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comment by Odder
Odder  ·  1139 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....




francopoli  ·  1139 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    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.

So let's talk about washing clothes. Hubski is smart, so many this will help those who don't understand. Back in the day I made roughly 200 a week after tax. Rent was 350/month which included utilities, but I shared a house with 5 other people to pull that off. We had to go to a laundromat to do clothese to the tune of roughly 8.50 a weekend. Keep the math simple and say 440 a year. that is two weeks pay, just to do laundry. So, we had a house, why not get a washer and dryer? They started at 300 each, so they would pay for themselves very quickly, not mentioning the time sink of hanging out in a laundromat on the weekend. How in the hell am I to save enough to buy a 600 appliance (washer and drier) when I'm barely holding on? Now lets say you are young and healthy and have the time and energy to work on the weekend. an 8 hour shift at most places back then nets you $50. So cool an extra 400/month, right? But that means committing to working 7 days a week for a month. And you need to do this at least two months to buy the appliances. then you get used to the extra income and start fixing the car, or buy a new bed etc. now you burn out because nobody can work 7 days a week very long, we need time off for mental health and sanity reasons. the temp job is now a vital part of survival, now what do you do?

    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....

I left the church and eventually all religion when I was told flat out that I did not deserve food stamps or food pantry aide when there are hungry children in more need than I. Single adults with no kids are pretty much boned in the US when it comes to poverty relief, and I get funneling these programs so that kids don't suffer. They didn't choose poor parents after all. The US spends billions on anti poverty, but IMO they waste so damn much of it, and use most of the rest enforcing a poverty cycle.

user-inactivated  ·  1139 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    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...

There are actually many food programs which all have their own requirements for qualification and what they do and do not cover. There are also a lot of private organizations that help out the hungry as well, such as food pantries and churches, who all have their own criteria that must be met but tend to be a little more flexible and open to discretion. Churches and food pantries are great for situations where on paper someone doesn't qualify for government aid but in fact they do need some very real help.