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Americans react to the poor with disgust," said Susan Fiske, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and the designer of the neuroimaging tests. She has studied attitudes toward the poor for 12 years. "It's the most negative prejudice people report," greater even than racism, Fiske said.
I'm always challenged when talking about poverty issues with friends and family who are not poor, especially my wealthier, Republican friends.  There always seems to be something missing from their hearts or minds that prevents the sort of empathy that I find among liberals I know, regardless of social class.  I've usually put this down to their living in a suburban bubble, but not all do.  Maybe this explains it.

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has another "must read" by Alfred Lubrano, one of their best reporters.  This is one in a series he started several years ago chronicling poverty in Philadelphia.

Follow me after the squiggle-thing for more.

Ever hear something similar to this?

While government measurements of poverty focus on economic factors, Mead stresses that behavioral dimensions play a larger causal role. Poverty would be simple to fix if it were just about economic need: then we would only have to give more money. But the long-term poor today are unlike the working poor of yesteryear. In an affluent society like ours, Mead argues, “poverty is not usually forced on people for very long by conditions.” Rather, “most have become poor, at least in part, due to not working, having children outside marriage, abusing drugs, or breaking the law.” Simply doling out more money does not counter these underlying causes of poverty, which call for behavior changes that encourage law-abiding, productive lives.
I hear something like that all the time--people are poor because they just have no personal responsibility.  "C'mon poor person--get a hold of your life and live the American dream!  That's why my great grandfather came here--what a country, where anyone can get ahead if you work hard enough!  What's wrong with you?"   Or, as Bill-o put it:
O'REILLY: Reagan was not a confrontational guy, didn't like confrontation, much rather be your pal ... doesn't want to get involved with the really nasty stuff, the tough stuff, and that's what racial politics is -- nasty and tough. ... It's hard to do it because you gotta look people in the eye and tell 'em they're irresponsible and lazy. And who's gonna wanna do that? Because that's what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period. I mean I know people from Haiti, from the Ukraine from eh, -- we got callers all day long on The Factor. From Romania. You come here, you get educated, you work hard, you'll make a buck. You get addicted, you don't know anything, you'll be poor. But Reagan did not want to confront the issue. And that's the truth about it.
And that's not just sad, but it's also a problem.  Lubrano's article highlights where this can lead:
People are savvy enough not to vocalize that the poor sicken them, Fiske said. But as a social psychologist, she can dig deeply enough to learn what loathing looks like in people's minds. "And," she said, "once you've dehumanized a person, it's easier to neglect him." That kind of neglect is always on display, even without a brain scanner, said Sister Mary Scullion, cofounder of Philadelphia's Project H.O.M.E., which helps the homeless. She was named one of Time magazine's World's Most Influential People in 2009. "We're losing part of our humanity," she said. "These were the seeds to the Holocaust: That some lives matter more than others."
Race, of course, plays a role as well, with most conservatives linking race to poverty.  This ties into politics, as many on the right see anti-poverty programs as another way for Democrats to secure a solid voting bloc.  Ya see, helping the poor through governmental services is one big Democratic plot by the liberal to win elections!  Tell us, Rush:
RUSH:  Imagine that. And it’s been the number one issue of the Democrat Party out of their mouths for — since 1964, when LBJ first started to care about poverty. Percentage-wise, same number of people. In fact, under Obama, it’s gotten worse, four out of five American families are experiencing poverty. Nine million jobs have been lost since Obama took office…9 million!  They’re just gone…because of his policies.

Well, in the arena of ideas, this is why the Republican Party is not standing up. They’re not pushing back.  They’re not articulating what is the opposite of this. You can point to successful people all over the country, no matter how successful, there are different levels of it, you point to them, how did they do it? That’s all you have to do. How did they do it?  There are recipes: They cared, they worked hard, they had ambition, they learned what they had to learn. Some of them may have had connections here and there… nobody does everything by themselves. But, you’re certainly not going to eradicate poverty by creating dependency! All it is is a way to buy votes, that’s why the democrats want amnesty.

You see, the Democrat Party needs a permanent underclass. They need a certain level of poverty, they need a certain level of uneducated, hopeless, unskilled people to vote for them! That’s their base! And as in a normal economy, as those people escape the bonds of poverty and rise to the middle class, become more self-reliant, they don’t need Santa Claus. They don’t need the democrats, so they start voting other ways. “Hello amnesty!” We have 11 million illegals here, and by polling data alone, 8 million of them are going to vote democrat the minute they’re given the chance. That’s why…all this talk about solidarity with hispanics and compassion, and the wonders of beauty of immigration, it’s all BS.


We have a serious problem in the US with poverty.  I think most here at DK know and understand that.  However, one of the biggest challenges is an attitudinal one.  Americans--especially conservatives from the middle classes--don't get it.  Poverty seems to be an affront to the American Dream and American Exceptionalism.  The very myths they have been brought up to believe and pass along to their kids from generation to generation founder on 43 million poor people--the majority of whom are white.  So what do they do?  They make excuses.  

The numbers are wrong.

Those poor people have plenty of stuff!

If only they would have REAL families!

The ideology of personal responsibility makes it easy to blame the poor.  And, after all, didn't Jesus say they would always be among us?  And, hey if you read the Bible very closely, God doesn't want government programs for the poor!  Giving should be voluntary, not forced!

Jesus never taught that the poor are to be provided for by anyone but individuals who give according to their own love and choice to give. God, far from endorsing government programs, denies their validity as they violate nearly every biblical principle of Christian giving.
In the end, the reason poverty exists in the United States is that there are too many who buy into this sort of ideology, spewed forth mostly by Republicans and their conservative apparatus.  We know the top 1% often think this way, so that's no surprise.  It's the middle and working class folks, often feeling squeezed and threatened in hard economic times, who are open to this and they vote against their economic interests.  

Dartagnan had a very good diary last weekend that quoted Christopher Flavelle from Bloomberg criticizing a recent speech by Obama addressing income inequality.  

After noting the decline of unions at the start of his speech, the president failed to mention them again. He argued, correctly, that a secure retirement is a cornerstone of being middle class -- but said not a word about the share of private-sector workers in defined-benefit plans, which fell from 38 percent to 20 percent between 1980 and 2008, or how federal policy might address that shift.

One explanation for Obama's unsatisfying proposals is that inequality is partly the result of underlying changes in the economy, as the chairman of the president's own Council of Economic Advisers pointed out earlier this year. Another is that inequality is a product of cultural changes as well as of government policy.

The increased social acceptability of conspicuous consumption; the growing antipathy toward government; the decline of the social compact between employers and workers; the segregation of communities by income; the declining exposure of the average person to unions; the shifting focus toward other areas of social consciousness, including environmentalism and gay rights -- each could be seen as both cause and effect of the economic changes the president bemoaned.

That last paragraph matters in this discussion.  Attitudes have changed but the poverty remains.  If we want to continue to fight the war on poverty or make advances in a social agenda that emphasizes equality, then we have to fight the uphill battle to regain the idea of the common good.  Once upon a time, FDR could campaign on these ideas....perhaps we need to work to make them fashionable again...
The followers of the philosophy of "social action for the prevention of poverty" maintain that if we set up a system of justice we shall have small need for the exercise of mere philanthropy. Justice, after all, is the first goal we seek. We believe that when justice has been done, individualism will have a greater security to devote the best that individualism itself can give. In other words, my friends, our long-range objective is not a dole, but a job.

 At the same time, we have throughout this Nation . . . widespread suffering. . . All agree that the first responsibility for the alleviation of poverty and distress and for the care of the victims of the depression rests upon the locality—its individuals, organizations and Government.... Yet all agree that to leave to the locality the entire responsibility would result in placing the heaviest burden in most cases upon those who are the least able to bear it. In other words, the communities that have the most difficult problem. . . would be the communities that would have to bear the heaviest of the burdens.

And so the State should step in to equalize the burden by providing for a large portion of the care of the victims of poverty and by providing assistance and guidance for local communities.  Above and beyond that duty of the States the national Government has a responsibility....

And so, in these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice—the only path that will lead us to a permanent bettering of our civilization, the path that our children must tread and their children must tread, the path of faith, the path of hope and the path of love toward our fellow man.


Originally posted to dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Psychology of Conservatives and Liberals.

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  •  Tip Jar (181+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, Emerson, Alexandra Lynch, One Pissed Off Liberal, TomP, AoT, bleeding blue, OregonWetDog, Words In Action, undercovercalico, Dartagnan, MinistryOfTruth, concernedamerican, Hillbilly Dem, Mark Mywurtz, SherwoodB, AaronInSanDiego, tardis10, Phoebe Loosinhouse, greengemini, dennis1958, Marihilda, dance you monster, marzook, blueoasis, rb137, Mary Mike, tuesdayschilde, DerAmi, GAS, MHB, JML9999, Egalitare, Statusquomustgo, Heavy Mettle, wxorknot, terrybuck, jan4insight, USHomeopath, MV Kid, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, DebtorsPrison, WiseFerret, Catte Nappe, badscience, quill, EastcoastChick, tin woodswoman, PapaChach, corvo, marina, Farugia, prfb, mookins, Matt Z, stormicats, mntleo2, Panacea Paola, grollen, Assaf, Mortifyd, sc kitty, zerelda, SuWho, Moody Loner, slowbutsure, allergywoman, Brooke In Seattle, Siri, Shockwave, TracieLynn, philipmerrill, defluxion10, mofembot, Laconic Lib, Sun Tzu, Gorette, No one gets out alive, ewmorr, MKinTN, roses, anodnhajo, The Lone Apple, Batya the Toon, puakev, leonard145b, Dirtandiron, FoundingFatherDAR, glitterlust, zmom, opinionated, marleycat, Chaddiwicker, JayRaye, greycat, GeorgeXVIII, banjolele, Tool, BlueDragon, left rev, Kristina40, CroneWit, lcrp, Odysseus, Meteor Blades, murrayewv, Throw The Bums Out, Nulwee, Gemina13, Trixie2006, Wendy Slammo, kck, YucatanMan, riverlover, Youffraita, Larsstephens, tonyahky, elziax, jabney, jbsoul, Aaa T Tudeattack, Hammerhand, millwood, shaharazade, mythatsme, Alice Venturi, jeannew, nupstateny, Ice Blue, SteelerGrrl, Debs2, katrinka, Jakkalbessie, Skennet Boch, Vetwife, BlackSheep1, Cartoon Messiah, PhilK, CA Nana, orrg1, Horace Boothroyd III, Simplify, Paul Ferguson, vahana, Lujane, Eric Stetson, LibChicAZ, psnyder, Oaktown Girl, FindingMyVoice, ATFILLINOIS, Shippo1776, Papuska, Bluebirder, alasmoses, LSmith, karmsy, Independent Musings, countwebb, pat bunny, Involuntary Exile, terabytes, Bob Duck, joedemocrat, Oh Mary Oh, dradams, chuckvw, Thunder, punkRockLiberal, camlbacker, northsylvania, ChicDemago, catilinus, serendipityisabitch, KJG52, ItsSimpleSimon, Carol in San Antonio, petulans, War on Error, Funkygal, corvaire

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:40:03 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely....and throw in drug addiction (21+ / 0-)

      as a subset of mental illness and our propensity to lock people away without providing decent rehab or treatment options and you have a very volatile mix...

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:50:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just call it addiction... (11+ / 0-)

        Gambling addiction, shopping addiction, video game addiction...

        All types of addictions, by definition, can eventually lead to financial trouble, relationship problems, problems with work and legal problems.

      •  I think we have to understand... (6+ / 0-)

        ...where a lot of this stuff is coming from.

        Let's say you're part of the vanishing American middle class. You're vaguely discontented with your life, you work 45 to 50 hours a week but never quite seem to get ahead of the bills, you don't get to take vacations, your weekends are full of the stuff you're too tired to accomplish in the evenings and don't really have much in the way of recreation.

        And then you hear about someone who is much worse off than you are.

        On the one hand, you want to feel sorry for them. But if you feel sorry for them, then you have to face head on the fact that you're not really any different than they are, you're just luckier. Maybe you're a harder worker, maybe not. Maybe you're smarter, maybe not. Maybe you are better educated. Whatever. But all of those things came from either your genetics or your circumstances growing up, and both of those things are a crap shoot.

        If you acknowledge the poor as being people just like you, you have to acknowledge that you're lucky. And maybe feel guilty for having so much when they have so little, or feel guilty for not giving more to charity to help them, or whatever. You can't acknowledge that the poor are people just like you without feeling that way. (Plus there's the extra bonus side to this, where we have to wonder why an omnipotent deity would let people just like us suffer, but give us lots of stuff.)

        So we have developed many fine defenses against viewing the poor as people just like us, because we don't like feeling bad about ourselves. If the poor are just morally inferior, then we deserve our good fortune and they deserve their misfortune. If the poor are all brown and all brown people are morally inferior, that makes it a lot easier.

        There's another aspect too, though, at least for Republicans. Remember, we're not actually all that happy. We don't feel like we're making it. We're not going to retire until we lose our jobs and can't get another one, and then we're pretty much fucked. So we also have this sneaking suspicion that maybe the poor are actually happier than we are, because while they get a lot less, they also don't have to work for it. (This is, of course, just in the minds of the Republicans. No correspondence with reality is necessary.) Objectively we would never actually try 'sponging off the system' like that, not necessarily because we're too moral but because we actually know that the poor are pretty well fucked. But if we pretend to ourselves that they're doing fine, it becomes okay not just to dismiss them but to actively hate them.

        This is coupled with the fact that a lot of people feel a little guilty all the time for not working as hard as they think they ought to. So we actually feel, subconsciously at least, like maybe we are LESS worthy than some of those poor folks, who would no doubt really work hard if they had our jobs. Can't acknowledge that even to ourselves, either, though.

        The alternative to all this would be to make sure everyone in the country has enough to eat, a decent place to sleep, clothing, medical care, some entertainment, etc. Then we wouldn't have to hate the poor for having nothing and reminding us of our own mortality and luck. And as a side effect, we'd have a real safety net that could catch US when we are the ones who are unlucky.

        Ironically, of course, this is what the Republicans are most dead set against, of all things: the one thing that would actually make them feel less guilty and afraid. And so we hate the poor, and they die young, and we pretend not to care while that guilt gnaws away in secret places and makes us hate them all the more.

    •  In the 80's or So a Piece in Science News Reported (18+ / 0-)

      that the single most common factor among prisoners was history of head trauma.

      But I'm pretty sure that was before we revolutionized and corporatized our penal system. Since then the ratio of white to black prisoners flipped due to punishment practices not a change in crime patterns, so I don't know if that old report would hold up.

      Most poverty relating to mental illness, that's almost certainly not going to hold up I'd think. Though I wouldn't be surprised for a relationship the other way, mental illness greatly raising the risk of poverty.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:55:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least in our case it is medical. (23+ / 0-)

    We had either a major surgery involving anesthesia or a baby a year for ten years straight. And of course, we are now not in the best of health, and that impacts our ability to work.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:52:09 AM PDT

  •  Excellent post. (15+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:55:41 AM PDT

  •  That speech by FDR is beautiful, stirring. We (10+ / 0-)

    need a new FDR who could rise to prominence quickly in these troubled times.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:09:16 AM PDT

  •  Social Darwinism (38+ / 0-)

    This thinking goes back to the Gilded Age, at least for America.

    For the rest of the world it goes back a lot further - to feudalism. The wealthy always think its about merit, even if all their merit is based on coming out of the right womb.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:12:46 AM PDT

    •  Protestant work ethic (9+ / 0-)

      gods chosen find success and those that fail are unworthy

      the divine right of kings is an earlier formulation

      "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

      by grollen on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:55:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Biblical advice to work was not for salvation but (0+ / 0-)

        ...surviving this world. Both OT and NT say work and following rules will produce longer lives, not worth in the eyes of God. In large families it's less eloquently stated as "Reach and eat fast or go hungry." I think finding ways to glorify our higher goals in our lower daily striving for food and shelter is for sanity, not worth.

    •  Yes, way earlier than the Gilded Age (12+ / 0-)

      Under feudalism, yes, but following the Enlightenment it was the Poor Laws in England, the enclosure acts that destroyed the peasantry of the British Isles, and the justification (read Adam Smith Wealth of Nations) for displacement of rural people to force them to work in factories and mines for the benefit of the owners of capital. And of course this is still going on. e.g. Monsanto enclosure of the food genome and corporate reallocation of land for biofuel and feed for meat production for consumers in EU and US.

    •  Nietzsche already analyzed it linguistically: (9+ / 0-)

      The word "good" originally pertained to material possession, i.e., goods.  The morality -- goodness -- is a consequence of being wealthy.  And German outdoes English one by having the word for "bad" (schlecht) derive etymologically from the word for "simple" (schlicht).

      In other words, whatever a begooded (wealthy) man does is good.  Which goes a long way in explaining how some of the most appalling behavior gets praised to the skies in medieval epics . . .

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:23:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nietzsche's "good" is taken from Ancient Greece (6+ / 0-)

        He basically argued that the Ancient Greeks (being a "master race") had no concept of evil as such, or at least not anything that the Abrahamic moral tradition would recognize as evil.  Instead, they believed in arete: excellence, more broadly truth to and fulfillment of the inherent nature of a thing, since every thing has its own arete.  To call a person good or bad was done in the same spirit as calling an object good or bad; did it do what it ought to do well or not?  It's a scale of quantitative superiority or inferiority.

        It's true that the ancient Greek warrior aristocracy looked down on everyone else, even the men who designed and built the Parthenon, as qualitatively inferior to themselves: their nature as men of labor, no matter how excellent they were at it, was still less noble than the nature of a man of war.  But the ancient Greeks were far from unique in that regard, and they turned it back to the older quantitative scale by arguing that war and rulership were the ingrained nature of all men, but only those gifted few will actually be able to live true to that universal nature as the rest are enslaved by them and have ignoble labor imposed upon them.

      •  Burn, rape, and pillage - in the name of the Lord (6+ / 0-)

        'Our' guys go on a road trip and visit mayhem on 'their' people, and they return to be celebrated as heroes.

        Maybe we have made some progress in the last thousand years.  The burn, rape, pillage thing is not so popular anymore.  Now it's anonymous death from above.

        Maybe a thousand years from now, we might be even less selfish assholes.

        If we don't go extinct first.

        Good luck!

        The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

        by No one gets out alive on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:03:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "coming out of the right womb"- love it! (4+ / 0-)

      Like the Koch bros, for instance, had a thing to do with that.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:08:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  People still prattle on about dependency and (18+ / 0-)

    intergenerational reliance on government programs. If you pars what they're saying, they're reciting Charles (Bell Curve) Murray's attack on the AFDC program WHICH WAS ABOLISHED IN 1996.
      Incredibly, the Pubs will criticize Obama for not creating jobs in one breath and then, seconds later, berate the unemployed for being lazy unmotivated bums who won't go out and find a job.
       If the inability to think logically and non-delusionally is a symptom of mental illness, the conservatives have the disease.

  •  to be honest (and I only had time to skim this) (10+ / 0-)

    Democrats/liberals are almost as bad as conservatives..  Actually, I'd argue that we're worse.  We're supposed to be the party that looks out for this (huge) underclass--but we frame everything in terms of the middle class.  Everything.  John Edwards, for all of his faults (and he is a pathetic loser in so many ways) was practically the only Democrat addressing these issues.  Oh, sure, we have our hot button social/economic/political causes celebres--but the poor ain't one of them.

    When it comes down to it--and tried to resist this conclusion for a long time because I wanted to believe better of my own party....

    The Poor Don't Vote.

    •  why dont they? (8+ / 0-)

      isnt this the most mysterious thing? The poor have the most to gain from voting.

      I think your voting participation is somewhere near 50%. Lets say its 50%. Thus, a close election that is reported as 52:48%, is actually decided as 26:24 % in real participation terms.

      now imagine somehow the poorest 10% of voters, hitherto not voting, would come out suddenly and all vote one side because of some promise. Then this close contest would suddenly be 36:24 % ! I. o. w. a complete and utter rout.  

      so isnt it equally mysterious that noone tries to get the nonvoters, supposedly poorer ones, on their side? They could win every election doing so.

      Why not? What hinders it?

      •  ACORN used to (13+ / 0-)

        Look what happened to them.  And current voter ID (aka suppression) laws are intended to militate against those with lower incomes, as well.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:17:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And notice how quickly the Party (9+ / 0-)

          disowned itself from ACORN.  Why, you'd think ACORN were Shirley Sherrod or Van Jones or someone like that.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:32:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  what happened? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          thats actually amongst the most opaque things to me, observing from far away. Just that with Acorn. I never understood how they did anything bad? I seem to recall faintly there were some undercover guys trapping some local doing or saying something untoward, but such a thing doesnt stop an organisation?

          In any case, it cant be illegal to agitate amongst poor nonvoters to vote. And if they dont have the funds to pay for their ID´s it cant be illegal to pay it for them. Heck, I personally could pay the ID´s for a thousand poor people and what vote multiplier could ever compete with that?

          by this I mean, I sure understand that any such drive would have the blast of "publicized opinion" fully against it, but all the more, what mobilization was ever successful that gave a shit about what enemies said about them?

          dont get me wrong - I just wonder how is it possible that this obvious potential lies unused. so many people here seem to wonder why the system is in such a bad shape, this must be amongst the prime reasons.

          •  It was the loss of funding (5+ / 0-)

            They were a shoestring operation, and didn't have any reserves to survive after that.

            The 40-year-old liberal group was crippled by scandal six months ago when a pair of conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute secretly videotaped two ACORN employees appearing to give them advice about setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.

            The video led to the employees being fired.

            Afterward, Congress halted Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.


            Some small bit of justice a few months ago, late as it is

            Remember James O’Keefe?

            That would be the same James O’Keefe who brought down community organizing and voter registration organization ACORN in his march to becoming a conservative icon for his alleged ‘good works’.

            It seems that the master of the cleverly edited—if highly deceptive—video reel is now being required to pay the sum of $100,000 to Juan Carlos Vera, a one time California employee of ACORN. Mr. Vera had been portrayed by O’Keefe as being a willing participant when O’Keefe and his accomplice, Hanna Giles, proposed smuggling young women into the United States to work as prostitutes.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:08:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  aha (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dizzydean, Catte Nappe

              was it really that? OK, loss of congressional funding.

              it would mean that another funding source is needed, one that isnt dependent on such hypocritical elements as the same Congress whose makeup would be changed if such an organisation had success.

              good (or not good), if that organisation has died since it was dependent on such a money source, is it then not totally necessary to re-found it, but with an independent funding source?

              If you ask - wheres the money supposed to come from. I could ask - where does the D party gets its money from now. You could say - rich liberals, who have no interest in helping the poor making their voice heard. I could say - then what about all the small donor funding that places like DKos organize to flow to the D party. Would all that small donor money then not better flow to a resurrected Acorn? The rich ones will keep the D party afloat anyways. The not so rich ones dont need to add what little they can, to that bandwagon. They´d better help the now disenfranchised ones to become political partners?

      •  they don't vote bc politics doesn't affect them (4+ / 0-)

        Besides the effects of a life of poverty on mental state (thought limiting depression, focus on immediate needs only, etc), the poor as a group are not being served by either major party. Democrat - Republican - it's all the same to them: they are still getting screwed.

        Democrats, and many supposed progressives, are only really interested in the middle class and upwards. Because they are the ones who vote.

        See how circular that logic is?

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:32:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sounds like circular logic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean, quill

          "Since you wont care for me, I wont vote for you."

          "Oh well, since you wont vote for me, I wont care for you."

          It only requires once to step out of this cycle to break it. And what a reward!

          •  breaking the cycle is on the poor? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dizzydean, marsanges, Laconic Lib, PhilK

            Poor people don't vote for a lot of reasons. In this discussion, we seem to have taken as a given that political parties should ignore the problems of poor because they don't vote, as opposed to taking care of them because it's the right thing to do. You seem to be suggesting that it's the fault of the poor that society and our political system treats them badly - because they don't vote in large enough numbers. That sounds like more scapegoating to me.

            History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

            by quill on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:10:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, not at all! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dizzydean, zmom, quill

              opposite is the case.

              seems to me, mobilizing the poor might be the key to actual change. (Huh, I can´t be the first one to have that genius idea.)

              •  Yes, it could be revolutionary... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But, I think it won't ever happen if the lower class doesn't feel that they are going to get anything out of it. But getting the political class to pay attention to the poor is nearly impossible right now, and so a stalemate.

                I see one hopefully possibility: immigrants, particularly Hispanic, often bring their own strongly held political views and the Democratic party is paying them lots of attention to bring them into the fold. In coming years as we become minority-majority we may see more of a focus on poverty as Latinos and other people of color who are a little more radical move into politics. That is, if we have anything close to a functioning democracy by that time.

                History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

                by quill on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 02:16:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  As a poor person I heartily disagree. Without (11+ / 0-)

          Medicaid and SNAP I would be so much worse off. So I encourage everyone to vote for Democrats who will vote to keep these programs alive rather than kill them off as Republicans are trying to do!

          Of course there is a host of other reasons for voting for Democrats.  

          "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

          by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:19:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I totally agree, though it's a hard sell (4+ / 0-)

            It's kind of hard to get people on board with the Democratic party on the basis of what they won't do (cut social welfare programs). Even worse, these days with the Austerian fad, the big selling pitch would be "vote for Democrats: they won't cut your benefits nearly as much as the Republicans!".

            History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

            by quill on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 02:25:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  access? disenfranchisement? despair? mental (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges, dizzydean, Odysseus

        illness?  Probably a combination.  My guess is that many people who are poor/homeless experience such a yawning chasm between their situation and the posturing sheningans of wealthy Washington elites that they don't even feel the need to connect.

        Also--why should the poor believe that--even if they were to vote in large numbers--we'd pay a lick of attention to them?  Have we shown even the slightest inclination to do so in the last couple of decades?  FDR and Great Society programs aside--these more recent generations have been 'me' generations--even the 'altruism' that's supposed to exist on the left is completely contrived.  I don't think the left IS altruistic.  I used the term cause celebre in an earlier comment--we look for things to get riled up about and--in doing so--feel better about ourselves.  Somehow, addressing the poverty issue doesn't seem to be one of those things...

      •  Too many difficulties (0+ / 0-)

        In my experience being poor means having bigger worries than voting.  It is very disempowering

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:56:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't you believe that for a second (0+ / 0-)

      It is couched in terms of the middle class in part because middle class issues are also important in their own right. Also, virtually all Americans think of themselves as middle class so that's the group you need to target, even if the programs actuall target the bottom third, the recipients still call themselves middle class.  It's like Lale Wobegon wher we are all above average.  Finally, when the chips are down look who actually fights for help for the poor and who doesn't.  No way Democrats are worse.  Who just finished wanting to cut food stamps?  Who wants to eliminate welfare?  It ain't team D

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:55:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Take a look at the churches too (19+ / 0-)

    This nation has a Calvinistic view, no longer do they preach Mathew 25:40, it is now that if you have money than the Lord blessed you. I would wager that the Book Of Amos in the Old Testament is no longer preached because that would be dangerous thoughts for the Fundie Preachers.

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:16:23 AM PDT

    •  That's exactly what Max Weber found in (11+ / 0-)

      The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:20:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can't really clump them together (5+ / 0-)

      Fundamentalists and the "Prosperity Gospel" folk are not necessarily the same.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:23:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think tht it is fair to saythat many fundies are (5+ / 0-)

        Calvinists and adhere to this line of thinking.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:31:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Too fast at the keyboard for my own good. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jessical, defluxion10

          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

          by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:38:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Calvinists don't go for the prosperity gospel (6+ / 0-)

          This paraphrase:

          Therefore, it is wrong to infer from prosperity that God is favorable toward us, and from suffering that God is angry. For God does not consider in chastening the faithful what they deserve but rather what will be useful to them in the future. He fulfills the office of a physician rather than of a judge. Suffering often brings us to the end of our rope, so we will look to God in Christ for our safety.

          Or, directly from Calvin himself

          Nevertheless, while life for believers may be easy today, they will be ready tomorrow to endure whatever afflictions God may send them. He may, perhaps, take from them the goods he has given. They are prepared to surrender them, since they know they received them on one condition–that they should hand them back whenever God should choose. The believer reasons this way: “Rich today, poor tomorrow. If God should change my circumstances so that ease gives way to suffering and laughter to tears, it is enough to know that I am still his child. He has promised to acknowledge me always as his, and in that I rest content.”
          To be rich, to be glad, to be satisfied is to be drunk on prosperity and to live the life of senseless beasts. If we are comfortably off, it is not so that we may cover ourselves with gold and silver, or boast of owning fields and meadows, like those whose goal in life is to have everything they want. Those kinds of people are as good as dead: they bury themselves in their perishable possessions and are incapable of seeing heaven above.

          Joel Osteen and his peers don't care for any of that hardship stuff.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:46:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, but you'll find Calvinism among Baptists (5+ / 0-)

            who are also considered fundamentalist.  It gets messy pretty quickly, though in trying to sort out who believes what and why.  If we're just talking about a literal interpretation of the Bible, you've got a lot of Calvinists who are there; if it's about predestination leading to the idea of "God showing his love for the elect in this world," a lot of fundies are in that category.

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:55:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  here in Seattle... (4+ / 0-)

            ...we have real Calvinists...or at least, they consider themselves such.  The outcome is preordained.  I flip them off every time I go past their ever-larger church buildings, but they definitely
             have that hair shirt thing down, in a feel-good-American kind of way:


            I think this is kind of like picking between velveeta and safeway processed cheese slices, myself...

            ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

            by jessical on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:24:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  with so many so close to the brink of poverty... (18+ / 0-)

    i can help wondering if this reaction is part denial (it can't happen to me! they did something wrong!) and fear (maybe it's contagious! if i look at/touch/acknowledge them it could happen to me!)
    never before, i think, have those in the middle class been so close to sliding into homelessness / bankruptcy /'d think that would make the majority more empathetic, but i think that's where the fear and denial kick in to distance one "class" from the other. that fear and denial is a razor thin separation -- but some are clinging to it desperately.

    Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. -- Adlai E. Stevenson (GOTV)

    by marzook on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:20:21 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the rec list first time n/t (14+ / 0-)

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:23:46 AM PDT

  •  Great great diary! (16+ / 0-)

    Thanks so much.

    Perhaps finally we are close reaching a critical mass where even people who were once solidly middle-class have seen their life styles eroded as costs rise and incomes stagnate. Many are feeling the clammy fingers of poverty reaching for them for the first time, virtuous and hard-working though they be. And, spiraling medical costs and bankruptcies have disrupted even smug conservative lives.

    I am heartened by the fact that I hear the words "income inequality" uttered more frequently in the MSM.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:32:54 AM PDT

  •  This explains why "The Center" is not pushing (10+ / 0-)

    back strenuously at cuts to the safety net ie foodstamps medicare,Medicaid and Social Security.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:41:21 AM PDT

  •  And how exactly do you get educated if you're (13+ / 0-)


    In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period.
    •  Conservatives (9+ / 0-)

      work overtime doing everything they can think of to keep the poor, poor.

      Minimum wage. Get rid of it. They say if you don't like to be paid minimum wage, get an education.
      Ok... Education costs. Pay more to the banks at higher interest rates. Make it as difficult as possible to get a good education seems to be the plan.

      Medical costs. Yeah, put the burden on the sick and make them pay, that will teach them to get sick.

      Jobs bill in congress? Forget about it! Republicans vote them down. Damn lazy poor. Can't they create their own jobs?

      Unions. Unions that help create and maintain a middle class? Nope. Can't have people making too much money with decent benefits. According to republicans that would be un-American I guess.

      Hell, that's just a sampling. Republicans know no bounds when it comes to kicking the poor and middle class around. Sometimes they do it just for spite. Wankers, every damn one of them.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:32:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These diehard conservatives seem to think the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      world has stood still, that it's the same for those growing up now that it was for them. So they say and believe the most stupid things all the time.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:22:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Go to the library and read. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Oops, conservatives keep trying to close those to save taxes.  Guess the poor will just have to dig up whatever old books they can at the dump now that the rich all have e-readers.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:38:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Matt and Trey told us that (6+ / 0-)

    a long time ago, in one of the bonus-feature faux interviews on one of the first South Park collections:

    Q. "Kenny gets killed in every episode.  Why do you hate Kenny so much?
    T & M (giggle, then loudly and in unison): "Because he's poor!"
    Now granted, most Americans aren't gleeful about it.  It's a strange combination of moral revulsion (thanks, Calvin! thanks, Frontier Mentality!) and fear and loathing: After all, we all know we might be the next to be thrown off the Wheel of Fortune.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:19:32 AM PDT

  •  Outstanding diary (17+ / 0-)

    I have worked in social services for my entire career. Once in awhile I have opportunity to educate groups of students or propsective donors about poverty adn social issues. I find that most people are not cruel, but thoughtless.  There is a human tendency to break things down into a simple explantion. It's why we are so receptive to sound bites and memes, and even why some of the spats on this site due to either/or; black/white; binary thinking.

    The message I try convey, with some success, is that people may find themselves stuck in poverty due to bad luck, bad choices, bad circumstances, or a combination thereof. The common element is usually that if one thing goes wrong then other things start to unravel and it goes from bad to worse.

    Kid gets sick, miss work, lose job, can't pay for both rent and car, let the car go, can't find work on the bus line, etc. etc. etc.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:31:54 AM PDT

    •  Thanks CN...much appreciated (6+ / 0-)

      I teach and run into the same issue--students trying to find the magic bullet (usually education) but have trouble seeing the other factors that create poverty, especially in the urban area where I live and work.

      What's frustrating is when I talk to adults who should know better and I get the same answers as from the kids...  

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:37:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Education as magic bullet (4+ / 0-)

        Wonder where they get that idea, what with every pundit and politician and teacher hammeing away with that simple message.

        And remember, that as the "not poor" peer across the great divide at the "poor", things are just as hard to see from the other side. It must look so easy - get a skill, get a job, everything should fall into place.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:57:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think the resonances between poverty (0+ / 0-)

    and uncleanliness are strong.

    not that they're necessarily true, mind you. rather that at a certain level we are (maybe?) hard-wired to be mindful of what could prove biologically dangerous to our well being. physiological response to puss for example


    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

    by grollen on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:54:43 AM PDT

    •  Funny thing, but when you live in poverty you (7+ / 0-)

      have slightly different priorities. Staying alive is number one. That means having enough to eat, having a roof over your head, and health care. If you are reduced to living in a bad place that is rundown, you don't put your money into improving or keeping it up instead of eating or feeding your kids.

      It's that old hierarchy of needs. The cleanliness might come after having a place to sleep and something to eat, right? Getting a job may be more important than self-actualization if you are cash poor.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:28:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no doubt (0+ / 0-)

        was in no way shape or form attempting to justify the stereotyping of the poor

        Maslow is problematic however

        see eg: What Maslow Missed

        In reviews of research based on Maslow’s theory, little evidence has been found for the ranking of needs that Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all.

        “Here’s the problem with Maslow’s hierarchy,” explains Rutledge.  “None of these needs — starting with basic survival on up — are possible without social connection and collaboration…. Without collaboration, there is no survival. It was not possible to defeat a Woolley Mammoth, build a secure structure, or care for children while hunting without a team effort.  It’s more true now than then. Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialized. Connection is a prerequisite for survival, physically and emotionally.”

        "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

        by grollen on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:31:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow - what a Christian nation we are . . . . (9+ / 0-)

    The only folks Jesus specifically said aren't going to Heaven (the rich) are disgusted by the very people Jesus provided ministry to - the poor and oppressed.

    There's probably not a gated community in the USA Jesus could get into . . .

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:25:05 PM PDT

  •  According to the CIA's own stats, 15.1%... (10+ / 0-) the USA live in poverty.  That is about 50,000,000 people.

    In addition;

    80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey

    Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
    Why? The increase in income and wealth inequality in the last 30 years goes a long way to explain.

    This diary points to another dynamic.

    How do we change all this?

    Very frustrating.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:35:59 PM PDT

  •  Then most Americans are disgusted with themselves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Dirtandiron
  •  It is the individuals fault.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Dirtandiron

    They say. Their health. Through DNA. Now "social" factors. Just didn't do it right. That handshake.

    Add global warming. My fault.

    Pick any one crisis or War that is waging?

    It. Is. All. My. Fault.

    Common. Person. Citizen. Burden.

  •  They think of the poor, like me, as "Things." (7+ / 0-)

    It seemed to me that was the case when I was reading some some of the Ryan Anderson article, conservative creep you mention at the top, that that was his mentality. It is oddly disgusting still, knowing how bad conservatives are about this, in a sickening sort of way.

    When people were placed in neuroimaging machines and shown photos of the poor and homeless, their brains responded as though the photos depicted things, not humans - a sign of revulsion.
    My emphasis.
    from Susan Fiske link above
    It is odd how people with means, and I was one of them for almost all my life, until hitting my 60's, believe deeply, strongly, that they, oh they would never, ever end up poor. They have such strong values, such strong resources, inner and external ones, that NO WAY could they ever be poor. Nope.

    As I spiraled down with bad health problems that kept me from work, living off my pension fund, I clung to the belief that I had the smarts and experience to avoid this thing I now know so well, poverty.

    We, the poor, are The Other, the disdained. My God. They have no empathy because they cannot have empathy and maintain their self-image as being above all that.

    For me, when compassion is replaced with revulsion, it is past time to be very worried, it is time to work harder to never ever let them have complete power.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:55:06 PM PDT

    •  missing one thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, Dirtandiron

      solidarity. compassion goes from the have to the have not. It characterizes the have, not the have not. Revulsion - the same. The have not can be lucky to get compassion, but what they really need is solidarity amongst themselves. That will make them stronger. The poor amongst themselves need not compassion with each other but solidarity with each other. The whole debate here is inutile if it ends at compassion, which still treats the poor as objects.

      •  Whereas I think compassion is exactly knowing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dizzydean, marsanges, Dirtandiron

        the humanity of the other, caring. Agreed, we don't need the compassion amongst ourselves so much, but compassion in any group is a very good thing.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:43:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, dizzydean

    There is no greater poverty than the poverty of spirit that so many well off people seem to have in abundance.  

    Thanks for giving us some light on this vexing problem of how people view poor people.

    •  I don't think Jesus meant that it made it okay to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, swampyankee, LSmith

      ignore poor people. I think he meant that poverty wasn't going away. Conservatives of both parties use that quote as an excuse to do nothing.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:35:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another perspective on this scripture (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I recently heard part of an on-air sermon in which the minister was speaking on this very topic. He spoke saying that perhaps Jesus' words were an indictment of our treatment of the poor. That maybe poverty continues not because of what the poor do or won't do, but because of what we refuse to do to help them. And until we address the poor, they will be a visible reminder of our failure to love and care for one another.
      It was an interesting point of view that I have never heard discussed before.
      I wish I'd been able to hear his entire remarks.

      Get all you can, can all you get, then sit on the can – the 1% solution.

      by ShockedAndAwed on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 07:55:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is terrible to let down one's compassion guard (3+ / 0-)

    when actually seeing or dealing with a poor person.  It is  too much for many people to handle, it overwealms them and brings out the worst in them to boot.  Those who can deal with poor people especially over time are few and far between.  It is as if once you are down you are pushed further down by hurtful attitudes.  How sad this is, but I still remain hopeful that we as Americans will do the right thing by poor people and thereby lift ourselves up too in a moral sense.

  •  Christian Nation...Ha! (3+ / 0-)

    Is there any empathy left in this country? We seem to be having an epidemic of rank libertarian selfishness.

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Poverty is an Institution, NOT a "Choice"!!!! (9+ / 0-) is not a "choice" like so many people think it is. Let me explain: the reason why so many "nouveau poor" are shocked is that they discover that suddenly they are "members" of this institution, which is there to exploit them and use them for the upper class benefit and profit. it is important to note that these "nouveau poor"  are only coming on board to poverty when there are millions who have been there for decades suffering under the same conditions.

    Here is a definition of institution from Websters dictionary:

    institution: [in-sti-too-shuhn, -tyoo-] noun
    a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.

    any established law, custom, etc.

    See, while it is illegal to discriminate against people in certain groups, it is not illegal to discriminate against anyone who is poor for housing, employment, financial reasons, to enact laws targeting the poor, and even to deny services to someone because they are poor.  This is supposedly perfectly fine, but it is what poverty encompasses that is the issue here.

    The Institution of Poverty is based on racism, sexism (including LGBT), ageism, classism,and disabilities.  
    People in poverty are far from a burden for the upper classes as it is often perceived, poverty is the very basis for the rest of society who depend upon the poor in order to keep their own status/class. However, the way these classes shirk the responsibility they all share in keeping this institution alive, is by denying their part in this institution using hatred for the poor and blaming the poor for their "choice" to live within those conditions.  

    Hatred of the poor is a way to group ALL those "isms" into one big package, not because they are of color. Unfortunately this now includes many more whites who are caught within the web of this institution because they also fall under the same conditions and stereotypes imposed on their brothers and sisters in poverty..

    And by "hatred" here, this is not often something that is all people in sheets. It is benign and submerged in ways that may even seem "charitable" but is in reality is a way of keeping power over others and keeping them "in their place".

    Whites who have experienced poverty are now just grouped in with all those "isms".  For instance, more whites are on welfare than any other race. Yet whenever you see any depictions of anyone on welfare, you will see a black face, you seldom see any white ones. In this way it will subtly impose on the white person that they are now "one of those". By pretending that poverty is a "choice" instead of the embedded institution it is, this way this person can be deemed as "choosing" to be poor, which includes those of color, any gender, any person who is disabled, any person who has had the nerve to become elderly.

    I could go on all day about how poverty is institutionalized in this country and how the upper classes benefit from poverty. I will try to break it down to saying that the upper classes depend on the poor in many ways.

    * They depend on the poor for cheap (and sometimes even slave) labor.

    * They use the poor for their mega-nonprofits who give them "tax breaks" for their "charitable giving".

    * It is no small thing that when there is discussion about taxing the upper class that "charitable giving" is usually 2nd on the list for the reason not to impose it.

    * Instead of getting those generous tax breaks, the poor pay the highest rate of taxes than any other class in every single state. Check out your state here:

    The poor are depended upon to do all the heavy lifting in order for the upper classes not to do it such as with care giving.

    * According to the AARP if we were to pay for all the unpaid care giving it would cost over $450 BILLION dollars per year.

    * Women lose on the average of over $400,000 performing unpaid labor over a work life time ~ and this is based on her $.77 for every man's dollar

    * The greatest proportion of people in poverty are women. This is because they are not only caring for their children raising the next generation to care for us, they also care for their elders and spouses as well.

    * Each time they have to make the agonizing decisions whether to work for a wage or for the 24/7 care of a loved one.

    Additionally, the AARP says in a study they did about caregiving in the following link, it would cost $Trillions to replace this unpaid work yet in Welfare Reform, they codified into law that all this work is "doing nothing".  Indeed most of these caregivers are expected to live off their loved one's income if they cannot work for a wage while caring for that loved one.

    Social Security calls all this unpaid work "zero years" meaning that the laborer does not merit a single cent for saving the community from those $Billions it would cost for institutions and paid care that is being replaced by the 24/7 unpaid work these workers do. They get no pay, no medical benefits, no sick leave, no vacation not a single dime for saving all this tax money.

    One of the biggest homeless populations I see are with well educated, middle aged white women who have performed this unpaid work only to find themselves on the street. They are too young and have no dependents to qualify for any assistance and yet too old and "inexperienced" for anyone to hire them. There is nothing for them after spending their years raising their children, then caring for their elders and/or spouse who has died using up all the resources, and so there is nothing left for them, not even a Social Security check because they are not disabled enough and they will never qualify for a pension (that has been taken away from their spouse by the rich CEO who decided to take the pension fund for themselves for their 2nd vacation home when their company is on the rocks).

    These women are the ones that the upper classes depend upon while not paying for it ~ and most of this labor paid or unpaid come from the poor.

    So the point I am making is that when the Institution of Poverty is ensconced within a society and yet is unseen and not properly dealt with, poverty can then become the way to be racist, sexist, ageist, and discriminatory against the disabled. Then it can be denied that any one of those illegal "isms" are the reason for the discriminations ~ it is because those people are poor and they "chose" to be that way.  By including poor whites within those "isms" is a way to pretend, "See? I did not hate that person because they are gay, brown, a woman, an old person, or because they are disabled,  I include whites in that group and this way I can pretend I discriminate against ALL low income people because they are poor..."

    As an advocate for the poor, one of the most annoying things I hear is the surprise and shock at terrible treatment that is experienced by the middle class who have fallen into poverty. They say, "B-b-b-b-u-t I worked so harrrrd! I did all the right things! I got married, I went to church, I paid my taxes.  I am not a drunk or a drug addict like "those others"!

    Like the poor who have been there haven't done all these things too? Most have worked their asses off no matter what "isms" they are, but are grouped into one slimy ball within the Institution of Poverty and then swept under the rug. There is more alcoholism and drug addictions within the upper classes but you would not think it when the neighborhoods where the poor can afford housing (IF they can afford it at all) are swarming with police patrolling and watching for any infraction, while ignoring the gated communities where this abuse is rampant behind those curtained picture windows.  

    As a white woman myself who had a racially blended family, who experienced a few of these 'isms" that I witnessed, I can say I forgive the white middle class for their ignorance. But those who fall into poverty would never have to go through the trauma as badly if they but understood that they themselves participated and believed myths about the poor that are not the true. That they themselves prepared a situation that could be overcome if they but forgot all those "isms" and realized we are all in this together.

    If any class had any sense they would understand and begin the fight against poverty because poverty affects everyone in so many ways. Not only could they become one of those "isms" at any time themselves, even if they don't, they will pay with more sickness, more ignorance, more crime, even affecting the ones who they can pay to care for them when they can no longer care for themselves.

    My 2 cents

    Cat in Seattle

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    by mntleo2 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:20:55 PM PDT

    •  I love your comment. Very knowledgeable and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      heartfelt, with good reasoning too.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:51:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poverty and jobs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, swampyankee, shaharazade

    A lot of the same people who belittle unemployed or low wage earning working people seem to be the same ones that want "free" trade. Sending jobs overseas means more people out of work. Don't like poor people? Then maybe try stop closing their factories and sending their jobs overseas.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:33:19 PM PDT

  •  When FDR gave that speech... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Catte Nappe, Ice Blue

    ...Unemployment stood at 23.6%

    To say public sentiment was a little different would be putting things mildly.

  •  It's going to get a lot worse before it gets (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, shaharazade, jbsoul, IARXPHD

    better.  If it ever does, which I doubt.  I don't see how it can, without war or plague to reduce the population to a point where everyone can work at a real paying job.  If the inequality gets bad enough there will be big time social unrest right here at home.  If you have nothing more to lose, and no way to improve on your situation, and you can't feed your family or get health care, trouble for all of us lies ahead.  Count on it.  Then things may change.

  •  Just to say. Eight years ago when I joined DK, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, shaharazade, jbsoul

    never thought I'd live to see the day with a diary like this with comments like the one by ethos directly above.

    We have moved a long way toward revolution of some sort in this country.

    Eight years ago, and until the last 3-4, you never saw diaries on it.

    Thank you.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 01:54:34 PM PDT

  •  I believe Americans are an extraordinary mix.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Papuska

    ...of magical and pragmatic thinking, situational more than scientific, imbued with deep yet poorly understood European religious principles regardless of their own faith if any.

    If we get to a point, which I expect, that a simple brain scan will determine with great reliability if someone will or won't be "equipped" (by nature or nurture) to function "safely"  in society then their ability to procreate will be disabled through either positive or negative measures. This will not be done for eugenic purposes but merely to minimize cost and because we recoil at the idea of "taking" children due to chronic poverty or "bad" family values.

    The consequences of science and our knowledge are far more threatening than the politics of shills paid to be extreme like Rush or O'Reilly. We don't do ourselves favors by avoiding hard subjects like chronic poverty, bad parenting at any income level, and early childhood development and their intersections with science by moralizing on either side. Demonizing our already worst instincts gets us nowhere. Those with the least ability to endure added hardship will suffer the impacts most, as usual. So, race matters. It will be easy and lucrative to get paid to have a tubal ligation while also being determined ineligible for college loans.  

    There are many people who truly believe all humans have equal God given value and nevertheless will refuse to "throw good money" at "able bodied" adults. Forget about "investing" in those who indulge in addictive behaviors the rest are barely keeping themselves from by the skin of their teeth or their fears of God or destitution. That's more complicated than a lack of empathy or good v. evil.

  •  Thanks for this. n/t (4+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 02:54:23 PM PDT

  •  To detach yourself from poverty is harder than... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, dizzydean, Papuska, mommyof3

    ...for a rocket to leave earth and detach itself from gravity.

  •  Most excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Papuska, mommyof3

    Just yesterday at the Circle K I guess I scared my little girl as I stood dipping boiled peanuts into a cup trying to tune out an ingorant person degrading the poor, the disabled and then he used the N word and I went off on the guy.
    He. , being a conservative because he was using all the talking points to the cashier and every other customer in there regarding taxes and the poor.. I raised my voice louder.   The cashier made the mistake of joining in to his way of thinking and I was making point by point by point about the ACA and this guy was still using this kind of sentiment.. " Don't tell me you voted for that N in the White house" and I said you are ridiculous and ignorant but I won't let that racism pass in front of my child.   Not only did I vote but proud of it and helped with the ACA and other fine people with suggestions, etc. You are spreading your hate in front of innocent children and as long as I have a voice I will battle you verbally till one of us pass out or leaves.  He left.  The cashier made some remark and I said, " You are in no position as a cashier to enourage that kind of ignorance".  

    I can't help it I DO STAND UP and I really really tried to ignore ...this one day...on Sunday but it is getting to the point if you leave your ready to speak up....  

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 05:15:38 PM PDT

  •  A comment at the AZ Daily Star on poverty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buffalo Rick Galeener · Top Commenter
    'young mothers with little education and poor job prospects." Is this a sign of illegal immigration? Are the bulk of these single mothers even citizens or have they broken into
    America to pop out another "ANCHOR BABY"?
    FRANKLY, I COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF THOSE WHO IGNORE OUR LAWS! Without the burden of all the illegal aliens and their offspring, we would have no problem taking care of those Americans who really need the help. Charity starts at home. Maybe some of these mothers and their kids should demand something of their own governments and stop burdening ours.
    See how these people can pull their agenda into any issue?  If you're brown and poor in Tucson, you're obviously illegal.  Check the Facebook picture, the commenter looks like Custer. And sense of community?  Not for this guy.  He proves the point of the diary.

    If I had one wish, Republican men would have uteruses.

    by Desert Rose on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 08:12:49 PM PDT

  •  I experience it often (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If I dress for a job interview (not nearly enough of them), a professional older gentleman in a dress shirt and tie, I get an entirely different reaction than when I board a bus in jeans and tee shirt with my bags of groceries.

    The triple whammy: Old, poor, a public transport rider!

    It's not surprising that some people just give up.

    Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

    by chuckvw on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 10:17:57 PM PDT

  •  Remember Elaine? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I m not shocked.  People have been sickened by poverty since Reagan.  Does anyone remember Elaine's rejection of her boyfriend on SEINFELD because she was ashamed of him and sickened by him?  His sin?  He was poor.

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:52:14 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for focusing on poverty in America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We're #1 yeah, right.

    Can you imagine being born into a situation where just about EVERYTHING you see is financially out of reach?

    Can you imagine accidently hearing your President touting American Exceptionalism, a country where EVERYONE can succeed if they work hard when, most of your life, you wished you had more food?

    Can you imagine hearing that you are poor because your working mom and dad, or maybe just your working mom, is LAZY?

    Can you imagine hearing all your life that you have the best schools on the planet, but your school has leaky roofs, too few teachers, and not enough supplies?

    Now, can you imagine what the long-term affects hearing all of these things might have on the millions of children's emotional and psychological health by the time they reach adulthood where they will face a life-time of poverty for themselves and their children because they are stuck in this poverty cycle?

    Providing the tools and nutrition for physical, emotional health and maturity, especially for these poor kids who are helpless to change their circumstance, is long overdue.  But the chances of this ever being provided are slim to none because, if offered, the system that rewards the rich with more riches while increasing poverty would be exposed.

    If we spent a small % of what is spent on the Military Industrial Complex and the National Security Complex on lifting the health and spirits of America's poor children, instead of incarcerating them, how much better off would this nation and its communities be in so many ways?

    Shame on America!

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:01:24 AM PDT

  •  My view is most poor people are poor because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they weren't brought up right.  Perhaps they were driven to mental illness by abuse, perhaps their parents or parent just didn't teach them what they needed to know, or the only available school in their area was both appalling and dangerous, or something else horrible completely beyond the kid's control scarred him or her for life.

    And that's why the mainstream attitude to poverty offends me so much.  You're effectively saying, "Sorry, but you should have had a parentectomy", or "Tough shit that you didn't live in the right place when you were in school."

    You only get one shot at life, and, as the old cliche "God's children" implies, we're all to some extent limited by how we were raised, and we all need to continue taking care of one another as such.

    •  That's part of it, but you also have to consider (0+ / 0-)

      things like lack of job opportunities, lack of post-secondary educational opportunities, lack of adequate policing, lack of adequate health care, lack of support between jobs, etc.  

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:53:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And why don't they have those opportunities? (0+ / 0-)

        Because, in large part, they weren't positioned right early in life.  That's what I mean — there isn't just a practical issue here but a moral one; discriminating against the poor is, in large part, discriminating against their bad birth luck and bad childhood luck.  If you want to get the United States away from the kind of social contract where "if you want something, you've got to pay for it", you have to make the moral case for it because people won't change their minds very much for a merely practical argument.

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