Kiersten Marek:

The elephant in the room in American politics: poverty.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Poverty.

Lots of talk about the middle class. Tax cuts for the middle class. Saving the middle class. Doing more for the middle class.

Not one word about poverty.

No mention that nearly 25% of the children in the world’s richest nation live in poverty.

Not one word.

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6 thoughts on “

  1. Without a strong middle class the divide between wealth and poverty becomes even more glaring than it is now.In many countries of the world,there is virtually no chance of being anything but rich or poor.Not even “third world”,where there is at least a merchant and artisanal presence-I’m thinking of what have to be “fourth world”.i.e.’never to be developed countries”.
    I’m curious Kiersten-what comfort level in your life are you willing to give up to “level the playing field”?We give money to charities and do not use itemized deductions,so there’s no “payback”for us.Do you contribute free time in your profession to the poor?I know doctors and nurses who do-just asking.I’m frankly amazed when I see people receiving assistance who have expensive phones and clothing items.I use neither-a cheap phone that doesn’t even take pictures and off the rack at Bob’s or Walmart clothing.I have two cars-whoa-I’m a tycoon!!One is 13 years old and the other 6.I take care of them-I am not cheap-I just don’t feel the need to show off for people I don’t even know.

  2. FWIW this country DOES have a pretty good safety net-EBT,WIC,welfare,unemployment insurance,Medicaid,etc.So the elephant in the room is being addressed on a routine basis.My objection to any of those programs is only in the area of outright fraud and unnecessary administrative costs.As far as people who got in over their heads on homes they couldn’t afford,I have to wonder why they acted so irresponsibly.Who encouraged them?

    • I frequently provide reduced fee treatment for people who cannot afford the full cost and volunteer my services as a teacher in my parish — I have for over 6 years. I sometimes provide services at no cost because I believe it is the right thing to do, but I can’t do it all the time or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Thanks for asking.

      • That’s nice of you-and no one would expect you to not get paid for what you do.I’ve run into dentists who lower their prices if you have no insurance.The VA doesn’t cover dental until you are 100% and I’m close but no cigar on that but I’ll be just as happy not to reach that level.My wife volunteered in Girl Scouts in Illinois and here for many years-it was good community involvement.
        Having a strong middle class is a type of socioeconomic bridge that stabilizes and somewhat levels out things.Read “An Empire Wilderness”by Robert Kaplan if you get the chance.and keep in mind that it was written in about 2000.Amazing-but that’s Kaplan.We are now seeing the predictions he made in “The Ends of the Earth”written round 2002 coming to pass.He is not gimmicky nor overtly liberal or conservative-just very observant.And well-versed in history.

  3. Our grandparents who were doing okay in the 1920′s didn’t turn into undeserving bums in the 1930′s. We have a Puritan tradition that wealth is a sign of god’s favor, and we indulge our wealthy but pass the harshest judgement on people who are unlucky enough to fall out of employment in every economic downturn. And exactly how do you know that the kid with the expensive cell phone is poor? Is it clothes, neighborhood or something else?

  4. @Nancy-I have met people on assistance who have these phones and sneakers,clothes,etc-call me a liar,but I couldn’t be bothered to make this up.I don’t have a clue where they get the money for this stuff.And by “something else”if you are talking about race,forget it.I refuse to be put on the defensive by anyone on that subject.I’m really sick and tired of it.BTW did I mention “kids”?The people I’m thinking of are adults.When I was assigned to narcotics enforcement we would raid a house and find all kinds of expensive “toys”,lots of cash,no one working,and frequently food stamps and documents from welfare.I suspect a lot of the food stamps were “trade ins”.You get instantly defensive whenever a nasty truth you find uncomfortable is revealed.This “puritan”theory of yours is a little dated.I don’t give a damn about rich people-I’m certainly not envious-I have whatever I need and savings so what do I care about what someone else has?Are you resentful of rich people?Do you want to make them cough up what YOU think is appropriate to re-distribute?Just wondering.

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