Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Get 'em to pull up their socks" Department

During the last day or two I have come across several unrelated references to poverty in America. No need for me to comment. I've about decided that my comments about poverty are like peeing in the ocean. I have spent most of my working life among the so-called "working poor" and have met with little success preaching the virtues of thrift, wise choices, endurance, everyday politeness and earning more by getting a higher-paying job...

My well-intended advice has been met with indifference on the part of those who might benefit, which includes my own children from time to time. I think the glitter of immediate gratification and easy credit is too much like chocolate when it comes to financial discipline. I wish I had a better attitude about this, but when I see the same mistakes getting the same results and those making them going back for more, I remember how tough it is to stop smoking or drinking, or how very popular lottery tickets are among those at the economic bottom.

Having said all that, I will also not throw in the towel in the quest to raise awareness of social problems in the minds of those who might be in a position to bring about changes. I don't believe government has all the answers, but neither do I worship at the altar of the marketplace, carrying a libertarian torch that says, in essence, "I got mine, so as long as you don't step on my toes, get your own. And if you can't make it, then it's the consequences of your own bad judgement and you deserve what you get."

Here are the links.
Read them and draw your own conclusions.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died. Washington Post article.

The nation has three-quarters of a million homeless people, filling emergency shelters through the year and spilling into special seasonal shelters in the coldest months, the government said Wednesday. Yahoo News with links.

"Nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty"--a category that includes individuals making less than $5,080 a year, and families of four bringing in less than $9,903 a year. That number, by the way, has been growing rapidly since 2000. New Republic link.

David Kurtz catches the link at Josh Marshall's place.

Fred Clark mentioned it. The comments thread is a study in many angles of the details. Read til you get tired.

hilzoy's commentary is a muckraking treasure. I wish I could write like her. Again, the comments thread is the real goldmine.

Dr. Bob is looking for a way out. I think he's on the right track.

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