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Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)

Posted by Matamore! 
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Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 13, 2012 21:52
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The adjective "shocking" is overused, but I am shocked, still in shock nearly an hour after watching this. It's repeated (with signing) at 01:15 on Friday morning, so you still have the opportunity to torture yourself by watching it. (According to the BBC webpage for the programme, it's also repeated on Thursday morning at 04:30 on the BBC News Channel.)

DOCUMENTARY: Panorama
On: BBC 1 (1)
Date: Monday 13th February 2012 (Already shown)
Time: 20:30 to 21:00 (30 minutes long)

Poor America.
With one and a half million American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth. From those living in the storm drains under Las Vegas to the tent cities now springing up around the United States, Panorama finds out how the poor are surviving in America and asks whatever happened to Barack Obama's vision for the country.
(Stereo, Widescreen, Subtitles, 4 Star)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Marked By: 'Favourite: Panorama' and 'Category: Documentary' markers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from [www.getdigiguide.tv]

Copyright (c) GipsyMedia Limited.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 13, 2012 23:24
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Right? Now you know why we're so pissed.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 13, 2012 23:38
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I'd love to see how this issue is handled. I've heard similar programs on BBC radio and while I know some people fall between the cracks or through the mesh of the safety net (welfare), Americans from what I've seen are not hard hearted and do help those in need. If they didn't we'd see poverty of this magnitude more widespread than it is.

I think the poverty issue is very complicated here in the US, it's not a uniform problem. A lot of people don't fall into set catagories so the solution might not be easy to come by. The mistake I am seeing is the government is trying to solve the problem by addressing certain issues only and people are not being helped.

There is a definite strain on the social welfare system now, partly because of the economic downturn and partly because of the undocumented "immigrants" living in the country taking out of the system without paying into the system. These days it's not unusual to see people with families living in their automobiles after losing their homes. I am not sure what the story is for most of those people, but some don't want to live in shelters and would rather have some sort of control over their lives.

In the town where I live, one of the motels has been taken over by government and is being turned into low income housing. Is that the answer to the shelter problem? I don't know. This is probably the first low income housing put into this side of town, there has been low income housing available since the 1960s on the other side of town (which is mostly government owned land due to the naval air station located there--there was even a reservation there which was home for an Indian tribe). The new issue might become NIMBY (not in my back yard) since property values will decrease with the addition of low income housing in a neighborhood. That motel is located not far from the commercial corridor so it might work out for the better for the city. Around the motel are rental properties and commercial properties but it is a rather nice neighborhood. Families live there as do professionals. I smell compromise, but we'll see what happens. The thing is that motel was a haven for drugs and prostitution in recent years, so it probably is compromise plan. Will be interesting to see if the previous conditions continue after the revamp.

EDIT: as for kids going hungry, I thought the point of the school lunch program was to provide at least one complete meal for children who would normally not get the food because of financial hardship. There's even a summer school lunch program so kids are guaranteed at least a meal during the summer months they aren't in school.

I am not sure what the actual rates are, but there are more people on food stamps now than there were during the 8 year Bush administration. People are still going hungry despite the increase in enrollment. Is the aid not going to the right people or is the aid not enough?

If this was still the Bush admnistration, I would bet you stories about Bushvilles would open the nightly news. It's kind of difficult to frame stories like this for the Obama administration without sounding critical. It's egg shell time for the networks if they even approach this issue.

On a side note, remember those occupy camps which sprung up in various cities across the country? Apparently some of the Occupy people had a problem sharing the food and supplies, which were being donated with the homeless. In San Francisco, the homeless was forced to set up a separate camp from the Occupy camp, the excuse being the homeless were causing trouble in the Occupy camp. Full disclosure, the city of San Francisco is home to a lot of "professional" homeless. There are more than enough shelters and soup kitchens to serve the need, but some people just choose to live on the streets. The city has not had a conservative mayor for at least 25 years so there has not been a lack of social services available. If an uber liberal city like San Francisco hasn't licked the the homeless and poverty problem, the problem might not be easily solved. Throwing money at the problem just isn't making a dent at addressing the issue.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2012 00:03 by lifeonmarsfan.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 00:10
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We've had similar here with the motel thing, Mars.

I'm not sure how it is up there but down here we've always been very good about volunteer and charity programs especially through the religious communities and such.

The cutting government programs is a big thing, especially right now, but the biggest thing is jobs. This has been a problem for awhile and it was going on long before the crash. When you have two people working full-time and they still can't support their family without assistance something is seriously wrong.

This corporate greed thing is deplorable. Frankly, I don't know how some of these people sleep at night.

I've never have been able to fathom how someone can step over a homeless person to go by a $5,000 purse. Boggles the mind, that. eye rolling smiley
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 00:49
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Sounds like you've been to Union Square, Jan. You are basically walking by homeless people on your way to Niemans and Nordstroms. But again, it isn't as if SF has been run by those evil conservatives who would rather see the homeless and hungry die in the streets. The city represented by possibly the most influential Democrat in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She's been in office for 20 plus years, maybe 30 years now. And like I said before, the city only had a conservative mayor for 8 years during the last 34 years.

There's St. Anthony's and Glide Memorial who have massive soup kitchens which serve three meals to thousands a day. There are more shelter beds then there is a need for them in SF too, but people are still living in the streets. It's the same in Oakland, where you have St Vincent de Paul's and the Salvation Army as well as various church/religious groups who offer food and shelter to those who need it. There is no shortage of aid to those who ask for it.

I think the need is greater in the rural areas than they are in the urban areas though. There aren't many government based aid for those in need, and the local churches or religious groups can only do so much. At least in the cities, the population is dense enough to support those in need.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 02:11
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But again, it isn't as if SF has been run by those evil conservatives who would rather see the homeless and hungry die in the streets.

Exactly! Plenty of blame to go around I'd say.


Catholic Charities, The Rescue Mission and Povorello House are the biggies here. And the Food Bank distributes to all of them. I don't know about rural vs urban, but it is true we've been hit here for quite awhile.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 02:57
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You guys got a double whammy in that you couldn't grow crops because of lack of water. (Allowing water to go to the Central Valley and the agriculture areas of California endangers a finger sized fish making it man vs fish).

Previously if people didn't have jobs, at least there should have been food. You live in the bread basket of California for goodness sakes and you are prevented from growing food. Just to remind people outside the state, long before our economic downturn, people were out of work down in the Imperial Valley and Inland Empire. No crops, no work all because of that stupid fish. What I never understood is why neither Barbara Boxer nor Dianne Feinstein said anything about the unemployment situation in the farm lands. The only time I ever heard about the issue on national tv was when Sean Hannity did a show from I don't remember if it was Fresno or Bakersfield. Environmentalists won that day, but at what cost? How much farm land is being plowed under and developed down there Jan? Up here, a lot of the cities grew by leaps and bounds because of subdivisions and shopping malls (Pleasanton and Livermore). If you can't grow on your land, you're throwing money away. Families are selling out rather than farm their land. The people who are suffering most are field workers and the migrants. They don't have farmland to sell to earn money they can't work for.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 19:32
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You guys got a double whammy in that you couldn't grow crops because of lack of water. (Allowing water to go to the Central Valley and the agriculture areas of California endangers a finger sized fish making it man vs fish).

Yeah, the farmers have been gettin' screwed pretty bad in these parts. We've also been fighting drought. The snow pack is pretty dismal. We were at 80F day before yesterday.


You live in the bread basket of California for goodness sakes and you are prevented from growing food. Just to remind people outside the state, long before our economic downturn, people were out of work down in the Imperial Valley and Inland Empire. No crops, no work all because of that stupid fish....)

And they've figured out it had less to do with the water level but everything to do with Sacramento dumping waste water into the Delta.


What I never understood is why neither Barbara Boxer nor Dianne Feinstein said anything about the unemployment situation in the farm lands. The only time I ever heard about the issue on national tv was when Sean Hannity did a show from I don't remember if it was Fresno or Bakersfield. Environmentalists won that day, but at what cost?

Boxer and Feinstein don't grace us with their presence. Probably for fear of a lynch-mob. The others usually show up, do their spiel and proceed to forget all about us.


How much farm land is being plowed under and developed down there Jan?

A LOT! And Fresno County isn't just the number one ag county in California, we the number one in the nation, and I think in the top five or six in the world. They're putting McMansions on some of the finest ag land on the globe. They're finally getting a Blue Print together to plan growth here in the San Joaquin Valley to try and keep anymore of it from happening.


Up here, a lot of the cities grew by leaps and bounds because of subdivisions and shopping malls (Pleasanton and Livermore). If you can't grow on your land, you're throwing money away. Families are selling out rather than farm their land. The people who are suffering most are field workers and the migrants. They don't have farmland to sell to earn money they can't work for.

The super-farms are making it impossible for family farms to exist. They've had to be very creative to survive.

It's not just the field workers that are hit by the ag problem. There are all kinds of jobs that stem from ag production. Equipment, transportation, finance, etc... It's been rough.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 20:04
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I don't like conspiracy theories, but this quacks like a duck. It's almost an intentional destruction of a state. California was once the 5th largest economy in the world. We learned that in geology class. It's been a slow dismantle, but we are now at the breaking point and the solution from Sacramento is, tada! Tax the rich! The rich being anyone who makes $250k a year. It's almost like Sacto is racing the Federal government to peoples' tax money. I think anyone making $250k a year can easily pick up sticks and move to Arizona, Nevada or Utah. So who are they going to tax then? The government is going to have to figure a way to nail people to the ground so they don't move out of state or off shore.
PAW
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 20:28
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> Tax the rich!

And the alternative is?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 20:30
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Good luck! I know several small business owners who've moved out of state. My niece and her husband are seriously considering it now. The only thing holding them back is family.

I don't like conspiracy theories much either. I think this is a conspiracy of greed, myself.
PAW
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 20:34
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Matamore! Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> and asks
> whatever happened to Barack Obama's vision for the
> country.

His vision of an America with consensus governing, compromise, and agreement? What happened was that the Republican party stuck to their line and didn't move.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 20:45
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No doubt the Republican's, especially the Tea Party, have acted like stubborn children. The Democrats haven't been any better. And Obama has wasted any political credit he had after his election.

As I've said before....plenty of blame to go around.

I don't really care to hear more argument from them about what happened. My question is, what are they going to do now?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 21:07
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Quote
And the alternative is?

Isn't it usually 'Tax the poor'?

. Ivor



The original and real cat with the swishy tail.
Accept no imitations.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 21:11
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That is always so, isn't it?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 21:41
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PAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Matamore! Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > and asks
> > whatever happened to Barack Obama's vision for
> the
> > country.
>
> His vision of an America with consensus governing,
> compromise, and agreement? What happened was that
> the Republican party stuck to their line and
> didn't move.

I haven't been following politics lately, but I do remember this (from a time when I could use Twitter on my PC, and found it marvellously helpful for making sense of what seems to be an increasingly insane world):

US debt crisis: Tea Party intransigence takes America to the brink | World news | The Observer
America's own Taliban - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

I'd forgotten this:

BBC News - In Steinbeck's footsteps: America's middle-class underclass

(Sorry, clicked the 'Post' button by mistake, while I was still searching for links; there may be more to come.)

Infographic: Deficit scolds, let the Bush tax cuts expire | Raven Brooks
The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic
The Cult That Is Destroying America - NYTimes.com
The President Surrenders on Debt Ceiling - NYTimes.com
The Centrist Cop-Out - NYTimes.com
Ed Kilgore, Why the liberal base has such little leverage with Obama - Salon.com
The myth of Obama's "blunders" and "weakness" - Budget Showdown - Salon.com
Steve Almond, What we wish Obama had said - Debt ceiling - Salon.com
Ed Kilgore, The Tea Party is bigger than the South - War Room - Salon.com
Edmund Burke Against Grover Norquist by Garry Wills | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
Robert Scheer: Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security - Robert Scheer's Columns - Truthdig
Eugene Robinson: A Retreat, Not a Rout - Truthdig

(Life's too short for Twitter! But without it, I've never been able to make any sense of the behaviour of the ape-descended lifeforms on this planet, or the movement of their small green pieces of paper.)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2012 22:27 by Matamore!.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 14, 2012 23:22
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Sometimes I wish we could just clean house (the House and the Senate) and get citizen representatives back in Washington. A few of these guys (and gals) go to DC with 5 figure bank accounts and years later they are multi millionaires. It's a lot of kickbacks and insider trading. They make the laws so they make themselves immune.

I am tired of the finger pointing on who's to blame. Jan is right, they are all to blame. They don't want to do anything that benefits the constituents because if they did they wouldn't spend their entire lives in Congress or the Senate. Part of the blame is probably the voter as well. The citizens of this country have allowed themselves to be hijacked. Everybody votes on autopilot. I fear it all will come to a head this summer and into the election period. I could turn really violent real quick. Oakland is just a preview of things to come. In some ways the Occupy groups are just honing their skills right now. If they combine forces with the likes of ELF, it could all blow up like we've never seen in this country before. It might make 1968 look like a church social.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 15, 2012 00:01
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Everybody votes on autopilot.

Lord, ain't that the truth! I get sick and tired of this lock-step Republican/Democrat attitude. I've always said they're the same girl in a different dress. My son and I were discussing this the other day, and I think we're both ready for Republicratarians! tongue sticking out smiley



I could turn really violent real quick.Oakland is just a preview of things to come. In some ways the Occupy groups are just honing their skills right now. If they combine forces with the likes of ELF, it could all blow up like we've never seen in this country before. It might make 1968 look like a church social.

I hope that was a typo! tongue sticking out smiley It's certainly possible, Mars. It's been heading that way for years, imo. There's been a split in this country, pretty much right down the middle, for a very long time, and now slowly but surely, people are finally realizing they're fighting the wrong people, and turning their attention toward Washington. In theory it sounds good, and to a certain extent it is, but the potential of that is kinda scary if you really think about it.Yikes.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 15, 2012 00:28
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Someone is keeping the forces apart. In a previous discussion, I said that the Tea Party and Occupy people have more in common with each other than they realize. The media is defining each group and are painting them as two dissimilar groups so maybe the media is pro establishment as it stands in DC right now. What I would love to see are the torches and pitchforks heading for each of the state capitals and DC. They have us fighting with each other when we should be banding together to get the bums out of office. Power to the people! We need a weaker central government, they have no right to control our lives. We are perfectly able to choose our own light bulbs and regulate our own sugar and salt intake. We don't need a city government telling us we can't buy a Happy Meal.

Occupy should be camping out on the capital steps in Sacramento as well as the steps in Congress. I don't remember who made the comment, but it was such a shocking and elitist thing to say it stuck with me. When they finally finished the visitors' center at the Capital in DC, a politician said thank god they (Congressmen and Senators) don't have to smell the tourists coming to visit the Congress any more. I know it gets hot and sticky in DC, and people can get awfully ripe in August, but that comment was uncalled for no matter who said it.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 15, 2012 00:43
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Ah, so we are now the great unwashed are we? Ha. Figures. Feelin' more like Ancient Rome everyday, dunnit?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 15, 2012 00:59
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I am hoping that wasn't Harry Reid who said that. There's enough for me not to like him and even if it was a joke, it fell flat.

Going back to the OP. Relatively speaking the conditions for the poor are bad here in the US, but if you compare conditions to the thirdworld, the poor here are still better off. Are people dying in the streets? I don't know about other cities, but the poor are not dying here in my home town. People die in the streets in Oakland and SF when there's a hard freeze, but they are not dying from hunger. There's enough beds and shelter space, some go empty night after night as people choose to live out in the streets.

So what's the answer? Do you force people to live in shelters and ensure they are fed and are kept healthy? I still haven't seen the show, but from the description, the US is being depicted as a country which doesn't care for its poor, homeless and hungry. I don't see that here. I've never seen it here. I went to university at Berkeley and there everyone was taken care of, but the homeless still lived in the park despite having shelters and hotel rooms available (People's Park mostly, a few blocks from campus). I never saw families living in the park, they were mostly men who were either not right in the head or drug abusers. There were some women, but not too many. The food places and restaurants along Telegraph Avenue would give free food to some of the guys, especially if they didn't get beligerent.

San Francisco has its own professional homeless who could live in shelters would rather sleep at the bus station, the parks and along Market Street.

This country is not short of compassion or shelter space or food even, so I am not sure what the problem is, maybe the problem is government involvement. If private interest took care of things, maybe more people would be better served.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 15, 2012 02:48
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lifeonmarsfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> [...] I still haven't seen the show, but from
> the description, the US is being depicted as a
> country which doesn't care for its poor, homeless
> and hungry. I don't see that here. I've never seen
> it here. [...] I never saw families
> living in the park, they were mostly men who were
> either not right in the head or drug abusers.
> There were some women, but not too many. [...]
> [...] This country is not short of compassion or shelter
> space or food even, so I am not sure what the
> problem is, maybe the problem is government
> involvement. If private interest took care of
> things, maybe more people would be better served.

Poor America | Watch Free Documentary Online
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 16, 2012 15:25
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Relatively speaking the conditions for the poor are bad here in the US, but if you compare conditions to the thirdworld, the poor here are still better off.

This is true, but it doesn't excuse the fact that we have homeless and poor here and there's no reason for it.


Are people dying in the streets?

Yes. Perhaps not on the same scale but they are dying.


I don't know about other cities, but the poor are not dying here in my home town.

They are, Mars, you just aren't hearing about it.


People die in the streets in Oakland and SF when there's a hard freeze, but they are not dying from hunger.

It may not be distended bellies of malnutrition, but lack of good food on a regular basis causes other medical conditions or existing medical conditions to spiral out of control. They don't track those do they?


There's enough beds and shelter space, some go empty night after night as people choose to live out in the streets.

They don't choose to live in the streets, Mars. They don't want to be treated like animals and a cardboard box of your own can be preferable to a bunking with a herd of people who can steal what little you have or worse. Especially if you have children. I know I wouldn't want to take my children to sleep there.

I ask you to go down to your nearest shelter and see if you'd like to spend the night there?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 16, 2012 19:00
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I know conditions are harsh for the homeless, but to blame American society for not doing anything about the situation is irresponsible. What else can be done? Give everyone a home? That's a dangerous road to go down (keeping in mind human nature is to follow the path of least resistance**). I don't think "poor houses" like Dickens writes about are the answer either. The question probably should be is can this problem even be solved? Will there ever be a day when there won't be homeless? I understand some people would rather live outside than in squallor inside. So maybe we already have the answer to the question of will be ever eliminate homeless on the streets? It's probably the wrong term to use, but there is a romantic notion living in the streets of a major city like San Francisco. You may be living in a cardboard box, but hey, what a view! I am not making light of it. I used to work down by the waterfront and I'd go home after dark and would see people, the homeless setting up their beds for the night. I got to know one of the guys a bit, enough to ask why he chooses to live outside and he basically said what I just did. Who else could be poor and live in a city like San Francisco? I asked him was it difficult living out in the elements? He said it was, but nothing is like living in a dirty walk up in the Tenderloin. At least near the waterfront, he had some sea air to breath, not the stale air in the shelter or the old apartment building. The waterfront was a great place to be homeless in a way, there are a lot of restaurants who willingly give away food at the end of the day to people who come to their door at closing time. So he didn't feel deprived.

**I have to footnote this, I am not hard hearted, but people will come to claim free stuff that offered. Give everyone a free house, where will it end? The entitlement mentality has spread so much that we might have more people taking out of the pool than putting in. When we are all receiving the free goodies, who will be paying for the goodies we are getting? As it is if you pool all the money of the rich together, it's not enough to pay for our deficits now. There are no trillionaire in the US.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 17, 2012 19:10
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I know conditions are harsh for the homeless, but to blame American society for not doing anything about the situation is irresponsible. What else can be done? Give everyone a home? That's a dangerous road to go down (keeping in mind human nature is to follow the path of least resistance**).

I never understood that reasoning, Mars. Why do we worry so much about someone getting something they may not deserve? So what if they do? In an effort to prevent a few who might take advantage, we don't do anything at all and ignore the many who truly do need help. I think it's more irresponsible to let your fellow man sleep under a bridge when you have the wherewithal to prevent it.



I don't think "poor houses" like Dickens writes about are the answer either. The question probably should be is can this problem even be solved? Will there ever be a day when there won't be homeless?

Obviously, I don't think poor houses are the answer either. I think just because the problem is difficult doesn't mean we should ever stop trying.



I understand some people would rather live outside than in squallor inside. So maybe we already have the answer to the question of will be ever eliminate homeless on the streets? It's probably the wrong term to use, but there is a romantic notion living in the streets of a major city like San Francisco. You may be living in a cardboard box, but hey, what a view! I am not making light of it. I used to work down by the waterfront and I'd go home after dark and would see people, the homeless setting up their beds for the night. I got to know one of the guys a bit, enough to ask why he chooses to live outside and he basically said what I just did. Who else could be poor and live in a city like San Francisco? I asked him was it difficult living out in the elements? He said it was, but nothing is like living in a dirty walk up in the Tenderloin. At least near the waterfront, he had some sea air to breath, not the stale air in the shelter or the old apartment building.

Squalor has little or nothing to do with it. It's a safety issue. Homeless shelters are dangerous, especially for children.



The waterfront was a great place to be homeless in a way, there are a lot of restaurants who willingly give away food at the end of the day to people who come to their door at closing time. So he didn't feel deprived.

I don't believe you feel this way, Mars, but this argument reminds me of Southern Plantation owners who said their slaves were happy. Making the best of a horrible situation is admirable, but don't confuse it with being happy.



**I have to footnote this, I am not hard hearted, but people will come to claim free stuff that offered. Give everyone a free house, where will it end? The entitlement mentality has spread so much that we might have more people taking out of the pool than putting in. When we are all receiving the free goodies, who will be paying for the goodies we are getting?

I don't think you're hard-hearted. I just think you're too wrapped-up in worry that someone will get something for nothing. People "taking out of the pool" has less to do with entitlement mentality as it does with necessity. No jobs, no decent education, addiction, losing your home, etc... has much more to do with it.

When you've always had these things, it's easy to dismiss their importance. You assume since you've had them, everyone else has too. Think of the impediments of not having a home on just trying to find a job, if there's one to be had in the first place. You have no address to put on an application. You have no place to wash your clothes or bathe for an interview. You have to sleep with one eye open all night so your never rested. And your going up against someone with a college degree! That's just one scenario.

Now imagine you have a third-grade reading level or your parents, if they weren't already in prison, beat you or sold you for drug money. That's not your fault maybe it's not societies fault either, who knows, but it is what it is. Do we just say to that person "tough luck" and move on?

I don't want to live in a society like that. We have to be vigilant and always strive to make it better.



As it is if you pool all the money of the rich together, it's not enough to pay for our deficits now. There are no trillionaire in the US.

Maybe not, but if you cut out the tax loopholes and graft and corporate greed and add it to what they should be paying then maybe we'd have a decent start.

And if you get people back to work they can be paying in instead of taking out and you've got yourself a two-fer.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 18, 2012 01:07
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That's the thing, we need jobs and no one is really doing anything about it except do photo ops. I am concerned of a second term for Obama because there won't be anything holding him back in whatever he has planned for us. If he is intent on helping the country, then fine, give him free rein, but if he keeps his promise of radically changing this country, I can see measures placed on California be enforced on the Federal level and that cannot be seen as good in the long run. I know Europe has close to $10 a gallon gas now, but if you put that on the American public who not too long ago was paying 2 bucks a gallon for gas, it's going to be difficult for a lot of people.

How long as the war on poverty been going on? Since Johnson's New Society? That's 42 years ago. Shouldn't we have at least made a dent on poverty in this country? Maybe we have. What more could be done and should be done? I remember reading about that time when it wasn't unusual to go to remote areas of this country and finding extreme poverty, people living in one room shacks with dirt floors. Maybe those still exist now, but we don't see it. We see the homeless in SF who sleep in sleeping bags on sidewalks instead. The most jaded people will think the homeless problem as been solved because what they see is people are making the choice of being homeless and not going to shelters.

Maybe the answer is to make things so horrible that people won't stay in that state in perpetuity. I know that's cruel, but kindness really hasn't gotten us any better results. People have learned to game the system and maybe it's time to scrap the system and try something else...the $64K question is what?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 18, 2012 03:37
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lifeonmarsfan Wrote:
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> Maybe the answer is to make things so horrible
> that people won't stay in that state in
> perpetuity. I know that's cruel, but kindness
> really hasn't gotten us any better results.

I imagine you mean that being poor and homeless, in ill-health and having no health insurance, and having to queue all night with hundreds of other people in batches of 25 to see a doctor or a dentist for emergency examinations in a big tent, and watching your children suffer, are all not already punitive enough; and poor people, like everyone else, have free will; therefore, they must be choosing to be poor; therefore, they might be persuaded not to be poor, by being deliberately punished a bit more? Presumably you mean that anyone who is lazily content to let Nature take its course, through malnutrition and disease, is being a bit of a bleeding heart liberal, a bit of a woolly thinker?

You're right. It's a dirty job, but someone has got to do it. Someone must be prepared to show tough love, by speaking out and saying the things that other people are too mealy-mouthed to say, thinking outside the box, thinking the unthinkable, and coming up with practical ways to teach those poor people what's good for them.

I don't know, maybe positively encourage gangs of youths to go around beating up and setting fire to homeless people, instead of disapproving of such youthful, spontaneous, healthy, moral initiatives? That would be inexpensive, practically free of cost to the taxpayer. Just let the natural impulses of youth take their course, give Nature a helping hand. You just need to convince young people that the poor are holding us all back, they they are counterrevolutionaries against capitalism's Great Leap Forward, and that we need a Cultural Revolution to get things back on track..

But that's just my idea, what's yours? Perhaps I'm being a bit extreme, a bit too Final Solution, in my approach to this worrying social problem.

So, what do you suggest? What kind of deterrent to this immoral lifestyle choice do you have in mind? I want to hear the gory details, even if you haven't got them all worked out yet. Feel free, nobody's going to quibble about details. Also, I'm wondering, supposing the deterrent (whatever it is) fails, and those poor people just stubbornly go on choosing to be poor (the bastards!), do you think then that the deterrent (whatever it is - I still can't imagine what you have in mind, but I'm all agog to find out, so please don't hold back, let your imagination rip!) should actually be carried out (to encourage the others, perhaps, convince them that you mean business), or might you have to admit you were bluffing, and back down? That might look weak, so I foresee problems with this plan, unless you are very definite about the exact ways in which life is going to be deliberately made worse for these feckless people enjoying their cushy lifestyles at our expense. You'll need to think about who is going to do it to them, and how the punishment is to be organised. If not the unruly (and inexpensive!) gangs of youths I have suggested, then perhaps the police, the National Guard, or the army? Perhaps there will need to be special prisons (or, dare I say, camps?) for these wickedly self-indulgent and inconsiderately poor people?

Do please fill in some of the details. And don't feel obliged to follow my hard line, you can be a bit more soft and liberal if you want.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 18, 2012 20:28
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But like I said. we've had 42 years of soft treatment of the problem and poverty hasn't been eliminated. Compassion is one thing, but you can kill someone with compassion.

We are all not helpless, if you can walk and use your hands, you can help yourself. I am tired of being a bleeding heart, but too many people in this country are taking the easy way out. I have family overseas and I've visited them since I was very young. The "old country" has a major poverty problem too. But the poor help themselves, whether it's a disabled man who has a shoe shine stand outside an office building to earn money, or a mother with a few kids selling candy and cigarettes from a stand outside that same office building, people helped themselves to earn money. Blind people offer massage services, the list goes on. These people I mention would be considered helpless in the US and maybe even the UK, but they earned money despite their disabilities or disadvantage. There are people who give poor people seed money to open up a business and they can create their own shop when they are successful enough. In recent years, it's been internet cafes and cellphone service and sales. More common is the corner grocery store like you see anywhere in the US or UK. But these stores are a bit more humble than most Mom and Pop's stores. In some cases, the store is the converted living room of someone's house. These are poor people servicing their communities. Meanwhile I see able bodied people here living on welfare. Government regulations prevent entrepreneurship which help people and communities.

There's poverty in Chinatown too, but you don't see helpless people. They are always doing something to earn that extra bit of money, whether it's recycling (plastics, aluminum, wood pallets and cardboard boxes) or sidewalk vending.

Americans criticize the practice of child labor. Sometimes those kids have to work to help the family survive. When the family is financially stable, the kids can think of going to school. It's common to find cottage industries where the entire family helps make the product to earn a living. The items can be shoes, slippers, and can be sophisticated like guitars and statuary. There's also wood carving and making trinkets and other leather goods. In some countries, schooling is a priveledge, not a right. Parents usually aren't so cruel as to keep their kids from being educated--they know the value of education and sometimes the parents work harder so they can do without the help of the kids and be able to send them to school.
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 18, 2012 21:09
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lifeonmarsfan Wrote:
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> But like I said. we've had 42 years of soft
> treatment of the problem and poverty hasn't been
> eliminated. Compassion is one thing, but you can
> kill someone with compassion.

We've also had about 31-33 years of Reagonomics, Thatcherism, privatisation, tax cuts for corporations, the trickle-down theory, globalisation, the IMF, Chicago School economic shock treatment, the hegemony of the political Right across all major political parties, endless preaching from the top down from an ever more intrusive government about how bad a thing big government is (so ironic) and what a wonderful thing private enterprise is, the imposition of 'market' models where to any sane mind they don't belong, financial deregulation leading directly to what may be the greatest economic depression ever, 'liberal', 'socialist', and 'communist' all being confused like one big dirty word (meaning anything other than the extreme libertarian Right), more and more and more money passing into the hands of fewer and fewer rich people and corporations, etc. etc.

But I don't know much about all of that (seriously - politics is largely a mystery to me, and I never understood the extreme left-wing rhetoric that was so prevalent in the Seventies, either - but for what it's worth my uninformed impression is that the economic policies of the last three decades have been deliberately, consciously, and openly aimed at increasing economic inequality and setting everybody against everybody else except members of their own family), and no doubt the arguments can go round and round in circles for ever, and I have nothing of my own to add..

What interests me more is the question, why do you want to eliminate poverty? What in your mind is so bad about poverty? It doesn't seem to bother you when you witness it (or did you not watch the film?), so what have you actually got against it? Why don't you want there to be more poverty, as much poverty as possible? Most people want to eliminate or reduce poverty on grounds of compassion, but you're above all that (by your own account), so what are your grounds for being against it?
Re: Panorama: Poor America (BBC1)
February 18, 2012 23:16
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Did I give the impression I want to get rid of poverty? I believe in nothing of the sort. There will be poverty no matter what anyone does about it because everyone is different. Their motivation to take care of themselves and or their family is as individual as the people themselves. Ask the liberals in this country why they want to "get rid of poverty". They claim to end poverty we have to even the playing field, take from the rich and give to the poor. They make themselves feel good by spending other people's money. The trouble is not everyone is going to be able to live in a brand new big house, not everyone will be able to drive the most expensive car available. The sooner people realize this, the sooner we can put all this class warfare behind us and just be happy with what this life gives us. It's in every one of us to better our selves or better our circumstance. We can get a hand up from someone else, but being taken care of by someone else is not what our lives are all about.
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