The economy in the United States is in a collapse.  The Capitalist system does not work anymore; banks have become more powerful than our politicians.  The government now has a policy based around Fear and Greed.  The rich are getting richer and more powerful, while the great masses of America wallow in poverty.

Must we continue to exist in this passive state, only living to serve the rich and powerful?  Or do we, the great masses, stand up against the policies Fear, and Greed, and God?  We must break the bonds that separate us, we must pull down the centers of Greed and Fear and we must pull down the houses of God.  These borders are created to separate us into individuals where we can be controlled easier.

We must stand up, against the tyranny of the centers of Greed, and Fear, and God.  Quoting John Adams:  "People should not fear government, government should fear people."  Once we stand up to Fear, to Greed, to God, we will become united!

This being said, I advocate the collapse of the Capitalist system and the foundation of the United Socialist Federal Republic, in which the government will exist to serve the people.  Capitalism is Dead.  We must put it out of it's misery and move on toward Socialism.

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No he's NOT stating facts. He's omitting a hell of a lot that's too much to enumerate in a post but he's being misleading. He lives in a country that has a good safety net for its unemployed and poor, including socialized medicine. Yet he spouts off at the mouth by saying that poor Americans don't deserve the same damn social benefits that he and everyone else in his country is getting/has been getting. You don't see a problem with that?

Second, you apparently are not aware of the fact that multinational corporations based in other nations, including his, have been buying our shambolic "democratic" government for awhile....and now it's not even going to be limited thanks to the recent SCOTUS ruling (see my subsequent post with link).
@Jacqueline: You seem to have put rather a lot of words in my mouth. I am in no way smug about the state of my country compared to yours.

The fact of the matter is that you made a sweeping generalisation regarding how socialism has fared in the world, and I called you on it.

That's as far as it goes.
The level of education here is MUCH lower than the level of education in Russia (well at least public high schools).

I worked with a Russian emmigrant that came over when he was 18. He told me how surprised he was to be in an American university and doing work he learned as a high school freshman in Russia. He was not bragging, but rather matter of fact about it.
I am in the IB program. Some of my friends (who are also in the program) they lived in Trinidad. There they take education very seriously... they have placement test at 5th or 6th grade where it will place you in a certain school, the better the grade, the better the school.

When they went back to Trinidad, they had to take a school year in like a placement school, before they can get into the general education system.

This is because American Education sucks...

I mean, stats kids in the SL of the IB, they are just learning about the Pythagorean Theorem. I'm in SL Calc of IB and we just finished Vectors
One of the things that I think people like you and Freddy and everyone else here needs to remember is that the poor, those who are downtrodden and stuck in the permanent Underclass (yes, we really do have two Americas within the US) are those with the least power and access to knowledge (and ability/opportunity to acquire knowledge) to fight for necessary changes.

I am from the Underclass, the poorest of America's poor, so I know what I'm talking about regarding these matters. It is people like me from the very bottom socio-economic rung who sees the government in its underwear rather than in its fancy lecture suits that the rest of America sees.

In the mid-1990's when I was going to a state university (not a prestigious private college or one of the "Big Ten") as a non-traditional aged student, the demographics of those from the Underclass that even got to go to a backwater state college (which was being put financially out of our reach back then by the Gramm-Rudman Bill) foretold a very dark future.

As of 1995, only 7% of those of us from the Underclass got to go to any college at all. Fewer were able to graduate, and less than 1% were able to go on to grad school. In 2010, it's fair to say that this situation has not improved.

Immigrants from other countries have gotten opportunities afforded to them that have been and are denied to us as a matter of government and public policy. Middle/upper-middle class Americans are willing to give immigrants a hand up, while giving their badly-off fellow Americans — those of us mired in deep poverty who have had NO opportunities all our lives — nothing but the backhand and a bitch-slap while telling us how much of a bunch of "losers" we are because "all these poor foreigners and refugees come here and make it because they work harder."

Meanwhile, last week in Erie, Pennsylvania (which is the poorest city in my state) where I live, a local food processing/ packaging plant fired all its American workers who were working class temps and replaced them with even lower-paid working class immigrants from Somalia and Bosnia. They don't work harder or better than us, they're paid less than us. Their lower wages are subsidized by special welfare assistance that our own poor are not eligible to receive. Insourcing labor and outsourcing jobs has produced a permanent American underclass that is swelling (and has been for these last 30 years) and this group is getting angrier and angrier — but often at the wrong people.

The reasons and machinations for the deliberate creation of a permanent American underclass that is uneducated are too complex to enumerate in a single post here, but let's just say that the social dynamics of class stratification at play in academic institutions — which are all based on middle class "values", customs, norms, and mores — plays a huge factor in this; far more so than intelligence. I get into this in my book Classism For Dimwits, if anyone's really interested. [As an aside, all my books were self-published owing to the barriers erected by deeply entrenched classism as well as the fact most Leftist works are suppressed and censored out of the mainstream]

Of those in the Underclass — the very bottom rung who are living hand-to-mouth (whom Marx referred to as "the reserve army of labor") — almost none get to pursue any type of education beyond high school, unless they join the military. How many vets come back in one piece mentally and physically from horrific imperialist wars fought overseas, and thus are able to get the college educations promised to them by Uncle Sam is another matter.

But rubbing our noses in the turd of vulture capitalism — a system not of our making under which we've had the least power to help ourselves — that has kept us down and at the very bottom and stuck in this condition and telling us how uneducated and stupid we are isn't going to improve things, or open minds that would otherwise be receptive to fighting for something much better...such as a better educated populace, for starters. I have gone rounds with many "progressives" from the middle and upper-middle classes on this very issue because they're the ones wondering why so many of the poor vote against their own interests rather than embracing liberal ideologies and enlightenment, after they've insulted us and put us down for being "uneducated" as if to remind us how "unworthy" of anything in life that we are.

Now, I am not saying that this is what you and Freddy are doing, but since this subject was brought up first by Freddy I think it is appropriate for me to remind everyone here that anything that remotely smacks of putting down lower-middle class and very poor Americans for being "uneducated" (implying that we're all stupid) is not going to solve the problem. If anything, it will send many more of them running straight into the pro-fascist theocratic arms of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

Remember, those of us from the Underclass are already extremely defensive because of an entire lifetime of put-downs and insults from everybody else above us on the socio-economic ladder. Being constantly deprived of basic needs (enough to eat and health care, housing, utilities, access to even a sub-par education, etc.) and being kept at the bottom of every pile while being told it's our own damn fault by those who never had to walk a mile in our shoes produces tendencies towards apocalyptic fatalism.

What contributed to this is the fact that leftist scholars have been professionally alienated, blacklisted, harassed, subjected to FBI surveillance, among other repressive acts committed by components of the national security state.

Leftist literature has been brutally and harshly suppressed here (think: COINTELPRO, Operation Condor, Operation Mockingbird, etc.) and that the people's access to real enlightenment — not the shambolic educational system which serves only to create obedient drones to serve the elite who fund/finance/own everything, including our school system — is not the fault o those with the least control over their own daily lives

So throwing it in the faces of people from my social class about how "stupid", how "uneducated" and how "less than" we are is the very thing that will serve as an impediment to the grassroots level of change that is desperately needed if we are to ever challenge the very system — the architecture of aggression known as American capitalism — that has produced us (the permanent and angry Underclass) and brought the entire nation to this precipice of social and economic disaster. Take a page from the books of Michael Parenti, Che Guevara and Leon Trotsky. Now, go forth and learn, comrades :)
"There's a simple reason why the data are ignored: if you accept the data, then we have to look elsewhere, to politically incorrect things, such as poverty, public health, and curricula. "

You nailed it, Doone. I will take it one step further. It was once said that the rich create the poor and then cannot stand to look at them.

Whenever social conditions on a large scale deteriorate such that we are compelled to look at poverty, it is always the poor who are blamed for their poverty. And the micro mirrors the macro.

Countries that enjoy a lot of benefits and social equality in continental Europe that are deemed elements of "socialism" have restrained the rapacious capitalists' behavior (but only to some degree, considering the austerity measures now being imposed on the people there). But they permitted capitalism to exist. Since the working class populations in those countries have safety nets and universal health care, multinational corporations look elsewhere to get even more rich and powerful: the US, Africa, Latin America, Burma, Indonesia, and now Iraq, just to name a few.

Those first world countries were able to enjoy the best of both the expense of the very poor and the working class in the US and other nations.

We have in this country, a government that is for sale to the highest bidder. In the wake of the SCOTUS ruling that elevated the rights of corporations recently (regarding elections of our lawmakers and presidents), money from the richest and most powerful multinational corporations can now pour into the coffers of our electorate process which is escalating the demise of what was almost a social democracy here by ensuring that whoever is elected, it will be the interests of powerful wealthy foreign corporations in addition to our own economic terrorist class on Wall Street that gets served by our government rather than the needs of the people.

And make no mistake about it, those foreign corporations, whose greed is restricted in their respective countries, have bought our nation's government lock, stock and barrel. See here:

So nations that would never allow the capitalist class to poison their people's drinking water, their people's soil, reduce their populace to destitution and wage slavery, have catastrophic oil spills in their national ocean waters, and crush their people with grinding poverty have no qualms about doing all those things to the poor in the US while wagging their judgmental fingers at ALL Americans and telling us how fucked up we are for allowing it, and how fucked up we are for having a poor class that is fascist and militaristic even though it was their contribution to our impoverishment and degraded condition that helped precipitate a draft by socio-economic proxy!

Talk about chutzpah (best described as the kid who kills his parents and then cries for clemency before the judge because he's an orphan).
Fully agreed. However, please bear in mind that one cannot criticize a system that is not of the poor's making — be it the education system, the political system, the organized labor system, the economic system, or the social roles system — without first taking a good hard look at whose class interests those systems serve and criticizing those who control said systems by flexing their economic muscle.

This requires opening the invisible knapsack of class privileges, and facing some very uncomfortable truths.

And one of those inconvenient truths is the fact that capitalism requires a lot of losers in order for there to be winners, including a shrinking well-educated upper-middle class Kommissariat that never wanted the poor (especially poor women) to have much, if any, chances to join their ranks.

The majority of those from the middle/upper-middle classes want someone else, they need someone else (us have-nots), to always be the ones stuck and trapped so they can benefit by having a socially degraded and demoralized group that is captive to do the dirty work needed by society — work that they themselves would never deign to dirty their own hands to do for themselves because they think they're better than the have-nots. For the most part, they never wanted any of us in poverty to have a chance to join the ranks of the well-educated and comfortable classes.

It is largely the upper-middle class and the rich who write the rules governing social institutions (including academia), which patently favor the middle and upper classes.

And the gratitude my social class has received for our necessary services as everyone else's "place-keepers" forcibly stuck at the bottom of every pile is nothing but disrespected, insulted, browbeaten, socially marginalized and economically excluded.

We were never acknowledged. What we got were policies referred to as "Benign Neglect" in polite circles such as the punitive and miserly inadequate meager welfare benefits (AFDC) which ended up getting slashed and limited to a five year lifetime benefit limit (Welfare Reform Act of 1996).

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 was a unilateral social contract that shifted the entire burden of poverty squarely onto the shoulders of the poor; legitimized and justified by buzzwords like "personal responsibility" and couched in euphemisms and theories like "the culture of poverty" which were deliberately contrived to blame the victims for political and economic problems that were not of their making.

Welfare was never an adequate solution to the problems inflicted on the poor by capitalism and eliminating “welfare as we know it” without providing realistic and fair alternatives and reasonable economic and educational opportunities is not merely a worse solution, it is the “Final Solution” for the poor. Anyone familiar with the politics of genocide knows what “Final Solution” means.

The War On the Poor was part and parcel for the implementation of a wholesale pogrom against the burgeoning have-nots of “extermination through imposed destitution.”

Just like the fascist Nazi forebears of today’s corporatist class, the elite gained the support of a sizable portion of the middle class viz-a-viz the ballot box in the carrying out of the “Final Solution” against the poor — 84% whom are women, the disabled and low-income elderly, and children — including the unborn fetuses that the “pro-life” arbiters of "morality" feign shambolic concern for.

Make no mistake about it, nobody cares about the poor unless it's to keep the poor isolated and contained and out of their way — out of their neighborhoods, out of their social enclaves, out of their schools, out of any chance to compete for their jobs and marriage partners, out of sight and out of mind — and those of us in poverty know it.

No Doone, I raise A LOT of good points. For over thirty years, my voice and the voices of others in poverty were treated with scorn, contempt, derision, and outright censored via exclusion from the discussion on "what to to about the poor."

It's beyond arrogant for this nation's poverty pimps to assume that it's the "defective" poor who need to be either culled with "extermination by destitution", rather than admit that it's the system that's broken.

Whenever there's sacrifices to be made, it's never the comfortably off who are appointed to make those sacrifices which they can far better afford than those of us who have nothing and never got chances to get anything.

Yet, it's always those of us with nothing that are forced to "take one for the team."

We're hungry, we're cold, we're excluded from jobs and educational opportunities, and we're becoming disabled and/or dying from lack of health care.

And we're not going to take it anymore. Because we cannot. Because we've got nothing left to sacrifice except our lives, and dammit we've had enough because we've got just as much of a right to live, too!

None of us from generational poverty, who never got to make it out no matter how hard we've tried, who are really poor and suffering without basic needs that everyone else takes for granted as "normal", asked to be born into this society. We do not owe the middle and upper classes a debt for a crime we did not commit!

The truth hurts and who is some poor "white trash" chick with a sub-par education (me) to make high-and-mighty middle class people feel uncomfortable, because they're just soooo entitled to their comfort at the expense of people like me, and how dare lil ol' me come along and upset any middle class apple carts by telling the truth, right?

I've got news for you, I am not interested in suffering quietly just to make society more comfortable for the middle and upper classes while my own needs — along with the rest of those in my social class — continue to be unmet and ignored in yet one more "sacrifice" for the "common good" of the petit bourgeoisie who only care about keeping their own seat and to hell with those of us who got left out and who have nothing.

I am for the poor. And I will fight for the poor. Because no one else will and no one else cares. Except the poor. I am for poor people's human rights, which have been abrogated to suit everyone else's agenda for far too long.
I've got news for you, I am not interested in suffering quietly just to make society more comfortable for the middle and upper classes while my own needs — along with the rest of those in my social class — continue to be unmet and ignored in yet one more "sacrifice" for the "common good" of the petit bourgeoisie who only care about keeping their own seat and to hell with those of us who got left out and who have nothing.

You have a computer and electricity, it seems.
The truth hurts and who is some poor "white trash" chick with a sub-par education (me) to make high-and-mighty middle class people feel uncomfortable, because they're just soooo entitled to their comfort at the expense of people like me, and how dare lil ol' me come along and upset any middle class apple carts by telling the truth, right?

Don't you have a college degree?
"Don't you have a college degree? "

Yes I do, but when I graduated as a 34 yr old non-traditional aged student in 2001, I found that there really wasn't anyone interested in giving someone like me a chance: I had a ten year gap in my work history at that point due to a disabling car accident that took me out of the workforce at age 23.

So I was poor, had no employment references, and couldn't afford the "right" image. Plus no one wanted to hire a middle-aged lady without experience when they can hire the college grads who are 22 yrs old instead of 34 (and now, 43) yrs old. I've tried. And tried. And tried.

Plus, as a result of having no access to dental care for that whole time, I had to face prospective employers with visibly decayed/broken/missing teeth and because of how people judge you for shit like that, I couldn't even get a minimum-wage job as a supermarket cashier because any job entailing facing the public is very image-oriented. And being a woman, it's not like I had the opportunity to get apprenticeship training and placement in a good-paying job where looking like that wouldn't be a factor...such as backhoe operator on a construction site or crane operator, for example.

So I basically have a four year degree I can wipe my ass with that I'll never, ever be able to repay my student loan debt for. And now I'm facing the prospect of going blind, too. Because I can't afford ophthalmolagical care for my very early stage glaucoma.
"JSH, you make some good points but then you go overboard and compare whole groups of people to the Nazi's "

The Nazi fascists promoted extreme capitalism, which is where we are headed a lot faster than you think. It's the ideology that it's OK to throw the poor to the sharks because they're "useless eaters" that is so prevalent in both the cases — then and now. So I think the parallels are most certainly valid. Especially since the middle classes were Reagan's electoral foot soldiers. (And Bush I and the Shrub's as well)

Here's a some food for thought along those parallels: at the post-war trial in Erfurt, the three engineers for Topf and Son who designed, patented, built, and maintained the special industrial-sized crematoria ovens for the Nazi death camps responded to the Allied Forces judges. When asked why they did what they did, knowing that innocent people were being liquidated in them, they didn't say it was because they were afraid of the SS.

They didn't say it was because they hated Jews and all the other groups that were victimized.

They didn't say it was because they had no clue as to what was going on (i.e. what their "invention" was being used for).

They said that they did what they did, even though they were fully aware of what was going on, because they wanted to make themselves indispensable to their employer and to the Third Reich so they wouldn't lose their middle class jobs.

That's not much different from the attitudes today...such as the middle class DTE utility company employee who has HIS good job with health and dental benefits and enough money to afford heat in his home/apartment who shut off the gas in the middle of winter to Sylvia Young of Detroit, a poor unemployable single mother of seven children — knowing that she and/or her kids would freeze to death.

So I disagree with you that the middle class and the rich don't want to push down the poor, because of that were truly the case, we would have a real social safety net and a subsidized jobs program for those most disadvantaged in need of a job. Here in this country, the rich (who own the media as well as the government) have thwarted the truth from getting out about the toll on the poor with a shrinking jobs pool, declining wages, and unaffordable higher prices for everything.

Below my post are links to some articles for your review on exactly how the rich have deliberately caused massive suffering and death for the poor in the name of "free enterprise", knowing full well that poor people would die. Did the rich and even the middle class care? No. Instead, they have the moxy to blame the victim. And I, for one, am fed up.

The poor are routinely denied employment opportunities because there is a widely held view among human resources personnel and corporate employers that the poor are a bad risk for hiring because they’re likely to steal.

The “culture of poverty” claptrap also led to the assumption that poverty can be reduced to a lifestyle choice — something former House Speaker Newt Gingrich claimed from his bully pulpit during the Clinton administration as he cheered the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 threw this nation’s poorest and most socially disadvantaged families and individuals under the bus; 99% whom were women and children (only 1% of AFDC recipients were able-bodied men) under the guise of “personal responsibility” — a unilateral social contract best described as a policy of Benign Neglect in which the entire burden of poverty was dumped on the poor while society and government did nothing to guarantee poor women living wage jobs with health benefits, child care help, and assistance in obtaining reliable transportation.

Former Wisconsin governor and US Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson provided the template for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 is one of the “pro-life” religious conservatives who would deny poor women access to birth control and abortion while cruelly leaving poor single moms and their babies utterly destitute if society failed to provide the supports required for poor mothers to enter the workplace and guarantee them living wage jobs with health benefits.

Since the enactment of Welfare Reform, Tommy Thompson (and other political leaders who swallowed the “culture of poverty” pablum spoon-fed by Ivy League “poverty experts”) defeated measures to track the outcomes of all the poor women and children thrown off of welfare after exhausting their five year lifetime limit, regardless if they were able to get a job.

Are the promoters of the “culture of poverty” school proud of these “scholarly” achievements that encouraged nationwide mother-mugging and framing poverty as a “choice?”

There is a fundamental mathematical theorem that has been proven over 200 years ago, named after mathematician and clergyman Thomas Bayes, who studied how to compute a distribution for the probability parameter of a binomial distribution. Bayes’ Theorem treats conditional probability and the outcome based on the relationship of the conditional and marginal probabilities of events. One of the most simple and basic mathematical statements of Bayes’ Theorem is:

P(A|B) = [P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)]

{Read as: “The probability of A given B is equal to the probability of B given A times the probability of A, all divided by the probability of B.”}

where :

P(A) is the marginal probability of event A. It is “prior” in the sense that it takes nothing into account of anything known about event B.

P(A|B) is the conditional probability of A, given B.

P(B|A) is the conditional probability of B, given A (also called the “likelihood”)

P(B) is the prior or marginal probability of event B and acts as a normalizing constant.

Theorems analogous to this one cover situations entailing more than two events. Applying Bayes’ Theorem to the existing axioms and theorems of calculus, we can describe the marginal probability distribution of a variable to a data set where the likelihood function is the probability of “y” successes in “x” trials for a binomial distribution, in the set of all real variables. (The most common application being in the study of voting patterns and employer drug testing).

More famous applications of Bayes’ Theorem are the Monty Hall Paradox and the Principle of Restricted Choice, which proves with a mathematical certainty that making the “right choices” 100% of the time is impossible. It is therefore intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt to frame the discussion of poverty in terms that blame the poor for their poverty by reducing it to “lifestyle choices” and the “culture of poverty.”

It is no secret that middle and upper class people also frequently screw up and make the same “poor choices” as poor people. But the difference is that the outcome is totally different; such that it does not punish them with lifelong destitution and misery. It is also known that the middle and upper classes have a lot more options available to them while options for the poor are really a Hobson’s choice (either way, you’re screwed). Here's a small window into the life of someone who is poor in this country:

Being poor is being fetishized, demonized, and infantilized by teams of “poverty experts” from the middle and upper classes.

Being poor is hoping you and your disabled spouse make it through winter alive without freezing to death, or dying in a house fire from a space heater mishap after your gas got cut off because they raised the rates by 20% and you can’t afford the bill.

Being poor means nothing around your run-down home ever works and everything is in serious disrepair because there’s no money, or way of getting money, to fix what’s in disrepair.

Being poor and white means being an invisible non-person.

Being poor means you have no pictures of your “ancestors” — or even of yourself and your sister — after being evicted where anything you might have had got taken away from you when your roach-infested ghetto apartment got padlocked.

Being poor is a lifetime of everything always getting taken away from you.

Being poor is being wrong even when you’re right.

Being poor is never fitting in.

Being poor is guilty until proven innocent and still getting slapped with unaffordable fines or a criminal conviction regardless.

Being poor means never getting a chance your entire life, even after going into enormous student loan debt for a college degree that was supposed to open doors of opportunity for you, but didn't.

Being poor is never getting a break, and then having some self-centered privileged person tell you how poor they are when they enjoy far more economic opportunity, comfort, and security than you will ever get a chance to have — especially if you’re still poor by the time you’re middle-aged (and therefore unemployable) after an entire lifetime of never getting a chance for a good job, no matter how hard you tried or what you tried to make yourself "worthy."

Being poor means going hungry at least two or three days out of each month for years.

Being poor is living in a neighborhood where you can’t put chairs or a couch near the window because of the drive-by shootings.

Being poor is dying or becoming permanently disabled from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Being poor is facing having to go blind from glaucoma because there really isn’t “all this help out there.”

Being poor is losing a leg from diabetes complications because you couldn’t get the help you needed to afford diabetic supplies and the low starch/low carb low MSG diabetic-friendly foods so you could manage your diabetes better in the first place.

Being poor means that your only interactions with middle class “professionals” are through bullet-proof glass windows at government agencies and welfare offices after waiting all day to be “served”, and then being told “sorry, we can’t help you.”

Being poor is everyone who isn’t poor wondering why you went back to the abusive asshole (whom you hope won’t kill you) who gave you that black eye when it’s either that or live on the streets with NO way to get a living wage job and get on your feet and support yourself after your 30 day time limit at the battered women’s shelter is up.

Being poor means you have to choose whether you have electric or gas, or food or a roof over your head.

Being poor means you don’t get the early preventive glaucoma treatment options to save your eyesight, while being told that you don’t deserve your eyesight because you’re just a “loser” who “blames everyone else for your problems” — it’s never the fault of employers who refused to hire you at a good job with health benefits, and it’s never society’s fault for being too selfish and punitive to have a safety net for the economically excluded.

Being poor means access to dental care is a luxury that is as far out of reach for you as a day trip to Sedna.

Being poor is getting denied even a minimum wage job in retail or as a supermarket cashier where you must face the public because of your visibly decayed/broken/missing teeth as a result of never having access to decent dental care — while everybody else who has never been anywhere near as poor as you or for as long as you, tells you that it’s all your own damn fault that you don’t have any teeth and lack the “right image” to be “deserving” of a job because you were “too stupid to brush your teeth properly.”

Being poor means dying a lot younger than those who lived in middle class comfort for most, if not all of their lives.

Being poor means suffering with an untreated UTI until it goes into your kidneys because you couldn’t afford antibiotics.

Being poor means you can’t even get a chance for a minimum wage job at Wal-Mart because your credit is poor due to poverty — which is, by definition, not enough income to afford your basic needs, including utilities, let alone afford an expensive emergency room bill because you didn’t have a good job with health insurance when you got that UTI or that abscessed tooth.

Being poor means that even if you go into unaffordable debt for a Bachelors degree from a state college in order to be “worthy” of a chance for a job, you still won’t get one because your visibly decayed/broken/missing teeth, a big gap in your work history of menial jobs, your lack of the proper clothing and a car, and your address is in the “wrong” side of town — all which serves to alert the employers’ middle class gatekeepers that you’re “not a good fit” for the office culture and that you “lack work ethic.”

Being poor means that nobody cares about you, your problems don’t matter.

Being poor means that no matter how hard you try and whatever you try, you never get a break but you sure get a generous helping of middle/upper class social Darwinist lip service, condescension, and personal value judgments that they call “advice.”

Being poor is always being told that it’s your own fault you had to suffer without getting your needs met your entire life because you’re nothing but a “loser.”

Being poor (if you’re white and female) means that decent paying blue-collar “men’s jobs” are never afforded to you so you can support yourself without having to resort to prostitution or stripping and dancing naked just to get money for food and a crappy rented roof over your head.

Being poor (if you’re white and female) means you’re never good enough to be wanted, loved, married and supported by some middle class mother’s grad school bound son because everybody knows that poor women are all nothing but “whores who get pregnant only for the welfare check” — or “gold-diggers” who have no social status and cultural capital to bring to the table.

Being poor (when you’re white and female) means never being wanted or accepted. It’s getting left on the shelf since poor white males either see you as a burden they can’t afford/don’t want, or if they DO commit, you frequently become a punching bag for them to take out their own frustrations and resentment at their own oppression.

Being poor is being begrudged any pleasure in life; even the most basic human need to have sex because your birth control options are very limited and if you get pregnant, you have no money to travel to get an abortion and pay for the procedure.

Being poor means any hopes, dreams and aspirations you might have once had got crushed out of you and ground underfoot.

Being poor means you don’t get to have any hobbies because all the cool stuff costs a lot of money — which you don’t have.

Being poor means owing a lifelong debt of nothing but misery and deprivation to the comfortably off for the status crime of being born into “their world.”

Being poor means your suffering and misery doesn’t matter, only those who are poor in other countries are worthy of middle/upper class concern.

Being poor is when middle class people with advanced educations read what you write, they act shocked that you’re actually smart and educated too.

Being poor is having scars that will never heal.

I cannot speak from the perspective of a poor white male or a poor person of color. I am a poor white female that was a homeless orphaned teen who endured danger and deprivation on a daily basis on the streets in a Philadelphia ghetto, so my experience is a white female urban one. I am a 43 year old woman who did “all the right things” and who has no criminal record, but I never made it out of poverty because I never got a chance.

I can count the number of times on one hand that I’ve had access to medical and dental care throughout my entire life.

I saw one of my neighbors lose her leg to diabetes for lack of help so she could afford nutritious food and diabetic medicines and supplies to better manage her disease so she wouldn't end up an amputee.

I saw another neighbor die at age 37 from an abscessed tooth that he couldn't afford to get treated when it was a minor cavity.

I face possible blindness from glaucoma that I got diagnosed with three weeks before my 43rd birthday this past May for which I have yet to get any help outside of a universal health care system to afford the routine monitoring and possible future treatments in order to preserve my eyesight — a cruel blow for someone in poverty whose life is already difficult enough and whose only outlet is reading books and writing them, too.

I could certainly go on with more on what being poor is, but I think I’ve illustrated enough for you to get my point. I have over 40 years worth of life experience in the trenches of poverty, suffering because of inequality and classism in addition to all the “gender taxes” too. You don’t get to be more of a poverty expert than that.


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