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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:58 AM

Hard Times, USA: Would You Consider Thinking Differently About Poverty and Poor and Homeless People?

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa-would-you-consider-thinking-differently-about-poverty-and-poor-and-homeless-people




What do the words poor, hungry, homeless, destitute, and economic hardship mean to you? Would you rather not think about it? Can I ask you a harder question? Have you lost your empathy for people who may be down and out? Or maybe it is in reserve, waiting for a chance to be revitalized.

The ability of the U.S. to deal with problems of money, housing, healthcare, food and the basics of life for many millions of people, is pretty damn rotten. The problem is getting worse. Increasingly, as the gap between rich and poor keeps growing, more people may be less interested in and have less empathy for the people who are left out. That is what I am wondering about.

Some of us were lucky, some privileged, and some of us have been able to achieve a level of economic security where we never have to worry about the necessities for the rest of our lives. But a very large number of Americans, a shocking number really, feel vulnerable every day of every week. Their future is unknown. They don't even how they are going to get through tomorrow.

And it is quite a range of people. More than 100 million are teetering on the edge in the working/middle-class and more than a million, depending on how you count (812,000 people live in the entire city of San Francisco), are homeless for some part of the year, living on the streets, in cars, or bouncing from street to shelter, barely surviving.

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Reply Hard Times, USA: Would You Consider Thinking Differently About Poverty and Poor and Homeless People? (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2013 OP
FirstLight Feb 2013 #1
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #2
4_TN_TITANS Feb 2013 #8
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #9
zazen Feb 2013 #3
upi402 Feb 2013 #4
marmar Feb 2013 #5
OldDem2012 Feb 2013 #6
marions ghost Feb 2013 #7

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:01 AM

1. yep

and I often wonder how I manage to walk that tightrope every month, when there too much month left at the end of my money...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:39 AM

2. Often overlooked in the numbers of "homeless" are the many that couch surf.

Last edited Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:35 PM - Edit history (1)

Bouncing around living temporarily with friends and/or relatives.

Edit to correct spelling of "surf".

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:55 AM

8. "couch serf" - interesting Freudian slip.

More true than the correct spelling - surf.

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Response to 4_TN_TITANS (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:34 PM

9. Thanks for the correction. I will edit. nm

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:42 AM

3. why does he assume article's audience isn't the 47% who are poor?

I appreciate the sentiment and work behind the article. I'm enraged and scared about --enraged at the monstrous GOP in my state of NC that's actively, viciously trying to cut what little safety net is left.

However, there seems to be this assumption throughout this article that literate, politically conscious people with access to the internet to read articles like this can't be "them." He assumes the readers are "us" and are the ones responsible to "them" (the poor). I suspect 25% of the people on this DU fit within the 47% of Americans he describes who are three paychecks away from financial ruin (if we're not already bankrupt and barely avoiding homelessness). I think this disconnect is part of the problem.

Also, I appreciate the author's striking up conversations with men begging for money, but there is a gender element--women cannot do that with men because of the possibility of being sexually harassed (which has happened to me and my daughters), though we of course could have conversations with women when we see them.




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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:47 AM

4. Yep

And who ya gonna call?

Who has our interest at heart?
Austerity looms and I don't see anyone in leadership drawing the line against it.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:01 AM

5. k/r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:06 AM

6. Too many Americans have either fallen off the cliff, or are currently living on the edge, or....

....can see the edge very clearly from where they are now. Ten to fifteen years ago, the vast majority of folks currently falling into these categories would never have believed it possible. Additionally, it's hard for folks in these categories to find the spare cash to help out those who are in even worse shape.

Maybe it's just my perception, but most Americans who can most afford to help the poor, hungry, homeless, and destitute are interested only in protecting their own assets and don't have a clue what the have-nots are going through just to survive. It's all about how they can pay the least amount of taxes to maximize what they're putting in their own pocket or the pockets of their heirs. These people seem to want vilify those less fortunate by describing them as lazy and demanding tax dollar "hand-outs" from the Federal government. This attitude has been fanned into flames by the right-wing media outlets and the super-wealthy elites like the Koch brothers.

Throughout history, when countries or empires experience this kind of economic divide between the haves and have-nots, civil unrest and revolution are not very far behind.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:09 AM

7. More than a third of the country

struggling and vulnerable.

We're Number One?

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