December 23rd, 2013
09:14 AM ET

Zakaria: Focus on America's forgotten 46 million

By Fareed Zakaria

Is income inequality the “defining challenge” of our time? President Obama's speech earlier this month on the topic has provoked a lively debate on this subject.

I think part of the confusion that some people have is that when we talk about inequality we’re often talking about three different things. First, the astonishing rise of the very rich. Second, the stagnant wages and poor prospects of the American middle class. And third, the large number of people at the very bottom of the ladder.

These are distinct phenomena. They may be related – the rise of the rich might be causing the stagnation of the middle class – but the research on that is mixed.

Of the three problems, the easiest to fix is the one we spend the least time talking about: the fate of the poor, who now number 46 million. Since the poor tend not to vote nor lobby nor petition politicians, they don't get much attention. And as a result, government does not devote much energy or resources to their problems, especially those of poor children who suffer from malnutrition, bad health, and poor education, which cripple their chances of escaping poverty. The resources needed to change this would be a fraction of what we spend on the middle class in this country.

We don't have all the answers but if you're looking for the policy that would likely have the biggest effect on raising social mobility and reducing inequality, let’s shift the attention from the rich and the middle class and focus for once on the 46 million Americans who are often forgotten.

Read the Washington Post column for more

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Any poor person will multiply his chances of escaping poverty by abandoning hope of attaining a comfortable standard of living by the redistribution of wealth.
    Many persons now living in poverty will not understand that statement. Maybe some will. I always try to light Martin Buber's single candle rather than cursing the darkness.

    December 24, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply
  2. m

    The real problem is govt
    We spend over $3,500,000,000,000 each year and we can't do anything to stimulate the economy and help the poor?
    Are you kidding me?
    How about taking half of defense money and using that for social programs?
    We would still far outspend both Russia and China combined on defense spending.
    That would equate to about $7,000 per poor person. Used effectively this could change the lives of millions of people.
    Or we can just keep killing brown people and spending $800,000,000,000 on defense.

    December 24, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • Trevor

      Decent argument right up to "killing brown people"...as implying a "racists" overtone, which just flushes people's willingness to even engage with you a constructive conversation. Just couldn't help yourself in throwing the "hand grenade" could you? You can go away now...

      December 24, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • mmmoke

      When the republicans campaigned in the year 2000, their platform was to abolish all regulations, make the market a free for all dog eat dog economy and bolster the defense and oil industries. Guess what, in 2008 those same republicans went with tin cup in hand to communist China for a handout of a trillion dollars??

      'The only lesson of history, is that we do not learn from the lessons of history.'

      December 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Tazaan Nas

      The first obligation of the government is to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic. LBJ' war on poverty was a complete failure. You really want to revive that mess.

      December 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
      • ed dugan

        It was a hell of a lot more successful then Bush the Stupid's war in the Middle East.

        December 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • vetinpa

        Tazaan – Wrong, the poverty rate has gone down from 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012. Some mess.

        December 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Fareed's alter ego personified

      Great point! When a country spends half its budget on defense plus healthcare combined, something is wrong indeed. The 2 MIC's: the Military Industrial Complex and the Medical Industrial Complex have grown so huge and have so many lobbyists living permanently in Washington DC, that changing the status quo is just a dream. Our politicians have become the means by which the super rich stay super rich and ensure that the country's monies are continuously channeled towards themselves. When the super rich decided to manufacture all the products we buy, in Asia, that has caused the middle class to become jobless, frustrated and poor. As long as the rich have a firm hold over our government, nothing will change, as the rich will become richer (1%) while the rest of us (99%) will become poorer, as we watch 14 countries in Asia become richer and experience economic boom times. As far as dropping bombs on brown people, that is only a recent phenomenon. During WWI and WWII, America helped to drop millions of bombs on white people. So race has nothing to do with this recent increasing divide between rich and poor. The rich have just found a cheaper place to manufacture their goods, cheaper slaves, where the rules are more relaxed and one can quietly funnel toxic effluents into the Yangtse river and get away with it......

      December 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • Daniel Daronda

        Over the last 20 years, Asia has "net gained" 50 million jobs from North America and 50 million jobs from Europe. So while the "West" wastes valuable resources killing ignorant muslims, the real enemy laughs all the way to the bank.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • ed dugan

      I don't know anyone "killing brown people" but think it's a great idea. Cheaper than sending back to where they belong.

      December 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      If on Christmas Eve you're worrying about "brown people" and their "victimization", I'm guessing the United States would be VERY WISE to continue funding defense military spending. I've finally had a gut-full of this Whine Marathon. Last week I filled my car up with gas for a long Christmas trip. As I went inside to pay for items, a Middle Eastern man and wife ahead of me were paying for 2 Coke drinks. ($2.50 + tax) The man asked the clerk "Can you guarantee this gas does not come from Israel?" The college-age female clerk answered "What?" The rest of us in line exchanged glances. Some people are holding this insufferable conflict to their chests forever, even after moving halfway around the globe to live here in America. This scares the stuffing out of me - it shows me that we aren't as safe here in the USA as we might think we are. There are rabble rousers hidden among us. Better safe than sorry, so I say spend whatever we need on military.

      December 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • Tell it like it is

      "... spend it on social programs" That means "give" them even more funds so they can sit around doing nothing but whine about "poor little them". The Help Wanted section in the classifieds is an inch thick. Let "them" start with that and we'll be able to actually cut back on social programs.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Great post, m. Don't pay any attention to the ignoramuses here who disagree with you. These people were brought up in the lap of luxury and are totally clueless on what it is to be poor. Furthermore, the reason that they like all these useless wars that we're in is the simple fact that they stand to lose none of their loved ones nor finances. To them, war is just one more sporting event like a baseball or hockey game!

      December 25, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
      • Shawn

        That's funny. I was born very poor, joined the military and earned my advanced engineering degree (paid for by 2 bloody tours in the sand). Now, I have to pay because people aren't holding themselves accountable for their life choices. I live in DC and make a little over 100k a year which means I can maybe afford to go out to eat once or twice a month after crazy rent, commuting, and daycare (all which employ the very people who have CHOSEN to remain in service careers where the pay is what it is).

        Why...why must those that can and do pay for those who won't. There is a stark difference between those who can't and those who won't...the difference being that there are MANY MANY more who won't than those who can't. Attack on the middle class indeed, except the war is coming from below...the masses who think they deserve the same quality of life as those who have worked for it.

        Give me a break....I was homeless at 16 and clawed my way out of it....they can do the same.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Good grief Shawn, if I made 100k a year, I'd be living like the King of England! Just what are you complaining about? Most poor people aren't working because they can't find employment, let alone make anything near that amount!

        December 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        You idiots above seem to forget that this country's still in a depression. Try being poor for a change. As the saying goes; never judge a man unless you've walked a mile in his shoes!

        December 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • TristanM

      In 2012, defense spending was $670 billion, welfare spending approached $1.03 trillion, so if what you say is true, why isn't things improving?

      December 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @TristanM:
        What @Shawn wrote is true.
        Things are not improving for the very poor because they will not make the choices that @Shawn made.

        December 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  3. MJ

    Another collectivist opinion piece from Zakaria, who shows an infinitesimally small grasp of even basic economics. At the end of the day, income equality or inequality doesn't matter. The important concern is for us to remove government regulations / taxation (the U.S. has the most onerous business climate in the developed world) that prevent the pie from growing. Does it really matter how the pie is divided if it's ever shrinking due to government policy? We must end wealth redistribution and onerous regulations if the poor are to have any chance at savings.

    For instance, a Ford Taurus would cost $12,500, according to economists, if not for government regulations / statutes / taxes. We have the worst value-added tax system in the world.

    December 24, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • saynomore

      MJ – If there are more of you that think this way we are all in serious trouble.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
      • MJ

        People who understand economics?

        December 24, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • Jasmine Lindros

        LOOOL! Right, MJ, because seat belts, and higher mileage requirements, and puncture-resistant gas tanks, and energy-absorbing frame members to keep colliding vehicles from intruding on the passenger compartment, and air bags, and anti-pollution requirements, and shatterproof glass – there are all horrible examples of government over-regulation, and they were all fought by the (American) auto industry, and we'd be SO much better off if we just accepted whatever the corporations decided they'd offer us, right?

        December 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • jabee

      Your understanding of basic economics is sorely lacking. Too bad there is no way short of the ballot box or civil war to reach teabaggers and their font of misinformation. Have a blessed Christmas all.

      December 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • chutzpah

      Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?

      December 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • marsilius

      What you appear to "understand" isn't "economics" but rather right-wing economic *dogmatism*. I hope you realize that most economists believe your *trickle-down* dogmatic prescription, for our country's supposedly reaching prosperity, is actually a prescription for our country's having even more and even deeper recessions, and having even more extreme inequality.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • MJ

        There's nothing more regressive / trickle down than inflation (caused by the government's Federal Reserve) and value added taxes. If you think saddling the poor with higher cost consumer goods through taxation / regulation is a good way for prosperity, you're understanding of economics is sorely lacking.

        December 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • MJ

        Also, recessions are a creation of government policy, as common sense would tell you. Read Murray Rothbard's "America's Great Depression" for an excellent description into how government policy creates asset bubbles which inevitably have to collapse.

        December 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  4. rupert

    I agree.

    December 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  5. rupert

    U are right mj. But I would love a ford taurus at $12k.
    Buy me one?

    December 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • Shawn

      He shouldn't have to buy you one. You should have made life decisions to best position you and your family. If you didn't, guess what...not everyone else's fault...OR RESPONSIBILITY.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  6. paul

    Cut back on food stamps but give military spending a free pass from the sequester. Talk about American priorities.

    December 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, paul. You just nailed it! This pure obscenity as the war lobby now owns both the majority in Congress plus the White House. In Washington D.C., money talks!

      December 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Reply
      • Tell it like it is

        ... nailed it. Yeah – right through the heart. The military is the reason you're able to sit there in comfort and spout nonsense with impunity.

        December 25, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • minnie mouse

      On the morning of September 11, 2001, were you worrying about whether you were going to have Four Food Groups for supper?

      December 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  7. Rich people do not want to spend more money on poor kids

    Somehow the US is perfectly willing to imprison about two million people. Most of these people were poor when they were kids, now the government is willing to spend between $25,000 and $50,000 a year on them. What a waste!!! Somehow the rich believe that spending money on kids to help them out of poverty is wrong but spend billions on imprisoning them is worthwhile. That is really crazy.

    December 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Thank you for being concerned about reducing the cost to taxpayers of high incarceration expenses. Maybe the impoverished kids should stop committing crimes like stealing cars, shoplifting electronics, selling drugs in the park to other kids. That would also reduce incarceration costs.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • TristanM

      How much more help do we need to give, kids know they don't need an education, that they can drop out of school, and pop out a few babies, and make more money from government welfare than they can make working, and they get to sit at home doing nothing.

      Welfare in 2012 was nearly $1.03 trillion, $200 billion more than SSI, over $300 billion more than defense spending.

      Our economy is shifting from a work/pay your tax/retirement one, to welfare from the cradle to grave. We have entire industries that rely on this welfare economy, fast food, Walmart, etc. relying on this welfare system to manage their business, to increase their bottom line at the end of the year.

      December 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Somebody above suggested seven thousand dollars a year from the government to improve the life of each poor person.
    It is not the job of the government to support citizens.
    Taxing me to support defense is fine.
    I even paid taxes to educate the poor who graduated from high school but cannot read. That was a gracious plenty of opportunity to learn to contribute something to society that is worth money.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    If you are terribly poor, yet not mentally ill, mentally challenged, or too lame to work, and youngish, figure out something to do that people need or want enough to pay money for it.
    That is the solution to your problem concerning "economics."

    December 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  10. julnor

    A while back CNN had an article on the poverty rate. It showed the poverty rate at 15% during the worst part of the recession. The graph went pretty far back in time, to the 70's if I remember correctly. The most interesting part of the graph was the poverty rate during the late 90's. One could certainly argue that this was among the most prosperous times in our country since WWII. Unemployment was 4% nationally and much lower in some states. Yet even at this time the poverty rate was 11%. Yes, 11%. So going from the best of economic times to the worst of economic times only changed the poverty rate from 11% to 15%. So from this it would seem that there is nothing the govt can do to get 11% of the population out of poverty. Yet we keep trying.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • Jasmine Lindros

      Here's a quote from the National Poverty Center:

      "In the late 1950s, the poverty rate for all Americans was 22.4 percent, or 39.5 million individuals. These numbers declined steadily throughout the 1960s, reaching a low of 11.1 percent, or 22.9 million individuals, in 1973. Over the next decade, the poverty rate fluctuated between 11.1 and 12.6 percent, but it began to rise steadily again in 1980. By 1983, the number of poor individuals had risen to 35.3 million individuals, or 15.2 percent."

      In other words, Johnson's "War on Poverty" was a minor success, while Reagan's fiscal policies were a huge disaster. I'm a fiscal conservative, and do not support government handouts to individuals or corporations, but I truly DO care about increasing the number of working taxpayers who can help us climb out of the debt pit in which we've buried ourselves. We may not be able to eliminate the final 11%, but if we can keep the poverty rate at 11% instead of something higher we might experience some real (as opposed to debt-financed) economic growth. Based on actual results, not partisan talking points, I would favor Johnson's "Great Society" economic reforms long before I'd support any counter-productive Reagan-style "Trickle Down" fantasies.

      December 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
      • Bill

        You don't say where you got your statistics, but the Census Bureau statistics show that poverty was about 22 percent in 1959 and declined to 15 percent by 1966 and ranged between 11 percent and 15 percent for the next 45 years reaching highs of 15 percent in 1985, 1994 and 2010. Your contention that Reagan's so-called trickle down economics was a disaster doesn't hold water given that the poverty levels during the Reagan years were in the same range as any other President's during this time period.

        December 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    i doubt that my friend @chrissy agrees with my clear position on this.
    However, @chrissy worked three (3) jobs to raise her children properly.
    How many persons advocating redistribution of wealth here, and even glorifying communism, would do what @chrissy did for her family?

    December 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    If you got a hugh-school diploma and didn't learn enough to qualify for any job at all, it is neither the government's nor your teachers' fault. It is your own fault. Solve your own problem.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • Jasmine Lindros

      LOL!!! Based on the ignorance displayed in your own post, I think you've pin-pointed the problem with your illogical viewpoint. In my own case, my high school didn't provide me enough education to get a job as a civil engineer, and I took nothing but honors classes (except for PE) and junior college classes while still in high school. Did your high school teach you how to be a plumber? A carpenter? Electrician? Civil engineer? Air traffic controller? Librarian? Pharmacist? Fireman? Business owner? If you truly think a high school education is adequate preparation for anything more than manual labor, you are living on another planet.

      December 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  13. Tazaan Nas

    There is income inequality because there is inequality of effort. Did the poor stay in school, learn a trade or try to open their own business?

    December 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      "Inequality of effort?"
      Income is a right, not a result of effort. Haven't you heard that everybody has a right to a place to live,, food, clothing, and health care?
      I'm not so sure about that word "learned," either. That sounds like WrongThinking to me.

      December 25, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply
  14. Fubarack

    My wife works with the poor, and there are more programs for the poor than any other demographic, it is the middle who gets left out, but who has to pay the way. Schools are not suffering because of a lack of funds, in my region schools get the majority of local tax revenue. The way out of poverty is to improve the economy, and that is not about to happen with Obama. He can't attack nearly every industry and claim he is helping the economy.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      I see little evidence that the Obama administration attacks industry. If you are talking about safety regulations, too bad. Producing safe and product-as-promised is the corporation's responsibility and they shouldn't require regulations to force them to do so. Unfortunately many do require this. So businesses bring this down upon their own heads. The cost of adhering to these kinds of regulations should be considered the cost of doing business. And corporations with good management would have predicted this ahead. Ethical corporations do this on their own without coercion.

      December 25, 2013 at 4:59 am | Reply
  15. Particleman

    When you reach the top marginal tax bracket of 39.5%, most usually still only pay an effective tax rate of about 20-22%. Your income as a top 1% earner of over $343,927 per year, according to the study by Emmanuel Saez, then yields an average revenue to the government of $71,600. How many top 1% earners would it take to raise 46 million people above the poverty level? If you dedicated all of this revenue to the impoverished, assuming the 2013 poverty level of $19,530 for a family of 3, it would take about 1.4 million top 1% earners without adding the costs of administration. Unfortunately, that is about the size of the top 1% of earners filing returns with the IRS, as measured by this study. We would literally have to double the contribution of our top 1% earners every year to achieve this feat, assuming all else remained unchanged. Anyone for a 100% tax increase?

    December 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Something is wrong with this Poverty Math problem. I'm trying to understand it. My sister owns a rental property in a decent Boston suburb. Her tenant with 2 children receives roughly 50% of the rental cost (which ends up with my sister as landlord) , contributed by taxpayers. Taxpayers are also funding foodstamps and medical assistance. (I don't know the amount). This total ends up being a significant amount of money on a yearly basis for taxpayers because Boston housing is expensive at all levels. Why isn't the father of these children paying for the kids he brought into the world? Why is the taxpayer receiving the bills for this guy's child expenses? (Taxpayers have their own kids to support) Can't he stock inventory shelves at the local walmart in the evenings or something? Why is the mother allowed to only work half-days? Massachusetts doesn't provide day-care or after-school services? (also subsidized in many, not all, cases by taxpayer contributions). Meanwhile, my sister and her husband must work Full-time to continue paying mortgage and taxes on the property. Something is wrong with this "Expectation Math" here. Multiply this situation times the millions of Americans receiving similar taxpayer contributions and you can see this "Poverty Balloon" is going to sink us all.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Enwynn

      You are right Particleman that the taxes TO THE IRS equals about 22% of the income of a percent who is in the 1%. But you are not taking into a account the other forms of taxes this person pays. There is the state income tax (in high state tax states like California on the order of 12%), and then of course Medicare and Social Security tax. And of course Property tax an sales tax. For those people in the 1% who have a W2 income (that is money earned by their labor rather than investment income) the COMBINED tax is over 50%. For some it is about 55% of their income. I do personally think that taxes over 50% of a persons income should be sufficient. I don't think anyone should be taxed more than that. But that is my personal viewpoint.

      December 25, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
      • Particleman

        Thanks for correcting my oversight. Yes, I agree that the actual total tax bill is already over 50% for many Americans. Minnie Mouse is right. This poverty balloon is going to sink us all, eventually. The missing element that I only alluded to is the cost of administration, which means bureaucracy, waste, and also the fraud inherent in multi-billion dollar spending programs. In proportion, if not impact, these costs in social welfare programs rival those of the Department of Defense.

        December 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Victorious in Canada

    There are 7 billion people on this earth and the number continues to rise. Technollogy keeps improving and removes the need for human labour. There will come a time when there simply will not be enough jobs for everybody on the planet. Then what? Will we continue to blame the poor for not being educated enough? One poster commented that they should get a trade or open a business. Most in the middle class cannot acheive this. Switzerland is talking about giving every man and woman a minimum salary which would amount to over 24 000$ Canadian just for existing. Canada and the US cannot even imagine such a country as we feel it is necessary to borrow money to bomb other nations and then pay interest on used bombs. Pretty stupid.

    December 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • Fareed's alter ego personified

      Very good comment! When any nation allocates huge resources towards its military, it is always a dangerous path..... either you one day use those bombs and cause death & destruction, or you do not use those bombs ever and they rust and you have wasted money that you could have used more wisely..... the history of mankind is littered with civilizations/nations that collapsed under the sheer weight of their military, military mistakes and related wasteful spending....... the Greeks under Alexander found this out the hard way, as did the French under Napoleon......... is it America's turn next??????

      December 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        History is littered with even more civilizations which collapsed because their leadership was unable to protect them from outside forces.

        December 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
      • Daniel Daronda

        Most Americans do not even know that they have become the laughing stock of the world.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:36 am |
      • minnie mouse

        "The World" can clean up its own considerable flaws before it is in any position to be criticizing the USA.

        December 25, 2013 at 4:49 am |
      • Enwynn

        Daniel, no one cares about the "rest of the world's" thoughts about the United States. It is irrelevant to the discussion here. The "rest of the world" can deal with their own issues, which of course they have in their own considerable abundance.

        December 25, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • Bill

        Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat false scenarios about history.

        December 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  17. Chameleojack

    This is such an outrageous headline! The problem isn't whether *anyone* makes more than you do, only whether you're making enough to survive, better yet, live comfortably. And if you are, what kind of spoiled jerk are *you* to whine about the affluence of people you don't know?

    December 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  18. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Guns or butter, on my tax nickel?
    Guns, if big enough, protect me and my stuff.
    I buy my own butter. I've done that since I moved out of my parents' house.
    My neighbor needs to buy his own butter.

    December 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      But in order to "buy his own butter", your neighbor has to first stay in school and that's not enough fun and it takes too danged long and s/he's too special to have to sacrifice.

      December 25, 2013 at 4:47 am | Reply
  19. Daniel Daronda

    46 million poor and increasing? Our WWII approach of bombing the planet to be "King of the Mountain" is obeying the "Law of diminishing returns". In order to survive, a nation must adapt and change. We cannot, because the Military Industrial Complex controls our government and will not allow us to change. So, just like Rome, our politicians argue in meaningless circles for years, and raise our taxes, while the empire spirals towards poverty, ignorance and destruction. History says that the Romans deserved what happened to them. hmmmmmmmm............

    December 25, 2013 at 2:30 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      It is the poor who need to change.
      As long as professional advocates tell the poor that someone else caused their situation, organize the poor into voting blocks, and demand more social programs to further solidify dependency on the government, the poor will not change.?

      December 25, 2013 at 6:47 am | Reply
    • taxedmore

      The Welfare Industrial Complex has been running the place for a while, so what's your excuse now? How did Progressive Detroit go bankrupt? Can't blame that on republicans – no republicans there.

      December 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  20. Daniel Daronda

    I suggest that all of us Americans read "Third World America" by Arriana Huffington............. what she has predicted in this book is unfolding before our very eyes....... 😦

    December 25, 2013 at 2:44 am | Reply
  21. Daniel Daronda

    FYI. Over the last 20 years, Asia has "net gained" 50 million jobs from North America and 50 million jobs from Europe. So while the "West" wastes valuable resources killing ignorant powerless muslims, the real enemy laughs all the way to the bank.

    December 25, 2013 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Take your grudges to the Chamber of Commerce. It is "American" corporations who are moving the jobs toward slave- labor-wage countries.

      December 25, 2013 at 4:32 am | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Some "poor powerless muslims" turned my college boyfriend into charcoal in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. His crime was that he had the audacity to be sitting at his desk as a bond trader. I guess the "poor powerless muslims" didn't approve of that.

      December 25, 2013 at 4:41 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, Daniel. Just ignore those uneducated lemmings above as they have no clue of just where this country is heading. We're slowly becoming an hour glass society with a small aristocracy on top and a huge underclass on the bottom!

      December 25, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply
      • Daniel Daronda

        Thank you Joseph. I feel for minnie who lost her mickey on sep 11. May his soul rest in peace. But...... war in the 21st century has to be extremely well thought out. Our emotional response in Iraq & Afghanistan has cost us trillions and gained us nothing. Our "800 lb Gorilla" US military was like a "bull in a China shop". After WWII, America gained in the trillions. Nowadays, war is losing us trillions. Can we see the difference?

        December 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  22. DuluthMN

    Fidel Castro called for equality and social justice when he came to power and set out to make the wealthy pay their "fair share". The result was impoverishing everyone. Then he started locking up those who criticized him and what he was doing. We're starting to hear the same tune here though my hope is we're smart enough to avoid the Cuban example. We are, aren't we?

    December 25, 2013 at 3:54 am | Reply
    • taxedmore

      Nope.

      December 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  23. Mitchel

    NATO alliance countries are a great market for US Corporations, that would result in new jobs generation and benefit not only the average American but also the poor. A new orientation, away from Asia, back to core NATO markets will get American success back on track.

    December 25, 2013 at 5:40 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Yet, Asians are willing to do a job for the salary that the work is worth.
      The USA is experiencing an adjustment in the value of various levels of skill in work.

      December 25, 2013 at 7:02 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, Mitchel. spoken like a true, blue blooded, lame brained Tea Partier! These NATO countries did absolutely nothing for our poor and never will! We need a return to isolationism and then trade with all nations!

      December 25, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
  24. taxedmore

    Since the mid 1960s means tested income transfers (welfare) have cost responsible taxpayer's $16 Trillion and we have more poor and low income now than we did then and we are over $16 Trillion in debt. The cost of all the wars this country has fought since the Revolution don't come close to this massive giveaway. The giveaways did not work, all they did was create a multi-generational crowd of "gimme" people who expect every bad decision they make to be paid for by somebody else's earnings. HOW we hand them somebody else's earnings is not the problem – handing them somebody else's earning is the problem.
    Drop out of high school and now can't get a decent job – gimme benefits.
    Have kids you can't afford – gimme benefits.
    Turned your brains into mush with drugs and booze and you are now useless – gimme benefits.
    In jail and cannot take care of your kids – gimme benefits.
    Spent thousands of dollars per year on cigarettes instead of health insurance and now you are sick – gimme benefits.
    Borrowed a ton of money and don't want to pay it back – gimme benefits.
    It never ends. Doing more of the same insures it will never end.
    There are plenty who support these failed giveaway programs – Democrats, progressives, the welfare-industrial complex, the Welfare Advocates, the Poverty Pimps, the breeding couples. The list goes on.

    December 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Shawn

      Truth taxed. We are paying for the inability of these people to manage their lives.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • TiredOfPaying

      I feel the same way about the Failed War on Drugs and the Corporate Welfare system which gives tax grants to big businesses. Which of those two programs are you willing to scrap in exchange for reducing Social Programs?

      December 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  25. chrissy

    Wow @ Joey, im quite impressed with your memory! Ty however times were very different then. Jobs were plentiful as it was before the Fair Trade Act was signed. And @ Philip Douglas, my old friend, i TOTALLY agree! Our government HAS dropped the ball on the vets! And shame on our do nothing romper room Congressional brats for continuelly sending our tax dollars to these other countries and ignoring the problems their greed has created in the US!

    December 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @chrissy,
      I think that with the availability of jobs exactly the same as it is now, you would have devised a method of earning money and supported your family with the same security that you did then.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  26. chrissy

    And @ Shawn, im guessing your time of "clawing your way out of it" was also a good long time ago as well. I volunteer at an outreach center now as much as humanly possible, and i can as sure you @ least 95% of the clientelle there do NOT wish to be poor. In fact most were not so very long ago, considered middle class! If it were not for the greed of our leaders and their special interest groups as well as the greed of our banking system most would not be in the position they are in now. Maybe instead of judging these ppl, some of you should take some of your time and volunteer and hear WHAT theyve been through eh? Also 55% of them are veterans and that is the worst abomination of all.

    December 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  27. chrissy

    @ Joey, they are NOT given the choices i think. If i were to try now to raise my children by working 3 jobs AND continueing my education i think i would be very hard pressed to FIND 3 jobs! And that is a very serious issue that deserves more attention than the congressional clowns are willing to give!! And its quite easy for people who DONT have to worry day to day on how they are going to feed their kids to pass judgement! Would be much easier if some tried for just one week to live how many of these people are forced to live, THEN maybe judgement would be more fairly given!!

    December 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  28. chrissy

    @ Joey, they are NOT given the choices i think. If i were to try now to raise my children by working 3 jobs AND continueing my education i think i would be very hard pressed to FIND 3 jobs! And that is a very serious issue that deserves more at tention than the congressional clowns are willing to give!! And its quite easy for people who DONT have to worry day to day on how they are going to feed their kids to pass judge ment! Would be much easier if some tried for just one week to live how many of these people are forced to live, THEN maybe judge ment would be more fairly given!! And much as i respect you @ Joey, i don't believe you have spent much time lately listening to the very poor because if you had, you wouldnt be so harsh on your criticism! And i mean that in the most respectful way! And yea there are SOME bad seeds, but not nearly as many as ppl prefer to think!!

    December 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      The choices to be made may differ, @chrissy, but there are many options today to rise to success.
      Those options may frequently fail to coincide with a previous plan.!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        The "mmmm" in my post directly above was a technical error in submitting my comment.

        December 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
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