On being poor
People line up at a food pantry. The number of people in poverty rose in 17 states, the Census Bureau says.
September 20th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

On being poor

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) The Census Bureau released a depressing statistic Thursday: 46.2 million people in America fell below the poverty line last year. One in five children are poor. 

What does it feel like to live in poverty?

Writer John Scalzi knows.

He remembers a Southern California childhood marred by a broken family. His mother put her two children in the back of the car and drove away from the home they’d known.

She bought a box of Raisin Bran and warned her children: “That has to last.”

John Scalzi's essay on poverty was based on his own experiences.

Scalzi, 43, was in the first grade then.

Years later, the Raisin Bran memory became a line in an essay called “Being Poor.” He wrote it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many asked why the poor of New Orleans had not fled their drowned city.

It occurred to him then that wealthier Americans did not understand that the poor do not always have the luxury of choice.

But he knew.

He was the kid who wore the cheap shoes from Lucky Drug Store – the ones with the glued-on soles. He could feel them come off on the playground.

He was the kid who discovered letters from his mom to his dad begging for child support and the kid hoping he would get invited to a friend’s for dinner. He once stole a piece of meat from Ralph’s supermarket, fried it up and cleaned the plate before Mom came home. He then told her she didn’t have to make any dinner because he wasn’t hungry anyway.

Here are a few other ways Scalzi measured poverty:

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.

Read Scalzi’s full essay here.

Posted by
Filed under: Census • Economy • How we live • Poverty • Who we are
soundoff (1,791 Responses)
  1. earlytoriseblog

    I blog about what it was like being poor in America and about how when you're there, in it, as a kid, you don't really notice. And those who are poor who try really hard to get out of it, tend to be proud of where they came from. The key is to be realistic and not group everyone under one label or the other. I loved being poor! I don't want to continue to be poor, but there is a lot more to overcome for people like me than there is for someone who has had more financial advantages.

    November 16, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. stock investments

    Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I believe that you can do with some percent to force the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tim

    So in a country that spends 600 billion a year on defense and Romney want to increase that, we should have people begging for food and healthcare from the very people that think they are lazy bums.How much "care" do you think you will get from them? While charity is good when you are sick or hungry,you should not have to beg or cry for you life.

    September 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I think some people on this board would just as soon hold a gun to the poors head and laugh while they begged,and then humanly let them starve.Their give a check to charity and hope it trickles down on the poor does not work any more than it does in the ecomany.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jorge

    What most people don't realize is that most politicians who make office are, by the average Joe's standards, rich and cunning. Why, pray tell, do you think that a rich person who wants for nothing necessary would go through all the effort to run for office, a job of such distraction and power? Think also, that to many of them, the same person may be, when well off and investing in their causes an Ayn Rand elite, when down on his luck and out of a job, a "dirty hippie", and when stuck in the middle a "working citizen who will have to make some sacrifices for his/her country" (read milk-cow or laying-hen for defense contractors or pork projects). Do you really think that they wouldn't gather their off-shore treasures and move to another country if this country finally SUNK???

    September 24, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. fiftyfive55

    I'd like to say that I was just getting ahead,work was good but when we get hosed with 4.00 a gallon gas,all the money I was ahead with went into the gas tank.With all the new oil fields being discovered around the world,why is gas 4.00 a gallon when it should be under a dollar agallon like it was in 2002 ? A barrel should also be under 50.00 , not a 100.00.We are getting ripped off big time by the oil companies

    September 24, 2012 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Timothy (TRiG)

      Petrol in the USA is stupidly, ridiculously, absurdly cheep. What you should be asking is why your society is so structured that you have to drive everywhere. That would be a far more pertinent question.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fiftyfive55

    How's that "NEW WORLD ORDER" working out for OUR poor people right here in America,not in china or india but here ?

    September 24, 2012 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bill lee

    Cam 46.2 million win a Presidential election?..that sure is selling a lot of hope. Kind of like con men do.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. tamisha

    Im so poor I can't pay attention.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dennis Wood

    I put together a very basic powerpoint listing most of John's comments, and many that touched my heart by those who replied. I'm playing it at our store throughout the day to help people see the heartache that comes from poverty. I have noticed how many are memories from childhood. It just shows that even if one escapes the rut one feels when struggling to overcome, it is never without wounds that never heal completely. For those who judge and comment negatively, whose arrogance just adds to the wounds already open, I forgive you, and pray you never have to experience such pain. If you have not lived it, poverty IS incomprehensible. A very good friend told me years ago what being too rich is. If you have two pairs of shoes and your neighbor has none, you are too rich. I believe it. Thank You John

    September 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. arted

    Being poor means smelling a Big Mac years befoe eating one. Being poor is seeing a Popey's and not knowing what they serve inside. Being poor means using light clothes in winter and "teasinig" other children in coats for being sissies.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Melissa

    Yes, I hate going to the dentist. I go far less than I should. But recently that has been because we don't have the money to pay for it and no insurance. I have at least 9 fillings that need to be done, but I just lost my job. How am I supposed to pay for them when the only person working is my husband and he's only making $1000 a month?

    You want poor, we're it. If we weren't living with family, we'd be on the street.

    September 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Sorry, wrong page.

      September 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nanobelle

    My husband has been laid off 3 times in the twenty-five years we've been married. Once because the company relocated to a state with tax write offs, once because the company outsourced work to China, and once again because he was the highest paid person in the department and the company had expanded at the bottom of this economy and it hadn't paid off. He made 11 dollars an hour. We paid 600 dollars a month for insurance with a five thousand dollar deductible. We aren't lazy. Forty hours a week and eight years working to be abandoned like that. He never called out, he helped them grow. He's fifty-five. The only comfort they offered or anyone could could offer was you can collect, can't you? He isn't uneducated or lazy but I know the odds are not good that we'll do as well ever again. I cancelled our insurance. I can't wait until my contract is up with Verizon in December. I'll get a track phone. Now I'm even more grateful I didn't get a smart phone.
    I still work 40 hours a week at the same company but I'm not confident. They're in trouble and I don't have a degree like my husband to lift me above minimum wage work elsewhere. We rent at a rate that's bottom of the market and our used car has a very low payment so we're lucky at the moment to keep it. I'm not so sure when cold hits. The price of oil has me terrified. I feel despair when I think of our probable future.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. reallypoor

    We were so poor we had to take gravy in a paper sack to school for lunch.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Glenda

    I can remember the 1950's and 60's pretty well, and the main thing I remember, is how cheap everything was. My mother usually cleared 70 dollars a week from her job., and we lived really well. There was no 90 percent who had 90 percent of the money. What has happened to this country, is just sad. We can thank our politicans.

    September 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Josie

    I know what it's like to be "poor". 300$ a month to pay rent, get food for kids, and keep enough gas to hopefully find a job. Funny since I was seperated and not completely divorced from their father.....I wasn't allowed foodstamps or any other assistance due to making too much money. Being told someone has to quit a job to get into low housing (with both people only working fast food) because they earned 50 dollars more then the limit set. Going without certain things due to the fact you can't afford them (choosing power over water) and making purchases on canned food and such so that way if you can't buy food one paycheck you can still eat for the next two weeks. Sadly many in this country don't know what it's like to be really poor. In my case, I plan on finishing school, getting a home in the middle of now where, growing my own food and getting out from under government support of anyform.

    September 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Dee

    In 1969, a single parent, I ate a can of corn for dinner then took my son to Mom's house around supper time to make sure he had a good meal. I didn't want Mom & Dad to know I didn't have groceries. I'd say that was poor. I got a good union job in a steel mill and I finally made enough to buy enough food to last all week. Stayed there for 30 years and now collecting a retirement and self sufficient, so don't knock unions till you've tried one.

    September 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      UNfortunately we need to go back to unions. Big business is killing the middle class this time. Let us get unions for our poor and for our middle class. I need a union for technology workers and information technology workers. Big business has taken control of both parties and will not let Americans have jobs over foreign temporary high tech workers on temporary work visas.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  17. whoopiepie

    I like being poor. I know who my friends are. I have the freedom to be creative in my artistic projects. I like mac& cheese and raman noodles. It isn't that bad... It has been worse. What really gets my gall is the WEALTHY decide our fate. All the politicians are millionares or near there ( what poor person wouldn't want their salary..be set for life) The poor haven't any voice in government.. IT IS A DICTATORSHIP OF THE WEALTHY. Mark my words the next war won't be a civil war it will be a CLASS WAR. We really need a third party..... THE POOR MAN"S PARTY.... It's already happening in other countries!

    September 22, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason Glugla

      The class war has been in progress since Ronald Reagan and the middle class and poor have been getting the crap kicked out of them.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  18. ???

    If I had the money that the republicans claim they have and hate the rest of the Americans as much as they do I would wire my money to the Cayman Islands or somewhere else jump on a plane and be done with it. There are countries with as much freedom as we claim to have.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • fatal42

      Then who would feed you ???? Obama

      September 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • I don't care about either

        Maybe you should learn to read,they said IF they had republicans money. There are NO jobs here.They make the rules to keeps us poor so pay for us or change the rules so we can live.

        September 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mary

    We truly have become the most selfish,greedy,uncaring,arrogant,cruel, country on the planet,if this is how you think about your fellow human beings.I can on shutter to think what kids in the future will have to endure.I guess some of you won't be happy until you see others starving on the street.I watch as someone starved to death literally helpless to do anything, it is not something the rich will want to see,so close your eyes and I'm sure it will go away. Pretend it is happening,that's seams to be the republicans way,ALWAYS blame the victim.

    September 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • bravotron

      I love how so many people classify all republicans as the rich when your party even claims that that the "rich" are 1 percent. I'm republican. I am not rich...along with the, roughly half, of the voting population. I would simply rather make my own decisions for my family and myself. I, too, give to my friends and family when they are in need. I don't need Robin Hood doing it for me. So don't classify all republicans as greedy like most of your party does. I have compassion for the needy, like most republicans

      September 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mary

        Then you will pay for someone's cancer treatment,a poor person that can't afford it.Go to your local hospital and ask if they have a needy person who can't pay and pay their bill. That is Charity And don't claim a tax write off.I bet you will never do that.

        September 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Caspian

        Mary, And that is what many churches do. They use a whole lot of the contributions to help the poor and needy among them. And if we all helped our local churches, there won't be as much poverty around either.

        September 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonja

      Mary I have seen things that you would not believe. I can tell you from experience there is a choice people can make. They can choose to be the victim or people can choose to empower themselves and change their lives in America. A lot of rich people donate to the poor, they pay taxes that pays for public assistance and are good and decent people. A lot of people donate because they are kind and they care. At some point I think that someone needs to stand up for the rich and say look they weren't the ones who made the decision to have children when they knew they couldn't afford it. They weren't the ones who chose for the poor not to continue their education. They weren't the ones choosing to pick up the crack pipe or the bottle. These are choices that millions of poor people make every day but then want to turn around and blame it on the rich. It's not the rich they just need to take a look at themselves in the mirror.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  20. JoJo

    I cannot believe that a person who doesn't even have the decency to understand the perpective of the poor, would make such a sad response to those in need. You have NO IDEA what situation people are in, so for you to make comments on it is just horrible. Take time to understand those around you, and don't be so freaking stubborn.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  21. rlcommenter

    Once a person received "assistance" they no longer can take a regular job for fear of losing the "assistance".... Work for cash when it's needed and never / never let on... Protect that "assistance"... Not hundreds doing this closer to 100's of thousands... Saying it's not so doesn't change the reality that it really does go on..

    September 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Emma in Baltimore

    People absolutely do not understand what it is to be poor. I remember the lady who baby sat us was extremely poor. Sometimes she would cry because she had bread but nothing to go with it to make her kids a sandwich. She used to say, "Thank God there's a free lunch program at the school so my kids can eat." When I was little, we were also poor, but we weren't THAT poor. No one can really understand feelings of hopelessness and entrapment that poverty brings, and anyone who is truly poor would never opt for government assistance over self-reliance. Anyone who thinks otherwise uses that as an excuse to justify their greed and arrogance.

    September 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  23. KittyKat

    I hot and I don't live in Cuba. A cold front is coming in later today though...moron

    September 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  24. The one

    The fathers of MR and Mrs Romney may have been hard working guys, but their kids are mocking the US population.

    Mr Romney's advice is like a big grotesque joke. Seeing him and a small bunch of wealthy guys disparaging half of the US was disgusting.

    September 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Very good point! I urge Americans to take a tour of Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty and learn about the history of immigrants who came to our shores during the 19th and 20th century. My ancestors came here as slaves in 1619 in Jamesburg Virginia but being the history buff that I am, I took a trip to Ellis Island in 2003 and I love it. The whole experience was touching and very margical to say the least. The scrolls on Lady Liberty says "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free." Yes, our nation didn't laugh at poor immigrants when they came hear for a better live. No, we opened our doors to the masses yearning to achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately Mitt the elitist Romney has forgotten about the values that make us a melting pot and the unique society that we are.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        We didn't have welfaremthen either. We didn't have people come here for Americans to support either. In reply to blah blah...

        September 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueRepublican

      My family had been Republican for many generations. Romney's mor(M)onic values are NOT our values! We had much better presidential candidates, but they did not have his church to push them in the first line.

      All the millions he donated to his church, came back to his campaign as donations.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Emma in Baltimore

        There's a book I'm reading right now called, "The Party's Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted," by Mike Lofgren, in which he discusses exactly what you're talking about. He worked for Republican congressmen for 28 years before he left in disgust when the fiscal crisis to place last summer. He still is a loyal Republican, but he's very disappointed with "the crazies" that seem to have taken over the party.

        September 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Fellow Atheist

    Closet Atheist – "poor people own just as many flatscreen TV's as more affluent households" I REALLY doubt the accuracy of this "claim"! I think that is pure B. S. ! I am considered middle to upper middle class, I am able to pay my mortgage, ALL my bills and still put some away in savings and I don't own ANY flatscreen TVs! I have several friends that I know make much less that I do and NONE of them have a flatscreen TV either!...

    September 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • closet atheist

      Don't shoot the messenger. The source is in the link. Did you bother to read the article?

      September 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • another closet atheist

        closet atheist, you are a phoney

        September 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • closet atheist

        What's a "phoney"...?? I suspect you meant "phony".... but what about me is phony?? You can see all my past posts if you like... comments on regular CNN as OvertaxedNYC.... i wouldn't go out of my way to create a persona. That's too much work.

        September 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • phoneeeyyy atheist

        haha, you're working so hard man, sound like a broken record

        September 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • closet atheist

        I'm still confused as to what is phony....

        September 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parentof6

      Then you probably don't own a tv. I don't think you can get anything but a flat screen anymore.

      September 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean

      I got a laugh reading your post. I don't have a flat-screen either. I have an ancient portable that will only stay on for fifteen minutes at a time, hence I don't watch much television. Cable? Why bother.

      September 22, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Miriam

      I hate to say this because I am in favor of supportive programs for the poor and working poor but a drive through the poor neighborhoods of my city one night, to see a friend who lives there showed homes with not only flat screen TVs but big screen TVs visible through the open doors . Yet my friend told me that the mother of the famiy next door, that had one of those tvs, was being evicted after 4 months for non payment of rent and their kids were always over at her house borrowing things. I can't undertand why anyone would do that when their kids lacked basics or they were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, but htey were. Mind, this is not all of the poor by a long shot. Many do without to get an education and have priorities in order and great values. That is how I was raised, also.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • MysteriaKiito

      Many do, but I don't think they bought it while they were poverty stricken. Just because someone owns something they probably couldn't afford doesn't mean they bought it anyways. They were probably well off before hand and then a job loss or something else occurred that put them into poverty. Then there ARE those that did buy it while "poor" but probably deal drugs to earn that money to buy things like that. Money the government wouldn't know about since there is no paper trail.

      September 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  26. closet atheist

    I posted the link... this isn't brain surgery.

    September 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  27. BBC

    Just did a search and CNN Money didn't run anything close to what you're saying. You are almost as disconnected from reality as Romney.

    September 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What's Mitt Romney's unlucky number? Well, its 47! As governor as MA, his state was 47th in job growth. The recent controversial video in which he accused 47% of Americans as being shiftless lazy Democrats is finally going to do him in. Want to bet President Obama takes 47 states in November? Hehe!

    Obama/biden 2012 by a LANDSLIDE!

    September 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  29. JB68

    The 2011 tax returns? What kind of a joke is this? How stupid does he think we are?

    September 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    A week from now, Romney will release his entire 2010 tax returns and a week later, his 2009 as he continues to fall further behind in the polls. Sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch. You shake it up as you go along. That is why this phony piece of fraud will never ever be POTUS.

    Obama/Biden 2012 by a LANDSLIDE!

    September 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  31. I understand

    I've been there after two downsizings. Hundreds of customized resumees sent out and very few answers can really do that to you. I was either overqualified or underqualified. I'd omit one of my degrees, and apply for jobs that would bring in a fraction of my last salary, and still no answer.

    That's why listening to former prep boy Romney (born into so much money and power, married to an equally wealthy wife), giving advice to the regular American guy about honest work and opportunity, just sickens me.

    Hang in there buddy.

    September 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  32. fiftyfive55

    You just described the "great depression"of the 30s and early 40s.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Margaret De Vido

    How do I know this–Because, I LIVE IT-"Nuff said

    September 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Margaret De Vido

    Being poor,is appreciating everything you've got,to the max-Making sure your family eats and drinks-before you-ensuring that your family has clothing and school supplies,and not knowing where you are going to get the resources for those needs...Doing "what you gotta do",to ensure family survival-Is "$8.00/ hr a "good deal?"–Not necessarily,but,at least I do have a job,to where I am taking care of my family...Which is how I was "brought up"-My mama did it,on only $500/month (70's)-She taught me alot...So,"being poor",is a way of life for me–But,I do my best that is humanly possible, to make it easier for my family...

    September 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      you sound wealthy as compared to rich. you have your priorities straight and you try and you care,that makes you a very wealthy person. Rich is in the wallet while wealth is in the heart.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Sparko

    Romney, the guy whose made millions laying workers off. Why does he seem to resent the poor when he is the one responsible for putting a good number in that class while his company profited from doing so? He should at the very least be able to show some concern for them. He above all other should know many are in that situation through no fault of their own.,

    September 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparko

      And why is the ONLY remedy you hear from Romney is more tax cuts for the so called "job creators"? He can sit there and tell people that yeah, what we all we need to do is make sure the wealthy have more money and that's going to help you. It worked so well for W, we gotta do it again! Might as well tell us he's got a magic wand to that will create jobs, there is as much evidence one will work as the other.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  36. NorCalMojo

    The problem is the working poor are too stupid to vote their wallets. Their wage base has been literally decimated by illegal immigration, but they keep voting for people who want to bring more in. If they're so dumb that they'd rather vote their ethnicity over their economic interests, they deserve what they get.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparko

      Its a very poorly kept secret that there are plenty in the GOP who want more illegals here. Cheap labor for business means greater profit. And profit trumps everything,anything and everyone.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      I sincerely hope you get poor. Forever.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I am so glad a brain trust self centered person such as you have all the answers. Go pray to Your god for more money. Hooray for you, right?

      September 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Kevin

    Wait. No abuse in churches????

    September 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Maggie

    Being poor is not having health insurance because you don't have a job and praying that you don't get sick or hurt. Because, let's face it, in America if you don't have health insurance, you might as well die.

    Being poor is being sad every. single. day.

    Being poor is being so thanful that your 80-year old mother is not poor.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      Well said Maggie .

      September 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me too

      I agree ,I live in fear that someone in my family will get sick.There is NO way we could pay for treatment,surgery,or other care. We would be left to die also. They keep telling me this is the greatest country on earth,but how can that be when we just let people die.We have a very long way to go!

      September 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Or having that $8 job and not being able to afford the health care your employer 'provides' because it would take 2/3 of you take home pay.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sally

        most 8 dollars an hour jobs the employer doesn't even offer insurance,and people can not afford the to pay 500.00 or more a month for insurance premiums on their own. I don't think people understand that you can't just walk into a hospital or doctors office and say treatment me. Most people think you can go to the ER and presto you get care or at least that's what they say to me. Just go to the ER.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Bo Darville

    Poor in the USA===Middle Class for a good 75% of the Earth's population

    September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparko

      I don't argue your point, but that does not mean we should ignore poverty, such as it is here. We as a nation need to be concerned about both.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • JB68

        Wow, how low you guys fell behind the Western European countries and and how ignorant if you compare yourselfes with the developing and underdeveloped coutries.

        Haha, keep watching the Holywood movies.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Deb Ed

    A safety net? Really? What?

    September 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Amused

    So when did helping lift people out of poverty stop being an American virtue? Didn't we all used to want to help the poor, not denigrate and hate them? I've made the decision between rent and food before, I know what it's like to be poor. I've been there. I was lucky enough to get out of it, but many others don't and can't. The poor are not to be hated, they are to be helped. Lazy, abusive, and selfish people of any income bracket deserve to be hated, denigrated, shunned, and ostracized.

    Dave, Susan, and Lord Toronga, this means you.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • remmett70

      I see people I would love to help every day. I don't have the money I wish I could use to help disabled and other veterans because government has taxed more away leaving me with less. Difference, is when I use my money to help, I know it is not being wasted. When government takes it, I know much of it is wasted.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Nothing wrong wiht helping the poor out, but Obama has made the socialist system a life support system for those people who choose not too work because it is too easy to access the federal programs. This is a generalization, but there is no incentive for the uneducated, hourly worker to get off government assistance. There should be a time limit. That would encourage pepole to stay in school adn givernment assistance a bad thing not the norm. We are 16 trillion in debt. Granted, the wars had something to do with that, but our solcial programs under Obama are responsible for the sustaining the debt.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sparko

        Never mind the recession. Of course the use of food stamps and other aid goes up during a tough economy. I wonder how many of the unemployed have been laid off by companies like Bain.......but shame on them for working for a company that went bust, they should have known better... its all about choices!

        September 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • yeahalright

        Please give some examples of the ways in which Obama has increased the number of people on various programs. Please cite a couple laws or executive orders he signed. I won't hold my breath.

        September 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • SeaJay

        Please... as if welfare and the safety nets Mittens likes were created by Obama. As if.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Really?

        And what about the almost 60 man with a family who lost his construction job? Schools grants are not available, no one is willing to hire him because of age even the food service jobs are not available to him because he has bad teeth from two bouts with scarlet fever as a young child and is unable to get them fixed. Because we are married we do not qualify for gov't asst., I have been told by many social and church workers that if I divorced him I could get help for myself and the kids. Sorry, I didn't marry this man to leave him for money, he deserves the help as much as I do. It doesn't help that his family simply says he should be going out to get a good job and health benefits, he applies to every job that comes available that he even might qualify for. The kicker is even our kids teachers ridicule them for not having the latest cell phone, when they need to call for a ride they have to use the school phones and get a lot of flak for bothering the office.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Wallenstein

      AMEN! Truly, I hope that we, as a country, have not degenerated to such an egregious state of cynicism and amorality that we resent and deride our fellow citizens who need our assistance to lift themselves out of poverty!

      September 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What is a handout? Relief to victims of a natural desaster is a handout! Ask the red states in the Gulf!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  43. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What is a handout? Casting your vote for a politician is a handout!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  44. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What is a handout? No matter how Romney tries to spin it, food stamps and welfare to the millions of Americans who vote republican are handouts even if he intentionally ommits them from the 47%!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  45. Being Poor Means

    I don't think Romney is a true Mormon, otherwise he wouldn't say what he said about the 47%

    September 21, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  46. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What is a handout? Emergency surgery to republicans who don't have health insurance is a handout!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  47. steve

    What about people like me, who are disabled and cannot work? I have no money for foo, heat, air, cable nothing.when I apply for any assistance I am told I get enough. you try to live life on $900.00 per month screw anyone but you just do not see the full picture.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb Ed

      Well said, Steve. I'm on disability also. And We are also in that "between a rock and a hard spot" where we make too much money for any kind of assistance. We never eat out, or bring home take out food. Never buy chips, dip, sodas, cookies, candies or anything like that. For us, it would be a luxury.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I'm sorry Steve. There are millions of us who are trying our hardest to open the eyes of those who refuse to see reality. Hang in there and don't give up.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • remmett70

      You want the truth. If goverment would quit wasting tax payer dollars, and stop the waste and abuse of the system. There would be more money available to those who really need it. And there would be more money available for us to give to organizations designed to help.

      Help get government out of the way, and you will be better off.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Merle McClung

        Rem, it was government that crashed the economy, it was banks and mortgage lenders and Wall Street, all "too big to fail". Which do you think we spent more on, the bank bailout or help to the disadvantaged that year?

        I'm now on Social Security and I've never been this poor. I have a part-time job in addition to my SS check and I still make only about $15,000 a year. I was a reporter for years, then a development director for nonprofits and finally an agency director. Then I sold real estate. I didn't know that would hurt my SS earnings in the future.

        I worked hard, paid my own way through college, tried to help people and did! and this is what I have left? Bush's Great Recession made it so much worse as prices climb, wages (if you can find a job) are about 40 percent less than BEFORE the recession for the 99 percent.

        I would be doing much better if George Bush would have stuck to baseball.

        September 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • remmett70

        banks and lenders were forced to lower their standards because government (under clinton) decided they were going to use the housing market to prop up the economy to prevent a recession. And they lowered the standards. And guess what. Even then banks and lenders didn't follow. Not until, fly by nights came along and started lending to those the banks were turning down. So banks started losing business because they were being responsible.

        Of course they had to follow and lower their standards to keep from losing business. All because of government. But regardless of the standards. Nobody was ever forced to sign a mortgage. It was always their choice. So the simple truth is that governemt, and people are to blame.

        As for your situation. If you didn't not plan properly, and foolishly believed the SS was a retirement plan, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

        September 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kevin

        Another gem –
        "Of course they had to follow and lower their standards to keep from losing business. All because of government. But regardless of the standards. Nobody was ever forced to sign a mortgage. It was always their choice. So the simple truth is that governemt, and people are to blame."

        Such a great contradiction in such little space. Of course the banks had to lower their standards. But no one forced someone to sign a mortgage. Banks blameless for making bad investments. However, common people are very culpable for their part in engaging in a fraudulent housing market.

        September 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
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