Why Poverty Spreads Across America

Camden, New Jersey, street scene.

Pockets of poverty, like the sores of some malignant disease, are spreading across America, as its states and cities go broke and bankrupt.

“Camden, New Jersey, stands as a warning of what huge pockets of America could turn into,” The Nation magazine reports in its November 22nd issue. In fact, it has already happened, it is happening all over, and there is no signal on the horizon that poverty and blight will not continue to spread. It is not that Americans are lazy and shiftless; rather, they are reeling from betrayal — for they have been betrayed both by their employers, who have shown not an ounce of loyalty to their work forces, and they have been betrayed by their Federal government, which has lied the nation into costly criminal wars.

“Camden is the poster child of postindustrial decay,” writes Chris Hedges, the former foreign correspondent for The New York Times. “It stands as a warning of what huge pockets of the United States could turn into as we cement into place a permanent underclass of the unemployed, slash state and federal services in a desperate bid to cut massive deficits, watch cities and states go bankrupt and struggle to adjust to a stark neofeudalism in which the working and middle classes are decimated.” In an article titled “City of Ruins,” Hedges reports that 70 percent of Camden’s high school students drop out, that the city’s unemployment rate is probably 30 to 40 percent, and that its dangerous streets “are filled with the unemployed.”

What is thriving in Camden is prostitution, the drug trade, and crime. “There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos, and MS-13,” Hedges writes. “Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses…Camden is awash in guns…” (and) in 2009 had the highest crime rate in the nation with 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 population vs. a national average of just 455, Wikipedia reported.

Camden is no isolated example. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006 ranked it fourth highest among cities with under 250,000 residents as 35.6 percent of its population lived in poverty. It followed Brownsville, Texas, 40.6%; and College Station, Texas, 37.3%. Other poverty-struck cities were Edinburg, Texas, 35.4%; Bloomington, Indiana, 34.7%; Flint, Michigan, 34.1%; Kalamazoo, Michigan, 33.4; Florence-Graham, California (in Los Angeles County), 33.0%; Gary, Indiana, 32.8%; and Muncie, Indiana, 32.6%.

The poverty rates of major cities show similar patterns of despair. The ten having the worst poverty rates are Detroit, 32.5%; Buffalo, 29.9%; Cincinnati, 27.8%; Cleveland, 27.0%; Miami, 26.9%; St. Louis, 26.8%; El Paso, 26.4%; Milwaukee, 26.2%; Philadelphia, 25.1%; and Newark, 24.2%.

High poverty rates, of course, stem largely from persistent, structural unemployment. As the Washington Post reported last January 15th, “Blacks, Hispanics and men have suffered the most mainly because they have been disproportionately employed in sectors hardest hit in the recession — manufacturing and construction. For instance, the unemployment rate for blacks is expected to reach 27 percent in Michigan, which has been shedding auto industry jobs. Other states with jobless rates above 20 percent for blacks are Alabama, Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina.”

Where the New Deal’s Work Projects Administration (WPA) alone in the Great Depression created 8 million new jobs, nothing of that scope exists today. The same Post article notes, “The Congressional Black Caucus wants the government to create training programs and jobs in low-income communities with the highest unemployment rates.” “It’s like triage in an emergency room — you take care of people who need the most help first and you help the others later,” said Kai Filion, research analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. Economic losses, the analyst said, could result in a 50 percent poverty rate for black children, up from 34 percent in 2008. While statistics defining the plight of African-Americans make for grim reading, it should be remembered that the majority of America’s unemployed are Caucasian and that the real unemployment figure according to some authorities is 20 percent, not the 10 percent reported by Washington.

It is hardly accidental that cities with high unemployment rates also have high crime rates. In terms of violent crime, as FBI statistics for calendar year 2009 show, Detroit, noted above to have the highest poverty rate, also has the most violent crime per 1,000 citizens, with 19.67 cases. Other major cities are (2) Memphis, 18.06; (3)Oakland, 16.79; (4) Baltimore, 15.13; (5) Buffalo, 14.59; (6) Cleveland, 13.95; (7)Kansas City, 13.00; (8) Stockton, 12.67; (9) Washington, D.C., 12.65; and (10), Philadelphia, 12.38.

As Sir Thomas More wrote in his classic Utopia, published in 1516: “You allow these people to be brought up in the worst possible way, and systematically corrupted from their earliest years. Finally, when they grow up and commit the crimes that they were obviously destined to commit, ever since they were children, you start punishing them. In other words, you create thieves, and then punish them for stealing,” Could he have better explained America’s 2.3-million prison population today?

In Camden, there isn’t a single inner city supermarket that can put ghetto kids to work at an honest job after school and weekends but reporter Hedges says there are plenty of drug markets. Often, the only job a teenager can land is one on the staff of the local drug lord. The other employment choice for ghettoized youth is the military. While Pentagon recruiters strongly deny they target low-income neighborhoods, a careful reading of the home towns of those reported killed in the Middle East may well cast doubt upon this contention.

Camden once was a significant manufacturing hub but those days are long gone. In many communities, major employers abandoned their workers with no compunction (and often without deserved pensions), automating employees out of their jobs. Other employers, as in Detroit, simply relocated their plants overseas entirely. The idea of a prosperous work force based on a vibrant local economy to underpin “the American Dream” got lost in the race to maximize corporate profits.

In Trenton, the sign on a bridge across the Delaware River, “Trenton Makes, The World Takes,” is the boast of a bygone era. Reduced employment means reduced purchasing power and reduced tax take for local governments. This year, according to The Christian Science Monitor, California faces a $20 billion budget gap. It has already resorted to “mandatory furloughs for all state workers, teacher layoffs, (and reduced) aid to the university system 20 percent, (and made) massive cuts to education, corrections, and social services.” This grim picture is mirrored everywhere. The rising unemployment in New York City’s workforce, for example, has worsened its budget crisis, Financial Times reported November 22nd.

At the same time, U.S. corporations continue their race to the bottom for cheap labor. Cable News Network’s “Exporting America” broadcast listed hundreds of “U.S. companies either sending American jobs overseas or choosing to employ cheap overseas labor instead of American workers.” A very small fraction of the companies on CNN’s list are reprinted in the following three paragraphs to convey some idea of the enormity of the indifference of employers for their workers:

Aetna, AIG, Alamo Rent a Car, Alcoa, Allstate, Anheuser-Bush, AT&T, Bank of America, Bechtel, BellSouth, Best Buy, Borden Chemical, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar, ChevronTexaco, Citigroup, Continental airlines, Delta Air Lines, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, Fedders Corp., Fluor, Ford Motor, General Electric, General Motors, and Goldman Sachs.

Also, Halliburton, Hershey, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, IBM, Illinois Tool Works, ITT Industries, John Deere, Johns Manville, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Kerr-McGhee Chemicals, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Lear Corp., Levi Strauss, Lockheed Martin, Mattel, Maytag, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, Microsoft, Monsanto, Motorola, Nabisco, Northrop Grumman, Northwest Airlines, Office Depot, Orbitz, Oracle, Otis Elevator, Owens Corning, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Polaroid, Pratt & Whitney, Procter & Gamble, and Prudential Insurance.

Also, Quaker Oats, Radio Shack, Rayovac, Rohm & Haas, Safeway, Sara Lee, Seco Manufacturing, Square D, State Farm Insurance, Target, Tenneco Automotive, Texas Instruments, Time Warner, Tropical Sportswear, TRW Automotive, Tupperware, Tyco Electronics, Union Pacific, UNISYS, United Plastics Group, United Technologies, Verizon, Wachovia Bank, Weyerhaeuser, Xerox, and Zenith.

Why hasn’t the Obama administration taken swift and forceful action to relieve the situation, perhaps even to launch the Domestic Marshall Plan for the cities the Urban League’s Whitney Young called for as far back as 1962? Perhaps it’s because like President Bush before him Mr. Obama is more focused on waging war. Here, again, Sir Thomas More speaks to us: “To start with, most kings are more interested in the science of war…than in useful peacetime techniques. They’re far more anxious, by hook or by crook, to acquire new kingdoms than to govern their existing ones properly.”

This, of course, applies perfectly to America’s kings, for not only have our presidents assumed the powers and prerogatives of kings but they have, in fact, acted no better than medieval kings, waging wars with armies raised from the poorest strata of society and spending lavishly to conquer while ignoring their own citizenry’s cries for bread and opportunity. Put another way, the Pentagon is spending more money for war (52 cents of every tax dollar) than all 50 states combined spend for all purposes to improve the lot of 300 million Americans.

In their book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War” (W.W. Norton), Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes write, “A $3 trillion figure for the total cost strikes us as judicious, and probably errs on the low side. Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq.” (Stiglitz is former chief economist at the World Bank and a Nobel Prize laureate and Bilmes is a public policy authority at Harvard.) Given the wars’ colossal and criminal waste of human life and treasure, it is little wonder states and cities the nation over are starved for income, record numbers of homes are being foreclosed, and soup kitchens are reporting a rising influx of patrons, many of them bewildered former members of the shrinking middle class.

This situation has pertained in America now for several generations. Before Iraq and Afghanistan there was the Viet Nam aggression. Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern attempted to make the connection between war abroad and hard times at home when he said, “For every bomb that falls in Viet Nam a house somewhere in America collapses from neglect.” McGovern was defeated by incumbent Richard Nixon in a landslide.

Sherwood RossIt is apparent from the recent elections that Americans today, just as in the national election of 1972, do not grasp the reality of the terminal disease that is war. They do not recognize how it is driving them relentlessly into poverty while sacrificing their children like some primitive culture on the altar of the military-industrial complex to ensure a profitable harvest from their blood.

Sherwood Ross





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Comments

  1. Indepdent_thinker says

    Very interesting comments. But how can jobs be created in a city where the educational system is controlled by the teachers unions that is not committed to graduating students and educating the young but protecting the teachers, their pay and their pensions. Workers in far more poverty stricken areas like China, India and Vietnam are better educated that those in New Jersey – even though NJ has the third highest spending per student. More funding will never equate to better educated students. It’s not the money that’s the problem – it is the teachers, the teachers union and the parents. Can someone name me another industry where is it heresy to ask workers to be judged by the fruits of their labor or the product they produce? If the labor force in the area is almost completely uneducated, why would I put a company there? A machine can perform the job of the uneducated far more efficiently than the uneducated – and it will actually produce what it is designed to produce.

    What about regulations and unions? If a company were to relocated into Camden NY what is the regulatory climate? Will the company have to deal with literally thousands of pages of regulations stay in business? Will a union come in an demand a higher wage than the labor market is actually paying? Will that same union demand that the company comply to their work rule demands and reduce the ability of management to manage their company?

    What would the taxes? Will the local, city, state and federal taxes reduce their profits to near zero?

    So let’ review my progressive friends – you are confused and amazed that companies are not clamoring to relocated to cities with an uneducated, over paid labor force with huge tax burden and a regulatory environment that is extremely antagonistic towards business. No amount of wealth transfers from those that work to those that don’t to bring jobs to these blighted areas.

    Camden NJ epitomizes Directive 10-289.

  2. says

    Just a quick note. One reason that Black and Latino soldiers are a smaller part of KIAs than during Vietnam, if that is in fact true, is because a very high proportion of minorities of color are incarcerated in the years when most would serve: ages 18—34. Locking up Black men, in particular, has devastated that community and along with the drop out/force out from our high schools has created a restricted pool of possible soldiers. On the other hand, when racism is still such a problem in our society why should Blacks and Latinos go get their butts shot in a phony war on terrorism? The conservatives who are writing comments are either ignorant about modern history or fools but they must own up to the fact that on going dynamics in our society continue to create poverty, incarceration, and the decay of urban and rural society. As long as we use our military to push occupation and subjugation of other peoples then our national budget will not be used for the needs of the American people.

    • in_awe says

      @Dusty,

      Thanks for the reply – it is thought provoking.

      As to your question: “One reason that Black and Latino soldiers are a smaller part of KIAs than during Vietnam, if that is in fact true,…”. The numbers quoted come directly from the cumulative DoD weekly casualty report as of early August, 2010 which lists each KIA including hometown and race.

      I do agree with you that “…on going dynamics in our society continue to create poverty, incarceration, and the decay of urban and rural society.“. What I don’t understand is why progressives do not take a forceful stand on demanding better education in low income areas? Doesn’t long term improvement for minority communities start with education?

      No one can deny that the education provided to blacks and Hispanics is abysmal and getting worse. Yet, the teachers unions continue to clamor for and get higher pay for their members while protecting the incompetent teachers from being fired. LA Unified spends how much on a high tech school to serve hundreds while hundreds of thousands perform well under grade level. How many failed teachers are assigned to an admin building and do nothing all day long for years on end at full pay. Why aren’t these people just fired and the money used to hire and retain good teachers? Do we really need more people in LAUSD admin roles than in the classroom? Why are successful charter school programs across the country under attack and being shut down? Who benefits from that that?

      With out of wedlock births running at over 70% in the black community – frequently to girls without a HS education – the young black child faces an almost insurmountable obstacle to educational and work success. What can progressives do to help ameliorate this handicap on the community? It is not solely about money – it is about nuclear families and tutoring and expectations. (see the Harlem school project and the programs instituted in Washington DC – but soon to be disbanded as the Superintendent was ridden out of town on a rail.)

      Unbiased analysis of many (most?) of the social programs that began in the Great Society days and following periods have been proven to be unsuccessful in achieving their stated missions, yet they continue along with ever higher expenditures as if more money substitutes for effective outcomes. Kill those programs and put the same money into programs that do work.

      I don’t know what the progressive movement proposes to address these and other root causes of poverty and joblessness that extends beyond more of the same. I am open to learning what they are.

    • Ryder says

      @dusty.

      Your budgetary claims are entirely false.

      The percentage of our gdp used for military VS outlays for social spending for “the needs of the American people” has been shocking… in that the former has shrunk into near insignificance, while the latter has exploded.

      Military spending has dropped consistently since WWII. Even at the height of the Vietnam war, it was only 10%, During the Gulf war just under 5%, and now during the Afghan & Iraq wars, only 3-4% of our GDP.

      On the other hand, social spending by the federal government has been steadily growing as a percent of GDP.

      Over this same period, just the major entitlements have gone from 2% of GDP to over 8%. That’s 400% growth of entitlements in 50 years, compared to military which was cut by 60% over that same period.

      All of this data is easily found on in Congressional Budget Office data (cbo.gov)

      All projections show that our nation will be consumed by social spending, to the point of systemic failure.

      The problem is that people seem to believe that there should be spending AT ALL to “meet the needs” of people. That is not authorized in the Constitution at all. It is not a job for the Federal Government. It’s not there, and for good reason.

  3. says

    These scattershot attacks on progressive politics are lame. Let’s get specific.

    A decline in industry and manuf. in LA in the 1970s and 80s decimated South LA’s economy. Crack emerged as the best “jobs program” the goverment/CIA could create. Gangs sold drugs, and the rest was history.

    Eventually, the trade had a life of its own, and expanded outward into middle class neighborhoods, until it eventually petered out from excessive violence and a housing bubble crash in the late 1980s that forced the middle classes to reconsider their cocaine habits.

    Right now, the high unemployment has seen the emergence of marijuana farms operated by Asian gangs in the San Gabriel Valley. The gangs rent suburban wannabe McMansions, and convert them into pot farms that allegedly supply the pot clinics.

    It was recently reported that during this recession, Asians reported the longest periods of unemployment; lacking social networks that can turn up jobs, many remain out of work for extended periods of time. It might not be a coincidence.

    Word on the street is that 18th St. and MS-13 are trying to grow their drug empires. I don’t know if it’s real or speculation, but I watch the graffiti go up and get crossed out, at least once a month.

    The solution in the SGV, in South LA, in the Valley, is not training, but jobs. On the job training.

    Put someone to work fixing the curbs and sidewalks. If they don’t know how, you train them. If they can’t work fast, pay them less per hour. Just keep people busy. Let them go home tired, so they sleep.

    PS – The War on Poverty, in hindsight, was an historical aberration. In 1932, the economy was down. By 1965, there had been many years of growth. During this period, much of the productive capacity of the British, German, and Japanese empires was destroyed, creating for the US, a huge export market.

    The reason why poverty seems to increased, and the middle class declined, is that our workers have faced increasing competition from workers in the developing countries, first in Germany, then Japan, then Korea and Mexico, as well as Canada and Western Europe. Now we’re up against China. These workers earned from 1/2 to 1/10th what an American worker earns. So called “free” trade agreements expose labor to more competition.

  4. Diane says

    Why is it that the more residents of our devastated communities and progressives ask for job training and more employment opportunities, people on the right respond by opposing government “handouts” and calling people lazy? What part of WE NEED JOBS do they not understand?

    • in_awe says

      What the heck, let’s make everyone a government employee and poverty will disappear just like that.

      Instead of creating an economic and tax environment that encourages private sector job creation, we have an administration that is more concerned with buttressing unions and growing the government workforce. The Obama domestic policies have increased costs and uncertainty for businesses – neither one yields job creation. The reality is that in such an environment there will be a jobless recovery – prolonging unemployment and underemployment for millions for another 5 years.

    • Ryder says

      Why is it, the more that progressive plans devastate communities, the more progressives call for more of the same?

      Don’t they learn?

      Progressives have NO success stories where their plans are implemented in full force.

      Further, thoughtful people, decades ago, warned very specifically what would happen to jobs if attacks on investors and private companies continued. You were warned what would happen if you created the minimum wage, environmental laws, affirmative action, discrimination laws, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

      Warned. Over and over again.

      Now that you have seen the results of what NOT paying attention to an economy does… all you can do is cry for “jobs!” After attacking companies CEASELESSLY for decades? Endless lawsuits, endless regulation, OSHA, CAL OSHA (in california, as if one OSHA was not enough), the EPA, wage laws… I could fill a page…

      OF COURSE these jobs are vanishing… they are an endangered species… running off to other countries where they offer services and labor that is often superior for less cost.

      Again, progressives were WARNED… a long time ago… where we would be today… but they simply would not listen.

      You were warned about getting control of the border decades ago as well… but no… that’s not allowed, so now millions of jobs have gone to Mexicans so they can send money out of the country. Again, you were warned.

      There IS NO WAY OUT using a progressive “scheme”, especially one involving printing money. This something for nothing mentality has to stop. The ONLY way out, is for all Americans to be productive. To take care of themselves… and then some, in order to pay for what MUST become VERY LIMITED government.

      Government needs to shrink to 20% of it’s current size… it’s the biggest parasite of all.

      Organisms can not live if the parasites grow beyond a certain point. By creating parasites out of previously industrious persons, the expanding welfare class… now including the middle class which is intended to become dependent on government run healthcare… will destroy the host body which once was America.

      Progressives cultivate victims… in order to gain political power, while at the same time discouraging people who risk their fortunes, work hard, and get ahead… those people are hated, taxed, and regulated.

      AGAIN, you are warned… though I am sure you won’t listen, because socialism is a great idea until you run out of other peoples money.

    • Ryder says

      I tell you what…

      If you REALLY want job opportunities… would you agree to finding and deporting ALL illegals in this state… so that all of those jobs could go to Americans?

      If not, why not?

      If so, have you ever voted for someone that has promised to get control of the borders?

      These are not rhetorical questions, I’d really like to know specific answers to all three questions.

  5. in_awe says

    Here are the official numbers from the DoD re casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq through mid-August, 2010. If the DoD is “targeting” low income cities, then they are failing pretty badly at it. On the basis of percentage of overall US population, these cities cited in the article are under-represented in the casualty rates.

    City KIA Rank
    Baltimore 20 12
    Bloomington 4 198
    Brownsville 3 299
    Buffalo 13 28
    Camden 5 149
    Cleveland 13 29
    College Station 4 205
    Detroit 3 321
    Edinburg 4 211
    Flint 6 118
    Florence 5 154
    Gary 0
    Kalamazoo 2 679
    Kansas City 4 233
    Memphis 6 127
    Muncie 0
    Oakland 1 2114
    Philadelphia 17 16
    Stockton 10 54
    Washington,D.C. 13 34
    133
    % of Total KIA 2.4%

    And before we jump to the whole racial thing, whites represent 75.8% of KIA, blacks 9.3% and Hispanics 10.0%. Again the minorities are under-represented in the statistics.

    What the author failed to analyze is the role of Democrat policies on urban economies. Dems have run the most impoverished cities for the past 4 decades. Just as Dems in Sacramento are still worsening the business climate in CA and chasing businesses out of the state, an analysis of federal, state and local programs and policies must be reviewed to get a true sense of why we have entrenched poverty in the the cities cited. One also needs to evaluate the reduction of funds available for aiding American citizens when for 10 years the amount of social services provided to non-citizens has soared. Some estimates show CA spending $10B/year on aid to non-citizens; how could Stockton or Oakland have benefited from some portion of that money being used to address problems in those cities?

    An interesting topic that deserved to be explored more fully by the author and others.

  6. Ryder says

    Ahhhh…. no.

    The reasons for poverty are well studied and understood in the US.

    We pay people to NOT work. To NOT be productive.

    When large sectors of the population are paid to do nothing, then civilization falters. It’s that simple. No civilization was ever created by reducing productivity. Ever.

    We take about one thousand BILLION dollars out of our economy, and give it to people that did not earn it, and now 50 years into it, multiple generations don’t see much reason to do work for things they can easily get for free.

    Black Americans, especially, have been hard hit. They were specifically targeted to receive massive long term “benefits” due to white guilt.

    This has gutted Black America, far worse than any Klansman could have ever dreamed… the black family is all but destroyed… crushed under the weight of massive money redistribution. Were we not told that money corrupts? Of course we were. Now, the vast majority of black children are born into broken homes, or homes that were never formed in the first place. It didn’t use to be that way. Blacks were married and STAYED married before the war on poverty began.

    California alone is spending just under of the cost of the war in Iraq, annually, on unemployment benefits, while illegal workers from Mexico ARE working here, and sending much of what they earn to Mexico.

    And yes, regular Americans do pick produce… they just do it in a different way than Mexican laborers. Who do you think picks cotton now that the slaves are gone? Engineers, machinists, welders, fabricators, heavy equipment operators, maintenance workers, etc. etc. All good jobs that regular Americans do… is how we pick our cotton now, and all because we abandoned the slave owner mentality… which unfortunately is alive and well in California again, where progressives of all stripes do all they can to preserve the manual labor “plantations” of the Golden state, leaving engineers and other technology workers at home, on unemployment… when they should be designing the next wave of agricultural automation.

    Poverty goes where progressive ideas go… Detroit was gutted after government went in to create a government envisioned “Model City” with rent and industry controls. Decades later it’s now a hell hole. A total failure.

    Americans are now used to the progressive idea of dumping hundreds of billions of the all mighty dollar on every problem, thinking that money solves everything.

    The war on poverty has been going on for over 50 years, with horrific results… devastating the economies of entire regions and cities due the the extraction of over 1,000 Billion dollars, each and every year, do be used to corrupt and ensnare otherwise decent people, resulting in multi-generational dependence, pain and suffering.

    Are there no progressives with adequate integrity to admit what they have done to Black America by trying to “fix things” for them by heaping cash into things?

    Weakened by the corruption of the all mighty dollar and “something for nothing” mentality, Blacks have paid a terrible price for what you have done.

  7. says

    Why poverty spreads across America is that word travels. People who are milking the system tell others how to do it. Why work, when you can get a government check? Plus it gives you time to protest and help community organizers increase the size of the voting block that will help ensure more ‘programs’ and more government checks.
    Pretty sweet deal, actually.
    Plus there are other percs as well.
    ACORN workers have been documented passing out drugs, ciggies, cash, booze and free car rides to people who will register and vote liberal Democrat.
    Take away the criminals, take away the vote fraudsters, take away the programs, take away the government checks and people will get off their butts and earn their own freaking living. They’ll also learn some valuable lessons about life….plus they won’t have time to run around protesting.

    • Sherwood Ross says

      Robert, you seem to think people in poverty only need to “get off their butts” when, in fact, the poor do the hardest, dirtiest work in society. Many of them are working poor employed at two or three jobs to make ends meet and are still in poverty even if they work 70 or 80 hours a week. Those getting government checks often must provide a service in return, such as cleaning the streets. Do you really believe that 40 million Americans are lazy? Here are illegal immigrants creeping into America through tunnels and crossing deserts and evading Arizona sheriffs and risking prison just to find work, and you are scoring these people as lazy? Think it over. All best, Sherwood Ross

      • says

        Sherwood, I too have compassion on the poor, I know many wish they were not stuck in poverty, and through our church’s H2O Help To Others program we try to at least ease the plight of homeless people, especially during the cold months.
        But I have done more than just think it over, as you suggest.
        I have studied cause and effect, and I can assure you that since Lyndon Johnson’s ‘War On Poverty,’ no dent has been made in poverty, in fact poverty has grown and has been cemented into American society through idiotic programs that create and sustain a permanent victim class.
        It is time to re-think the entire approach to poverty. What we have done has not worked, and only an insane person would keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result.
        All the best to you too, my friend,
        Bob

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