We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Sweden, France, Germany, or the United Kingdom. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those who are classified as poor.)
Poverty in the US is measured by percentile of non-governmental income and does not include non-cash governmental benefits. Thus non-Americans are often surprised that American poor receive free medical care, subsidized or free housing, are often overweight, have large-screen TVs, and often one or two vehicles.
As I have observed here in the past, poverty in America is not material poverty.
Sir James Goldsmith. This, kid,s is if from the mid 90s, shortly before Jimmy died. The rebuttal is from Laura Tyson, a current advisor to Hillary Clinton. Who's right? I don't pretend to know and would appreciate the input. I think Jimmy was right. what abut you In any case, it gets to the crux of the issue.
Perception poverty seems to be part of human nature, not just ill-trained and unspiritual Americans. It is not fully rational, but may be related to small-tribal groups, where an individual having more than others signaled that something had gone awry in justice and distribution for the whole tribe, which could rapidly become catastrophic. It's not easy to just talk people out of it and tell them they aren't supposed to feel that way because they've got other good things. There's some hard-wiring involved. This may be why most religions spend considerable effort of training its people not to feel that way - because it is natural but irrational and a source of discontent.
The urban poor do have a significant downside of dangerous bad neighborhoods. The density of pathology is greater now than fairly recent times. In the late 1940's almost 50% of America was below the poverty line. Poor but respectable was not mere possible then (it certainly still is), it was common. Ethnic neighborhoods had many people who had not yet found how to make their way in America, but were still known to be decent people. The percentages are different now, and in some places mothers must fear for the influences on their children from every side.
I was going to link to previous writings, but I've written on it so much over the years that aI didn't find a single example. Come on over and search under "poverty" if you're interested.
Assistant Village Idiot
90% of the "poor" in America smoke, drink and/or do drugs. For most of them poverty is a series of bad choices and not lack of opportunities. Welfare programs encourage and enable these bad choices. If you want to do the best you possibly can for these people replace welfare with workfare and end all the free stuff. Most will manage to pull themselves out of dependency and those who do not or cannot simply cannot be helped.
Our problem isn't poverty or lack of opportunity it is the symbiotic relationship between unscrupulous politicians and people who sell their vote for free stuff.