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Old 09-05-2005, 08:02 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en


what common ground is there between the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor?
Let me go back to my example of some things that have been attempted and addressed in Alabama, and also tip my hat to former President Clinton. The "Black Belt" region of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia has some of the "poorest of the poor" in this region. High unemplyment rates, drug addiction, lack of educational opportunities and even a local AIDS crisis have all been present in this region. Now some of the "richest of the rich" may simply see this as a burden which crings the state down, while other "rich" and middle class people see it as a problem affecting the lives of their neighbors and their communities. For the "poorest of the poor" that live here, it is their life, not just a burden; it is their everyday life. But if the state and multi-governmental agencies and business interestes invest in the region properly, they can turn it around, by improving funding (and accountability) for the school systems, by bringing jobs to the area, and by fighting the symptoms such as addicition and AIDS. The Hyundai plant south of Montgomery, Alabama has already made a dent in the high unemployment stats. Good corporate partners incvest in their community, and we've seen his as we've introduced Mercedes Benz, Honda, and now Hyundai plants to previously underserved, rural communities in Alabama. Schools will benefit from this investment as well. The poor will face a better job market; their children will, hopefully, get better educations. The challenge then is to sustain this pattern, and in a way that also leads to a diverse job market (since not everyone will want to build automobiles).

Ultimately for the "Richest of the rich" who once saw "the poorest of the poor" as a burden, that "burden" can hopefully be lifted as the poor move up and move on to the work rolls. Basically, to answer your question, I guess I'll say that their common interest is opportunity.

Now, as to former President Clinton, I do admire his approach to welfare reform in thinning the welfare rolls not by kicking people off but by creating and improving jobn markets for them and giving them opportunities to pursue the better jobs. The final impact of this, as I suspected, will take awhile to realize, but I do think it will be in improvement.

~U2Alabama
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:22 PM   #32
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I live in one of "those" suburban areas where I get the feeling most people would rather not think about the poor. Our family has had tough times financially, been foreclosed on, moved 4 times in the past 2 years, etc. Still, my parents are absolutely adament about keeping me and my younger brother in this school system, because it's such a great one. I guess they'd rather be in massive debt than a druggie area. Anyway, I've never had to worry about my next meal and for that at least I'm grateful.

But anyway, it's absolutely true that a lot of the rich people around here would rather not see the poverty that exists. The suburban bubble. I hate it. My friends and I volunteer at a homeless shelter downtown on as many weekends as we can, but most people wouldn't even think of doing that. They'll write a check, sure, but they wouldn't want to see it with their own two eyes.

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Old 09-05-2005, 08:29 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
In the US, we tend to think of poverty in terms of dolllar and cents. For a group that has the luxury of communicating by PC, it may be harder to truly grasp the idea of rich and poor.

Few of us have seen poverty in other countries. Sulawesigirl4 may have the best insight here. Lack of money doesn't always equate to poorness as surplus of money doesn't always equate to richness.

Perhaps it can be viewed in terms of expectations and availability of a lifeline. In the US, if you lose your job, you still have government services. In other countries, all you have is what you carry or what you grow.
Excellent points, Doug. I've had a tiny bit of experience with poverty elsewhere having spent a month in Tanzania. Poverty there is not just having a $7/hr job, no car, and a trailor; poverty there is having two-thirds of your extended family dead or dying of AIDS, having 3 extra children in your household whose parents have already died, having no education, having no health care, no clean running water, no form of waste or sewage removal, living in shanties made of scrap tin, mud, and cow dung, with no proper defense against malaria. We went to a great presentation on their health care system (or lack thereof) and in Tanzania, there is ONE doctor per 200,000 people. Yet still, a good number people seemed happy. They didn't depend on a single career or college degree because the entire household sticks together and looks out for each other. They may not have jobs that pay off in wages, but they can spend a 14 hr day in the field and come home and eat something they've produced, knowing they've in some small way provided for their family. Sometimes our emphasis on being independent and living the American dream kills our spirit and burries equally important values like simply looking out for each other.

It's hard to find that balance of feeling confident, independent, and successful, but truly feeling happy and fulfilled. I think we all do or will struggle with this to some extent, whatever our class or education level. Personally, I love the feeling of indepence and responsibility I get from being able to live away from my parents, but at the same time, I hate living paycheck-to-paycheck and at 19 years old, already being over 30K in debt, paying off 5 seperate monthly interest bills and having to choose between paying the electricity bill and renewing my prescription medications. Thankfully though, that's not poverty, it's just an annoyance.

I don't know how to make it work b/c there's so many factors that influence poverty and so many different attitudes towards poverty, even from the impoverished themselves. All I know is I'm very thankful for what I have, even the challenges that come with it, b/c my experiences in East Africa and this past week with Hurricane Katrina and a horrible reminder of how much worst off I could be.
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:41 PM   #34
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melon, I have a B.S. degree in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations.

That will get me a job in the current job market in Texas - I would be better off with an Associate's degree in Medical Transcription or something more technical.

I can't afford to move and I can't afford to go back to school.
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:44 PM   #35
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I'm getting tired - I have been filling out job applications all day on the Internet.

My response should have read "That will NOT get me a job".

I hope this thread doesn't devolve into another attack thread.

I don't think it was meant to be one.
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:45 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by VertigoGal
But anyway, it's absolutely true that a lot of the rich people around here would rather not see the poverty that exists. The suburban bubble.
Heh, that was sure true in my original hometown in Iowa among a lot of the uber-rich people.

Anywho, I do agree we need to bring more attention to this issue. I'm not sure why people don't care, either. Some people's ignorance of the subject is due to the fact that they just haven't seen it or heard of it, but for those who are aware and still don't care...I'm not sure why that is. It sucks, but I guess we'd have to ask them specifically why they don't care.

Angela
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:59 PM   #37
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I have some fairly strong views here on this topic, and I have posted about it (with Bama before).

My posts and personal experiences dealt with the area he has described. I have also seen similar poverty in Mississippi AND on an Indian Reservation in North Dakota. I think the posts I ahve made dealt with Senator Paul Wellstone (now deceased) doing a tour of some of the most impoverished areas in our country (including the ones I have mentioned). Wellstone basically recreated a tour that JFK went on in the 1960's. Guess what...not much had changed in the 30 years between tours (yet, like Bama has stated...things have changed since then).

A lot of good points have been brought up: education and health care...two basic needs that have ADDED to national poverty rather than help the case.

No one has brought up the easy access to credit cards that causes a lot of trouble too.
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Old 09-05-2005, 10:06 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2dork
I agree with Indra about education being a key in reducing poverty, but as a student of education, I'm learning that the simple act of providing the education is not enough. How do you make people value education? You do all you can in the classroom to teach the students but what happens when they go home?
I agree with you. And I admit I don't have a clue how to remedy that. I think it's really hard for people to see the value because it isn't immediate for the most part. I believe education is essential for the the long term, but it's not a quick fix at all. I don't envy people in the ed biz at all because although it is one of the most essential professions, it is also one of the most frustrating.

Several people have also discussed insurance/access to reasonably priced health care. That is also essential to eradicating poverty. But again, I can't say I have a workable plan for that either. I wish I did...I would love to have health insurance.
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Old 09-05-2005, 10:31 PM   #39
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I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said. We definitely need education and healthcare. But I'm afraid it will never happen in my lifetime - especially with the health insurance companies and big interest groups (I don't get my point across to well sometimes, remember I'm new in the forum, kinda)...

Anyone seen Bulworth with Warren Beatty? Big money, big money....
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:45 PM   #40
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Poverty is ugly. The society we live in pushes poor people out. They are marked as criminals, without class, etc. It serves our society right. Because everyone wants to get up the ranks. Everyone wants to succeed and to show that he´s one of the winners, not one of the losers. This mentality has crippled society.
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:04 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'd suggest that we, as individuals, are the best equiped to help meet needs of others.
Jamila has already replied to your other assumptions, so I´ll leave it with this.

Your suggestion is inacceptable.

While private help to the poor is a nice thing and much valued, it is not a duty. Therefore, the individuals are not the best equipped to help people out of their poverty.

The state, our country, is best equipped to help people out of poverty. It is one of the state´s functions and duties. Often, this is working poorly, and the reason for that is that the rich people regulate politics they way they want to.

To imply that private organizations, donors, individuals etc. are the best equipped to help others (as nice as charity is), is an assumption that opens the door for abandoning the programs for the poor.

Poverty is on the rise in Europe because social programs have been reduced for the last fifteen years - under whatever government, social democrats, conservatives, name it, everywhere.

Our leaders listen to other masters. Surely not to the poor who cry for help in the streets. That´s all there is to it.
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:09 AM   #42
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I think a reason why we don't think of the poor in our own countries is that we see our society as a "free" one, where if you can't get a job somewhere, up sticks and move to where you can, if you are not earning enough money to support your family, look for a job where you can etc

For ex we see people in Africa and Asia and South American living in shanty towns with nothing for them, no WAY out of their existance you know? We see them as stagnent, stuck in a cycle of complete poverty but not really having the knowledge to get out of the situation, because they haven't been told, or are unaware and their country doesnt want to help them, or CANT help them because of how many there are and where the country is in relation to others on the socioecnomic status...

WHILE in our society everyone has to go to school, everyone is told 'you can do anything' and then middle class and higher up people who go out and work and earn money look at the poor people of our own country and think, gee i went out and worked, why cant they? They have access to all the same things i do, they get government money and free health benifits (here in australia anyway) why can't they get off the streets, or get a job somewhere and earn money...

i myself, truth be told have thought that, espiecally with people who are on the dole who seem to have no qualms in recieving $460 a fortnight to do nothing, and no desire to get on with thier livs, but really i feel sorry for them more then anything..

but in the scheme of things, its hard to say that, everything is subjective, you can't sit and say, well they are poor because they are lazy or something, becaus eit simply is not true and as a lot of you have said, poverty wheel is very hard to get off!

Just throwing in an opnion or two...
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:13 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars


Poverty is on the rise in Europe because social programs have been reduced for the last fifteen years - under whatever government, social democrats, conservatives, name it, everywhere.

Our leaders listen to other masters. Surely not to the poor who cry for help in the streets. That´s all there is to it.
Quite right. I live in Holland, and I still can't believe our politicians are trying to sell the public that social security is becoming way too expensive because of demographic reasons. Therefore the health sector had to cut € 500 million. And we bought a new fighter jet for € 8 billion. Go figure.
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:15 AM   #44
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And just a quick thought on why we tend not to want to discuss poverty in our own country (countries). I think a part might be that we know we don't know what to do, and not having a clue about what to do is scary. And most people don't really want to discuss what scares them.

Plus there is also that "if I don't see it, it isn't really there" mentality.
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:23 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by s_tielemans


Quite right. I live in Holland, and I still can't believe our politicians are trying to sell the public that social security is becoming way too expensive because of demographic reasons. Therefore the health sector had to cut € 500 million. And we bought a new fighter jet for € 8 billion. Go figure.
Wow, they bribed your government into buying Eurofighters? Same for us. Man, it´s the same everywhere. Same deals all over Europe.
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