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Opinion: Poverty numbers don't tell the whole story
Psychologist Susan Bodnar say poverty "numbers don’t tell the real story about people and their finances."
September 12th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Opinion: Poverty numbers don't tell the whole story

Editor’s note: Susan Bodnar is a clinical psychologist who teaches at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, two children and all of their pets.

By Susan Bodnar, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Almost every day brings an economic report with new statistics.

The numbers attempt to explain our society as a configuration of categories, boxes or slices on a pie chart.

In 2011, 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line. The top 1% has a household net worth of $16.4 million, while the median wealth is only $57,000. 

Median income falls, but so does poverty

These numbers don’t tell the real story about people and their finances.

History does.

Honestly, I don’t want to write this.

As a psychologist, I would like to hide how difficult it was to attain my education and my professional credentials, and how hard I still work! Once a person has achieved this thing called status it has become fashionable to act as if entitled to it, as though those who don’t yet have it are neither smart nor hardworking enough.

Yet I have an obligation to not deny the generations of hardship out of which I have constructed my success.

Growing up, we didn’t have much, but then again, we had not yet become a statistic in someone’s pie chart.

Opinion: Learning from my great-grandmother's grocery list

I can still hear the scratch of my single working mom’s pen as she tried to figure out how to afford to feed her two small daughters.

My eyes still tear when I think about how generous and humane my father has become even though his dreams were deferred.

Without realizing it, my uncle sacrificed his future to fight a war in Vietnam that he believed would protect his nieces from harm.

My family’s proud veterans served in every war this country has ever waged and didn’t always come home healthy - some not at all - but they fought with honor and dignity.

Not everybody emerged from the journey to upward mobility unscathed, but their scars became the lessons upon which I have built my life.

My grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression, explained to me that everybody helped each other then. When the government, unions and hospitals also pitched in, everybody gave back to them, too.

They made peace with humility, compassion and God.

The truth is, I have climbed upon and learned from decades of family striving, or because a friend, a teacher, a professor, or a clergy reached out when they saw me struggle.

Opinion: Coming together in difficult times

No one, no matter which graph on the financial chart they occupy, succeeds in this country without the shadows of generational pain hovering on their walls.

And no one, no matter which graph on the financial chart they occupy, succeeds in this country without facing the shadows of his or her own mistakes hovering on their walls.

As we rush upwardly ahead, how often do we deny our connection to those who once had to pray for food, went sleepless with worry, and continually dodged dangers from which they had no protection?

How often do we deny the very history that can teach us to be the citizens that the future will require us to be?

The only shame about financial differences ought to be how people can be so involved with their own excess that they fail to respect those with less or to lend support to those in need.

The successes and failures of anyone’s family could fill a novel.

Having “arrived” –whatever that means - no one should turn their backs on the struggle that has been part of every family’s story.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Susan Bodnar.

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Filed under: Family • History • Poverty • What we think
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Peter Wolfe

    Thank you Susan for writing this insightful article on the hollistic american society on success, failures and where responsibility falls in the picture. What exactly is personal responsibility and how do you inplement it in a public system in a capitalist framework like the U.S free market? Honestly the old bureaucratic regime didn't and doesn'tt understand the global economy nor do many americans or any citizen fully understands being a global citizen actually means yet. he problem essentially is that the private market moved faster than the public could fully grasp the full impact of what these concepts mean in a tangible finite world with virtually no scientific consensus on matters of great import. Lastly, it means that America itself with its existing systems will change and become unrecognizable than their old modles because the world has changed and thus we as americans will change to meet that challenge in the 21st century and beyond.

    September 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Susan Bodnar

    As the author of this piece, I would like to jump into this discussion. What rewards me most about publishing this piece is that I really agree with some of you and strongly disagree with others.Some of these posts have evoked tender feelings and others a bit of upset. For the most part this dialogue has become interesting and thoughtful, an therefore hopeful. I'm learning as you write! One theme that some of you have raised seems of particular importance: how to break away from oppositional, good guy versus bad guy thinking? How do some of these problems look when we assume mutual responsibility for everyone's successes and failures? In a sense, is the wealth of the successful also linked to the work of the middle and lower class, and is the dilemma of poverty also linked to the successful and wealthy? Is it possible for humans to co-exist without always have an impact on each other?

    September 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Decline

      Susan, thank you for the article. We are pitted against each other constantly across the political divide yet I dont believe that most ppl actually adhere to this type of thinking. Clearly the public in general does want to help their fellow man (or woman) and be able to provide for their family at the same time. Since we are so deeply divided I firmly believe this prevents ppl from opposite sides of the political spectrum to come together and help one another when needed. Very complicated issue that needs to addressed instead of being used as a way to win elections

      September 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • laststonecarver

      A lot of folks cannot see beyond themselves.
      Good luck on your journies!
      Thanks for your article.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Republicans win by being elected by the uneducated poor people. Just look at KY, Senator Mitch McConnell from KY, a real poor, uneducated state and he wins. McConnell is using his Senate seat to become a multi-millionaire while his voter starve. While they don't get education. McConnell is like a slave owner to his voters.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Decline

      yes Mark, you are right, its all the republicans fault. Republicans would step on your neck to pick up a dollar....is this seriously how you view things? Most politicians are wealthy, left or right. Do you know how much John Kerry is worth? Or Nancy Pelosi? Or what about Wassermans offshore investments? Wonder how much she makes investing outside of the country and the ppl she represents. Dont be so biased and ignorant

      September 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peter Wolfe

    I am of neither political party just think that commonsense needs to preveil not out-dated idealogies. The solutions need to be long-term not short-sighted in scope and in aim to solve our fiscal, economic, debt and educational to health care systems in this country. Our country fights like children not seeing that both sides have valid points like infrastructure spending by the democrats, military cuts, science research, etc are valid. Republicans ideas in deficit reduction or elimination, unsustainable, reforming or changing medicare or medicaid and modernizing the tax code and getting rid of useless regulations are just to start off with. Maybe my fellow countrymen will realize that neither party can solely answer our problems onto themselves but only together can we as a nation can we figure it all out.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. FPSC

    Opinion: it would be helpful if Obama (and others) stopped importing poverty by granting amnesty to illegal invaders and insisting on idiotically high levels of legal immigration at a time of high employment. They know perfectly well that legal and illegal immigrants are flooding the labor markets in many job categories, thus drying up opportunities for those that most need jobs to get back on their feet. They also know that legal and illegal immigrants end up putting a strain on many social programs (e.g. healthcare, welfare, education, food stamps, etc.), thus threatening the viability of these programs, which also hurts the poorest Americans who need them most.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • TheRit

      Not the problem. Part of what the author is saying is a matter of having good role models to look up to. Too much of our nation's youth is greatly misguided by dreams of fame and fortune, but are not conditioned to understand what it takes to get there. Too many of our students do not even consider (aware, or have the resources) college or a career, because all they see is unrealistic entertainers and/or people "just trying to make it." Also the nearly complete breakdown of the basic family structure in the inner cities (and elsewhere) does not help!

      September 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. orlop

    That’s all well and good but how about the many affluent people who obtained their wealth by lying, cheating and stealing? There are plenty of them in this world and as a physiologist you probably counsel them and their offspring for a fairly good hourly rate.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      The moderately affluent mostly made their money without suspecting what they were doing to the young and to the cost of rent to run a business. They speculated on land even though we live in a country with a surplus of good land. The government etc. are so confused that they think the economy will restart when the land prices and rents start skyrocketing again. The ultimate solution will be massive inflation. However, wages, pensions and SS are unlikely to go along for the ride..

      September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Gyrogearloose

      The way to deal with those who have made money illegally is to prosecute them.
      However, my bet is that most have gained wealth legally through luck and hard work, and therefore have done nothing wrong.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • setnommarih

      Here we go with the blame game, that's why I won't vote for Obama again. I don't blame the wealthy for being wealthy. They do not have to do anything with their after tax dollars unless you feel that their money is yours like Obama's feels everybodies money is everyone elses which is bull.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. danita

    Why do poor people keep having kids they can't afford. Live poor until you can do better and then bring a child into this world. We got so many people who have lived on the system generation after generation. People who have not lost their jobs, death or devorced and found themselves in trouble and who need help. Some people just except poverty as a way of life and are not looking for anything else. Rent is paid, foodstamps, and a check to spend.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      The Americans born here listened to the message that the world was over crowded and now our reproduction is below the replacement rate. However, our crazy ideas about speculation based economy (vs production based economy) requires increasing population and the solution was to throw our borders open to high reproduction rate people.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Walter

    I read that the poverty rate had slipped a little bit. That is most definitely an anomoly. We are 16 trillion dollars in debt and that bill is coming due. There is no way the government can continue to support those that are struggling. They need to look out for themselves, and that most definitely means not having children. If you cannot afford to support yourself, how on Earth are you going to support a child?

    September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • StevenR

      Walter, you are insane. The rich have rigged the system to steal every dollar they can. They have rigged the tax rates so they don't pay anywhere NEAR their fair share. Tax rates in general and specifically ON THE VERY RICH are at historical lows.The poor are NOT the problem. The WEALTHY not paying ANYWHERE NEAR their fair share ARE THE PROBLEM. And they are NOT REALLY helping themselves. Their incredible greed is killing the goose that lays their golden eggs – the middle class.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Steven

        Can anyone tell me a definitive answer on what someone's "fair share" is? Is it a set amount of cash? A percentage? If someone pays more in taxes than I make a year is that a "fair share"?

        September 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter Wolfe

    Dear READER: Does compassion involve giving housing to two homeless people and having them in turn steal your own belongings? Does compassion consist of a wealthy business executive in Gadsden, Al with my own refrigerator, clothes, food, etc in 05 when my mother died? Ironically when I beg for $50.00 from my liberal construction owning brother-in-law Edward that he with his liberal compassion never gives to me, his daughters or helps out my drug addicted siser? Lastly, I know of hard times brother being starved, beaten, no utlilities, motherr dying of cancer by 19 yeaars of age, father and brother with mental problems, being homeless and being a blind person in college alone with a scholarship to attend Auburn University beccause of hard work not a simple handout. Get a life man nobody cares about broke Europe and their lack of a significant role other than liching on American's consumer buying power now days man.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. sameeker

    People are not intentionally poor. Many posters on here seem to think that it is so easy to become wealthy. Try starting a business when you paycheck does not even cover your basic needs. Don't you people think that if it were so easy to achieve mega wealth, millions would be doing it? I also get angry at the people on here who make fun of people making minimum wage. You are the same people who complain about people not working. The wealthy would not be there if others had not done the work. Americans are the most productive people in the world; however, wages have not kept up with productivity. Before you people start picking fights with the poor, you need to remember that we have been working hard for many years and we can knock you right back up your ivory tower.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • StevenR

      No money to start a business? Just follow Mitt Romney's suggestion; borrow money from your rich parents. What were you thinking?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. mikey

    The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said on August 22, 2012, that scheduled tax increases and spending cuts in 2013 would reverse the current modest economic recovery. The CBO and other experts are of the view that large government spending cuts and tax hikes will cause severe economic slump.

    Experts hold that without action by Congress to avoid a "fiscal cliff" Americans should expect a significant recession and the loss of some 2 million jobs. The CBO predicts that the real GDP could shrink by 0.5 percent next year while the unemployment rate could climb to around 9 percent.

    The "fiscal cliff" refers to the impact of around $500 billion in expiring tax cuts and automatic government-spending reductions set for 2013 as a result of successive failures by Congress to agree on some orderly alternative method of reducing budget deficits.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. Peter Wolfe

    Dear READERS and others,

    Funny that you mentioned my english because that is an area that you don't do that good in yourself! I freely admit that I need to work on my english skills and your liberal english professors slid me by like your liberal teachers did as well. You were talking about compassion when I've let two people being homeless into my house and one of them stole from me and he other used me for months on end? I was starved, beaten and had no utilities in my house with a father who heard voices right? So, the people who helped me when my mom died was a millionaire in Gadsden, Alabama in the winter of 2005 by this demonized capitalist person with a dormitory refrigerator, clothes, food, and clothes. Lastly, guess who didn't help me? My brother-in-law witth over 110k a year and supposed liberal, so you figure that one out man on morality for me.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. StJuste

    RESPECTFULLY SUBMIT– We will not get out of this economy nor begin to solve our social problems without everyone working together. Competing with and preying on each other can only go so far, the winner needs to pick up the loser or surely he will one day find there is no one left to sustain him either.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Willie12345

    Soon the bottom will be in sight and there we'll see a poster of President Obama. Throw the bum out before it becomes too late.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • nightmare

      just part of the problem, aren't you?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Me too

      Oh for Pete's sake, stop with the "troll" comments. If you don't actually have a point to make then don't post. "Troll" is so over-used and is the lamest response.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • NClaw441

      Great story Ms. Bodnar, and not a single government program was implicated. We should help each other and family. Just not at the point of a government spear.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Michael, Chapel Hill.

    Another 4 more years Obama will have 60% of the population on social welfare & thus more votes for Democrats. As long as one gets the crutches and comortable with it, pray to the ALMIGHTY GOVT, govt will keep them comfortable.
    Thanks Obama!

    September 13, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  16. organically

    The Obama economy has dropped unemployment from 9.8% to 8.3%. Obama policy has decreased the government workforce by 370,000 jobs according to Department of Labor. America created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 30 months – over 1 million jobs in 2012, a direct result of liberal economic policy, again according to the Department of Labor. Oh yea, stock market has rebounded to around13K, and most of the economy saving bail outs have been paid back to the federal government. Oil prices dropped for 10 consecutive months until the recent bump up, but prices will drop again this Fall as per most economists. Much of this liberal economic success is due to the initial implementation of the Dodd/frank bill, the Affordable Care Act, and other initiatives. As the economy continues to grow, we will be able to pay down the national debt. The economy is clearly improving overall, but all the right wants is complete failure by the president and will never admit when the president has been successful at anything. This is one of many reasons why these radicals are so detrimental to America’s economic recovery. The central ignorance of rightist conservatives is that president Obama is responsible for our national economic woes and joblessness in recent years, but this has been a global crisis. The increase in food stamps and poverty overall in the U.S. is a lingering effect of Bush economics. Obama polices have lifted America’s economy out of the disaster left behind by Bush, even though much of the world is in recession and the Euro is collapsing. The labor force participation rate is now at about 63%, lowest level since 1981, which is the result of (1) unemployed baby boomers forced to retire early and (2) economic policy created by the Bush Administration. Conservatives like to say that the “real” unemployment is about 18% which might be correct, but this number has been dropping, too. Saying that the economy is improving “in spite of” Obama policies is the ultimate denial of president Obama’s success.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmer

      yes....because no democrat policy ever contributed to these economic failures.....

      ......and they lived happily ever after....the end.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Holy smokes. Did you not read this article??

      September 13, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      You are correct, Obama has dropped the unemployment rate from 9.8% to 8.1% currently; however, the real statistic is that unemployment was at 6% when he took office. Frank/Dodd had already been in place and his $750 Billion stimulus was supposed to keep unemployment from rising to 8% but Obama's policies allowed the unemployment rate to rise to over 10%. Yes he dropped unemployment but first he had to raise it above the8% to drop it to 8%. That is not real progress since the numbers are worse than when he took office.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
      • KMicael

        The 2008 Stock Market crash occurred on Sept. 16, 2008, which is days short of 4 years ago while Bush was president and during the presidential campaign. Unemployment rose 2.3% in 2008 before Obama was inaugerated (sp?) and 2.6% in 2009. It is opinion when you start calling the rise the lingering effects of Bush vs the result of Obama's policies(as far as one can hold any president directly responsible for economic trends). We were better off 4 years ago, though we didn't know we were about to take a hit. By the time Obama took office, the decline was in full swing. We are/will be better compared to 4 years ago the further into the Obama administration you start your 4 years.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Evan

      Bear in mind the Republicans have been countering almost every Obama policy, leading to extreme gridlock. You never know, the economy might be doing what it does best – recovering without the help of the government.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Rex

        There you go again – the typical Dem response to an "inconvient fact" that you would like to go away – blame the Republicans. Grow up.

        September 13, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
      • zandhcats

        You forget the global financial collapse? It's not the blame game, grow up! It's the fact! The President has to fight every single issue with the Republicans since he's taken the Office.
        I'm not Democrat !

        September 13, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Evan

        I am a Republican, so maybe you should figure out the message I'm trying to convey before you go in blindly swinging.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        We cannot change what is going on unless we unite against our government, vote these numbskulls out and continue to vote them out until we have a congress and senate that looks to the people for REAL issues that need to be fixed. These guys work for us yet they continue to tell us what they are going to do. Until we as an American people stand up and tell our government enough; this will continue. We have too many ignorant A$$es out there that do not understand that the government is our enemy and they keep the citizens divided by throwing out trivial BS and acting like it is a major issue. The whole idea about Americans being free to choose is something our government wants to act like they are preserving, when in reality they continue to take more rights away and give more power to the large corporations and the rich.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      You do realize, don't you, that much of the purported decrease in our unemployment rate is due to Americans leaving the workforce? In fact, the number of people in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years. The real unemployment rate, U6, which includes those no longer eligible for unemployment insurance and those who have given up looking for work because they can't find it tops 20%. This past week, it was announced that the economy had created only 96,000 jobs. And this week, it was also announced that Obama's administration had just processed the first set of work permits for 72,000 illegal aliens who will now be part of our legal workforce for at least the next 2 years. It's estimated that eventually almost 2 million will get these work permits. One really has to wonder who Obama intends to create jobs for.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • dsmidiman

      Well said organically!! It does my heart good to see people out there that truly look at facts and statistics when making decisions. Instead of childish name calling, out right lying etc. Hold on to the dream my friend, we are in recovery mode and it will continue unless we return to the old ways of what got us here to begin with. Keep the faith and MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!! :)

      September 13, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  17. smitvict

    And under nearly 4 years of Obama and the democrat policies, the situation for the poor is a lot worse. 4 more years and we will be a 3rd world country!

    September 13, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      Perhaps if the religious right (oxymoron) hadn't spent the last 3.5 years blocking everything proposed by Obama, we wouldn't be in this situation.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
      • David

        Yes, we would be socialsts by now and making sure the least productive who are able become rewarded for lethargy.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • ko

      We are already a shambles. Thanks to the GOP (Greed Old Plutocracy)! At least Reagan looked for it to "trickle down" on to the rest of us. Anything coming down from the GOP could be warm rain. More than likely it is URINE.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  18. mememememememe

    what, exactly, is wrong about giving back? how did you make those millions? did you make it all by yourself breaking rocks? did you supervise others breaking rocks? did you sit in your skyscraper and watch the supervisors? did you play the stock market? did you inherit? SOMEHOW you made the millions with the help of others or because of others. there is no shame in giving back. life is not about grabbing as much as you can while stomping your neighbor into the dust. it is about helping others thru life. society and community are about helping people. we are the only country on earth that sanctions and promotes the individual over community then we scream and cry that our society is falling apart. this unbridled greed will be (and is) the downfall of our society.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Sociobama

      How did you make that $9/hr at Taco Bell? Did you do it all by yourself? No. The franchise owner, the Taco Bell CEO, your supervisor, and your customers all helped make it a reality. Sounds like some greedy rich folks have already helped you out alot. Where would anyone be without JOBS?

      September 13, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
      • russmonster

        At one time, it was indeed possible to start out and go it on your own. Grow your own food, capture some cows, create a farm, or make your gold mine. Those days are generally over. Now, to get ahead, typically requires higher education. Which I'm all for. Realize though, that the US is one of the few countries that makes it's children pay for that higher education. Most countries these days pay for it. I guess the idea is to have a country filled with educated people. But hey, if your happy with your kids stopping at highschool and working at some job they hate, having kids before 20and then generally wondering where "they" went wrong, who am I to think giving them a chance on life with a 2-4 year degree would be better.

        September 13, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
      • russmonster

        you're

        September 13, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • closet atheist

      Right... all the successful people in our country got there by stomping everybody else into dust. There are good and bad people in all socioeconomic classes. Sounds like you're buying the rhetoric of our divider-in-chief....

      September 13, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
      • russmonster

        So many people seem to hate Obama. I bet if you actually pole all of america, a good portion would be politically down the middle. Only a minority of people are vocal, and unfortunatly it's often just the ones complaining. Go team.

        September 13, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
      • orlop

        You need to watch some Frank Capra movies!

        September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • NClaw441

      I don't really care for the expression "giving back." It suggests that we are giving to those who supported us, when in fact it is giving to those who have not given anything. That is not to blame those who find themselves in need, at least not in all cases (some DO deserve blame for where they find themselves). But when most people use the term "giving back" what they really mean is "give to those who don't have." This is a proper and considerate way to act, but not at the point of a government spear.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  19. laststonecarver

    Consumption has a cost, and everyone pays some price for that which they consume. Those who consume more, will pay more, as those who consume less, will pay less. Not all cost is fiduciary, some will pay in blood, and loss of freedoms.
    As some were born poor, others were born rich. Neither chose that fate.
    Some can perceive beyond the facade that is rich or poor, smart or dumb, liberal or conservative, and see that inner being, and they can know that there is a possibility of genius hidden there, that can help us all. Each and everyone of us. And if that inner genius is allowed to become, that is the world that i look forward to. But for that to happen, i will have to take the time to listen to, and hear another person, and maybe even have compassion? Hope i can handle it.
    Imagination will create jobs. Lack of imagination is the soup d'jour, and our immediate fate.

    September 13, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  20. Peter Wolfe

    How can you help families when poorer people over populatte and are uneducated and these in turn are passed down to the children? Simply put a half of urban children dropping out of school and a thirde in rural/suburbian schools and the obesity rate on top of that are herendous facts unignorable at this point. Thirdly, subsedizing people to have huge families e.g. hree-five people or more is unsustainable and causing social unrrest and fiscal cliffs of impending disaster because of them. Lastly, I'm from a poor family got my college degree and have a severe disability and chose not to have children till I could afford it.

    September 13, 2012 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
    • READER

      Your college education has not helped your english skills. Apparently it has not helped with compassion for others either.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
      • William Demuth

        Reader

        Your attempt to silence opposing opinions via ridicule is shallow and obvious.

        I guess that’s easier than actually addressing the legitimate and indeed critical points the poster offers?

        Poverty is often caused by irresponsible and indeed reckless reproduction, and trying to pretend the issue doesn’t have merit does us all a disservice.

        If you have two children who are starving yet you foolishly have a third, what you expect from me is not compassion, but rather charity.

        Darwin is cruel but efficient.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  21. Stella

    This is a pointless article that does nothing but state the obvious.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      I guess the point went right over your head, You must be one of those people who has never had to struggle or earn anything. If you did then you would have gotton the point right off.

      September 13, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
      • Lorio

        Grandma lived in the Depression, uncle drafted into Vietnam, dad didn't become what he wanted to be--all fairly generic family history stuff. Including my own. BFD. Stella has a point. No need to get uppity.

        September 13, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  22. Audie

    Love it. For 8 years under Bush, all you people screamed about was people living in poverty, citing statistics after statistics. Now that we've had 4 years of Obama and found out that Democrat policies make the poor even poorer and move the middle class towards poverty, all of a sudden it's "poverty numbers don't tell the whole story." You people are so fake or really dumb to keep buying the BS from the Democratic party.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Ntrain2k

      Well said!

      September 13, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • GOPLemmings

      Audie says, "..and found out that Democrat policies make the poor even poorer and move the middle class towards poverty"

      What has created the HUGE disparity between the 1% and everyone else were the policies started under the GOP's favorite "hero" President Ronald Reagan. Regan's infatuation with tax cuts for the wealthy led to his creation of the blueprint for "Trickle Down" economics. This did more to destroy the American dream over the long haul than ANYTHING ever done by policies from the Left.

      Trickle down led to corporate takeovers, it led to the rich getting richer and rather than sharing or trickling, moving that money into offshore accounts so they could get EVEN RICHER, further widening and deepening the chasm between themselves and everyone else. Recent statistics show that while everyone else suffers, the greed-driven rich have prospered as this class actually saw an increase in the last report!

      If all the wealth coagulates in one class, and they horde it as they are doing, it's much the same as having a blood clot in your arteries. I understand the superficial thinking that taxes are "robbing" but the reality is that the overall health of society at large is threatened when the circulation of finances are pooling up in the bank accounts of a few, particularly if those bank accounts aren't even in the U.S.!

      I would equate it to someone who lives at the source of a river who dams it up so they can control everyone else. Who is that good for? Only the one, not the whole. Everyone else suffers, and the one with all the water has more than they could ever use, way more.

      If we want a healthy, good society where everyone prospers, EVEN the rich continue to get richer, then we need the tax system to be graded to unblock the clog, get the money recirculating into the economy, and create more disposable income for everyone. If we embrace the model where a few can greedily encapsulate all the wealth in their own coffers, we will do more to create a society of dependance. The GOP's "horizonal vision" and short-sited, narrow, superficial view is far more damaging to our country as a whole and will lead to either FAR MORE dependence on the system, or social uprisings, or a society that eventually looks a lot like a third-world country where the nobles have everything and everyone else lives on the crumbs and occasional bone they are willing to toss out.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        Your notion that wealth is "encapsulated" within the rich's coffers illustrates one huge disconnect and ignroant thinking many people exhibit. The rich did not get wealthy by hoarding cash. They did so either by working hard building a business from scratch, or saving and wisely investing the money had in the market and other businesses. Investing comes with risks, and there are many rich people who lose a lot money making bad investments, just as there are many not so rich people who made money investing.

        And remember, annual profit margins for a typical large company averages around 7-8% of revenue and a few percentage points of total assets. The rest of the money is being recirculated through the economy in the form of wages, payroll taxes, and the purchase of goods and services.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
      • David

        You are one of thos goofy people who think wealth is a zero-sum game. Wealth is created by people using resources properly with discipline and with a plan that has goals. Staying on the couch watching tv and collecting unemployment doesn't create wealth. And with Obama encouraging people to BECOME eligible for food stamps [I saw the television commercials], well, he's asking people NOT to try.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
      • russmonster

        @david

        I saw the adds too, the ones where they list 1 out of every 5 people is dealing with hunger. But I guess you would rather people not eat. I'd rather give them food they dont have to pay for. Would you like to know how much money you recieve from foodstamps? If you're a starving single person, they give you 200.00 per month. I'm sure you can figure out how much per day that is on your own. Less than a few coffees at starbucks (in case you were having trouble). Now, try being homeless, not having access to a stove, no microwave, no fridge. I've been that person. 2 cans of not healthy soup, and 2 cans of fruit per day. You can forget veggies. There is no reason people in this country should go hungry. There is no reason, aside from choice, that people should be homeless in this country. But hey, socialism is bad! helping people is bad!! great lesson to teach your kids. "Let them starve Johny, it's ok. We're fine, and we always look out for.......#1"

        September 13, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
      • orlop

        How hard did a bank executive really have to work to get 40 million a year? He didn't build the company from scratch, he didn't risk his own capital for the company, a bunch of people ( board of directors ) picked the guy from the crony list and handed him a fat pay package. You know, Chelsea Clinton is on many company boards. I am sure that she worked very hard to get where she is. Much harder than a high school valedictorian from anywhere USA.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
      • StevenR

        No. it IS encapsulated in the coffers of the rich. It is tied up in BUBBLE CREATING GAMBLES rather than true investments.

        The solution? Simple. ELIMINATE the cap on Social Security taxes. Tax EVERY DOLLAR. Lower the Social Security age and increase the benefits. This gets the money CIRCULATING, allows MILLIONS to retire and opens up jobs for the young people. BUT NO! You GOP heads would call that SOCIALISM. And the GOP is the LARGEST SOCIALIST GROUP IN THE COUNTRY. Socialize RISK. Privatize profits. You should be ASHAMED!

        September 13, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  23. mike

    The sad but funny thing is that millions of these people have voted themselves into poverty and they will continue to vote themselves into poverty. History has proven the higher the tax is on corporations the better the poor and the middle class do. Go to the department of Labor and Statistics and look at the numbers for the 1950's and the 1960's. Then look at the IRS tax code for corporations. the higher the tax rate the better the economy is, and by a huge difference.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      That is why I believe we need to have all voter pass a basic test to prove they know what they are voting for. 17 percent more blacks voted then ever before when Obama ran. Blacks were pulling there grandparents out of bed many voted two and three times. Just because the candidate is half black. Latinos prove all the time that they vote based on race not politics. We have a Mayor who was arrested on corruption charges and he still has the support of all the latinos.

      September 13, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
      • mememememememe

        how about a basic voter test on the use of the word "there"?

        September 13, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
      • GOPLemmings

        Warsteiner says "That is why I believe we need to have all voter pass a basic test to prove they know what they are voting for"

        Not in a democracy we don't. "Basic tests" will be "tweaked" by the powerful to gradually but steadily take control.

        NO NO NO. Like it or not, America is a democracy where EVERYONE should have an equal say.

        Look, I don't agree with every policy, every elected official, or every opinion I hear - quite the contrary. But that's also the beauty of our system, because the alternative is there is one voice, and everyone marches along like lemmings. It's like that in dictatorships–surely you wouldn't want that?

        Nope, EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN should has the right to have their voice heard, and the right to vote is the primary outlet. It's not perfect, not everyone is informed, but enough informed people exist to push and pull policy in the right direction over the long haul.

        September 13, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      The grasp of causality and correlation are lost by the original poster.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  24. Mark

    So she pens a pretty nice piece, her family struggled, she worked hard. And yet some can't help but spew partisan garbage on either side. We are are so doomed.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  25. iconoclast1

    We accomplish much more together, through compromise and joint effort, than we can accomplish separately. Almost all of us accept this argument because we already do this in many different ways. The human race would likely have gone extinct long ago if we didn't. Unfortunately, for purely political purposes, this wonderful interdependence has been disparaged by the right. But very few are arguing against self-reliance and initiative. We can work together and exalt individual initiative at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • KG

      Well said, iconoclast1

      September 13, 2012 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  26. unmarshal

    If you look at the difference between the average liberal vs the average conservative. Conservatives give a far higher percentage of their income to charities while making less money on average than liberals. Liberals believe they are being generous by using government force to take the fruits of another's achievement and redistribute it to the non productive politically connected groups. There is nothing generous about calling for government to take from one and give to another. There is no incentive for those dollars to be spent wisely nor prudently nor any care for those government programs to actually have a positive effect. Liberals are only concerned with intentions while always ignoring the results of their programs such as welfare trapping those most vulnerable in a generational cycle of dependency, or the fact raising the minimum wage causes those at the bottom of the labor market to no longer be employable. If you want to help those less fortunate, nothing is stopping you from donating to an effective charity or if you don't have money, donate your time. Stop pretending to be so noble for calling for government redistribution on the successful, it's just an ugly attempt to look compassionate and have someone else take care of the problem when the solution is in your hands right now.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Sorgee

      This was the first user comment for the blog that you referenced:

      "So which is better? Me giving $1,000 to the local food bank, or the federal government taking that $1,000 from me in taxes, skimming 20% off for their overhead and inefficiencies, and then picking a charitiy that supports their political party and giving them the remaining $800, all while telling them that $800 came from that politician so they should vote for him next election. To the person who needs the food, the $1,000 is better. To the politician who steals my money to buy votes, the $800 is better. That is the problem with the federal government trying to do charity work. It is inefficient and incourages loyalties to politicians/political parties instead of local communities. While my donated $1,000 means less tax revenue for the country, it actually produces more of a benefit for the country."

      I think that this poster is making the same point unmarshall was trying to make.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • WeHaveBigProblems

      First, i have no idea what the point of this article is. We all struggle. The point is how to best help and provide a positive economy in which people can pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. More Federal government programs are not the answer. It is immoral that we borrow over a trillion dollars every year to finance these inefficient, ineffective and wasteful Federal government programs and saddle our children and grandchildren with the obligation to pay for our greediness.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • sameeker

      The wealthy give to each others "foundations".

      September 13, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  27. Golden Girl

    Author says: "The only shame about financial differences ought to be how people can be so involved with their own excess that they fail to respect those with less or to lend support to those in need."

    I say: There is also shame in being so involved with your own lacking that you fail to lend support to those in need. There is always someone worse off than you somewhere.
    –Love the article, though!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  28. Thuban

    Same old same old here... conservatives and their "screw you, I have mine, now get lost" Darwinian mentality.

    Liberals who want to be compassionate but don't have a strong game plan.

    Y'know... there are robots that can build houses now (Google it). There are sources of free energy we can hook our houses up to. We have the entire world, including education, at our fingertips... the only things left are food, water, sewage, and we all pitch in on those already.

    Really, this can be a country, a world, where getting the basics of life are very inexpensive. Properly built and maintained, this society could make all its citizens healthy and educated.

    But...So many rich people don't want to loose the power they have. That's what it's really about, boys and girls, not money for that fourth house. It's about power and the people who don't want to loose it. That's the real reason the uber rich don't want you to stop slaving away at that job.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Rogere

      Totally agree. We could have it almost all if we would begin to become more human. To actually use our brains rather than to squander this amazing gift we have been given. All it takes is agreement and consensus? I agree with your take on liberals and conservatives but would it not be great if we had a third party to vote for that had a backbone and had policies that were relevant to the 21st century, common sense, and reality?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  29. Matthew Kilburn

    I'm all for helping the poor, but I'd like to see that the poor are helping themselves. How many of the women who are receiving welfare are single mothers? How many have children through multiple men? This isn't necessarily a criticism, but having lots of children young, and certainly not marrying the father (or another man) makes it much harder to advance oneself. And it tends to devolve on the next generation as well.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Balls McGhee

      Instead of being lazy and asking questions, why dont you go find the answers for yourself. then you would have worked hard to actually learn something instead of relying on others to tell you the answers. that is what politics is for and we dont need that nonsense.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • iconoclast1

      The point is to maximize upward mobility and opportunity. Unfortunately, the U.S. is falling like a rock in that respect. We are no longer the land of opportunity. Other so-called "socialist" countries are passing us by in that measure. My feeling is that every able-bodied person should work for their benefits. As for families having kids because they get more government benefits, that should certainly be carefully looked at and adjusted to provide the proper incentives, but that is certainly easier said than done.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
      • StevenR

        The GOP is NOT for upward mobility. They are DEAD SET against it. They got theirs and they are not going to help anyone else. THAT IS THE BASIS OF AYN RAND. THAT IS WHAT THEY BELIEVE! We CANNOT let this stand. It is UN-AMERICAN and against EVERY PRINCIPLE our forefathers fought and died for.

        The GOP is a bunch of TRAITORS, pure and simple. They are UN-AMERICAN to the extreme. If they are so DEAD SET on evading taxes by putting their MONEY offshore, they should gop JOIN IT. THey are doing NOTHING for the country other than DESTROY OUR VALUES!

        September 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  30. Rogers

    The disgrace of this election campaign is the total lack of recognition of those living in poverty. The Democrats and Republicans only talk of the middle class. I don't know their definition of who is middle class and who is not but I am sure those living below the poverty line do not think that they are a part of the middle class. Their dreams would include being called middle class. Not talking about and recognizing this section of our population during the election process is a compete disgrace.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Define "poverty" as it relates to the U.S.
      I have seen statistics-who knows how valid any of them are-that state that the average person living in poverty has a car, a place to live, government assistance for food etc etc. My father grew up during the depression. THAT, was poverty.

      September 13, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  31. willwurk4food

    tomorrow is a mystery, yesterday is history
    today is a gift, that is why we call it "the present"

    September 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  32. willwurk4food

    there will come a time when unemployment hits about 35% when the common man will march against the rich man.
    Even wirh the military and police on the side of the rich man, the poor will win. Anarchy is the only fair choice, before or after the holocaust that is to come. Stand and revolt, srand and be counted! The revolution is here! Torches and pitchforks for all!

    September 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • unmarshal

      And these rich people are the enemy because why? They got rich by stepping on the poor? Explain how this happens. In the real world, those who become rich offer a rare skill that is valued. Capitalism is the only system where one becomes rich by serving their felllow man. If somebody creates a product or service that makes people's lives easier and people are willing to pay for and becomes wealthy, who did they exploit to make that happen? Explain to me how in a free society how the poor are being exploited when everything is performed through voluntary cooperation. Your statements are hollow, marxist BS that has created misery and death every time it was tried. Explain to me how it will be different this time...

      September 13, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • TxGrl3

      If you revolt and run the rich into exile, who is going to pay for all your food stamps, welfare, and Obamacare? Rich people are quite able to leave the country you, know, just as overtaxed people and businesses are fleeing California en masse.Democrats are running California in the ground, and they will ask for a Fed bailout qithina few years. Just as Germany has to bail Greece out, so will states like Texas be asked to bail out California. Panama, Singapore, many European countries are viable alternatives to living in America. Remember that.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  33. Paganguy

    It is time to bring on the 32 hour work week. The increase in production just makes more profit for the vulture capitalists. Because they are all vulture capitalist. Look into the bonuses voted for themselves and the good old boy system hiring only their golfing buddies. Tell me about capitalism. Hiding thei wealth in Switzerland to escape taxes. They are thieves and robbers. 70 thousand dollar medical deduction for a show horse. In the old days in England they even built pirate ships so they can steal from the Spanish. We also need flat tax, where FICA tax is included in the flat tax.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Keith

    Helping others is the rent we owe for living on Earth.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  35. James

    no worry, ROMNEY will SAVE THE DAY!!!

    "I like to FIRE People."
    “Corporations are PEOPLE, my friend!”
    “375,000 isn’t a lot of money (to make in one year).”
    "The banks are scared to death. They're feeling the same thing that you're feeling."
    "I’m not concerned with the very poor... that’s not my focus."
    “I’ll bet you $10,000, right here, right now….”
    "Don't take money from the government, just ask your parents."
    “I’m SEVERELY Conservative!”
    “Some of my friends own NASCAR teams.”

    ...or Maybe NOT!!

    September 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paganguy

      Romney is the reason I would eliminate inheritance tax. I would eliminate inheritance. Anything, the parents did not transfer to their kids before their death should go to the people and go into the treasury. Capitalists don't create wealth; people with their hard work do. When the ride is over the money goes back to the people. Simple.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • unmarshal

        Why? Because you're envious of someone else's success? That's a pretty ugly thing to be. To resent someone who has success because you made different choices in life. Nothing is stopping you from educating yourself to provide a skill that is good enough to make a good living. Nobody in America is stopping you from taking a risk to create something useful and valuable to others. This is the reason people from all over the world come to America, to escape countries that quash opportunity because their governments regulate every aspect of their lives and their success can only be achieved by being favored politically. Grow up man. Would you teach your children to hate the kids that had the cooler toys? Your hollow, left wing class warfare rhetoric is ugly, moronic and is the opposite about what America is about.

        September 13, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Ntrain2k

        Are you really that daft?

        September 13, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Cal

        Dear "Paganguy",
        FYI, Mitt donated his inheritance & may have been POSITIONED to build his wealth better than many, but he did
        NOT inherit from his self-made Father's wealth.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  36. dd

    Obama has really attacked the poor and the middle class and the US media has hid that simple fact! Obama has increased the problems of 2008 with insane, idealistic policies that are killing people. We put food in our gas tanks because Obama demands it and doesn't care about the poor.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Incredulus

    Where have empathy and responsibility gone in this country? Both seem to be in short supply.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  38. nanobelle

    My husband and I worked for years full time at a natural food market-he for 8 years and I for 6. The owner of the store a seemingly kind and benevolent man despite his millionaire status was someone we admired. He decided to expand and build his own building- a dream he'd had since he started. We were excited, we wanted to help him achieve this dream. The work was hard, sometimes excruciating so but we thought we shared the same vision. He built his building-all the whistles and bells- a showcase that made Ct magazine. He is failing. People had expected his prices to fall with his expansion, the building is three times larger as well as his expenses. He laid off 6 people, one of them was my husband who never missed a day, unpaid brought in the raw milk from a local farm, putting in very long hours with no complaints just to help the owner achieve his dream. The reason? His pay. He was too expensive. The owner kept the boy my husband trained. He was never asked to cut his pay or hours or change to another position. They gave him no options. They escorted him out of the building like he'd done something wrong. A shy man, my husband said nothing, too shocked to complain or ask questions. They kept me as I was not paid as well. I had to drop our insurance-it was six hundred dollars a month for the three of us. I only earn 26,000 a year and my husband was a dollar and a half more. We did our jobs as best as we could, there was no room for anything else. We didn't mind the low pay because we liked the work, we fell for the dream. We are poor but we're not slackers. We had years of experience and a loyalty to match. I wish I could quit just out of principal but J needs me to work until he finds something else. I'm not as educated as my husband so my chances of getting another job above minimum wage is slim. He is fifty. We are in for hard times. We have been fools. The president did not do this to us- a millionaire did. He will recover or declare bankruptcy but for us a long winter will come. Will we ever recover our footing or our faith in people, I don't know. It's a little late to start again and I am already tired. We were good citizens, exemplary employees and devoted parents. We did nothing to deserve scorn or such callous disregard.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • theseconddavid

      Such is the plight of anyone who is not in control of their own finances. if you chose to work for someone, you chose to take the risk that they might not need you always. If you chose to start your own business, you chose to take the risk that that business may fail. That is life. Welcome to it.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      The way society is progressing, your situation will soon become the rule rather than the exception. In fact, the rule will be that you are one of the fortunate, not the unfortunate as you are now. The only answer in the long term to your situation is change – major change. We will have no choice but to do what we have to to survive.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jpbrody

      I grieve for you. I have some sadness to tell of myself, but I won't. You trusted too long, too deep.

      The "good" thing for you two is that you're still 50. Running behind, but you still have enough time to (1) Find more employment and (2) build a little nest egg. You can do this.

      And ma'am, don't sell yourself short by assuming a lack of education. I have three earned degrees and I'm still out hustling for a job. My guess is that you can outmaneuver a lot of people.

      But a word of advice (the only one I dare offer): While hubby is looking for a job (and God bless him), get your resume together and start looking too. I can't exactly blame the owner for covering himself, but you need to do the same. This is business. The biz owner doesn't need, want or deserve your loyalty.

      Hustle for yourself. God love you and bless you.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      I wasn't Obama, or the millionaire at fault, it was you. How can blame anyone but yourselves for being trusting fools. When the story started, I could see it coming a mile away. This happens to many people.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • bebow

      Fear not, nanobelle. You will be fine. Press on through the challenge. Focus on the road ahead. Your writing reveals intelligence. These things happen for reasons, which aren't always clear until observed through the rearview mirror. It is time for you to move up, and you cannot move up where you are.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • orlop

      Very sad for you but I'll bet that your nice wealthy owner is still wealthy because his accountant has protected his assets and told him to pull the plug early on this bad investment. I doubt that the owner has lost much money, if the store is a bust most likely others hold the debt and the owner will just move on to something else.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • NClaw441

      If your husband's boss had needed your husband to continue to work, should your husband have been allowed to quit if he found a better job? Or did the boss have a right to keep him working where he was? Just wondering.....

      September 13, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  39. Andrew Newitt

    Amazing to read so many comments that make sense. You don't help the poor or the middle class by highly taxing the rich. The poor and the middle class are helped MOST by an economy that is run by the capitalists. Ever been hired by a poor person? No? Well surprise, surprise. Yep, you are hired by those greedy capitalists who are only looking out for THEMSELVES. And along their way they do things like create jobs, serve needs and serve wants of the consumers and other businesses, and they take the risks and take the work on and succeed sometimes, fail sometimes, but always try to be rich. Or at least try to succeed in that way or others AS THEY SEE FIT. And that's the way it works best. People looking after themselves and their company but serving the needs and wants of others. Or, we can expect the government to help us, like Greece, Spain and Portugal. Not to mention Cuba, USSR and the old China. Or we can expect the tooth fairy. Folks, the best way to eliminate as much poverty as possible is to do what we have done, and what China and so many western European countries are doing now – be a capitalist economy. Sorry, but that works best.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Being a radical capitalist is like being a radical anything. Once you stop looking at your socio-political system in a critical way, you might as well just start putting on a suicide vest and going to shopping malls at night for fun.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      The poor created most of the jobs in the last ten quarters. You aren't as smart as you think. American income disparity will destroy Democracy. Historically, disparity on this level usually leads to a revolution; let us hope our leaders can figure something out before that happens.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bob Zsuruncle

        Sorry – the poor don't create any jobs. They can however create businesses ... but then they become no longer poor.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ntrain2k

        The poor created most of the jobs?

        Seriously?

        ROFL

        September 13, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        There seems to be this Conservative notion that only rich people own businesses. The facts are that that vast majority of small business owners are middle class or poor. Once you realize the truth then you can start to develop actual policies that help the small business owners.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        Wouldn't it be refreshing if Government actually helped folks that needed it once in a while?

        September 14, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Oliveira

      Capitalism works best you say but what kind? With what rules? Some rules might work well at some junctures and not at others. There are several countries with capitalistic economies that are not doing well.

      Denmark, Sweden and Germany have strong goverments and are doing better than the states. Strong goverments does not mean communist, in fact these 3 contries are much much much more capitalistic than communist, but the goverment is thinking about the whole picture and this if done well is key to a good society.

      Oh, I am not rich but I employ some people.

      People that work harder and are gifted should receive more I have no trouble with that but how much more and to what extent their kids and family should have privileges that others don't.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Corey

    article was about hardship and humans helping one another because we are all in this together but you bunch of twits turn it into a money discussion . laughable and sad

    September 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  41. David

    I don't know, I see a lot of people who are working two or more jobs, working hard and are still broke. What kind of future does our country have?

    September 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      What kind of jobs are they working?

      September 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • theseconddavid

      Maybe they shouldn't have been so busy making fun of the people who actually studied in high school.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Dr. K

    If she means that all of us have a personal obligation to think of those less fortunate, absolutely. But if she means that the government should take wealth by force to guarantee an equality of outcome, then she's incredibly misguided. You do not tax and spend your way to prosperity. Why do I care whether the top 1% make millions?! That's my goal! If they can do it, so can I, and I'll work hard and create jobs along the way. Confiscate their wealth and you gut my incentive to try.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      You will never be rich, get your head out of fantasy land.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Demitroy

        Well David, while you sit around lamenting about the "rich" just got that way by taking away your opportunity, some of us are out to prove you wrong. Enjoy whining about those of us who find success because we're willing to go work for it.

        P.S. I hope you aren't teaching any children in your life that they have no hope of ever achieving anything.

        September 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sybilquestion

      You are absolutely correct, but you also have to consider that there was a time that companies looked to profit in the millions, now they want to profit in the billions. So you could say that kills the "trickle down economic theories and philosophies."
      I certainly do NOT support "redistribution of wealth" but at some point you would think that those with BILLIONS would just create new companies and just create new jobs.
      @ David, YOU will NEVER be rich. But when I become a millionaire by the end of the year, I will hire you to file my bank accounts.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      The taxation schedule we currently have is pretty lax by developed nation standards. We should be taxed more.

      Also, while it's possible that you could work to become a multimillionaire, it's not likely at all that you'll succeed regardless of how hard or smart you work. So much of what those people depend on is luck. So many things could have broken wrong at any moment if you look back in the careers of rags-to-riches stories. Your aspirations in that regard are somewhat more valid than wanting to win the lottery as a life goal, but not considerably more.

      Finally, you may be an adherent of the ideal that if we take money from the rich, it reduces their ability to do good for society in the form of donations and charitable causes. Take Mitt Romney as an example. His taxes are lower than most of those in the middle and upper middle classes in terms of percentage, and he gives millions to charity every year. The primary charity he gives to, however, is the Mormon church. Where does that money go? I have no idea. Neither does anyone else. They have no accountability. It could be going anywhere and supporting anything. Wouldn't you rather have that money fix the potholes in the road in front of your house?

      By leaving all of the decisions on what "good" should be done for society to the uberwealthy and the church, we create a very dangerous society known as a theocratic plutocracy. That is not a world you would want to live in unless you were either very rich or an high-level part of the church administration (not the clergy – they are pawns and generally get paid very little until they become bishops or something like that). This is the way the world was run between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. They call it the Dark Ages for a reason.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • theseconddavid

        "Wouldn't you rather have that money fix the potholes in the road in front of your house?"

        No, because the state has to hire three guys to watch to one guy actually filling the hole.

        September 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The problem with the Conservative line that we are redistributing wealth is that they assume it is bad. Look at the facts. the top 1% owns 40% of the countries wealth. The top 10% own 70% of the countries wealth. The bottom 50% own 10% of the countries wealth. How do you get to be one of the top 10% without taking it from someone else? In the Conservative world the 50% of Americans that own 10% of the wealth are lazy bums.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  43. Moogie713

    The bottom line is this...if Obama gets reelected, social services are increased and the poor get a free ride for four more years. The rich might get taxed, and if they do, they won't spend. The middle class is screwed. If Romney gets elected, the rich prosper even more, the middle class still gets screwed, and the gravy train will be over for the poor. Charities and non profits can take of the poor and people are going to learn they can't and shouldn't depend on the government to solve their problems. It amazes me how many children are being born in a bad economy to folks who can't even take care of themselves. You can't fix stupid.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  44. One of those people

    Your article serves no purpose. I'm glad you "arrived" to where you want to go. Now, go write a book about "your struggles".

    The reason your article makes me feel this way; you don't tell the reason why poverty numbers aren't "revealing the truth". The truth is simple. Unemployment's high during a military draw down? Veterans rate unemployment when exiting the military. The government also supports a lot of people who don't WANT to work. We let junkies ride the system. I can show you examples of "leaches on society". Disability checks for "problems" and they pop painkillers like they're candy. One person I speak of legitmately gets social security and disability. I've seen her do things around her house the same as any able bodied person I know. Yet, I have a mother who can barely walk who was forced to stop working by her doctors. She worked until they forced her to take a medical retirement.

    The point I'm trying to make is a lot of the "unemployment" I see is because people are content with being the burden on our society. We've lost they days of JFK's "not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country". That's the poverty numbers in reality.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  45. cbr

    People seem to be very aware of the economic problems we face. In many communities we are working hard to keep people safe, fed, housed and warm. Unfortunately, the amount of money that we can raise does not alleviate the pain.

    Why are we allowing those who are contributing massive amounts of money to the PACs to get away with this nonsense. They have the means and the ability to help organizations across the country. They are receiving huge salaries and bonuses while the worker are being laid off. No one seems to care and the media is not criticizing these PACs at all. The candidates are allowing this to go on as well. The welfare of our citizens is being compromised every day. It will not matter whether we get the names of donors because the damage will already be done.

    Are they selfish and only looking out for their own interests – yes. Do they care about their workers? Are they outsourcing jobs and then complaining that we have no middle class – yes. Are they getting richer at our expense -yes.Why are we allowing this to go on. More importantly why are our leaders allowing this to continue.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  46. ug

    Just another liberal that doesn't know what she is talking about and it is all obamas fault.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Tom

    My neighbor is "self employed" meaning if she wants to sleep in she just doesn't work. Keeps her earning low so she can get aid. Has the latest fancy phone, eats out often, yet thinks because I was able to retire (after working my butt off and taking overtime every week), I should give her money because I "can afford it". That's the mentality Americans hate so much.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  48. David Marks

    Why do so many people think that the poor are forgotten? One problem is the disbursement of funds to help the chronically poor – self-serving bureaucracies create jobs for themselves and help themselves to the donations before helping the intended parties. I'm not wealthy, but I give more to charity now than ever. And I prepare taxes. The general public should only know how much money is given to charity that never gets to the people! I live in SW PA where the Marcellus Shale phenomenon is creating jobs and wealth each month. Yet thousands of people cannot pass a drug test. We need to count the truly poor and elderly, who, through no fault of their own, are untrainable and unemployable. I found the article intersting, full of compassion, and peppered with baloney.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • altalks21

      This is a prime example of what is wrong with our economy. Even full-time work for many does not cover basic needs. For the poor, it doesn't matter how many minimum wage jobs they get, they will never get ahead (that is why we have always had poor Americans,(not illegals) The financial businesses are starting to do well (CEO’s are paid top dollar AGAIN! Time to CAP their pay-maximum allowed income) while other Americans, supporting a family, kids trying to make money for college, older folks trying to pay for insurance, medicine etc, they will never do well! When the economy was good, companies shared profits and productivity gains with their employees. That is no longer the standard. The Income Gap shows why the AT WILL (voluntary), trickle down economics doesn't work & why we need MANDATORY PROFIT SHARING & a LIVING WAGE LAW, not a minimum wage law. A Living Wage Law will grow, balance and stabilize the economy, even if the legalized gambling, financial sector has another breakdown. Remember these consumers kept the U.S. Economy going, even though they had weak purchasing power. A LIVING WAGE LAW is already in place in several states. One place that has a LIVING WAGE LAW is at the Los Angeles Airport area, for hotel workers & the hotels are still doing business & making money as usual but now these workers can support their families & can contribute to the U.S. economy as consumers. This will help stabilize the economy with their consumer spending, since businesses are still clamoring for consumer spending (retail sales). Consumers are 70% of the economy & are JOB CREATORS. . "If all businesses paid a Universal Living Wage, we could reduce the tax burden on every single American!"

      September 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pat

        Altalks, your clueless. You raise wages you raise costs. What we need is lower energy and food costs. This administration is your problem you fool. They want higher energy prices. It's about control. People don't Ned higher wages we need lower costs. We need gas to be 2.50. How much more does that put in your pocket. Lower gas and electric bills, how much more? All that money in your pocket and not one tax levied. Wake up you fools. We need cheap healthcare not cheap insurance. Keep voting progressives in, you will end up with less and we will be stuck with them.

        September 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • gllj

        Your idea of a living wage law will bring about a huge amount of lay-offs. Last time I looked, people do not start businesses to give people a job. They start a business to make money. As the demand for their product increase, so does the number of employees they hire. But if employee costs get too high, then they stop hiring and lay-offs start. That is business 101.

        September 13, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
      • David

        wow. I think you need to hang out with me for a few days. Thomas Jefferson did a terrible injustice stating that all men are created equal. You see my friend, some people are born naturally stupid. Through no fault of their own, they are not able to rise up.

        You are a socialist at best, wanting to cap profits. That will squash productivity faster than a New York minute. I do think we need a living wage for Americans who are marginally conscious and who also are trying to raise a family. Minimum wage is evil, but socialism is the work of The Devil. We must help our neighbors through our love for God and each other, not through your idea of legislation! May God help us all, with Satan in the White House.

        September 13, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
      • NClaw441

        Mandatory sharing of profits of a business that you did nothing to create? What risk did the employee take that there would be no job for him? What monetary investment risk did the employee make in the business? But here comes the employee on the back end, after the risk has panned out, reaching out his hand for "fairness." Sorry, I am not buying.... or paying.

        September 13, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  49. kevin q

    If you haven't walked a mile in a poor person's shoes, you aren't qualified to judge. You are just an observer.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Demitroy

      By your logic, if you haven't walked a mile in a rich person's shoes, you aren't qualified to judge. You're just an observer.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        You are starting to understand. Liberals want everyone to have a fair chance.

        September 13, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  50. bellaterra66

    I have to agree with Jake. I've seen it over and over again. For example, my neighbors - both of whom are not workingand have no intentions of working - get whatever they can from the government for themselves and their two children and somehow they afford fast food everyday and have an Iphone. I have a very nice pension and I don't have an iphone and I make my meals (from scratch). /// Mrs. Bodnar wrote a lovely piece but all it is is a lovely piece. No matter whose shoulders we stand on, few current college students will be successes. No one really cares about the middle class anymore and no one is going to, no matter who is elected president.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jake

    When the 'poor' can chat on their iPhones while paying for groceries with their food stamps, I don't take the 'poverty' numbers all that seriously. Compared to other generations, few but the very poorest Americans know real hardships. Going a few days without McDonalds is not starving.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin q

      where did you learn about poor people?

      September 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Seola

        You can look at almost any one of them whipping out their EBT cards for filet mignon or pop at the gas station, or sticking it in an atm to get out $400 cash a couple times a week.

        September 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • gllj

        From personal experience. When I see "poor" people pulling up in new cars than I have, going to the checkout wiht a shopping cart full of steak (t-bones and filets), chicken, and pork. Then piled up with name brand boxes of food and snack. Then they pull out their benefit card to pay for it. All the while many of us are standing in line with hamburger meat or lesser cuts of meat to make ends meet. That is where I learned about the "poor". That is also why I went to college and complete a MS in computers. I no longer eat the lesser cuts of meat, but I buy what I want from my hard earned money.

        September 13, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  52. David

    CNN does not tell the whole story either. Poverty has increased in the last 4 years under President Obama. Should we see how much more poverty the President can give us?

    September 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      The recession is over, employment is lagging. Today is the highest Dow closing in over 5 years, way up from pre-recession levels and businesses are flush with cash, and the top percent have seen their wealth vastly increase. So when is this going to "trickle down"?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Which Obama polices have increased the number of poor? The answer is none.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  53. Rhastuss

    Jus give us mo handouts and we be fine as long as we gots dope and MD2020.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Belarius Marek

      Damn you for using facts!!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Conservatives often confuse opinion with facts. They seem to think that if they believe it then it must be a fact.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |