The realities of extreme poverty in America

Recently I've been hearing plenty of talking points about how the poor in America really aren't poor, and how too many tax dollars are spent on people who have two TV sets, an Xbox and beer fridge.

Well, found an interesting video from MSN Money that shows the real truth about extreme poverty - 2.5 million children don't know where their next meal is coming from. 1.5 million households survive on $2 a day per person. That's near subsaharan African numbers folks in the richest nation on Earth.

http://money.msn.com/family-money/vi...

But but but Mitt "Thurston Howell" Romney says there's a "safety net".

F*ck the poor. We have Mooslims to kill, countries to invade and good ol' American democracy to spread. America, F*ck Yeah!

In all seriousness, I've long struggled to understand why the majority of our governments time, energy, and resources are focused oversees when there are so many domestic issues to address: crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, obesity epidemic, rampant poverty, highest incarceration rate/population, etc

93_confirmed wrote:

In all seriousness, I've long struggled to understand why the majority of our governments time, energy, and resources are focused oversees when there are so many domestic issues to address: crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, obesity epidemic, rampant poverty, highest incarceration rate/population, etc

Government expenditures to solve domestic problems has been deemed "socialism" by half the country and the other half supports wars to avoid being called "soft".

jdzappa wrote:

1.5 million households survive on $2 a day.

I find this very hard to believe.

LeapingGnome wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

1.5 million households survive on $2 a day.

I find this very hard to believe.

It's $2 per person per day.

We estimate that the number of households living on $2 or less in income per person, per day in a given month increased from about 636,000 in 1996 to about 1.46 million households in early 2011, a percentage growth of 130 percent. We estimate that about 2.8 million children lived in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2011 (see Table 1). This was roughly 16 percent of all children in poverty.

It's from a National Poverty Center brief: Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011.

I'm sure those children could be wealthy if they wanted to be.

LobsterMobster wrote:

I'm sure those children could be wealthy if they wanted to be.

They have no one to blame but themselves just like those filthy OWS'ers.

Behold why I hate the "First World Problem" meme.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Behold why I hate the "First World Problem" meme.

I had never really thought of it that way but I will from now on.

SixteenBlue wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Behold why I hate the "First World Problem" meme.

I had never really thought of it that way but I will from now on.

Why do you hate the meme? Doesn't it help in some way to put things in perspective in terms of some of things people complain about while others are struggling to survive?

LobsterMobster wrote:

I'm sure those children could be wealthy if they wanted to be.

It's not that easy. My bootstrap factory has had the worst decade in its history.

93_confirmed wrote:

F*ck the poor. We have Mooslims to kill, countries to invade and good ol' American democracy to spread. America, F*ck Yeah!

In all seriousness, I've long struggled to understand why the majority of our governments time, energy, and resources are focused oversees when there are so many domestic issues to address: crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, obesity epidemic, rampant poverty, highest incarceration rate/population, etc

How is the government supposed to stop people from getting fat anyways?

Heretk wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

F*ck the poor. We have Mooslims to kill, countries to invade and good ol' American democracy to spread. America, F*ck Yeah!

In all seriousness, I've long struggled to understand why the majority of our governments time, energy, and resources are focused oversees when there are so many domestic issues to address: crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, obesity epidemic, rampant poverty, highest incarceration rate/population, etc

How is the government supposed to stop people from getting fat anyways?

End corn subsidies and sugar tariffs, revise the food pyramid that it has pushed for decades, fund physical education classes in the schools it runs, etc.

Heretk wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

F*ck the poor. We have Mooslims to kill, countries to invade and good ol' American democracy to spread. America, F*ck Yeah!

In all seriousness, I've long struggled to understand why the majority of our governments time, energy, and resources are focused oversees when there are so many domestic issues to address: crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, obesity epidemic, rampant poverty, highest incarceration rate/population, etc

How is the government supposed to stop people from getting fat anyways?

The government cant stop it but they certainly have influence. The USDA supplies the nutritional requirements for the food in schools and there has been much debate about the amount of processed garbage that kids are provided. Congress passed a school lunch bill deeming pizza a vegetable because it includes tomato sauce and french fries are an acceptable form of a potato. Sure both are true in sense but all of the salt, sugar, preservatives, etc contribute to the obesity problem. Lastly, there's the FDA that allows BPA to be used in plastic packaging, virtually all cans, etc. despite evidence that the chemical has been linked increasing obesity and diabetes.

Edit - high-fructose corn syrup is used in many, many foods because of corn subsidies and has also been linked to obesity.

Heretk wrote:

How is the government supposed to stop people from getting fat anyways?

The same way a non-authoritarian government does anything: make it cost more (see also: cigarettes). Stop subsidizing HFCS; put a tax on "bad foods" (anything that provides less than x% of your nutritional needs for y calories); offer tax credits for people with a doctor-certified "healthy" stamp (imaginary tax form H-1218); tax "lazy" entertainment (movie tickets, video games, DVDs, sports tickets, cable bills).

They could also indirectly influence it by removing barriers to exercise: insist that all towns install sidewalks within 2 miles of schools, and end bus routes inside that area; removing roads inside city limits to encourage more walking, etc..

Atras wrote:
Heretk wrote:

How is the government supposed to stop people from getting fat anyways?

The same way a non-authoritarian government does anything: make it cost more (see also: cigarettes). Stop subsidizing HFCS; put a tax on "bad foods" (anything that provides less than x% of your nutritional needs for y calories); offer tax credits for people with a doctor-certified "healthy" stamp (imaginary tax form H-1218); tax "lazy" entertainment (movie tickets, video games, DVDs, sports tickets, cable bills).

They could also indirectly influence it by removing barriers to exercise: insist that all towns install sidewalks within 2 miles of schools, and end bus routes inside that area; removing roads inside city limits to encourage more walking, etc..

This level of regulation is not necessary (outside stopping subsidies).

Stop subsidizing corn. Promote accurate nutritional information in schools and push physical education harder. Problem solved.

93_confirmed wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Behold why I hate the "First World Problem" meme.

I had never really thought of it that way but I will from now on.

Why do you hate the meme? Doesn't it help in some way to put things in perspective in terms of some of things people complain about while others are struggling to survive?

Well, for one because I don't feel the meme does that. For another, it seems that using "First World Problems" is dismissive of these people, who live in the first world, and have serious problems. If the meme was "Educated Middle-to-Upper Class White Problems", it wouldn't bother me, but it's not.

bombsfall wrote:

Now, who wants to talk about the term "hipster"?

Best way to top off a great post.

93_confirmed wrote:

Why do you hate the meme?

While that meme may be ostensibly about keeping perspective, it perpetuates a patronizing, insulting and harmful image of both the poor and the non-poor. It runs on the assumption that starving people in the third world are saintly sufferers immune to want, jealousy, pettiness, laziness, and entitlement simply because they are too hungry, poor or oppressed. It dehumanizes them and makes them into icons. Also, it perpetuates this idea that anyone not in the first world is part of this mass of suffering, malnourished victims. Conversely, it downplays the real problems one finds in even the wealthiest of societies. "First World Problems" entails "Third World Problems", and the two of them together form a lazy picture of the world. There are simply problems, some larger than others. People who are out of work in America are in real pain and hardship, as is someone going through a divorce, missing out on a college scholarship, or having a pet put to sleep. But, you know, they're not starving to death like everyone in the third world so they should just man up, right? And what about a person in South Sudan who is having a terrible day primarily because they got into a petty argument with someone? Don't they know that they're too POOR to feel bad about such things? Such annoyances are only for we first-worlders!

Since almost everyone has it better than someone, any problem can be brushed aside simply by referencing other hardships. It's a lazy, cynical, cruel way of not thinking about problems in the guise of an enlightened perspective. And it's smug.

Now, who wants to talk about the term "hipster"?

/derail

Sorry, the red mist descends when I think about this stuff. I'll be quiet now.

bombsfall wrote:

Now, who wants to talk about the term "hipster"?

IMAGE(http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=48768482)

They're all well and good, but you've got to have the ass to carry it off.

Talking about hipsters is too mainstream.

OG_slinger wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

1.5 million households survive on $2 a day.

I find this very hard to believe.

It's $2 per person per day.

That is a lot different than the original post/video.

We estimate that the number of households living on $2 or less in income per person, per day in a given month increased from about 636,000 in 1996 to about 1.46 million households in early 2011, a percentage growth of 130 percent. We estimate that about 2.8 million children lived in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2011 (see Table 1). This was roughly 16 percent of all children in poverty.

It's from a National Poverty Center brief: Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011.

I read the paper, the headline grabbing 1.5 million number is an extrapolation, does not take into account government assistance and only measures for a one month period of income. Their own paper says if they measure over a quarter's worth of income instead of a month and include government assistance it drops from 1.5 million to 400,000 households. A number I still find hard to believe but more understandable than 1.5 million.

Also the video gives an example of a woman with six kids at the end. Cry me a river, maybe stop popping out babies you can't afford.

LeapingGnome wrote:

I read the paper, the headline grabbing 1.5 million number is an extrapolation, does not take into account government assistance and only measures for a one month period of income. Their own paper says if they measure over a quarter's worth of income instead of a month and include government assistance it drops from 1.5 million to 400,000 households. A number I still find hard to believe but more understandable than 1.5 million.

So only having to go a month on $2 a day isn't that big of a deal? We can analyze statistics all we want but ti doesn't change that a significant number of people are living off way too little money for significant periods of time. I don't care if it's every month, one month a year, or just a week long. That's f*cking ridiculous.

LeapingGnome wrote:

That is a lot different than the original post/video.

It took me about 90 seconds to find the where the stat came from... We live in a world with a stupefying amount of information at our fingertips.

LeapingGnome wrote:

I read the paper, the headline grabbing 1.5 million number is an extrapolation, does not take into account government assistance and only measures for a one month period of income. Their own paper says if they measure over a quarter's worth of income instead of a month and include government assistance it drops from 1.5 million to 400,000 households. A number I still find hard to believe but more understandable than 1.5 million.

What do you mean it's an extrapolation? The paper tells you what their data source and methodology was. If you have a problem with them using SIPP data, then by all means point out what source of data they should of used. Their data and methodology is a hell of a lot more robust than "I find it hard to believe."

And I don't know what you mean when you say it doesn't take into account government assistance. The graphs in the paper have that second line in blue that actually accounts for government assistance (SNAP). And you read it wrong. It was 400,000 households in 1996. In 2011, even with government assistance, it's at 800,000 households, a 67% increase.

Couple this with surveys on income inequality and a very clear pattern emerges: the rich are getting obscenely richer and everyone else is getting f*cked, the poor doubly so because government assistance programs have been slashed since 1996 (the year of "welfare reform").

SixteenBlue wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I read the paper, the headline grabbing 1.5 million number is an extrapolation, does not take into account government assistance and only measures for a one month period of income. Their own paper says if they measure over a quarter's worth of income instead of a month and include government assistance it drops from 1.5 million to 400,000 households. A number I still find hard to believe but more understandable than 1.5 million.

So only having to go a month on $2 a day isn't that big of a deal? We can analyze statistics all we want but ti doesn't change that a significant number of people are living off way too little money for significant periods of time. I don't care if it's every month, one month a year, or just a week long. That's f*cking ridiculous.

I typed the original post rather fast so I've changed it to be accurate of $2 per person per day. That still doesn't change the fact that the most flea bitten hotel costs at $20 a night, so the families in extreme poverty are probably living on the streets or shelters if they're lucky. At any rate, I'm not saying that all the people the government qualifies as poor live in total poverty, but it's also not fair to say that even the poorest American is "middle class" compared to the rest of the world. I doubt that in most progressive European countries do you have this level of suffering.

jdzappa wrote:

but it's also not fair to say that even the poorest American is "middle class" compared to the rest of the world.

Exactly. The obvious response is "But they live here in America." Followed by a punch to the gut.

bombsfall wrote:

*snip*

Now, who wants to talk about the term "hipster"?

/derail

Sorry, the red mist descends when I think about this stuff. I'll be quiet now.

I agree with much of this. Growing up there were a couple of time we were homeless in America. Ever gone "camping" for 6 months? 8 months? A year? Fishing not for fun but to feed your family even if you are only 10? That sh*t sucks and should not be hidden behind snide memes and damn statistics. (Maybe the lying ones. Or the other damn statistics.

LarryC wrote:

I don't consider fishing for fun as a mark of poverty.

Did you not read the post? Or are you replying to something else?

plavonica wrote:

Fishing not for fun but to feed your family even if you are only 10?

Farscry:

Of course. The context was that "it sucked." Why should it suck to be obliged to kill fish for food at any age? Now, not having any food to eat for days because the fishing was lean - that would suck.