own, Larry.



It's like I keep telling my family, if we just work together, we can get through this.

I really believe that, for our country too.

I love you much yanno.

Kiss g'nite.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


36 posted 09-06-2007 02:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

and sorry for the clunky sentences. I'll do better next time. Promise.

Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


37 posted 09-06-2007 07:53 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The funny part, at least to me, is that John and Mike, took it to mean that the poor aren't really struggling.

How in the world you came up with that conclusion, Brad, is beyond me. Iliana, I have no idea how you came up with your comments, either. Yes, I must live on another planet since I must speak a language you can't understand.

I have never said there are not poor or they are not struggling. What I AM saying is that the people who have those items John originally pointed out do not fall into that category...and neither do you. How many of your Indian friends, Iliana, have cars, own their own home, watch their tv and listen to their stereos? Living in those third world countries you speak of, you should know better about what abject poverty really is.

What I am saying is that people who own those things originally mentioned are not the "poor", in a global sense. Having less than your neighbor doesn't make you poor. Yes, we have our share of poor people but take away the ridiculous guidelines created by the government and go by what true poverty really is represented by and the percentage drops drastically.

It's just like the old saying goes, "I bemoaned not having a pair of shoes until I saw a man with no feet". Put away your soapbox, Iliana. It's not necessary here.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


38 posted 09-06-2007 09:02 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Exactly.

You're disputing the definition of poor or poverty as defined by the government. I'm not.

You're arguing that the poor, as defined by the government, aren't really poor.

Yes or no?

You're saying that they should look to other countries (These days, Korea is hardly poor by the way.) in order to . . . actually I'm not sure why you suggest that.

At any rate, I suspect such comparisons provide little comfort and probably stir up feelings of guilt.

iliana
Member Patricius
since 12-05-2003
Posts 13488
USA


39 posted 09-06-2007 02:03 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Mike, you crack me up!  I have not complained about being poor myself (sure, I'd like it better, but who wouldn't?).  I'm trying to point out that there are people in this country that truely are living in third-world conditions.  I gave you one solid example and there are many.  Those people my relative had to evict did not own a TV, did not own a car, could not put food on their table, quite literally.  There, by the kindness of strangers, go many in this country.  Without our social programs for the poor, several areas of our nation would look more like the third-world counties to which you refer.  Those programs don't actually reach everyone.  As to my "Native American friends."  I don't actually know any very well personally.  My statement was based on reading.

Also, it is as if you don't recognize the homeless in the States at all, Mike, which completely baffles me.  If you have ever been to NYC then you have been approached by a homeless person more than likely.  It's hard to escape it.  Many of them live underground.  In the winter, some are found frozen to death.  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_the_United_States

By no means, is our entire country poor -- I am not saying that.  I'm just trying to get you to acknowledge that there is a problem in our "perfect" country.  The problem is a growing one, not a diminishing one.  
TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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40 posted 09-06-2007 03:08 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Brad, government has a definition for poor. Many people also have their own and there is a common sense too. Why government is right? only if that definition guides government to give relief fund. Does it? School free lunch, for a family of 5, is given when yearly income equal or below 44,641. Good for chlildren. But for people not "poor" pays 3.75 a meal. Does Government helps the "poor" and make others poorer?

Do you think that everyone when has a sport car will be not poor? No, I don't think so. because many have private 767.

Poverty, to me, is talking about basic human need...basic one course plain food, drinkable water and a shelter to get away from rain and wind.

American Indian is different issue. They have their own culture. They certainly do not want chase buffalos around the single houses with wast green lawn and with a coco cola and ipod and satelite dish.

By the way, Brad, I am watching 'How to marry a millionaire" Korean TV Drama. very Good.

[This message has been edited by TomMark (09-06-2007 04:51 PM).]

iliana
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since 12-05-2003
Posts 13488
USA


41 posted 09-06-2007 04:39 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Mike, I wanted to add that you are correct that by comparing the U.S. to third-world countries, you are right to say that our country is rich and spoiled -- no argument there.  That is like comparing a completely rotten tomato with one with only a couple of bad spots on it.   That's how I see it anyway.  I'll keep the tomato with the couple of bad spots and be grateful for it.  I am not complaining.  I am, however, concerned that those couple of bad spots are going to consume the whole tomato before long if people don't open up their eyes about a few things.  

Yes, the majority of us do have it pretty good and I hope it stays that way.  I just felt like you had your blinders on with regard to the misery that some Americans actually do suffer.  And on that note........I'm done, too.  Peace.  
Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


42 posted 09-06-2007 05:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You're disputing the definition of poor or poverty as defined by the government. I'm not.
You're arguing that the poor, as defined by the government, aren't really poor.
Yes or no?

Yes, Brad, you are exactly right. Here are the facts of the link in which John started this post....

80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Only six percent of poor households are overcrowded; two thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
97 percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
78 percent have a VCR or DVD player.
62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
89 percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Now, if you want to call people with these amenities poor, then so be it. I don't.

At any rate, I suspect such comparisons provide little comfort and probably stir up feelings of guilt.

Stir up feelings of guilt for sure, Brad, if you want to use the figures as a weapon like John Edwards does...
"In the past, Edwards has claimed that poverty in America is a “plague” which forces 37 million Americans to live in “terrible” circumstances. According to Edwards, an amazing “one in eight” Americans lack “enough money for the food, shelter, and clothing they need,” caught in a daily “struggle with incredible poverty.”
There is Edwards trying to stir up those feelings of guilt. Do you think the people that have the tangibles listed above are living in "terrible" circumstances and struggle daily with incredible poverty?

You're saying that they should look to other countries (These days, Korea is hardly poor by the way.) in order to . . . actually I'm not sure why you suggest that.

My congrats to Korea, Brad. Why should I suggest that? Fly into Maquetia outside of Crarcas, Brad. Caracas itself if approx 20 miles away. For the entire trip into the city you will see tens of thousands of mud houses built along the sides of the hills the entire way. Whenever there is a bad storm, hundreds or even thousands are swept off the hills like chalk off a blackboard. Family survivors gather up mud to build another house and go on. You will see  dozens of children around every cafe, poised to grab food off plates and run. Venezuela is considered a rich country. There are worse. Why would I suggest looking to other countries for a reality check? Figure it out....

Iliana, I am glad that I provide a constant source of entertainment for you. There is no one I like to crack up more. It makes me feel that I have accomplished an important mission in life

Also, it is as if you don't recognize the homeless in the States at all, Mike, which completely baffles me

What  baffles me is that comment, miss. I certainly recognize homelessness AND poverty in this country. This thread and John's link does not suggest it does not exist. I DO NOT recognize the fact that it describes 37 million, unless you wish to include those that possess what is listed above. Here is the conclusion of  John's link, which it appears you may not have read.
Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR, or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.

There are also other facts mentioned which carry weight..

Another important factor boosting poverty in the U.S. is our broken immigration system which imports hundreds of thousands of additional poor people each year from abroad through both legal and illegal immigration channels. One quarter of all poor persons in the U.S. are now first generation immigrants or the minor children of those immigrants. Roughly one in ten of the persons counted among the poor by Census is either an illegal immigrant or the minor child of an illegal. Immigrants tend to be poor because they have very low education levels. A quarter of legal immigrants and fifty to sixty percent of illegals are high-school dropouts. By contrast, only nine percent of non-immigrant Americans lack a high school degree.

Iliana, you can speak of any specific examples you wish. You can speak of Indians living in poverty there and I can speak of the Seminole Indians here, who receive 36,000.00 per year per person from the casino and cigarette sales revenue. That's 144,000.00 for a family of four. Not bad, huh? Every Seminole indian receives it. So what? Neither your example or mine is nationally indicative of anything. Neither are the homess walking the streets or freezing in the winter, unless you want to claim that they comprise a significant percentage of the population. Seems to me I read somewhere down here, at least, that a large majority of the "street" people have mental issues.

I will acknowledge that there are MANY problems in our "not-perfect" country, but to juggle figures, misrepresent facts and use them as a public-scare tactic to create dissention and alarm where none is warranted, all for the sake of vote accumuation, is an abominal tactic.

Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


43 posted 09-06-2007 07:22 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

OK.

I still don't get how mud houses in Venezuela make the life of a waitress, divorced with two kids and living in Panorama city, any easier.

But, hey, at least she's not poor.

Balladeer
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44 posted 09-07-2007 12:23 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

No one said anything about one making the other's life either easier or harder. I shall now give up on trying to explain the correlation to you. Obviously I don't have the ability to do so. We can leave it at that...


Actually, on second thought, the mud houses would indeed make the waitresse's life easier. Just have her go down there and live in one of them for a month or so, living on a diet of beans and bananas. I feel   fairly confident that, upon her return home, she will not feel as poor  as she did before and, perhaps, even be a little more grateful for the things she DOES have.
TomMark
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45 posted 09-07-2007 02:30 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Sir Brad, It is a very hard struggle to read your wonderful poems. does that make poor me pooer? Struggling in life is different from poverty. everyone struggles. Someone struggles for life while someone else struggles for "ideal" life.
hush
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since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


46 posted 09-07-2007 05:36 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Mike- my point wasn't that I or my friends were living in poverty- but that people can struggle, financially, above the poverty level. That, realistically, while lviing above the poverty level, I know poeple who will forgo healthcare (not poor enough for Medicaid) because they can't make their other bills. So, in comparison to my relatively cushioned experiences, what is government-defined poverty?

I agree with Brad- the fact that there are people worse and better off doesn't make it suck any less for you or your family if you can't make ends meet. There is a degree in America of "keeping up with the jonses" but when it comes to the poor, in my opinion, we're talking about different things. Sure- someone who has a car and an apartment looks like they're a hell of a lot better off than people in mud houses, but our society is intolerant of people who appear poor and ungroomed. Imagine living in a mud house, getting up in the morning covered in dirt, and going to a job interview. Think you'll get hired?

I don't see how having a microwave makes you any less "poor," I had a microwave for years that I bought for 3 bucks at a garage sale. You might scoff at the idea of eating "a lot of noodles" making you poor, but lower-income families eating cheap, low-quality food because that's what they can afford is a major contributor to health problems.

But why don't we just argue the terminology- I mean, when someone suggests making life better for people, we should all just get indignant and say "life is fine!" Right? I mean, why else are we arguing whether the poor are really poor? I mean, even if they aren't literally living in a subway station, why not try to help them? Because we don't think their lives suck enough to give them a helping hand up to a higher socioeconomic status? Somone with a DVD player doesn't deserve foodstamps or financial assistance for college? I mean, it's cool- just sell off your possessions... that's what they make you do in order to qualify for Medicaid. They look at your assets- because by god, you better sell your house and use that to pay for medical care before we'll help you... literally making people become poorer in order to get help. That makes sense, right?

Tom-

'I have seeing homeless people in every city I went and to those Government shall lend a hand but why care about them (Goverment do have shelters for them though)? If they do not bother themselves to vote...even vote..quite insignificant amount of numbers.'

This astounds me. Insignificant? Why care? Do you have any clue what homeless shelters are like?  The one I worked in was simply a room with a row of cots. There was a long waiting list and you could only stay for a month at a time. There were also rules- if you were caught using drugs, committing crimes, etc- you were out... which is fair but when you consider how many homeless are mentally ill, and how many resort to crime (esp. prostitution) to get food....


'American Indian is different issue. They have their own culture. They certainly do not want chase buffalos around the single houses with wast green lawn and with a coco cola and ipod and satelite dish.'

Um... well... they had their own culture, which we demolished, leaving them on reservations, to eke out a living if they can rise above the poverty (yes, I said that horrible word) and epidemic levels of alcoholism present...
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


47 posted 09-07-2007 10:51 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
No one said anything about one making the other's life either easier or harder.


Maybe we should start.
TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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48 posted 09-07-2007 03:48 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Hush, what is your definition of Poverty?
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


49 posted 09-07-2007 04:08 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Does it matter what my difinition of poverty is? I never said I had a problem with the governments definition- that was huan, you, and mike. However- I also don't think someone should necessarily have to be impoverished in order to qualify for assistance.

Our current system promotes poverty... I've known poeple who don't work during college because, simply by not working, they plunge their income down and get more student aid, which replaces the income they'd ahve if they did work. I mean- why would you work? Incidentally though, the government doesn't start handing out college freebies for the poor until after the age of (I think) 23. Before then, even if you live independently of your parents, in terms of your FAFSA, you are considered a dependent. My father's estimated contribution to my education one year was $11,000- out of about a $40,000 income. So- no grants- which is fine, though I would have qualified for some if only my own income were to be taken into consideration. Once again, I'm not saying this to whine about mjy personal life, but simply as an example of the middle-class, because I do think that there are ways in which the middle class gets screwed.

I guess my point is simply to say that (again) I consider myself pretty fortunate, and I consider my friends pretty fortunate... so if I know so many people who have struggled (struggled... not begged for money or not had dinner, just simply struggled) in my middle class, young existence... then how is it so easy for everyone here to write off the struggles of a family of five that makes $27,000 a year, or whatever that figure was. I mean really, they're not that poor, right?
 
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