Let’s not waste our time with an any more of a verbose introduction than this sentence. As of 2004, 41.6 million United States people below the age of 65 do not have health insurance. As of 2004, 9.2% of United States children do not have health insurance.

As a result of those appalling statistics, many people now call for federalizing healthcare into a government-run, government-funded, “single-payer healthcare” system.

I want to see the day where nobody, especially children, lives without healthcare coverage. I also firmly believe the current healthcare situation in the United States needs repair and significant changes. However, I do not want to see the government takeover the healthcare system. I believe that would make matters even worse.

I do not have healthcare insurance, so do not mistake my opinion as biased. Additionally, I do not pay taxes, so the inevitable tax hike would not even hurt me directly. I have a more objective opposition to government-run healthcare: As I already said, I believe that it would make matters even worse.

Rich people control the government. The government acts not on the behalf of poor people and the uninsured, but rather on behalf of the few rich people. The more power the government has, the more power those rich people have. They will use that power to continue to oppress the rest of us, not to take care of us. The money–taken from taxpayers–will go to Halliburton and Big Oil not to our medical bills. It will pay for some lazy, unproductive rich guy’s yacht, not some broke kid’s kidney transplant.

Beyond that, government-run social services never work well. Do you really want to hand control of healthcare over to the same people responsible for public schools and the DMV? If the government takes over healthcare, the best we could possibly get is an under-funded, mismanaged, corrupt bureaucracy.

The only thing the government does well is screw over the working class on behalf of the rich.

Instead of giving the government more control, I suggest we start taking back power from the government. Let’s stop paying taxes, and let’s stop letting the federal reserve rob us through the inflation of government-controlled paper money. Instead of wasting our efforts appealing to the plutocratic government, let’s create non-governmental organizations controlled by us that meet our needs. We can work-together in our local communities to use our resources to solve our problems. For example, we can create our own local non-profit health insurance companies, owned and run by the members of our community. Additionally, we can create our own local community-based hospitals to combat over-inflated medical costs.

If we have so much power to persuade the government, then let’s use that power to solve our problems without the plutocratic government.

If you want to discuss this with me, please join my Hunger & Poverty Forums, which you can do for free. All opinions and viewpoints welcome!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Healthcare |

Terry Cline, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, had the following to say about homelessness:

“Each year some 2 to 3 million individuals experience a night of homelessness, and approximately 800,000 people are homeless in the United States on any given night.”

“By raising awareness about effective homelessness prevention and intervention programs, this special issue can help local organizations make informed decisions about the approaches that will work best in their communities.”

We have more abandoned houses than we do homeless families. Still, the rates of homeless families continue to rise. The world has enough resources to house everyone, as well as feed and clothe them.

I believe we can effectively eliminate homelessness by providing homeless people with either education, job training, or job placement services, depending on each individual’s current skill level. Additionally, we need to make sure these people have ample access to food, clothes, shelter, and healthcare, while they get job training and placement services. We cannot reasonably expect a person to effectively work on their job skills while homeless, hungry, and sick.

If we offer these services as loans, then we essentially can eliminate homelessness at no financial cost to us. Additionally, not offering unconditionally free services to poor people will undermine voluntary paupers and create a sense of self-responsibility in the would-be homeless people.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Homelessness |

I think we all realize that the major media ignores serious social issues such as poverty. Major media prefers to report about trivial aspects of Paris Hilton’s life than to report about poverty. They rarely even mention simple statistics, such as the fact that 18,000 children die every day from hunger.

I see two major reasons for the major media’s underreporting of poverty.

Firstly, only a few major corporations own all the major media outlets. In other words, extremely rich people control the media, and rich people do not want social change. They want society like this because this society makes them rich. Thus, they do not report about serious social issues such as poverty. Instead, they report the type of drivel that will keep the masses pacified. Instead of reporting about day-to-day social problems, they report incidental events.

However, major media works off of ratings. The report what people watch. Most viewers seem to prefer to lazily watch the inconsequential stories such as those about celebrities, rather than focus on serious social issues that require progressive action.

We can make the media report on serious social issues by turning off the stories about Paris Hilton and turning on the stories about starving children. We can boycott stations that do not report about the important facts and issues which hurt the masses daily.

To strengthen my point, I want statistics. If you have any, post them in the following thread: Statistics Regarding Media Coverage

Thanks!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Politics and Commentary |

Often times in this field, we hear ignorant comments about poor people. I stopped counting how many times someone has told me that the poor or homeless should just get jobs.

It comes from the myth of meritocracy–the false belief that rich people have earned their wealth via work and production and that poor people have caused their own poverty through laziness or stupidity.

In reality, the few rich and powerful people use their wealth and power to manipulate the government and social structure to leach off the labor of the working class. As a result, working class people struggle to pay the cost of living despite their long and hard hours of labor. Bluntly, simply getting a job won’t keep a person out of poverty. Statistics demonstrate this:

Depending on who counts, the number of working poor in the United States is between 7.8 million and 28 million.

The low number comes from a report by the U.S. Department of Labor and the higher number comes from a report by Business Week. Either way, we can all agree that millions of working people live in poverty in the United States.

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 | Posted by | Categories: American Poverty |

LIFT

23 July 2007

Larry Esposito recently pointed me towards LIFT on his Morning Prayer thread in the Hunger & Poverty Forums.

‘Lift’ stands for ‘Leading India’s Future Today.’ The programĀ  provides “leadership excellence training” to poor but extremely talented children in India.

By creating relationships with over 100 villages, LIFT can find the most capable leaders within the groups of children they help nurture.

I appreciate their efforts, because, most of all, they focus on finding and developing leadership potential. This gives these poor children the chance to help not only themselves, but also their communities. LIFT can make a difference in the lives of talented children, and those children will make a difference in many more lives for years to come.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Ways To Help |

Pamela Yip recently wrote an article about how single women face a strong possibility of poverty in their later years. I include an excerpt:

It’s when an elderly spouse dies that the financial equilibrium suffers. If the husband dies, it’s much more devastating to the wife. Nearly 30 percent of older non-married women are either poor or near poor, according to a recent report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

“Of all the factors associated with poverty in old age, the most critical is to be a woman without a husband,” the center said.

Take a look at these sobering statistics compiled by Nadia Karamcheva, a graduate student in economics at Boston College, and Alicia H. Munnell, director of the retirement research center:

~ 17.4 percent of single women older than 65 fell below the poverty line in 2004.

~ An additional 10.8 percent were “near poor,” with an income less than 125 percent of the poverty threshold.

~ As a whole, 28.2 percent of single older women are either poor or near poor — a clearly vulnerable group.

Single women also constitute a significant portion of the elderly population, a share that steadily increases with age. Among those 80 or older, non-married women account for 56 percent of the population.

I think this results from various factors.

Namely, I think patriarchy obviously contributes. Women of equal merit receive lower pay than men for doing the same jobs just as well. Culturally, women have not traditionally dealt with finances, such as banking and investing.

In addition to patriarchy, I think the problem lies in the fact that we do not ensure that people make enough to secure a complete retirement. We do not consider a person poor if they make enough to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc. right now, but we do not take in consideration that they need to also earn enough to pay for these needs after retirement.

We need to include retirement costs when calculating a living wage and the cost of living. Then, we need to make sure every person can make a living wage in a feasible, honest and non-degrading way.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Poverty News |
Children suffering from Poverty