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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:02 AM
Original message
Should Democratic Candidates Start Using the Word "Poor" Again
I'm just saying, at some point Democratic Candidates made this conscious decision to stop using the word "poor," preferring middle class. With the Middle Class so decimated now, nearly destroyed, with reams of new poor added to the existing poor, should the democrats start using "the poor, working and non-working, and middle class," in their stump speeches?
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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'd be happy if they just used the words "working class".
Or workers, they won't even go THAT far.

The whole approach of the "third way" is to
toady to the "mushy middle".
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. "Class" is even more anti-Amercan Dream than "poor"
Please remember that class doesn't exist in America.

Without wanting to get overly-technical, let me just say there are hard-working people in America who work hard and are hard-working, and there are also lazy shiftless people who lazily want handouts and do not want work because they are lazy.

Hope that clears things up.

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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. "Class" is anti=American, but not for the reasons you attribute to it.
Class does exist in america (as in every other nation in the world I imagine)

but not in the institutionalized way it traditionally has in the UK, for instance.

Because of the Right Wing Corporate onslaught,

social/economic mobility is grinding to a halt here,

but that is a relatively new phenomenon.

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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. I wouldn't agree it's totally new
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 08:50 AM by Bragi
If you are born poor in America, then statistically, it has always been the case that chances are weighed totally in favour of you dying poor.

That is what I consider a class society.

The only thing changing now is that social inequities are growing so quickly and severely that you don't even have to be born poor to end up poor.

Simply being born "not rich" now allows a person greater class mobility than ever, all of it in a downward direction.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. Yes
Class in America, after 30 years of repulbicanism, has become more intransigent. They turn back-flips and use statistical bias to try to hide, or lie about this fact. And yes, once and a while you'll see a Gate's figure who goes from middle class to riches. But the fact is, the poorer you are, the less likely it is you'll be climbing that class ladder, and if you do, it won't be nearly for as many rungs.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. Yeah...but the operative word is "now"
after 30 years of republicanism.

I remember much better days.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #14
21. "Chances are weighted totally"?....Maybe now, but certainly not always.
My father's was born poor...Oldest child in a family of ten with an alcoholic father

during the depression. He couldn't afford to finish even his first year

of high school, as he was needed to help support the family...

Since he was only fourteen and competing with men who

were married with children, he needed to write three letters applying for

a job in a factory, and he finally got that job...I remember his telling me

how he would come home from work every day, change his clothes and go out

and play baseball with the neighborhood kids until his mother called him in

for dinner.

Later, he joined the navy and served in WWII, came home to a wife and a new daughter.

He used his GI Bill to go to a trade school for printers.

He worked in a unionized sugar factory, and even when he was "automated out"

of that job, the union made sure he wasn't fired and put him onto a series

of sometimes menial jobs that nonetheless paid well, relatively speaking.

My father was a hard worker and in fact held a second job of bartender for

most of his fifty year working life.

The man who didn't even finish high school had two daughters,

both of whom finished college with one going on to law school, later becoming

a superior court judge. Both of HER daughters have graduate degrees and are

now working professionals.....So much for "born poor, stay poor" and

It's only one of many such stories

of that time, and is not particularly untypical

In fact, it greatly resembles that of another baby

boomer, Thom Hartmann writer and liberal talker, as

he relates it in his book "Screwed".
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #21
30. And this is EXACTLY what I mean by mobility WITHIN
the working class. Your Dad, bless him, was a prime EXAMPLE of a guy who worked his ass off to get just a LITTLE bit more out of the system for his family. But with all his work, he never could raise himself to the level of the truly elite in this country.

For that he would have needed to have been born into it (most likely scenario) or extremely lucky AND talented. Lottery winner lucky.

Even in the "good ole days" it just didn't happen.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Well, I'm not sure I agree
I wouldn't call going from high school dropout

to a family of professionals in one generation

exactly "working class"

or manifesting of "just a LITTLE bit more"

out of the system for his family.

It's not "elite" if you mean becoming a Millionaire,

but, freaking a...I don't know of ANY country where

that's happening, do you?

Frankly, America did better than MOST

countries during that time,

and yes, I know that there were other factors,

the war in Europe, etc., but America helped

Europe, not only with the fighting but with the

Marshall Plan, for instance.

Additionally, I don't believe MOST people

CARE about being multi-millionaires, I really don't.

and I think of that as a Good Thing,

not being that materialistic and power hungry.

My spouse and I are "comfortable"...and not

all that money driven...I think that most people

want THAT, even given all the materialistic shit

that's thrown at them every day in the media, etc.

P.S. Thank you for the kind words about my Dad, though

He really WAS a wonderful combination of love, affection,

humor and hard work...Our family misses him beyond

description.


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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #21
33. So, By Citing One Example
of a guy who by the way grew up during FDR times, when many Social programs were put in place to help him, when labor was getting increasing power, when his pay was higher because of Democratic virtues, you think you've somehow debunked mentioning the poor, or are you saying that every poor person born in America today can be just like your dad, we can all be CEOs or judges? Do you really think there are 309 million CEO jobs?

I'm not sure if I read you right--but what I see in your post is your dad grew up during a time where opportunity was available, where we made products, the rich were taxed at 91 percent, and we were using it to create jobs, building roads, power lines, dams, putting soldiers to work, putting people to work building military equipment.

IT is almost the most pure Keynesian environment possible, that your dad grew up during. If that's where you are going, then yea, let us get back to taxing the rich at 91 percent, and taking that money and creating jobs for the 9-17 percent who don't have them, so we can once again give stories to people like your dad had available to him.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #33
36. No, that's not at all what I'm doing
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 11:42 AM by whathehell
What I was addressing was the statement that said there was NEVER any social mobility of note

in America...I'm fully aware of how that has changed for the WORSE and I think of the FDR

times as a GOAL, broadly speaking, to return to, and that's why

I think the fight to retain unions is absolutely CRITICAL...I do believe

they are ALL that stands between any semblance of the "old" America

and some horrible third world society brought on by corporate power.

Reagan, who my dad hated, by the way, was the beginning of the end

of the America my father and our family grew up in.


The corporate "reich" wing has been trying to destroy FDR's New Deal policies

it since their inception, and their efforts were kept at bay for DECADES....Even freaking

Reagan didn't ask for what corporate shills like Ryan are asking for.

This is, by far, the most extreme and frightening -- and powerful -- the

Right Wing has gotten in America, at least in my time and

my spouse (who came from a working class background as well) and I

are ready to dig in our heels and fight with everything we've got to

keep the corporatists two tier, third world nightmare from becoming

fully realized here.
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #10
28. It's not really a new phenomena and it's not really new period
What you think of as "mobility" is merely movement WITHIN the working class in an overwhelming majority of cases.

It has ALWAYS been EXTREMELY rare for someone to move from the working class to the exploiting class. Almost impossible as a matter of fact. The best that most working class could have ever hoped for was a move from the working class to the working class elite (union leaders and highly skilled workers), or bourgeoisie support (doctors, lawyers and other professionals) or possibly the petit bourgeoisie (self employed owner-operators).

These jobs could, quite possibly, ACTUALLY be considered "middle class", but, in reality, they would almost NEVER be considered "elite".
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #28
34. Still, One Example
Does not a trend, or statistic make. It's like the crack-whore example by Reagan, the Welfare Queen. You designate one, then claim that all are like the crack-whore, or on the up-side, your dad.

But since you went there, I had two parents for a bit, until I was roughly ten years-old. My dad died when he was 39, though up until that point he worked hard, got up at 4 in the morning to do a milk route. I don't remember him ever complaining, though I know he must've had massive stress. My mother worked too, still does. When he died we were left alone, mom and 3 kids with a salary of about 15,000 a year.

Certainly my mother would never claim to be poor, in fact when I call us poor, or reference the time she's a bit taken back. And she did a good job of providing, never drank, never smoked, worked very hard, sometimes two jobs. I usually reply "Well mom, we weren't 'dirt poor.' "

Still, I can't help but wonder how much I lost--how much of an example, how much of my male side was undeveloped, how much opportunity was lost. My father was on the brink of starting a business. He was fixing up old houses, he'd just started it 2 weeks or so before he'd died. I can't help but wonder if he'd died just ten years later would we have been secure, would he have made it, would he have done well? But as luck would have it, we never will be able to find out just how much this factor of luck influenced our lives.

There are many stories out there about individuals. We should never fail to understand that one story does not make for creation of policy for all of us. And I am aware that we didn't even have nearly the worst of it. Luck has a lot to do with who you draw as parents, I mean we don't get to choose to be born. Mom is great. But it would've been nice to have dad for a bit longer.
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #34
37. Our story is also the reason I'll fight to the (literal) death
for Social Security. Because without the survivor benefits that Mom got, I'm convinced that we wouldh't have been able to stay together as a family and we DEFINITELY wouldn't have been able to stay together and have even the modest working class upbringing that we did have. Without social secutity survivor benefits we WOULD have been "dirt poor".
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #34
40. Did you mean this post to go to me?
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 02:02 PM by whathehell
Because if you did, I believe I've already answered

the "just one example" charge, even if it's not in terms you wanted to hear.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Seriously though
There are a full 50 million people either unemployed, or working for so little they can't even pay the bills. Wouldn't some plan, some appeal to this group be warranted, since only about 65 million vote on each side?
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
27. This would be my personal hope.........
Any economic platform that isn't "trickle down" is going to get you accused of "class warfare" anyway, so go ahead and USE terminology relating to class warfare. Like working class. And if anybody uses the old "class warfare" canard, bring up Warren Buffett's quote on it.

One of the richest men in the world said SEVERAL years ago that there WAS a class war happening and his class was WINNING.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. Di Di Meyers on Crossfire Said
"Funny how you guys only seem to call it class warfare when the poor and middle class actually start fighting back," or something along those lines.
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #35
39. Yeah, that's a line I always use too..........
It's only class war when we fight back. Of course, I usually add, until then it's class massacre.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
2. The word "poor" is anti-American Dream
John Steinbeck once said that 'socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.'

I think this sums up why the unembarrassed multi-millionaires who generally run for office in America are reluctant to use the term "poor"

This term is now reserved by politicians for talking about people in foreign lands who want to become millionaires in America, and whose immigration must therefore be stopped.

Go figure.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. I like the Quote
Still, I wonder with such a large group of poor, perhaps a little definition and the reemploying of the word would be great in campaigns. I really do think a lot of people have stopped voting at all, seeing neither party as presenting them with an alternative that wants to help them raise their standards of living.

Just look at the last 30 years, where the government has done direct things to export jobs, through H-B1 visas, immigration for farm workers, exporting factories, free-trade agreements abound too. Then we're "surprised" when suddenly it all melts down, when we collect no taxes, when we have a 50 million strong class of either unemployed folks or workers that can't even keep the lights on?

Not sure if you were kidding about the handouts thing, but I don't agree--I just think a lot of people haven't found a job, and when you sink to a certain level, it's just hard to reach escape momentum anymore.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. You ask if I was kidding?
Yes, to be clear, I was being totally satirical in describing anyone poor in America as lazy.

You make a really good point: "when you sink to a certain level, it's just hard to reach escape momentum anymore."

How true that is.

- B
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Good to know
Need a sarcasm, or satirical font. I don't read a lot here, or I'd probably have a better idea of each person's ideological bent, though I know there are a ton of people here.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. No problem
I always hope that my writing is clear okay enough to not need smilies to get my feelings across, but that isn't always true, as in this instance. My mistake.

- B
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. Yes, and national health care aside, I'd bet it's true in your country as well.
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 09:47 AM by whathehell
Sorry, but Canadians coming to work in America

still outnumber the reverse by about 4 to 1.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #2
23. No...Not so much...The American dream was about coming out of poverty
Edited on Mon Jun-20-11 09:40 AM by whathehell
and becoming "comfortable", aka "middle class"

and many people achieved that dream,

however broadly that has historically been defined.

People, especially boomers, who grew up in this country

in the Sixties when we had the largest middle class in the world,

as well as the largest number of college graduates,

understand.
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
4. They never should have stopped. One in four American children are growing up in poverty. n/t
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Hated Seeing Edwards Go
Two-Americas are becoming more clearly defined, and further apart.
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. When will we learn, it's about issues, not people....
...Edwards and Weiners's trangressions don't excuse poverty and Clarence Thomas.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. But they do cover it up
on the Corporate Media.

I was amazed this week that Doris Goodman was on MTP, and she was trying to assess just a touch of blame to the media's focus on this subject, while ignoring the wealth of actual news out there, and not surprisingly Gregory and others jumped right in to try to over-talk her. Wouldn't want to put any of the blame on the media, who chose to cover the story endlessly to keep the Ryan debacle off the tube.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. I'm Sure is isn't about Learning Anymore
It is about being able to spot brainwashing, to understand that everything you hear on most corporate media is being colored in between the dots by corporations to manipulate minds, some more than others. We've got this artificial construct of Liberal/Con-servative media, that exists somewhere out on the rightmost edge of the total spectrum of ideology.

In truth most of us know it's just a false choice. It's like MSNBC is certainly left of FOX and Rush, but is in no way really what I'd call liberal, or leftist.

Glad Keith is coming back on Current TV tonight.
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Gabi Hayes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
8. sure, as in some sort of iteration that begins with G-O-Poor
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
15. Great point! Seeing how the GOP's reduced the Middle Class to Poor...
We're the new majority.
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dembotoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
18. I grew up with the war on poverty
just recently unemployed.
i understand social class
i see social class.
and i am by some definitions poor.

just recently i went to our state party convention
the talk was all

middle class
middle class
middle class

I did not feel anyone was speaking to me

What do we offer the poor???
Lot less than we used to.
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liberalmike27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. What is the Damn Middle Class Anyway
McCain thinks rich is making 5 million a year--and I'd say it's more a measure of wealth. I'd call someone rich after one year of making a million, if the person wasn't a damn fool with his money.

To me the middle class starts at around 30K, and goes to about 80K a year. Perhaps this range would be a bit higher in New York, or some other large city with a high cost of living. When you get up to 100K, you are nearly at the top ten percent richest people, though not quite.

It's all about definition, but if you are working a many-hundreds of thousands a year job, then clearly you are knocking on the door of rich.

I guess I'm a guy who agrees with the redefining of the American Dream, a job, a decent amount of pay where one can pay rent, or buy a house, and basic needs, insurances and such.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. Frankly, I think it's all about unions....When unions were strong in this
country, it truly was the "land of opportunity".

Yes, of course, there were some racial barriers, but even

those were powerfully addressed during the Sixties,

when unions still strong.

The Labor Movement brought MILLIONS of Americans,

my family included, out of poverty and into

the "middle class", which I might define now

as making about fifty thousand a year, minimum

for a family of four in an "average" city.



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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
26. Interesting question.............
I doubt they will, but they probably should. I remember when the made the changeover sometime in the early 90s. It was a reaction to being accused of "class warfare" AND a reaction to the perception that the "poor" didn't really vote.

One thing that I've noticed about the Democrats, is that they're always fighting the last war. Most of them are still shell-shocked by the Reagan years and feel like they have to be DINOs or "compassionate" conservatives in order to win elections. And yet in areas where they use this strategy, they still (mostly) lose. My question is, "If you're going to lose anyway, why not try something different in your campaign?". Like a left, economic populist platform perhaps based on FDR's Economic Bill of Rights.

And since I'm a big fan of Huey Long on economics and passion, I'd dust off and update some of Huey's old speeches. As I said, if you're going to lose at least TRY something different.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
29. "Working poor" is political gold
if any candidate would have the guts to follow through and fight the harsh backlash when this growing class of people are mentioned.
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. That IS actually the way it probably SHOULD be presented
"Working poor" would say it all. I know that even the poor don't like to THINK of themselves as poor because it implies that they DON'T work or don't work hard.
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
38. Yes, but those words seem to have dropped from
their vocabulary. Maybe they don't exist in their world.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-20-11 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
41. Silly rabbit, there's no such thing as poor
Those people who say they're homeless? They're just a bunch of bohemians! Hippies, really! I'm sure they all have trust accounts.

I mean, anyone in America can pull themselves up by their bootstraps! I knew a guy once, who knew a guy who knew a guy who worked for this one guy who came from a poor family, and guess what, he's RICH now!!

--------------------------

:sarcasm: Sadly, this is necessary now
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