Tag Archives: Poor

Affordable Care Act Helping The Poor

Poor Artist

Came across this article in the NY Times this morning:

For Mark and Elisabeth Horst, both artists in Albuquerque, the risks of signing up for a bronze plan were outweighed by the prospect of getting it free. The Horsts, who make $24,000 a year between them, qualified for $612 in monthly subsidies, but the cost of a bronze plan was $581 a month.

The Horsts are the couple pictured above.

I object to redistribution in general but have to admit to having sympathy for folks who fit the mental picture of “the poor”.  Struggling factory worker barely getting by.  Single mom who can’t pay rent, electric bill AND the water bill.

But THESE ‘effing people?!?  I have to work my ass off to support these people’s health care?

The article goes on to to quote Mr. Horst as claiming to be in good health, so I’m guessing that they are making 24k is that they CHOOSE to make 24k, not because life has dealt them some shitty hand.  These are people who CAN work, COULD work but are making the choice NOT to work.

And we’re taking care of them like children.

Look, I’d like to wake up every day and draw.  Or color.  Or make clay ashtrays too.  But I don’t; I go to work and bring home the bacon.

And because I do – these people get to color.


In honor of the working poor:

Are The Poor Getting Poorer While The Rich Get Richer?


I suspect the charge has been leveled for as long as anyone can remember:

The rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor who are only getting poorer.

But is it true?

As with all things, it depends on how you measure it.

When A Society Wants To Care For Itself

It takes a village.

A theme more or less explored in our politics in general.  And sometimes in specific.  For example, President Obama touched on it during his now famous firehouse stop in Virgina.  There, on the stump, Obama extolled the crowd that successful folks are successful in large part, some part, to those that have come before.  Their success is due, in some measure, to those who’ve built the infrastructure.  Therefore, the logic goes, it is now up to those successful individuals to “give back” and embrace a higher tax burden.

The central idea being that we’re all part of this thing and we all need to contribute.

It takes a village.

Further, this is a concept I resonate with and embrace.  We DO rely on each other.  It’s the volunteer firefighter that makes sure our homes are safe.  It’s the teacher that slaves away tirelessly at 10:00 at night.  There’s the pastor watching over the kids during summer break.  I love the fact that my son’s karate teacher watches him as he walks down the block to the dance studio to wait for his sister.

It DOES take that symbolic village.

Which makes this and this all the more frustrating:

A woman may be fined $600 for each day she provided free food to children in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood for the past few months.

Angela Prattis, 41, of Chester Township has been distributing free healthy lunches in a neighborhood that has a per capita income of $19,000 a year.

Prattis made no money from the meal distribution, and gave out food provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The “lunch lady” ran the charity out of her garage, to which about 60 children came, five days a week.

After the city council was alerted of the free lunches, it ruled that she would have to acquire a variance to give away food next summer – or pay a fine of $600 a day. The council considers Prattis’ deed a zoning violation. Three months of distributing food would instigate a fine of more than $50,000.

60 kids, 5 days a week.  Free.

PHOENIX –  The city of Phoenix is facing a possible lawsuit after a woman claimed a city worker told her she could not pass out free water in the Arizona heat without a permit.

Dana Crow-Smith tells ABC 15 she was passing out water bottles in the 112-degree heat along with others in an attempt to share their Christian beliefs with people attending a festival downtown last month, when a city worker ordered them to stop. She said the worker told the group they would be cited if they continued passing out the water because they did not have a permit.

Admittedly, the second case may not involve city officials in real authority, but the point remains that there is this idea that the city has these regulations.

It’s important to remember that the villagers created the village.  Not the other way around.

Are You Smarter Than A Three Year Old: Inequality and fairness

It’s no secret Obama is going to bang the “It’s not fair” drum this election.  Hell, he’s been bangin’ it since LAST election.  He’s continually calling for the rich to “pay their fair share.”  He can’t rub two speeches together without mentioning that everyone should play by the same rules.  Even more, he continues to claim that the richest among us have been doing exceptionally well in the economy while the rest of us are seeing wages stagnate for the last 30 years.

Don’t forget that it isn’t true:

 The claim that the standard of living of middle Americans has stagnated over the past generation is common. An accompanying assertion is that virtually all income growth over the past three decades bypassed middle America and accrued almost entirely to the rich.

The findings reported here—and summarized in Chart 8—refute those claims.  Careful analysis shows that the incomes of most types of middle American households have increased substantially over the past three decades.

So if it isn’t true, why does Obama continue to bang this drum?

Because he thinks that we think it’s true.

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Wherein The Economist Channels Pino

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, if you wanna sell more beer, lower the price.  The same concept exists for labor.  If you want people to buy more labor, lower the price of labor.

But even as we face unprecedented levels of unemployment, there are people in the world that wanna make it harder for people to hire people.  They suggest that the real value of the current minimum wage is low and that we should consider raising it match past level.

I don’t understand how pricing low margin workers out of the job market right now makes sense.  And the Economist agrees with me.

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Who Should Work In America

From pretty early on I knew that I was going to college.  I also knew that I would be going to get a degree that would help me get a job.  By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was having conversations with the guidance counselor about degrees and programs.  There were two key metrics in the decision-making process:

  1. How much did various occupations pay.
  2. What was a day in the life.

After graduating high school I loaded up my car and was off to MIT.  For those of you who just choked on your Sweet Red Muscadine Wine, the MIT I went to was the Minnesota Institute of Technology; not the other one 😉

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Social Programs For The Poor: Open Question To The Left

As I was typing this one single question, I thought of  more:

  1. Does your definition of “poor” predicate itself on things needed to live?  Or does it involve definitions based on relative wealth?
  2. If the government capital “O” Ought provide for the poor, does this include those who choose to put themselves in that group of people defined in question #1?
    1. I.E. If a person chooses to be poor, is the government still bound by the Ought?
  3. If you could compel a citizen to work in a pure socialist state, why can’t you do the same in this one?

Marginal Value: The Poor

So, I was going through some old blogs and looking for some quick insightful nuggets and came across this little gem from TJIC:


Krugman gets to his main point: that in the national debate, his side is that of morality, justice, and reason â?? while his opponents on the conservative side are immoral, uncaring, and actually want the poor to die or disappear.

Speaking for myself, I don’t want the poor to die.

I want them to work harder, to bring themselves up into the middle class (recall: the main thing that seperates the poor from everyone else is that poor people work about 15-20 hours per week, middle class people work 40-45 hours, and upper class people work 60+ hours), or – if they prefer – I want them to keep working very little, and enjoying the trade off of potential cash for increased free time – as long as they do it with out dollars stolen from others.

So I did a little looking.  By God he’s right:

Hours Worked Number of Workers Median Weekly Earnings
1 – 34 21802 233
1 – 4 548 62
5 – 9 1203 69
10 – 14 1865 112
15 – 19 2729 156
20 – 24 6425 212
25 – 29 2953 262
30 – 34 6079 337
35 or more hours 94452 750
35 – 39 8200 485
40 67195 700
41 or more hours 19056 1153
41 – 44 1084 867
45 – 48 5294 994
49 – 59 8450 1246
60 or more hours 4228 1338

Amazingly, the more you work, the more you make.  However, there is a flip side; the more you work, the more you work.

However, as I considered the numbers, it occurred to me, “Of COURSE you earn more when you work more–you’re working more hours!  Duh!”

But check this out:

Hours Worked Rough Dollar per Hour
1 – 34
1 – 4 24.8
5 – 9 9.86
10 – 14 9.33
15 – 19 9.18
20 – 24 9.64
25 – 29 9.7
30 – 34 10.53
35 or more hours
35 – 39 13.11
40 17.5
41 or more hours
41 – 44 20.4
45 – 48 21.38
49 – 59 25.43
60 or more hours

It turns out that the more you work, the higher your hourly wage.  [Though I do admit that the two low values look abnormal.]


Income Mobility

I’ve done some work on the Middle Class.  One of the things I’ve learned is that “The Middle Class” isn’t what people think it is.  Virtually everyone feels they are middle class.  Literally, virtually everyone thinks that.

How can that be?

I think it’s because we tend to think of the middle class as a state of mind rather than a set group of people.  A mindset rather than a demographic.

I think we see and think of the rich as those folks who are “stoopid rich”.  People that are able to afford jet planes and mansions.  People who have yachts and commercials and just have $MONEY$!

We see middle class as having the ability to continue to climb the income ladder.  Especially important in this classification is the ability to allow your children to have it better than you do.

So, if you’re not “stoopid rich” AND you continue to gather wealth, you are middle class.

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A Tale of Two Mothers

It’s all we hear.  The RICH are getting richer while the POOR are getting poorer.

The RICH don’t pay their fair share.

The poor are being abused by the rich.

And on and on it goes.

But is that the true picture.

Consider this story:

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