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I'd be really interested to hear opinions about this. I found some of the statistics in it close to unbelievable, but I trust the writer.

It's about poverty in Ohio.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1076608,00.html

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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
laurakaye
Nov. 3rd, 2003 08:28 am (UTC)
I can't verify the numbers, but it doesn't seem hard to believe at all to me.

I'm sure the health-care situation is much worse.

And unemployment statistics don't even reflect the people who have to take two or three no-benefit jobs just to make ends meet. And still can't afford to go to the doctor.
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 05:57 am (UTC)
I knew about the health situation because we get to hear about that, but I didn't know about the severity of the poverty experienced in some areas.
timesink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)
and my city was gone
Logan, Ohio, is in the very pretty but very economically godforsaken southeastern part of the state.

That said ... unfortunately, there is not one statistical exaggeration in that story.

Some hunger stats: http://www.hungerinamerica.org/site_content.asp?s=59

Some poverty stats:
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-153.html

Read 'em and weep.

And I'll vouch in advance for every stat in the uninsured story promo'ed at the end of the story. (The writer will probably note that most of America's uninsured have jobs. If he doesn't, he should.)

infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 05:59 am (UTC)
Re: and my city was gone
Re: the stats -- good lord. But it's a pattern repeating across the west: rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, some pockets of the country almost totally left behind.
sorlklewis
Nov. 3rd, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)
From my own experience, I'd say that's fairly accurate. There's something really fekkin' wrong about the entire thing, isn't there?
jeviltwin
Nov. 3rd, 2003 08:31 am (UTC)
I wish I found anything in the article surprising, but I honestly don't. Just speaking from my own experience, food is the expendable expense. Viva ramen noodles!

On very bad days (say, last Autumn), I tried to look at the big picture: if I let my parents sell the house, that would pay off my debt (if they were being that kindly), but the leftovers (ha) wouldn't be enough to pay for another house; I don't have a car or any fancy jewelry, and I could sell things like TVs or stereos, but I'd get nowhere near what they're worth; all of which is to say, falling into further destitution doesn't appeal to me either. I have health insurance, but at a steeper-than-I'd-like cost.

I know, logically, two things: my parents would not let me starve. And I could take another job or two -- low wages, no benefits. (And I may as well, since I'm not in the mood to go back to college.) But at some point, what am I working for again? A place to sleep? And at some point, my parents won't be around. Thus the debt management plan. Thus the putting off of certain doctor's visits and the $20-max. trips to the grocery.

I remember us being on food stamps. I remember my aunt saying to my mother, "We won't let you lose the house." So...the article doesn't surprise me. It makes me actually somewhat glad that my life is as stable as it is (I'd just as soon not find out how stable it actually isn't, thankyouverymuch), even if I have to budget to buy milk.
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 06:03 am (UTC)
You're right. Working two jobs is soul-destroying, in the long-term because there's no space to breathe.

I think that I had not quite realised how pervasive the poverty was in more rural areas until I read that article
cofax7
Nov. 3rd, 2003 08:53 am (UTC)
Yup, yup, yup.

Two years ago the high tech firms were petitioning Congress to loosen up immigration rules so they could bring more workers into the US -- they were desperate for qualified staff. Now every week there's another article about tech work being outsourced to India. And that's just the Bay Area, which was better off to start with.

Manufacturing jobs are going away, and we're ending up with a society that's feeding on itself. You can't support a nation on a services economy. ::sigh::
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 06:04 am (UTC)
Manufacturing jobs are going away, and we're ending up with a society that's feeding on itself. You can't support a nation on a services economy. ::sigh::

Our government appears to be trying to. Well, that and construction.
lenadances
Nov. 3rd, 2003 09:05 am (UTC)
Well, that's just reminded me to get off the stick and donate.

http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/index.htm
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)
It's not the stats, it's the spin.

Check where they're mixing real numbers - 'more people living in poverty' and percentages - they don't mention that while the real numbers are rising, the percentages per capita are falling.

Also - it would be interesting to compare the 'material goods' of American poor vs poor in other parts of the world.

Yeah, we got poor people here. Yeap, when the economy sours, the unskilled and low-productive workers 1)lose their jobs first and 2) can't find new jobs.

(What, the high-producing, in high demand, highly skilled workers are supposed to be fired first?)

And when you're poor - you can't afford stuff.

(So the solution is to use a highly expensive labor force to make goods (like in the US) instead of a cheap one (like most places overseas)?)

The article glosses over the fact that the highest percentage of jobs lost in the recent down turn were fairly high paying middle management jobs. Not the working poor or working class jobs.

FDR's jobs and welfare programs took an ecomony that was starting to turn around and drove the Great Depression even deeper.

Easy answers are not there.

- hossgal
coffeeandink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:20 am (UTC)
(What, the high-producing, in high demand, highly skilled workers
are supposed to be fired first?)


How does that accord with

The article glosses over the fact that the highest percentage of jobs lost in the recent down turn were fairly high paying middle management jobs. Not the working poor or working class jobs.?

The high-paying, by industry definition highly-skilled jobs went--which meant that the unskilled ones went first.

The increase in middle-class unemployment doesn't do anything to decrease the working-class/working-poor unemployment -- it means that more people shift from one category to another, and there's an increase in people who are no longer making enough to pay for food or for health insurance.

FDR's jobs and welfare programs took an ecomony that was starting to turn around and drove the Great Depression even deeper.

I'd really like to see what you're using to support that statement.

In re: what people can't afford: I think the article is pretty clear that what they can't afford is food.

(no subject) - leadensky - Nov. 3rd, 2003 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - timesink - Nov. 3rd, 2003 11:29 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - leadensky - Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
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leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:09 am (UTC)
And the other thing that I forgot to mention - 'food stamps' are now in the form of electronic debit cards. This has greatly decreased the market for food stamps, where people receiving food stamps would routinely sell them for fifty cents on the dollar.

Because food stamps had to be used for food - not beer or cigarettes.

This change has led to a great deal of resentment, to judge by the stories my mother and sister bring home from working the grocery cash register.

- hossgal
lenadances
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:55 am (UTC)
I imagine it has indeed led to a great deal of resentment. Rich or poor, people hate it when you try to make them abide by the rules because they've never had to do it before and/or someone else is still getting by with rulebreaking. Which is probably why Bush's lovely idea of having every industry regulate itself is doomed to failure: people universally suck.
revely
Nov. 3rd, 2003 04:12 pm (UTC)
I'll avoid debating the economics and just say that as a person born and raised in Chesapeake, Ohio (right where it hits the shoulder of West Virginia and Kentucky) this gets a big thumbs up from me. Sometimes I drive through the area and think "this is where I'm from??"
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 06:13 am (UTC)
I get much the same reaction when I go into the city where I was born, which is post-industrial and poor.
2manytomatoes
Nov. 3rd, 2003 05:39 pm (UTC)
Well, USA Today did a story last week about a US Department of Agriculture study showing that the number of hungry families has increased for the third straight year:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-10-31-hungry_x.htm

infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 06:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I find that story more than alarming.
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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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