Social Question

Rangie's avatar

Everybody talks about poverty around the world, what about the poverty right here in the US?

Asked by Rangie (3620 points ) April 24th, 2010

I hear about poverty every day right here in the United States, but nobody every talks about it. Living in a 3rd world country doesn’t make poverty any worse. Poverty is poverty.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

107 Answers

earthduzt's avatar

I don’t think thats true, poverty has different levels in my opinion. Go to the slums of India where mothers send their little girls out to prostitute or they amputate a child’s limb just to send them out on the streets for sympathy and to collect money. I’ve been there and it is the saddest thing, it makes any poor neighborhood here in the US look filthy rich. We here in the US take care of our own and have the resources to, but there are some poor nations that couldn’t even if they tried or wanted to. Panama which I don’t think is considered 3rd world, has slums that make our “slums” or Ghettos look like Beverly Hills. Even our poorest people are “plump”.

I suppose poverty though is a relative term, but to me there is definite levels of poverty, and no matter where you live in the US there is a whole lot worse out there.

netgrrl's avatar

While I agree we should fix our own problems at home, there is a huge difference.

Few of us have to walk miles every day for something as simple as clean drinking water, for instance.

slick44's avatar

@Rangie… Thank you! I have been saying that all along. i believe in helping othes, but we need to help our own first.

Rangie's avatar

I have seen pictures of children right here in this country, skinny as a rail and obviously hungry. That should not happen at any level in this country. We are too civilized to cut off arms of children. But starvation is starvation.

filmfann's avatar

Look at the poor of Haiti. They have NO CHANCE without outside help.
The poor here have hope, and they have more help than you appreciate.

slick44's avatar

Children go to bed hungry right here as well. People are living in the streets ect. right here in our own backyards.

slick44's avatar

The help always has to come from the u.s, is there no one else that can help.

Rangie's avatar

@filmfann I don’t want to look at the poor in Haiti, until we have no poor here. I care about them, honestly, but we don’t let our own children (and they are our own) go hungry because of waste of funds. I am not just talking about feeding the poor around the world. But the government has an obligation to our own children first. I the people of this country want to donate to other countries, then more power to them. I have no problem with that.

earthduzt's avatar

It’s not about being civilized it’s about survival for them and well people get desperate, better to cut off someones arm off than have everyone in the family starve to death but see we will never understand that because we just don’t have it as bad. Yes there are thin starving people here but every place has exceptions to every rule, but for the most part you do not see it as much here because we have the resources to help our own. We have food drives, Christmas dinners for the homeless, toys for tots, charities etc, third world countries do not have those type of internal support mechanisms.

Rangie's avatar

I personally don’t want my tax dollars going to some silly pork for some politician. I want it to go for basic human rights, like food, clothing, and housing. Is that asking too much of our government?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

>>>>>> THIS <<<<<< Article is quite relevant to this topic.

The following is an excerpt from the article. It has quite a few interesting statistics:

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

“How Poor Are America’s Poor? Examining the ‘Plague’ of Poverty in America”

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of “poor” persons in the U.S. In 2005, the Bureau found 37 million “poor” Americans. Presi­dential candidate John Edwards claims that these 37 million Americans currently “struggle with incredible poverty.”[1] Edwards asserts that America’s poor, who number “one in eight of us…do not have enough money for the food, shelter, and clothing they need,” and are forced to live in “terrible” cir­cumstances.[2] However, an examination of the living standards of the 37 million persons, whom the government defines as “poor,” reveals that what Edwards calls “the plague”[3] of American poverty might not be as “terrible” or “incredible” as candi­date Edwards contends.

But, if poverty means (as Edwards asserts) a lack of nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, then very few of the 37 million people identified as living “in poverty” by the Cen­sus Bureau would, in fact, be characterized as poor. Clearly, material hardship does exist in the United States, but it is quite restricted in scope and severity.

The average “poor” person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines. The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

I highly recommend reading the article. Even if you disagree, it is backed up with US Census statistics and is written well. :-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The differences should not be based upon comparing poverty levels.

The differences should be considered based upon comparing levels of opportunity.

netgrrl's avatar

I think it’s all very well to talk about what our government should be doing to cure problems like poverty & homelessness at home.

What I’d like to see is more individuals doing something in our own country to effect a change.

It’s all very well to talk about it, but how many do anything except make sure our own bellies are well-filled?

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt I understand what you are saying, but, ours are overlooked more than not. I don’t think our government should be doing so much outside this country, before they fix what is wrong right here. It is not just food I am talking about. It would be my bet that the groups of folks collecting for the poor around the world, are sending more things overseas, than anyone is doing for our children.

earthduzt's avatar

Try telling our govt to stop subsidizing these 3rd world countries with their own cash crop food, then maybe some of these countries could rise up from the ashes. Example, one of Ghana’s main cash crop is rice, there are tons of local farmers there that grown it but guess what we subsidize them and donate millions of tons of guess what RICE to them. The locals then buy our rice because it is cheaper and better because we have the technology to grow “good” rice. Why not subsidize them with something that they don’t grow so they can get maybe some sort of local economy going. Their rice farmers have almost given up because they just cannot compete with our rice. Now if that’s not a shady maneuver done by the US I don’t know what is.

“Let us be clear. The biggest problem facing farmers in the developing world are the subsidies the west provides to its own farmers. These are deeply unfair.”

“If the west is truly serious about making poverty history, then agricultural subsidises must be abolished,”

Typee's avatar

We must take care of our own first (USA), then reach out to the world. We need to be whole ourselves, to be able to help others.You can talk about living in little shacks, but many of those living in little shacks are much happier and healthier than our poor who live in seemingly better conditions. Its a poverty of happiness and health that we should be concerned at doing something about.

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt I don’t object as much to feeding outside this country, as I do, spending billions to build silly things like a lumber mill in countries like Saudi Arabia. Maybe a little exaggerated, but you get my meaning. Waste, that could be put to much better use. Some of these children that are being deprived a quality balanced diet, could be the ones that grow up and discover something for humanity that would be unbelievable. But, what chance does their little brain have if not fed properly?

DominicX's avatar

Look, I’m usually the last person to be pessimistic, but we’ll never abolish poverty in the U.S. So does that mean that we just never help anyone else because we can’t ever end it here? How much poverty has to be gotten rid of before we help other countries?

filmfann's avatar

Okay, let me try to explain how I feel about this.
Your house is flooded. You pump out the water from one room, but because of the arcitecture, the water doesn’t go down from the others.
Do you wait until you mop up all the water in the one room, even the constant dripping under the sink that can’t be fixed, or do you start pumping seriously high water out of some of the other rooms?
We will always have poor in this country. Always. It’s a given.
We can save millions of lives with help to other countries, with minimal aid.

Rangie's avatar

@DominicX most of it. The government has a duty to the people including children in this country first. You and others can donate to other countries, nobody has a problem with that. But, we can’t just give up because you say we will never get rid of it. We must try.

Jayy's avatar

Sooner or late you will realise this world thrives on relative difference. There cannot be filthy rich without people that are fighting to stay alive income wise.
It would take an amount of 5 earth’s resources to satisfy resource consumption if the whole planet were to live highly developed like America.

Rangie's avatar

@filmfann I want to say how dare you. So I should let my flooded house go down without a fight, because it looks impossible. How can you justify not feeding children, because there will always be the poor in this country. If left up to you, there will be much more. I do my part right here. I don’t want my tax dollars going out of this country, unless I have a way of voting on it. And since I can’t do that, let me keep more of my money, so I can help more right here.

Cruiser's avatar

Poverty, hunger and the unnecessary suffering and death that goes with abject poverty is a cross any civilized society must carry. But that being said, it is also up to those who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances to not breed and bring more mouths to feed into this world. I know it is easier said than done and birth control programs are a mainstay of many relief efforts in 3rd world countries.

Rangie's avatar

@Cruiser great answer. Birth control should be a larger part of the education in this country as well. However, I personally know of individuals that have said, the more babies, the more money. Their thinking is not that of an educated person. There are things we all can do to help advance these conditions to a better state. We need to listen more carefully, ask more questions of our politicians, before we commit to vote.

netgrrl's avatar

We need to vote with our feet, as it were. Change comes from the grass roots. In 2009, about 61.8 million Americans volunteered through organizations, giving 8.1 billion hours of service worth approximately $162 billion to America’s communities.

Think how much more could be accomplished if every able-bodied adult volunteered just 8 hours of their time a month.

Rangie's avatar

I am sure most of you know by now, that I am a conservative person. Not only in my life, I believe being conservative should be something our government should practice as well. And set their priorities, starting at the grass roots.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go around just handing things to people, because I believe that enables them to never do anything. But, you know if I wasn’t conservative in my own life, I would not be able to help anybody.

earthduzt's avatar

Alot of times they need those extra hands to help carry on what little semblance of survival they can muster, to them the more hands they have the better off the survival for their family is. Again its like us humans trying to fathom how big a googolplex to the 40th power is, we here in the US have never had to deal with such poverty I don’t care how poor you are here…we have shelters and tons of support groups here, their methods for survival are just not fathomable by us. As some stated already, poverty will never be eradicated so as a “civilized” society it should be in our best human interests to attempt to give everyone some sort of decent life.

Want to donate a little rice? Click this it’s fun, free, and you might actually learn a word or two :)

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt I feel like you are justifying the way things are here in this country. Yes there are shelters and tons os support groups here, but are they getting to the people that need them? I don’t think so. Do you donate or do your part right here in this country. There are a great many people sleeping out in the freezing rain in the winter right here. Where is their shelter. A newspaper. I don’t think this is funny.

Rangie's avatar

@Everyone, I am not asking anyone to tell me or anyone else, what they are doing to help solve the poverty situation right here in the United States. But I do challenge you, to ask your self, what you have done or are doing.

slick44's avatar

People this is indeed a no win situation. there is so much help needed not only here, but everywhere. I guess as human beings we must try to do what we can, where we can, when we can. and god help us all.

earthduzt's avatar

@rangie did I say this is funny? Did I laugh about this? But again WE HAVE the resources to help our own and we do so, no we cannot get everyone here at once and it will never go away 100%. In the meantime though we should help others in need, especially ones that cannot turn to their own people to help them out.

slick44's avatar

You no what? if people like oprah and all the oter big wigs gave 1 million dollars out of their pockets., the whole world would be ok. No one needs 5 homes and 7 cars and so on. see where i am going with this.

earthduzt's avatar

@rangie and to answer the question about me donating and helping out our country, yes I do…every Christmas I donate my time and some money to help feed the homeless, we have a very large event here in our city. So yes I do help out but I alone don’t have unlimited resources to end it all or even do as much as I would like to do, but every little bit counts. In the meantime I donate my time in other parts of the world also…I have been to many 3rd world countries and helped them out by providing them with some very basic skills and comfort to help them through some black days that you and I could never image.

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt And I am asking do you? I am not an idealist, believe me. But You don’t seem to understand what I am asking. Look at all the pork the politicians have been getting for years. How much of that is accounted for? Why are all these politician living so high. Why are they trading pork for favors. No, I am not talking about just this administration. So don’t even go there. There is billions going to waste. Forget paying the farmers not to grow. Tell them to plant something else, if there is too much of something. Oh well, I need to talk to somebody that cares.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Rangie do you realize that if Truman had given foreign aid to Ho Chi Minh when he requested a relatively small sum he would never have turned to Russia for aid and thereby averted the Vietnam war? How many lives and dollars could have been saved with just a small amount of foreign aid?

Having major instability in a foreign nation can affect us here at home. To pretend this isn’t so is naive. Aid should be distributed intelligently for sure, but it has the potential to be cheaper in the long run.

Pork is 1% of the budget by the way. It needs to be eliminated to be sure, but it’s foolish to think America’s Financial problems will be solved once we mange to cut out the wasteful spending.

slick44's avatar

@Rangie… do not waste your breath any longer, on people you cannot change, no sence in arguing on a losing battle with @earthduzt

Rangie's avatar

@gorillapaws I an not say no foreign aid. I am saying no stupid foreign aid. And it does exist. Please don’t come back and say name one. You know it exists. I believe exactly what you mean about foreign aid for the right reasons.
That pork whether it be 1% or more, would feed many children here in our country.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Rangie I can agree with that. I think helping out hati could help stave off a flood of illegal hatians desperate for survival for example.

earthduzt's avatar

See I’m just going on the original question, sounds to me that the original question was straight forward in what was being asked. Now has changed to pork barrel spending by our govt. Yes there is pork spending and there always will be it’s in the nature of humans to do such things when people reach such pillars of power. What, can we vote these pork spenders out of office? Oh then we’ll get the next gen in and they will do the same thing.

We cannot say though to families that have been brought up through generations, “oh we subsidize you with what you grow already and have learned to grow and we won’t stop, so tough, grown something else” that is completely wrong and elitist in attitude or it at least sounds that way to me.

slick44's avatar

I am going to lighten the mood and say, why are we arguing. its 305 am. lol

Rangie's avatar

@gorillapaws Yes, I will concede that. They had a terrible thing come down on them. But there has to be a time to stop and come home. We never seem to come home. I look at our country as a family on a much bigger scale than my house, neighborhood, city, county, state. We are all related via our Country. It is our job to install people that think the way of our family. This is not a political issue for me. This is an issue of humanity. I would never say, well I have just too many kids, which one will I feed tonight. I would scrub floor, dig ditches, or whatever I could do to feed them. On the same note, we as relatives to this nation, we need to do the same for our children.

Rangie's avatar

@slick44 where are you? It is 12:05 here.

gorillapaws's avatar

I also think that the ultimate long-term solution to the illegal immigration problem with Mexico will involve helping Mexico build an economy that can support it’s people. And I’m not talking about writing checks to a corrupt Mexican government is the way to do it. I think it probably has to do more with trade and financial policies.

slick44's avatar

@Rangie u.s michigan, and you?

slick44's avatar

@Rangie… WOW didnt realize there was that big of a time difference

Rangie's avatar

@gorillapaws Yes, maybe off topic a little, but you are right about Mexico. That government has resources, but will not use them for the benefit of the people. That is one of the good types of aid. It is the enabling of people to the point they just expect it and continue to live that way, because the US will send them food that I have a problem with. Help those that will help themselves. Even in this country.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’ll never understand the idea of “our” people and other people. Ya’ll are strangers to me. There is no reason that geography and nationality should be the determining factor of whether or not people in need deserve help. Yuck. I cannot even fathom the thought.

slick44's avatar

@tinyfaery… you are right. but the point is, to help your own first.

Rangie's avatar

@tinyfaery Well, get a grip my friend. would you let your family starve to feed someone on the other side of the world? There are choices to be made. You can’t just stick your head in a hole and say I can’t even fathom the thought. What do you think?

Rangie's avatar

I really don’t know, but who wrote that saying “Charity begins at home”?

tinyfaery's avatar

My own? So my immediate family? Ok? Then fuck the rest? What difference does it matter where they live, then? “My own” are fine.

slick44's avatar

Did anyone notice this is the only thread open?

holden's avatar

This mentality of “helping our own first” needs to stop right now. My countrymen are no more “my kind” then are the people in Haiti, in Sudan, in Indonesia, or anywhere else on the planet. I am no more a kin to you because I come from the same country, than I am a kin to anyone else. There is suffering everywhere. There is poverty everywhere. The United States is one of the few countries that has the manpower or resources to reduce or mitigate the suffering of other nations. Where we have the power, we have the responsibility to help others. As the richest and largest first-world nation on earth, we cannot afford to alienate ourselves by hoarding our loot.

We are all children of the world, and we are only as strong as our weakest link.

Rangie's avatar

@tinyfaery You need to decide just who your own are. Are your immediate family, or the greater US family?

Rangie's avatar

@holden Thank you sir. I disagree with you.

tinyfaery's avatar

If it’s beyond my family, then you are all strangers. The homeless I see on the way to work and the homeless in Haiti are one and the same. Geographic proximity does not mean that these people should mean more to me than a dying child in India.

@holden Has adequately expressed my opinion. Good night. I’m sleepy.

holden's avatar

@Rangie that’s fine. I do not need to validate my beliefs by your agreement.

Rangie's avatar

@holden I propose we agree to disagree. Thank you

augustlan's avatar

Show me an American child that looks like this one from Sudan. Then we can talk about how poverty in the US is the same as poverty elsewhere.

CodePinko's avatar

It is temporarily considered hip to disregard American issues. It is much more trendy to be concerned with such problems in other nations, no matter what the cost to American citizens.

jrpowell's avatar

@Rangie :: Just fess up. You don’t give shit about any poor people.

This is really what you are about: “And since I can’t do that, let me keep more of my money, so I can help more right here. buy another RV”

I fixed that for you.

What we send to other countries in aid is nothing compared to what we spend on bombs and planes to drop bombs. If you want to bitch about taxes start with the military. <—That is the money we are wasting.

For fun… This is per capita.

Military spending: $2,361 per year in 2008
Foreign Aid: $78 per year in 2006
source

If you really cared you would be bitching about the Pentagon.

Rangie's avatar

@johnpowell Have we met? You seem to think you know me. Well Mr. I don’t know you and I certainly don’t want to. You have no idea what I do with my time or money. You are a very presumptuous person aren’t you?
How dare you condemn somebody that cares and is trying to do something about the wrongs in this country. How dare you. I hope you sleep well.

CodePinko's avatar

Ahh. The extremes of political correctness: If an individual wants to keep his own hard earned money then he clearly doesn’t care about poor people.

@johnpowell said: “If you really cared you would be bitching about the Pentagon”. How does weakening our defense keep the poor safer from invasion?

Rangie's avatar

@augustlan Did I say the same? No, I said hungry is hungry. I don’t think just feeding these people is the answer. Yes, they need food, but they need education too, and if we say there are stipulation that come with this food. Education and enforcement is mandatory. I am not saying let children starve anywhere. I am saying more can be done for all starving people there and right here at home, if we hold the crooks feet to the fire, that are running this country. But, no we just sit by and let them piss the money in the wind. Oh I think I will vote for him, he is so cute. Doesn’t know shit, but he’s cute. BS. I now the people in this country are smarter than that. Well, I certainly hope so.

Rangie's avatar

@CodePinko You can say that again. Oh, I think I will adopt that little child from another country, because it is the thing the elite are doing. BS again. There are many children right here that need homes, food, clothing, education and love. But, nobody will take notice, so I will do what gets noticed, and people will say Oh what a nice thing to do. Take care of our children right her damn it.
Yes,@CodePinko?

earthduzt's avatar

@CodePinko wrong, it is now what we as a prosperous nation are able to do for others that cannot do whether it be their corrupt govt, natural causes or lack of economy. Again we have many support groups here in our country that take care of our own but we will not be able to wipe any of it out completely. So lets say we just help our own forget about everyone else. We clear up our own poverty but the minute we direct our attention elsewhere we get people here right back into it,so therefore we would never be able to help anyone out with this “clear up our own poverty” because it will be endless (again, you will never be able to eradicate it completely anywhere) but lets give a little humanity back to those that have to take such drastic measures as selling their sons or daughters into slavery, or doing such things as taking hot skewers and burning out thier baies eyes in order to get sympathy when begging for a little bit of money…No where in the US is it THAT bad, but there are places in the world where it is THAT bad! I’ve seen it, and talked to some of these people it is heart wrenching and you know what they just want to be happy just like you and I. So the rationale that this is just “the in” thing t o do is completely wrong. It’s simply the fact we have the resources to help out, we are all humans, it is not anyone’s fault where they were born….it’s a shame most people today lack compassion and cannot see past “their center of the universe complex” and cannot put themselves in others shoes. For as prosperous as a nation we are we sure as hell can help out other people besides those that live on this part of the Earth that we reside in. To consider it hip to want to help other people out is very shallow indeed, we are no better than anyone else on this planet.

augustlan's avatar

@Rangie I’m sorry to disagree, but you did say that. Taken directly from your details section:

Living in a 3rd world country doesn’t make poverty any worse. Poverty is poverty.

I beg to differ. Poor children in the US do not go days without eating (unless they are being abused by their guardians), nor are they refused emergency medical care, nor are they denied an education. The poor in our country are very much better off than those in third world countries. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about “our” poor, or not try to improve their lot in life. But it does mean they are a hell of a lot better off than many others. BTW, I am only slightly above the poverty line for an American.

Rangie's avatar

@augustlan Point well taken. Aside from what others may believe, I am not a closed minded individual. I see these children from other countries and it sickens me. Sure I want to help them, but I have been seeing this for 60 some years. It is not getting any better. There has to be a better way for us to do this, not only for American children but children everywhere. My biggest issue is I don’t think the money managers in this country have their right priorities in the right order. You are right about the medical, but still there are those with children sleeping in gutters eating out of garbage cans.
I believe some people make accusations towards other people to take the guilt off of themselves. We all need to help somebody everyday if necessary.

earthduzt's avatar

Yes the people in those countries need education and not just food to rise out of their unfortunate conditions, but our govt does not really want that, we want these countries dependent on our dollar. You think we subsidize them with their own cash crop accidentally? Or that we pay off their govts to keep certain political people in that counrty in power, ones we know don’t give a shit about their people and only gives a shit about padding their own pockets.Therefore we should not depend on our govt to do anything productive for the most part. We as individuals should do our own part, take a trip to one of these impoverished lands or hell if you can’t afford it volunteer here to help the homeless. I’ll bet that most people are to wrapped up in their own little world and just talk the talk but don’t actually walk the walk…well I have done both here and abroad and I will continue to do it, if I can affect one persons life and then they can affect their next generation with whatever it is I taught them then that is good enough for me and I know I have done my best for this planet we live on and the species that habitats it. Shitty govts wont go away, even the most squeaky clean person, once they get a little bit of power can become corrupt, and once again we can say “oh I would never” but most of us haven’t been a top level govt position like that and so we cannot really answer that, I know I couldn’t.

CodePinko's avatar

@earthduzt : ‘Solutions’ to poverty cannot be legislated, here or elsewhere. Donate to the charity of your choice.

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt Thank you. I wish I had a way with words. But, I don’t, and never will. Now, due to sever health problems, I can’t travel. But, I can and do help right her in my city. I find a way to hire a single mother of one child. She does the difficult things around my house that I can’t. I try to keep her busy and I find other work for her. She is a hard worker and deserves the help. I purchase pallets of goods at liquidation prices and sell the goods for what I have in them. I don’t make any money. These individuals that could not afford to buy a comforter set for there bed that would cost the $400, can buy it from me for $30. I divide my cost by the number of items and that is that. These are proud people and are not looking for something for free, just something they need that they can afford. There are many things we all can do. But how many do it?

earthduzt's avatar

@Rangie I commend you for that, and don’t think I was attacking you this whole time…but if you can tell this is a very strong view I have on this subject. Yeah most people do not do anything and just depend on our govt to do such things. You know I have never donated to a charity. I actually go out there. I will not donate to charity because more than half those charities will not give the money you donated to the cause you donated to…they may get one percent of what you donated..and the rest is to pay off Sally Struthers or the private jet these people in the “higher up” positions “require”. Like I said I’ve been to India, Trinidad, and Panama (lived in each of those countries for some time) helping and volunteering. I also volunteer to help out during the holidays. I know I’ve made a difference in some people’s lives. I’m glad to hear that you have as well.

Response moderated
crankywithakeyboard's avatar

The poor in America at least have an opportunity for education. Even in the worst schools here there are kids getting good educations-taking advantage of what they are offered-and changing their lives. It’s not easy but with education Americans have a chance of getting out of poverty. In many of these other places, there are no schools or girls aren’t allowed to learn or a caste system is in place. If you haven’t been involved in education or social work, you probably have no idea of all the extra incentives and programs in place to help the poor here in America. Most people would be amazed.

To me there is a huge difference.

laureth's avatar

First, let me say that I grew up in poverty in America. We didn’t have $30 to spend on a $400 comforter – we needed that $30 for groceries for the week. We ate government cheese on top of government powdered eggs. We lived in a godawful trailer park. Etc.

As many people here are saying, being poor in the richest country in the world is different from being poor in an impoverished nation. I didn’t have to make a lean-to out of rubble and a sheet of plastic, I had a (godawful) trailer. I didn’t have to kill bush meat for food, we actually had government cheese and eggs and food stamps to buy potatoes for dinner. It wasn’t much, but we also were not prone to scurvy and rickets. I got to go to school.

That said, I’d like to say this. Here is a (summarized) conversation I hear so very often when this subject comes up:

Conservative American: Why do we have to give foreign aid to poor people around the world? We have poor people right here to help!

Poor American: Awesome, can I have a dollar?

Conservative American: Why should I give you any money, lazy bum? Why won’t you work for it?

This usually sounds (to an ear used to hearing it) like “any excuse not to spend money on anything.” Yes, there are many good people who do drop their change in the little “homeless shelter collection bank” at the register and feel like they’ve done a good deed, and even people who try to live in a good way and help, but those good folks are few and far between. There are poor people all over the world. Want to help? Pick one and do it. But the world’s poor are no less important than our own. Human suffering is human suffering.

jca's avatar

@Rangie : i have to disagree with you. in the United States, we have programs that are federally funded, such as WIC (Women, Infants, Children) that give out vouchers for milk, cheese, eggs, juice, formula for people under a certain income level (no matter why the people are not working, no matter if the parents are citizens or not). We have HUD subsidized housing like Section 8, also federally funded. Many communities have food pantries, where people can go for a meal or for bags of groceries. School lunch programs, federally funded provide breakfast and lunch so no child goes hungry during the school day. Maybe not gourmet food, but it’s food. So we are helping those at home. I have been to Mexico, where the pope visited and yet still said that the citizens should not practice birth control, as is the Catholic way, and yet people in Mexico, including children, stand in fields of garbage all day picking things they can to sell or eat. No WIC, Section 8 or food pantries for them – so we are taking care of our poor. I am not saying there are not poor people in this country and i am not saying they’re not suffering, but they’re not suffering to the extent of the poor of other countries, and the US Government is not ignoring them.

belakyre's avatar

I don’t think…in places like Africa…people get subsidized homes, nor do I think people have food coupons and all the other sort. To say poverty is poverty would be like comparing a man whose lost one leg to a man whose lost all four of his limbs.
Yes, they are both disabled…but on different degrees.

Rangie's avatar

@earthduzt It sounds like we are more alike that we thought. I will not donate to charity either. I want to have hands on so I know where my help is going. I wish I was younger, much younger, so I could get out there and do more. But, I am not so I will do what I can right here in my community. I am not rich, and can’t really afford to have a housekeeper, and really don’t need one, but I don’t know how else I can help this hard working young woman. And the less fortunate in my community. I know you weren’t attacking me. Hey, I set myself up most of the time, and I can take it most of the time, except the nasty stuff.:) Thanks

Rangie's avatar

@eponymoushipster That great Answer was a big error by me. I meant to flag you,

Rangie's avatar

@crankywithakeyboard Yes, there is a great opportunity for education in this country. But, all too often the poor children never get to school or miss more than they attend. There are many opportunities for people, but so many don’t either know about them, or are uninspired to take advantage of the opportunity to better ones self.

Rangie's avatar

@jca , It is not just about feeding the poor. I know that is my Q, about poverty. But, I just know there are people here in this country that have the know how, to run this government like a business should be run. I just don’t think attorneys know how to do that. Consequently, the chants to make changes, will not happen. We as the people of this country, need to be more diligent about who we put in office. And, no I am not talking a political party, I am talking about an intelligent business man.

laureth's avatar

@Rangie – Businesses are run so that someone makes money. (If someone’s not making a buck, it’s said to be “inefficient.”) However, I’m not sure I want my government to have a profit motive. Some things are too important for that, like some services. (Death panels for really real, anyone? After all, if we’re going to run it purely like a business, we gotta cut our losses, right?) Corporations can be ruthless in moneymaking because they don’t need to obey a conscience. Run business like business, Government like a non-profit.

Rangie's avatar

@belakyre That make sense. Yes, there are different degrees of poverty, you and a few others have opened my eyes to, past the food aspect of it. I was mainly pointing out that hunger is hunger. But, even there, I guess hungry for 1 day can’t compare to hungry to 3 or more days. I bow to all of your points and my narrow mindedness.

Rangie's avatar

@laureth I would be up for either type of business. Non profit would certainly hold their feet to the fire. However, a business that can make money could provide more services to this country and others. Either way, there has to be accountability, which I think we are lacking these days and in the past.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rangie Since you asked I have worked with the Scouting program for 8 years now and every year we do food drives at Thanksgiving, Toy and clothing drives for shelters and Salvation Army. Every little bit helps.

Rangie's avatar

@Cruiser I love it. My husband and myself are both Elks. We donate a lot of time to help all sorts of things. This is a great way for retired folks to spend some time. I know of many lodges that the members sit around drinking their days away, but even within those lodges are members doing important work. You are a true citizen. Kudos :)

Cruiser's avatar

@Rangie Thanks and hat tip to you too!

Symbeline's avatar

I’m constantly going about homelessness and poverty in our own very streets. I find it so sad and despicable.

But nobody ever listens to me, like as if people choose to ignore that it happens.

slick44's avatar

I am sorry to say it, and i am sure im gonna hear about it, but If their is so much poverty in other countries, and they no this, then why do they continue to have more and more children? why would you bring yet another mouth to feed into a world where there is not enough to go around already.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Rangie thanks anyways. maybe some poor kid in a 3rd world country can make you a pair of glasses, then.

laureth's avatar

@slick44 – Many of them are Catholics, and believe it would be wrong to thwart God’s Will to have many children. The Pope even tells them that birth control is bad. Perhaps fear for their eternal soul compels them to bring more children into the world? Or, maybe they just have sex because there’s nothing else to do, or because women are not empowered to say no, or US-funded family planning aid is forbidden from giving them information about how to reduce pregnancies, or some such. When God, the Pope, and the United States want you to have more babies, who can argue? ;)

Rangie's avatar

@eponymoushipster oops, did it again. wrong button. not a great answer. no help at all.

Rangie's avatar

@laureth Let’s get real.

Rangie's avatar

@slick44 It doesn’t matter if you do hear about it. You are right. These people are hungry and poor, not stupid. Did it ever occur to these people that the birth control is not getting to them. And by the looks of them neither is the food. So the heads of their country is probably trading it off for some favors. Who knows.

eponymoushipster's avatar

well obviously its those heathens’ own fault that they’re poor and hungry. maybe if they’d start listening to billy graham and sarah palin, they’d get on board and start eating some honeybaked hams, amiright?~

laureth's avatar

Get real, eh? Okay. :) They’re poor because they refuse to work for it. Better?

Rangie's avatar

@laureth _ They’re poor because they refuse to work for it. Better?_ Come on now. I didn’t say that and you know it. Some are poor, because they are disabled and can’t work, They truly need help. Some are poor, because they choose to not work, and just get by. Some are poor, because they can’t find work. I didn’t say there is one single reason for the poor in the US to be poor. I am saying we need to find out more and help out in productive ways. Do you think you can comprehend that?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What a strange distinction to make – I’d say I think more along the lines of @tinyfaery where, to me, there is no such as my own poor when it comes to kids and starvation. I understand my privilege and am an activist against homelessness and hunger. I don’t do nearly as much as I can because I have other social causes that consume me as well as my job helping cancer patients. However, I have no illusions about how countries like ours relate to countries elsewhere and am capable of grasping the concept of figuring out what to do in order to help the poor here and what to do in order to help the poor in the other countries. I am a citizen of the world and the world’s wealth is skewed in our direction – something to be ashamed about and something to not forget when thinking of ‘our own only’ – anything we do to help ourselves will (sadly) affect others in the world negatively.

laureth's avatar

@Rangie – I can comprehend that very well. I ought to have used a ~tilde~ to indicate my sarcasm, and I apologize for that. However, most people, when they don’t like being presented with fact based, logical arguments like “many people in poorer countries are Catholic” + “Pope says birth control is bad” = “many people in poor countries think birth control is bad” seem to prefer the neocon reasoning for things, like “people just choose not to work.”

Rangie's avatar

@laureth I am not most people. I am me, and I as an individual think for myself, not as a group. I am Catholic myself, and at first when I was young, I believed what the pope said. However, as I grew up and started thinking for myself, I came to the conclusion, that was an outdated way of thinking. The world has become more populated and when there are too many people to feed, common sense would tell anyone, don’t add to the over population. Besides, I don’t believe everything I am told. One answer does not fit all. It is my opinion, just my opinion that the birth control issue should be revisited by those making the rules. That is why I am not big believer in organized religion. I never saw any of the 10 commandments that said birth control is wrong. When it comes to morals, I have only one teacher, and that is Our Father in heaven. If we look, listen, and observe what is happening around the world, we will hear the message loud and clear. Sorry to say this and it may offend some, but the pope has no more of an inside track than I do. I respect his position and what he represents, but that does not make him infallible.

laureth's avatar

@Rangie – It looks as though we can agree on something. ;) I agree with you that one answer does not fit all, and that common sense is a good thing. I wish more people thought for themselves, and not necessarily by what a group or a big leader dictate.

That brings us to an important point though – not everyone thinks like me, or like you. If you are writing to us from a developed nation, chances are great that you’ve had access to education, you know where your next meal is coming from, you’re relatively personally safe, and you have access to exchange of ideas from all over via the Internet and other media. You have the time to devote to thinking about things like this, and the discourse to open your mind to other ideas. You have the confidence, I hope, to listen to your own thoughts and call them good. Not everyone has that. In fact, I bet a lot of people in undeveloped nations – the ones having so many babies – might never have had the luxuries that you and I have, such as education, security, and a social backing that values our input (especially as women). And someone who approaches the underprivileged women in an impoverished country, who may have many children from religious or social reasons (children keep you secure in your old age when you don’t have other resources, after all) and tells them that common sense dictates that they should maybe not have so many may be as culturally appropriate (and welcome) to them as the Pope telling me that I ought to have as many as I can, for God.

I’m not offended by your last post, not at all. I think you and I are on as close to the same page as we can be, in regards to this. However, our views are not as important to the childbearing women in poor countries as, well, the ones they themselves hold. That’s what matters.

Rangie's avatar

@laureth Very nice, thank you. And with a great deal of thought by many intelligent folks, perhaps their issues can be solved, sooner rather than later.
I think if you and I were to sit in a room and discuss this issue, we would probably come a very agreeable conclusion to what is important and what is not. It has been fun. thanks.

ItsAHabit's avatar

What passes for poverty in this country would be envied by at least hundreds of millions of people around the world. Been there, seen it.

SomeoneElse's avatar

Poverty seems to be relative – what we in the Western countries think of as poverty is not as in other Third World countries.
India strikes me as being two-faced and not deserving of help because mainly of their own caste system. India must have had billions of various currencies in aid and a huge space programme. In theory they should have very little poverty if they can afford that programme.
Aid is sent to countless countries from here in the UK and the rich get richer and the poor get nothing in so many of these dictatorships.
I think that we should sort out the mess at home before trying to be so philanthropic in places where the leaders are a bunch of nepotistic, evil despots.

jca's avatar

@ItsAHabit: Definitely. As I said above, in Mexico the poor sift through garbage in huge lots, to scavenge for food or debris. Here in the US, the poor are never that poor, thanks to public housing, social welfare programs, etc.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther