Why Do We Tolerate Poverty?

Why Do We Tolerate Poverty?

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button below the video, or by checking out my page on Patreon. So being poor kinda sucks. I think most people who are or have been poor
would probably agree. Financial issues and lack of access to basic
necessities are one of the biggest sources of stress and misfortune, and sometimes also
illness and death for people across the world. In developing countries, the existence and
pervasiveness of poverty can be the result of various circumstances, such as war and
other political violence, historical colonialism, or ineffective or corrupt government. But there are various countries that generally
do not have these problems, at least not to anywhere near the same degree. Yet poverty and near-poverty continues to
exist to some extent in virtually all of those places. For the purposes of this video, I’ll define
poverty as “not having enough resources and/or income to meet a basically acceptable
standard of living.” And of course that’s kind of a nebulous
definition, as that standard might be a bit subjective. So there are cases where it’s very clear,
and there are also borderline cases. And of course the amount of money and resources
that is adequate for a person’s needs will vary widely depending on what country they
live in. Some snarky people like to say, ‘Well a
dirt poor person in America, is 10 times richer than them poor kids in Africa.” And it’s like yeah, How does that help in
any way? What’s the point of saying that? But like said, I think most people agree that
poverty sucks. I think even people who have never been poor
probably at the very least pity poor people. They understand that it’s a bad thing that
decreases the quality of people’s lives. And I think that most people aren’t sociopaths
and generally dislike watching other people suffer. And by any reasonable account, rich countries
with functioning governments and access to vast resources should be able to mostly eliminate
poverty if it became a priority to do so. The money is there, the resources are there,
we can see it. In reality, there’s enough food and resources
in the world such that no one on Earth should be poor, especially as technology advances. There’s this idea floating around this conversation
that the world either is now or will soon be overpopulated, such that our planet will
literally be unable to sustain us. And insofar as millions of people live in
extreme poverty and die every day from preventable causes, I’d say we’re already there. But in a future where we reexamine our lifestyle
choices and reframe poverty as unacceptable, it’s possible the Earth could sustain even
more people than we have now. But we don’t do that really as a human society,
or as nations, and in many cases, we don’t even try. I mean, some people and some organizations
work to reduce poverty, but it doesn’t seem to be largely considered a coordinated priority
by human society at large. And I think that’s for many reasons, but
I think one of those reasons is because a lot developed societies have been conditioned
to tolerate poverty. There are other reasons that developed countries
neglect to sufficiently address poverty, but that’s the one I’m gonna focus on in this
video. So we’re in election season here in the
United States, and a problem that we have when it comes to elections is the various
ways politicians engage in voter suppression. One of the ways they attempt to make it harder
for certain people to vote is by requiring official identification before they can cast
their ballot. Now this may not sound like a big deal, but
for very poor people, this can be a significant roadblock. Where I live, getting a state-issued I.D costs
about 40 dollars (which is actually a recent increase, it used to be closer to 25). Not to mention the gas money it takes to get
to a DMV or other county office. And this is assuming you even own or are physically
able to drive a car, because if not, the transportation costs are likely even higher. Because of this a lot of people don’t bother
getting IDs, or renewing them when they expire, particularly the elderly or disabled, students,
and poor people. Sometimes when I talk about this with people,
the conversation kinda goes like this: “Well I understand 40 bucks is not a small
amount, but why don’t they just suck it up and go pay it if they wanna vote?” “Some people can’t afford to pay it!” “I know some people are struggling, but
they are just going to have cut out the McDonalds and Beer Money for a couple of weeks, if it’s
that important to them!” “No, you’re not getting it, some people
don’t have an extra 40 dollars period! Also you shouldn’t have to give up things
you like just to vote. Voting is a basic right.” “You’re telling me that an American citizen
with a job can’t scrounge together 40 dollars to get an ID.” “Yeah sometimes!” I’ve realized that one big reason some people
tolerate poverty is because they don’t actually understand that it exists. And this comes from progressive people even
sometimes. Like, they get that some people live on the
streets, and that some people have to work multiple low paying jobs to survive, but they’re
just ignorant of the tangible day to day struggles. Yeah, some people literally don’t have 40
dollars. Sometimes when you come home from work, pay
the bills, and feed the kids, there’s zero left after that. Sometimes you don’t even have enough to
do those things. Sometimes you have to make a choice between
paying rent or buying groceries for the month. A few months ago sociology professor Dr. Sara
Goldrick-Rab tweeted that “Every day #RealCollege students drop out of college because they
can’t afford an unexpected bill of even $200.” To which conservative economist Michael Strain
responded, “Can they not get a credit card?” He later clarified, “To be clear I have
no doubt that many hard-working students do not have ample financial resources. But concern over $200 is surely exaggerated. And “I think dropping out due to financial
stress is a real issue. But finding $200 isn’t.” I had to read this exchange a bunch of times
to see if I was missing something, maybe there’s context lost because it is Twitter after all. Twitter’s still bad. But it really seems to be inconceivable to
Mr. Strain that a poor college student would not be able to put together $200. To the extent that he is suggesting taking
on credit card debt for money that that he knows the hypothetical student doesn’t have! If you ask the question, why are poor people
poor? you’ll no doubt get a different answer depending on who you ask. My answer would be that, like everything,
it’s fucking complicated. But some people think they’ve got it all
figured out. Based on the polls I’ve found, a growing
number of people seem to basically understand that there are dysfunctional and unequal systems
that result in widespread poverty. But a roughly equal number of people blame
poverty on other things, such bad choices, drugs, and lack of work ethic. Add that to the fact that a lot of people
attribute financial success to hard work and ambition, it’s no wonder why Americans and
residents of other developed countries are willing to tolerate poverty. It’s the nebulous and problematic concept
of “meritocracy”. The people who are smarter, and who work harder
and who make better choices should and will inevitably succeed. So why should we help the poor? If they worked harder and made better choices,
they wouldn’t be poor! It is justifiable for a lazy or immoral person
to be punished for those choices. This style of argument is really popular in
right wing circles, but I think even people on the other parts of the spectrum subconsciously
internalize this idea that wealth is a reward for exceptional people. And if there were no consequences for poor
choices, it would devalue the notions of hard work and talent. Now I personally find it an appealing concept;
that people who work harder and have great ideas should be proportionally rewarded for
that. However, in practice this seems not to really
play out quite like that. Sure there are people who become financially
successful because they worked hard or because they had a profitable idea or made smart investments. There’s an idea on the left that every rich
person either became rich by being evil or just kind of lucked into their wealth through
inheritance or nepotism or something, which is kind of silly. I mean, while some people become rich due
to inheritance or luck, probably most rich people became rich due in large part to their
own work and choices they personally made. But it’s just so much more complicated than
that, to the extent that it could be its own video. Thomas Corley, a researcher for Business Insider
asserted that there were four major types of people who become millionaires. The Saver-Investor: A person who consistently
saved and invested their money over a period of many years, essentially their whole lives. The Big Company Senior Executive: Essentially
people who found a job at a big company and worked their way up to a senior management
position. The Virtuoso: People who have invested time
into becoming one the best in their field, setting them apart from the competition. And The Dreamer-Entrepeneur: The person who
had a dream and pursued it into extreme wealth. This includes business owners, but also authors,
musicians, and actors. And these are all fine and good, but the thing
I noticed that they all have in common, is that they kind of all require you to already
not be poor. Arguably, you can still save and invest money
when you’re poor, I personally think you should – but I acknowledge, it is extremely
presumptuous to ask a person who lives paycheck to paychek to put 20% of their income into
savings and investments. And of course, even if you do save, if you’ve
got barely any income, your potential gains in the future are severely stunted. And you can’t just walk into some corporate
headquarters and force them to hire you. You’ve got to develop qualifications and
experience, which usually requires going to college, which in this country is very expensive. And if you’re taking that route, you have
to hope that A. the company and industry remains successful and B. You don’t get laid off
for some reason. Similarly becoming a virtuoso or a dreamer
usually requires a tremendous time and money investment. You’ve got to pay for classes and education. You might need equipment or technology. It costs money to start and run a business. It’s not something most poor people can
even really do. And it’s acknowledged by Corley that most
of these paths require some amount of risk, and many of the people took huge setbacks
in their paths to wealth. The problem is that most poor people can’t
afford to take those kinds of risks. It’s often literally a matter of eating
or going hungry. Shelter or being out on the street. Life or death. But really the main problem with this mindset
is it doesn’t add up from the other end. Sure people work hard and succeed. But people also work hard and struggle. One the absolute most infuriating things people
say is that people are poor because they don’t work hard enough. People who say poor folks don’t work hard,
must have never gotten to know a poor person before. Those who live in poverty are essentially
required to work hard, or else they can’t really live. You telling me that single mom that works
65 hours a week across two jobs in order to feed her kids isn’t working hard? The folks slaving away in hot kitchens and
dirty factories to keep the lights on, they don’t work hard? Absolutely fuck out of here with that noise! This is the where this whole concept falls
apart. We pretend to glorify hard work, but at the
same time we devalue hard work when it’s done by poor people. Methinks it’s not really about the work. But really, ultimately. Even if the reason poor people are poor is
because they don’t work hard or aren’t smart enough- which I’d argue it largely
isn’t- it doesn’t matter. What kind of sadistic society looks upon a
class of people who can barely afford food and other basic necessities, and say, “I’m
okay with that.” This absurdity was lampooned in George Bernard
Shaw’s play “Major Barbara:” “If a man is indolent, let him be poor. If he is drunken, let him be poor. If he is not a gentleman, let him be poor. If he is addicted to the fine arts or to pure
science instead of to trade and finance, let him be poor. If he chooses to spend his wages on his beer
and his family instead of saving it up for his old age, let him be poor. Let nothing be done for “the undeserving”:
let him be poor. Serve him right!” And I see this sentiment expressed unironically,
in real life, all the time. It’s mind boggling! We’ve convinced ourselves so clearly that
poverty is the result of bad behavior that we’re willing to literally watch people
suffer. It’s amazing the ways in which humans rationalize
cruelty. We should want to keep people from suffering,
not as a reward for hard work or grit or sacrifice, but just because protecting people’s safety
and well-being is what decent humans and for that matter, government ought to do. The thing in this conversation that is bad,
is not laziness, or stupidity, or misfortune, or criminality or drugs. The thing at the forefront that is bad is
poverty. Perhaps the most disappointing reason that
individuals seem to tolerate poverty is the idea of a zero-sum, winners and losers game. There may still be some people out there who
glorify poverty, who think it’s humbling or holy. But in large part, I think most people don’t
want to be poor. I’d go as far as saying that most people
probably want to be wealthy. Not everybody desires to be a billionaire,
but it’s hard to argue against the assertion that being financially independent and flexible
is pretty much ideal. But in a society and in a world where there
is economic inequality, it makes sense that for some people to be wealthy, that probably
implies that other people have to not be wealthy. In order for there to be a boss, there has
to be people that the boss bosses. And because we demean and devalue labor that
is typically done by poor people, we’ve reached a point where nobody really wants
to do that kind of labor. We all want to be the boss. But somebody has to do it. Somebody has to work in kitchens, and scrub
toilets and do hair and take tickets at the movie theater. And we’re okay with those people barely
being able to afford basic needs, because somebody’s gotta do it. We just don’t want it to be us. We’ve got higher aspirations. It’s gotten so bad that some people actively
campaign against increasing wages, benefits and working conditions for people in these
types of jobs. They’re supposed to be the losers, that’s
what those jobs are for. They don’t deserve more money. But me, I deserve more. And you know maybe it is zero sum. There is a finite amount of wealth and resources
available in the world, and there is a shit ton of people, and that number continues to
grow. But as I implied earlier, I think there’s
enough to go around. It is ridiculous that there are, simultaneously,
people with more wealth than what is needed for a hundred lifetimes, and also people who
literally can’t afford food and shelter. It’s just not a dichotomy that should exist
in any just world. And to be fair, most of that wealth is being
horded by a very small number of people, who by and large don’t seem to want to give
it up. But I think a large reason they’ve be able
to pull this off is by working to convince us that we should tolerate poverty, and think
of wealth as a reward for clever people. But as you might have guessed, I don’t think
we should tolerate poverty. Poverty is suffering. Poverty ruins lives. It ruins legacies. It harms children. It kills people. Those facts alone should encourage us all
to take action to eliminate and prevent it, especially when the resources needed to do
so are readily available. And I don’t mean giving to charities, I
mean fixing the systems that reinforce it in the first place. And I want to be clear, it doesn’t matter
to me how many bad choices a person makes. First of all, a lot of times those choices
made under the duress of poverty. Poverty leads to unhappiness and desperation. It can cause stress and mental illness. Poor folks have less access to proper education
and mentoring. So yeah, maybe some bad choices were made. But also maybe not. Did a poor child choose to be born into a
family that was struggling to put food on the table? Do people choose the fact that jobs won’t
pay you any money unless you obtain a degree you can’t afford. Either way, when people are suffering, we
figure out how to fix that, regardless of how it that got way. It is in my view the only morally sound option. You don’t leave people to die just because
you think they made bad choices, unless you’re a monster. And if preventing suffering and death requires
some rich people to be less rich, that seems like a no-brainer of a tradeoff. But we’ll never get there until we decide
en masse that poverty is an unacceptable condition. We have to refer to poverty as what it truly
is. Human suffering. And allowing human suffering when we have
the tools to address it is tantamount to a crime against humanity. DAS JUS ME DOE. What do you think? Thanks for watching, and thanks to CuriosityStream
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  1. Post
    Johanna Geisel

    I've never struggled to put food on the table, but I definitely did have many years in which I couldn't come up with 200€ for emergencies.
    200€ was more than the food money for one month for large parts of my adult life.

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    When I was young I was very Republican and very conservative. I completely bought into the idea that everyone earned their success and wealth… and thus earned their poverty. The first crack in my worldview was my first job after grad school. I taught vocational classes in a women's prison. About a month after starting the job my car required an $1800 repair. Without hesitation my parents paid for it and didn't expect me to pay them back. I spent every day surrounded by women who were largely there because of poverty and generational dysfunction (which is also a byproduct of poverty). I couldn't help but spend every day realizing how lucky I was. What would I have done if my parents didn't pay for that repair? I quickly realized just how much had been handed to me throughout my entire life and how I'd done nothing to earn it. And I also quickly realized that lacking resources and social support systems were the real reason most of those people were in prison. It was humbling and ultimately changed me fundamentally aftera few other contributing experiences. As I've gotten older I've become cynical about whether other Republicans/conservatives actually believe what I believed. I sometimes think they're just knowingly reinforcing their power. But there are plenty of average people who do buy into the meritocracy and they prop up the machine. It depresses me to have fundamentally changed and wish I could get others to learn what I have learned.

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    Arwen Spicer

    I adore this video and am going to tuck it away for the next time my college students start talking about how we can't tax rich people at high rates because that would be taking away their money they earned by their hard work. Thank you.

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    It's amazing how some people do not understand these basic realities. I remember a few years ago seeing conservative commentators on youtube push back against the idea that access to wifi and owning a smart phone are very important even if you are poor. Most minimum wage retail/fast food jobs (ie target, mcdonalds, etc) use smart phone apps to trade shifts now. They will not do it on paper, thus punishing people who cannot afford (or don't want) smart phones. Hell I saw someone argue that a fucking REFRIGERATOR is a luxury and people who can't afford one should just 'make it work'. It was the most disconnected shit I had ever seen around this basic argument.

  8. Post
    John Michael Figueroa

    It seems to me that the best way to fight poverty is by having more capitalism: https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2013/11/4-World-Income-Distribution-2003-to-2035-growth-rates.png (Note where a minimum wage worker in America would be—off the edge of the graph. The American poor are the global upper class.)

    The most anti-capitalist policy of the modern rich world is their ridiculous immigration restrictions. Getting rid of those would roughly DOUBLE total global wealth, with most of the gains going to the global poor: https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.25.3.83

    So, the thing that you and I should be able to agree on: Open Borders!! And every step towards that is a step in the right direction. Vote Blue No Matter Who 2020.

  9. Post
    Sam S

    Gods this video put together so many of the thoughts I've had and things I believe and presented it far more succinctly than I could have.

    Seriously, what you laid out is pretty much society as wellness as a priority rather than "success".

  10. Post

    As a economics academic. this was spot on. The conservative economists who think poverty is a righteous punishment for the people who "aren't working hard" are people I imagined internalized nothing in their economics classes. In a time period were production is so high people shouldn't be without food and shelter. it's genuinely absurd we don't provide these basic needs to people. This would also in no way stop people from becoming wealthy, it would actually increase wealth all around if we didn't allow our lowest income brackets to suffer so much.

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    Roseanne Patton

    It’s funny that most people think poor people are just blue collar. There are so many of us who have “valued labor” (white collar, working in offices, have a college degree, etc). I bring home, after taxes, about 31k/year. This still doesn’t help.

    I can barely save, I can hardly pay off any debt and I even wonder if my 401k that I’m “earning” is worth it. My money gets sucked up by overpriced rent, utilities, bills and other shit. Emergencies? It better be a cheap one! If my car goes out, we are fucked.

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    I came to learn a good amount (not all) of financial success has to do with luck, connections, and inheritance — you can just fall into the right place or wrong place no matter what you do. Modern day poverty has deep roots and connections to colonialism/imperialism and exploitation from more powerful communities and societies — its complicated and difficult to get out of the bottom of the system, especially for those from broken places and suffering mental illness/abuse/manipulations.

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    TooMuchSci -Fi

    THANK YOU! I work with people who have never been as poor as me and Ive heard them giving all the reasons you mentioned and just belittling people for being poor. It has been a struggle for me to get out of poverty (and still not quite there yet) and many people are truly ignorant of what being poor is actually like.

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    That was an outstanding video! It was so spot on! I too get really irritated when I hear people say that poor people are poor because they are lazy. I know a lot of people who couldn't afford college so they are working at jobs that pay a lousy $8, $9 or $10 an hour, (with no benefits), because that is the going wage. And they have to work their butts off just to get by! It's not right. I don't care if you scrub toilets, work in fast food joints or are a janitor, you deserve a living wage! It's immoral that we let people suffer in this country.

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    Brian Jones


    "And the reason that employers are always trying to cut what they give to workers, one way or another, is not [because] they are greedy, or nasty, or unfeeling people. It is the way the system works."

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    Markets are inherently exclusive. If everyone were fed, nobody would be making money on selling you food

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    John Paul Sylvester

    “You can have vast concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, or can have democracy- but you cannot have both.” -Louis Brandeis

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    The thought that poor people are poor because it must be their own fault is the direct result of a society with a Puritan basis. It all comes down to the concept of predestination

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    Amanda H

    I commented in a sarcastic tone "yeah cause poor people choose to be poor" on an instagram post not thinking anyone could have such a mentality. But low and behold more than a couple trump fan accounts had something to say about it to my surprise

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    I want this video to be translated into every language in the world and mandatory to watch/listen/read for every single person.

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    none given

    The biggest issue with capitalism is survivorship bias.

    Sure, plenty of people work hard and "make it".

    There are also countless people who work hard and don't make it.

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    Ronaldo Luiz Pedroso

    Great video reminds of myself when I struggled with my ingrained acceptance of capitalism as the "only way" and suffering I saw around me.
    Keep up the good work.

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    Olaseni Ajibade

    I highly recommend Herbert J Gans' essay "The Uses of Poverty" it's been revisited several times. I find that it has held true in decades since I first read it.

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    Hollie Brokaw

    Can we talk about poverty on reservations? Something like 40% of all Navajo homes don't have a running sink or toilet. In one of the richest countries in the world.

    All of the stuff in this video is true, but imagine adding to all of that the worse public schools and worse job opportunities that natives have inflicted upon them.

    I wish we could consider native issues more often. They seem to be widely forgotten

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    Jacqueline A

    Hmm… seems like maybe we shouldn’t assume capitalism, this system fundamentally flawed in so many ways, is the only option. Like, maybe the ACTUAL profits of labour should belong to the labourers, not to business owners!

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    kimber Lee

    Recognizing T1J hasn’t popped up in my feed in a bit even though I’m subbed… I’m not usually a bell ringer on YT but you got belled today man! Talking about some real important stuff and it’s not getting the push on this platform it really deserves.

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    the myth that people's financial situation is a result of personal choice pisses me off so much. there's people working three jobs who have barely enough money for a small apartment and to feed their child–ALL WHILE THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DON'T WORK AT ALL. it's the excessive wealth of those people that could solve all the problems in the world, but we're manipulated into celebrating the rich so we rather attack our fellow man.

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    Anthony Westbrook

    I love pitching these concepts to my conservative friends and family. One thing I've found really helpful is just jumping to pragmatics. "People have a right to healthcare" opens a can of worms and they've memorized arguments against it. "I think that if a society can afford to give everyone in it healthcare, they should be able to decide to" has made all my family shrug/nod and say "sure." They also like the idea of universal basic income and universal healthcare when it's presented as "it shouldn't be an employer's responsibility to make sure all of their employees can afford everything they need."

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    Matt Johnson

    Yeah, I think a lot of people on the upper end do this thing where they go "I worked hard and got rich, so that's all you need to do. So if you aren't rich, you must not be working hard enough." and… no… maybe it takes hard work, but it takes /more/ than that. We don't live in a strict meritocracy, and they don't like to acknowledge it.

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    Ricardo Petinga

    Even when someone gets rich because they "work hard" or have a profitable idea, they never make their wealth exclusively on their own when that wealth reaches a massively disproportionate level. A multi-millionaire does not make millions without the labor of others who are paid much less. It's like Bernie told Boomerberg in the Las Vegas debate: Boomer didn't work alone for his billions of dollars, the workers he employed did, and they didn't become billionaires or millionaires. Let's say, hypothetically, one of his hard workers made a million… Can anyone say unironically that BlOOMbERg worked 65 thousand times harder? (I think his "net worth" was 65 billion dollars or close to that last time I checked/heard about it.)

    On a side note but probably not any less important, was his work beneficial in any way to society? Did he/his company produce anything that people actually needed? Or did it just take advantage of a system that employs people often for the sole purpose of circulating capital in the direction of the already super wealthy, allowing them to keep some to survive in that same system that requires people to have money to be able to afford basic necessities and a minimum of quality of life, but just enough so they have to keep working until their old age?

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    Things no one has ever said:

    "My boss works harder than me."
    "I get payed exactly what I'm worth."
    "I came out of poverty pretty easily, now here's all the steps for free."
    "I understand how Jeffrey Epstein made his money."
    Incidentally, trying to not be broke is expensive for some reason.

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    With the corona virus spreading so quickly, a lack of affordable healthcare is a threat to the rich and poor alike : P

  41. Post
    Amanda Wittenstein

    I don’t know if it’s a national or Texas thing, but I was reading the requirements for identification when voting today. ID could be (up to) 6 months expired, at a different address, and if you’re over the age of 70, an expired ID was acceptable. It wasn’t great, but it was something. A small start.

  42. Post

    I went to community college right after high school. I had a 3.9 gpa so I got a grant that paid my tuition and fees. I worked at an exhausting entry-level, minimum wage job and saved up all my money. I lived with my parents to save on rent. Everyday, even in the summer or on break, I had work or class or both. I went 4+ months without a day off. And one month before I left for university BAM! my home and all my belongings burned in a wildfire. I had to use all my savings to pay for new clothes, food, and housing. I made all the right choices, worked hard, and had an advantage because I had parents who could afford to feed and house me. I did everything right but I still ended up broke and in debt.

  43. Post
    Tony Midyett

    I once told a Fermi's paradox forum that aliens will NEVER visit Earth. When asked why not, I replied, "Because we allow other people's children to starve".

  44. Post
    Fanu lui Cioran nr 1 Xd

    Man with money who lived only in money : "How can you not get 200 $?"
    Man without money: "I don't have from were to get money."
    Man with money: "Ha! Peasent! Can't you sell your soul to the great banks to obtain money!?"
    Man without money: "I can't pay it back."
    Man with money: "Ha! Then for your sin the punishment is… death"

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    Film Radar

    Watching this after the results of Super Tuesday is especially depressing. It just feels like there's this huge disconnect from the vast majority of the world and what our actual reality looks like. About literally fucking everything. Climate change, depression, war, poverty, it just feels like 90% of this country is full of people who refuse to see what's actually going on. That fucking BIDEN, a racist sexist practically early onset Alzheimer's patient is beating out Sanders. How is this even a discussion at this point? "Hey guys, want lower taxes and free healthcare and minimum wage increase and student loan forgiveness and bringing the top 1% down a peg or two so we can all have a more even playing field and basic human rights?" And somehow people find a way to think "Nahhhh, that's too radical for me."

    But I think you're right, people have just learned to tolerate it, and as you've shown most people are just sorely mistaken about the nature of wealth in this country. This whole "if you work hard you get rewarded" idea is such bullshit and it just goes to show that the people who think that way literally haven't met anyone who's poor. Because the amount of people working more than 40 hours a week just to scrape by with the bare minimum is a disgrace, and we can and should do better as a country. But we all have to know by now, most Americans reallllllly hate poor people, even poor children. Somehow it's always their own fault, and most refuse to hear otherwise. Meanwhile their own financial situation continues to get worse as companies continue to layoff employees and cut wages or benefits, and they continue to pay increasingly higher insurance premiums and mortgage payments and everything else, and who do they blame? Poor people. All those damn losers looking for handouts are the REAL problem. It's fucking sickening.

    The fact is, even when we're talking about the lowest rung on the ladder, someone flipping burgers for example, is STILL A HUMAN BEING. In what universe should a human being working 40+ hours a week not be able to support themselves? People argue that if it's so rough "get a better job" but like, bro, SOMEONE has to have that job, and what? We're all okay with just saying fuck you to whoever ends up in that position?

    I don't know, it's just exhausting. Every time it feels like a progressive candidate comes along and is actually getting some traction, this country just ends up going with the "safe" bet which really just means more unregulated capitalism, more wars, more poverty, more of all the same shit that makes people feel completely hopeless and depressed. Basically the whole democratic party are conservative Christians who are just slightly more open towards POC or LGBTQ than their Republican counterparts. And yay, some of them actually believe in science. Fucking woohoo.

    It's like the whole world is having a giant pizza party, one asshole has 1,000 jumbo sized pies all to himself and the rest of us are fighting over slices while some are lucky just to get a bite of the crust, and we're sitting here arguing over who gets this slice or that slice instead of taking them from that one fucking asshole who refuses to share. Literally zero chance that dude eats it all anyways, but yet we sit here and argue why he should have as many pizzas as he "earned" while everyone else starves. Like, fuck that guy. I don't care how hard he worked, did none of these people learn the value of sharing? At this point fucking actual rats have proven to demonstrate more empathy than human beings. I just don't know why it's so difficult for people to care, and the saddest thing is that if they had a little more compassion for their neighbor and fought for their rights we would ALL benefit, except for the 1% but yeah, fuck those people anyways.

    Rant over. It's just rough having a heart and a brain whenever election season rolls around.

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    When it comes to the concept of 'merit', we don't value people for their intrinsic worth as human beings. We value the earning of value, because earning means giving the meritocratic elites something they want. They've glibly taught us that we come into this world not just being worthless, but as having a debt to be paid wherein we "pull our own weight".

    You are contemptible, worthy of destitution, until you provide some utility to the meritocratic capitalists that rule you. Bulk up, and work harder trooper. Serve the corporation. Make us proud.

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    Yarrow M

    In the words of Pyotr Kropotkin, “the landlord owes his riches to the poverty of the peasants, and the wealth of the capitalists comes from the same source.”

    Poverty is a necessary part of upholding private property and capitalistic relationships. It is enforced by design.

    Only a desperate person will sell themself for a wage, or give over most of that wage to a landlord.
    So, their desperation must be enforced. And the only way to enforce it is by the threat of violence by the state.

    If resources and supplies and means of production were held in common and democratically allocated, there would be no poverty.

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    Lars Engstfeld

    "What do you think?"

    Well, there is one major thing you seem to miss about poverty. Capitalism does not only create poverty, it depends on it. Without poverty, capitalism does not work at all. That pressure is needed to keep everybody running for their lives, to force us to do even the sh*tiest job for lowest wages, if we want to or not. If you take that part out, capitalism breaks down immediately.

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    Gloria Holcomb

    Even here we see the internalization of property being a choice. Remember discretionary income can be zero, heck it can be negative.

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    Alex Noa

    I think that ultra wealthy people (billionaires not millionaires) get their wealth unethically. I don’t think it’s possible to get it ethically, at least 99% of the time I’m sure there’s exceptions. Being a millionaire isn’t a big deal anymore. My property is worth more than a million dollars and I doubt anyone would consider me wealthy.

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    Ben Palmer

    I took AP Economics last semester, and whenever anything like this topic was brought up, people brought it to "What are you looking for a handout? Do you want the government to make sure you get a job?"

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    something i feel like a lot of people don't understand is the link between disability and poverty…. some people genuinely dont seem to understand how disabilities affect peoples ability to sustain themselves even with existing government programs. an upsetting amount of homeless people are disabled and i never understood how people just ignore that?? do people choose to be disabled??

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    Darla Lathan

    So poor people make "bad choices," because wisdom is expensive! People tolerate poverty because of stinginess and cruelty, due to ascetic religions, feudalism and cut-throat business competition. Also, hard work doesn't make you rich. Migrant farmworkers work harder than anybody and live in shacks . CEOs only work from 9AM to noon, then play golf with their buddies and go nightclubbing. Most wealthy people are heirs. Only 10% are self-made. Most of the people with rags-to-riches stories are in show biz or sports–or organized crime. Conservatives grew up with Horatio Alger stories of newsboys who got rich and think our economics system works like that. Conservatism is the fear of violent revolutions against royalty and aristocrats, inspired by the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. During the Cold War, this became the fear of Communist revolutions, like the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, etc., which got us into the Korean and Vietnamese Wars. Now, it's the fear of Islamic terrorist revolutions, like in Iran and Afghanistan, hence our fighting the Gulf War and War on Terror, for oil. Conservatives fear any reforms as leading to revolutions. That's why they don't want a woman President or non-binary people to choose their pronouns or transwomen to use the ladies' rooms. Classism is a prejudice, just like racism, sexism, Islamophobia, biphobia, homophobia or transphobia.

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    A lot of people that aren't poor go to college and strive for decent paying jobs. Rich people often tend to have exceedingly high ambition, but most middle class people work 'smart' not as hard as poor people because their jobs pay more. Perhaps if many middle class people knew they wouldn't ever be poor no matter what they do, they wouldn't strive to do well. I think people need to see how people fail in order to strive to be good enough. People with high ambition don't need to see poor people to do well, but some people would be lazy if they knew that they couldn't ever be poor.

    Trust me, I don't like this idea at all and hate the idea of poor people. I've been known to cry multiple times due to feeling extreme empathy to certain other people in my life. I did just yesterday.

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    Even if someone is just a complete mess up who never works hard and refuses to take care of themselves, letting them live without things like shelter or food or clothing or medicine when there is an abundance of all those things is cruel. You could argue it's just a necessary evil to keep people from abusing the system but every time we offer those things to people for free it works out for the best.

    Some people are seriously incapable of taking care of themselves or have some deep-seated issue that stops them from doing so, they still matter as people regardless.

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    Gin Martin

    Poor people's labor pays for rich peoples ability to sit around and get educated. The system is stacked on top of workers.

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    Reef Larkin

    I can't believe that tweet exchange. Firstly: you can't get a credit card if you're low income. Maybe America is more lax but I couldn't get a AU$200 limit credit card when earning AU$15k/yr. $200 is a lot of money (I am shocked that anyone would call it small, although I do remember my asshole surgeon acting like $3000 was nothing, like 'give or take a few hundred' seemed reasonable to him, didn't occur to him I was budgeting with no 'extra money' to just use if decided to charge more/wasn't honest about the cost), especially USD/in the US. These people who are so disconnected from poverty are the ones making laws that directly effect the poorest people. They have no conception of what it is like to live for a fortnight off less than they spend on one meal out.

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    Lewis Birkett

    People shouldn't be having kids if they can't afford basic living costs, I mean they shouldn't anyway but

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    this is actually EXACTLY why i dont want children lol

    POVERTY!: now with kids that dont deserve it! 🤣🤣

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    Kelly Kobayashi

    This reminds me of the last time Eminen's Lose Yourself came on while I was driving home from one of my two jobs.

    I've never thought much about Eminem or his music, just not my style… but this time, I started BAWLING.

    If that song played over Bernie Sanders' ads, it would fit perfectly. We've only got one shot, and I don't even have hope in it. That's what poverty cuts out of you.

    You just keep working, and try not to think of how fleeting life is.

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    Magical Realism

    Thanks for making this. I was raised in unending precariousness by a single mom. Though I've made my life better with a good partner and help from others, I'm still only saving a fraction of what I should given my age. I've never forgotten how people disregard the poor and blame us for our circumstances. Lost what I thought was a friend to this very conflict. There's a lot of money to be made by those who make dehumanization palatable for the middle-class. I'm glad to hear someone pointing the finger at the real problem and calling it what it is: amoral. History won't be kind to our time.

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    "most people aren't sociopaths" I can see someone spends a lot less time in YouTube comment section than I do 😂

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