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Passions in Poetry

Poverty

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TomMark
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50 posted 09-07-2007 05:01 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Hush, if government moves its cut point, we may become rich or poor in a blink. So, it is not the number, not about what I have, what I don't. YOu are talking about college. I am taking about not go empty stomach to see next sun rising. It is different. You may say that you are poor and you may say that you are rich. As long as you have food, clean water(donot bring in the acid rain matter), a roof on 4 walls and two windows and a door, your situation is not in my concept of poverty.
hush
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51 posted 09-07-2007 08:50 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Why does it matter what poverty is? Should someone literally be without shelter, food, and water before we, as a society, intervene?

And besides- I thought you didn't care about the homeless.
Balladeer
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52 posted 09-07-2007 10:17 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Mike- my point wasn't that I or my friends were living in poverty- but that people can struggle, financially, above the poverty level.

Ok, Hush, I see. I figured that when you responded to a thread discussing poverty, speaking of your friends then that meant there was some relation between them and the topic discussed. My mistake.

Struggle? We all have struggled. Everybody on this poetry site (except Ron) has struggled. Struggling is a part of life. Michaelangelo, the only human in history who spent more time working on his back than Anna Nicole Smith, struggled while painting the sistine chapel. Anyone who has gone to college without a silver spoon in their mouths or a scholarship in their pocket has struggled. We all worked jobs to get through. We all drove ten year old cars held together by rubber bands and prayer. We all ate cup-o-noodles and beanie weenies. Struggling is not always a bad thing. It makes future success much more rewarding. It's a part of life...we struggle to succeed....and it gives meaning to success. We feel good about our success, and even worthy of it, because we did struggle.Even for those who struggle all their lives without achieving success, they can feel a certain pride in the fact that they gave the best they had. Your friends' "struggles" has little to do with this thread. They simply went through a phase that is a part of life for the majority of Americans.

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.

...and I agree with you both, up to a point. If I lose a son in a car crash, it doesn't lessen my pain to know that someone else lost three sons in a crash. If, however, I sit around moaning that I can't afford a flat-screen 56" HDTV,  maybe someone should remind me that millions of people have no tv at all.  Maybe someone should remind me that I don't just "deserve" it, I have to work for it.

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?

The most popular ploy by far....blame the government. You know, there was a time that men traded goods and values for the staples of life. Our country was founded by those actions. Settlers traded furs for groceries. Men traded labor for wages. That's what one had to do to survive. You gave to get. When I go to North Carolina we have covered dish dinners. Everyone brings a covered dish of meat, fruit, vegetables or whatever and we make a nice meal of it. Right now we have a nation full of people who didn't bring anything to the table with their plates out, saying "Where's mine?" It doesn't work that way. People stopped long enough to applaud JFK saying "Ask not what your country can do for you....." and then went back to saying, "What's my country gonna do for me?"  

I don't know anyone whao has been denied college financial assistance because they own a DVD player.
I know a lot of people on Medicaid (and I'll be joining their ranks too soon!) and I don't know any who had to sell off their possessions to get Medicaid coverage.

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....

You're leaving out a point...they ARE shelters and they HAVE been provided. True, they may not have private rooms with lacy curtains on the windows but they are better than the street and they are free. Yes, they have rules. Yes, they are for a limited time. The one I give lectures at allows them to stay for six weeks. During those six weeks the occupants are required to attend so many courses each week and the lecturers of those courses must sign their papers as proof they attended. Those who do not attend are asked to leave. The courses are designed to help them on the outside world in some way. In other words they have to bring their covered dish (their attendance and adherence to the rules) to share dinner. I find that hard to criticize, although you appear not to. There are also dozens of "soup kitchen" cafeterias in Miami and ft. Lauderdale where one needs only bring an apetite. Is that a requirement of the government? No, they just do it.
Our current system promotes poverty...   Here I agree with you. It does. Our unemployment benefits promote poverty, along with food stamps. People realize that an unemployment check combined with food stamps can bring in more money than a low-level job working somewhere so why bother? The flip side of that is that there are also decent people who really need those food stamps temporarily to feed their families and unemployment checks to keep a roof over their heads. Do you throw them out to stop the ones abusing the system then? 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? You mean, I assume, throwing out the little things like decency, self-respect and personal integrity? Then I agree....why WOULD you work?


Be that as it may, the main point of the article is they way John Edwards tries to twist and use these figures to get votes. One out of eight Americans live in abject poverty (according to him).......but HE can fix that. Of all of the poor people in the United States, despite his millions, I think that John Edwards, or anyone who uses these tactics to get votes, is among the poorest.
TomMark
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53 posted 09-07-2007 11:24 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Hush
"Why does it matter what poverty is?"
When politician talks about it, I laugh.
When picture talks about it, i cry.

"Should someone literally be without shelter, food, and water before we, as a society, intervene?"

Who is "we"? Did you drop 500lb Bomb in Iraq? Poverty comes from War, government, and natural diaster. "we" is not relavent to interven. "we" created it. Because "we" is nursery of govenment.

"And besides- I thought you didn't care about the homeless. "

Vote for me to be president! I, myself have limited power. But if there were no other choices, I would not mind to rob a bank to feed my children, my relatives, my friends and kind people like Balladeer. Hungry does not wear moral.
hush
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54 posted 09-08-2007 01:42 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Mike-

'We all worked jobs to get through. We all drove ten year old cars held together by rubber bands and prayer. We all ate cup-o-noodles and beanie weenies. Struggling is not always a bad thing.'

For some people, that's not a temporary situation. There may not be any grand "success" at the end there- just more 60 hour weeks with nothing to show for it. I will say I am glad that the minimum wage was (finally) raised, though 7 bucks an hour still isn't much of a lviing wage, especially if you have dependents.

'I don't know anyone whao has been denied college financial assistance because they own a DVD player.'

Then what was the point of the original article rattling off a list of commodities that those in poverty own? I mean, sure, you don't get denies assistance because you own a dvd player... but the orignal article seems to imply that you should.

On the topic of Medicaid- here I have a big fat mouthful to say. I know Medicaid rules vary state by state, and maybe Florida's Medicaid rules are more lenient than Ohio's. I had to go, in my mom's stead, to our Dept. of Job and Family Services. I had to take a list of her financial income and her assets- though, interestingly, things like the credit card debt she had accrued trying to pay for medications and doctors bills weren't considered. I do believe that recently, owning a vehicle had stopped being considered an asset that could hinder you- but a house wasn't. She was declined, and wasn't approved for medicaid coverage until her house sold (whereupon the profits went to the nursing home that had placed a lien on it) and even then, there was the spend-down to worry about. At that time, in Ohio, every dollar you made over (I don't remember the exact figure) something like 470 dollars per month had to be spent on medical expenses before your medicaid kicked in. So... considering my mothers extensive healthcare costs, even if she hadn't been too ill to live at home, and even if the house wasn't counted against her as an asset, she would have had to sell the house anyway because the mortgage payment alone was more than $470 a month.

You talk about paying for what you want- which is fair but especially with healthcare- even for a comfortably middle-class person... without health insurance, there is no feasible way to pay for a severe illness. The hospital I work at has an assistance program where as long as you pay something every month- no matter how little- collections doesn't come after you. That's great... but it doesn't change the fact that that debt permanently affects your credit score. What advice have you there? Don't get sick? Die rather than enter extreme debt?

I never criticized the homeless shelters in and of themselves- I was pointing out to Tom that even though they exist, we still have to care, because it's not a cure-all. The homeless haven't suddenly found homes, it's a temporary shelter.

And actually, all of the major homeless shelters and soup kitches in my area are run by churches and charities, not the government.

In what I said, what ever gave you the impression that I think we should scrap public welfare, leaving everyone, not just the lazy, bereft? I think that therew should be incentives for gaining employment- not just a cutback in benefits that would cause, say, a working mom to say... "no... I can't afford to take a raise, or a promotion."

Tom... uh... I can honestly say I have no clue what you are talking about...
Huan Yi
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55 posted 09-08-2007 02:06 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

There’s an underlying failure to appreciate that the “government”
is not some immensely rich fat cat stingy with his own money.


.
serenity blaze
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56 posted 09-08-2007 04:00 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Erase everything I ever said.

I'm white trash.
Brad
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57 posted 09-08-2007 04:06 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

There are many underlying failings present here.
TomMark
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58 posted 09-08-2007 02:40 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

US Government is the poorest of poor
http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

We are all in poverty!!
MAy someone show mercy, and sympathy on us!!

TomMark
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59 posted 09-08-2007 03:07 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

My dear SB, do not be upset. it is all theoretical talking.

Many hugs and more kisses to you.


One of my close friend is complaining her chest pain. But she has no insurence. So she does not want to see a doctor. She
works as a substitut ele teacher. Her car is old and can not pass the smoke check and her apartment is very small. Her husband, an artist would rather starve to death than go out to teach paintings to support his family and taint his "pure artistic" taste.
http://www.ruoli.com/

[This message has been edited by TomMark (09-08-2007 03:39 PM).]

Larry C
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60 posted 09-08-2007 05:44 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

Tom,
That's incredible artwork. Seems a shame they can't make a decent living.

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

TomMark
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61 posted 09-08-2007 06:06 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Larry C

"Poverty"  means that nobody wants Art. I do not want to hang a 1000$ or 10,000$ oil painting on my wall. (for investment? no knowledge) My limited money is for real life, not for image.

But I do worry about my friend...

Balladeer
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62 posted 09-08-2007 06:59 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

For some people, that's not a temporary situation. There may not be any grand "success" at the end there- just more 60 hour weeks with nothing to show for it.

I agree, hush, but how many? According to Edwards 1 out of 8 live in abject poverty. Do you agree with that? This thread was never about whether or not there is poverty in America, rather what constitutes the "poverty" label and what true percentage is applicable. There will always be poverty, here or anywhere. Give every person in the world a million and, in very little time, there will be billionaires and poor people. Is the percentage that high that we should be bashing the government and warning of impending doom, a la,Iliana? Well, if you want to count those people who own their own homes, own their one or two cars and have a bunch of the other things on that list, then maybe so. Is that realistic? I think no. 60 hour weeks with nothing to show for it You mean "nothing" like food in the fridge, a roof over their heads, clothes in the closet and a car in the driveway? I understand what you mean but "nothing" is not the right word.

Yes, I understand what you are saying concerning your mother. I had the same situation with my grandmother, who passed away some time ago. All of her assets went, too. I don't understand what is wrong with that. You are speaking as someone who would go into a grocery store, state you are dying of hunger and need food to live, acknowledge that you have money in your purse but do not want to have to pay for it. How many stores would say no problem? Why do you demand the government not do the same? The difference between that store and the government is that, after you have spent all of your money, the government would keep giving you food. The store wouldn't.

And actually, all of the major homeless shelters and soup kitches in my area are run by churches and charities, not the government.

Interesting. My girl serves in one of the kitchens here and assures me that hers, along with many others and the shelters, are government-funded. There are indeed also others which are church run.

I think that there should be incentives for gaining employment-

I am glad that the minimum wage was (finally) raised, though 7 bucks an hour still isn't much of a lviing wage, especially if you have dependents.


Then you will have to make up your mind, hush. Raising the minimum wage is not an incentive for gaining employment.

Hush, there is not one birth certificate issued that has a guarantee on it. No one is promised anything when they come into this life. No clause states that you are going to be taken care of by others if you are hungry, sick or a victim. I happen to believe the United States government  does a great deal for its citizens with regards to providing aid to the needy. I also believe  they do a good job of keeping a country running that offers opportunities for people, who want to, to succeed.

Obviously I am not a Democrat
iliana
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63 posted 09-08-2007 08:06 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

That does it, Mike!

Point out to me one place in this thread where I have bashed the U.S. government, please.  I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't read (although the truth of the matter is that I actually do).  
Brad
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64 posted 09-08-2007 11:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

For a non-dem, you certainly seem satisfied with the work the government does, Mike.

But okay, this thread is about poverty.

How many are poor in America?

What do you want to call the 37 million who aren't poor?

-------------------

Balladeer
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65 posted 09-09-2007 04:02 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

No problem, Iliana...

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.

what few things should people open their eyes about? Let me guess....

That is your modus operandi, miss. The homeless in this country is not a problem that is going to "consume the whole tomato". The sky is not falling. You have done the same thing in the past. Once, you spoke about how our economy and the ability to find jobs was in shambles because your daughter, a college grad, couldn't find a job. Later in the thread it came out that she is a concert musician....not exactly a position that has a lot of openings, wouldn't you say? Yet you made it sound that people just could not find work based on her. You paint crises where none exist, warn people about them and point your finger at Washington. It's nothing new..

Brad, what would I call the percentage of the 38 million poor who own their own homes and have one to two cars in their driveways while watching their cable programs on their color tv?

not poor...

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

So 0.

No poor in America.

Balladeer
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67 posted 09-09-2007 09:41 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Let me take a wild guess and say you're not a math major, Brad.

iliana
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68 posted 09-09-2007 01:32 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Once again, Mike, you PRESUME too much and prove yourself a spin master.  

You know quite well I was referring to poverty when I made the analogy of the couple of rotten spots on the tomato, not the government.  

About "opening up their eyes," I believe you have read into that phrase what your own conscious dictates.  

I have not mentioned the government in this thread and I don't intend to do that.  

As for my daughter, you know absolutely nothing!  Yes, she is a concert musician with a graduate degree.  You think she hasn't looked for work.  It took her six months to find a job, finally at a law firm in NY -- she got paid minimum wage to scan documents into a computer for four hours a day.  That is not a living.  She applied to Star Bucks, restaurants, babysitting, and basically, well, you name it -- jobs that many illegals actually hold.  She was fortunate in that much of her college was paid by scholarship.  The rest of it is our debt and her debt.  Her part of that if probably $30,000 which she cannot afford to pay back at her current earnings.  

You assume I blame the government.  No, I actually don't blame "the government," Mike.  You are completely off.  I happen to like the ideals of our "democracy."  If you want to argue politics here, go ahead.  I'm not going to participate in that in this thread.  If you want to talk about the other thread, then pull it up.  

Have a nice day.

Edit -- I came back to add that my daughter worked the entire time she was in college at the school.  That job ended when she graduated.  And, yes, she applied there for work, too, after graduation, but.....dah....their budget was cut.  

[This message has been edited by iliana (09-09-2007 06:45 PM).]

hush
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69 posted 09-09-2007 02:18 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I meant in terms of public welfare, there should be incentives toward gaining employment. Because, as you and I well know- you mentioned it- there are plenty of people without honor who would remain jobless and just take the freebies (without working) which end up being the same amount of money they'd get if they were working.

And, there are also people who, say, if they got a job, would have to find childcare, which would end up diverting any money they make at work to childcare costs.

Okay- I reread the original article. I can concede that Edwards was exagerating to a degree... I also think the author of the article was exagerating. No surprises there, right? Two individuals, one conservative and one liberal, exagerrating to make their point?

I still, from my experience, tend to see things from Edwards point of view. I had friends in low-income housing (even friends with married, working parents, believe it or not). True, they had four walls and a ceiling, (barely) working cars, (secondhand) clothes, and (cheap, non-nutritious) food to eat. But when the upstairs neighbors are beating each other and the next-door neighbors are selling crack and you have to compete with cockroaches for space... the fact that you have two rooms per person might seem a little irrelevant. Your telephone (which, a land line is not expensive. When we qualified for low-income land-line phone service, it was 7 bucks a month) does not make you feel priveleged when it constantly rings with bill collectors... you know, like if you couldn't pay the credit card bill after you had to use credit to repair your car because you work midnights and can't take public transportation to work...

It can't all be blamed on the person who's trying to make ends meet.

Or maybe it can... because if all single mothers got married- gee willikers! What a wonderful, poverty-free world we'd live in then!

Reality check: If the father of your kid is too much of a loser to pay child support, what in God's name makes anyone think he'd be a profitable addition to the family? Instead of being single, and spending his money (if he has any) on whatever he wants, he'd be married and spending his money on whatever he wants. Reality check number two: deadbeat dads and loveless marriages do not make a happy home, even if they might make a non-poverty-stricken home. Reality check number three: My single mother made more than enough money to support us both- that is, until her medical expenses reduced her quality of life to poverty level. My mother was also college-educated. If more women made more money, maybe we wouldn't have to worry about being depenedent on men. But.. oh... crap. That ruins Rector's conservative utopia, doesn't it?
Grinch
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70 posted 09-09-2007 05:58 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

I’ve been wandering in and out of this thread trying to work out why I agree with both sides of the argument, then it hit me, maybe it’s because both arguments are correct.

The only stumbling block is our old friend definition.

Here’s a statement that jumped out at me when I read the article:

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.”

It’s the “incredible poverty” bit that caught my eye; it seems to describe a state of poverty that is higher than extreme poverty and a long way from abject poverty, which is poverty in its lowest form. I think that’s where this discussion is getting bogged down, the difference between incredible poverty and abject poverty is huge and defining both under the banner of poverty is bound to cause disagreement.

Everyone seems to agree that there are people out there (and in here) that have or are struggling to make ends meet, they have to reside somewhere on a scale from abject poverty to affluence and being in a struggle with incredible poverty seems to be a reasonable description.

We could argue that they aren’t living in mud huts eating cockroaches and noodles once a week but we’d just be mistaking them for the poor souls suffering under the burden of abject poverty we’d be using the wrong definition of poverty.

But they have houses and TV’s and microwaves so how can they be struggling with incredible poverty? In the north of England we have a saying that goes “she’s all fur coat and no knickers” loosely translated it means she displays the outward signs of wealth but hasn’t the wherewithal to afford the necessities. If she lived in the US she’d fall neatly into the category of struggling with incredible poverty, fur coat and all. So couldn’t she sell the coat? Well she could and it might even drag here out of poverty for a week or so but then she’d slip straight back into it minus a perfectly good coat and in anyone’s eyes a lot worse off (especially considering her deficiency in the knickers department).  
Brad
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71 posted 09-09-2007 07:10 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Let me take a wild guess and say you're not a math major, Brad.


Nope. Is this a math problem?

How many of the 37 million are poor?

Did you answer the question?

Honestly, I'm not playing here. I'm trying to figure out the parameters of a potential debate on the state of the nation.

Yes, I find it a bit frustrating that you and John seem more than willing to say something is wrong (and, as far as I can tell, you're right there), but unwilling to discuss the issue in any depth.

Are there poor people in America?

TomMark
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72 posted 09-09-2007 07:42 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

There are poor people in America
1, Bankrupted trillinaires
2. Homeless and those on state welfare
3. anyone who think that he is poor.

There are people struggle hard to make ends meet
1. Single parent of 10,000 dollar yearly income with 4 children.
2. People pay morgage of 600,000.00$ for 1,000,000.00 home  on 100,000.00 yearly income.
3. any one who felt like this

There are people living in poverty
1. by Government definition
2. by any definition
3. homeless
4. people live on welfare
5. whoever being kicked out from Government shelters.
Huan Yi
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73 posted 09-09-2007 08:35 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


There is a vested interest in proclaiming
as many as possible in poverty.  The point was made
decades ago that if you simply gave to those in actual poverty
the money that in programs were intended to help them they wouldn’t
be in poverty anymore, they would be middle class.


.
Balladeer
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74 posted 09-09-2007 09:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, of course you are playing, Brad. It's what you like to do with one and two line comments and/or responses...your M.O.

You asked me if the 37 million were poor or not. I replied that the percentage of those who had the things I listed were not. Taking that percentage and multiplying it to the 37 million to get the answer is math. Your response was 0. Your math is flawed.

Are there poor people in America? Of course...that has never been the issue debated here....as you well know.
 
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