Could you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting here? We'd be grateful.
> you need people, mostly to talk to, but also to depend on and to help in turn
was his point? I think it's a valuable thing to say.
In turn, I'd ask you to please try to be more charitable when reading other people's posts.
The reason I know about this subthread is that another user flagged the GP comment. Had you added a flag of your own it would have killed it as well.
I grew up with a divorced mother that could provide only a small social safety net through family and an unstable financial situation. Although my financial situation is very stable since I've graduated - with small gaps - I'm extremely careful about my spendings and earnings, and instabilities worry me a lot.
Societal fabric isn’t going to be solved through anything other than effort on the part of individuals.
...or we can collect taxes and provide goods and services to those that need it the most, even when they are not lucky enough to be in the "sphere of influence" of somebody that is (a) well-off and (b) willing to share their wealth with them.
Through both ideas and actions, you scale a compassionate society. A better tomorrow will hopefully arrive, but do what you can today with what you have.
Right, but this seems pretty defeatist, or even like it 's advocating against government support.
As a left-leaning person in the UK, I would look to the government before looking for financial support from friends and family, because I see that as one of the functions of government, whereas it may put more strain on my friends and family if they needed to give me significant financial support.
It seems like lot's of people have the moral position that the government should only be looked to for support as a last resort, and i would like to challenge that viewpoint. Kind of how it's much better to catch an illness early, it's much better to intervene early with difficult financial situations to prevent them snowballing into something much worse. And people shouldn't be made to feel bad for accepting that support.
Very much indeed. We largely get the world we collectively bargain for.
(They want to be they; we can only oblige.)
You’ve really made me think.
Social connections require work, they also are slow and unreliable.
Before the information age, to get to know something, talking was the main way.
But now with books, panels, displays, packaging, signs, internet, GPS, etc., we have access to a huge quantity of information without having to talk to each others.
And we choose to do so because on average it's faster, more accurate, and avoid to deal with annoying people. After all, human relations also include a part of risk.
I lived 2 years in Africa, and there, you don't have that much information immediately available. You are back to talking, creating a social network and playing the game. People are way more friendly there, there is greater solidarity. But things are also way slower, unreliable, and you are a lot more at the mercy of popularity games even in the most simple activities.
This century we have been mutating our lives in deep ways, very fast. And it's not all bad. But we will need some time to reconcile the efficiency of our new life styles with the social needs we have at the primitive level. A few decades is way too short for that to have happened already, especially since we are not done with technical progress.
I agree with your conclusion though.
I can now travel into a city I’ve never been to, find directions to and make reservations at a popular restaurant, follow it up with directions to a nice scenic spot, and finally find a last minute nice hotel to stay in all without ever interacting with another person.
None of that was possible with radio/tv.
Very true. And not only information but 'stuff' as well: we buy (and now order) all sort of specialised tools that we will only need once, because they are now cheap and widely and quickly available, instead of borrowing them or asking a neighbour to come over with one.
But yeah, information availability is the main change: instead of asking a neighbour/friend where to get something, how to do something, how to choose something and so on, we browse the web alone for those pieces of information.
All this quickly brings more individualism since we become pseudo-self-reliant, do not need interactions any more, and since those 'forced', interested interactions are absent, the other interactions are lost too.
You life literally depends on what others think about you.
It still true for us, but an order of magnitude less after high school.
Your credit score does. In some places and situations, more directly than others.
In urban societies relations become more money based and suddenly people tend to accumulate wealth and there is never enough.
Personally I have been inspired by 2nd hand source - I had been reading historical book on Afganistan (very good book but I can't find it at the moment). At the same time I had been living in provincial Sumatra and experiencing myself something similar (It is something that makes living in Indonesia a joy despite other shortcomings).
Of course it's easy for me to 'judge' (I mean, I'm not really - to each their own) from my position as a software developer with a working spouse and a traditional family in a Western European country, but still - when you're already not in a very stable position, why take huge risks like adopting three special needs children?
Uh, says you. If people can't afford something, maybe they shouldn't get it - children included.
Conservatives understand this very well, BTW; strong social capital is key to the conservative worldview, whereas a "liberal" is often more inclined to see the world in terms of material relations of production and an inherently-unstable balance of power, and even the very notion of social atomization might be entirely foreign to them.
And when you think you have an invisible being in the sky that will take care of all of your needs, a government provided social safety net isn’t that important to some people.
Regardless, poor and rich are relative terms; it's a continuum. You can never be "poor" and you can never be "rich." You can only be poorER, or richER, than somebody else. But there will still always be someone else poorER or richER than you. Ask Steve McQueen if he's rich, and he'll say well I'm not as rich as Paul Newman. Both dead now of course, but they once squabbled over who would get top billing in The Towering Inferno.
I think what I'm saying is that in some way, "poor" is in your mind, and as soon as you consider yourself poor, you are poor. I still wouldn't fault the author's friends for saying they're "too poor" to afford something; it is literally true. They're "rich" enough to afford food, sure, and I guess that offends the writer's sense of victimhood. The whole drama of this piece takes place in the writer's mind. It's a story of falling tragically from a place of privilege. People are "poor" every day and don't feel the need to write an article about it and nobody asks them to.
I still managed to do a few interesting things in my 20s, but not as much as I would have if I could reverse time but with the knowledge I have now.
When you're young is maybe the best time to be poor. Your ligaments are still supple and you can sleep on a hard surface and still get a good night's sleep. And you tend to be surrounded by other young people who are poor too, some of whom will be idealistic about it, or at least not care. Those are the healthiest people to be around, while I have to assume those who formerly disdained poor people and now are going through their own private hell, must be the most tedious company of all. Though I have some sympathy for this author having been gouged by the medical system, which I thought was better in Canada.
Life can come crashing down on you sometimes, and it can do so very fast. My own life lesson has been that you're poor and broke (whether aware of it or not) until you're financially retired.
It's easy to not have it at the forefront of your mind though, and be a little too easy with money. My girlfriend is pretty bad about it also, and I've been a lot more loose with my money since dating her than I was when I was single. But I'm also to blame, we just enable each other to have bad behavior.
I do save a decent amount and don't touch that, though, we just could be doing better. I'm not saving quite as much as recommended, and nowhere near the almost 50% of wages that some people here claim to do.
I say the same thing about the words 'liberal' and 'conservative'. Nobody is just one or the other, and everybody is both. Life is too nuanced to quantify like that.
It is very well known that people's perceptions of their economic status is well off. Including a very strong "reverse-into-the-median" effect on who is middle class or not.
I personally quite enjoy finding evidence that I'm poorer than I think I am, but I'm deep into the (upper?)middle class to that being a stressful realization.
She also wasn't poor in a 1st world country with community pools and libraries. Being poor in a 3rd world country is a whole other level.
This is also a great argument for more marginal taxation.
The fact is that marginal effective tax rate approaches 100% at various points on the first $80k of household income.
If you are a family of 4 and require any health care, the first $80k is practically treading water.
This is because you lose out on $500/mo in food stamps, at least $2,000/mo in healthcare subsidies, and pay over $17,000 in total taxes. That’s not including various other programs you might qualify for as a family of 4 with zero income versus programs you no longer qualify for after earning $80,000.
On top of that, it actually costs a lot of money to go out and earn that $80,000 (direct, indirect, and opportunity costs) which eat into the very little money that actually remains after taxes and disappearing subsidies.
Here’s a CBO analysis on marginal effective tax rates for a single parent with a single child which shows gross income vs effective income — see how it flattens out?  The marginal effective tax rate is higher the more children you have.
This analysis does attempt to take cost-sharing subsidies for health insurance into account, although it’s not clear what level of health care utilization they are modeling.
The most fascinating thing about the curve on slide 6 is how “After-Tax Income” starts at about $19k (the value of the govt subsidies) and by the time the parent is earning $60,000 has only increased to about $40k (66% effective tax rate), and there is a point on the curve where slope is negative — earning more leaves you worse off!
 - https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2018-06/54093-taxrates.pdf
I'm pretty sure I've literally never heard someone describe that as being "poor". Maybe this is some regional language thing?
Poor means you don’t have enough money. Too poor to do something means not enough money to do that thing.
Too poor to buy a super-yacht sounds normal usage to me even.
Trying to police popular slang is a losing endeavor, and I don't think it accomplishes all that much. People already know that there's a difference between someone who's too poor to go clubbing, and someone who's too poor to buy food.
That said, I can empathize with the author's frustration, and I think it's sad that we don't hear such life stories more frequently. The stories we see on TV and hear in the media, are too often skewed in favor of those privileged enough to work in these industries, or to spend their time and money consuming them. That makes it all the easier to forget that people like the author even exist. Out of sight, out of mind.
Just as surprising to me is people saying the word "silently" aloud. As though they don't know what it originally meant!
Compare "really" (which funnily enough etymologically points towards meaning "literally" or "truly" as well.)
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the general-purpose definition of "poor" in English is used when discussing things from a life perspective -- economic background, current salary, job prospects, ability to go to college, etc.
When the context is how much money is in your bank account right now (e.g. to shop or take a trip), the general word is "broke" or just "I don't have enough money." And to be honest, "broke" seems outdated and rarely used these days, since it's usually fairly easy to have a credit card or ability to overdraft... so it's often more about your financial discipline than ability. I hear a lot more "I'm already over budget for the month" or just "I can't spend anything until next week" or "no money" than "I'm broke".
That being said, I've definitely heard "poor" used as a synonym for "broke", I'm pretty sure in the UK... but it does strike me as a regionalism.
To me poverty has a longer-term temporal component vs having surplus money and choosing to allocate it to different optional goods or activities.
If the general usage is using your word wrong, invent a new word for it and popularize it, or just be more specific. Meaning of words gets co-opted and morphed by the public all the time anyway. I don't see this author creating any serious movement towards reclaiming the word "poor" for what they think it really means.
That's the dictionary definition of the word.
1. having little money and/or few possessions
2. to have very little of a particular substance or quality
1. lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society
2. of a low or inferior standard or quality
1.having little or no money, goods, or other means of support: a poor family living on welfare.
2. Law. dependent upon charity or public support.
3.(of a country, institution, etc.) meagerly supplied or endowed with resources or funds.
4. characterized by or showing poverty.
5. deficient or lacking in something specified
1. Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.
2. Of a low or inferior standard or quality.
3. [attributive] (of a person) deserving of pity or sympathy.
Having too little of quantity of something (money) to do X (go out, renovate, travel, etc).
When I was young, free and/or reduced school lunch paper punch cards were a different color than normal paid ones. Similar for food stamps, WIC, etc. Now they are all plastic cards that don't look obviously different from the cards the people with money use.
It's obvious when people are paying with it-- the conveyor belt is lined with bunched groceries and paper slips while the line behind the customer backs up into the aisles.
>I often hear my friends say, “I’m too poor” when they’re frustrated about what they can’t have. Maybe it’s a trip they can’t afford, a renovation they want to start right now or a pretty pair of shoes they spotted in a shop window.
Going to go make a donation to North York Harvest now. Seems like I don't understand poverty enough to say that it's not needed.
This was a real eye opener to me too which sounds fucking stupid in hindsight.
This was different to my life in Australia. I was mugged and beaten a couple of times in Parramatta, NSW.
I feel like this discourages ppl from working on their own thing and makes labor market less flexible by forcing ppl into less that ideal positions.
But the USA does not provide healthcare for people who work and keep machine turning.
Hmm... I wonder if it's a political lobbying by healthcare industry to get more money for people who wouldn't provide it on their own by extracting it from the tax payers who do work and can (barely) afford insurance, etc.
Some homeless people get 'free' chemo, etc., but there are huge problems with the setup because with certain illnesses they're too well to qualify for hospice or housing or staying in the hospital full-time, but discharging to the street results in non-compliance with medication regimes because they don't have safe places or refrigerators to keep drugs, for instance. On the other end, hospice requires a lot of referrals and paperwork; if you can't get into the pipeline by getting all the referrals and evaluations and paperwork done, you don't get hospice, whether for money or for free.
It's worth noting that these gaps closed significantly with the passage of the ACA (ObamaCare).
Medicare for all already exists, it just requires that you quit your job (forever if you have a chronic medical issue) sell your house and assets and stop paying taxes, or having productive input into the economy entirely.
What kind of sense does that make?
People seem to think I'm being flippant or cruel but here's more background. I am not rich. I struggle to stay in the middle class. It doesn't take much to stop getting tax breaks but it takes a ton of money to survive. Paying $1,000 a month for health insurance on top of my already high taxes is a meaningful amount of money that greatly impacts where I can live, if I can retire and many other major life properties.
On top of that, if you are under group insurance through an employer, they have always been required to insure everyone at the same price except they could have a smoking surcharge. Your risk pool and the price you paid was determimed by the group you were a part of.
Unless you die suddenly, there is a good chance that at some point in your life, you will have a “pre-existing condition” that would have made you ineligible for health insurance.
But on another note: right before the ACA took affect, I was laid off from my job. That by itself was no big deal. I literally was laid off on Friday after the company was sold and started contracting for one of our customers the following Monday.
I went to get private insurance and no one would sell it to me because I had mild cerebral palsy. My CP is so mild that it only basically affects one hand, I was a part time fitness instructor, I had just run two half marathons in the previous year, and I hadn’t had any surgery besides foot surgery and that was 12 years prior.
I was getting paid more than enough as a contractor to pay higher premiums, I offered to do a fitness test - I knew I was in shape to pass any of the military fitness tests for my age - but they wouldn’t go for it.
As far as CORBA, yeah I ended up buying into the acquiring company's health plan. But guess what? They cancelled their health plan and there would have been nothing to buy into.
The ACA means that I could buy insurance.
My then fiancé/now wife said forget it. We moved our wedding date back six months, went to the courthouse, got married and I got on her insurance plan. She since chose another job with the school system partially to guarantee that after 10 years, we would have access to health insurance for the rest of our lives no matter what.
But why should someone have to go through these contortions to buy insurance at full price?
before the ACA, I was also unable to purchase health insurance from anyone at any price.
Why? Because, in 2004, I had my gallbladder out. Then I moved overseas for a year and a half, and didn't have an American-based health insurance plan. I came back, and boom, I have a "lapse in insurance" and a "pre-existing condition".
The ACA at least let me buy health insurance, although the plan is so expensive and so shitty I can't really use it for anything.
American health care is garbage, and we desperately need a radical change in how we care for people here.
Sounds like a good situation to be in...
It's that we help only the poor. Look, I pay taxes. Poor people don't. Fine. I get it. But they do get free medical insurance, I don't. They get free college, I don't. All I get back are reminders about "straight white men privilege". That's not fair.
Nobody likes paying taxes. But if it's "guys, let's all cough up what we can and build a greater society for all of us", I'm for it. If it's "let's build a greater society for the poor" - that's a much more bitter pill to swallow.
Poor people pay just as much as everyone else in sales tax, excise tax, tolls, meal tax, etc. And because they are poor, they pay disproportionately more of their income in taxes than the wealthy.
I live in the Boston area—even though there are 70 colleges and universities here, none of them are free for poor people.
That's incorrect. The tax rate is lower for lower income thus they pay less proportionally.
> I live in the Boston area—even though there are 70 colleges and universities here, none of them are free for poor people.
Every ivy league school has income adjustment and will offer free ride based on need:
If you look at what I listed—sales tax, excise tax, meal taxes—those are the same whether you’re rich or poor, except they have a disproportionate impact on the poor.
Poor people do get most of what they pay in income tax back once they file but that’s not the case for these other taxes.
A guy repairing my dryer has charged $350 for one hour. I'm sure some of it went towards spare parts and such, but even $50 bucks an hour is a pretty decent income.
I didn’t suggest that having a STEM degree was the only way out of poverty. My point: if poor students wanted to get STEM degrees, they often don’t have the high school preparation to do so and their families can’t afford the tutors, test prep courses and academic coaches affluent families have access to.
All of the mandates for what qualified as a real plan were things that were being offered voluntarily by both of my parents health plans in the 90s. My mom is a retired teacher and my dad is a retired factory worker.
Getting nostalgic about the 90s isn't going to solve anyone's problem - not unless we're okay with euthanizing the elderly en masse to reduce the percentage of retirees back down to 1990s levels.
Also the plan offered through the exchange comes under a different pool with different cost. Insurance companies decide how to price group insurance for a company based on the demographics of a company.
Subsidizing health care for the poor would theoretically raise taxes not the amount you pay for your insurance.
Universal healthcare costing less per capita with a sane plan is not voodoo economics - we already pay more per person than every other industrial nation. There was nothing sane about keeping private insurance in the mix instead of just having a public option.
And seeing that retirees in the 90s and today come under Medicare, what does that have to do with private premiums?
2 million workers lost their employer provided health insurance following the ACA. Now they're paying for their insurance out of pocket. Granted their employers were paying their premiums, but from the person's perspective they went down from paying little or nothing to paying for all their insurance on their own.
> Subsidizing health care for the poor would theoretically raise taxes not the amount you pay for your insurance.
This is assuming that the subsidy covers the full cost of insurance. If this isn't the case then you're stuck paying an extra tax because your didn't buy the insurance that your can't afford.
> And seeing that retirees in the 90s and today come under Medicare, what does that have to do with private premiums?
Older people cost insurance companies more. 80% of healthcare costs are usually spent in a person's last year of life. Insurance companies can't factor age into cost beyond a government set limit. So the other insurance buyers subsidize the ageing insured population.
Fundamentally you're trying to say that the insurance companies can provide more services, charge high-risk people the same as everyone else, and greatly expand the covered population while reducing cost. That just doesn't happen. If a company provides more services and more expensive services then it's costs are going to rise. And because putting those costs onto the people that incur those costs mean than the majority of the insured population is subsidizing their healthcare and thus their premiums rise.
That was repealed last year....
Older people wouldn’t be part of the private insurance pool. They would be part of Medicare.
And none of that is true. The insurance companies have a separate pool for what they offer for group insurance and what they offer on the exchange.
And older workers would be getting insurance through Medicare.
You’re conflating multiple risk pools. The insurance companies don’t do that.
Furthermore, I would suggest reading your sources in greater detail before posting them. The factcheck.org article does not deny the claim that millions lost their insurance through their employers. From the article:
> It’s true that insurance companies discontinued health plans that had covered millions of people who had bought them directly rather than through an employer. That’s because those plans didn’t meet the coverage standards of the new law.
> In a March 3 posting on the website of the journal Health Affairs, two researchers from the Urban Institute analyzed findings from a nationwide poll and said, “Our findings imply that roughly 2.6 million people would have reported that their plan would no longer be offered due to noncompliance with the ACA.” And in this case, the methodology is made explicit.
> That range could be higher or lower depending on what number is used for the total who had non-group coverage in the first place. The Urban Institute authors cite a study published last year that found estimates of the total number of people covered by non-group policies ranged from 9.55 million to 25.3 million. So if 18.6 percent of non-group policyholders got notices that their policies were being dropped because of the new law, as the poll indicates, then the actual number whose plans were dropped could be as low as about 1.8 million or as high as 4.7 million (coincidentally, the same as the AP’s figure), depending on how many had such policies in the first place.
Many "fact checker" sites try to "debunk" factually correct claims through whataboutism. This is prime example. It does not deny the claim that millions of Americans lost their insurance plans. It turns around and talks about how millions bought insurance on exchanges instead, as though this somehow refutes the previous fact. Using this to try and refute the claim that millions of people no longer have insurance through employment is intellectually dishonest.
> That [the tax mandate] was repealed last year....
Much to the disappointment of the ACA's proponents
> And none of that is true. The insurance companies have a separate pool for what they offer for group insurance and what they offer on the exchange.
> And older workers would be getting insurance through Medicare.
Not every retiree is over 65. And besides, Medicare is getting very expensive, too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Medicare_Parts_A_B_C_D.pn....
> You’re conflating multiple risk pools. The insurance companies don’t do that.
Exactly. Now that the affordable care act regulated insurance companies ability to determine patients, higher risk people are joining and having their healthcare subsidized by the other plan members. In the past, people either got their healthcare through insurance or subscribed to their plan when they were young and continued with it until old age. Now that companies are forced to charge the same rates, there's nothing stopping people from not buying any health insurance (or very cheap health insurance) until they start having high medical costs and then joining an insurance plan to have their costs born by the other customers. People are smart. If they can have their cake and eat it too by passing their costs off to other people, they're going to do it.
It's laughable to claim that providing more services, and increasing the quality of services can be done without increasing costs (short of some significant technological advancement). To claim that the same can be done while decreasing costs is beyond absurd.
How many retirees do you really think there are on individual coverage plans?
Besides that if you are part of a group insurance plan, they aren’t part of your group, or your risk pool.
Exactly. Now that the affordable care act regulated insurance companies ability to determine patients, higher risk people are joining and having their healthcare subsidized by the other plan members.
Do you really think that there are that many higher risk people who can afford to be on the exchange? And once again, they are not part of your pool if you are under a group plan. If they are part of your group plan, they would have been eligible for the same prices before the ACA.
Now that companies are forced to charge the same rates, there's nothing stopping people from not buying any health insurance (or very cheap health insurance) until they start having high medical costs and then joining an insurance plan to have their costs born by the other customers. People are smart. If they can have their cake and eat it too by passing their costs off to other people, they're going to do it.
If only the people who came up with the ACA had “mandated” health insurance or force them to pay a penalty. Oh wait! They did...
Not every retiree is over 65. And besides, Medicare is getting very expensive, too:
And that had nothing to do with the ACA.
Not in a city -- because cities are established and built collectively, with infrastructure, and roads, and so on. Not allowed to use and own money, because that's a public good. Not allowed to have a citizenship (because a country is about people working together). No protection from thugs (because the police is a social good), and so on?
Does it sound enticing?
But, it's not a punishment. It's just a shitty set of laws -- fortunately, laws can change.
My point is this is not true for people who are on the upper end of middle class. You can't dodge anything because your income is taxed at income tax rates, not capital gains rates. You also get all benefits stripped from you as you rise in income. Can't get any breaks on health insurance, can no longer put money into a Roth IRA... Also remember, I'm not just talking about taxes. I'm talking about taxes plus the structure of the ACA.
The system is absolutely designed to put the middle class at the largest disadvantage. Whether you want to call it unfair or a punishment seems like personal preference.
In states that didn't accept Medicaid expansion through the ACA, people who are poor are not eligible for coverage under Medicaid.
You can see which states accepted Medicaid expansion through the ACA here.
 FPL for a single individual is $12,140. For a family of 3, it is $20,780.
I'm unaware of a nation-wide program that covers parents under Medicaid at either 100% or 138% of the FPL.
The numbers I can find paint a different picture, for example, parents in Alabama are only eligible if they make below 13% of the FPL.
If you have another source, I'm genuinely interested in it.
For those unclear, the percentage is more than 100. Medicaid has long applied to people well above the federal poverty line, and in most places applies to people even further above it than before.
Indeed, in many cases Medicaid requires you to become poor, by spending down personal assets first to pay for care, qualify for government support. (Arguably that’s the only fair way to do it. How is it fair for the government to use tax dollars to maintain the social status of a someone who was lucky enough to build up a nest egg, but unlucky enough to get cancer, where it won’t give money to someone who was unlucky enough to be born poor in the ghetto?)
When you show up with an emergent condition, you get treated and kicked out. We probably spend more money on Medicaid for babies addicted to opioids than it would cost to privately insure mothers.
I've personally seen a (likely illegal) migrant worker helicoptered to Stanford hospital where they surgically re-attached a severed limb. Best standard of care available, far above what was required, with no possibility of repayment.
I can state similar anecdotes of people I know having gone bankrupt due to medical debt or having died due to inability to afford care at the time (what with having no income for almost two years). "The government" did not step in to completely or even mostly cover life saving yet expensive long term care.
Edit: Yes, this was for BC or Alberta and is still the case in at least one of those.
"Sometimes I splurge and make homemade hot cocoa. [...] every week we give to the food bank..."
?? Land-o-Lakes hot cocoa mix is $1 at my local grocery store. What kind of hot cocoa are you making lady?
1) massive, unexpected ones, which $1000 a month would be useless towards, and where the word "insurance" actually makes sense
2) recurring costs like doctor appointments, prescriptions, and teeth cleaning, which could arguably (but still probably shouldn't) be lumped in with UBI
#2 can still wreck someone who's truly poor, to be clear, but the author's case sounded more like #1
Most UBI schemes position UBI as supplemental income in conjunction with public assistance.
There's a small, but vocal, minority who wants to replace all public assistance with UBI.
My wife and I had little savings when I got out of graduate school. Neither of our parents had taught us about budgeting. I found books that taught us how to make a monthly budget. The authors stressed the importance of working together to plan a budget and setting a goal of saving for an emergency fund that would eventually cover six months expenses. We drove our old car until it was too expensive to repair. Eating out was a rare treat. I carried a bag lunch to work. We bought a used tent and camping supplies for a vacation. We had a used B&W TV for years. We were able to purchase a modest house. We never upgraded to a bigger one. A careful lifestyle helped us get our kids though state universities with no debt.
In time we could add more "fun" items because we had a buffer. We were still careful. My employer had perennial layoffs. We knew I could be laid off at any time. Happily, I was ready to retire when my time came (My company went from 65,000 employees in our city to less than 1,700 when I was laid off).
I have a friend who ran his own computer business and counseled (free of charge)many families with money problems. His conclusion was that lack of money was not the biggest problem these families had. He concluded that poor management of what they had was a bigger problem.
I am friends with a camgirl who is a prime example of this. In her case, she made a go of full-time camming, and thought she was doing well. What she didn't understand is that the site she worked for paid her as a contractor and withheld nothing. She never thought much about taxes, and all her previous jobs had withheld taxes, so she didn't pay quarterly estimated taxes. Last month, when she went to file her taxes, she realized she owed thousands. She has been struggling to pay this while other unexpected expenses mount (car repairs). She's struggling with the decision on whether to pay her taxes or her rent, and is about to become homeless.
The super irritating thing to me is that she had a gofundme setup for her friends and family to donate to help with her tax issue. The campaign was going well (close to 50% complete) but gofundme took it down and refunded all the donations. This was likely because they don't want to be associated with sex workers, and she apparently had a link to it from her cam-site page.
She can pay in installments vs the entire sum at once: https://www.irs.gov/payments/payment-plans-installment-agree...
But credit rating counts for a lot.
Even if they can prove sufficient steady income, if they don't have a good credit rating, there's a good chance they are unable to get a bank loan, credit card (or additional credit if they have a card already), and perhaps not even a small overdraft.
I can't speak for the US, but in the UK, even "payday lenders" who charge >1000% APR rates will no longer lend to someone with a poor credit rating.
On top of that, for someone who isn't used to it, and who already lives on the edge of what they can afford, "thousands", probably at high interest, is a big loan they may reasonably worry would put them into an unrecoverable debt spiral.
Counseling works for broke families - not poor ones. 6-months of savings and all the financial discipline in the world won't do you any good when you get a medical emergency that costs 5-years worth of family-income and leaves one spouses unable to work (or both! Caretakers are expensive). You can't budget your way out of poverty.
As an adult, I'm angry at my younger self for being annoyed at the things I used to be annoyed at, now I realise I couldn't have done it any better (probably a lot worse).
Luckily, we are all doing well now, and we have a good relationship with them, and get to pay it back via buying them gadgets, sending them on holidays etc, and just being there for them.
I've seen many people in tech go from a lower class or lower-middle class socioeconomic upbringing (myself included) to reaching a much more stable and comfortable point.
This is why I'm so excited for startups like Lambda School that allow more people to cross over even if they couldn't afford to take on the financial burden of an engineering degree. The aggregate economic impact on people's lives is astounding.
How about the old fashioned approach of targeting the rich and powerful? Or is that considered too difficult now.
I couldn't give a damn about the difference between broke and poor. Changing their use isn't going to change a damn thing, just as changing how words are used has never changed a damn thing in the whole of history.
Broke is a a synonym for bankrupt or being in bad debt. If someone says they can't afford something which is what was being expressed when someone says "I'm too poor" that doesn't mean they are broke.
I eventually got fed up with him being a bit of a strict hardass about everything. I mean, dude was a cop. Everything I did had to be by the book in terms of life outside the house. I ended up just kind of traveling around the country with my gypsy blooded estranged mother, started a pretty serious drug habit for a bit. But all the time I kept thinking about computer stuff. I kept learning, and eventually I got fed up with my situation. I took a look at my mom's boyfriend and at the time I thought he was pretty cool but one day I was smoking pot with him and I looked at him, like really for the first time. I saw a dude that paid child support to 3 different women, who, if he wasn't dating my mom, basically lived on other peoples couches. He worked at a winery and made less than I made @ McD's. I looked at him and then I asked myself, do want to be this dude when I'm 45? I stopped all drug use except the occasional drink, spent all my free time learning the stuff that my uncle had been trying to teach me and moved back to my old home town. These days I'm actually a Developer which I never thought I could be. I'm content that I made it out, but I know that my case is unusual.
I've driven through that trailer park occasionally and I still see familiar faces more than 20 years out. The truth is we're all poor. If your not making $300k a year you are no better than a generation away from trailer trash. I mean look, here they were, two brothers, grew up in the same house with the same opportunities and I was born to the crappy one. I made it out basically on accident. The difference between being rich and being poor these days is generational, not situational. I disagree with this article, its not that you are broke, it is that you are poor, unless you're filthy stinking rich, you are still one generation away from trailer trash.
If the second, I think that this is wrong. She had a 6 month emergency fund - the (presumably) relatively little she gave to charity is unlikely to extend that runway very much. I think (some of) the point of the article is that true poverty is living a life in which your _needs_ are greater than your means. A little extra runway isn't going to help you in the long run there. Once you're in this position, often through no fault of your own, you become stuck in a cycle of poverty.
Rhetoric about poverty that implies that the poor are financially irresponsible I think is very damaging. No amount of fiscal responsibility could have shielded her from not being able to earn once she became sick, and having her costs drastically increased due to having a disabled child. I don't think it should be possible to find yourself in a situation where you cannot provide for your families needs (ie, food, rent etc) and we should be working towards creating a society where this is the case, rather than labelling poor people as financially irresponsible.
That's okay. I prefer proportionality to equity, personally. But the ideas that everyone must be given a chance to make it are incompatible with the absence of the welfare state.
Newspapers can't just sell news anymore, it's not profitable.
Besides, do you not try and expose yourself to opposing views? Maybe not applicable here, but opinion pieces are important.
I don't consider stories like that waste of my time.