Democrats & Liberals Archives

Greed: Weapon of Mass Destruction

It’s four years since the Bush administration started the hunt for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It did not find them in Iraq because Iraq had no WMD. Maybe it should have been looking here in the United States. As Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath demonstrated, there is plenty of destruction right here at home. And one reason - there definitely are others - for the colossal New Orleans fiasco, and for many preventable deaths suffered daily by the poor and black, is that America is and has been gripped by greed. Greed is a weapon of mass destruction.

Americans always worshipped money. But not like today. We glorify money. We spend 60 - 80 hours on the job in order to make more money. We idolize rich people, like Bill Gates. We excuse the depradations of CEOs who make - I should say, extort - more money than any worker should. Americans are money-mad.

Stated another way, we are filled with greed. This is why we think it's hunky-dory for businesses to be greedy. This is why we excuse the frauds, scams and abuses businesses impose on us. This is why the Republicans in charge of the country seek ways of further enriching the rich. Unfortunately, too often they enrich the rich at the expense of the poor. "Expense" sometimes means "death."

Greed is a WMD:

  • The private HEALTH CARE industry provides fairly decent health care to the rich and middle class. It does not take care of many poor people, who often die from health neglect or complications

  • ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, caused by mining, manufacturing, transportation and energy industries, affects primarily poor people who can't afford to live anywhere except in polluted areas. The poor develop lung diseases and cancers from which they die

  • The FINANCIAL INDUSTRY, paid off a few lawmakers, who then passed bankruptcy laws that zero in primarily on the poor. Many can not get along, become homeless or die

  • Businesses in the ENERGY INDUSTRY, which also is in deep with legislators, were awarded with many giveaways. The poor, however, can not afford the steep gas prices. This is one reason why many poor New Orleans citizens could not get out of town and died

  • The administration gave "everybody" TAX CUTS. However, most of the cuts went to the rich. The other face of the tax-cuts is the reduction in spending for things like infrastructure. No money was available to fix the levees and so many poor and black people died and are dying
The ironic part of the story is that the poor are concentrated in the so-called red states, the same states that put laissez-faire-greed-is-good Republicans in power. Take a look at this table that I got from the L.A. Times, that presents the poverty rates for states with rates greater than the average for U.S.

City---------------------Poverty Rate (%)

New Orleans----------------27.9
Birmingham, Ala------------24.7
Tallahassee, Fla-----------24.7
Atlanta, GA----------------24.4
Jackson, Miss--------------23.5
Shreveport, LA-------------22.8
Mobile, Ala----------------21.2
Knoxville, Tenn------------20.8
Memphis, Tenn--------------20.6
Houston, TX----------------19.2
Dallas, TX-----------------17.8
Corpus Christi, TX---------17.6
San Antonio, TX------------17.3
Oklahoma City, OK----------16.0
Austin, TX-----------------14.4
Little Rock, Ark-----------14.3
Nashville, Tenn------------13.3

Notice that these are all in the South. Instead of calling it the Bible Belt, we should call it the Impoverished Belt. Notice also, that the most impoverished of all is New Orleans, where 27.9% of the population lived under the poverty level. These figures are as of 2000, when the U.S. average was 12.4%. Today the average is 12.7%, which means that the percentage numbers for New Orleans should be even higher.

Greed and poverty are related. Greed is the weapon of mass destruction with which we kill poor people. Let's do our best to vanquish it.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 7, 2005 6:36 PM
Comments
Comment #78865

I agree that greed is a horrible thing, but I also think that someone should want to help themselves. The people in poverty have been living off of the system all of their lives. They are comfortable and don’t want to improve their lives. Why would they if all they have to do is sit back have babies and collect checks. The poverty level keeps rising because they keep having babies, but they keep having babies so that they may collect more checks.

Posted by: DAVID at September 7, 2005 6:53 PM
Comment #78867
The Senate Democrats are taking action with their plan this week. Some highlights:

…There should be a short term moratorium on obligations such as:

Individual and corporate income taxes

Way to go in your fight against greed.

Posted by: jo at September 7, 2005 6:57 PM
Comment #78873

HHHMMMM….
Interesting………

I don’t quite know what to say.

Do you remember the Great Depression?

My grandparents did and they suffered greatly. But, they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and turned their “fortune” around. By no means were they any where near wealthy, they had six kids and no indoor plumbing! Funny how they managed to keep their family cleanly, and well kept. Their clothes may have had tears but they were promptly patched and well laundered.

Life is what you make of it, no matter what your income is! I’m sick to death of turning on the television to once again hear another “poverty” person screaming (in broken English at that, as far as I remember public school is still free as long as you can “pay” attention enough to learn) “What is (fill in the blank) gonna to do fo’ me?”

Posted by: Traci at September 7, 2005 7:30 PM
Comment #78880

Welfare does develope a dependency, just observe the charcteristics of the corporations that line up at the federal feeding trough every year.

Posted by: dtom21 at September 7, 2005 8:15 PM
Comment #78882

—-
The people in poverty have been living off of the system all of their lives. They are comfortable and don’t want to improve their lives. Why would they if all they have to do is sit back have babies and collect checks. The poverty level keeps rising because they keep having babies, but they keep having babies so that they may collect more checks.
—-

Wow - try research before you go spouting off. That’s really the most off-based post I’ve read in a long time.

- The largest group of our poor? Children. (Worthless bastards should get a job!!!)

- How many of our homeless or veterans? 1/3 (Wow - now there’s a group of freeloaders if I’ve ever seen one!)

- The average length of time per person on Gov. assistance? 16 months. (Hardly ‘their whole life.”)

- Average WIC payment to family per child? $182 (Hardly an incentive to ‘sit back and have more babies’. I know it’s more expensive, but maybe we should make abortion mandatory.)

—-

Curious as to the effect on poverty our current Administration has had: (It’s the drop of wages and benefits that creates poverty… not babies…)

“For the third consecutive year, the poverty rate and the number of Americans living in poverty both rose from the prior years. Since 2000, the number of poor Americans has grown by more than 4 million. The official poverty rate in 2003 (the most current year for which figures are available) was 12.5 percent, up from 12.1 percent in 2002. Total Americans below the official poverty thresholds numbered 35.9 million, a figure 1.3 million higher than the 34.6 million in poverty in 2002. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003, Current Population Reports, August 2003)”

http://www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/povfacts.shtml

Posted by: tony at September 7, 2005 8:22 PM
Comment #78885

Traci -

I also came from poor dirt farmers (in North Carolina.) I was one of 4 kids/family of 6 living on $10k a year. I paid my way through school - my first year out I was making $12k a year (1990.)

I now own my business and am very close being a ‘paper’ $Mill.

I would be a complete fool to think I did this all on my own - that my race/my family/my friends did not play into my ability to pull ‘myself up by my boot straps.’

I am very good at what I do for a living - but I am not so exceptional to warrant success when I have seen so many other equally qualified people fail.

I do not begrudge people who need help - and those who face humility in asking for it - to help themselves get where they need to go. I have met many people on this path… I have helped some… and unless you personally experience this DIRECTLY yourself, you have no business being critical.

Posted by: tony at September 7, 2005 8:44 PM
Comment #78886

Paul,
It is not Greed that keep some citizens in Poverty, but Ignorance and Stupidity of a Society and its Citizenary. Because if Greed was the motivating factor of America or any Nation on Earth than Reason & Logic would dictate that every Consumer (i.e. Citizen) would be given the opportunity to become Economically Viable and Financailly Independent as prescibed by The Laws of The Land. Hence, if every American meet that standard would there be a reason to collect taxes for such programs as Welfare, Unempolment, etc.?

David & Traci,
If “The Poor” is s much of a problem for you than lets do away with their jobs. Considering that Low-Income begins around $50,000.00/yr (family of Four) that removes Police, Fire Fighters, Nurses, Resturants, Convinent Stores, Home Depot, Garbage Collectors, Mechanics, Home Builders, and a list of other jobs that allow you to live. So by all means lets do away with the Working Poor and make it so that Minumum Wage for the recovery in the Gulf States begins at $50,000.00/yr. Although these citizens who have homes insured for a Million or more can only build a 600 sq ft Home to replace ther 3000 sq ft House shouldn’t be a problem. This way you can enjoy lower taxes and higher prices on everything.

Or do you think there is a better way to make every Citizen on Earth and Above Economically Viable and Financailly Independent as required by The Laws of The Land? The $150 Billion plus that Katrina is going to cost All Americans comes out to about $1,000 per Working Consumer or about $.45cents/hr. Do you want B.S. or is it in the inherent best interest to use our Constituion and Congress to invest in the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States as prescibed in Article I Section 8.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 7, 2005 8:45 PM
Comment #78889

Traci, your prejudice is showing!

Easy for some to say that people “choose” to live in poverty. As for the Great Depression, if I recall history, weren’t there a lot of people who committed suicide? Didn’t the government have to step in to help? Wasn’t it Roosevelt that was responsible for implementing programs such as SS, paving roads using the unemployed and social programs to help the disadvantaged? Jobs today are outsourced, workers underpaid and college educations less attainable for the poor than they were in the past. Remember the GI Bill? Now, our brave soldiers come home to barely nothing. They don’t have the jobs or education they were promised. 1/3 homeless or in poverty!! For shame America. I have trouble with the ideology that the poor can just lift themselves out of poverty if they wish to. Sounds good. If only it were true. I think most would choose a better life for themselves and their children if possible. Who would choose to live in squalor, without enough to eat, pay their mortgage/rent, utility bills, etc.?? Who, would await a devastating hurricane if they could possibly avoid it? I signed a petition today asking our president to please stop casting blame on the victims. I told him to look in the mirror. And since you are of the same mindframe that he and his daughter, Barbara, seem to be in, maybe you should too. After all, didn’t you cast your vote for him and his “have mores?”

Posted by: Donna at September 7, 2005 9:05 PM
Comment #78893

It’s astonishing that anybody with family who suffered during the Great Depression would be against poverty programs. After all, the poor back then did not pull themselves by their boostraps. They were generally given a hand up by Prez. Roosevelt.

Today, Prez. Bush is trying to give a hand up to many of the newly impoverished evacuees from New Orleans. Perhaps he shouldn’t. Perhaps he should leave them to their own devices. Help yourselves, damn it! It’s your fault for choosing to live below sea level, you dolts! FEMA handouts will only make you weaker!

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 7, 2005 9:46 PM
Comment #78909

I thought that Democrats prided themselves on nuanced thinking, but what a cartoonish description of the sources of poverty! Not even Karl Marx was this simplistic.

It’s all the fault of Republicans? It’s all the fault of corporations? It’s all the fault of the rich? It all comes down to greed?

The fact that some are poor is a complex and deeply rooted problem with many sources. Social and cultural values, language barriers, the educational system, single-parent families, the media—all of this and more is related, and it makes as much sense to blame Democratic policies and values as does to blame Republicans alone.

And to be fair, that list of poorest cities in so-called Red States lists a large number of Blue cities, places that have been governed by Democratic politics and their so called generous policies for generations.

Posted by: sanger at September 7, 2005 11:04 PM
Comment #78918

sanger,
The problem with poverty is not a complex and deeply rooted problem with many sources. It is however, the ability of a society to educate its population on The Art of Investing in ones Inherent Best Interest. That is why The Founding Fathers of America stated that The Righteousness of America or any Nation of Humanity’s Civilization will be known by how much each citizen is willing to hold their Nations Debt.

If America’s Leaders really want to make Every American a Millionaire than the solution is very simple. $20.00/week @ 7% Interest for 40 years insures that each American does just that. Since the purpose of Payroll Taxes is to provide each Citizen with a Social Insurance Policy setting a side $.50/hr of a Working Consumer meets the demand of funding. Since requiring the Market to provide each account a 7% Apr profit each year would place an undo burden on our capitalist system, the smartest thing America could do is allow each ciyizen to use the $.50/hr Payroll tax to purchase U.S. Federal Reserve “Special” Treasury Notes and allow specialists in The Federal Reserve to invest it so that 7% and operating cost can be covered. By increasing the size of our National Treasure by approx. $320 Million/week, The Economy & Government would have more money than the would know what to do with.

Given the fact that Society demands a person live a simple productive life and the average person works between 40-45 years of their Life, Every American could retire a Millionaire Plus. And I’m sorry, but if you can not live off of $70,000.00/yr when you are retired than you have a very serious problem. Additionally, lower taxes and the elimination of entitlement programs such as Welfare, Unemployment, Etc..and the natural increase in the value of The Dollar will drive down the cost of living.

So can you tell me why we are not doing this? Think about it this way. If our Forefathers would of had the foresight a 135 years or so ago (right after The Civil War) to add a clause into The 16th Amendment which would of allowed every American Citizen to set a side 10% of the revenue owed the Federal Government in taxes for the purchase of U.S. Treasury Notes would almost every American by now be Economically Viable and Financailly Independent? Now, we can speak of The Ignorance of the Society back than that wold of not allowed such a Constitutional Amendment to pass or we could speak of the fact that 40 years ago Our Society would of not believed in doing such a thing. Shot, I’ll bet you today that Citizens like President Bush wouldn’t support such a plan of action. Nevertheless, the numbers do not lie and here in America all it will take to make it happen is The Political Will of “We the People” and a swipe of a pen from The President and Congress. Or do you believe that investing in your Children’s Childrens Future is not worthy of your Payroll Tax dollars?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 7, 2005 11:59 PM
Comment #78921

Henry, that sounds like a nice idea if it would work, but I can think of many reasons why it wouldn’t and why it would be opposed by politicians of all political stripes. In any case, I see no reasons why the objections from Republicans would be ideologicial or selfish—as in “we don’t people to have money or be rich, so let’s kill this delightful and clearly workable plan.”

For one, are you proposing an additional payroll tax on top of the ones that already exist? Are you proposing taking MORE money out of the paychecks of the working poor? What government services would have to be slashed to compensate for this redirection of funds? Should we impose an additional tax on employers that would lead them to cut jobs and/or other benefits? And won’t liberal pundits like Paul Krugman call this “a risky scheme” and claim that there’s no guarantee of such a high return in the same way they’ve criticized private investment accounts (and for the same reasons). Your proposal sounds a lot like Bush’s proposed private accounts, actually, except for the part of putting the investments in the hands of “specialists.”

I’m no economist, but it also occurs to me that everybody was a millionaire then the laws of supply and demand would make a million dollars worth a lot less. Then we’d be back at square one.

I’m receptive to good ideas, but I don’t think that there’s some magic bullet for eliminating poverty that is just being ignored.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 12:27 AM
Comment #78923

sanger,
America right now is about to Borrow and Spend (B.S.)about $150 Billion Dollars over the next few months which if you do the math comes out to about $.45 Cents/hr from every Working Consumer for the next year. So do you want B.S. or Invest in Our Common Interest.

Did you know that by Law a Corporation that makes a million dollar yacht has the right to sue Society so that they can have as many “Potential Economical Viable Customers” as Wal-Mart? Ethical & Morally they would committ political suicide, but they do have the right to level the playing field (i.e. Market). However, if a Political Party
would come out supporting “We the Consumers” as The Founding Fathers envisioned (Equal Peer)than the politic pressure could come to bare to allow The Poorest Consumer who adds positively to the function of Society to purchase that Million Dollar Yacht. Realm of Social Thinking allows the natural evolution of Governments and Societies. In the 20th Century it was Labor. In the 19th Century it was Big Business Barons. However, the Youth of the 60’s Revolution brought about the Era of “I The Corporation.”

As far as Supply and Demand, I have a few questions for you. With all the new millionaires created in the 80’s & 90’s did the demand for Limousine cause a shortage and drive up the price? No. Can an All You can Eat Dinner make a profit? Yes. Did increasing 90% of Families Income cause shortages of TV’s, Computers, Etc. No. The secert to Supply and Demand is for “We the Consumers” to invest in “We the People” so that proper portocol and regulation can be made to allow “We the Corporation” to build the facilities so that “We the Labor” can meet the demand of “We the Consumers” in a positive environmental manner.

No, 40 years ago you may of and The Republican Party did that The Earth has limited resources, thus allowing everybody to have everything was irresponsible for The Government to allow such a thing to take place until such technology advances permits these to happen. Well, guess what VP Gore was right in 2000 when he said that America and The World is on the edge of revolution that will totally change the way All Citzens view their world.

Check out Electromagnetic Motors, Bio-sphere Engineering, and Bio-Matrix Materail (sp) to begin with. I would link, but be warned that some of the real neat stuff comes real close to National Security so watch where you step. No, the worst thing that can happen by making every Citizen on Earth and Above Economically Viable and Financailly Independent is that our Society will be forced to grow up. Because step back and look at The Big Picture, can it not be said that The Leaders of The World are trying really hard to make it so every Human is financailly secured so that they have the means to Breath, Drink, and Eat?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 1:21 AM
Comment #78926

I have an idea….Lets take all the money from everyone and devide it among all citizens in the USA. How long do you think it would take to get back to the position we are in now? My guess would be less than 10 years.

The best way to end poverty is to change the income tax system…Go to a tax system similar to the “Fairtax”, a national sales tax. Then get the government OUT of it. It is not the government’s business or responsibility to see that I make a decent living. THAT responsibility belongs to me and I don’t want the government to interfere with it.

Posted by: tomd at September 8, 2005 5:18 AM
Comment #78928

tomd,
Why pay taxes at all? Why is this Beast of Burden that important that it causes more problems than it solves? True, roads, clean water, etc. is nice to have, but who needs them? If America’s Principles truely are to be fulfilled than the Mark of Economically Viable and Financailly Independent is the easiest way to achieve the True Freedom of our Citizenary.

For while it is The Duty of Government to dig the Well of Life and regulate it’s use. It is The Duty of our Society to put The Water of Life in a cup and bring it to Our Citizens. However, if a Citizen refuses to drink the Water of Life or does not learn to consume it within socailly acceptable standards than it is the Role of Government and/or Society to force the Citizen?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 6:35 AM
Comment #78938

Tony~

Being a single mother, that most of the time does not have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of……I believe I am well qualified!!! But, I guess I will only get the sympathy vote if I sit around and cry and whine about what this country owes me, personally, I think it is really pathetic that the people that work hard and perservere through their limitations are always overshadowed and less covered than those that scream and yell!

Donna~

Why respond? I will not respond to your flame baiting of calling me “prejudice”! If you would like to discuss something do not resort to name-calling.

Henry~

Your response does not directly apply to my post, in fact it had nothing to do with my statements so……??????????

Posted by: Traci at September 8, 2005 9:30 AM
Comment #78950

Tony you can’t sit there and tell me there aren’t people (alot of people) screwing the system, and yes people do have more children to get that extra 182 dollars. It goes a long way when you are on a fixed income check of 650 a month. I actually know of a woman who didn’t report her child dead because she wanted to keep collecting a check. Maybe the poverty level wouldn’t be as bad if those people would get off of their ass and get a job. I have no problem with people who actually need assistance. I volunteer in my community, but I don’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. BTW I did my research. It’s called life. What am I supposed to think if this is what I am seeing on a daily basis.

Posted by: DAVID at September 8, 2005 10:40 AM
Comment #78953

This article is ridiculous.

Greed is a word that is used FAR to often to describe something that it was not created to describe. And this entire article is based off of that misconception.

“Greed” is defined as: An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves

The trouble with this is that it is difficult to define. Who is it that determines how much someone needs or deserves? It is not up to other people to determine that I am greedy it is up to me to determine if I have what I need and deserve and from that point decide what to do with my “wealth” from there.

This is not to say that there are not truely greedy people in the world, because there are. You spoke of company execs that “extort” money through fraud, scams, etc. It could be said that these folks are truely “greedy” because their actions directly and deliberatly hurt others. And I think that most of the people in thos world (Rich and poor) are happy when they see these people get what they deserve (ala Bernie Ebbers & Worldcom).

But, just having wealth does not inherently make someone “Greedy” just as working to attain wealth does not immediatly make one “greedy” either.

Take Bill Gates for example. Is this someone you are using as an “example” of Greed? Bill Gates gives away more money each year than the the GDP of some small nations. Is this the action of someone that is “greedy”? And don’t tell me that he does it for tax reasons because the amount that you give away is ALWAYS more than what you save in taxes. A truely greedy person would choose “the path of least resistance” and just pay the taxes, or better yet shelter them off shore. I don’t see a greedy person there. I see a person that has drive, intelligence, and maybe a little luck thrown in there also.

“Greed” in the spirit that it is used here is much more easy to define by using the words “Rich People”. Because, lets face it, that is truely who you are trying to get at isn’t it? “Rich People” are not a WMD.

Since we are using the biblical word Greed here to describe someone then lets also throw a couple more biblical terms out also to see if they might play a role. Sloth (aka Laziness) and Envy for instance. Both of these are are also termed biblicaly as “Deadly Sins”.

True greed can cause death and destruction, but so can sloth and envy. I believe that sloth contributes to the poverty rates listed at least as much as Greed does. And Envy is what causes the Greedy to be Greedy and the Sloth to have so much disdain for those who I heard discribed earlier as the “have mores”.

If you like you can say Greed is a WMD but only if you are willing to include the Sloth and the Envious in that statement as well. Lets not blame only one and give free passes to the others.

Posted by: BradM at September 8, 2005 10:49 AM
Comment #78956

What is income? If I bust my ass working 60 hours a week to make 60K a year I get taxed at a higher rate than someone who has investments and makes that same 60K. I hear arguments that it is meant to encourage savings but how about encouraging work?

Posted by: vague at September 8, 2005 10:53 AM
Comment #78958

Paul,
Interesting article.

I would like to see the cities shown above with poverty level percentages adjacent in comparison to the poverty level of the entire state in which they are located.

All of your example cities are the major metropolitan areas of their respectives states which, as everybody knows typically draw the lower income folks.

Also, as you point out, every state in which those cities are located went decidedly for Bush in the 2004 election. Does this mean that :

[1] The poverty level folks believed that Bush was better qualified to help them
[2] The poverty level folks don’t or didn’t vote
[3] The poverty level percentage includes the family members of the adults in the survey
[4] Are the cities shown also among the cities with the highest unemployment rates

Are you aware that overall, New Orleans is ranked as the fifth (5th) most unsafe city to live in. And ranks even higher than that on some of the components comprising the analysis (crime).

You said….
“Take a look at this table that I got from the L.A. Times, that presents the poverty rates for states with rates greater than the average for U.S.”

I have taken a good look and, with all due respect find that your example lacks enough substance to make it as valid as you would like.

Posted by: steve smith at September 8, 2005 11:06 AM
Comment #78959
It’s astonishing that anybody with family who suffered during the Great Depression would be against poverty programs. After all, the poor back then did not pull themselves by their boostraps. They were generally given a hand up by Prez. Roosevelt.

I agree. WPA saved my family. It’s tough to bootstrap yourself if there just aren’t any jobs available. Today, we need a stronger effort to support displaced workers who are retraining and re-educating themselves.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 8, 2005 11:10 AM
Comment #78964

Vague, Check out the Fair Tax (HR25). It pretty much takes care of that exact issue.

Posted by: BradM at September 8, 2005 11:15 AM
Comment #78981

Traci,
Sorry! However, I was refering to your comment on stating Life is what you make of it, no matter what your income is! I’m sick to death of turning on the television to once again hear another “poverty” person screaming. If you are never going to educate “The Poor” on how and why to invest in their own inherent best interest and give them the Scietal Tools than Society can not cry about the problem it creates from its Ignorance.

In the Mid-90’s, PBS put on a special about what Our Children needed to learn in The 21st Century. Lucky enough to get through, I told the panel that one of the best things we could do as a society is require our students to learn and understand how and why to invest in The Market as well as use Credit properly. Considering that over 90% of Americans do not know what they are doing in the Market and Investing is the only proven way to become Economically Viable and Financailly Independent, I thought/think it is a good idea.

However, the Panelist first said that “They (Your Child) would not listen so why teach it. After pointing out the fact that if this was the case English & Math shouldn’t be taught, the Panelist said the it was the job of the Parents because they (The School) teaches our students how to budget their money. Well, I could not help myself from blowing this Lady with a PHD in Education away when I asked her to explain to me and the rest of her panel When & Why a person would purchase a Bank CD.

Expecting that she knew the answer, I was shocked when she replied that it was the job of her Financail Advisor to tell her what she needed to do with her own money. At that time, one of the other panelist spoke up and point blank told her that her idea would not fly. Because after losing money for years listening to the advice of other, he finally started at the age of 70 to learn how to invest his own money.

So unless we want to end up paying $10.00 for a hamburger at McD’s, America has to give our Citizens the knowledge required to allow them to hold the jobs that make our society function and set aside part of their income so that they can make the extra money required to live a Simple Productive Life. By the way, it was not the first time that I brought up that idea to Our Officails.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 12:02 PM
Comment #79002

I am poor. My total income last year was $4700.00. I live on an old sailboat at the end of a rickety wooden pier. I use the library for internet access, as well as reading material. I buy my clothes at Goodwill, when I buy clothes. I am 58 years old. I have no health insurance. I do odd jobs, mostly on boats, because nobody wants to hire a 58 year old man with bad knees, no “address”, and a “spotty” employment record, even though I have most of a master’s degree. Ya know what? I take care of myself. I don’t go around asking anybody for anything. I don’t WANT or request any help from this goddamn government. I stayed on my boat during the last 3 hurricanes we had and took care of what needed to be done to survive, and I will do it again if it’s necessary.
My grandparents came to this country penniless. My dad died when I was 9, and essentially left us nothing, as his hospital and funeral bills ate up what little we had. My mom, who had no work experience, managed to support 3 kids (one handicapped), keep us clothed and fed without ever taking a damn nickle from the government or anybody else, and drummed into us the value of education, which was free, and still is, so we studied instead of wearing the latest baggy-ass styles.
And quite frankly I am sick to death of reading all this damn WHINING! “Oh, the poor this, the poor that…” Opportunity abounds here if you have the guts to do a decent days work. Laziness and the propensity to blame everybody else for your own problems abounds also, unfortunately. My brother is mentally handicapped, has the mind of a child, and a bad heart, and he WORKS! He supports himself.
Don’t talk about “poverty”…get off your dead asses and get to work!

Posted by: capnmike at September 8, 2005 12:59 PM
Comment #79008
All of your example cities are the major metropolitan areas of their respectives states which, as everybody knows typically draw the lower income folks.
Has Katrina not shown you at the very least that the poor are not ‘drawn’ anywhere. They are stuck where they are left by the rich who exploit and use up neighborhoods then flee their own destruction… to the suburbs, gated communinties, etc.
Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 1:22 PM
Comment #79016

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Tony you can’t sit there and tell me there aren’t people (alot of people) screwing the system, and yes people do have more children to get that extra 182 dollars. It goes a long way when you are on a fixed income check of 650 a month.
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Of course people try to screw the syste,… but I can guarantee you that there’s more of this on the top end of the scale than there is at the bottome - especially if you start looking at dollar to dollar comparisons. I DO NOT buy the idea that someone would have a child for the sole purpose of collecting another $182… That’s an urban legend.

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But, I guess I will only get the sympathy vote if I sit around and cry and whine about what this country owes me, personally, I think it is really pathetic that the people that work hard and perservere through their limitations are always overshadowed and less covered than those that scream and yell!
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I have no idea what you are talking about. Please explain the specifics… sounds like you’re ranting.

Posted by: tony at September 8, 2005 2:03 PM
Comment #79031

About the Great Depression. Some people made it, many did not. I was there and I did not see any “bootstraps.” My father was on WPA. And I got a job with the NYA (National Youth Administration). FDR was wonderful, because he cared.

As far as picking on the rich, I did not do so. I said that all of us are in the grip of greed. This does not mean I am against rich people. I’m against the idea that the primary purpose of so many people is to become rich, regardless of other considerations.

Nor did I pick on Bill Gates. I applaud him for his philanthropy. It shows he cares about others. I do not like that he is set up as a model for getting rich; rarely do I see him presented as a model for philanthropy.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at September 8, 2005 2:51 PM
Comment #79036

What a shame that most people do not look at life through the Eyes of Our Founding Fathers of America. While I will be the first to admit that Knowledge & Wisdom allows people to be content with there lifes given any circumstances, the fact still remains “Who really makes the money.”

A restuarant can feed alot a Humans and create great wealth for its Owner(s)if ran right. Nevertheless, our societal thinking says that the General Manager gets more a pie than the dishwasher. Why? Supposely because the General Manager has more headaches than the Dishwasher.

Yet, if you look at the jobs from strictly a Consumer’s point of view than the Genral Managers job takes a backseat to the dishwasher. The reason is simple. While the Owner of the restuarant can open the doors to make a profit without the General Manager even present, they would be ill-advised to serve even one plate of food without the Dishwasher doing his job. Thus, as far as the Consumer is concerned a clean plate is more important than clean paperwork. However, our government/society requires that the paperwork is kept clean and the plate of food you eat; Well, lets just say what they do not know may kill you. All the Owner has to say if caught is that they didn’t know.

Who’s job is more important? Depends on your prospective. However, the fact still remains that both the General Manager and Dishwasher as well as The Owner all by The Laws of the Land deserve to be able to live an Economicallt Viable Simple Productive Life. Wheither a person is happy living off of $8,000/yr or their taste requires $70,000/yr, the standard is still the same. The problem is those living in “Poverty” do not have their Civil and Constitutional Rights endowed to them by their “Creator” and Our Founding Fathers.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 3:08 PM
Comment #79041

Tony~

Examples…are you serious? Turn on the T.V.!
The newscasters are searching through thousands of people to get their stories and the sound bites of those that are pissed at the country far outweigh those that are generally just pushing through it looking to rebuild their lives. Hell their not even going to the districts where the people are working together, they are more concerned with the animals that are raping and killing each other……that is what sets this tone.

Posted by: Traci at September 8, 2005 3:25 PM
Comment #79044
I’m against the idea that the primary purpose of so many people is to become rich, regardless of other considerations.

There in lies the rub… Who are we to tell someone how much drive they should have or what goals someone has in life? Who are we to judge what a person feels they need in life. For that matter, who are we to determine what the cut off is between “living well” and “being greedy”?

If by “regardless of other considerations” you mean that that they are knowingly getting “rich” at the direct expense of others by fraud, extortion, etc then we can agree that they should (and probably will be at some point) punished for their crimes.

I am personally fairly well established in the middle class so I would not consider myself “poor” (though I have been through bouts with no knowing how I was going to pay the rent that month before) but in debt up to my eyeballs due to medical expenses. I’m fairly young so I am working as hard as I can in both a corporate environment (day job) and owning a small business that I run/work in the evenings/weekends. All of this so that I can get out of the debt I’m in and pursue my goal in life which is to grow that small business into something that hopefully I can not only pay the bills with but also fund my retirement with. If I get “rich” in the process then I’m all for it.

At what point in the above scenario do I become “greedy”? Because, realistically that is what the vast majority of “rich people” are doing? Some decide to pursue more wealth by deliberatly stepping on others. Those are clearly the greedy ones. But when you use words like “All of us are in the gripe of greed” you are saying that we are all wrong for having financial goals and dreams. That is something that I can not agree with.

Regarding the Bill Gates example:

I do not like that he is set up as a model for getting rich

Why? What has he done wrong? Should he be giving his product away? Something that he (and his many workers whose paychecks rely on these products also) have spent their time and effort on to create.

I understand (and agree with) some of the basic points you are making but only when it applies to my own life. It is not up to me to decide what others do with their time and energy, and I refuse to believe that if they choose to use it to make money or make a better life for themselves then they should be labled “greedy”.

Posted by: BradM at September 8, 2005 3:35 PM
Comment #79048

Tony

You may not want to belive that, but its true. I know someone that is a case worker at the Dep of Human Services. If you heard the stories that this person tells daily, you would be very disgusted. When I was in highschool I worked in a drugstore. Women would come in with their kids and give them each one food stamp. They would then proceed to buy a cheap piece of candy and give the change to their mother. The mother would then turn around and buy beer with the change. This type of thing happens daily, and I am from a small town. They can’t do that anymore because food stamps are now like debit cards, but the cards don’t have pictures on them. So they can still sell their cards for use by other persons.

Posted by: DAVID at September 8, 2005 3:57 PM
Comment #79069

What is wrong with wanting to become wealthy as long as you do not intentionally “hurt” anyone along the way. If you offer a product or service that the public needs and can afford you deserve the rewards of profit and wealth.

After all it is you who has taken whatever risks and hard work necessary to put yourself in that position.

If your goal is to acquire enough wealth in your early years so that you can retire while you are still young and healthy enough to “enjoy” the fruits of your labors, why should you be frowned upon by others who are not in your position.

The very fact that you created this situation is a good indicator that along the way you provided jobs and/or other opportunities for those who worked for you. So what if you got some kind of tax break that a person in a lower income bracket did not. That in itself does not and should not prevent that person from having and following a dream or goal.

What if you, as a result of being well off can take advantage of a situation that someone else cannot? What is wrong with wanting to create opportunities for your children that you may have not had when you were young.

What is wrong with wanting to win?

Feel badly for the impoverished but don’t scorn the wealthy.

Finally, Why sit around feeling sorry for yourself waiting for someone else to give you something that you should be out getting on your own. The Constitution gives you equal opportunity not a free ride.

Posted by: steve smith at September 8, 2005 5:14 PM
Comment #79088

I’m trying to understand the reference to poverty/homeless as ‘sitting back’ and not ‘getting a job’ or ‘sitting on your ass.’

Most people who are in poverty have jobs. (Tells you something about minimum wage.) And to say that these people should just get out there and make something of themselves… crap. When you can tell me the name of someone who is just sitting back and coasting on their government check… then I’ll take what you say about ‘these people’ seriously.

I do have one story - unfortunately, many of ‘these people’ make bad/dumb decisions.

A husband moved his family down here from (NC) from Ohio. I found about about him and his family the day he ran out of money and started looking for help. He had been here for several weeks - looking for a job, and he was living in a hotel. He had no money and could not stay in the hotel that night - a Friday night. He did not want to be separated from his family… and was just finding out that men can not stay at the shelters for women and children. He was getting government assistance in Ohio, but had no one that he was moving to NC… takes about 90 days to switch everything over.

So there he was, with only the option of shelters, homeless with his family in a strange town.

Not to smart… but I will do a lot to keep children from starving because they were born into a family of fools.

Posted by: tony at September 8, 2005 6:21 PM
Comment #79096

I would like to nominate Barbara Bush the “Red Neck of the Year.” Do I hear a second?

Posted by: Bob at September 8, 2005 6:50 PM
Comment #79097

I’ll second that - but save room for CAKE!

Posted by: tony at September 8, 2005 6:54 PM
Comment #79103

Just a few things…

The unemployment rate is almost twice that of what is reported.

During the Reagan Administration we stopped counting persons that were unemployed we only counted those that were collecting unemployment benefits. Oddly, those persons whose benefits ran out that could still not find jobs were no longer considered unemployed. Looks great on paper.

Oh Yeah… turns out if you come out of the military and you can’t find a job either… you’re not considered unemployed. Certainly keeps those numbers down.

I read a book last year by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America.” I only mention this because some of you actually believe what you wrote in your post about the poor being content sitting on their asses. I think you should go out and invest the $19.95.

Barbara Ehrenreich is a writer that posed as an ex-welfare mom with a year of college trying to find work in middle America. Unfortunately the only jobs were Walmart, waitress, hotel room cleaner, and Merry Maids. All minimum wage jobs, except of course waitress ($1.50 an hour plus tips). The hours are long, the work is hard, many work two or three jobs and can not find affordable housing. Greedy employers take full advantage of them and in the case of Walmart showed training films warning prospective employees to beware of Unions and Union organizers.

Yes, Bush did create a million more jobs, too bad its all minimum wage work.

Posted by: Pat at September 8, 2005 7:44 PM
Comment #79154

Why did the Mayor and Governor fail so badly down in Louisiana? It is an embarrassment to Democrats. They knew clearly that 100,000 people would not be able to evacuate. It say’s right in their own evacuation plans. And it clearly states that the Mayor is responsible for the evacuation. What about the thousands of school and city busses that sat waiting to be flooded? You need to look at the link that posts New Orleans evacuation plan.
http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26
The plan clearly states what the Mayor and the Governor are in charge of, and neither one of them did any part of their job. The leadership of the local government is embarrassing and incompetent down there.
Below is a few clips off of New Orleans own website. Look who was not in control here. Check the link above and see the entire thing for yourself.

“”””The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.”””””
V. TASKS
A. Mayor
* Initiate the evacuation.
* Retain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.
* Authorize return to evacuated areas.
Shelter demand is currently under review by the Shelter Coordinator. Approximately 100,000 Citizens of New Orleans do not have means of personal transportation.

They knew all of this. Why did they not act?

Posted by: Knopp at September 8, 2005 10:05 PM
Comment #79284

Knopp,
The short and long answer to why they did not act is “Cost Effectiveness” or “Bang foe The Buck.” It is cheaper to allow “The Poor” and others that do not have the means to pay to leave to stay in the Superdome than move them all out of Harm’s Way just in case the Hurricane hits. Thus, greed plays a major part of the actions that our elected officials take before, during, and after the fact.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2005 10:21 AM
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