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People Who Have Never Lived In Poverty Should Stop Telling Poor People What To Do

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In the U.S., we have become so accepting of the fact that poverty is not a symptom of a grossly unequal economy, or the result of numerous systemic failures, or the product of years of trickle-down economics, but instead, that the only thing standing between a poor person and the life of their dreams is their own decisions, their own choices, and their own failures.

https://medium.com/the-establishment/people-whove-never-lived-in-poverty-stop-telling-poor-people-what-to-do-a40cecd18c58

 

Im not sure where I stand on this issue. And this is an issue that comes up a lot on VJ... 

I do agree with many points in the article- I have been poor, it stinks and is very hard to overcome. Im just stuck between the concept that hard work may be rewarded (emphasis on may because hard work does not always guarantee rewards) and the concept that just because you want something doesnt mean you can have it if you cant afford it.

 

Hoping a discussion on here will sway my opinion on this issue because I really am divided. 

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25 minutes ago, Damara said:

https://medium.com/the-establishment/people-whove-never-lived-in-poverty-stop-telling-poor-people-what-to-do-a40cecd18c58

 

Im not sure where I stand on this issue. And this is an issue that comes up a lot on VJ... 

I do agree with many points in the article- I have been poor, it stinks and is very hard to overcome. Im just stuck between the concept that hard work may be rewarded (emphasis on may because hard work does not always guarantee rewards) and the concept that just because you want something doesnt mean you can have it if you cant afford it.

 

Hoping a discussion on here will sway my opinion on this issue because I really am divided. 

The lady makes several great points.   

Understanding that I risk falling into the the trap that the author wants us to avoid, I will hand out some advice. 

It is less about working harder and more about working smarter.   Warren Buffet says the best investment anyone can make is to invest in themselves.  So if one could forgo working that second job and find someway to get certifications, training, skills ....

 

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1 hour ago, refugee said:

The lady makes several great points.   

Understanding that I risk falling into the the trap that the author wants us to avoid, I will hand out some advice. 

It is less about working harder and more about working smarter.   Warren Buffet says the best investment anyone can make is to invest in themselves.  So if one could forgo working that second job and find someway to get certifications, training, skills ....

 

I agree.  Just had a conversation with a co-worker today about this.  He wants to leave our company (where he is well-paid), for another company closer to home.  But the other company requires a degree, and he hasn’t completed his yet (but he has every other skill needed for job 2).  When I asked him how close he was, he said 6 months.  Man, but I pushed him HARD to sign up for classes TODAY (many of which he could complete while working, thereby not reducing his personal time.  I even offered to pay half the cost of his classes just to get him motivated to get started.  Hopefully, he jumps in with both feet, gets his degree, and is able to move on to a better life for himself.

 

So many reasons not to get off the couch and better oneself.  Some are personal, some are regional, others we may not even comprehend because we are not in a certain person’s shoes.  But the BLUF is... it CAN be done, if only one truly wants to.

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As a child i grew up in a lower class household so I guess you could say I was poor. I really do believe despite all of our problems the US really is the land of opportunity compared to other places. When I visited the Philippines I came to the realization that even the poorest in the US are better off than most of the population in most other countries around the world. In the US it is unusual to see young children on the streets on their own. In the Philippines I saw it everywhere I went. I believe in our current circumstances with a few exceptions if you are not successful at something in the US you aren't trying hard enough.


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It seems this author is more of the “give a man a fish...” type.  Certainly not all advice given to someone who is poor is productive regardless of if it comes from someone who has been poor, or not, but I am sure there are some pieces of advice that may actually be helpful.


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2 hours ago, Bill & Katya said:

It seems this author is more of the “give a man a fish...” type.  Certainly not all advice given to someone who is poor is productive regardless of if it comes from someone who has been poor, or not, but I am sure there are some pieces of advice that may actually be helpful.

In my experience, most of the folks offering me unsolicited advice have been of base, condescending or even harmful.

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15 minutes ago, Nature Boy 2.0 said:

and people that have never been really rich should not be telling rich people how to spend their money or expect them to pay more that there fair share 

Preach it, Brother!

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10 hours ago, jg121783 said:

As a child i grew up in a lower class household so I guess you could say I was poor. I really do believe despite all of our problems the US really is the land of opportunity compared to other places. When I visited the Philippines I came to the realization that even the poorest in the US are better off than most of the population in most other countries around the world. In the US it is unusual to see young children on the streets on their own. In the Philippines I saw it everywhere I went. I believe in our current circumstances with a few exceptions if you are not successful at something in the US you aren't trying hard enough.

Exactly this right here. When I first visited by then girlfriend and now wife her family had dirt floors in her house. She grew up poor and lived a simple life so that allowed her to appreciate everything she was given in life. 

 

When I hear people complain about being poor or not having the job they want. I then ask a question and that is simply "What all have you done to remedy your situation? Sometimes I hear crickets, and sometimes I hear about how they "can't get a good job because they have charges or a record". 

 

While I have a friend of mine who was a single mother with 2 teenage boys working full time at Waffle house, and her boys at going to Early College because their grades are so good. She got married in October and is now a bartender and works at Waffle house making decent money. She never let people keep her down.

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2 hours ago, refugee said:

In my experience, most of the folks offering me unsolicited advice have been of base, condescending or even harmful.

I agree, unsolicited advice is not always that good, but one always has the option to ignore it.


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3 hours ago, Cyberfx1024 said:

Exactly this right here. When I first visited by then girlfriend and now wife her family had dirt floors in her house. She grew up poor and lived a simple life so that allowed her to appreciate everything she was given in life. 

My wife's family is a little better off now living close to Manila but my wife lived in Leyte as a child and she told me they were so poor at one point all they had to eat was sweet potatoes from a close by farm. They considered rice to be a rare treat at that time. When I was a child my mother raised me and my two brothers on her own because my father passed away and she worked multiple jobs and we barely got by. I thought I had it bad back then but I now realize how good I really had it compared to people in other countries. Like i said the poorest in this nation really are better off than some in other nations.

 

3 hours ago, Cyberfx1024 said:

When I hear people complain about being poor or not having the job they want. I then ask a question and that is simply "What all have you done to remedy your situation? Sometimes I hear crickets, and sometimes I hear about how they "can't get a good job because they have charges or a record". 

 

While I have a friend of mine who was a single mother with 2 teenage boys working full time at Waffle house, and her boys at going to Early College because their grades are so good. She got married in October and is now a bartender and works at Waffle house making decent money. She never let people keep her down.

Its all about how much you want success and how hard you are willing to work for it. I believe anyone can be successful in the US if they work at it hard enough and can deal with failures and keep pushing forward. I have no sympathy for any able bodied person who simply decides to give up and live on the streets. I have sympathy for non able bodied people in a tough situation and people who tried and failed and are in a tough situation but are determined to move forward. I am by no means rich but my family is middle class with an increasing income every year. Far better than my situation as a child. I didnt let my past determine my future.


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5 hours ago, Cyberfx1024 said:

Exactly this right here. When I first visited by then girlfriend and now wife her family had dirt floors in her house. She grew up poor and lived a simple life so that allowed her to appreciate everything she was given in life. 

 

When I hear people complain about being poor or not having the job they want. I then ask a question and that is simply "What all have you done to remedy your situation? Sometimes I hear crickets, and sometimes I hear about how they "can't get a good job because they have charges or a record".

 

While I have a friend of mine who was a single mother with 2 teenage boys working full time at Waffle house, and her boys at going to Early College because their grades are so good. She got married in October and is now a bartender and works at Waffle house making decent money. She never let people keep her down.

Anecdotal at best, but in my lifetime, I have heard many excuses, but almost no valid reasons for not bettering one’s position in life.  

I know a guy who went to prison for raping an underage girl (he slept with her, with her parents consent, thinking she was 18, later found out she was 17, and when he broke up with her, she cried “rape”.  He was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for admitting to sleeping with her, the minimum sentence that statutory rape carried in his state).  Today, he has a job, and supports his family.  Will never land a great job, due to his felony charges, but he works hard to take care of them.

 

Rarely is there any reason for people to NOT better their position in life other than a lack of desire/willingness to improve.  It’s really not that hard to improve one’s place in life in the USA.  Compare that to people in India... if you are born the son of a guy who scrubs toilets for a living, there is NO HOPE for you to ever be anything else, period.  In America, the son of a janitor today can be a billionaire tomorrow.

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4 hours ago, jg121783 said:

the poorest in this nation really are better off than some in other nations.

As partially evidenced by how obese many U.S. poor are.


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8 hours ago, Bill & Katya said:

unsolicited advice is not always that good, but one always has the option to ignore it.

A cop on the beat observed a drunk staggering severely because he was walking with one foot on the curb and one in the gutter.  Coming closer, he observed the drunk weeping bitterly.  The cop went up and tapped the drunk on the shoulder.  "My man, wouldn't it be easier to walk with both feet on the sidewalk?" he asked kindly.  "Oh, Officer!" said the drunk, visibly brightening.  "Thank you!  I thought I was crippled!"


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, TBoneTX said:

As partially evidenced by how obese many U.S. poor are.

That's kind of a disappointing reflection TB. Certainly the US is not a third world country, so there are rarely poor persons starving to death or being eaten by parasites. But there are many homeless and starving poor depending on where you go in this country. Obesity is something that effects the entire US population and across all demographics and financial status though. There is a lot to be said of genetics and other factors overall which is increasing sedentary lifestyles for everyone. Those who are poor but have means to find food through the use of food stamps or live in poor inner city locations, have a lack of access to healthy food options, and very often will opting for canned and boxed items instead of fresh and wholesome meals. Coming from a poor family, I'm certainly not unfamiliar with only having access to unhealthy food options as a child. Inner city residents may only have access to a small corner bodega, rather than a full grocery, and very rarely will they encounter fresh grown foods either. My current town has a very high population of homeless and poor. Grocery options are also poor unless you have access to transportation, and some are now using pharmacies (which seem to be increasing on every corner) as their food store which these days are stocking a small pantry of frozen and canned items. Soda is less expensive than water in some cases, which some will choose because the water quality here is poor or they have no access to running water (yes.. not kidding.. come see the sights of people bathing in the filthy creek).

 

Are there people who think they are poor but when you compare them to the third world they should think of themselves as lucky? Sure. But pointing out someone is fat, is not the best indicator. In old times it was, now, not so much. Other less pronounced reason for obesity in the US poor can be from lack of proper health care, and a rise in metabolic and endocrine disorders and exposure to toxins in the body which compound the problem. That's not even factoring in mental health issues such as depression, alcoholism etc which may increase body weight.

Edited by yuna628

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