Comments for: A war on poverty, not a war on the poor

Posted June 11, 2012, at 3:35 p.m.

Every day we read the news we hear about another poor person being demonized as lazy or cheating the welfare system. According to the 2010 Poverty Report, Maine has higher rates of people holding multiple jobs than in the nation as a whole, but rarely does this make the headline …

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  • Anonymous

    The war on the poor is a necessity if we are going to allow the inequality to continue to rise.  Only by fomenting neighbor against neighbor hatred can the systematic theft of a strong middle class and land of opportunity persist.  The wealthy elite for whom this is done feed story lines to the lemming press who repeat it over and over.  If you lack the intellectual curiosity to ever ask why, they are willing to feed you conclusions that favor their continued dominance. 

    This article, while well intentioned, makes a couple of factual errors that could actually work against the thesis.  The wars are expected to cost between 3 and 4 trillion.  The  error is in that being enough to pay for not 771,258 peoples health care.  This is wrong by a factor of 1000.  This would be the number if we were talking Billions, not trillions.  Actually, the amount spent on the war is enough to pay for 771,000,000 peoples health care which is more than twice the entire US population.  Yes that would be paid in full, not just a portion.  Consider the potential wealth the people have contributed to these wars and the good that much money could have done. 

    For example, it costs about $3000 per year to feed one person.  The amount spent on these wars is enough to feed ONE BILLION PEOPLE for a year.  And feed them well.

    We are being tricked into arguing over the crumbs that go to our poor instead of examining the ways in which our true wealth is being squandered on war and a free lunch for wealthy corporations and individuals.  This tactic has been employed because if people were talking and reading about the true extent of the evil behind these elites, they would be the most hated people in modern history.  I do not want to promote hatred towards anyone.  I do want to see a more rational and just society that cares for its people and responds to the true suffering too many are enduring.

    • Anonymous

      You are promoting hatred.  Confiscatory taxation does not create a society that cares for its people.

      • Anonymous

        The tax rates that served this country well for decades are now considered confiscatory by the likes of yourself. AS you sit and watch the accelerating decay of the middle class, have you stopped to ask yourself why now is different. We have solved bigger crises but we did it together without complaining that we want to keep it all for ourselves. The problems have not changed; you and those who think like you have.

        You are the antithesis of the “great society”.

    • that is 0nly about $8 million a year to send a kid to head start . Why must they lie . I might not knot be educated but not stupid.

  • Anonymous

    With all the trillions spent on fighting the “war on poverty” why are there no positive results out there?

    • Anonymous

       There are plenty of positive results.  I know people who grew up on government cheese and started their own businesses later.  I know people who went to school using pell grants and became doctors.  The successes are all around us.

      • Anonymous

        A few anecdotes that made you feel good.  I’m talking about trillions spent, why hasn’t the left even put a dent in poverty?

        • Anonymous

           You said there were no positive results.  I pointed out some wild successes.  Do you want to talk about an over-all increase in graduation rates and an increase in college attainment with hundreds of thousands of low income students getting a college education.  I realize that might not matter to you, but it does to all of them and their families.

          • I think you will find a bigger divide now between education and money that before . How educated is the person who wrote this . $3.2 to$4 trillion is enough to send 454,946 kids to head start for on year. So it must cost about $8,000,000 ($8 million) to send one kid to head start for one year. I have no formal education . I can figure that in my head . Do they really think people are that stupid. Ltr77 we chatted before I Know you are smart. What to be a teacher (or are one). You are gifted in math . Know wonder that do not want to teach kids numbers in school. Thanks correct me if I am wrong with my guess after all I never went to college.

        • Anonymous

           Poverty rates have not changed much since an initial bump just after Johnson started the “War on Poverty.” 

          • Anonymous

            Well, yeah.

            How are all those “poverty warriors” going to keep their rice bowls full if they don’t keep redefining “poverty” to keep themselves employed?

          • Anonymous

             There is something to that.
            If you build it they will come!!

            I just think the whole “War on Poverty” got its bump pulling people out of poverty in the late 60’s and ever since has been more about maintaining the plantation.

      • Anonymous

        You know nothing…

        • Anonymous

           If I knew nothing, I would be a Conservative.  They seem awfully proud of their ignorance. 

          • Anonymous

            I think Dolby may be more correct than you even though I am one of those “feel good” anecdotes of yours, having grown up on government cheese and dried milk. I bet Dolby has a bit more insight than you.

    • Anonymous

      Roosevelt’s Social Security Act continues to lift millions of aged, disabled, or widowed people out of poverty.  Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid acts have stopped medical bills from driving people into poverty.  The earned income tax credit, which Republicans now oppose (although Reagan strongly backed it) has also lifted millions out of poverty.  These are solid programs which Republicans now wish to de-fund or privatize so that they can continue to give tax cuts to the oligarchy to whom they have pledged undying loyalty.
        Wake up and smell the coffee.

      • Anonymous

         That is all well and good but the poverty rate is within a point or two of being the same since the 70’s. That tells me there is something else at play here that throwing all the money in the world at is not going to solve.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly correct!  Are we using the correct tactics in the war on poverty.  Were spending an awful lot of treasure with no real results or improvement.

        • Anonymous

          The proper comparison is from the 1930s (to see the effects of the SSA), the early 1960s (to see the effects of Medicare and Medicaid) and to see how poverty has increased under Reagan and Bush I and II, but decreased under Clinton.  Republicans have run the economy about as well as Bernard Madoff ran his investment schemes.  Need I revisit my posts exploring GDP growth and unemployment rates under Republican and Democratic Presidents?

          • Anonymous

             No need for your GDP chart except for the knowledge that a booming economy lifts all boats. The poor as well. (trickle down?)  But even then the percentage of the population living in poverty, within a point or two, has been around 14% of the population since the late 60’s early 70’s regardless of Presidents.
            There is more at play here is all I’m saying.

          • Anonymous

            Google Carpe Diem US Poverty Rates for a good graph.  The poverty rate was 22% in 1960 and had dropped to below 12% by 1978.  It was almost cut in half.  Nixon/Ford were the last Republican presidents who embraced the New Deal.  Nixon even proposed a guaranteed annual income.  However, the drop in poverty rates was largely fueled by Democratic programs that moderate Republicans like Nixon endorsed.
              Mid-way through Reagan’s term the poverty rate was almost 15%.  It began dropping, but was the same at the end of his term as it was at the beginning.  It rose again under Bush I, but dropped steeply under Clinton to below 12 % again.  Under Bush II it rose again to above 14%.
              Progressive income taxation and a minimum wage are two of the ways we can fight poverty.  The former generates enough income for the government to fuel economic growth with education and capital improvements (roads, buildings and bridges) and the latter makes work attractive.  If the minimum wage had been adjusted for inflation since 1968 it would be about $11 per hour.  That is the kind of rising tide that lifts all boats.

          • Anonymous

             I understand the math. What you are saying is nothing I don’t already cede to you. Of course people do better when then is work available. People at the margins have more opportunity.   My statistics are correct however as you point out. There has been no appreciable change except for up and down a point or two since the late 60’s and early 70’s.  The poverty rate mirrored the economy for the last 40 years. Despite trillions spent on the war on poverty the rate is still basically the same. Like I said in another post. …..

            I just think the whole “War on Poverty” got its bump pulling people out
            of poverty in the late 60’s and ever since has been more about
            maintaining the plantation.

          • Anonymous

            In a nation of 300 million, a three percent drop in the poverty rate represents 9 million people!  Having succeeded in the War on Poverty why would you wish to abandon the battlefield?
              Providing better schools and better work opportunities is infinitely more productive for our economy than tax cuts for the wealthy that won’t even be spent or, if spent, won’t be spent in this country.
              It makes sense from both an economic and humane perspective to return to taxation and minimum wage policies with a proven record for boosting our economy and lifting more citizens our of poverty.  Had the minimum wage kept up with inflation, the poverty rate would likely have declined more rapidly under Clinton.

          • Anonymous

             …and during a poor economy 9 million people become unemployed and drop into poverty. Whats your point? There is no permanent lasting dent in the numbers. I don’t know the answer but  I don’t think it lies either in your stats or all the government money spent. 

          • Anonymous

            Would you rather live in low tax Mississippi or high tax Massachusetts?  Government works to improve life for all of us.
            Thanks to the New Deal, unemployment insurance stops that drop into poverty.

          • Anonymous

            Ok but we are not , at least I am not,  talking about pre-ww2 America. I am talking about the War on Poverty for the last 40 years…. Whatever we are doing, we are not doing it right. That’s all I’m saying.

            To be honest if I had my druthers and life were different I’d go for New Hampshire and if it wasn’t so gosh darn hot all the time. Texas.

            But if the next few years are kind to me a hill top overlooking Golfo de Nicoya with a nice Pacific breeze.

          • If you understood basic math you would be outraged that it cost $8 million a year to send one kid to head start.

          • Anonymous

            I guess I’m going to have to see the data on that one.

          • Bob

            Did yo read this atrical? Most people did not I guess no offense but it said 3.2 to 4 Trillion spent on the war is enough to send 454,956 kids to head start.  one trillion = 1 million times 1 million . 4 trillion we can send 454,956 kids to head start. Well that tell me it cost seversl million to send just one kid to head start for one year. I can not spell . I am not educated but seems like they want all these kids to learn algebra 11 but not 3rd grade math.

          • Anonymous

             To be honest bob when people moralize about what money can do “for the children” my eyes glaze over. Forgive me.

  • Anonymous

    Example of “fairness”: 10 people in front of you at McDonalds orders and receives their meals, you get to pay for everyones because you make a six figure income. Sorry, but I don’t buy this fairness thing at all. We all make the bed we sleep in. Life is full of choices and making poor choices throughout life will result in poverty. Some people just don’t get it. This has been going on for many years and it only gets worse as time goes on as we build a welfare dependent society. Truly disabled and very old people, different story. And by the way, how would have these people survived in the 1800’s prior to any social services? Just saying. 

    • Anonymous

      Example of fairness: You buy out a company, squeeze all the profits out of it and into your own pockets, and lay off its workers. Then, deciding to go slumming on a whim, you visit the local McDonalds and eat whatever you please, while the people you laid off stare through the window, unable to afford so much as a French fry.

      Billionaires making poor choices cause poverty for millions of Americans. This has been going on for many years, as corporate welfare has robbed America blind.

      • ( as corporate welfare has robbed America blind)

        Funny thing, you mentioned!

        The whole Capitalistic world is going Bankrupt From Debt, and they blame it on Socialist!

        Funny thing,  ( Debt )  The lender is the winner and indebted is the looser and the whealth is still allways there!

        In effect a few people own alot of people and there is no need for leg irons to keep them in bondage.

        The Pharoahs would have loved this time in history!

        • Anonymous

           Dlbrt when the debt is owed and not repaid how in the world is the wealth still there?

          This goes to the heart of the difference between fiscal conservatives and liberals. You guys just don’t know what wealth is, how it is created and how it is destroyed. When it is available to use and when it isn’t. Wealth is not a zero sum game.

          • The Biggest Bank Heist in the History of the World was perpetrated by the banks themselves.

            And Fiscal Conservatives blame the few Sick , Poor, and Public Unions to cover it up!

            Wealth doesn’t just disappear into thin air, it is transferred!

          • Anonymous

            See what I mean?  Economic ignorance.

            Basic lesson number one.

            You have a house worth $250k.
            The market collapses and it is now worth $200k.
            No one transferred that $50k into someone elses bank account. It did in fact vanish. The homeowner feels poorer and the reality is the owner can’t borrow that full $250k value anymore or regain it when its sold.

          • Thank You, There in lies the fallacy! And the proof that the conservative mind lives in a fantasy world.

            Wealth by definition is the “true” accumulation of value.

            Not the illusion.

            A man ( Joe) walks into a bank and puts 10% down on a $250,000 house. 

            A (real)– ($25,000) True wealth

            The  Bank has a depositor who has $50,000 in the bank.  A ( real $50,000) True Wealth

                                                                                                     

            Total—( $75,0000 True wealth

            Based on the $50,000 Deposit,
            Thru the Money Multiplier the Bank is allowed by law to give the $ 250,000 loan to joe!

            The g0vernment has allowed the bank to ( Magically  create )              ( 175,000)

                   Total Differance  between between  Real  wealth  and loan amount       ( $ 175,000)  

            Joe Defaults! and the economy goes sour and he is told that the house is now worth $200,000

            The Bank comes back and takes the the House and Joes deposit and sells the house for $200,000. ( Real Money)

            Joe lost $ 25, 000 Plus Interest and Principle, (Real Money)

            The Depositor broke even ( $50,000 ) Real Money

            And the bank made ( $25,000 ) Real Money

            However!

            On the banks books it is showing a loss! —of ( $ 175,000 ) 

            It runs to the Government, crys screams has a tantrum that in the aggregate of all these loans this magic money it has created is now on their books, Holy Molly the world is gonna end !

            The Goverment steps in gives them money from the Treasury for the magic money and says now start all over. The Slate is wiped clean.

            The Bank Takes the money and then buys a new bank with the Millions of Joe’s the suckers 

             ( $25,000 ) Deposit s Money that it got from the Foreclosure and starts once again  to make ( Magic Money ) thru the Money Multiplier .
            Now however it has become Twice the size! It starts making new loans and in doing so is able to recreate the Lost Money to pay back the government thru the Magic Money Multipier.

            Voila!

            Transfer of ( REAL) Wealth!

            Joe Lost $25,000 
            The Bank Made $25,000

            Multiply that Time the Thousands of Foreclosures and you get!

            The Biggest Bank Heist in American History!

          • Anonymous

             After all that. You still miss it.

          • Wealth CAN just dissappear. Ask the folks who worked for Global, M.C.I. Enron, or Lehman Brothers. 

            One day the Wang computer building in Lowell Massachusetts is worth almost a billion dolars, and the following year it sells for $250,000.  Where did that “value” go?

          • Banking 101

            The Money Multiplier!Poof!  Money Created out of thin air!Poof!  Money Vanishes into thin air!No real Wealth created!No real Wealth Lost!

          • Anonymous

             Except the loss resides somewhere… do you know where?  Do you even know where this ethereal money came from?

          • Yes I know exactly where it resides!

            In Joe’s Mind!

            He thought that he had a $200,000 house when what he Really had was a $175,000 Loan!

            Poor Joe!

            LOL

          • Anonymous

             Right. But what about the $175k that he defaulted on. Who has to take the pain for that?
            Where is the pain felt at the bank? Do you know?

            Once you figured that out… Then you need to figure what it means to the government regulators.

            I think you may be uneducable on this topic.

          •    I have a college degree form 40 + years ago. I studied Economics but my Occupation was not in finance and I have no real experiance and a foggy memory of Kenesian Economics. My neice is in Saudi Arabia, she has a doctorates degree in finance and is young and sharp.

               She has worked all over the world even with the Chinese, setting up business. I am sure that she could explain it better. If I see her I will get the best explanation I can and share it.

            My understanding is that the losses are absorbed by inflation in the Money Supply that we all share in it as whatever Percentage we have as currency holders.

            Google Money supply, Discount Rate , Federal Reserve and Money Multiplier.

             

          • Anonymous

            It is stacked as a negative in their federal reserve accounts from which it was initially derived. Beyond that Federal regulators take note of bad loans and make take corrective action if there are too many of those. They banks don’t go scott free….

          • ethereal money came from?
            Printing Presses!

            LOL

        • Yawningattrolls

          And the lender is China whom now owns the American economy – so are they now the recipients of “corporate welfare”  controlling “our” wealth” ?

          • Far closer to the truth than you realize Sir. One good long look at the current balance of trade payment’s and it is beyond question just where from, and who, controls the American economy. The recent Chinese re-valuing of their currency when, not so coincidentaly, our own job’s picture here began making progress (and NO, I do not subscribe to the GOP media vulture crowd) should be seen as a ‘thermometer’ of sorts as to just how well the Country as a whole is doing.

      • Anonymous

        So what is your solution to corporate greed?

        • Anonymous

          For starters, corporations are NOT people, and should not be given the legal rights of people.

          • Anonymous

            You still didn’t answer the question. What do you propose to eliminate cooperate greed?

          • A maximum wage similar to the minimum wage. 

          • Anonymous

             Are you really going to tell owners what they can pay their employees? Are you that authoritarian?

          • Anonymous

            So if you regulate how much a person can make if their company/corperation is in the United States, what prevents them from pulling stakes and moving the company overseas like has happened many times since NAFTA was signed into existence? Then if you not only regulate earnings, but make it impossible for companies to move offshore, than what incentive does anyone have to start a company in the first place? Apple computer is a prime example of why companies do what they do. They base out of the U.S., but manufacture overseas to make the product cheaper. Why hasn’t Apple come under scrutiny for this? You think Steve Jobs would have had the incentive to go back to Apple if his earnings were going to be limited?

          • Anonymous

            Greed is an emotion. No way to eliminate it. But the practice of greed can be regulated.

          • Anonymous

            And what would be the most effective way to regulate greed?

          • Anonymous

            I’m not going to write up an program for corporate regulations in the course of my busy work day. What’s a lot more interesting to me at this point is why you seem to be determined to advocate for either:

            1) the absolute right of corporations to inflict whatever practices they wish on American workers and/or

            2) the impossibility of reining in corporate greed.

          • Anonymous

            Not looking for a dissertation. Just looking for a general direction that corporate America ought to be going in. I see lots of disgruntled posts on this subject, but no real solutions. I agree the problem does exist.

    • Some had the luck to be born into money. 

  • Anonymous

    No one is attacking the poor when complaining about welfare fraud, just cheaters.

     

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if your efforts would be better aimed at getting the poor off the couch and working off a few calories. It is common knowledge that obese medicaid patients cost  Mainecare $1,000 per year annually more than healthy recipients merely because of obesity.

    Here is some data….

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/obesity-big-fat-problem-america-future-193852066.html

    I am not sure  a “Walk to Stop the War on the Poor” would do as much good as a good vigorous  “Walk WITH the Poor”.

    • When you factor in obese people tend not to live as long I think you will find they do not cost more. It saves on other programs in the long run. Again I do not think you understand math. 

      • Anonymous

        What your version of math misses is that we do annual budgets. We really can’t afford to wait 5 years for the obese guy to die to pay for this years budget.

        • Bob

          Live for today do not worry about tomorrow . That is what got us into the mess we are in in the first place. Any bank had to have known house prices could not go up at 20% a year forever. Then the wanted a bail out? If house prices would have gone up that much for lets say 50 years even after inflation they would have been worth much more that the GDP of the world. The math did not work. These bankers knew this but did not worry about when the crash would come they got bailed out. Take a poor person in over his head they buy car from buy here pay here places and rent to own things and pay 4 times as much for thier stuff , of payday loans.  Well maybe when banks got bailed they should have been charges 400% interest . Bet they would not have thought it was so funny.

    • they Die 10 years sooner . One year in a nursing home cost 100k I rest my case

  • I hear your plea, but you do not help your case with prevarication.  In your piece (decrying poverty) you intermingle Federal policies with those of Maine.  You dump the oneness of “poverty, and discrimination against poor folks on Governor LePage, while mentioning policies overseen and administered by the Obama administration, You (of course) never mention Democratic complicity in the plight of poor folks.
     
    I lived (grew up) in Lewiston under Jim Longly and Joe Brennan.  Guess what?  The poor were still poor under Democratic and Independent administrations. The shoe shop jobs, the textile mills, and the tanning factories were still going overseas.  We didn’t blame the Governors then, and we don’t blame them now.
     
    I agree with you about corporate welfare.  I dislike that variety as much as I dislike the personnel brand.  I really have a hard time approving the transfer of money from those who work for it to those who do not work, or those entities that really do not need these funds. Yeah, when I was young, mom got food stamps.  She hated them and would shop over in Auburn where she imagined she would not meet acquaintances, we were on this dole after the shop closed without warning and left my mom and 200 other folks out of work.
     
    After two years of this indignantly, she took in other people’s laundry, minded other people’s children, and occasionally cleaned restaurants at night when they were closed.  She came home smelling like deep fry grease. She said people need a boot in the rump to get up after a crash. I agreed and agree.
     
    So if you are going to talk against the economic system Americans have embraced, I’ll listen, and maybe even agree. I don’t think capitalism is “fair” nor was it meant to be.  For the work my mother did she should have driven a Cadillac, and lived in Foreside.  That unfortunately is not the way our system works.  Someone who can play baseball or other sports can make in a day more than my mother made in her life.    Is that fair?  Will it ever change?

  • Anonymous

    According to a new report from Brown University, the wars in
    Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan will cost Americans between $3.2 trillion
    and $4 trillion. How else could this money be spent? It could provide
    771,258 people with low-income health care or 454,946 slots in Head
    Start Programs for one year. It is a matter of priorities.

    An interesting paragraph. Besides the fact that it shows that the ‘poverty’ programs it mentions are wildly expensive (or that the writer is innumerate), it also shows that the only alternatives Ms Bisheimer can imagine are different ways for government to spend the taxpayers’ money. The conservative way would be for the government to leave it in the hands of the taxpayers to begin with, spending it on neither welfare, cronyism nor military adventures.

    Incidentally, I seem to recall reading, years ago, that 80% of the money the government spends on ‘the poor’ actually goes to pay the government workers who administer the programs. That may be wrong in detail, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that many of those who enthuse in a principled way for such programs also have a financial interest in them.

    • Anonymous

       And there’s the rub.

    • Ya head start cost $8 million a year for just one kid. I thought they only went half a day.  $8 trillion would probably be enough to send ever kid of head start age to school in the world . Figured in US. dollars and respective countries cost for such a program . 

  • Anonymous

    Very well written and insightful.  Thank you, Katrina.

    • Anonymous

       Insightful??? Really???  Insightful???!!!

       This is the same disjointed misunderstanding of cause and effect that left has been known for.   Imagine making a connection between the War in Afghanistan, a national concern, with LePage cutting services here in Maine for entirely different budgetary concerns. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
      Even if the war stopped tomorrow it would have ZERO impact on poverty programs here in Maine.

  • Anonymous

    We don’t have a poverty of money, we suffer from a poverty of values. Drive by a Sec 8 housing development (not too hard to find in Maine…); and count how many satelite TV receiver dishes are there…talk to anyone who scans at the register at any supermarket….lots of EBT card usage followed by cash for cartons of cigarettes and suitcases of beer. I could go on and on….

  • Anonymous

    You have to love how it is always a
    “war” on something when the libbers
    go bonkers. How is there a “war” on the
    poor when there is more people on food
    stamps than at anytime in our history? No
    one is against helping the real poor contrary
    to what the socialist left will try to make you
    believe. What the real “war” is about is to keep
    the lazy and able from becoming full time recipients
    of taxpayer money. Since this so called war on poverty
    began, the billions spent and sucked out of us, there
    shouldn’t be one poor person in this country. Instead
    of villifying businesses and driving them out of the country,
    the politiicans should be making it easy and less costly
    to do business here in this country. Instead of the EPA
    administering asinine rules and regs, they should be disbanded
    and stop the nonsense. Oops! Can’t do that, the enivronmentalists
    would all be like lemmings and run into the ocean.

  • $4 trillion on war 6 billion people in the world . Why do people starve ? I would think you could feed the basics for $2 a day Ramon noodles are cheap . Could have feed the world for a year .It is really to bad most people do not understand numbers .

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