Tag Archives: Poverty

My Climb to the Top Just Got A lot Harder…

Senator John McCan’t told Pastor Rick Warren that having $5,000,000 fit the bill as being “rich”. Senator Obama shot back correctly, “I guess if you’re making $3 million a year, you’re middle class”, in an event in New Mexico.

The real devil in the details and the secret about money and class in America is this: class is not a static destination.

There is no amount of money that definitely makes you “rich”. It’s an illusion. Certainly, a person with $5 in the bank is not rich, while I think most of us would say someone with $1,000,000 in the bank would be considered rich.

But all these things are relative.

If you live in some parts of eastern Ohio and pay $3,000 a month for your mortgage you would undoubtedly be considered rich by the locals as you can find places to rent or own there for $400-500 easily. However, try taking that $3000/month and finding a similiar home in Manhattan or downtown San Francisco. You’ll be able to live in both of those places for $3000/month, but your digs will be much more humble and cozy (aka small) and within a mile there will be people that own property worth several million. In fact, just the property tax for many places in New York City or San Francisco would be more than the $500 rent/mortgage payment in eastern Ohio.

Now consider the way markets change our worth.

If you are a home owner then you know what I am talking about. A $500,000 house of 3 years ago might only be worth $250,000 today. Assuming the house was paid for that is a reduction of half of what is likely to be the person’s major asset: their house. So is this person no longer “rich” or “upper middle class”? It could be.

Class and the worth of our money *IS* all relative.

That being said, McCan’t fucked up by putting a number on a value that changes. In a time when our real estate worth is down, gasoline (though slowly retreating downward) is high, the price to heat and cool our homes is high and the price of food is high, it was not wise for McCan’t to put $5,000,000 as the figure associated with being “rich”.

Why?

Because we Americans all want to be rich!

When most Americans see a person making $250,000 a year we believe they are wealthy. If they are not, then how will we (meaning the general population if skilled and unskilled workers) ever attain our dream of being rich?  We’ll never make $250,000/year.  Never.  Never ever.

Obama was smart to seize on the miscue. At the end of the day this alone will not mean anything, but it is a way to prop up Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those making $250,000/year and over, while also re-affirming that McCan’t is the rich man’s candidate.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Corporations, Democrats, Economy, Energy, Obama, Ohio, Politics, Poverty, Presidential Race 2008, Republicans

The Greatest American Patriot You Have Probably Never Heard Of

You will likely recognize the last name of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.,  as he is the father of Maria Shriver, the journalist and first lady of the state of California aka Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife.  Knowing who his daughter you probably also know that he married a Kennedy, John, Robert and Ted’s sister Eunice.

Here is what you probably do not know:

He served as the very first Director of the Peace Corp (which was created by executive order by John Kennedy in 1961).  His service was exemplary as wikipedia states, volunteers arrived in five countries during first year of creation and In just under six years, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers (source).

That alone would be an amazing accomplishment to hang your hat on, but consider this (again taken from wiki):

He founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Center on Poverty Law, Legal Services, Indian and Migrant Opportunities and Neighborhood Health Services, and directed the Peace Corps. Shriver also ran the War on Poverty during Johnson’s tenure as president. He was such an effective leader, that Job Corps and Adams and Associates dedicated a Center to his name in 1999.

I think part of the problem with “liberals” is they do not celebrate their leaders well.  While conservatives drool over the likes of Newt, W, Nixon, Ollie, Ronnie and even O’Reilly, what leaders of the democrats get the same adulation?

You could say Bill Clinton, JFK and Ted Kennedy, but I think they need to do a better job of praising the progressives that have left their mark on our society.

Cheers,

Tom

PS  I did not include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the list of democrats because I believe he is seen as a civil rights leader and not necessarily known as the progressive he was.  I guess to a degree his victorious march toward social change put things like his activism on poverty on the back burner.

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Filed under Bill O'Reilly, Civil Rights, Economy, History, Politics, Poverty, Racism, Republicans

Vote With Your Best Interests In Mind

If Americans would vote with their best interests in mind our society would be able to change the politics in Washington. Think about it.

What effects you?

Taxes, certainly. When the richest Americans get the tax cuts in an era where the price of gas, home heating oil and food rise while we have the value of houses and the dollar plummet, banks going belly up and people having their houses taken from them for lack of payment then something is wrong. And don’t come at me with that “the top 2% of Americans pay 40% of the taxes”. They should. They top 2% of Americans are enjoying the rarefied air of the top 2% of opportunity. Billionaires should pay millions in taxes. Millionaires should pay ten of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (depending on if they are making $1 million a year or $999 million a year) of dollars in taxes. A person with children making $10,000 a year not only should not pay income tax, they should not have any federal income tax taken out of their check. We should help the poorest Americans by giving them a fucking break. Likewise, we should tax the billionaires at an appropriate rate to reflect the fact that it was/is America that has given them the precipice on which they sit.

Cheers,

Tom

Gay marriage? Are you gay? If not, why do you care what others do? You don’t have to accept their nuptials as legit.

Illegal immigration? Definitely. You might be inclined to say “no” if you live in an area without them, but no matter what side of the issue you are on there is no debate that millions of dollars go to bankroll their existence in our country, while they, by and large, do not pay taxes.

Abortion? Again, a tricky one. As a married guy it does not effect me directly, however, I am of the opinion that abortion is a medical procedure and should not be legislated on by a body that consists of lawyers with little to no medical training aka congress and/or the Supreme Court (I know technically the court doesn’t legislate from the bench, but that is debatable as some of their “interpretations are so radical that they are making law in a de facto style.)

Guns rights? Definitely. If more states would allow qualified people to conceal and carry our crime rates would go down. A good example of this is the fact that most “massacre” type of killings in America take place in GUN FREE ZONES such as Post Offices and schools. Am I authorizing high schools have their ban lifted on fire arms? Absolutely not, but that is a very interesting statistic to note.

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Filed under Free Speech, Gay Rights, Guns, Politics, Poverty, Presidential Race 2008, Supreme Court

Morgan Spurlock Is Much More Than “Supersize Me”

I’ve been watching the first season of his series called “30 Days”, which appears on the FX channel.  So far my favorite show has been on minimum wage.  Since I’ve lifted myself out of poverty there have only been two times that video has really struck me as showing an authentic portrait of what I lived.  The first was “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith.  Being a single parent for over eight years that movie had moments that took my breath away it was so similar to what I experienced, but that was a Hollywood portrait (even if it was based on the real life story of Chris Gardner).   What Spurlock delivers in the first installment of the “30 Days” series is a fairly accurate account of trying to juggle money around to keep the rent, heat and electric bills while still being able to eat and enjoy life.

Check it out.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under film, Poverty