Monday, December 12, 2005

US Poverty...

In the previous post, which is about what the Bible does and doesn't say about wealth and poverty, the conversation kept straggling off to the topic of US poverty, which is an important topic, but not necessarily the topic of that post. So now, with the topic of Poverty in the US in mind, and as a means of starting the conversation, I offer what seem to me to be some myths (or at least troubling premises) often espoused by the Right about US poverty.

Myth 1. Welfare increases poverty.

Before our modern welfare state, the US suffered a great deal under the ill-effects of what I would call poverty. A history of welfare in America is also its history of poverty: the more, the less. Rather than repeat what has been written elsewhere, I'll refer you to a link on this topic.

Myth 2. Social workers, mental health advocates and other helper agencies are wimpy enablers.

In fact, the role of social workers is to enable people to be as self-sufficient as they possibly can be. In order to do this, they help set strict parameters for getting out of negative habits. Doesn't always work and, sure, there may be some "helpers"out there that end up enabling, but that only points to the need to improve a difficult job rather than end it.

Myth 3. It is wrong to take money from innocent wage-earners to fund what some think is a biblical imperative. [Okay, not actually a myth, but a mistaken notion.]

Taxation, in our context, is exactly the process of taking money from innocent wage-earners to fund what a majority of representatives deem responsible (or, more cynically, what a majority of representatives have been TOLD to vote for by their corporate masters). Those on the left and probably most on the right agree that taxes shouldn't be used to fund what some think is a biblical imperative. In fact, it is usually those on the right who tend to try to do this. To suggest that I'm suggesting this is a misrepresentation of my position.

[And when it comes to taking money from wage-earners, I would like to point out that there is a MUCH greater amount of money taken from innocent us to fund the military than assistance programs. So, it is not the notion of spending money that Conservatives have a problem with - they do that more than anyone, with the assistance of the Democrats usually.]

But back to the topic: Those on the left tend to believe that, while an individual or group may have a biblical foundation for what they believe, that we should only push as government policy what we can make a logical argument for (not a biblical one).

So, while I have a biblical foundation for what I believe about assistance for the poor, for instance, that is not part of my civic reasoning for policy-making. Instead, in the case of poverty (or, assisting those struggling in the US, if you don't like the term "poverty"), I would argue that it is fiscally responsible (a conservative notion?) to invest in good education, assisting people out of poverty, keeping families together where reasonably possible (at a cost of $x) instead of paying down the road to house prisoners, to deal with the ill-effects of poverty, to deal with drug abuse, to decrease abortion (at a cost of $2x).

I'll own up that I don't know the numbers off the top of my head. The above-linked article delves in to this topic somewhat. If it is debatable to you whether it is cheaper to deal with poverty later rather than earlier, then we can get to the specifics of What costs How Much...

Repond, s'il vous plait.


Eleutheros said...

If you don't mind, Dan, I'd like to comment on your three "myths" in separate comments.

Myth #1: Your source, Steve Kanga, has no credibility. A few of his diatribes are pretty good, espceially the one called "Growth is Good" but all of them, even the feasible ones, are one-sided. Go to his list liberal arguments and click on the one called "A gun in the home increases personal safety." His main argument is based on the Kellerman study which is so screechingly, entirely bogus I don't know how anyone can cite it and not die of embarassment. Out and out lying (and citing lies) does not promote one's cause in the end. A very great deal of the material he cites in most of his list of arguments has long ago been shown to be contrived, and yet he either doesn't know or it doesn't matter to him. Little odds which.

But as to the welfare argument. It is bogus. Kanga freely admits that statistics have only been kept since 1964. The rest are guesses, and those guesses are what his entire argument is based on. 50% of families in the 1920's were struggling to make ends meet? How did he determine that? Odd that history records th 20's as a time of very great general propserity.

His chart also does not take into account the fact that each administration defines what poverty is. Still, using Kanga's own chart utterly disproves his posit: Notice that starting in 1993, the last date of his chart, and going back 25 years, the rate of poverty only fluxuates scarcely 4% from 11.1% to 15.2%, this is not statistically significant and does not prove that welfare reduces poverty .... EVEN if the numbers were on his side, which they are not.

I was around in 1964 and witnessed all this happening. The Great Society didn't spring fully formed from the ground, it took several years for the professional do-gooders to ferret out (or fabricate) the downtrodden and sign them up. You cannot look at 1964 and say, "Look at all the good the Great society did." You have to look a few years after its inception to see the results. Again using Kanga's own chart beginning in 1959, the poverty rate was in a free fall dropping from 22.4% to 17.3% in 1965 before the Great Society has had time to have any impact. As the GS spending increases and more and more people participate in it, the rate of drop in the poverty rate slows. By the time the GS spending is in full swing five years after its inception, the drop in poverty rate halts in its tracks and begins to rise.

This PROVES that increase in welfare spending increases poverty.

Again following the chart, the poverty rate creeps up year after year with each increase in spending until the individual benefits are cut under Reagan in 1981, again allowing for the lead time of three or four years for the policies to take effect, the rate of poverty goes DOWN.

It is no myth, it is a mathmatically observable fact that the less spending on welfare means a lower poverty rate.

Dan Trabue said...

I'll own up to just doing a quick search for that particular link and don't know much about that particular author.

But I accepted its conclusions because I've seen similar reports elsewhere and at other times. But, let's back up and reconsider its premises. Here's some other info from another source, this time about infant mortality in 1900.

Improvement in infant morality is often used as an indicator of improvement in society, can we agree upon that much? From the CDC:

"At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, six to nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications, and approximately 100 infants died before age 1 year.

From 1915 through 1997, the infant mortality rate declined greater than 90% to 7.2 per 1000 live births, and from 1900 through 1997, the maternal mortality rate declined almost 99% to less than 0.1 reported death per 1000 live births (7.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1997)

Environmental interventions, improvements in nutrition, advances in clinical medicine, improvements in access to health care, improvements in surveillance and monitoring of disease, increases in education levels, and improvements in standards of living contributed to this remarkable decline..."


It is my contention that, without the safety net of assistance of some sort, we would suffer a relapse in areas such as infant mortality and our poor would, indeed, begin to look more like the rest of the world's poor. Do you suspect otherwise?

Daniel Levesque said...


Damn, link won't work.

Tag anyway! You're it! Check out Blog tag at my blog!

Eleutheros said...

"Improvement in infant morality is often used as an indicator of improvement in society, can we agree upon that much?"

Well ... no. During the time period you cite there were several medical inovations that came about: vaccinations, antiboitics, nutritional practices, and a few others. These very greatly swamp out any effect poverty had on the stats. In those early years the infant mortality rate was high for rich and poor alike. After the inovations, it dropped for rich and poor alike.

Dan Trabue said...

And the poor paid for these medical advances, how?

Are you suggesting Dickens' England (could we have some more gruel, please sir?), the colonial US, 18th Century France, etc, did not have deaths and misery due to poverty?

madcapmum said...

Regarding infant and maternal mortality - the single most important factor in reducing these was the implementation of handwashing with soap. Prior to that, infant death rates were about the same at both ends of the economic scale. Actually, often it was the women who could "afford" the fancy doctors who were more likely to die and have their infants die, because the doctors were cross-contaminating them.

Soap is cheap, cheap, cheap, once you know you need it. In third-world countries, aid agencies are working hard at educating people about handwashing to reduce contamination, because they still see a large percentage of illnesses that are attributable to insufficient (and available) hygiene.

Eleutheros said...

Dickensonian England had deaths and misery due to industrialism. There were a great number of benefit societies and philanthropic types who did a token amount to relieve the poor, much like today's social workers and ilk, but the irony then as now is that those very people earned their level of living ultimately (directly or indirectly) from the industrial profits squeezed out of the very poor they were purporting to help. If those Dickensonians hand only said to themselves "Hey, this type of life is no good, lets figure out some other way to earn out living without polluting the cities and working the poor to death [working the poor beyond their strength and then leaving them to die]"... if they'd said that, they wouldn't have needed the charities to beging with.

Modern times are not much different. For example, let me ask you this: If everyone now who is supporting the work the "mental health" workers, and social workers, and charitable workers do, ... all the rich and industrialists and staunch capitalists suddenly said, "Hey, we've read Eleutheros' blog and we're convinced. We are ALL going to live a hardscrabble life with a 95% direct use economy!" What would happen to all those social-work types? What would happen to the poor?

The rich exploitative profit-monger on the one hand and the poor and their professional advocates on the other hand are the two sides of the same unholy coin. You can't have one without the other. Viewed this way one can begin to see that taking more and more money from the rich to fund the salaries of the professional do-gooder and benefits for the 'poor' just entrenches the whole situation deeper and deeper. It is NOT the solution, it is the formula for more and more of the same.

dave bones said...

with you all the way Dan. Talk some sense into these Republicans

Anonymous said...

I grew up during "hard" times. My parents never drew a welfare check in their lives and none of my brothers, sister or I have either. We worked even as youngsters to have a little spending money. Ran errands for older folks, carried in coal, carried out ashes and numerous odd jobs. We learned to work.
Now it is unbelievable how many able bodied young people are on welfare, getting medical bills paid by the state while they take drugs, sell drugs and let little children go without sufficient food, clothing and medical care. If these same young people would do any kind of work, maybe they would break free of the drugs, alcohol and promiscuous lifestyles that are endangering the little ones.
I also believe that God honors and blesses the Nation that honors Him; and the welfare program helps the wrong people.
eleutheros had a good writing on what poverty is and it is sadly mis-defined these days.

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks for visiting Mr. Bones and mr/ms Anonymous. Sorry it's taken a while to respond. I've been pondering (and busy).

You know, Eleutheros, there is some part of me that agrees with you in that the system is broken and corrupt and we need to opt out to affect the most productive change.

Having said that, we by and large are NOT opting out. The system remains. Our money IS being taxed for all manner of purposes, some small component of which is to help people who are struggling.

Given that the system does still exist, whether or not you and I are cooperating with it, I'd still like to see folk being helped.

By dropping it altogether, some people would struggle by, as you have suggested, anonymous. But others would go homeless, unfed, and sometimes just die.

Right now in the US, with all the assistance programs out there, there are 1.2 million children among the homeless. What will that number be in a country with no assistance programs?

And, as I've suggested, aside from the morality of it all, what’s it going to cost us to NOT tend to all those struggling ones? Will we save $1 billion in assistance, only to pay $10 billion in jails and on the effects of crime/drug abuse?

Wasp Jerky said...

That may be true, Anon. But that displays a bit of a middle class bias against the poor. Most middle class people don't get where they are by working by the sweat of their brows. They are born into middle classity, which makes it a lot damn easier to stay there. Likewise, the poor aren't the only ones on welfare. For example, Streak, a fellow blogger, once wrote that he has three degrees, all from public universities. Those college degrees were largely subsidized by tax payers. As Streak's father worked for state and federal agencies, he had access to many subsidized services. I suspect he isn't alone in that. Just because you aren't receiving food stamps doesn't mean you aren't receiving benefits from the government.

We should also keep in mind how much welfare our corporations receive. According to the Wall Street Journal and the General Accounting Office (an investigative arm of Congress now known as the Government Accountability Office), between 1996 and 2000, 61 percent of U.S. based corporations paid no federal income tax. For foreign-based corporations that operate in the States, the number was 71 percent. For those corporations with assets of $250 million or more gross receipts of at least $50 million, the numbers are reversed, with 71 percent of domestic corporations and 61 percent of large foreign corporations not contributing to federal income taxes. Worse, most of the corporations that do contribute pay at a rate of less than 5 percent, even though the base rate for corporations is supposed to be 35 percent. And we're not talking small businesses here. We're talking large corporations. That sounds suspiciously like unnecessary welfare to me.

Eleutheros said...

Wasp Jerky, don't fall for the illusion that money will keep the poor warm and fed, that is, that money is real. It isn't. Food, clothes, and houses are real, money isn't.

The first thing I would point out is that ONLY individuals pay tax, not corporations. Corporations don't do without, they simply pass the tax on to consumers. When you personally pay income tax, you have no one to pass it along to. You pay it, you buy less and use less. Coroprations don't. They just raise their prices by the amount of the tax and you, the consumer, pay the tax. The poor pay it too. Most very poor don't pay income tax directly, but tax WalMart and the poor DO pay income tax.

Next, even if you could siphon off money from corporations and spend it on the poor, it doesn't mean there would be more food or clothes or houses for the poor, it only means they would be more expensive further harming the poor who are paying for it themselves. The supply of commodities can only grow organically. If you had sixty billion dollars to spend on, say, apples to help feed the poor, it doesn't mean that suddenly 25 billion more apples appear on the planet. You have to wait until next fall to get any more apples, and that harvest is fixed and finite. To greatly increase the supply of apples you'd have to plant more trees and wait seven years. So what happens if there is suddenly sixty billion dollars to buy apples ... the price goes up, that's all. And not one working poor person could ever again afford to buy an apple.

That, Dan, is one of the mechanisms by which welfare increases poverty. When unearned funds are made available for food and clothes and housing and medical care and education, it forces the price up so high that working poor people, who hitherto have been able to afford it, no longer can and must have assistance which forces the prices even higher. This cycle has played out in medicine and education to the extent that only the very wealthy can afford them without assistance, and housing is next.

That's the one thing I'd shake loose if I could crawl inside the liberal addled head, if you give assistence to the poor who are not producint it themselves (or the equivalent) it means you must do one of two things:

1) do with less yourself -
2) produce more yourself

Else there is no assistence to give the poor. All you are doing is raising the cost and making more poor people. And by do with les and produce more, I don't mean money ... I mean real goods and services.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

I think eliminating welfare or weaning off of it, would undoubtedly benefit our society.

For starters, I do feel that it is a crutch just like foreign aid is to 3rd world countries. It's apparent in both situations that rather than work (and struggle) for their money, they'd prefer the free route, knowing there's more to come.

Secondly, where in the constitution does it say that the federal government has the right to tax its citizens and redistribute this wealth to the "poor"? I don't want to sound crass (I'm sure some of you are widdling your shivs right now) but let's get serious. The bureaucracy alone ties up a substantial amount of the assistance, much less the drug programs, promotion of fatherless children, and sucking on the societal tit. Consider that a majority of criminals in prison are from broken homes created by these social programs.

Eliminate the source and the problem goes with it.

Dan Trabue said...

Welcome to Payne Hollow, neo-con.

So, fine. Get rid of welfare (beginning first with the Big Boys of the corporate world). But please answer the question: What if the $1 billion we save in welfare costs us $10 billion in other harm? Should we still get rid of it just for the principle of it?

And when we jump from 1 million homeless children (whose families fortunately have some recourse now, with federal moneys and charity) to 10 million, what then? Let them eat cake?

Oh, and before you suggest just taking the kids away from their druggie parents (and who would pay for ALL those orphanages?), the number one reason for homeless families (40% of the homeless are families) is a lack of affordable housing. That's WITH HUD and federal and moneys for local housing agencies. So are we going to simply start removing children from parents for reasons of poverty?

There are some problems with "welfare" (not nearly so much as generally believed, though), but before you suggest getting rid of it, tell me what the plan is in its stead.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I said "Get rid of welfare altogether". What does need to be done though in my opinion is to give help to those who can not help themselves because of illness or a sudden disaster that they did not cause. We have people on welfare these days that are paying bail, buying drugs and some are living rather extravegant. I did not come from a middle class family either, I don't believe. I remember my mother telling how we ate a lot of oats and beans in between paydays and we were brought up to believe that the bills we acquired belonged to us. The young woman I mentioned earlier has every new phone, play station or whatever she wants and then can't pay her bills so she goes looking for help with food and necessities that she could pay for if she did without the toys.

Eleutheros said...

I'm afaid, Dan, that history and statistics are squarely on the side of Neo-Con's arguments.

AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), what most people refered to when they said 'welfare', began in 1935 specifically to aid widows with minor children. Then there were very, very few single mother households that were not widows. In 1935 over 90% of AFDC recipients with most of the remaining being to families with a disabled parent. By 1960 less than 2% of the recipients were widows. There is a strong parallel between the easing of requirements and availalbility of funds and the rise in divorce and unwed parenthood, a statistically causal relationship. A great many sociologists conclude that the availability of welfare affected the family structure, not the other way around.

Then comes 1996 when AFDC was converted to TANF (Temprary Assistance for Needy Families) under Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). This is the one thing the justifies Clinton's presidency.

Critics painted a horror picture of children starving and single mothers wandering about the streets. But what actually happened?

Between 1996 and 2000 the number of families receiving direct cash payments fell from 4.8 million to 2.2 million. I believe it has continued to fall but I don't have the actual numbers. During that same time, the birth rate to unwed mothers which had risen steadily from 1960 to 1996 (following an exact parallel of availability of AFDC funds) suddenly in that very year leveled off and is now declining (ti was 11% in 1960, rose to 28% by 1996 and was at 26.2% in 2001) The divorce rate had steadily climbed and then after 1996 leveled off and is now declining.

Eliminating AFDC did no great harm and it reversed the most damaging trends in family structure in the history of the country (if not the world).

It is only logical to view further reductions as having further beneficial results.

Now as to Dan's question about, playing the ball where it lies, what do we do with all the children who would be affected? Our recent history shows that in the long run those children benefit by the elimination of doles. But even if that weren't true, perpetuating a harmful situation because it is painful to end itis no justification for continuing it indefinately. A severely obese person suffers when they reduce their food intake and attempts to become active. Is it any reason to keep stuffing cheeseburgers down them because the road to fitness is uncomfortable? .... Only to those selling cheeseburgers! Same is true for welfare, only to those making a living out of perpetuating poverty make such an argument.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

Eleutheros, nice closing remark with the cheeseburgers.

Dan, I'm just trying to fix this evident decay in family structure that directly correlates to social programs/welfare.

I remember back when I was a kid, living within our means and by no means wealthy, we used to purchase gifts for poor families and deliver them on Christmas. I clearly remember one of the houses that we visited. We (My brother, a few friends, and I) had gotten lots of great presents for some boys our age and went in to give them to the family.

We entered to find that they had the best video game system, cable, and a larger TV than us. I was shocked! Was I poor? No, they were poor. This family didn't have the same priorities. We lived within our means, knowing what is necessary while they splurged off of the government - government meaning my father's wallet at the time.

Point is, many need to learn what they can and cannot have. Entitlement, carelessness, and misdirection are corroborated by these welfare programs.

When one is required to pay the bills without the assistance of the government, they immediately revert back to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Physiological is first, Safety Needs then follows, and then the Social Needs (cable, playstation, etc.) is third.

If people showed responsibility and the drive to get off of welfare, I’d have no problem helping them out in a time of need.

Daniel Levesque said...


Are you goint to respond to the tag?

Dan Trabue said...


I did. I told you I don't have any weird habits. At least nothing worth reading about.

Okay, how about this:
1. I'm a bike commuter.
2. I could eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and dinner five days a week and not get tired of it.
3. I'm literally a non-literal biblical literalist.
4. When I'm bowling poorly, I'll start bowling between my legs. I'll still bowl poorly, but I can blame it on the between the legs thing.
5. Two more things: My memory is rapidly failing and...what was I saying?

Like I said, I wasn't dodging your tag, I just got nothing interesting to respond to.

Dan Trabue said...

"If people showed responsibility and the drive to get off of welfare, I’d have no problem helping them out in a time of need."

More than 70 percent of women on welfare stay on the rolls for less than two years and only 8 percent stay for more than eight years.

People tend to like to cite their own experiences ("Why, that welfare mom with ten kids had a cadillac SUV, five cell phones and lived in a mansion!"), it makes some of us feel good to rant about "cheating poor folk!" Which is not to say that welfare fraud doesn't happen. But the facts are what they are. No one is getting wealthy off welfare and few are making a lifetime habit of welfare and most that do receive aid for long periods of time are those with disabilities.

Here's a page that debunks some of the myths associated with welfare:

So, dealing with the cheaters as a separate issue (and when we start dealing with cheaters, let's start with those that still b-b-billions of dollars at a time over those who cheat the gov't out of $25/month), do you agree that it makes some fiscally responsible sense to help people avoid poverty, homelessness and jail rather than help them after the fact?

Dan Trabue said...

Just one example illustrating the common fiscal sense of spending money to avoid spending more money:

Inside our prisons, 19% percent of adult inmates are illiterate, and up to 60% are functionally illiterate. In contrast to this, our national adult illiteracy rate stands at 4%, with up to 23% functionally illiterate.

Most persons are released from prison into the community unskilled, undereducated, and highly likely to become involved in crime again. Rates of recidivism in the United States are extraordinarily high, ranging from 41% to 71%.

According to the National Institute of Justice Report to the U.S. Congress, prison education is far more effective at reducing recidivism than boot camps, shock incarceration or vocational training.

According to one study, "simply attending school behind bars reduces the likelihood of reincarceration by 29%. Translated into savings, every dollar spent on education returned more than two dollars to the citizens in reduced prison costs."


Make sense or not?

Eleutheros said...

As for myth #2:

The problem here, the main problem, is illustrated by my favorite pannel in the comic strip "Wizard of Id". The wizard is standing at the beach at water's edge hands raised with lightening bolts coming from his finger tips, determined look in his eye. The king and the duke are lounging in the grass nearby and the caption shows the king saying, "Well, he may not be much of a wizard, but you've got to give it to him for persistence. He'll make that tide go out even if it takes him twelve hours."

If you want a very secure job, get people to pay you to prevent what wasn't going to happen anyway. Or else get them to pay you for bringing about what was going to take place with or without you.

A professional helping sort of person takes on a client load of 100 cases and over a period of two years reports that 27 of them are off welfare and are self supporting. Fine. Odds are they were going to do that anyway. Some people are not going to try to improve themselves no matter what you do, some people are going to do better no matter what you don't do. But what about those who would not do better if it were not for the 'helping professons'? I very much wonder how many such people there are.

It is charateristic of chronic depression that it remits spontaneously at some point. Yet when this happens under the care of a mental health professional, they point and say "See, see how we cured this person." The very great number of our ills of mind and body either never get better or else they clear up on their own. But when a 'helping person' is fluttering about, we have a tendancy to say "look what they did!"

Recognizing, as so many of us do, that most human predisposition toward betterment(on the one hand) and sorriness (on hte other hand) goes on unabated irregardless of our addressing it or interfering with it, then what IS the effect of social workers and the like. Something like for everyone they help out of their rut who would not be able to manage to get out on their own, they probably enable three others to stay there. Not a myth at all in my observations.

As to the statistics, have a care, consider the source. Can you cite a study that did not have a dog in the fight? Such 'studies' meant to justify the expenditure tend to minimize the cost and exagerate the returns. An example that amuses me twice a year is that a town near here is host to a NASCAR race twice a year. The media plays up loudly that the "economic impact" of the race is $XXX million. Oh yeah? That comes to about $35,000 a family living in the area. Where's my family's $35,000 of that 'economic impact'. The statistic is bogus and completely without concrete meaning. Like that all the 'for every dollar we spend we get a return of ten dollars' is equally as bogus and clearly seen through if we just take the time ask this quesition. If we can get a tenfold return on our investment in social programs, then why can't we balance the budget and pay off the national debt by investing a paltry hundred billion in the programs, take the resulting cool one trillion in savings and invest that in more social programs. Soon we'd all be wealthy!

But those in the helping game are not going to deal with the figures honestly, they simply cannot be expected to do it. Or as Upton Sinclair said:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Eleutheros said...

Myth #3 is the most difficult to address because neither the conservative nor the liberal has the remotest clue about this. I do, and maybe six or seven other people. But that's it.

But I'll give it another shot, what the heck.

The conservative views the economy as starting at zero and the enterprising individual "creates wealth" that will tinkle down to the poorer and more dependent. The richer the rich are, the richer the poor are. A rising tide floats all boats.

The liberal views the economy as a finite amount of goods and services as a given. The rich are simply taking a greedier slice of the fixed pie. All we have to do is restain the rich, put them on an economic diet, and there'd be plenty for the poor.

Both views of the economy are equally wrong and for the same reason. They view money as if it were real.

Let's suppose that we declare that next year there are NO taxes. The poor can go suck an egg, we're keeping all our money. Do you think you can buy more than you did this year? Now more money is chasing the same amount of goods (that the poor weren't buying anyway). The price goes up and you're no better off than you were before.

Let's suppose that we are going to allow everyone up to $40K in salary and benfits and the rest is taken for taxes for the poor. Is there more food, clothes, housing for the poor? No, there's only more money trying to buy them, the price goes up creating even more poor people.

Only those (six or seven of us) who understand the direct use economy, the pastoral economy, who see the conservatives and liberals in a tug of war over nothing with their tax and disburse or their hoard and invest illusions. Neither helps. The only way to economic equity is for EVERYONE to produce more and consume less. Alas, in today's world 'produce more' would be for most people to produce anything real at all.