[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-id] The Poverty of Heritage

  • From: Carol Kirschenbaum <carolkir@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 13:47:14 -0700

Lawrence wrote:

> Neither is blaming the government for their poverty.

ck: Because the government is providing them with an income, Lawrence--the very 
thing you've been objecting to, I thought. 





  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lawrence Helm 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:51 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: [lit-id] The Poverty of Heritage

  You're describing a discussion other than the one I was in.  I quoted certain 
things in response to what I perceived as misconceptions about the American 
poor.  Your challenge was directed at me, but it wasn't directed at anything I 

  Why should I analyze the census figures?  I've known about them for a long 
time.  Certain things said earlier today suggested to me that some people on 
Lit-Ideas weren't familiar with them.  

  As to being able to live on $750 a month, I have two sisters that are doing 
it.  They sort of dropped out, hippy like years ago and so never managed to put 
much into Social security.  But they are getting a pittance from SS and making 
due.  One sister lives in a small apartment in a town outside of Denver.  The 
other lives in a trailer out in the California desert.  And they have most of 
the things mentioned, drivable cars, color TVs, etc; although I don't think 
either of them has a cell phone.  They both have medicare for all their medical 
problems and they have a goodly number of them.  I sent the sister in Colorado 
some money once and she wrote me saying it was a bit embarrassing to receive 
it.  She said she was managing well enough.  

  Both sisters know they are as they are because of choices they made in the 
past.  Neither is bitter.  Neither is blaming the government for their poverty.


  -----Original Message-----
  From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
On Behalf Of Robert Paul
  Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:24 PM
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: [lit-id] The Poverty of Heritage

  Lawrence wrote:

  > You've lost track of the fact that I quoted certain items from the 

  > Heritage report and that various people including you took issue with 

  > what I quoted.  I never said anything about the cost of housing in 

  > Europe.  I only quoted the report which referred to size.  That is the 

  > issue.  If you want to have a different discussion, about cost, then I 

  > shan't join because I haven't run across anything on that.

  You want to discuss housing and relative poverty but don't want to 

  discuss the cost of housing?

  I would have expected you, as someone who has, surely, analyzed the 

  costs of and budgets for various programs in the aircraft/defense 

  industry, to try to see whether you can come up with any ideas for how 

  someone might survive on (the revised figure of) $780 a month.

  Rector's failure to look behind the bare data ('a car,' 'two cars') 

  serves his ideological purpose, which is to deny that there is genuine 

  poverty in the US. His smoke-and-mirrors trick of comparing some highly 

  theoretical poor person here with some underdescribed person in Europe 

  is surely a way of preventing needless worry about the poor here. ('See, 

  these are the facts. The Census Bureau says so. Don't blame me.') His 

  implicit criterion of poverty-in-name-only is material possession.

  I mean, surely, somebody in an air-conditioned apartment in Phoenix, is 

  better off than somebody without air-conditioning in London? Who 

  provides such things (landlords? home owners?) doesn't even interest 

  him. But most jurisdictions have rules about what must be provided to 

  tenants (whether an apartment is furnished or unfurnished), which would 

  account for the presence of so many of the luxuries in the flats of the 

  renting poor.

  As for Rector's claims about the availability of health care (he doesn't 

  get around to the cost of prescription or non-prescription drugs), the 

  silence of any further explanation on this point says a great deal. It 

  hardly matters that the Census doesn't tell either; he's interpreting 

  the information for us.

  It would be nice to have some response to the question of how it is 

  possible for anyone in the US to acquire, maintain, and (even) replace 

  the things the poor are, most of them, said to have, on $748 a month. 

  Let alone eat. Don't think, but look.

  Robert Paul

  The Reed Institute


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