Tag Archives: poverty

Despite greatest level of government spending in history, more Americans are poor

For almost a century, progressives, socialists and centrists of almost every shade have spouted that in order to make things more fair, the government has to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest. During Barack Obama’s Presidency, taxes have been raised, government spending on the poor has exploded and yet, according to government figures, we are experiencing the highest levels of poverty in over fifty years.

In Decemeber, a government report showed that the government is spending almost $170 a day per household on those who are under the federal poverty line and receiving welfare. That’s $1,190.00 per week or almost $62,000 per year that was taken from someone more likely to invest in and build the economy.

In 2012, welfare paid better than a minimum wage job in 40 states. It’s not surprising then that 4.3 million Americans are on the program. Tack on other government programs and it gets easy to see why someone would rather stay home and on the dole than to start making a better life for themselves by taking a minimum wage job and working up to a better wage. 20% of all recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children have been on the program for more than five years. That is not a hand up, that is a handout.

To add insult to injury, nine states pay their welfare beneficiaries more than the national average for a teacher. Seven states pay more than $12/hr in welfare benefits. The top 10 benefit paying states average $13.68/hour wage equivalent. Why work?

Unfortunately for those that choose the easy early path, there is no way to climb out of poverty. Welfare recipients can’t get promoted or ask for a raise and eventually get above that line. Learning a trade or skill might start out at a lower hourly wage, but the more improved the worker, the more opportunities that present themselves and that will bring them out of poverty.

In 2011, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that there were more than 80 over-lapped government assistance programs spending roughly $1 trillion dollars to aid the poor – the single largest budget item in 2011. That’s what the President said we needed to spend on Health Care for every single American. More than we spend on

If the huge expansion in social welfare programs were working, poverty would be dropping and more would be returning to work. Instead, we have the largest spike in those under the federal poverty line since the 1960’s and an economy that struggling under the weight of redistributive change, handouts and government over-regulation.

In the MSM Every Silver Lining Is Obscured by a Cloud

blindfolded-mainstream-media-posterI’ve about decided that reading three newspapers a day, plus Newsmax.com may be bad for my emotional health. Normally the day starts with the Washington Examiner, a fine tabloid with a conservative editorial page. I like the Examiner even though the paper is evidently unaware the county were I live — Prince William — exists, as the paper’s Northern Virginia coverage does not extend south of Fairfax County.

So I turn to a story by Matt Connolly that makes me optimistic regarding the nation’s future. The headline reads, “Poverty rates plummet for D.C. Asians, Hispanics.” Now that is good news! In spite of a sluggish Obama economy, the American Dream is still available for those willing to work. Upward mobility is still possible. What’s more, less poverty means less need for big government welfare programs, which is always appealing to a small government conservative like myself.

According to Connolly, new census data shows “the percentage of D.C. Hispanics under the poverty line dropped from 20.5 percent in the 2000 census to 14 percent in the 2007 – 2011 average.” And in Maryland’s Prince George’s County the rate “dropped from 14.1 percent to 11.7 percent” in spite of the fact the overall Hispanic population more than doubled in that time period. In Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD the rate remained “relatively stagnant” but did not get appreciably worse.

Even better, “poverty rates for Asians…dropped across the board” plunging from 22.8 percent to 14 percent. More good news, even though the ingrates aren’t voting for Republicans — the people who keep your taxes low and try to grow the economy.

But then I made the mistake of turning to the WaPost and there I see a headline that complains, “Poverty rates higher for blacks and Hispanics than whites and Asians.” Damn, The Man is still keeping the pigmented people down! So much for my misplaced optimism.

Naturally I want to see where reporter Carol Morello came by this depressing evidence of conservative inhumanity to man. (After all it has to be our fault, since we are not in favor of Obama phones, Sandra Fluke’s rubbers and no–work–required welfare.) But wait, the data came from the exact same census report that Connolly persuaded me was packed with good news!

Instead of congratulating Asians for pulling themselves out of poverty, Morello implies they are now in league with The Man and it looks suspiciously like these calculator jockeys have forgotten all about minority solidarity and are trying to pass for white.

In fact, Morello says absolutely nothing about the reduction in poverty rates that Connolly found so newsworthy, and instead focuses on nationwide poverty rates and then singles out that noted economic basket case D.C.’s Ward 8 for black poverty numbers. Statistically this is like complaining about mortality rates in a mortuary.

So why is Morello such a Debbie Downer? American leftists and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media have a pigment problem: There’s a black man in the White House.

It’s becoming increasing difficult to condemn America as a hopelessly racist society when there is this black guy jetting around the country on Air Force One. Since the Marines are saluting him, he can’t be passed off as the butler. And how does one complain about institutional racism when a black guy is in charge of the institution? And how can Virginia be a bigot benighted outpost of the Confederacy when Obama carried the state twice?

A favorite MSM ploy is to pick and choose your statistics, which is the path Morello has chosen. Focusing on persistent black poverty in the abstract implies there is no upward mobility for blacks unless government steps in to make the situation “fair.” Yet black poverty is often a self–inflicted wound as black Prince George’s Councilman Mel Franklin points out in the WaPost “Root” section.

Franklin writes, “In short, no program, either government or nonprofit, can replace the void created by the absence of a good father in a household.

“Annually, as you probably know, over 70 percent of births in the black community nationwide are out of wedlock. Study after study demonstrates (and our common sense tells us) the dramatic effect that this collapse in our family structure has had on education, the economy and criminal justice outcomes for youth, especially the absence of a good father in his son’s household.”

Pointing out the harm black men and women do when they choose to bear children in the absence of marriage is not blaming the victim. You can criticize a suicide whether it’s physical or fiscal. And I compliment Councilman Franklin for pointing out the obvious. But I also note he was not quoted in Morello’s story.

Implying personal responsibility is not method of creating demand for more government. Leftists believe individuals are at the mercy of forces beyond their control, like a termite in a tidal wave, and the only source of help is government. And since leftists dominate the MSM, you get stories like Morello’s.

Which is why I only read the WaPost after I’ve been inoculated by the Examiner and the Washington Times. I suggest my conservative readers do likewise.

NBC’s Chuck Todd: Plenty of Reason for Concern

msnbc chuck toddAs the administration heralds the latest unemployment numbers as proof of improvement many Americans are still unsure. Across the country residents see their income lower than in 2009. Others know there are more in poor. Families who have to live within their means worry about the continued massive government spending. And the unemployment level, after four years, a stimulus and many government programs is still stuck at an unacceptable 7.8%.

On occasion, even the left leaning NBCNews must report the truth:

Desperately Needed: Courage in America

In two previous articles we looked at the way the media is brainwashing American citizens into accepting tyranny and what can be done to stop the trend. Ben Kinchlow wrote a very interesting and on target article talking about the media and their methods of subjugating We the People using brainwashing techniques.

We don’t have to continue down this road of apathy and acceptance that is taking us to tyranny, poverty, and slavery. We can stand up and take our country back but it will require courage on our part. It takes courage to stand up for freedom but what is courage?

The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence showed a great deal of courage. If the colonies had lost the war they would have all been rounded up and executed. They knew the chance they were taking by putting their names on that document; it was there for the entire world to see. There was no hiding, no way to excuse what they had done, no turning back once they had signed. They knew what they were doing and that their lives were in the balance. These men showed just as much courage as those who faced the muskets, bayonets, and cannons of the British army. Our founding fathers had the courage of their convictions. They knew what freedom meant and they knew what it would take to have that freedom. They pledged “their lives, their fortunes, and their Sacred Honor” to the cause of freedom, not only for themselves but for generations to come.

Courage isn’t just facing death on the battlefield. Courage is also standing in the face of ridicule and derision. Courage is standing for a cause when there is seemingly so much opposition and so little support. Courage is standing in the face of hopeless defeat and saying; “Not here, not now, not on my watch”. Courage is being a leader, not sitting back where it is “safe”. Our founding fathers showed courage. Most of them never stepped foot on a battlefield yet showed the same courage as those who fought throughout the Revolutionary War, and in subsequent wars.

Today we face a tyranny similar to that of King George III. We face a Congress and an occupant of the White House, King Barack I, who ignore the very document these men so courageously gave to us, The Constitution of the United States of America. We face a media apparatus complicit in the denial of our basic freedoms. It is up to We the People to rectify the media and politician problem with knowledge and courage.

Seeing the problem is a key component, but knowledge without action is useless. If fear of the future and the acquiescence to tyranny is acceptable, you will never know a better life, only a decaying future fraught with tyranny, poverty, and slavery. When enough people have the moral strength and courage to break from the template and refuse to accept what is happening to us we will win. On that day we will see victory over those who are slipping our freedom out from under our very feet.

John Dummett and Tim Cox , both mentioned in the previous article, are two of the leaders out there trying to make a difference. One is running for office, the other is recruiting grassroots people to run for Congress, and people to help them. John is ignored by the media while taking on Barack Obama’s eligibility, but still he continues in his quest for the truth. Restoring the Constitution and the freedom it affords is his number one goal. Where does your favorite mainstream presidential candidate stand on this issue?

There are others trying to save this republic. Some run for office, others do campaign and organizing work in their communities, many more make calls for support of candidates, some give financial support, and all of us can vote for freedom or accept tyranny. We have good people at the grassroots level within the Republican Party trying to regain control for We the People. The leaders are out there. They need the support of those of us who profess to want a real alternative. Here is that alternative. You can pick up the gauntlet and earn your freedom or you can sit back and accept less and less until you accept tyranny, poverty, and slavery.

Will you be part of a future of freedom or will you sit back and accept the inevitable future being painted by the media and their political allies? Will you accept the life afforded by a dictator who promises you everything but delivers only what HE decides you need; or will you take a stand for a future of freedom, self-determination, personal responsibility, and prosperity?

The Constitution offers opportunity for those who will have it. The media, along with Democrat and Republican establishment political machines, offer a mediocre promise that will never be kept. You can stand for freedom now or bow to tyrants later. If you can’t see that by now I don’t know what else to tell you. We can no longer buy into nor participate in the hype. We cannot compromise the Constitution, and the future of freedom, by voting for the lesser of two evils.

At this time I am hard at work from within the Republican Party, trying to help those who would return the party to We the People. It can be done but it will take a commitment from people who have the courage to step outside the box and stand up for freedom. In this case it truly “takes a village”. Will you meekly vote, out of fear, for what the establishment offers you or will you stand for true freedom from elitist tyranny? Are you willing to be a part of the village that restores our nation to the vision of our founding fathers? Do you have the courage to stand in the face of ridicule, threats, and mockery to save the future of your nation? Will you step outside the box and support a dark horse or will you submit to the party establishment, accept their offer of “this or else”, and continue on a course towards slavery and tyranny?

If you wait to act until you don’t have any other choice you have already lost, our republic will be lost. Waiting until we are forced to fight for our lives is not courage, it is animal survival. A cornered animal isn’t a brave animal, it is a desperate one. Being cornered and desperate isn’t the way to fight this battle. The final door to the trap won’t shut until we are all the way in. You don’t have to continue walking into the trap; you can stop at the door and say NO!!! John Dummett and Tim Cox are two men who offer us a real alternative. Will you take them up on their offer or will you continue into tyranny, poverty, and slavery?

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.
Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
March 10, 2012

These OWS Protestors Aren't "Poor"

We’re about four weeks into Occupy Wall Street, and one of the common themes we hear is the protestors are dissatisfied with the 1% of Americans who are said to hold “all the wealth”.  Well, I will say that they have one point…. it is odd that “fat cats” are getting salary bumps during a recession.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it seems weird that a company would fire thousands of employees and then pay their executives higher salaries.  That’s not a partisan observation on my part; it’s an honest one.  I’ll give Liberals and Occupy Wall Street Protestors that much, but I wrote this piece to focus on the plight of the 99% of people who “aren’t rich”.  Primarily, I want to focus on what it means to be “poor” in 2011.  I think some perspective is in order, because many people don’t seem to know what “poor” is.  Let’s begin.

When it comes to understanding poverty in America, there are two camps:  People who remember the 1970’s and 80’s, and the people who don’t.  Allow me to offer perspective.

You can be poor today and still live a comfortable life.  You can have internet, heat, air conditioning, 3 meals plus snacks, your own bedroom, medical care, and you can still do recreational activities like going to an amusement park or the movies.  As someone who grew up in the 80’s and was “poor” in the early 2000’s, I have some critical perspective that I think many are missing today.

I remember what poverty felt like in the early 80’s.  I hear it was worse in the 70’s, but my data banks don’t go back that far.  I remember winter mornings in the Midwest.  My parents’ car (singular) had plastic seats.  The kids at Occupy Wall Street can’t fathom what I’m going to describe next.  We lived in the kind of neighborhood where you don’t leave you car running unattended, so we would sit in it as it “warmed up”.  Cars had carburetors back then.  You couldn’t start them and drive away.  You could try, but the engine would keep stalling out, and eventually, you would be so frustrated that you would pull over and let the engine heat up like it wanted to.  So I sat there on plastic seats that were so cold that they hurt my bones.  I could feel the coldness even through my coat.  Not that it was a good coat.  See, technology has come a long way today, but in the 80’s, the cheap coat at Kmart was about “worthless”.  So I sat there on the cold seats and watched my breath make little clouds in front of my face.  That’s another thing… Car heaters back then didn’t really “work” until the car had been driven a certain distance, but we couldn’t drive yet, because the engine was still heating up.  So we sat.  We didn’t have anything on our iPhone to distract us, because iPhones didn’t exist.  And if they did, they would probably cost about $4,000, so it’s not like we would own one anyway.  We did have an FM stereo though, but it didn’t have presets.  It had big mechanical knobs, and you could feel tension when you turned them.  You could feel metal bands winding their way through the rectangular box as you chose your stations.  So we sat there looking at our breath while waiting for the car to be warm enough to be driven away.  You knew it was warm enough, when it “kicked down”.  Yeah, that’s a quirk about carburetors you might not know about.  The engine would run (loudly) at a really high RPM until it was ready to “kick down”.  You kicked it down by stomping on the gas pedal.  It usually took 2-5 minutes before it would go from “VRRRRRrrrrrrrrooooooMMMmmmmm” to “chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug”.  The engine chugged and sounded like it might want to stall because it was still too cold, and it probably had something to do with the density of the cold air outside.  I don’t know.  I was 8, and I hadn’t really figured out the internal combustion engine yet, but I remember what it was like.

Other things I remember are that we had one TV.  Just one.  And 25 inches was “big” for the 80’s.  So that’s what we had.  A lot of people had smaller TV’s in our neighborhood.  So imagine seven people watching a 25 inch box that was almost too heavy to pick up.  You know, a lot of you are reading this on an iMac that has a 27 inch screen.  Chew on that.  Heck, an iPad just about has a 10 inch screen.  Anyway…

Most kids I knew didn’t have their own room.  They shared one.  Sometimes they shared the same bed.  The lucky ones had bunk beds.  I was in the military before I ever got to sleep in a bunk bed.  In case you wondered, it’s really not as fun as it looks, but they are quaint.  Most of us brown bagged our lunch or had a lunch box.  My mom made me take food to school in a Tupperware container.  I really wished I had a lunch box.  I don’t know the economics of the 80’s, but apparently, it was cheaper to make your own food than to buy it from the school then.  I think it’s cheaper to buy it from the school today.  (but again, I haven’t priced out what a “brown bag” would cost)

For most of my childhood, we didn’t have air conditioning, at least not central air.  When I was 7, we got a window unit that kept the dining room cold, but our bedrooms still felt like crap.  If winter mornings sucked, summer nights might have sucked worse.  It was hard trying to sleep when you sweated in your bed.  They sold box fans back then, but in all honesty, it felt like they made more noise than they did the circulation of air.  So I didn’t sleep much during the summer.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to lay awake until 1 in the morning.  Central air conditioning would have been nice.

Our car didn’t have air conditioning either.  You ever hear of the “460 air conditioning” system?  A lot of people said that they had that back then.  You drive 60 miles an hour with all four windows down. (hence “460 air system”)  Air conditioning in our car would have been nice.

Since I’ve talked so much about cars, I may as well throw this out there… By the time I was 15, almost everyone I knew had to have a car’s engine rebuilt by then.  You don’t really hear about that very much anymore.  Transmissions, sure, but engines, not so much.  Today, when people blow an engine, they usually just get a different car.  That was a fantasy when I was growing up.  I personally rebuilt three by the time I was 18.  One of them was mine.  The others belonged to family members.  I don’t really think many kids at OWS would know how to do that.  I’m speculating, and I could be wrong, but this is my hunch.

I mentioned having your own bedroom earlier in the post.  I don’t know what getting government assistance was like back then, but I know some things about what it’s like in California today. (not from personal experience, mind you)  I’ve talked to some of my neighbors with 4 and 5 bedroom houses and found out that in California, if you have the right mix of boys and girls (and enough of them), then when they assist you with housing they HAVE to give you enough money to rent a house that has “enough” bedrooms.  It’s an interesting little clause, because that means these people get to live in nice houses while living on the government dime.  Think about it… most apartments don’t have 4-5 bedrooms, and the ones that do are pretty expensive/nice.  And most houses that have 4-5 bedrooms are also pretty expensive or nice.  So a lot of “poor” people I know live in nicer houses than my friends that work and went to college.  That’s another thing you might want to chew on.  Food stamps (or EBT)) out here in interesting too.  You get “about” $200 per person for food stamps.  The people in the 5 bedroom houses are getting close to $1000 a month in food stamps.  That’s not bad, especially because food stamps will buy many more things than they did in the 80’s.  My dad was out of work and got food stamps for about 2 months when I was growing up.  I remember there were many restrictions on what we could buy.  Today, you can use an EBT at Taco Bell or a strip club.  Times have changed for “poor” people, my friends.

Even on the more reasonable spectrum of things, the “working poor” have it better than my family did growing up.  I rented an apartment in 2001 that had air conditioning, a dish washer, a nice patio, a decent community gym, pool, and 24 hour maintenance.  It was actually pretty nice.  The cost?  $420 a month.  That was with no government assistance.  It was just what a cheap apartment went for in the Midwest in 2001.  I live in California now, and affordable apartments are about $800-$1300 a month for everything I described above.  In the scheme of things, that’s a lot of comfort for a price that most people with a job can afford.  Those options didn’t really exist when I was a kid.  The cheap places to live had no air conditioning, dishwashers, gyms, etc.  Sometimes they weren’t even what you would call “clean”.

And that’s the thing…  There used to be a really big difference between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  The “haves” didn’t sit in a frozen car staring at their breath.  They had multiple televisions.  Their kids got their own bedrooms.  They had air conditioning.  The had dishwashers.  They had the internet.  They had computers.  (poor people did not have computers… there was no such thing as a $200 netbook… computers were well over $1,000)  And minimum wage was less than $5 an hour.  Poor people in the past were lucky to have a clean place to live.  A lot (or all) of the kids at Occupy Wall Street don’t know these things.  They don’t know what poverty feels like.  They don’t know what fixing their own car feels like.  They didn’t eat peanut butter sandwiches out of a Tupperware container at school.  Folks, potato chips were a luxury to me.  I was jealous of the kids that got them.  Most of these protestors don’t know what “hard” is.

The most beautiful irony of all is this…. “Protestors” at these “occupy” rallies can read this blog and tell me that I’m a “stupid douche bag” from a cell phone that they’re using while they “camp” out.  It’s freaking hilarious.  In 2002, only the “rich” people had camera phones.  Nine years later, these brats can surf the internet and blog about how terrible “rich” people are from a device that fits in their pocket.  I love it.

I’m not saying that poverty doesn’t exist, and I’m not saying that inequality doesn’t exist either.  I’m not even saying that it’s prudent to raise salaries for executives while firing thousands of employees.  I’m not saying any of that.  I am saying, however, that most of these protestors aren’t “poor”.  They don’t know what poverty is, and a lot of hard working capitalists have created this comfortable world that coddles them.  If anything, they should hug a rich person, not hate them.  And if any of them wants to hear what being poor is really like, I’m more than happy to show them my photo album.  Oh, wait… we couldn’t afford a camera when I was growing up.

 

Paula Deen: The Most Dangerous Person In America?

It is no wonder we have become a country that has no idea what it means to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” As a child, this was a common thing heard in my home.

The “official” explanation of the phrase is:

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Meaning 
Improve your situation by your own efforts.

Origin
The origin of this descriptive phrase isn’t known. It refers of course to boots and their straps (laces) and to the imagined feat of a lifting oneself off the ground by pulling on one’s bootstraps. This impossible task is supposed to exemplify the achievement in getting out of a difficult situation by one’s own efforts.

It was known by the early 20th century. James Joyce alluded to it in Ulysses, 1922:

“There were others who had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps.”

A more explicit use of the phrase comes a little later, from Kunitz & Haycraft’s British Authors of the 19th Century:

A poet who lifted himself by his own boot-straps from an obscure versifier to the ranks of real poetry.”

Some early computers used a process called bootstrapping which alludes to this phrase. This involved loading a small amount of code which was then used to progressively load more complex code until the machine was ready for use. This has led to use of the term ‘booting’ to mean starting up a computer.

Paula Deen

Paula Deen is a woman who knows exactly what “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” means. She has done it, and has become a huge success in the process. This seems to be a problem for some people.

Paula’s life has not always been the success that it is now. Though she started out living “the American Dream” in Georgia,  in 1989 her dream world shattered. Not long after the death of her parents, her marriage to her high school sweetheart failing, she ended up in a divorce. When she left her husband, she had $200 in her pocket and two teenage sons to provide for.

Paula is one of us True GRITS (for those of you above the Mason-Dixon line that’s “Girls Raised In The South), and it has a meaning that is just as tough as true grit! True GRITS are raised to understand that life is tough, but it is what you make it. You can choose to wallow around in your situation, or you can choose to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and get to gettin’!

While Paula Deen is now the perky bundle of grandmotherly giggles that she is now, during the years right after her divorce,  life, tragedy and hardships took their toll on her. Her outlook wasn’t quite as bright as it is now- in fact, it was quite a bit more dim. She battled agoraphobia, and eventually, she and her boys were nearly homeless.

Back to those bootstraps.

Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside and started “The Bag Lady,” a home-based meal delivery service that marked the start of Paula’s professional cooking. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering “lunch-and-love-in-a-bag,” beginning in June 1989, Paula turned around her life by using what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

Paula is a true American success story. She

has overcome “poverty, doubt and agoraphobia to achieve success and acclaim she could never have imagined.”

Paula’s success has not changed who she is.  She is still the “genuine” person she always was, “full of love” and just as real as she was before she become the American icon she is today.

Sadly, there are some who do not admire her  True GRIT tenacity.

Anthony Bourdain

In a recent TV Guide interview, fellow chef Anthony Bourdain criticized Paula, saying Deen

“revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is ******* bad for you … plus, her food sucks.” He also called her the “worst, most dangerous person in America.”

So much for professional courtesy!

In True GRIT fashion, when interviewed on FOX News, Paula responded by saying she was “shocked”, wondering if it’s a “publicity thing” or

 maybe ”“somebody had just peed in his bowl of cereal that morning.”

Gotta love that True GRITS attitude!

Truth be known, that True GRITS attitude is what is missing in society today! So much of our society has come to depend on the government when they fall on hard times, rather than the God-given strength that we are all given.

I’m not sure how Mr. Bourdain comes to the conclusion that Paula is the “most danger person in America”, but one could very well call into question his mental capacity if he truly sees things that way. With our society in the shambles it is currently in, a lady who has not depended on the government to get her out of hard times, but rather has made something of herself in spite of her circumstances, most certainly should be admired and used as an example rather than condemned.

On second thought- Paula Deen may very well be the most dangerous person in America- for the government! If she is the example to follow, big government will fail!

___________________

Sources:
Phrases.org 
The Blaze
Paula Deen’s Official Website
About.com- Gourmet Food