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View Diary: More graphs on poverty and how to fight it - or not (83 comments)

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  •  Return of the Welfare Queen (4.00)
    OGMAFB (Oh give me a fucking break).

    How do defense contracts effect the reproductive behaviour of Halliburton executives? Or ag subsidies  influence contraceptive use among ADM stockholders? How does bloated federal funding for Harvard effect Ecstasy consumption rates in Cambridge?

    In a society that lets poor people drown when it rains its a little hard to stomach this response to people having children. I don't know if your "expectation" is correct or not. But I do know that the children of the rich cost the rest of us a hell of a lot more than the children of the poor.

    And your assumptions that the poor are all getting big checks from the government is just fucking wrong. William Jefferson Clinton pretty much completely gutted the flimsy welfare system we once had.

    Show your sister and her kids some love and dispense with the moral superiority please.

    "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

    by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:12:07 AM PDT

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    •  I never said (none)
      she was getting big checks from the government (just wic and healthcare for her kid(s)).  She works full time, but my question was more one of how we administer these programs.  Has a study been done to see how the child tax credit or EITC are spent by poverty level recipients?  Would a better practice be to automatically place some (or all) of this money into an account for the child to use to go to college (so they may have that opportunity) so we can prevent financially irresponsible parents from blowing the money on smokes and beer (do most children actually benefit from the CTC or EITC?).
      •  She works full time. (4.00)
        Shouldn't anyone who works full time be able to support their family?

        How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

        by furryjester on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:37:44 AM PDT

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      •  "Financially Irresponsible Parents" ?!? (4.00)
        Look, if some folks spend some of their TANF on cigarettes or beer, I don't think thats any of my business. Not while Blackwater execs are quaffing fine wines and smoking Cuban cigars. The point isn't that poor people don't sometimes make foolish financial choices. The point is that the paternalistic obsession over controlling them isn't sincerely rooted in concern over fiscal responsibility as it is by an ideological notion that the poor are individually to blame for their plight and should be punished when in fact poverty is a STRUCTURAL feature of our economy that is the result of conscious and deliberate policy choices that benefit the rich.

        "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

        by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 07:14:35 AM PDT

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      •  just curious: what is your idea of a (none)
        "big" check? Like in dollar amount.
      •  EITC well used (none)
        Several years ago I read a report about the Earned Income Tax Credit and it said (and my experience reinforced) that the money is used by families to make large lump sum payments, mostly for wise uses.  Some of the uses I can remember where:  pay down of credit cards; purchase of a good vehicle for transportation;  I'm not sure what else.  In fact, in the discussions at the beginning of Bush's first term it was suggested to remove the lump payment and make it only a monthly payment.  This was not done for the obvious reason that one then considers it a regular part of income and the money will melt away into monthly expenses - not necessarily improving the household's economic standing.  The EITC is very effective.

        And no, I don't have any links right now....

        •  A bigger waste of money (4.00)
          is the money spent auditing people who received the EITC. The government gets very little back in return; it would garner far more from auding the rich. But of course, it doesn't.

          Read Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston.

          •  And don't forget... (none)
            ..also from "Perfectly Legal" (a must-read for any Kossack), how tax prep firms like H&R Block can legally charge usuarious interest rates for their EITC "loans" by disguising them as "fees."  And, on top of that, when they give you the loan check, they conveniently have a cashing station nearby that also charges outrageous fees for the privelege of getting you your money (so they get you coming and going).

            It's reverse Robin-hooding at its finest.

            Oh, and somewhat O/T, but something that I've personally experienced, what about our fine financial institutions that we call "banks" and their "fees" for overdraft charges?  My bank has a $30 fee for ANY overdraft, no matter how small.  And considering that these overdrafts are merely coming from credit card purchases linked to my checking account, it's not like they're actually losing money on it. I've essentially been handed a tiny loan with OUTRAGEOUS interest.  And in return, I routinely give them a small loan each month for which I am paid NO interest. How is that fair?

            The best part is that their proposed solution for overdraft protection is not to link it to a savings account like some banks do, but rather to a line of credit with again, insane interest rates.  No thank you.

            People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

            by viget on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 09:47:18 AM PDT

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        •  anecdotal evidence (none)
          I used to qualify for EIC and yes, it was like a big bonus check that I used to pay down credit card bills or pay off any outstanding (typically medical) bills, or buy bigger-ticket items such as (cheap) furniture or used appliances that I'd otherwise be unable to afford. The first time I qualified, I'd only made about $7500 income for the whole year. I never got more than about $1500 in EIC, though, so it never really went that far.

          Sometimes EIC is put into savings, but at such low income levels it rarely stays in savings accounts for very long due to emergency car repairs, etc. Most people I know who receive EIC save what they can and then spend it on necessities, because they otherwise have to do without during the year because of such low income. So anyone who thinks how EIC is spent needs to be studied needs to consider their own motives for wanting to know.

          How do you spend your tax refund? People who qualify for EIC would just love to know how some people with income tax refunds get to actually spend their refunds on fun stuff like vacations. Or get to actually save it towards their kids' college educations.

          It sucks ass to be poor.

          "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

          by rioduran on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:10:56 AM PDT

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      •  let's see (4.00)
        $10/hr x 40hours x 4 wks =$1600 month
        2 people (mom, child)

        rent        $800
        utilities    200
        food         300
        clothes       50
        childcare    400
        gas          200
        car pmt      150
                   ___

                   $2100

        Leading a pretty frugal life, and not including any healthcare problems (no cough syrup or apsirins, or God forbid ,visits to the doctor)Your relative is in the hole to start. I challenge you to live on this, and set aside for your child's education and his healthcare.

        I think your idea of a set aside for education is great. But I'm not sure if punishing a child in poverty, by making his life even more poor, while he waits to get his education, makes the child or society better off.

        I think we ,as a society, are better off when that child is taken care of while still a child, Less crime, lower doctor bills, and more able members of society are produced.

           That is why I have no problem setting aside for the poor, but huge problems setting aside for the wealthy, as Mr. Bush would rather do. Because it is NOT in MY best interest to live in a country where a few have everything, and the rest struggle to survive. I pay more for everything this way, and the society I live in is stressed to the max trying to survive, just so a few can say "I am better than you. You just need to try harder."

        Could your life stand up to the examination and judgement you have made of someone else's. With the same set of circumstances could you, or would you, be able to make the sacrifices necessary to change your life, all by yourself, with no help from anyone.

        Mythology is what we call other people's religion-Joseph Campbell

        by Sherri in TX on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:04:42 AM PDT

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        •  You left out (none)
          Social security tax, taken from the income of those who can't afford it, but not a proportionate share of the income of the truly rich.

          Social security should be entirely funded by taxing income over $50,000 a year. Instead, it's the exact opposite.

    •  On Clinton and welfare (none)
      The Unicef report shows clearly that social transfers toward the poor decreased during the nineties by -6.4%. I expect that corresponds to the Clinton welfare cuts.

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