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Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich

Started by Geolibertarian, Dec 22, 2013, 01:00:54 PM

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If you don't understand how people fall into poverty, you're probably a sociopath

Lucy Mangan
The Guardian
January 24, 2015

Last week, I took part in a comedy night to raise money for the charity Refuge, which supports women and children who have experienced domestic violence. It was a great night: partly because it raised several thousands of pounds for the cause; partly because it was sponsored by Benefit cosmetics, and the idea of a benefit being sponsored by Benefit pleased me greatly; and partly because standup comedian Bridget Christie finished her act with a plea for all laydeez to stop waxing, spraying, deodorising, strimming and surgically trimming their – well, let's call it "that part of ourselves historically judged to be the seat of all our femininity and womanly powers" – and instead celebrate our individuality by thinking of those parts as "unique, special – like snowflakes. Made of gammon", which was both a new thought and a new image, neither of which has left my mind since.

Less uplifting, however, was the number of times I heard, when I mentioned Refuge to people, some variant of: "But what I don't understand is – why don't these women just leave?"

We don't need, I think – I hope – to detail too extensively here the exact answer to that question. Bullet points: an immediate fear of being punched, kicked, bitten, gouged or killed, and of the same happening to your children, preceded by months or years of exploitation of the weakest points in your psyche by a master of the art; an erosion of your self-confidence, liberty, agency and financial independence (if you had any to begin with), coupled with a sense of shame and stigma and a lack of practical options; no money, no supportive family or friends, nowhere to run.

So, let's concentrate instead on the lack of imagination, the lack of empathy inherent in that question. Because it shapes a lot of questions, and particularly those that animate government policy and the political discourse that will start filling the airwaves more and more as we move towards the election.

Politicians, for example, are apparently completely baffled by Poor People's propensity to do harmful things, often expensively, to themselves. (That's politicians of all stripes – it's just that the left wing wrings its hands and feels helplessly sorry for Them, while Tories are pretty sure They are just animals in need of better training.) The underclass eats fast food, drinks and smokes, and some of its more unruly members even take drugs. Why? Why?

Listen, I always want to say, if you're genuinely mystified, answer me this: have you never had a really bad day and really wanted – nay, needed – an extra glass of Montrachet on the roof terrace in the evening? Or such a chaotic, miserable week that you've ended up with a takeaway five nights out of seven instead of delving into Nigella's latest?

You have? Why, splendid. Now imagine if your whole life were not just like that one bad day, but even worse. All the time. No let-up. No end in sight. No, you can't go on holiday. No, you can't cash anything in and retire. No. How would you react? No, you've not got a marketable skills set. You don't know anyone who can give you a job. No. No.

And on we'd go. "Why do the poor not always take the very cheapest option – in food, travel, rent, utilities or a hundred other things you can find if you or an obliging Spad or unpaid intern trawl and filter case studies for long enough – and stop being so, y'know, poor that way?" someone will ask. And some kind soul – not me, I'd be off for a lie down and some pills by this time – would ask if the questioner had ever been under so much pressure that he'd had to throw money at a problem to secure an immediate answer, to get something rather than nothing, even if it meant paying over the odds, perhaps because someone was exploiting your desperation?

Oh, you have? Well, that bond issue you missed because you had a cashflow crisis after buying the villa in Amalfi, and that box at Glyndebourne for your parents' wedding anniversary you forgot about till almost too late, have their parallels with furniture for a council flat or with a child's present bought on punitively interest-rated credit ... and so on, until somewhere along the line our boy would have to admit that he shared the same irrational impulses as people all along the socioeconomic scale, differing only in degree of consequences, not in kind.

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George



I'm curious to know what the Austrian School's assessment is of Kevin O'Leary's heart-warming remarks in the following youtube clip:


Do they automatically regard anyone who disagrees with him of being a freedom-hating "collectivist"?

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George



As the economy goes, so goes everything else. That's why it's in the self-interest even of those who have a sociopathic indifference towards -- if not outright disdain for -- the poor and destitute among us to politically resist imposing brutal, IMF riot-provoking austerity measures on those least able to defend themselves in the midst of a banker-engineered depression.

"When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it". -- Gerald Celente


5 Ways It's Become a Crime to Be Poor in America, Punishable by Further Impoverishment

New report details perverse policies that are driving more people into hopeless, inescapable poverty.

By Terrell Jermaine Starr
April 22, 2015

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

The criminalization of America's poor has been quietly gaining steam for years, but a recent study, "The Poor Get Prison," co-authored by Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr, reveals the startling extent to which American municipalities are fining and jailing the country's most vulnerable people, not just punishing them for being poor, but driving them deeper into poverty.

"In the last ten years," Barbara Ehrenreich writes in the introduction, "it has become apparent that being poor is in itself a crime in many cities and counties, and that it is a crime punished by further impoverishment."

A few months ago, the Department of Justice's Ferguson report revealed how that city has disproportionately targeted its majority minority population with traffic and other minor infractions that heavily support the municipality's coffers. But Ferguson is far from alone. Municipalities like New York City have greatly increased the number of minor offenses that are considered criminal (like putting your feet up in the subway) or sitting on the sidewalk. Wealthy white people in business attire are rarely targeted for such summonses, and if they are, they can quickly pay the fine or hire counsel to get out of it. The over-punishment of minor offenses is just another way the rich get richer, and as the report says, the "poor get prison." They also get poorer and more numerous. In one striking statistic, the Southern Educational Foundation reports that 51 percent of America's public schoolchildren are living in poverty.

Perversely, it is the poor who, according to Dolan and Carr, are subsidizing municipalities' budgets and becoming reliable sources of enrichment for the private companies contracted by local governments to carry out what used to be government duties.

Here are five troubling trends from the report that show us how the government is financially abusing poor people.



Instead of making the poor pay for the crimes of the ruling-class parasites who created this economic crisis in the first place, focus on exerting year-round pressure on Congress to implement urgently-needed public policy reforms (i.e. the NEED Act, Henry George's Single Tax, etc.).

But to do that effectively it will be necessary to spend less time being pom pom-waving cheerleaders for this or that political candidate. Personality cultism is what got us into this mess. More of the same won't get us out of it.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George




Wisconsin Takes Lead In F*ck The Poor Sweepstakes: Now You Can't Buy Beans And Rice

by Kaili Joy Gray
May 05, 2015

Wisconsin is one of those states that really hates poor people. (Yeah, we know. Just like the other 49.) The state's Republicans are particularly obsessed with what poors eat, or don't eat, or where they buy food to eat, or whether they're really poor enough to deserve to eat, or how best to humiliate them for wanting to eat. So in addition to separate but "equal" grocery stores, drug-testing welfare recipients, and spying on your neighbors' grocery carts to make sure they're not using YOUR tax dollars to buy unnecessary luxuries like food, Wisconsin Republicans have some more terrific ideas they're kicking around in Assembly Bill 177 to crack down on so-called "low-income individuals" and their fraudulent eating habits:
    The department {of Health Services} shall publish on the department's Internet site a current list of the foods for which a recipient must use at least 67 percent of the benefits amount that the recipient uses in a month. The department shall prohibit the use of benefits to purchase crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish.
It's not as if we haven't heard conservatives complain, many times, about how people who receive government assistance shouldn't be allowed to dine on lobster — and by government assistance, they don't mean tax cuts for the rich. Rich people can spend their money on whatever they want because they made it themselves, without any help from anyone at all, and no one in their entire family tree ever received Social Security benefits or Medicare or a public school education, so if poor people want to eat lobster too, they should choose to bootstrap their way to wealth, like Mitt Romney, for example, with nothing but his father's stock portfolio to get him started.

However, that's quite different from participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or FoodShare, as it's called in Wisconsin. Those people, who are probably just faking their low incomes anyway, or wasting all their benefits on drugs, need to be carefully monitored and told exactly what they may and may not eat. The Wisconsin Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program has a handy brochure of permitted and prohibited foods. Let's take a look!

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George



How many people are so blinded by ideology that they actually believe the primary (if not sole) reason the world's richest 80 people own the same amount as the world's bottom 50% is that they "produced" the same amount?


World's Richest Eighty People Own the same Amount as World's Bottom Fifty Percent

By Eric Zuesse
Global Research
May 09, 2015

Oxfam's recent report, "WEALTH: HAVING IT ALL AND WANTING MORE" contains shocking figures that the press haven't sufficiently publicized; so, the findings and the reliability of their sources will be discussed here. The results will then be related to the central political debate now going on in the U.S. Presidential contests for 2016, which is about equality and inequality.

First, the findings:

1. The richest 80 individuals own as much as do all of the poorest half of humanity.
2. During 2009-2014, the wealth of the 80 richest people doubled, yet the wealth of the bottom 50% declined slightly.

Now, the sources:

These data are calculated from Forbes magazine, regarding the world's richest individuals, and from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2014, regarding the global wealth-distribution.

The source on the richest 80:

The Forbes list is one of two such lists, the other being Bloomberg. The two are generally in rather close agreement, but sometimes disagree enormously. For example, as of 8 May 2015, Forbes shows Sweden's Ingvar Kamprad, the owner of Ikea, as #8 owning $43.1B, but Bloomberg shows him as #497 owning $3.5B.




^^ And if you complain about this, you're immediately accused of "class envy."

And if you propose actually doing something about it by eliminating (in the manner proposed by Henry George) the two key privileges that gave rise to this ridiculously unjust state of affairs in the first place, you're immediately accused of "class warfare."


Of course, the establishment Left is just as bad as the establishment Right, just for different reasons. The latter advocates imposing brutal austerity measures on those least able to defend themselves economically in the name of "liberty," while the former does so in the name of saving the earth from plant food (i.e. CO2).

And that, as always, is why I'm equally disgusted with both groups.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George



"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George



Quote from: Geolibertarian on Apr 13, 2014, 04:41:16 AM
This, for the millionth time, is what happens when you let Austrian School-inspired ideologues and demagogues give pro-war/pro-police state/pro-NAFTA/pro-fractional reserve banking Democrats "left cover" -- you merely provide them convenient foil against which to define themselves in the eyes of the bottom "47 percent."


Charles Koch Says The Poor Have It Really Good So They Need to Stop Complaining

By: Rmusemore
March, 25th, 2014

Poverty is a condition that refers to the general dearth of material possessions or money that prevents people from having access to basic human needs such as food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. It is a sad fact of life that in the richest nation in the history of the world, an inordinately high number of Americans live in abject poverty and do not have the means to provide their families with fundamentally basic needs of food, shelter, or healthcare. It is little surprise that Republicans are planning to increase the number of Americans living in poverty according to their intent to eliminate the nation's anti-poverty programs, and it is not because the country is broke as Republicans are wont to claim.  It is more likely due, in part, to one of the two richest men in the country who claims the tens-of-millions of Americans living below the poverty line need to shut up, stop complaining, and start celebrating their good fortune as members of the richest one-percent in the world.

First, it is important to note that poverty, at least relative poverty, is generally defined by reputable economists contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live, and in that context, it is likely that more than half of the American population is living in poverty. Charles Koch completely disagrees and last year his foundation produced a commercial stating that a family earning $34,000 annually are part of the richest one-percent in the world; especially when compared to developing third world nations and countries such as China and India where the majority of the population lives in absolute squalor.

It is not just Charles Koch, another wealthy CEO, Bud Konheim, said just last month that "We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world, so we're talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this. The guy that's making, oh my God, he's making $35,000 a year, why don't we try that out in India or some countries we can't even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy." Except Americans living in poverty do not live in China or India, or third world nations; they live in America where according to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of three would have to earn at least $48,000 annually just to afford the basic necessities to survive such as food, housing, and healthcare. Another organization, the Working Poor Families Project, estimates that the required income to meet the most basic survival needs is $45,000 annually; America's median household income is approximately $51,000.

If the measure of poverty in America was not based on economic necessities for living standards during the 1950s and 1960s and applied to living costs today, the federal poverty level would exceed three times the current levels meaning that over half the nation is living below poverty. Simple arithmetic informs that if the current measure for a family of three earning 100% of the federal poverty level is $19,790 annually and exactly three times that figure is $59,370, then well over half the American population is, undoubtedly, living in poverty if the median income is $51,000.

It is astounding, but poverty measures are still based on food costs of the 1950s that have at least doubled, housing that has more than tripled, and healthcare costs that are six times higher than they were in the late 1970s. According to the Congressional Research Service, "The poverty line reflects a measure of economic need based on living standards that prevailed in the mid-1950s...It is not adjusted to reflect changes in needs associated with improved standards of living that have occurred over the decades since the measure was first developed. If the same basic methodology developed in the early 1960s was applied today, the poverty thresholds would be over three times higher than the current thresholds." According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau calculations, a median family income of $51,000 will barely cover food, housing, health care, transportation, taxes, and other household expenditures in America; not China, India, or any sub-Saharan developing country. Between 2000 and 2011, the "official" poverty rate increased 25% with children and senior citizens being impacted the most drastically. Using the official poverty rate, 55% of seniors and 60% of children are considered very poor using "relative poverty" as a measure. For elderly women the figures are worse with Wider Opportunities for Women reporting that "60% of women age 65 and older who live alone or live with a spouse have incomes insufficient to cover basic, daily expenses," but according to Charles Koch they are members of the richest 1% in the world.

What is often forgotten when discussing the state of American poverty is that the overwhelming majority of low-wage working families and senior citizens earning less than necessary to stave off starvation, ill-health, and exposure could not survive without anti-poverty programs Republicans and the Koch brothers want eliminated to return to pre-Depression era standards. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, minimum wage, overtime pay, housing and heating assistance, and school lunch programs are all that keep tens-of-millions of Americans from falling victim to "killing poverty" Republicans and the Kochs are frantic to impose on all Americans. It is probably just one reason why Charles Koch and other extremely wealthy Americans are preparing the population for what is on their horizon by congratulating them for being part of the richest 1% of people in the world while living in dire poverty in the richest nation on Earth; because they have every intent to make conditions worse like in India and China.

It is irrelevant that Charles Koch is patronizing the poor in America by telling them they are wealthy by third world standards; it is precisely what Americans should expect from one of the two richest men in America who can fathom taking everything from the people and will not rest until he achieves his goal. It is not enough the Kochs and their ilk have Republicans in Congress poised to "reform" (read eliminate) anti-poverty programs, Social Security and Medicare, food stamps, and every other safety net preventing 99% of the population from sinking into poverty while "reforming" (drastically cutting) tax rates for the rich and corporations; they have ALEC and the State Policy Network raiding state public employees pensions to drive the entire population into poverty. When Charles Koch says $34,000 annually puts dirt poor Americans in the richest one percent by third world standards, he is preparing Americans for his vision of America to rival living conditions in China and India where those earning $32,000 annually are regarded as the wealthy elite.


David Koch Dead at 79

Last Edit by Larry


Al Bundy

Colombian police killing demonstations !

Why world governments did not interest in that ? Before Cocaine ?