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The tactics used against the poor, e.g. shaving paychecks and requirements to be at work for unpaid hours, are being used against some skilled professions as well. My spouse is an RN, fairly well paid, and the company hired to process paychecks is routinely 'making mistakes' in the payroll that take months to get corrected - if they ever are. And the hospital is trying to get 'flex hours' to be a policy which simply means the nurses can be required to come in 4 hours earlier than the shift normally starts and stay 4 hours later. There is a union at this hospital that can fend off some of the worst practices, but I fully expect to see the union busted not too far in the future.

They are going to be screwing all of us wage slaves. People are getting mad, but unfortunately not mad enough to try and find somewhere to channel the anger.


Everyone is being hammered, but the poor are being targeted for breathing it seems. And students are being really screwed Dave, I have close friends who are being pulled apart from every direction. Students are told to go to school so they can avoid being poor, however, the very fucking endeavor of going to school either reduces their quality of life or makes them poor.



"Seventeen-year-old Diane Tran is an honor student who is taking AP and college level classes at Willis High School in Texas. Her parents divorced and moved away, leaving her with her two siblings who she helps support by working a part-time job and a full-time job ... in addition to attending school.

So while she is struggling to make ends meet financially, she still maintained excellent grades and even has the positivity to say she has a "happy family." But because her school reported her excessive absenses to juvenille court, Tran was arrested, given a $100 fine, and forced to spend the night in jail."

Dave, that story is FUCKING ridiculous. Fuck the poor, fuck the students, fuck the average American - that's our society's motto.


This is one of your better essays on poverty because it shows that the system they[the poor] are struggling to survive in is actually leaching off of them in an insidious and somewhat hidden way. Contrary to the right wing's well-worn trope that the poor are lazy, character-flawed, and burdens on society, it is the elite running the show who have proven themselves to be the real the blood-suckers of the economy and humanity, preying on the downtrodden and most vulnerable among us.

This subject of poverty an gross inequality is really where the rubber meets the road. Keep up the good work!


It's my observation from the UK that American poverty is sadly complicated by racism. I remember reading in the past that the fact poor Americans are disproportionately non-white contributes to the staggering levels of inequality Americans are willing to tolerate. Being poor isn't fun anywhere but it must be a special hell in the US.

Anywhere But Here Is Better

'The Poor' is such an ambiguous and relativistic term. I prefer to think of the disadvantaged - those who are kept at the ambition-destroying bottom of the heap via inadequate education, low quality nutrition, unhealthy housing and minimal opportunities for reasonably paid work. That anyone would deliberately kick the disadvantaged while they're already down, such as committed by the psychopathic institutional and governmental predators you mention, is a sure sign that our capitalist society is terminally sick and hasn't long to live.

In the meantime, as we witness the behaviour of the self-deluded power elite, who are led by excrement that passes for braincells, perhaps we non-bloodsuckers should form a 6.95 billion strong honour guard, banging pots and pans as our 'leaders' process in all their finery and show us the shining path to species oblivion.

It (almost) goes without saying that anything Barbara and we think is a no-brainer - such as a society making best use of all the talents and energies available in its resident population - is simply unintelligible to those with excrement for brains. Gerald Ford had trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time. He now looks like Einstein compared to the corporate numpties running the show in 2012.


Weather systems need areas of high and low pressure for winds to flow and thus keep the whole system going.
So, too, does the economy need areas of high and low wealth for money to flow and keep the whole system going.
There has always been wealth inequality and there always will be.

Our only option is to drop out.


The USA usurers are amateurs. In the UK we regularly have adverts on telly advertising payday loans in excess of 2000% apr. I even remember one for about 3500%+. I don't know what the so-called High street banks charge here in the UK, but they are the biggest lenders of payday loans. Money made from misery.

It also seems that extra non-paid labour time at nearly every job is expected; almost a requirement these days.

I can live with inequality, but I'm really getting sick and tired of the institutionalised curbing of opportunity being created by the nexus of government and corporate bureaucracies. If one don't get ya, the other will. As one becomes indistinguisable from the other, they'll eventually get us all.

Anywhere But Here Is Better

Paul - Wealth inequality can't be bemoaned. It's inflexibly woven into capitalism. What can be criticised is growing inequality of opportunity. Take away an ambulatory man's CHANCE to get on in the world and watch the sparks fly - eventually. The zombies at the apex of today's 'system' are so short-sighted short-termist, they can't see their own destruction coming as a direct result of their rabid greed.

Raintonite - Agree entirely, for the reasons just set out.

teri schooley

Most people don't seem to understand that employers pay quarterly taxes for unemployment to both the state and the federal gov'ts - this is no free hand-out from the taxpayers (caveat: except that employers might be inclined to pay a higher wage if they didn't have to cover these taxes, so it does come from the workers, in that sense), except in unusual circumstances, like the current depression, where the number of long-term unemployed is so high, the federal gov has to kick in a little extra. Rather than face the fact that the disappeared jobs aren't coming back, more and more states are just making it harder for people to file claims. Guess that is easier than doing something about actual jobs. Here's a bit of an article from Fla. Funny how the same people who were employed somewhere before are suddenly "not skilled enough" to qualify for unemployment. Culling the herd.

"Under the new law [in Florida], which took effect in August, job-seekers who want to receive the roughly $275 weekly unemployment checks must complete a 45-question “skills review” test and provide documentation showing that they are actively looking for work. Most applicants have to apply online because the popular option of filing claims by telephone was eliminated last year. The skills test alone has nixed more than 40,000 eligible applicants, according to the complaint.

"A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, who has pushed to overhaul the state’s unemployment benefits system, stood by the reforms, saying the test helps make sure unemployed people have the right skills for the labor market."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/24/2815720/groups-claim-thousands-being-denied.html#storylink=cpy

sheila chambers

The biggest "elephant" in the room continues to be ignored even as it continues to get bigger and that's our excessive and still growing population. The signs of strain are everywhere, dirty water,contaminated food, water shortages, rising food costs etc.

No economy can be viable with a constantly growing population as resources decline.

Capitalism is not sustainable because it needs constant growth to "work" and those days are behind us, the contraction has already begun and as usual, the poor feel it the most.

When many people became redundant in the 1970's, their value declined and as our numbers continued to grow, so did the number of redundant people.
We went from valued customers to faceless consumers, a mere digit of little value, easily replaced, redundant.

Things can only get worse because there is no leadership that would dare to tell the truth and the "masses" don't want to hear it.

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