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rem1981's avatar

What do we do with the bottom third?

Asked by rem1981 (393points) September 15th, 2016

Where I’m from is definitely the bottom third of America now. It’s a city of 100k undereducated people who can’t stop reproducing. They only graduate 60% of the kids and those who do graduate get the hell out. It gets worse and worse every year and no one realizes it because they all tell themselves the same thing is happening everywhere. So, what do we do with these people?

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59 Answers

Zaku's avatar

We either watch the bottom 99% become part of the impoverished segment, or get rid of corporate evil and government corruption, and the sooner, the better.

After that, the solution is to provide for everyone’s human needs so no one is in the needless struggle to avoid homelessness, and also provide education and so on, and help people live fulfilling lives.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We bust up those communities and disperse them so their kids can get a clue of what it takes to succeed in life. If people know or see that they are not helpless and can make a good life for themselves them many will. The ones who will not you cannot help. Providing for all of their needs only perpetuates the situation.

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Cruiser's avatar

Remove the Federal Government from the educational system and give total control to state and local school boards.

Eliminate tenure at the very least at the elementary school level and institute a merit based hiring and pay structure based on standardized testing results
These kids under perform because they have poor roles models in their lives and often school teachers are their best role models they have but not in these under performing schools and merit based pay will get rid of the slacker teachers and motivate the remaining teachers to get engaged in the classroom. Also teachers need a bit more leeway in being able to discipline the often unruly and disrespectful trouble makers in their classes.

Go into the community and speak to these folks and impress upon them how important the upcoming presidential election will be to their lives. These communities not only need better schools but they also need jobs and good paying jobs. They can have a voice in improving their lives by voting for the candidate who will bring manufacturing jobs back the the US by making better trade deals that incentivize manufacturers to make their products here in the US instead of in Mexico or overseas.

These suggestions are real solutions to helping make poor communities in America great again.

CWOTUS's avatar

“We” don’t need to do much of anything with anyone. Humans have been a pretty resilient species for most of the million years or so (give or take, depending on when you believe that we made an evolutionary step from “just another primate species” to become “human”) that we have existed as a separate species. We’re in no danger of extinction – despite those who say that “we need to do something!” about some aspect of modern life that displeases them, because “we’re going to wipe ourselves out!”. It just ain’t so.

Despite some people’s decisions to neglect to participate in some cultural norms that you and others have deemed important, the fact is that they ARE still reproducing, as you note, and that’s the biological hallmark of success. Whether you find that unacceptable or not, by dint of their continuing ability to reproduce and disseminate their genes, they are “successful”.

However, I do share most of your cultural biases, I suppose. Maybe the difference between us is that I don’t judge others by the standards that I have set for myself in terms of educational attainment, intellectual capability, expressiveness, professional achievement and “family values” (however that term is interpreted), I’m more inclined to live and let live – generally without comment. (I do frequently give in to my sarcastic nature, and it’s deucedly difficult for me sometimes to hold my tongue, so there are plenty of times when I don’t hold back. But those are the exceptions.)

In fact, I would say that the idea that “we need to do something!” for people, about people, to help people who may not even realize that they need our “help”, or who actively fight against its imposition, is one of the most pernicious ideas of modern history. Let them alone unless they’re sick, dying, failing to thrive (biologically), or if they ask to join our culture. They seem to be doing okay without your or my help, and making their own choices about life, whether you and I agree with them or not. As long as they leave me alone, I’m fine with leaving them alone, too.

Cruiser's avatar

@CWOTUS “They seem to be doing okay without your or my help,” “They” as in the low income or below poverty level people I believe the OP was referring to, already are getting help from you and I…food stamps, Obama care, section 8 subsidized housing etc. without which they would they would be having more than a difficult go of things.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser Obamacare has nothing to do with food stamps or section 8. If you have health insurance you have Obamacare.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@cruiser Without that modest help, recipients would be starving and homeless. Many such recipients are children and the elderly. I, for one, don’t want to see that sort of deprivation in the Land of Plenty.

My own little city has an integrated approach to low-income housing. When a developer wants to build rental or private residential developments, it’s required to set-aside units for low- and moderate-income people. If you buy a $1+ million townhouse, or rent a $3,500-per-month apartment, you’ll have some less-affluent neighbors sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. This program’s been in place for years, and it works. People really do improve their circumstances when they get to live in decent homes and be free from crime. Segregate the poor in housing projects, and the outcome is very different.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III I was merely pointing out the fallacy and ignorance of @CWOTUS statement that these inner city folks are getting along without our help and I listed a few of the forms of help “we” and the government are providing for them.

johnpowell's avatar

You do realize that food stamps aren’t really a act of generosity by the government.

They are there so you can feel safe walking down the street. Hungry people will knife you in the back and grab your wallet and go to Taco Bell. Food stamps are a lot cheaper than cops and prisons.

My roommate used to work at a convenience store (Plaid Pantry) and multiple times a shift people would come in and grab food and just walk out. They know the clerks can’t do anything.

I will cut a bitch for some bread before I will starve on the street.

Cruiser's avatar

@Love_my_doggie THAT was the whole point of my comment! did you actually read my answer?

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell “You” I will assume to mean me and yes I know all about food stamps and how meager and even degrading the whole process is. I also know that instead of giving a living minimum wage the Government would rather pay peanut wages and then offer bags of peanuts in the way of entitlements to subsidize the low wages the Government mandates. Funny thing is, once they do raise the min wage to $15.00 most of these employed people will no longer be eligible for many of these entitlement subsidies and watch the shit hit the fan when this all goes down.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right, @Cruiser. I agree that poor people receive a lot in the way of aid, (if they meet the criteria,) but Obamacare has nothing to do with impoverished people. It has nothing to do with government help or aid, either. Especially since the Republican states refused to expand their medicaid program.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m not sure what you are saying. Are you saying the government should raise the minimum wage? That seems unlike you.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Again I have to disagree. My brother makes less than $13,000 per year family of 4 and has been crowing and glowing about his wonderful fully free Obama Care/health care he now can provide for his family. Meanwhile I get to pay $21,000 a year for my family of 4 health care.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He’s right. if the government raises minimum wage those receiving assistance will lose more than they gain.

@Cruiser he must live in a Democratic state. Nothing has changed for poor people in Republican states because virtually all of them refused to expand their medicaid program. When I was in poverty, in the 90’s, long before Obamacare, the state paid for my kid’s insurance, but I had none. (Well, I had some for a while, and thank God because I had emergency surgery to save my life during that time. Then Kansas changed the laws and I didn’t get it any more.)

Then, one day, four years later, I got a letter saying I made $12 a year too much for my kids to qualify for health care, and they dropped them. I think I made $13,000 that year.

Then Kansas changed it by the time my daughter found herself in poverty, and she was receiving health insurance, along with her kids. They dropped her recently though because she’s making more money.

It just depends on the state. If your brother didn’t have kids he wouldn’t get state health insurance.

Also, many states provided State health insurance long before Obamacare.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK, I back track @Cruiser! Yes, some poor people do receive state funded medical care, along with food stamps, etc. Yes, they do receive quite a bit of help. And they will lose more than they gain if the minimum wage goes up. I agree with you.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Some” for you must be a big number. For me some is just a bit more than a few and less than many and much less than a lot. I say this because depending on your source the percentage of Americans now receiving a federally-funded “means-tested program” assistance is between 21% – 35.4%. Take an average of 28% of 324 million Americans is 90 million Americans get some for of Gov assistance. To me that is a LOT! These figures do not reflect those on Social Security and Medicare then we have a LOT LOT that bring the figure up to 49% of Americans supported by some form of Gov assistance.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

That’s a tremendous amount.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It varies by state, @Cruiser. In Kansas, if you don’t have dependent children you don’t get state healthcare.
As I said, I had it for a bit, then they dropped it and I didn’t have any insurance for about 4 years. But my kids did.

And I’m referring specifically to health insurance, not assistance overall. I got food stamps as well. I’m sure I qualified for Section 8, but I never applied for it. But I didn’t have health insurance.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Cruiser Um…I was agreeing with you. So, yes, I guess I did read your entire answer.

SmashTheState's avatar

There’s only one solution: revolution. Armed insurrection. The malignant sociopaths who have created the class structure of haves and have-nots will not stop. They do not recognize nor appreciate compromise or compassion, which they regard as weakness and a sign that they should attack harder. They cannot be appeased. The only thing they respect is superior force. They will continue to push, continue to steal and murder and impoverish billions, until a sufficient number of people are angry enough to resist violently. The longer it takes for this to happen the bloodier the conflict will be. We have already waited so long that the conflict may consume the entire planet.

“The whole history of progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”Frederick Douglass, 1857

MrGrimm888's avatar

STS. Assuming all goes well with your revolution, and a new government is formed, wouldn’t the new government eventually become corrupted and shady like the one it replaced?

People would still be in charge. People who want to be in power usually share similar characteristics. Like greed.

IMO , it is a thing that will happen over and over again.
Have you ever seen the movie ‘The Last King of Scotland? ’
What I took from it, was that people who overthrow an oppressive government eventually become the oppressors. The people who organize and fight in these types of revolutionary wars are true patriots. But circumstances often make this circular. Eventually the new government is manipulated by the greedy, and self serving. Then we’re right back to square one. Only many died in the struggle.

I’m afraid if you burn this country to the ground and start over, we’ll be back to where we are in time.

The original crafters of the US constitution, I believe, had every intention of keeping this country from becoming what it is today. But lawyers, and politicians used loop holes and interpretation to bend the law to their will. Which is why it sucks now.

What’s to stop this from happening after your new government is installed?

SmashTheState's avatar

My anarchist government. You want to know how I’ll stop my anarchist government from becoming corrupt.

My anarchist government.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Anarchy is unsustainable. Someone with your intelligence must see that. One could argue that anarchy was the first type of ‘government . ’

It is human nature to band together and form tribes, that become villages, that become cities, countries etc. It is necessary for agriculture, protection, genetic diversity of mates, and pretty much anything to have a government . These large groupings of people are in need of leadership, law, law enforcement, sewage, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, fire departments, trade , currency, mail etc.

Eventually a government will be formed. It is an inevitability. What then sir?

SmashTheState's avatar

You set up all the questions, define words however you please, and then cheerfully knock down your strawmen. You clearly don’t need me to answer.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m trying here STS. Humor me. Why won’t history repeat itself?
Or how is Anarchy sustainable?

SmashTheState's avatar

Tell you what, read Malatesta’s Anarchy or Berkman’s ABC of Anarchism and, if you’re feeling frisky and literate, Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid. There’s no point in discussing any of this until you understand what anarchism is and isn’t. Pro tip: It isn’t a system of government.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I think that Anarchy IS a system of government. Yes. But it is not a benefit to our species.

Anarchy, to me, is the lack of a government, and therefore it offers no stability.
It’s a pissing contest until the best group of armed people becomes dominant, and then the most ruthless people are usually the most successful.

If I have to be such an expert on the subject to respond ,then perhaps you should question everyone’s responses with the severity you use to cast aspersions on my character…

I’m a big strong man, with lots of weapons. In the short term, I’d be doing well.Good for me. What about the others?

You still have not answered my questions.

How is Anarchy sustainable?

How do you suggest that we keep the same mistakes from happening?

What is your definition of anarchism?

You put ,maybe, too much faith in humanity.

If you simply remove government from society, there won’t be any society. It’s necessary to have CDC, FDA etc.

We have a problem with Zika right now. Our government is spraying like crazy (maybe not the answer, but their trying ) to try and remove the public health threat.

Our government isn’t perfect. It needs reform, and constant vigilance. Transparency, and realistic punishment for those who would abuse, or manipulate it for their own gain would be helpful. Corruption will always be a problem, as long as the ‘public’ is allowed to donate to campaign funds with no cap, or realistic transparency. It’s a joke. But all out war benefits us how exactly?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The telling description of “left behind” America becomes more pertinent to us with each passing day, as the dilution of talent and intellect in such places exceeds tolerable limits. To my mind, the clearest examples of the consequences from concentrating ignorance involve the striking and ever growing acceleration of absurdly obtuse politics in these afflicted regions. To ascribe this rot to such simplistic reasons as the heavy hand of federal interference in the public schools is ludicrous on its face. And the only reason such explanations can fly in the places so affected is that the numbers of those capable of recognizing the inconsistencies in such crap have fallen below the critcal mass. In other words, “the smart ones have left”. It is in fact rather frightening how rapidly such regions of our country can devolve into near 3rd world enclaves, where the only thing separating them from such a designation is the largesse of the federal government. I have no idea what the solution is to reversing the rot in the heartland, but I do know that the urgency around the issue will soon force us to address it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^to summarize “the heartland is nothing but a but a bunch of dumb hicks” I think it’s a deeper problem than that.

SmashTheState's avatar

The smartest people I’ve ever met have been homeless, beggars, buskers, or bums. The greatest minds, from based Diogenes of Sinope to Charles Bukowski, have always recognized that the game is rigged and refused to play.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^So, no answers then?

SmashTheState's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I’ve tried being polite. I’ve spent several hours typing up multiple anecdotes from my professional experience as a community organizer over multiple questions. I’ve tried repeatedly addressing your endless succession of straw men. I gave you a reading list to try to get you to educate yourself on some of the most basic concepts you have failed to understand, at least one of which is a pamphlet. You have responded by telling me I’m a liar or completely delusional, or possibly both. You create your own definitions out of whole cloth on subjects you clearly have no understanding of and refuse to educate yourself. I think I’ve done my due diligence in assuming good faith, and at this point I have no further interest in wasting even more of my time knocking down your straw men.

LostInParadise's avatar

@SmashTheState , How does your position differ from libertarianism? If there is complete anarchy, what protection do the poor have from being taken advantage of by the wealthy? How can the poor obtain a decent education or health care?

rojo's avatar

No matter what, there will always be a bottom third.

If you eliminated the bottom third today there would still be a bottom third to those who remained.

Kropotkin's avatar

@MrGrimm888 “Anarchy, to me, is . . .”

There’s no point in you asking questions about anarchism when you don’t know the first thing about it. All of your questions are basically malformed and nonsensical—as they apply to some caricature you imagine, rather than what anarchists actually talk about and understand.

And no—a simple definition will not help you. No political philosophy can really be boiled down to a definition (even though I’ve often tried on here and other fora).

If you want any sort of “definition”—then Peter Kropotkin’s article on anarchism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is in my view a decent primer. You can find it for free online. It’s only a few minutes of reading.

“You put ,maybe, too much faith in humanity.”

You assume too much. Anarchism is one of the very few political ideologies that addresses the question of domination of man over man. It is the very corruption and lust for power observed throughout history that anarchism specifically attempts to identity, address, and to solve—presenting a body of theory and conceptions of society in which power and domination are eliminated to the greatest extent possible. The very opposite of the warlordism you imagine.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser What kind of a guy is your brother that he would brag about only making $13,000 a year? And the “crowing and glowing” may simply be relief that his kids and wife have some medical coverage now. $13,000 is a miserable existence.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s a only a miserable existence if your desires exceed your income. Did you ever wonder why it is that at all levels of income, the universal complaint remains that “there is never enough money”?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@stanleybmanly Think about what you’re saying. He has 4 kids and a wife. $13,000 (thirteen thousand) a year. Think about that.

I’ve been there. Yeah, I had this desire for foil, and paper towels, and trash sacks, and to be able to spend more than $3 per kid on birthdays and Christmas, and I wished for money for new back to school clothes for the kids, and crazy, materialistic shit like that.
But I lived without foil, trash sacks and paper towels and many, many other, simple things, for 4 years.
At Christmas they got new socks in their stockings, and candy, because we had food stamps out the ears. Also, a gift wrapped box of their favorite “junk” cereal, which I normally forbade.
Think about it.

rojo's avatar

I believe Jonathan Swift had A Modest Proposal that could be the answer to @rem1981 ‘s query.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@SmashTheState I’m inclined to agree that violent revolution is almost certainly in the cards. The vexing difficulty obstructing a positive outcome is the fact that the “malignant sociopaths” now waxing fat, succeed in large part through control of the explanation on “the way things work”. It is actually really depressing that so many people actually believe the nation’s difficulties the fault of the undeserving poor, bungling suffocating, big government, we all know the cliches handily substitued for abstract thought. Doesn’t the arrival of the revolution guarantee the trumpeting of the fascist “solution” to an ignorant population?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Dutchess III My comment neglected the very significant fact of children in the household. I have some vague memory from past posts that the kids were now grown. How about it @Cruiser?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser So many are on the dole because it is the only way the “rigged game ” of Kropotkin can continue. It is the ONLY way left that the percentage of wealth diverted to the rich can continue to accelerate. The expansion of the public debt is the premium example of privatizing profit and socializing expenses.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III He does not brag about being poor, but he seemed proud as a peacock that now his family can go see the Doctor again when ever they need to plus his wife was now able to get a much need hip replacement.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I don’t get your – the liberal argument that this rigged game somehow magically and automatically benefits the wealthy. I am in the 1% and I don’t see a dime of any of this magically appearing wealth you speak of in my bank accounts? How does this happen? Please fill me in so I can go get my share of this mysterious money pie.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m glad your brother has that now @Cruiser. I don’t know the circumstances of his poverty, (and I know it must be frustrating for you because you work so hard) but I wish him the best. All situations are different. I worked my ass off, and I was poor anyway. But, I was also completely alone, with 4 dependent children.

Also, per @stanleybmanly‘s question, are his kids grown and gone? He seems to think so. I’m sure he doesn’t have dependent children he won’t qualify for state aid @stanleybmanly. I wouldn’t have.

MrGrimm888's avatar

STS. Whatever your definition of Anarchy, there will be NO government, no protection, no heat, no electricity etc if you topple the country’s leadership.

I don’t care what any pamphlets say. It will be chaos. Millions will probably die. Mostly the elderly, women, and children.

There are already large ,well armed , well organized gangs in most major cities. They will be the first to seize power in a void of leadership. Mix that with well armed gun enthusiasts, and random personalities and watch the fun.
Do anarchists think everyone will simply hold hands and work together if the government is removed?

I don’t want your propaganda literature to tell me what I asked. I’ve been told three times about straw men. Zero times what YOUR definition of anarchy is, and zero times how you intend to keep your anarchist utopia ,once you’ve ‘liberated the people. ’

Your type of rhetoric is what motivated the Dallas shooter. If you really want dead cops everywhere, and open warfare in the streets, I need better than a quote from Frederick Douglass. You have on multiple occasions preached the destruction of the government, but never ONCE have you given even a hypothetical solution with basis in reality.

All your talking seems to be able to do is convince small pockets of weak minded , angry people that anarchy is better than what they have.

I’m pretty unhappy with our government. I would raise arms in revolution too. But there has to be a plan. You don’t seem to have a plan other than stirring the shit.

So I’ll ask you again. Not your pamphlets, or propaganda. You. You’ve spent 25 years calling for revolution. So tell me.

How is anarchy sustainable?

Why won’t whatever you want in place of government turn into another nightmare? How is anarchy corruption proof? Why would men all of a sudden act, and think differently without a government?

If you type another quote about how government oppresses people that’s not an answer. I don’t care about links either.

From your mouth to the keyboard. Please tell me what is worth all the misery your revolution would bring?

Please. Please. Please.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I vote for government. But not Trump.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Skipped over @stanleybmanly question. I do not care to discuss my bother any more thank you.

SmashTheState's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I’m not going to indulge your Dunning-Kruger ignorance any further. Multiple people have now told you to read a fucking book.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Just what I thought STS.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser Is it your contention that no one comes out ahead in the present setup?

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I never said that nor suggested it. But since you asked, I am way ahead of the game because I work my ass off and invest in myself and my company. My brother is now also ahead of the game because of this so called “present set up” as he is getting a benefit for FREE…the same benefit I pay over $22,000.00 per year….hell that is more than my brother makes in a year. FUBAR IMO.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I won’t even bother to debate the obvious fact that you’re getting screwed. We codgers who win the lottery at 65 can hide behind medicare. But the question remains: who is
It that reaps the benefits from you being screwed. Why is it that your family, the brother and law, and myself aren’t all entitled to medicare?

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanley IMO it’s the lawyers.
Solid tort reform across the board would eliminate billions of unnecessary or frivolous lawsuits within the healthcare industry. Doctors insane malpratice premiums would shrink and our premium rates would plummet.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I too am ahead of the game. But the 2 of us get soaked precisely because we work our asses off. It was rather obvious to me some decades ago that the deck is stacked against those seeking to get ahead solely through building a traditional business. The trick is to shunt as much capital as possible into schemes generating what is euphemistically labeled “passive” income. For example, you “invest” in real estate, not only for the lucrative tax advantages, but for the interesting switch in that instead of you working your ass off to have the money snatched from you, it’s your tenants that work THEIR asses off in order to pay you. See how it works? Capitalism is about exploitation. Once you understand this, it’s a simple matter figuring out what to do. Your boy Trump has clearly mastered this basic truth. His empire and success is based ENTIRELY on the simple maxim that success is about making sure it is ALWAYS the other guy that is saddled with doing the work as well as taking the hits.

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