20 things the poor really do every day


Dave Ramsey probably wasn’t expecting this much pushback when he shared a piece by Tim Corley contrasting the habits of the rich with those of the poor. In her response on CNN, Rachel Held Evans noted that Ramsey and Corley mistake correlation for causality when they suggest (without actually proving) that these habits are the cause of a person’s financial situation. (Did it never occur to them that it might be the other way around?)

Ramsey fired back, calling the pushback “immature and ignorant.” This from a guy who just made 20 sweeping assertions about 47 million poor people in the US — all based on a survey of 361 individuals.

That’s right. To come up with his 20 habits, Corley talked to just 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people. Ramsey can talk all he wants about Corley’s research passing the “common-sense smell test,” but it doesn’t pass the “research methodology 101” test.

To balance the picture a bit, I wanted to take a fact-based look at 20 things the poor do on a daily basis…

1. Search for affordable housing.
Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless.
(Source: New York Times)

2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month.
That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3…
(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)

3. Subsist on poor quality food.
Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is…
(Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)

4. Skip a meal.
One in six Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating.
(Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)

5. Work longer and harder than most of us.
While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. More than 80 percent of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60 percent have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.”
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts.
Number 15 on Ramsey and Corley’s list was, “44% of [the] wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of [the] poor.” It may be true that most poor people don’t wake up three hours before work starts. But that could be because they’re more likely to work multiple jobs, in which case job #1 means they’re probably just getting to bed three hours before job #2 starts.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

7. Try to avoid getting beat up by someone they love.
According to some estimates, half of all homeless women in America ran away to escape domestic violence.
(Source: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009)

8. Put themselves in harm’s way, only to be kicked to the streets afterward.
How else do you explain 67,000 63,000 homeless veterans?
(Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs, updated to reflect the most recent data)

9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes.
Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc. In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay TWICE as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%.
(Source: Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)

10. Fall further behind.
Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you experience poverty as a child, you are 3-4 times less likely to graduate high school. If you spend your entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you.
(Sources: World Vision, Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)

11. Raise kids who will be poor.
A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a myth.
(Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)

12. Vote less.
And who can blame them? I would be less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud.
(Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)

13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us.
Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government. The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters.
(Sources: NPR, Pew Research Center)

14. Live with chronic pain.
Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report feeling physical pain on any given day.
(Source: Kaiser Health News)

15. Live shorter lives.
There is a 10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet.
(Source: Health Affairs, 2012)

16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else.
Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations.
The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008.
(Source: Think By Numbers)

18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible.
Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls within five years. Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

19. Have about the same number of children as everyone else.
No, poor people do not have loads of children just so they can stay on welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

20. Accomplish one single goal: stay alive. 
Poverty in America may not be as dire as poverty in other parts of the world, but many working poor families are nonetheless preoccupied with day-to-day survival. For them, life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured.

These are the real habits of the poor, those with whom Jesus identifies most closely.

[Note: For a followup to this post, see “Poverty is more than a matter of poor decision-making.]

Photo: 401kcalculator.org / CC BY-SA 2.0

803 thoughts on “20 things the poor really do every day

  1. This is such a complicated issue. One that requires mercy, gentleness, kindness, grace, mercy. You know the things the God you all keep quoting requires of you (and me).

    I have been poor and I have been middle class. The fact of the matter there is truth to Ben’s list and Dave’s list.

    You cannot make a broad sweeping conclusion about why the poor are poor. They are not lazy, nor are they enslaved. Poverty is a result of so many factors that it’s almost hard to quantify.

    I do know that in my extended family circle there were those who were in poverty BECAUSE they were lazy. We were impoverished because my father refused to work and my mother could not raise us on her income. She had no job skills because she married at age 15.

    What I DO find to be a common theme are a few stereotypical comments that DO need to be addressed:

    1) A common element of poverty is a father who shirks his responsibility. IE. He’s willing to have children, but not willing to be responsible for them. This makes poverty an unending cycle. Mom has child. Dad leaves. Mom tries to raise child alone. Child doesn’t learn responsibility. He has a girlfriend. Has a baby. Dad leaves. Mom again is raising child on her own.

    I’ve seen this in my family 3 cycles now. This is where we as a society need to figure out how to fix the situation.

    2) Our education system is flawed. 50% of the dropout rate cannot be because of poverty. There was a series here on the radio where a good portion of the kids were dropping out because school was boring. IOW, the current FREE public school system meets the learning needs and styles of only a small percentage of the population. These kids are dropping out because it doesn’t work for them, they find it boring. And again, they are typically from poor families…where dad’s are missing.

    3) Our tax system needs overhauled. The FEDERAL government IS too big. It should be handling the defense of our country (DEFENSE…NOT OFFENSE and trying to fight other countries battles) and national interaction. In Oregon we pay the middle tax bracket (I believe it’s 7%). But we pay over 30% to the Federal. That is BACKWARDS. Most of the function of federal government needs to go. It needs to be local. That’s the way the country was founded, the Constitution was set up.

    I pay taxes, and have no problem paying taxes. But if I’m going to pay almost 40% of my money to “help” it should go to my community, my state. Not a big government back East where a bunch of white guys play Rambo.

    4) A lot of us would do good to actually READ what Jesus says before quoting him. He talked about the poor being among us always. And with the same mouth he said, “Love your NEIGHBOR, as yourself.” Until we start recognizing that our neighbor is a human being, we won’t change the reality. The Bible also says, “To whom much is given, much is required”. It also says, “To him who does not work, does not eat.”

    That’s why this issue is so complicated. Because it’s not a matter of making the right set of laws, the right algebraic formula for wealth distribution, the right tax code; it’s a matter of changing people’s hearts. You can’t legislate it.

    Good article! Thank you for the challenge!


    1. God set up a system of marriage, child support, and alimony. The fathers who do not fulfill their duties are transgressing. God’s law states as follows:

      2:226 For those who are discontent with their
      wives, let them wait for four months. If
      they reconcile, then God is Forgiving,

      2:227 If they insist on the divorce, then God is
      Hearer, Knowledgeable.

      2:228 The divorced women shall wait for three
      menstruation periods; and it is not lawful
      for them to conceal what God has
      created in their wombs, if they
      acknowledge God and the Last day.
      Their husbands are more justified to
      return to them, if they both wish to
      reconcile. The women have rights
      similar to their obligations, according to
      the recognized norms. But the men will
      have a degree over them. God is Noble,

      2:229 The divorce is allowed twice. So, either
      remain together equitably, or part ways
      with kindness. It is not lawful for you to
      take back anything you have given the
      women unless you fear that they will not
      uphold God’s limits. So if you fear that
      they will not uphold God’s limits, then
      there is no sin upon them for what is
      given back. These are God’s limits so do
      not transgress them. Whoever shall
      transgress God’s limits are the wicked.

      2:230 So if he divorces her again, then she will
      not be lawful for him until she has
      married another husband. If the other
      husband divorces her, then they are not
      blamed for coming back together if they
      think they will uphold God’s limits.
      These are God’s limits; He clarifies them
      for a people that know.

      2:231 If you have divorced the women, and
      they have reached their required interim
      period, then either remain together
      equitably, or part ways equitably. Do not
      reconcile with them so you can harm
      them out of animosity. Whoever does so
      is doing wickedness to his person. Do
      not take God’s signs lightly; remember
      God’s blessings towards you, and what
      was sent down to you of the book and
      the wisdom, He warns you with it. Be
      conscientious of God and know that
      God is Knowledgeable in all things.

      2:232 If you divorce the women, and they have
      reached their required interim period,
      then do not prevent them from
      remarrying their husbands if they
      amicably agree amongst themselves out
      of what is best. This is to remind any of
      you who acknowledge God and the Last
      day, this is better for you and purer; and
      God knows while you do not know.

      2:233 The birth mothers suckle their children
      two full years, for those who wish to
      complete the suckling. The man for
      whom the child is born is responsible for
      both their provisions and clothing
      equitably. A person should not be
      burdened beyond its means. No mother
      shall be harmed because of her child, nor
      shall a father be harmed because of his
      child. For the guardian is the same
      requirement. So if they wish to separate
      out of mutual agreement and council,
      then there is no blame on them. If you
      want to hire nursing mothers, then there
      is no blame on you if you return what
      you have been given according to the
      recognized norms. Be conscientious of
      God, and know that God is watching
      over what you do.

      2:235 There is no blame upon you if you
      openly propose marriage to these
      women, or you keep it between
      yourselves. God knows that you will be
      thinking of them, but do not meet them
      secretly, unless you have something
      righteous to say. Do not consummate the
      marriage until the required interim is
      reached in the book. Know that God
      knows what is in your minds, so be
      conscientious of Him, and know that
      God is Forgiving, Compassionate.

      2:236 There is no blame on you if you divorce
      the women before having sexual
      intercourse with them, or before
      committing to what was agreed for them.
      Let them have compensation, the rich
      according to his means, and the poor
      according to his means. Compensation,
      which is according to the recognized
      norms, is a responsibility for gooddoers.

      2:237 If you divorce them before having sexual
      intercourse with them, but you have
      already agreed to the dowry, then you
      must give half of what you have agreed,
      unless they forgive or the guardian over
      the marriage contract forgives. If you
      forgive, it is closer to awareness. Do not
      forget the favor between you; God is
      Seer over what you do.

      2:240 Those of you who pass away and leave
      widows behind, leave a will for them
      that they may enjoy for one year without
      being evicted. If they leave, then there is
      no blame on you for what they do to
      themselves out of the recognized norms;
      and God is Noble, Wise.

      2:241 For the divorced women compensation is
      an obligation upon the conscientious.

      4:20 If you wish to replace one mate instead
      of another, and you have given one of
      them a large amount, then do not take
      anything from it. Would you take it by
      falsehood while it is clearly a sin?

      4:34 The men are to support the women by
      what God has gifted them over one
      another and for what they spend of their
      money. The reformed women are
      devotees and protectors of privacy what
      God has protected. As for those women
      from whom you fear disloyalty, then you
      shall advise them, abandon them in the
      bedchamber, and separate them; if they
      obey you, then do not seek a way over
      them; God is High, Great.

      4:35 If you fear a split between them, then
      send a judge from his family and a judge
      from hers. If they want to reconcile, then
      God will bring them together. God is
      Knowledgeable, Ever-aware.

      33:49 O you who acknowledge, if you married
      the acknowledging women and then
      divorced them before having intercourse
      with them, then there is no interim
      required of them. You shall compensate
      them, and let them go in an amicable

      65:0 In the name of God, the Gracious, the
      65:1 O you prophet, if any of you have
      divorced the women, then they should be
      divorced while ensuring that their
      required interim is fulfilled, and keep
      count of the interim. You shall reverence
      God your Lord, and do not evict the
      women from their homes, nor should
      they leave, unless they have committed a
      proven adultery. These are God’s limits.
      Anyone who transgresses God’s limits
      has wronged his person. You never
      know; perhaps God will make
      something come out of this.
      65:2 Then, once the interim is fulfilled, either
      you remain together equitably, or part
      ways equitably and have it witnessed by
      two just people from among you; and
      give the testimony for God. This is to
      enlighten those who acknowledge God
      and the Last day. Whosoever reverences
      God, He will create a solution for him.
      65:3 He will provide for him whence he never
      expected. Anyone who puts his trust in
      God, then He suffices him. God’s
      commands will be done. God has
      decreed for everything its fate.
      65:4 As for the women who have reached
      menopause, if you have any doubts, their
      interim shall be three months. As for
      those whose menstruation has ceased,
      and those who are already pregnant, their
      interim is until they give birth. Anyone
      who reverences God, He makes his
      matters easy for him.

      Duties Towards Divorced Women

      65:6 You shall let them reside in the home
      you were in when you were together, and
      do not coerce them to make them leave.
      If they are pregnant, you shall spend on
      them until they give birth. Then, if they
      nurse the infant for you, you shall pay
      them their due for such. You shall
      maintain the amicable relations between
      you. If you disagree, then another
      woman may nurse the child.
      65:7 The rich shall provide support in
      accordance with his means, and the poor
      shall provide according to the means that
      God bestowed upon him. God does not
      burden any person more than He has
      given it. God will provide ease after


    2. Of course, the Bible also said that the apostles did not own and hoard property, but shared it in common. There was always work to be done, so you didn’t have to hope you passed the interview- you were given work to do and in return you could always expect food and shelter. It was a communal system. That can function, in very small groups at least.

      Most people want to work. It’s in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to be productive. But the current system isn’t working to be productive, it’s working to have a wage and having a wage to survive- it’s wage slavery.


  2. I continue to be dismayed by the number of people who take the biblical quotation, “The one who does not work shalt not eat” completely out of context. This was addressed to the Christian community at Thessalonica and referred to those who had become so fanatical about their belief in Christ’s imminent return that they quit doing anything except for waiting around in idleness and over-excitement. It is an instruction that had nothing at ALL to do with the care of the poor.

    Scripture is replete with the imperative to to care for the poor. It is in the Torah, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels, the Epistles. Perhaps the most unambiguous teaching of Jesus is that found in Matthew 25 where he says that “as we have done to the “least of these” we have done to HIM. Nowhere in this famous passage are we instructed to determine who is worthy of our help first.


  3. What kills me is the attitudes I am reading above. Why are so many of you “for” or “against” poor people? Lets think of people as individuals and not categorize them so harshly. As a teacher, a person formerly below the poverty line, a person formerly on welfare, and as a Christian, I have a big problem with all of your generalizations.


  4. I have what I believe is a rather unique perspective on these issues, these separate cultures, because I have lived both. In 1999 I was a member of the vaunted 1%…until my employer went bankrupt during the high tech bust, and because I was an insider I lost everything due to shareholder lawsuits. I became ill shortly after and could not work- eventually became homeless and lived on the streets until I could get SS Disability….which some say is an entitlement program even though I made the max contribution to SS for close to 30 years….but I had to accept a 30% reduction from my retirement benefits. So yes, I have lived in both of these worlds, and let me assure you they are two separate cultures….both are very flawed….one is based on greed and stress, the other is based upon survival. The means to “fix” these issues is beyond me, but I believe we have a crisis of values in our society at large, and a healthy dose of spiritual life would go a long way towards offering us all an opportunity to become better people….


    1. James, I hope that you have clawed your way back to a more comfortable living for yourself. A situation like yours was just what I was about to bring up.

      It seems to me that Ramsey’s actual flaw wasn’t in comparing rich people to poor people, but in failing to compare rich people with upper middle class people or people who were once rich and lost it. By assuming that the habits of the very rich were the exact habits that got them rich, he was guilty of survivorship bias.

      Here’s a very entertaining explanation of survivorship bias.

      My guess is that had Ramsey properly studied the people who were comfortable, but not meeting the criteria of being rich, he’d find a fair number of people who enjoyed audio books and aerobic exercise on a regular basis.


    2. I’m very sorry to hear that James. My case is the other way round. I was unemployed in the UK during the Thatcher period. I got enough benefits to eat one meal a day one week out of two. The second week I just went hungry. I was a little over 130 pounds at 6’2″, and that was WITH illegally doing any odd jobs I could get. Somehow I managed to get on the ladder & work my way up to management level on a very decent salary, until we got rationalized away in the name of capitalism. When I went to visit friends who were still unemployed & saw their completely empty fridges & kitchen cupboards it would drive me to tears. Now after a burn-out the tide seems to have changed again for me too. Being or becoming poor is something that can happen to anyone. Anyone at all. No matter how talented you are, or how hard or how many hours you work. Bad choices… That’s just taking the mickey.


      1. It is God who decides the wealth of each individual in order to test us with what we have.

        2:155 We (God) will test you with some fear and
        hunger, and a shortage in money and
        lives and fruits. Give good news to those
        who are patient.
        2:156 The ones who, when afflicted with
        adversity, say, “We are to God and to
        Him we will return.”

        2:273 As for the poor who face hardship in the
        cause of God, and cannot leave the land;
        the ignorant ones think they are rich
        from their abstention; you know them by
        their marks, they do not ask the people
        repeatedly. What you spend out of
        goodness, God is fully aware of it.

        30:37 Did they not see that God grants the
        provisions for whom He wills, and He is
        able? In that are signs for a people who
        30:38 So give the relative his due, and the
        poor, and the wayfarer. That is best for
        those who seek God’s presence, and they
        are the successful ones.
        30:39 Any financial interest you have placed to
        grow in the people’s money, it will not
        grow with God. But, any contribution
        that you have placed seeking His
        presence; those will be multiplied.

        34:36 Say, “My Lord gives provisions to
        whomever He wishes, or He restricts
        them, but most people do not know.”

        42:12 To (God) belongs the possessions of the
        heavens and the earth. He spreads out the
        provision for whomever He wills, and
        He measures it. He is fully aware of all

        16:71 God has preferred some of you over
        others in provision. Those who have
        been preferred will not relinquish their
        provision to those whom they have
        contractual rights, so they may become
        equal in it. Are they denying the favor
        of God?

        107:1 Do you notice who rejects the system?
        107:2 It is the one who mistreats the orphan.
        107:3 Does not encourage the feeding of the


  5. Doesn’t it seem more likely that people who are wealthy justify that as some kind of moral strength? I mean, you hardly ever hear rich people say ‘I’m wealthy because I was lucky’. In fact, I’ve never heard that.What I have heard them say is something like ‘I’m/We’re rich now, but I/we had to work for it’.
    It may be that some of the extremely wealthy people have got there as a result of cleverness, hard work or both. It seems more likely to me that the more commonly wealthy got that way out of the sheer dumb luck of being born and brought up in reasonable circumstances.


  6. Good argument why we should dump Democrats, who love the poor so much they create more of them, and vote for LESS government interference so the economy can grow and result in more jobs…higher paying jobs.


  7. I personally would like to know how Dave Ramsey, a person that has a hit radio show, four New York Times best sellers, a large financial planning company (Lampo Group, Inc.,) and an estimated net worth of over $55 Million dollars (http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/dave-ramsey-net-worth/) can even entertain the thought that he knows what the “poor” people do on a daily basis. These “poor” people are generally the folks that make his breakfast every morning, wash his laundry, fix his automobiles, clean his house, maintain his lawn or are generally overlooked and under appreciated as he carries on his noble work of trying to make us all wealthy each and every day.

    I am a person that lives below the poverty line in a state that has a 19% overall poverty level with 27% of our children living in poverty. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/county-level-data-sets/poverty.aspx#.UqSsb-KMljI) Most of my family, all of my friends and coworkers….yep, we are all broke. My wife and I are both college educated (which we are still paying for btw), high school graduates that work hard but are forced to live as frugally as possible due to the lack of quality opportunity and banks/investors that are scared to take even a slight risk. We try and provide the best life we can with the circumstances we are given, we are not “takers” and don’t teach our children to be.

    I find it obscene that a person who lives here (http://www.coolsprings.com/news/dave-ramseys-house/) can tell me they know anything about living here. (http://usahitman.com/piatwlcia/) Things are never black and white. For someone to assume based on the opinions of a mere 300 people the situations of millions is laughable and only shows me Mr. Ramsey is talking out of his backside in order to sell more books.


  8. We have been interviewing 100 families for a period of 12 months, collecting data about their lives . The 20 points raised in this article are re – inforced by our research .


  9. So much pride and vainglory. We are the richest nation EVER to exist. We can feed everybody, clothe everybody, house everybody and nobody would have to give up an X-box or a Porsche. If it bothers you that some of the poor people are just lazy takers, well then CLOSE YOUR EYES!
    Man, you folks better hope the atheists are right, because if there’s a God, an awful lot of you on this thread are in for a serious beat-down!


    1. Agreed…there is no reason that the United States should have any hunger, lack of medical care, housing and education. The world is looking at us and laughing I’m sure that the United States is in such turmoil. It seems that we are becoming more and more elitist and shallow. We don’t appreciate culture or differences and have a culture of prejudice. It makes me sad to see this happening because to me diversity is what makes us unique and offers a lot more opportunities to grow. How can people claim to be Christians, yet they point fingers and mock those who don’t have. They call the poor lazy. They use stereotypes to make their points and not facts. Unfortunately those that have the income to help and make a difference are often times the ones who do not wish to assist their fellow man. Billions are spent producing entertainment in this country. Stars make more money that they could ever spend. Not only won’t the poor see those movies, but they will remain hungry and wanting.

      With the holidays coming, there will be many little children who will be told about Santa who brings all good girls and boys presents. Sadly, many of these kids will receive nothing. Think about foregoing something for yourself and contribute to someone else. My family has always done this, choosing to adopt a child each Christmas even though we don’t have a wealth of income ourselves. There is always someone who needs more than I. Let’s come back as a country to one of caring and goodwill.


    2. 3:180 Those who are stingy with what God has
      given them of His bounty should not
      count that it is good for them; no, it is
      evil for them. They will be surrounded
      by what they were stingy with on the day
      of Resurrection. To God will be the
      inheritance of the heavens and the earth;
      and God is Ever-aware of what you do.

      4:37 Those who are stingy and order the
      people to stinginess, and they conceal
      what God has given them from His
      bounty. We have prepared for these
      ingrates a painful retribution.
      4:38 Those who spend their money to showoff
      to the people, and they do not
      acknowledge God or the Last day.

      9:76 Yet when He gave them of His bounty,
      they became stingy with it, and they
      turned away in aversion.
      9:77 Thus, they ended up with hypocrisy in
      hearts until the day they meet Him; that
      is for breaking what they promised to
      God, and for what they were lying.
      9:78 Did they not know that God knows their
      secrets, their conspiracies, and that God
      is the knower of all the unseen?
      9:79 God mocks those who criticize the
      generous acknowledgers for giving too
      much; and disdain those who do not
      have anything to give but their effort,
      God disdains them,

      25:67 Those who when they give they are not
      excessive nor stingy, but they are in a
      measure between that.

      47:38 Here you are being invited to spend in
      the cause of God, but some among you
      turn stingy. Whoever is stingy is only
      being stingy on himself. God is the Rich,
      while you are the poor. If you turn away,
      He will substitute another people instead
      of you, then they will not be like you.

      57:23 In order that you do not despair over
      anything that has passed you by, nor be
      exultant of anything He has bestowed
      upon you. God does not like those who
      are boastful, proud.
      57:24 They are stingy, and order the people to
      be stingy. For anyone who turns away,
      then know that God is the Rich, the


      1. Allah, God, Goddess, Wakan Tanka, Krishna, Zeus, Ra, whatever… It’s just a name. Only a name. See what I mean about adding religion to the mix? The whole point of the discussion gets sidetracked in favor of whose version of religion is better. And then, of course, no helpful solutions are offered at all, because people have their shorts in a bunch about their chosen belief system instead of sticking to the original issue.


      2. The arguments seems to focus on whether God expects us to feed the poor. Obviously the answer is yes. While a clear answer is not provided in the Bible, I have posted various references that God demands we help those less fortunate. We are created with the ability to know right from wrong. We all know that it is morally right to feed the hungry, clothe and provide homeless for the shelter.

        Human beings have different languages. We should not argue pointless issues. Read the verses and comment on them alone.


      3. Jen, you miss my point. Not everybody is religious. Some people need to think they have a divine incentive to help the poor, and others do it simply because it’s the right thing to do. The earlier insistence on whether to call it God or Allah is just a small part of the problem of adding any kind of religion to the mix. (And I avoid reading verses, thanks. I prefer more reliable sources of information.) If people have something to say, they should say it themselves rather than parroting other sources. I am not convinced of the validity of an argument simply because someone quotes a source he or she deems holy. Rather the opposite, in fact.
        So yeah, humans have different languages, and cultures, and belief systems. None of which is the point. The point is helping people in need. Defending religious belief systems of one sort or another just gets in the way. What people think that “God expects” can be different according to their particular system. Now can we please stick to the point?


      4. Whether I address you as Julie or Ms. Bloch, it is obvious that I am referring to you.

        What is your opinion on the verses alone?


      5. Yes, it’s obvious you’re referring to me when you write either Julie or Ms. Bloch, but I seriously doubt anyone would get into a dispute about which is correct.
        Why do you care about my opinion of your verses?
        Why do you keep harping on religion instead of sticking to the point?


      6. And being that the name of God is not actually “God”, which is just a generic term for ANY supreme being, and the word “allah” is similarly Arabic (Allahu, contraction of al-Ilahu, from al “the” + Ilah “God,”) for “god”, and is actually etymologically directly related to the Hebrew Elohim (which, if you knew crap about what you were talking about, you would recognize as one of the actual names of your Christian God) and thus all those words refer to the same subject, WHAT ONE EARTH IS YOUR (AMAZINGLY IDIOTIC) point?


  10. Whatever happened to emapthising with others, and caring for the members of our community? I’m living in New Zealand, but the one thing I see again and again on American sites that really sets them apart is the absolute callousness and bitter disregard for the members of their community in need – there’s this common attitude that “if you’re poor, you obviously deserve it” and that’s simply not true.

    The first rule of being a good human is to be kind to others – that’s what I was taught, and it seem to be lacking in so many. I find this very sad. I’ve been fortunate to have received a good education and earned well my whole life, but I’m also sensible enough to know that I’ve been fortunate – I *received* my education, my upbringing, I was raised by parents who were able to do these things for me, and I’m thankful for it. Not everyone is so lucky – maybe we need to have a bit more love for, and a bit less judgement of, others,


  11. Most of these comments are from a liberal driven agenda not truthful reporting. Send me a list of where they actually obtained this information.


    1. Mary Ellen, By mentioning that this is just “Liberal” propaganda, it shows us two things. One: you didn’t read the supportive materials that Ramsey provided and two: You think that ALL liberals support the idea of helping poor folks and therefore are stupid. HMMMM


  12. Perhaps I am oversimplifying this, so forgive me. My intent is only to refocus this. We are not called to figure out why people do what they do. We are called to care for our brothers, widows, orphans. Our Father will take care of the correction and the judgement. We just do the loving while we are here.


  13. A lot has been mentioned about what the bible says about poverty. It can easily be condensed into one virtue. Jesus said “What you do for any of these, you do for me.” There is no mention of becoming a “goat” if you don’t help feed the poor.
    It saddens me that there are so many who attribute the numbers of poor people to sheer laziness. I’m a community developer and have found that most of the homeless people we serve are elderly, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, single parents with more than 2 children and addicts (a serious disease.) Most of these folks will work VERY hard all day just help us. We give them clothing and food. Not because they work for us, but because they are human beings who Jesus asks us to love. There are only 4 employers in our big city who are willing to hire these people. Because we help them by allowing them to use our computers to apply, our phone and address to fill in their applications. If they don’t have this type of support and encouragement, they fall through the cracks and eventually turn to drugs/alcohol to suppress their fears and their pain. It’s tragic to see such fine people flushed down the spiral to loneliness and early death. Where is the compassion in our culture? It could happen to ANY of us at anytime. Our security in this culture is based upon having a good job, a caring family/friends and a phone. What would happen to you if you suddenly were with out ALL of these things for 3 months and your unemployment ran out? It would behoove you to volunteer at a ministry or agency that serves the poor. Talk with these folks, hear their stories. It will amaze you, when you hear what they are all about.


    1. While I know that there are plenty of folks who are in serious need, there are many who simply game the system. I don’t take issue with folks who need help, I have a problem with those who take advantage of the system. For example:

      In my hometown there was a lady with 4 children. She had lost her foodstamp benefits and was complaining about how she couldn’t feed her kids. Her spouse was deceased and the kids received survivor benefits. She received over $1400 a month in survivor benefits in the names of the children. She also received subsidized housing in the amount of $600 per month. She had free basic cable $65 per month. Each child receives medicaid, and she receives TANF, although that is limited. She earns $17000 per year or so, as a result she gets about $10000 in refundable credits come tax time. She gets free day care and a free cell phone (its a crappy phone, but it is free).

      I don’t know what else she gets, but I do know that she lives a hell of a lot better than I do. At least she does keep a full time job.


      1. Do you think there are no rich people who ‘game the system’? If you do, then I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.


      2. @odp – I have a problem with anyone “gaming the system” … my point was that folks who take advantage when they really aren’t in need are the ones who cause bad publicity and problems for those who do need help.

        I have no problem helping folks – I work more hours doing charity than I spend working on a job for myself. A hands-on approach gives me a much better insight into how poor folks live and allows me to help them more. Sadly though, some folks don’t want help, they just want stuff.


      3. How does she get free cable? I live in MA (liberal utopia) and they do not even give out free cable. Subsidies go by the amount of income you receive. You pay a percentage of your income in rent. If she is not working she should not get any money back from taxes. People on welfare who do not work do not qualify for earned income credit and child credits.


      4. @Me13, starting from the top:
        The free basic cable is provided under a local program where low income families can qualify for free basic cable (no frills, no digital tier, no upper tier, no movie channels, etc.) If the family wants to add services, they have to pay for them, but they are priced on a sliding scale from 50% to 100% or normal rates. At many of the subsidized housing units, basic cable is provided to all units at no cost.

        My brother lives in one of those 2br subsidized units. There are three family members, himself, wife and adult daughter. Combined household income is just over $21k. His monthly rent is about $190. Similar apartments rent for about $800 a month.

        The woman in question works on a job and makes roughly $17k a year. With those numbers, $10k in refundable credits and taxes is reasonable and to be expected.

        Calculating a rent subsidy is relatively easy when you know the steps. Add up all annual income that is not excluded, subtract the exclusion amounts based on the number of people in the household. Divide the result by 12, multiply by 30% and 10%. Choose the larger value. Subtract the average monthly utility bills from the value, then subtract that value from the non-subsidized rent amount. The remainder is the subsidized amount. So, $1100 – (($30k (adjusted income) / 12 * 0.3) – $250) = $600.

        The numbers could be a little less or a little more depending on whether or not she can claim any child care expenses, transportation expenses, or medical expenses.


  14. A mere year wait for affordable housing? Where? I realize you said a “year or more” but that means SOMEWHERE it should just be a year. The places I’ve lived it’s been closer to FIVE years or more and that’s WITH priority and IF you can even get onto the list – many places keep when/how they do list openings very quiet and on top of that select the actual people for the list by methods like “lotteries”. Which means IF you hear about it AND do all the paperwork, you’ve still got to be lucky enough to be picked – then survive what may be closer to a decade. Plus all that presumes there aren’t any funding problems or freezes that force them to put “holds” or “freezes” on the list, thus increasing the time you wait – this happens regularly in far too many places (and especially in recent years).


  15. This is sad, seeing so many seemingly-educated people polarize and generalize about something as complicated and pervasive as poverty.

    Poverty is caused by a spectrum of factors. You can’t single one or two out and ignore the rest. All these factors, personal, ethical, racial, cultural, political, economic, systemic, etc., should be acknowledged, and their influence depend entirely on the individual. Because, generalizing about large groups of people based purely on their income is really just a game for self-deluding fools, desperate to validate their own tunnel-vision worldview.

    Special award goes to Jaze, for hardest-working with least intellectual advancement. Maybe you’re working too hard, or in over your head. Teaching is a demanding job, and you may be more comfortable working in fast food. Or perhaps you’re not really being adequately compensated either?




  17. One quibble: SNAP (food stamps) is called SUPPLEMENTAL nutritional assistance program; it is designed to make up the difference, not provide ALL of the food budget. Yes, it is an important program and good for both humanitarian and economic stimulus reasons.


  18. Thank you for this well-documented article. Having been raised in an upper-middle class home (though I didn’t realize it) in a large city, I now work among the poor-getting-poorer teaching history. It’s amazing the blindness to what our social structure and entitlement will make “Christians” say about the poor. Jesus had a lot to say about the hypocrisy of the rich and their inability to discern accurately. Sad to say, Scrooge is alive and well among us. Thank you, again.


  19. I can say that these are not all true facts. How do I know…..because I am poor and I receive food stamps. Yes, I work, and I do scrape by. I also vote in every election. I am for voter IDs, even though they do not require them where I live. The food stamps do not last all month and I have to use my own money but I also buy organic milk. I don’t buy junk food and we never skip meals. I also came from a solid 2 parent high middle class family. This liberal junk will brainwash you. Most poor people are ignorant. I know I have lived next door to them. They do not have the mindset to go to college and get ahead in life. They are content where they are. It is sad. I am in college and will get out of this situation because I want something better and thankfully I was raised by hard working people. Try living in the projects and then you will see how poor people really act and think. You will realize this list is BS.


  20. Interesting. I think the gap between the poor and the rich will start to decrease.
    Instead of going through formal education…becoming a product of society & just another worker, people are finding different ways.

    For example, I found a way to make money online with my WordPress site.

    A lot of people are becoming enlightened to the fact that the “American Dream” is getting harder and harder to achieve. The rich are working to keep themselves rich, helping no one in the process…


  21. It is horrifying to see the garbage being spouted by the commenters above. I have never been anything but poor. I have always worked; when I could find work. And after my daughter was kidnapped by a babysitter I chose to stay home and open a 24 hours per day 7 days per week child care. I was licensed. Shortly after I started this business I became a foster parent (due to one of my charges being beaten by his mother). I worked day care and foster care for 23 years. After that I began working as an Adult Foster Care Home manager. The biggest bone of contention I have is even though I was employed I still needed government assistance to survive. In Los Angeles I never earned enough to rent an apartment of my own, I always had roommates who were in the same circumstances as I. In 1994 I became disabled but continued to work for the same reasons listed above. I am now attempting to earn money via an ebay store, it helps a little. When people see me they see a white woman who is obese (I have been since I was 12–poor food availability so when it was available I overate) who uses a disability placard to park. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard snide remarks. Those remarks are about my obesity is my disability. Actually, I have an artificial knee, three herniated disks and am waiting to have a hip replacement until I am a little older. All of these injuries occurred while I was taking care of disabled seniors.My monthly income is $763.00/month and my rent is $495. I do not collect food stamps and I use my roommate’s computer because I could never afford one.
    This is not a sob story and I don’t want any sympathy. I thought my situation might offer some insight. BTW I only have one child.


    1. Thank you. As to food I always said when people with money are depressed or want to celebrate, they buy a blouse or a pair of shoes (or a golf club), “we” buy a Hershey bar.


    2. I can’t deal with all the sanctimony from all these “heroes”. I was poor. Then I left a horrible job and got off my ass. I stopped borrowing money and put everything in perspective. Now, I’m paying for someone else’s car note through welfare (which is being spent too much on those who don’t really need it).

      Stop relying on others. Show up. Contribute. Worry only about those things that you can control. Those are some simple keys to success. Then, perhaps you’ll find yourself in a better position and you may even be able to help alleviate the problem instead of contributing to it. Those who are able should do that, but it’s amazing how that simple message is trashed and obfuscated.

      Why would you trust a government that refuses to take care of its veterans anyway?


      1. I don’t trust our current government at all. But you are over simplifying an individuals ability to “pull it together”. I have always worked hard and still have need for some assistance. I have paid taxes, including income taxes and did so from the day I began working at age 12 right through my retirement at age 54. When I was 12 I worked 6 days a week/38 hours and contributed ALL of my income to my mother. She worked, dad refused to contribute to the welfare of his 5 children, and my job kept our family off of welfare. I have been unemployed by choice and have never received unemployment. I am proud of my working past and have no issues assisting those less fortunate than I.
        People need to get off of their soapboxes and remember that this hatred is unforgivable. When you give a man a fish he will eat one meal but if you teach him to fish he will not starve. This is also true when we endeavor to teach someone the value of good work ethics, and mentor him during his first year on the job (especially if he hasn’t held a job for quite a while); then ASSIST in the transition between needing government assistance to independence. Then and only then will we be successful stewards of our own abilities.


      2. Well good for you Chris but did you have young children depending in you? Many poor do which makes it more difficult to change their life so quickly. Some people have disorders and issues they are also dealing with.


  22. Interesting article, Ben. I want to point out that voter fraud does exist – I know, because someone tried to steal my vote in the last Presidential election by voting early under my name. However, Florida already has voter i.d. laws, so clearly that does not keep a determined person from impersonating someone else. (Of course, it also could have been someone working in the elections office. We’ve got plenty of election fraud here in Florida, which usually doesn’t seem to be committed by voters.) Anyway, from my experience I doubt that statistics regarding voter fraud are accurate. That’s because there doesn’t seem to be any single official organization to report cases to. So although I cast a provisional ballot and reported my case to my local election office, Election Protection, and the local FBI bureau, I would not be remotely surprised if it doesn’t exist in any statistical records.


    1. Indeed voter fraud does exist. In my town, we had a local elected official whose wife was convicted of obtaining several hundred absentee ballots and voting as them and turning them in as valid votes. In an adjacent county, an elections official was convicted of supplying absentee ballots to a school board candidate.

      It is also the same reason why voterID laws can’t address every situation, but you can rest assured that there are folks who will vote early and often, especially if there isn’t some sort of mechanism in place to ensure the voter has the legal authority to vote in the prescribed election.


      1. Choosing to ignore the voter fraud that does exist because one believes voter fraud is massively exaggerated is misguided.

        I found no less than 15 instances of voter fraud in my home state, and those were frauds that we know about. The improprieties come in all shapes and sizes; absentee ballots, ineligible voters, deceased voters, ballots not being counted, multiple voting, identity theft, etc.

        Granted, not all instances of voter fraud would be eliminated with ID laws, but a number of them are eliminated.

        Of course, one can easily argue that voter fraud isn’t rampant because most folks only hear anecdotal reports of fraud, many that turn out to not be true. However, we can never know how much fraud exists if nobody even tries to see if it exists. Such is the case where people have admittedly voted in multiple states, but only after an anonymous tip uncovered the fact.


      2. Yes, exactly. The type of election fraud you’re talking about is typical of what we see here, as well as organizations that set themselves up to register voters, then submit a bunch of phony registrations. It’s mostly people trying to game the system from within, rather than a random person walking up to the polls with a fake i.d.

        Voters always have the authority to vote in an election, even if someone has voted in their stead. What happens is that you have to cast a provisional ballot, which you sign with your legal signature. Here in Florida, you sign underneath a statement attesting that you’re who you claim to be, and that you understand that casting a phony ballot carries a penalty of 2 years jail time plus a $10,000 fine. Apparently, this is also what early voters sign here (which is why elections officials told me it was highly unlikely that the ballot cast in my name was a mistake). Elections officials then compare the signatures on the ballots with the signature they have on file for you, determine which signature matches, and supposedly that’s the ballot that counts. However, when I was leaving my polling place, a woman representing an election watch organization advised me that provisional ballots often aren’t counted, and that I should immediately go to the elections office and complain. Which I think was pretty effective, since I was so upset that the young lady at the elections office who tried to help me practically started crying. I also think that reporting it to the FBI helped. Still, even though the official outcome claimed that my ballot was counted, how do I really know? I don’t.

        So I don’t think there are many people trying to vote often under their own name, partly because of the penalties and partly because only one ballot is going to count, regardless of how many ballots they cast.


      3. Voting often under ones own name isn’t supposed to be possible when you vote in a single comprehensive jurisdiction, however, as is the case with part time residents or people who are bent on gaming the system, it is a relatively easy proposition in most states despite the fact that it is highly unlawful. For example, voting multiple times, especially for statewide and federal office is quite simple.

        Step one is to fill out a voter registration card using an address inside the jurisdiction … yes, I know, highly unlawful, but for someone who is going to vote multiple times, that isn’t an issue. Put a stamp on the card and mail it in. The elections office will never see the person filling out the card and will take it on face value that the registration is lawful.
        Step two is to repeat step one in a separate elections jurisdiction with a different elections supervisor, as such the databases will not be comingled.
        Step three is to repeat step one as often as you like.
        Step four is to fill out absentee ballots in one, some or all of the jurisdictions.

        Once upon a time, I had the supervisor of elections in my home town remove both of my sons from the voter rolls because they had both moved to other jurisdictions and were no longer eligible as electors in my county. Neither of them voted twice as far as I know, but I know both of them were concurrently registered in multiple jurisdictions; one within the state and one in another state.

        I believe it happens occasionally, but I don’t think so in places where there are voter ID requirements for in-person balloting. However, absentee voting is still way too easy to commit fraud.

        I’ve been on the absentee ballot canvasing committee several times and I have seen hundreds of ballots that have been disqualified due to the person having voted in-person, having an invalid signature or the person being disqualified because they were found to have been ineligible to vote for whatever reason.


    2. Funny. You go on and on about how you KNOW voter fraud exists, yet then spend half your time going on about how hard it is to detect being an excuse for why there is no reliable data.
      Clue for you: if there is no reliable data, there is NO justification for instituting ANY policy to try to prevent it that might possibly infringe on any citizen exercising their right to vote.
      I.e., you are simply clarifying the claim on the left, that this new push for voter ID laws has NOTHING to do with curtailing voter fraud.


      1. There is no reliable data because nobody is trying to compile it. Sticking ones head in the sand does not make a problem go away, it merely fills your ears with sand to drown out the voice of reason.


      2. The voice of reason?!? You’re proposing draconian and drastic solutions to problems that you ADMIT you have NOT firm statistical evidence even exists!
        That said, it simply is not true that “nobody is trying to compile it”. Numerous attempts have been made by local and statewide, Republican-dominated legislatures to prove such fraud exists, to justify their newfound strategy to disenfranchise statistically heavily Democratic groups. I live in one such state. The “studies” they funded, even with grossly stilted data, STILL could not produce any evidence of statistically significant voter fraud. These studies were then hushed up, and the legislation (various voter ID and redistricting measures) pushed though anyway.
        Once again, you quite simply have no idea what you’re talking about.


      3. Unless you have data to back up your lie, I expect you to quit using it.

        Please provide a link to these “studies” with stilted data.

        Please provide a link to the evidence that these studies were then covered up.


      4. First, you can not counter a call for citations with a call to citations. You have been asked to provide data to backup your assertions and anecdotal nonsense REPEATEDLY in this thread, and have failed to do so. Trying to pull the switch fools no one.
        Beyond that, several posters, as well as the author, have posted citations to studies that have looked at the issue.
        But nice red herring.
        As to “stilted data”, first, you appear to not know what the word “stilted” means, as NO definition of the term makes even partial sense in that sentence! Regardless, I never made that claim. I stated that the data from studies done did NOT support the claims, often of those funding the studies, that said fraud existed.
        If you are looking for the cover up, research Tom Corbett.


  23. All else aside, I’d like to see Jaze’s monthly grocery receipts. $110/month for a family of three? Really? Really!?


    1. My father is single and lives alone. He spends less than $50 per month, but then he also buys things on sale and never buys things like boxed meals.


    2. it is also easier to save when you have a steady income. You can take advantage of sales; have the decent spices to make the lesser quality meats taste good; buy in bulk. It takes money to make money, it also takes money to save money. Never mind being able to GET to the sales. The better your credit, the less your car insurance. Etc. it is a fallacy that if YOU can do it, a poor person can.


    3. We eat of $400 for a family of 8. And it’s good food. For example, my wife just bought $600 worth of fruit for $100 and then canned it all. We’ll have great fruit to eat for several weeks.


  24. I think people are missing the main benefit and reason for Corley’s work. He was trying to give concrete, specific behaviors that people can adopt to lead to a better life. It’s true that many of us can’t achieve every single habit for a plethora of reasons, but at least we have a map. And even if we don’t get to a specific destination, we are closer to our goal using Corley’s map than when we began. I think most of us can admit (at least I hope we can) that what Corley’s outlines as good habits do likely increase the chances for financial survival. On the other hand, the bad habits mentioned by Corley either likely have no positive effect or even a harmful effect on the chances of financial survival.

    True, I would like to see a larger data pool, but a small data pool doesn’t automatically mean the conclusions are incorrect. Instead, it means more research is needed, but at least, there is some factual data to back the theory. So we should continue pursuing the inquiry until it proves incorrect. This is how many of our great theories began.

    And to be honest, before we scrap Corley’s work, I think it deserves a fair hearing because, since the 1960’s and LBJ’s “war on poverty,” our current method of unearned entitlements really hasn’t done a good job of ending poverty in the US, but it has a done a great job adding to our national debt. ,


  25. Is the $133 per person? Because it’s actually fairly easy to eat well on that much per month. We have 4 people in our family (granted two don’t eat much as they are 5 months and almost 2), and our food budget for all of us is $150 a month. We skip most sweets, chips, soda, coffee, pre-made foods, and going out to eat and mostly buy foods that are nutritious and filling (which includes plenty of tasty stuff). If we had $133 per person, or even just for the two adults in our family, we could be eating very well.


  26. The rich create nothing, they invent nothing, they call working Americans lazy 143 different ways before breakfast every day. Anyone who is not rich, you for example, you there, I can call you lazy, you’re lazy, see how easy that is? Yes it’s true, you are lazy. You are worthless. See how easy it is to say that? Anytime I need to disagree with you about something, we can start right there, you’re lazy, you’re worthless, you’re less than a person, so you deserve all of every form of predation you can get – obviously.


  27. I am a highly intelligent person. I completed a two year Associate Degree at age 40 with a straight 4.0 GPA. 12 years of working as an East Hampton real estate paralegal could not cure 16 years of bad credit from my domestic violence ridden marriage. That job went poof in the 2008 downturn. I found a local administrative assistant job for nearly half the pay and was this woman’s lackey for over 4 years. I am now on unemployment, about to lose that. As for being entrepreneurial, unless you have that wonderful product or fantastic business model, making great gobs of money require taking advantage of others. I can’t do that. All those ‘work from home’ positions consist of convincing other desperate people to send you money in hopes of that miracle.


    1. I don’t know your particular situation, only you can truly know that.

      From your comments, I can only assume you are no longer associated with your abuser, and for that I can only applaud you for having the courage to take the hard road to remove yourself from the situation. Once upon a time, I was too cavalier with the whole idea of domestic violence even while I was in a not so dissimilar circumstance. Getting out of my situation was perhaps the hardest thing I had ever done … 16 years of being told how worthless I was and the constant threatening and belittling left me as a shell of a person. At the urging of a friend to remove myself from the situation, within a couple of days I found myself worried sick, not about me, but the abuser .. how did they feel? Why did I do this to them? I was moments away from running back arms wide open begging for forgiveness. It was a sobering moment .. the moment I realized I was indeed a victim. Despite years of telling others that they should just leave, I had absolutely no understanding of the mental toll abuse had on its victims.

      That being said, I also know now that people can sometimes fall into the poverty trap because they have a similar outlook on life.

      Don’t fall into that trap. You are obviously intelligent and despite a string of bad luck, you can certainly make things better. One day at a time and soon you will be beyond the struggles and you won’t know what happened.

      Whatever you do, do not take the low road and take advantage of others.


    2. I know what you mean. I morally disagree with the majority of jobs left in the dire economy. I also homeschool my children to teach them morals and ethics. That is the reason I need internet, but I cannot afford to drive.


    1. I do not use an iPhone, but my husband does. He needs it because he is actively seeking a living wage job! My husband did not have his college paid for by his parents. Our family of 4 lived off of 30K a year, even purchasing a house, without going on food stamps or other forms of assistance.. Well, when he lost his job things changed. He applied for hundreds of jobs, went to interviews, and even tried to work freelance, all while trying to find a way to pay the bills. More than a year later and still no work.

      Thank God he is able to get a full scholarship! He goes to a local community college in the evenings and tries to make money during the day. This college offers job placement upon graduation.


      1. I don’t have an iPhone either, instead, I use a cheaper model phone with a $40 unlimited plan that allows me to do everything that a pricy iPhone does … and guess what, if I can’t afford the payment next month, I can just skip that month and pick it up the following month.

        My wife and I were both unemployed for two years .. not one penny of food stamps … we sold some of our belongings as needed and we made it just fine. It wasn’t fun, but it happened.

        We didn’t lose our house because we didn’t buy the size house the bank said we could afford … we bought less than half that amount. We also didn’t have vehicle payments because we pay cash for cars and keep them maintained.

        There are always options and people would be remiss to not try them, despite their ideological aversion to actually listening what someone suggests.


      2. My husband does have an iPhone because it was given to him at his last job. He did not go out and purchase one. He actually wanted a cheap phone, but his boss made him get the one with messaging capabilities. Obviously, we would either buy an American-made phone or a secondhand phone if there was choice in the matter.

        We are absolutely on food stamps! I thought we were doing fine before, but it turns out we were already low income before he lost his job. There was not much that could be sold as we don’t buy anything we don’t need anyways. Almost every piece of furniture came from my husband’s parents. They are not replaceable and also fulfill a purpose in our house. We have one television which doubles as a computer monitor. Our house is worth less than 100K and we owed more than it was worth. I don’t see how you can sell one used car to pay one mortgage payment and have no transportation to school or work. So it is what it is.


  28. I have been reading many of the posts regarding the price of food and the availability of quality food at reasonable prices and I have come to the conclusion that either food in my area is really really cheap or the claims are not entirely truthful that one cannot purchase quality food at reasonable prices.

    After a trip to a local grocery store (not Walmart, Kroger or similar) I looked at my receipt for my purchases. I was quite surprised at what I saw.

    A dozen large eggs for $1.89, a 5# bag of potatoes for 1.99 (sale price), fresh ground pork (not seasoned) $1.99lb, whole milk $3.29gal. real unsalted cream butter 2.99lb. white bread $1.09 loaf.

    For comparison, lets compare this to a typical restaurant breakfast, although most folks don’t have everything on this list, they normally leave off one or more items. Personally, I have either potatoes or fried ground pork not both and most of the time I only have one piece of toast and sometimes only one egg.

    2 eggs – 0.315
    4oz fried potatoes – 0.0995
    2oz fried ground pork – 0.24875
    2 slices toast – 0.099
    2 tsp butter – 0.0623
    8oz milk – 0.205625

    Total cost – $1.030175 or roughly $93 per month for a family of 3

    A sandwich and piece of fruit is what I normally have for lunch, so …
    Same bread as above
    Kraft American cheese, not individually wrapped $3.59 (24 slices), sliced ham $2.99lb(coincidentally also 24 slices). Apples 1.79lb

    2 slices of bread – 0.099
    2 slices of ham – 0.249
    1 slice cheese – 0.15
    1/2 apple – 0.34
    water to drink

    Total cost – $0.838 or roughly $75 per month for a family of 4

    There is nothing typical about our dinners sometimes it is breakfast, sometimes it is a sandwich, sometimes it is a $4 frozen pizza.

    Also, many times we have a late breakfast and don’t eat lunch, for example, like today, I had two eggs, fried potatoes, toast and iced tea for a late breakfast and didn’t have lunch, so the numbers don’t exactly work out, but rest assured that we don’t spend nearly the amount that we have been led to believe is normal.

    Also, just to put things in perspective, we buy most of the food for our dinners from a delivery service that comes by twice a week. It costs a little bit more, but the portions are already sized and the meals are simple to prepare.

    Portion size is probably the reason for high food costs in most folk’s food budget and they don’t even realize it.


    1. My family of 4 definitely does not eat like the average American family.

      Our diet consists of organic food with zero artificial color, flavor, preservatives, or chemicals. We are also restricted from from eating pork, and must purchase humanely treated and slaughtered meats. We receive full SNAP benefits and we use the full amount every month without going over.

      Eating healthy is possible for less if you have access to a good grocery store or know farmers that can take food stamps.

      We usually just eat 1 piece of fruit for breakfast. I often skip breakfast and snack throughout the day. The kids love carrots, beans, yogurt, seeds, nuts, eggs, and fruit for lunch. The great thing is that these foods don’t require cooking! Our main meal is dinner, which costs less to prepare for a family of four. We sit down to a large, filling meal together a couple hours before bed.

      Because I have Native American ancestry, carbs, sugars, and grains do not agree with my body. My family and I eat fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, nuts, seeds, oils, and meat. We limit the grains and sugars to a small amount.

      If the SNAP account is getting low I will fast that day or just have something small until dinner. Other times we have a bounty of fresh food and eat well. I would definitely prefer that my husband was able to find a decent job and I could stop messing with all the bureaucracy.

      The real issues are rarely addressed. Our country would be far worse off than Greece without the welfare programs. Our system of livelihood has been stolen from us by corrupt legislators. American wealth has been extracted into the hands of the international bankers and our jobs have been sent to China.

      As I said before, we must first reverse the policies that our wrecking America. After we kick out the federal reserve and toss out restrictive rules and regulations, the economy will start to improve. Once the job market improves and a middle class income is a possibility for any hardworking American- then, and only then – can we talk about decreasing benefits.


    2. “The bible also says if one doesn’t work, he should not eat …”

      Yeah, no, it doesn’t. How convenient that you misquote the passage.
      Funny also how you bemoan the lack of sources, then post anecdote after anecdote, most of them doubtful (yes, I am calling you a liar) and yet fail to see the hypocrisy.
      No real surprise, there.


    3. i don’t want to fill Ben’s site up with any more comments esp not quite on the blog post topic but maybe need to reply to this issue
      pork has growth hormones (and maybe mercury i have heard). (ham has salt. costs alot here.)
      cheese where i am is all full of salt (ingredients lists are in order of amount) (and not cheap), except one which is the most expensive. (they makers of that chees told me that the “cheap” 1kg blocks are made from the stuff they used to feed pigs with.)
      i seem to have a slight cow milk allergy and potato allergy. (plus cow milk has alot of copper. plus “whole milk” isn’t same as full cream milk. I also hear that some places fluoridate milk?)
      white bread? wholemeal bread is good. bread has water (fluoridated) often soy these days and other ingredients.
      apples here are often all bruised under the skin, and are sprayed unless can get “organic”. (no use peeling the skin off because skin has needed pectin.) Most fruit is sprayed by farmers (from the “first spray”) and supermarkets. Not to mention not know if the water was fluoridated.
      water here is fluoridated.
      tea has fluoride and i’m not sure if it is sprayed.
      were your eggs free range/barn (&/or organic) or battery hens?
      Pizza not very good ingredients….
      decent quality (& “organic”) food costs more than orthodox common “food”.
      you may be right to some extent about portion size but it is not easy for some of us to be able to get bulk or unpackaged food. Its the system’s fault for stupid small portion sizes and packaging etc.
      some areas don’t have near/local delivery services and they cost heaps and some have alot of packaging.
      you also have to take into consideration that it is not just the availiability in area but also a persons situation and condition, just like its not just the seeming price but the quality to consider.


  29. Thank you for writing this post!
    My family of three just cleared the poverty line because my partner’s wages were raised to $11 an hour. All three of us have food allergies (gluten, dairy, corn, nuts, and cinnamon), so buying super cheap stuff (spaghetti, frozen pizza, normal bread, etc.) really isn’t an option for us. Having food allergies makes it hard to afford a SNAP food budget. I have a laundry list of health problems (am waiting for my disability court date) that keep me from holding a job, so I stay home with our three year old son. My partner was unable to complete his degree and has thousands of dollars in student loan debt to pay as soon as our income increases. I have a degree but am unable to use it because of my health. We live in the cheapest apartment we could find. My cellphone is several years old and came to me through freecycle. My partner’s cellphone is several years old as well and doesn’t always work. We own one vehicle. My partner walks to work as much as possible to save on gas money. We have sold all of our “extra” possession at pawn shops multiple times so that we could pay bills. We don’t own a TV, cable, or even have Netflix. We all sleep and live in the living room because it’s cheaper to heat/cool only room. We’ve had to choose between using our last $10 for laundry quarters or more groceries – it’s a bad place to be.
    We don’t live frivolously and do our best with what we have, but it’s taken us awhile to get to where we are now. Hopefully a potential job will work out soon and we’ll be lifted out of this. If we do ever make it out, I will never forget what it feels like and will do my best to help those who are “poor,” especially those with food allergies.
    Please don’t look down on us and say hateful, judgmental things like so many commenters already have – that accomplishes nothing.


  30. Your amount of food stamps that a family gets is so incorrect. That may be the amount per person, but not a family. My husband runs a grocery store and most of his business comes from food stamps and not a single one of them get less than $200. A lot of them will spend $300 at one time and still have $400-$600 left on their food stamps card. Your source is simply the government trying to make themselves look better in a survey so we all don’t think our economy is bad.


  31. Thank you for accurately depicting my life! People who have never been poor don’t have a clue! As a person living with HIV I’m forced to stay poor to have access to medical care go figure!


  32. Ben, Thank you. I am a college educated, divorced, 57 year woman. I became ill several years ago (serious illness) I had to swallow my pride and rely on Social Security Disability (SSI). As an added benefit I receive $82.00 per month in food benefits and I am THANKFUL for every single dollar of that $82.00 monthly allotment. It means I am able to eat each month (maybe not every day-if I am not careful) My income is $700.00 per month.. by the time I pay my property taxes, home insurance, heat, electric, water & sewer bills I am in the red each & every month because I pay my bills FIRST.. However I am thankful I have a roof over my head, Yes, I have a home, it is a $30,000.00 home in a pretty tough neighborhood, where I call 911 to report gunshots frequently. Do people think I like living like this?. I would be a workaholic if my health allowed it. Again I have to rely on state issued health insurance (that I am thankful for) but must fight them at every turn. They decided a few months ago that I should only get 2 weeks worth of my medications not a 30 days supply.. Why? Even after years of documented records they now insist that’s the amount of medication I have always received. WHAT??? So, now I try to cut my medications in half because there simply is no money to purchase the other 2 weeks worth. Again do people really think I enjoy living like this???…technically my life rests in the hands of bureaucrats and I would change places with any one of them tomorrow if they would like..This is what being poor is really like.


  33. My response to many of the posts above: Ugh. Let’s do everything we can to discredit anything that says the poor might not be such horrible human beings. Sounds like what Christ would do. (I know, I’m being judgmental).


    1. The poor aren’t horrible human beings, but a lot of them do continually make poor decisions. If we could resolve those issues, the remaining problem would be much easier to resolve.


      1. Often times the choices available to the poor are a damned if you do damned if you don’t proposition. They do not have the same opportunities in any area of their life. A poor man running for office with wonderful ideas for change will not be heard. A rich man with questionable ideas will always win…we see this in Wisconsin where out Republican governor has caused a great deal of havoc and may have broken the law in doing so. He is winning because he is backed by the Koch Brothers who own more business/have more wealth than God. He wins, they keep their money and get richer…sickening.


  34. Jaze, What’s a “mute” point?
    I believe the word you were going for is “moot”. Perhaps have some intelligence before trying to speak.


  35. I may or may not be an idiot, but that does not stop you from being a liar. First, it is not jet about context, although you did, indeed, take the quote entirely out of context. And it does not matter that the quote can be applicable elsewhere, as that is not the context of the quote. Period.
    But more importantly, you ignorant liar, that is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible ACTUALLY says: If anyone is not WILLING to work, let him not eat. Note the extra words you conveniently omitted. They not only change the meaning of the quote, but ENTIRELY obliterate your argument.
    As to “doubting the veracity of the claim…” that is not your call. If you have any data to support your supposition, and to counter the mountain of data, already cited numerous times by others, that contradicts it, by all means post citations. Otherwise your opinion has about as much value as your ability to quote Biblical version on the internet. Zero.
    Beyond that, your critical thinking skills are evident in your idiotic example of the Vietnam vet. Beyond the fact that it is anecdotal, and singular, and thus of little probative value, I highly suspect that your friend started his business in an entirely different time, when capital constraints, not to mention availability, were ENTIRELY different than they are now. Beyond that, for every anecdotal story you give me of disabled vets who were able to overcome adversity I can give you three of completely able-bodied vets who still found themselves homeless.
    As for the rest of your utter nonsense, it just goes to support the idea that you have zero critical thinking skills. You know next to nothing about me, let alone what I believe, or how old I am. Your making conclusions about those things is telling regarding your overall penchant for making sweeping, unsupported assumptions, and your intellect in general.


    1. What the bible does or does not say is irrelevant. There are many texts held sacred by many different peoples in the world, and they all have sound advice as well as utter nonsense in them. All of them. Instead of trying to bolster arguments with a text that people have used to support any number of mutually contradictory views, why not use present day research by respected scientists or other rational authorities?
      The bible is largely myth, superstition, and tribal taboos, and as such, is not a valid source of information. Using it as a source of reference will only impress people who already believe in it.


    2. Any empirical evidence that I could provide would be dismissed by you as invalid. I accept that only because I understand your naivety, especially considering the only evidence you will accept is a link to some data or article somewhere on the internet. Sorry, that isn’t the way the world operates. Everything isn’t available on the internet. Sometimes you have to actually see the evidence with your own eyes .. eyes that will never see something a couple thousand miles away without actually going to where the evidence is located.

      But hey, look on the bright side, there is a great deal of information that is available, and you would be wise to know that.

      You are correct in your “willing to work” comments only to a point. The omission of “willing” was not intentional. While in your mind, it may have completely changed the meaning, it still does not change the attitude of a great number of folks who aren’t willing to work, in fact while I was working at a local employment agency a couple of years ago, I heard more times than I cared, that the only reason they were there is because if they didn’t come in, they wouldn’t get their check. The thing is, there were folks from all walks of life.

      While you may have a firm grasp of living in a city that I am loathe to visit, even if they have the best polish sausage in the country, what you lack is the understanding that this country is quite different than the myopic view which you enjoy. Perhaps in a few years when you realize that people aren’t the poor helpless folks they claim to be, you will wise up.

      When you realize the folly of your ways, I want to you remember these words … not every problem requires a solution and not every solution to a problem requires action.


  36. I wish voter fraud was indeed nonexistant. Your point about draconian is invalid, based upon the fact that I know multiple people in Chicago alone who commit voter fraud regularly. In the last presidential election alone, one person voted as herself and then again cast a ballot for her 4-years-dead grandmother; another co-worker voted once as herself, once as her 7-year-old son, and once more as another long-deceased family member; and finally a co-worker voted as himself, and again as his cat – and yes, he had a legitimate voter card for his cat.
    Voter fraud is very real, and is alive and well.
    Aside from your bad call related to voter fraud, having lived well below the poverty line for years, I agree with your list. I also will always claim that government aid will continue to enslave the people it is supposed to protect.
    I got out by moving out of state, moving in with family, and taking out $70,000 in student loans to cover my entire education while working a slightly-above-minimum-wage temp job 9 months out of the year.


    1. You would be well served taking class in basic logic. First, your individual experience has NO relevance to whether or not the comment is valid. In fact, even if voter fraud was rampant, it would not make the statement invalid. Words have meanings, especially in restricted domain, such as logic, and you don’t get to arbitrarily assign them different ones. Beyond that, your anecdotal experience does not have any relevance to the truth of the statement, either, either that it is draconian, or that it is based on trying to prevent things that are statistically unimportant. Study after study has shown, repeatedly, that voter fraud is statistically as close to nonexistent as you can get.
      And all that is assuming your story is true, which I highly doubt. Unlike others, I will not mince words. You are a liar. Why do I go so far as to make this accusation? Because, voter fraud is a crime, and if you feel strongly enough about it to post comments to this article, surely you would have reported these incidents.
      Beyond that, you again make the same overgeneralization mistake. Your personal success says NOTHING about the general ability of others to reach that same success. To take it to the extreme, if everyone from your state followed the same path, they’d all now live in your current state, the job market there would then collapse, and all you’d have accomplished is transporting the problem across state lines.


      1. So, you respond to someone who points out, with first hand knowledge, that voter fraud exists, and it can be shown to exists with ease (google is your friend), yet you purposefully change the scope to say that it isn’t rampant. One can only suppose that you acknowledge that voter fraud does indeed happen.

        The rest of your ramblings are incoherent and lack any substantive knowledge of the particular situation. You merely assume a position and launch personal attacks instead of addressing the issue; that being that voter fraud exists.


      2. It is difficult to even reposed to your first point, as it is not even a real sentence. And yet you have the audacity to call my posts rambling” At least I can structure a coherent sentence, free from dangling dependent clauses. Nor was anything I wrote to him a personal attack, but rather an attack on bios lack of verifiable data, his poor logic, his incorrect use of terminology, and his utter failure to support anything he wrote with actual citations. Hmm, sounds just like you. You have been called out to provided the same since day one of this post, and have still failed to do so.. Second, Google is indeed my friend. It should be yours, too, as ANY search on the topic will give you links regarding research debunking claims that voter fraud is an issue at at least a 10;1 ratio to claims to the contrary, claims supported by ZERO legitimate evidence, and at most, nonsense anecdotal stories, like you are so fond of posting.
        And I did not just “assume a position and fail to address the issue. Unlke you and your baseless claims, I actually posted several citations to back up my points. All you have is anecdotal story time, and, comments that, quite frankly, are most likely lies.


      3. It is apparent that you don’t understand English, therefore your assertions regarding what constitutes a sentence is invalid. In the previous post you continued with irregular sentence structure and ad hominem attacks while vehemently denying that you are doing it.

        Please lay off the copious use of commas, they are neither needed or warranted.


      1. My personal experience is relevant because the author states that it’s very difficult to live under $4 of food a day. It’s not difficult at all and we eat very healthy. We eat more than the recommended allowances of fruits and vegetables. In addition, we eat no sugar, nor refined foods, nor soda and junk food.


      2. I’m sorry, but again, no it isn’t.
        Your experience, where you are, has no relevance to the overall picture of millions of people where THEY are. You present NO data about the specifics as they affect people as they actually live, and actually, present very little specific information about how you live.
        So, again, yes, it is irrelevant.
        There is a reason why anecdotal “evidence” is not considered data.


      3. Would I be correct in assuming you don’t believe it? Folks who are much smarter than you and I combined say it is true. Who am I to argue with a Yale PHD graduate and Professor Emeritus at Berkeley?

        I can support every one of my assertions. Feel free to take a trip to my home town and I’ll provide you example after example that are counter to your data.

        You see, the problem is that I don’t usually give out my personal information on the internet, so there is no way for you to verify whether I am being truthful.

        I can only assume how miserable your life must be lacking the ability to trust.


      4. Ah, the good old logical fallacy of argumentum ab auctoritate. Wondered how long it might take you to whip that one out.
        Funny, after all the discussion about anecdotal evidence, you STILL try to support your statements with your personal stories. Pay attention: your personal stories do NOT support the assertion.
        Beyond that, even if it did, since you are not actually providing evidence that your claims are true, they wouldn’t count anyway.
        And yes, there is no way to verify your truthfulness. But your behavior here leaves me with little doubt. I’m okay making the leap of faith to the full-blown conclusion.


      5. Ok, lets start from the top.

        The article postulates several scenarios, then the author links to other supporting documents that provide evidence to support the hypothesis.

        I think we can agree that is the case.

        Now, a number of people, myself included, have provided anecdotal evidence that you dismiss as being irrelevant and, well, anecdotal.

        Some of the assertions lay claims that can be shown to be inconclusive at best and patently false at worse. For example, poor people eat poor quality food “because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food”. The fact that poor people typically buy the same food from the same supermarkets as the vast majority of Americans disproves this argument without even a second thought. Now you might argue that folks with means can buy food at “whole foods” markets while the poor cannot because the cost is higher, but what you are really arguing is what constitutes “high-quality, nutritious food”.

        Regarding your continual badgering that personal stories do not support the assertion, I submit that the only evidence that CAN support an opposing view to a “one size fits all” statement IS a personal story.

        I say voter fraud happens, you say it isn’t rampant. Ok, so you don’t think it isn’t rampant. I happen to know that voter fraud does take place more often than you would like to believe. Rampant is a metric that we can discuss, but the non-existence of voter fraud cannot be debated. Fraud exists, pure and simple.


        Hell even the ultra liberal talk show host Rachel Maddow says that voter fraud exists.

        I could go on and on and on, but you won’t be convinced, so it is pointless to continue.


      6. I’m sorry, but yes it is relevant. Maybe you should take a intro to logic course. But let me teach you the very basics about proofs.

        Consider the statement:
        A is true.

        Then to prove that the statement is not true, all that is needed is to provide a counterexample. In order to prove that A is true, it is a lot harder and yes, anecdotal evidence is irrelevant. However, anecdotal evidence is very relevant as counterexamples.

        If you would bother thinking instead of reacting, you might actually write something worth reading.


      7. OMG, really?!? Since I, unlike you, actually DID teach logic, let me teach YOU the basics.
        You can only prove a statement false with a counter example if it is a universally quantified statement. Providing a counterexample for an existentially quantified statement provides NO useful information regarding truth. Your anecdotal data does NOT constitute ANY useful data in terms of refuting an existentially quantified statement, namely that for many, or even most, people, it is not possible to exist and prosper on income below a certain amount. Just because YOU can, where you currently are, given a number of other specifics it did not even occur to you to provide, says NOTHING about the topic under discussion.
        Besides which, your CLAIMS, minus and additional information about the specifics of those claims, are also not worth the words they are written with.
        As to your last bit, you might do well to consider your own advice.


      8. HAHA. What did you do? Teach it to kids at a summer camp? I actually DO (not past, but present) teach logic, analysis and proofs. You are only partially right. A counterexample is for universally quantified statements. However, many of our statements are universally quantified.

        When I say, “Something is easy.” That means it is always easy. If not, then I would have to say, “Something is often easy,” or “sometimes easy,” or some other quantifier that would restrict the statement. Thus his statement, “It is not easy” is a universally quantified statements.

        Any moron would know that counterexamples are completely useless for existentially quantified statements. No, I’m not implying anything about you—except your subpar logic skills. I did not say I prospered on a low income, I only said I didn’t spend much on food.


      9. Sorry, but what “many” of the statements are is irrelevant. The actual sentence to which you were replying was NOT universally quantified, therefor an existential refutation does not work. So you are wrong, by your own admission. Period.
        Your further explanation evinces the compete lack of seriousness or rigor in your replies. The “it” refers to a group demographic: the country at large. There for the statement “It is not easy”, referring to the demographic group, would NOT be universally quantified as the scope of the statement is over the group, NOT an individual. You remember scope of statements, right?
        I certainly hope you don’t pass on your poor grasp of first order predicate calculus to your students.



      Obed Matus (11 December 2013 at 17:00) writes, “My family lives off $1.66 a day of food. We spend $400 a month for eight of us.”

      Though I have not actually tried this myself, I believe that it can be done. A piece of fruit, a few greens, in rice and dried beans. Education—this knowledge of nutrition and cost—is a key element for beating poverty.

      What about other costs? What about housing? How much does Obed Matus pay for housing?

      Clothes, of course, can be cheaply, cheaply bought at rummage sales, if one can get to them.

      What else? Medical care? There’s always the variety of public assistance and emergency rooms.

      And what about education? The point of Mr. Irwin’s piece makes it seem that education—such as might elevate one out of poverty—may be a “luxury” that the poor can hardly afford.

      What else will Obed Matus share with us about his/her family’s budget?

      If the Right would admit how hard a life of poverty is (i.e., the point of this “20 Things” post), and the Left would admit how much of poverty (here in America) is a matter of ignorance and limited experience, maybe both sides could work to help end it.

      Outrage is easy, whether it comes from those of us on the self-aggrandizing Right or the self-righteous Left.

      (($; -)}


    2. Great job! Since my husband and I are doing roughly the same thing (And we live in one of the most expensive states in the country) I think your point is completely valid. $4 per day is plenty, if you are buying real food and shop carefully.


      1. “Great job! Since my husband and I are doing roughly the same thing (And we live in one of the most expensive states in the country) I think your point is completely valid. $4 per day is plenty, if you are buying real food and shop carefully.” See, you don’t get it. Shopping carefully? If you’re truly poor, you likely do not have a lot of choice as to where you shop. Gas, insurance, and even a used car costs money to get. And there’s only so much you can carry/cart with you if you’re taking public transportation. $1.66/day for eight people to eat off of? Sure, if there is some other way of supplementation. A garden, hunting, food banks. Which a lot of people who live in poorer conditions can not have! And if anyone in your family has dietary restrictions for health reasons, you can forget it.


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