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How Did America Get So Poor?

Society & Culture  (tags: Peter Edelman, Laura Flanders, low wages, poverty, statistics, Georgetown University Law Center, economic justice )

- 2089 days ago -
Peter Edelman of Georgetown University Law Center joins Laura Flanders to explain how we became a nation that fails to help its most needy citizens and what can be done.

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Joanne D (38)
Monday September 3, 2012, 11:56 am
America is NOT poor. We have all kinds of money - in the hands of very few. AMERICA HAS BEEN ROBBED.

Sheryl G (360)
Monday September 3, 2012, 12:49 pm
Indeed Joanne, this video is about those who truly ARE poor, the bottom half of this Country are suffering as you said, the money is in only the hands of the few. If one listens to the first few minutes of this video just to take in the statistics alone, it is astounding, horrorific, and extremly sad. No, it should not be this way, however, those at the top have created poverty for the many.

He explains well many things that I thought at Labor Day needs to be brought out. Why are millions working full time jobs and statistically speaking can't pay the basic bills. This is based on average shelter costs, health care costs, food prices, heating, just the basics. That when someone works full time and the can't meet the basics, not due to their lack of judgement in their spending their money, but it's just not possible.

We have millions of Americans like this, a very sad Labor Day indeed.


MmAway M (506)
Monday September 3, 2012, 1:43 pm
Thank you Sheryl Trying to watch all of this and keep getting bounced out. From what I saw Thank you once again! Way to many people on Welfare and sadly those that have money they send it out of America...WT???????????

Sheryl G (360)
Monday September 3, 2012, 2:14 pm
Sorry you couldn't watch the video. There would be far less on systems programs if the ones hiring would not pay so low wages and share a bit of the CEO pay with their employees. In an equitable society the one at the top of the company should not be getting 209 times more than the worker, which back in 1978 it was 26 times more. A CEO pay between 1978 to 2011 grew by 725% while the average worker was at 5.7%. On top of it, these over paid executives hide their taxes in all the loop holes and overseas accounts so they don't have to pay into the programs that help the working poor they created, let alone the ones who can't find a job as those jobs are now overseas.

Judy C (97)
Monday September 3, 2012, 7:05 pm
Never has it been so apparent that we need to careully calculate and implement a LIVING WAGE. Minmum wage is a joke. It is just a ridiculously inadequate amount that employers can get by with paying.

Those who want to use the argument about European Socialism when helping the poor (a cop-out), need to be consistent then, and acknowledge that corporate welfare must be Socialism as well.

Good video. Thanks Dandelion.

H Nick H (1826)
Monday September 3, 2012, 7:22 pm
I agree with Joann Dixon (can't send her a star). We are being robbed by the billionaire and very rich of this country who want to take (most already have) control of our lives. We soon will have company stores and living places, or maybe like back in the middle ages with the noblemen and landowners and the rest of us serfs or slaves. They (billionaire) are buying this election and if WE THE PEOPLE don't get out to vote we will lose some much that we have fought for over 200 years.

divergent r (309)
Monday September 3, 2012, 8:09 pm
Back to the class systems?
feudal serfdom is what the top of the pile want.
I think we need to push re-education and new ecology safe green businesses and maybe we could regain our edge. Thanks Dandelion for the empathy you show.

Devon Leonar (54)
Monday September 3, 2012, 8:44 pm
Thank you Sheryl, that was an excellent video.... What a mind..What a good heart...and what astute speaking ability Peter Edelman has.
I have long hoped for a Universal Health Plan for us here in the States. Being a rich nation it behooves us to have our citizens benefit from our medical advances. It seems shameful for so many Americans to be unable to see a Dr due to being poor..............
The Wally world monsters have gobbled up the mom and pop little downtown and neighborhood stores..... Generations of small family farms have been herded into institutionalized factories......
More of us are having a much harder time. One of the best things about being human is the desire to make things better not just for yourself but for others. We are all in this adventure of Life together after all !!!

Susanne R (235)
Monday September 3, 2012, 8:46 pm
Mr. Edelman mentioned that many people in this country are of the mindset that if a person is poor, it's by their own doing, which he believed to be an unfair assumption. He later mentioned that civil rights and poverty were issues that were taken up by President Johnson and even President Nixon --but were abandoned by President Reagan. Very interesting and, unfortunately, very true.

From the National Review: 'Race and Poverty" by Ed Rubenstein, June 10, 2004:

"[The War on Poverty], along with a healthy economy, brought the poverty rate down from 19 per cent in 1964 to 11 per cent in 1973 . . . Compare that enviable record with the Reagan-Bush years. Even though the economy recovered for seven straight years, poor people did not. Poverty rates did not drop back to pre-recession levels."

I liked this quote from Mr. Edelman: "If you run an economy in which people doing their very best can't make enough money to live on, you should help."

Really enjoyed listening to this interview, Dandelion! Thanks for posting it!

Edith B (146)
Monday September 3, 2012, 9:04 pm
Thanks, Sheryl, for posting this. I tried to send you a green star. Those at the top deliberately hold down wages, more money in their pockets. The unions, which helped the poor and middle class have all but been eliminated. I worked either in the food stamp program or the unemployment program all my career. I saw people struggling to make ends meet, trying to find jobs that paid a living wage. Towards the end of my career, living wage jobs were scarcer and scarcer. The middle class is almost extinct.

Jae A (316)
Tuesday September 4, 2012, 2:38 am
If anyone in the future,much less today,were wanting the perfect example of what happens when immaturity,mixed with greed...with the super desire to get rich over night regardless of what it takes or who it hurts, along with the lack of foresight as their 'freefall' runways..are at the top,in control of an economy...well the and will remain so for far too long still I think... as being a perfect example of what can and does happen to such economies/government systems..

Jae A (316)
Tuesday September 4, 2012, 2:47 am
My simplest answer to that question would actually be...see the Dubya years and you will know exactly how America got so Poor .

We will watch the video later...way tired this evening and low on available gbites more than ever this early in a new billing cycle/month. My time on care2 this weekend has been a real eater of such..but woth it. Now we must let gbite catch up with the days of a new month though :-( . Not woe is we, just damn this rural living when it comes to internet providers and a persons spendable income..when paying by the gbites, as I've mentioned in the past. 6 minutes this round would be a bit too much and 16 or more, just not within our reach today..again.
Keep em coming Dandelion..we do and will catch up in time.

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday September 4, 2012, 5:48 am
I thank those who did watch, I don't put as much on for news as some do, but rather try to find articles and videos that are thought provoking and I hope are of quality. With my own time, and yours limited, I try to use it wisely.

I like to read and listen to these good "thinkers" for it helps to formulate my own thoughts into a cohesive writing style and it has been due to many of them, from Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Buffy St. Marie, John Trudell, Chris Hayes, and Chris Hedges for modern thinkers. I delve into the past to re-read and relearn from those who taught us prior, like Martin Luther King, Jr., the Kennedy's and Sargent Shriver, Alice Paul, to some of our founding leaders who warned us of these days, Ben Franklin, "a Republic madam, if you can keep it".

I draw off of others from other Countries like Wangari Muta Maathai, Nelson Mandella, Desmond Tutu and I most certainly draw off of the native and indigeneous teachings that I was blessed to have restored to my life. As Jae has stated, we are a perfect example of what not to do when you think only of profit margins and nothing for the quality of the human beings, all of them. The native teachings teach us to look to the 7th generation, how would that affect them, if it doesn't look to good then you do not do it or find another way to accomplish it.

All good hearts need to arise, we can not continue on this path of destruction, not only for ourselves but for the earth as a whole. We need to set the standard, we have large populations in other Countries that are now pulling out of their 3rd world status, and what method are they using? They will copy this, and the earth doesn't have the resources to allow the billions in China to do so, there will be an even wider chasm in their Country between the rich and poor, they will not be able to sustain them on this system. We with millions can not sustain ourselves, a few at the top will millions are now below the poverty line and more adding in all the time.

We must, if we are to be the "Great" Country we speak of, turn this ship into a different direction, to draw upon the great thinkers of good hearts, the indigeneous teachings that show us these ways, for as a planet it is to our own survival and humanity that we or some major nation of people lead in that direction. We must all join in unity to this common goal, we can not depend upon leaders that are slow to understand or are mired in politics, "We, as the collective of people called "We, the People" must be the change we want, the change we must do, if we do not all do so it is to our peril and most certainly to our children and grandchildrens peril.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 4, 2012, 8:30 am
TU Dandelion.Great comments...agree with everyone. The 99% got so poor because the politicians went so far to the RIGHT...doing the WRONG things.

TomCat S (129)
Tuesday September 4, 2012, 8:33 am
If only trickle down didn't ALWAYS gush up.

g d c (0)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 11:11 am

Edwin M (346)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 11:26 am
If you listen to the republicans the only reason anyone is poor or living below the poverty level is that they're too lazy to work and simply want to live off the government. Sadly a lot of people fall into the trap of believing these morons and my fear is that the majority will accept these lies and vote republican in November. Thanks Sheryl. Care2 must be having technical issues again, each time I try to access my messages all I get is a blank page.

Kath P (9)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 11:28 am
Money is plentiful...its just being held by only a select few :-(

Becky B (0)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 12:44 pm
In order to have an orderly, functional, and safe society, the society must take care of itself. The Government being the way we create law and order must take care of it's people or it will fail. Calling something by a name such as Socialist therefore it must be bad is foolish and dangerous. We must have health care for all, we must have a living wage, we must provide an education for our children or no matter what you call it , this country will fail. We spend more money on war than on food and education. This cannot go on. We are in a dangerous situation and politicians are so worried about election that we are just hearing slogans and " rah rah" talk. Support universal health and tax the living hell out of anyone who makes more than $1,000,000 a year. Stop the wars and bring our troops home. We have no choice now or we as a country will be no more.

Patrick D (344)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 1:16 pm
P* on the Repugnants and fight for President Obama.

Wayne W (12)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 1:19 pm
Thank you, Dandelion.

Thank you Joanne Dixon. We are not broke. As you say the wealth is getting more and more concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Even in recession our economy is twice as big as China's and we have only a quarter as many people. Bernie Sanders recently pointed out that the members of the Walton family (Wal-Mart) have as much wealth as the bottom 40% of Americans, that's about 120 million people, and pay lower tax rates than many in the middle class. That's about as far from socialism as it is possible to get.
It is axiomatic in American life that middle class income rises and falls with union membership. Attacks on unions are attacks on evey working family, union or not.

Why is it easier to believe that 150 million people are lazy than it is to believe 400 families are greedy?

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday September 5, 2012, 5:41 pm
Thanks Dandelion; great post; great comments; I reall liked Wayne W's comment.

. (0)
Thursday September 6, 2012, 10:12 am
The rich got richer and the poor got poorer..thanks to our own lack of insight and our corrupt politicians..ty Dandelion

Scott haakon (4)
Thursday September 6, 2012, 2:25 pm
It is important not to just jump on the band wagon but to comprehend the bitterness of many Americans over the recession. Many have been misinformed on the complex economic problem. Many rail against regulations that they see as taking away their dreams. We in this country expect magical results from or leaders. Yet to explain to most what really impacts them it very difficult. We have reduced everything to 3 min video instead of news. Expectations are very important to many belief systems. Fear and envy and bitterness and what many have learned as an American folk life.
Many people think seeing a welfare Cadillac do not comprehend that perhaps that person had a very good job for years. That they too lost position,money,in the Recession. Beliefs are very important. When a belief system is tapped it results in a closed minded approach.

Arthur S (88)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 11:55 pm
You can't blame this #!#! on Me Again~ Messy and once I send out both the picutres I had to deal with...Take a peek at this Mess I have to deal with and be shoved in the dirt. Not dealing with this Pistol #@@

Arthur S (88)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 11:59 pm
Edwin, I did listen to all and have been watching a LONG TIME. I feel sick that so many people work and would need help, then seen people get help when they have no right to live FREE. SYSTEM BROKEN and needs FIXED FAST. YOU THINK THIS PRESIDENT WILL DO IT??????????????????? OMG I don't think he will do Poop.
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