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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » Culture, Race & Economy - Archive 2005 » Will poverty be eradicated in the US...?? « Previous Next »

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Libralind2
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Libralind2

Post Number: 197
Registered: 09-2004

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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 08:01 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

President Bush Must Address Poverty
By Congresswoman Barbara Lee
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 15 September 2005

The devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina has torn down the curtain, and exposed the dirty secret that divides our nation like an open wound.

If anyone ever doubted that there were two Americas, hurricane Katrina and our government's shameful response to it have made the division clear for all to see.

New Orleans is a city where 67 percent of the population was black. Nearly 30 percent, one in every three people, were living below the poverty line. Twenty one percent of the households earned less than $10,000 a year. Eighty four percent of the people living in poverty in New Orleans were black.

The brutal fact is that the majority of people who died in this tragedy were poor, primarily African Americans. Many were old and disabled.

So, when the disaster came, people who had cash in the bank and a car in the garage escaped, and those who did not were shamefully left to fend for themselves.

The incompetence and indifference demonstrated by the administration in responding to this tragedy was shocking, but it wasn't surprising. Does anyone doubt that if this sort of devastation had taken place in the communities where the small percentage of people who are benefiting from the Bush administration's tax cuts live, the response would have been swift and efficient? Can you imagine these individuals, desperately clinging to their roofs, waiting for days to be rescued?

This indifference to the most vulnerable among us is not isolated to this tragedy. It is part and parcel of a systemic problem that seeks to make a large sector of our population invisible, where more than $200 billion has gone towards an unnecessary war that has stripped our resources for economic and homeland security.

Many people, viewing the human tragedy left in Katrina's wake, could not recognize the images they were seeing. They thought they were witnessing a tragedy in Somalia, Haiti or Sudan. They think to themselves, this does not look like the America that I know. Some have even come to refer to the survivors of this catastrophe as "refugees," as if the images of the survivors they are seeing are too foreign for them to recognize them as Americans.

For some of us, however, this is an America we know too well, an America that is too often swept under the rug by lawmakers and the media.

The truth is, there are almost 36 million Americans living in poverty in the United States today. There are more than 15 million living in extreme poverty.

What does that mean? According to the Census Bureau, it means that a family of three is living on less than $14,680 a year. They define extreme poverty as half of that.

The connection between poverty and race cannot be ignored. In 2003, while 8.2 percent of whites lived in poverty, the number was 22.5 was for Latinos and 24.4 percent for African Americans.

Since President Bush took office, the number of poor people in America has grown by 17 percent. In 2002-2003 the number of children living in extreme poverty grew by half a million.

This is the real state of the so-called "ownership society." And it is unacceptable. The Bush administration's zeal for cutting taxes for the wealthy while cutting the programs that reach the most vulnerable helped lay the groundwork for this disaster.

Ideas have consequences, and the aftermath of Katrina has demonstrated the bankruptcy of the Bush administration's idea of the role of government. It was not simply the failure to respond to the hurricane in a coherent or competent manner, it was the tragic failure to acknowledge the massive structural crisis that poverty and inequality pose for our nation and the stubborn refusal to conceive of any constructive role for our government in addressing it.

It is time to start moving in the right direction again, and the first step is for the Bush administration to acknowledge that there is a problem.

I call on President Bush to demonstrate that he is not indifferent to the least among us. I have introduced legislation, asking President Bush to present his plan to eradicate poverty in this nation.

America has been shocked by the images that have exposed this terrible divide in our nation. It is up to us now to decide whether our government has a responsibility to help improve the lives of the millions of Americans who are living in poverty, or whether we will again abandon them to the dirty water to fend for themselves.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) represents California's Ninth Congressional District.
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Tonya
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Post Number: 346
Registered: 07-2005

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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 04:35 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lili, was this written before or after Bush's speech? By the way, his speech was promising - I wonder how much of it will materialize.

Tonya
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Roxie
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Post Number: 191
Registered: 06-2005

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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 09:17 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IMHO: I doubt poverty can be eradicated alltogether, but it can be lessened to a great extent. However,as long as there's pampered ,out-of-touch, frat boys like Bush controlling our nation, poverty and destitution will always be at it's most extreme. It's like having Paris Hilton in the white house. God....we need a president that's actually FAMILIAR with hardship.

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Danigur
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Post Number: 2
Registered: 08-2005

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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 09:45 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like Senator McCain because he's a hot head. I'm not sure if I would vote for him because he's Republican. But he's been a Vietnam POW so he knows what it's like to be shit on literally.
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Chrishayden
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Post Number: 1446
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 11:07 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No:

Poverty will never be eradicated here in the United States. Despite what the water carriers for the rich say, in order for there to be big winners there have to be big losers. And more of them than the winners.

Additionally, if poverty is eliminated who will do the dirty jobs of society? Who will serve as excess labor and strike breakers? Who will fuel the prison industry?

Who will the more well off get to look down on?
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Libralind2
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Post Number: 198
Registered: 09-2004

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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 07:21 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tonya writes:Lili, was this written before or after Bush's speech? By the way, his speech was promising - I wonder how much of it will materialize.

LiLi writes: It was before his speech.

To Chris: why does someone have to live in "poverty" to do the "dirty" jobs as you put it. Frankly, someone could start a small business and do those jobs, hire folks at a decent wage and build a home on some of that "free land" bush was spewing rhetoric about last night in his speech.
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Rustang
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Post Number: 131
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 11:02 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poverty will never be eliminated from a capitalist society.Greed is counted as a virtue.In order for a person to say that they are doing well,you must have a lot of people doing poorly.What's the point of being rich if everybody lives in a nice home,drives a comfortable,reliable car,eats as well as they choose and receives quality health care? The obscenely wealthy will never allow this to happen.It will have to be thrust upon them.
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Roxie
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005 - 09:45 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's why communism didn't survive without an iron fist.
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Rustang
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Post Number: 133
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005 - 11:12 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To Roxie:There seems to be a considerable amount of confusion surrounding this point,but,to clarify it,capitalism and socialism are economic theories,not political theories.There are many examples of democratic socialisms and capitalist totalitarianisms.Here in america people seem to equate capitalism with democracy and socialism with brutal dictatorships,but that is simply not a valid conclusion.Capitalism and democracy as theories don't even deal with the same subject matter.One deals with wealth distribution and the other deals with governance.
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Nels
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Post Number: 78
Registered: 07-2005

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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005 - 07:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Will poverty be eradicated in the US...??"

Not as long as the "have nots" keep voting for the "haves".
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Yukio
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Post Number: 774
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 12:17 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hmmmm...what do we mean by poverty? There seems to a presumption that communism and/or socialism would preclude poverty. In consideration of this observation, perhaps incorrect, are we talking about the presence of poor people or the institutionalized poor?
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Rustang
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Post Number: 134
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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 01:20 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Obviously socialism would not preclude poverty,since many nations with varying degrees of socialism still have poverty.My point was simply this.Making money is just like any other ability in that some people will be better at it than others.The more money you have,the easier it is to make even more,so in an unbridled capitalism you will end up with a small handful of people having the majority of the wealth.Much like in the United States.If you remove Bill Gates from the equation the average per capita income of america changes by a couple of dollars.A nation of nearly 300 million people and one guy is making enough to affect the numbers.I counted up last years Forbes 400 and the top 50 people had about 50 billion dollars.That's a whole bunch of money in very few hands.Most folks have no problem with salary caps for athletes,yet if you suggest salary caps for citizens,they look at you like you've lost your mind or something.What we mean by poverty is this.Better nutrition,health care and overall standard of living is enjoyed by my neighbor's dog than by millions of americans.This ought not be.Under a higher degree of socialism the poverty stricken would at least have a shot at not having to die because they can't afford an office visit to see a doctor.This happens to thousands every year,and again,this ought not be.
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Yukio
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Post Number: 777
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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 01:44 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

rustang: My post wasn't directed towards you, btw. Good points, nevertheless. I also agree with your comments about the confusion between political and economic theories. Running with this train of thought...you seem to suggest, dare I say argue, that socialism is a more democratic economic theory than capitalism. I would add, not necessarily to your point, but to this discussion, the importance of (1) discourse, (2) ideology, and (3) politics with a lower case p (socalled superstructure) to this discussion of economics and Politics with a large P.
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Cynique
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Post Number: 2586
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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 02:32 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

We might also consider that technically America is not a democracy but a republic. So not only is the wealth not shared, but the voters elect representatives who can't be trusted to work in the best interests of their constituencies.
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Rustang
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Username: Rustang

Post Number: 136
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 08:05 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio,it all depends on your set of 'givens' which system is more democratic.If a person is ok with having one guy sitting there like Jabba the Hutt sucking up all of the wealth of a land,and that it is his right to do so,then capitalism is the way to go.If,on the other hand,you feel like each member of a society is equally deserving of the same degree of dignity and respect,and that each should contribute according to their ability and withdraw according to their need,then socialism is the way to go.If half of that 50 billion dollars that those 50 people have was confiscated under the patriot act it would not affect their actual standard of living at all.If you then gave the 5 million poorest people in america 5000 dollars each that would affect their standard of living tremendously.They'ld spend every nickel of it two weeks on catching up on bills,buying groceries,clothes for their kids,etc...which would also do the economy some good.That would not hurt anyone and would help millions,but again,when you suggest something like that people say "Are you some kind of commie pinko fag or something?"Then I point out how that is actually the more humane approach for everyone concerned.Killing the 5 richest people in the country every friday afternoon would accomplish the same thing after a few years.:-)
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Cynique
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Post Number: 2590
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Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 11:30 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

LOL Rustang. I no longer regard you as just "plain folk" from the mother wit school of experience because you have revealed yourself to be as scholarly and articulate as any college graduate. Now, if you would just skip a space after your commas. :-)
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Rustang
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Username: Rustang

Post Number: 137
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 08:31 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That is very kind of you, Cynique.Hmmm.That does look a little crowded without the space.I guess I need a new editor.:-)
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Moonsigns
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Post Number: 660
Registered: 07-2004

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Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 08:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poverty will never be eradicated in the United States--or anywhere else in the world. The general nature of man is too selfish and competitive.

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