a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
Odder  ·  1708 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How poor people stay poor

I've never been poor, and I hope I'll never need to know what that's like. But I think I partially understand why many people like me underestimate how difficult real poverty is. There's a wide gradation of poverty between homelessness and a living wage, and I don't think that a lot of people in the upper end of the middle class meet very many people on the lower end of that scale. What many people do see, is people trapped in poverty, living paycheck to paycheck, but who spend hundreds of dollars per month on alcohol and cigarettes but don't save any money for car repairs, utilities, or rent. I've known a lot of these sort of people, who truly are bad with money, and if i didn't also know people who don't make enough to even save $10 a week, I might think all poor people were like that. I still catch myself sometimes thinking "why don't they just..." before I realize that oh, they probably can't do that, that's why they don't.

For example:

    Hand-washing saves on the utilities, but nobody actually has time for that.

I read this, and at first I thought they were talking about washing dishes, and I thought "hell, I don't have a dishwasher, you find time, damnit" and then I realized that the person writing this article probably never has had a dishwasher, and that she was talking about washing clothes by hand, and yeah, nobody has time for that.

Also, I'll admit that I'm wholly ignorant here, but how do people go hungry when we have food stamp programs? I'm not skeptical so much as I'm confused. I had thought that that program worked....