Tag Archives: poverty

The Difference Between Frugal and Hoarding

From Reddit:

“I don’t think frugality is about not spending, it’s about not wasting. Often the two seem synonymous because so much stuff is pretty terrible value when it comes down to it. But ultimately, money in the bank does nothing for you once you’re dead. The reason to be frugal is so you have money to get or do the things you really want, rather than wasting your money on things that don’t give commensurate value. Having an experience has value both in the experience itself, and in the having of it (e.g. I really want to go skydiving, if I go and it turns out to be really boring or not fun, I have still been skydiving which is worth something to me) so it’s really up to you to decide what the experience is worth to you. I can be frugal not because I skipped skydiving, but because I skipped buying drinks at the bar so I could go skydiving.”

Full discussion http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/1y2x1g/how_do_you_reconcile_frugality_with_wanting_to/cfgz1mr

Madagascar’s Take on Western Civilization

A Reddit who traveled to Madagascar relates how the locals viewed western society:

  • “They think we are pretty silly. We have virtually endless sources of education from the internet and yet we spend our time doing other things. Likewise, we have access to doctors but don’t use them that much.
  • “In no way do we appreciate the amount of money we have. Even the poorest people of the Western world are lucky compared to them. I felt incredibly guilty when spending an entire day’s wages on coca cola.
  • “We are also (this is all according to them) very wasteful. After buying my coke, I drank it and handed the bottle back, where it could be cleaned and used again. How often does that happen here?
  • “Do they hate us? The people I spent most of my time around were Merina (a Malagasy tribe) and very polite, so I don’t really know. You can’t really generalise. Some – especially those on farms being exploited by the US (yes, the US are complete bastards in Madagascar) had reason to dislike America. Others were fascinated and genuinely happy to see us. Ask yourself this, do you hate Saudi Arabia? Probably. Do you hate Saudi Arabians? No, not most of them.
  • “Even in rural, remote areas of the country Western influence is felt. The image of the white woman being the most beautiful is something projected everywhere.
  • “They generally presume we are intelligent, but also domineering. Many will be surprised upon seeing a white person doing work.”

via reddit

Image from http://madagasikaratour.wordpress.com/

How Parents Tell Their Children About Poverty (or Don’t)

Or try to at least: “We lived with friends and family, moving along as we strained our welcome until we were finally able to move into a house of our own. It was the worst house yet. Barely livable. It was a house that had been moved from a neighborhood that was being torn down and my dad worked to renovate it when he wasn’t at work in exchange for very discounted rent. This whole time food was a struggle and I guess that was never a secret, but it wasn’t exactly discussed either. In the same way you don’t talk about the fact that your mom called you from work to tell you to fill the bathtub up because they’re going to turn the water off. Or the way you don’t mention that you picked up the phone and there’s no dial tone again. The same way you don’t ask your mom for money for that field trip because you know we don’t have it. You just tell your teacher you forgot the permission slip and stay behind. The same way you wear shoes even after you’ve outgrown them because you know your Dad is going to skip lunch to pay for new ones. Believe me. You know. It breaks your heart. It breaks your heart because it breaks your parents a little everyday. I remember walking into the kitchen as they sat at the table with a pile of bills we couldn’t pay. My mom had been crying and my Dad had his head in his hands. This was over 20 years ago and there is a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach remembering the look on my father’s face.”

Image from this HuffPo story.

Maybe Americans Just Don’t Give a Shit

“I am increasingly of the opinion that the central problem is that the American people do not care what works. They care which “solutions” feel morally sound when summed up in a dozen words or less. And they hate the idea that someone, somewhere might get some benefit they do not deserve.

“They do not care that sex education and free distribution of prophylactics dramatically decrease teen pregnancy and STDs. They care whether some shiftless kids might get laid and their money might have helped. They don’t care if food stamps have a remarkable multiplier effect and are effective not just as public assistance, but as economic stimulus. They care whether or not someone, somewhere might be getting free money they don’t deserve and then spending it on things they find frivolous. And they certainly don’t care whether there are penal system models that could reduce recidivism at a lower cost to tax payers. They care whether whether the less than human prisoners in our system might be enjoying some benefit somehow that “rewards” them for their crime.

“I don’t even know how you argue with this view of the world with logic and facts, because people don’t give a shit.”

Commenter on Metafilter.

A Welfare Office Worker Clears Up Common Misconceptions

A welfare worker challenges idiocy in a Reddit thread:

“Firstly, it’s barely any money. It’s pathetically small. If you’ve heard of people making 40k on Welfare, they are a rare exception who get it because of bizarre newsworthy loopholes. Everyone I saw today in the welfare office was pretty unhappy, and desperately poor. I literally (no, not figuratively, literally) hear caseworkers say every day, “If the clients just had a part time job, they’d do so much better than they are now.” And this is true. Benefits do not decrease in a strictly linear fashion, and so it’s much better for people to work and receive partial benefits. Is anyone in this thread going to yell at welfare recipients because their minimum wage job is not enough money and they need foodstamps and maybe medical coverage to make up the difference? That’s a corporate problem. Foodstamps don’t cost the government that much and drive local businesses (you may not see it, but your grocery store takes a lot of EBT–foodstamp–money. People are just discreet about it.) But if you’d rather have your local gas station attendants, newspaper stand vendors, fast food workers, landscapers and so on all starve–well, I guess that would save the government some money. TL;DR Welfare sucks, fraud is much harder than you think, most people on welfare are there because of tragedy and not poor planning, and the program pushes the majority of clients out of itself in relatively short order.

NumbersAboutNonsense comments on Anyone else think this is messed up?.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake

“My family always received SNAP and TANF benefits…. and as long as mom didn’t trade too many of our bennies for cash, we could buy fast and easy garbage food with SNAP so that us kids could leave her alone and feed ourselves. I was never taught how to do anything remotely like “cook an actual meal,” “work with raw ingredients,” or “make time to prepare and feed myself nutritious food.” I could not do any of that stuff as a kid and was not magically inculcated with that knowledge as an adolescent or young adult. I did not have a mentor or adult friend who could show me the ropes, so I was flying completely blind…  I ate like that for a really long time because I didn’t know how else to eat. It became an undeniably clear class marker in adulthood, and it made me so embarrassed. Other than white potatoes, I didn’t eat a single vegetable that was not from of a can until I was 24 years old. Dude! Let people buy shitty food with SNAP. We don’t have time to cook or there is no one to teach us or it’s either another pack of ramen or nothing.I don’t care about bootstraps. I don’t care if you were able to take care of yourself without asking for help. Good for you, really, but I don’t care. Proliferating your luck and your choices as the ultimate ideal of self-sustainment does absolutely nothing but shame people who are already suffuse with shame, people who aren’t lucky — yes, LUCKY — enough to possess the resources and wherewithal to get themselves out of the quicksand. What I do care about is that there are thousands (millions!) of people who are in the same position I was in for the first half of my life, and if bills like this continue to be embraced by the public at large, tacitly or silently, we will continue to move toward a society in which those people will start to go hungry even more often than they already do… But I would not have been able to make it if the government had been stepping in to prevent me from eating the only food that was easy enough for a child to prepare by herself. This is real. Please think about this before you get angry when you see a poor person buying a cake.”

Commenter on a Metafilter discussion about Wisconsin’s legislation barring SNAP/food-stamp recipients from buying certain foods.