Letters to the Editor

Have-nots hurting

May 21, 2010


To the editor:

In his Saturday Column, Journal-World Editor Dolph Simons asks when will the White House, Congress and the courts come to their senses and follow the public’s wishes? How much change is enough?

It’s enough when the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” is reduced to acceptable levels. The “have-nots” keep growing. Government hasn’t taken care of them as well as the “haves.” Tax cuts for the rich and Bush’s squandering of the surplus left him put us in this mess.

Simons rants about everything Obama has taken control of and then talks out of the other side of his mouth and asks why he hasn’t controlled our borders. If Bush had controlled banking we would be in better shape today. Wonder what Mr. Simons thinks about that?

Government must take control because oil, banking, auto, housing, health care, environment, student loans and on and on have proved they won’t regulate themselves.

No, everything’s not fine in this country. Nobody’s happy with the way things are. But the “have-nots” are hurting the most and growing by the day. They’re supporting government controls to stop the hemorrhaging and turn things around. They’re not talking out of both sides of their mouths. The ones that didn’t want controls created this mess. I can’t imagine the mess we would be in today if the Republicans were still in power. I pray everyone thinks about this really hard before the next election. It’s time government considered the “have-nots”, because they are the majority, Mr. Simons, not the group you would have us believe.


oldvet 8 years ago

I have no problem with "sharing the wealth" as long as we also "share the work"... It's time to reinstate workfare and work programs instead of just handing it out to the have-nots-too-lazy-to-get-off-their-butts...

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

That comment is beyond ignorant. Welfare to poorer citizens is a minute portion of the Federal budget. Since corporate welfare far exceeds what is available to the public why don't you suggest something is done about that? Who Charley is referring to is the bottom 95%, ya know Mr. and Mrs. Middle class, who have bsically been fiancially raped during our country's most recent Dark Time (In this case the Bush Admin). You need to get over your jealously about people getting something you are not. They don't get much and it isn't a good life. If it were yo to you we'd all be cut off at the knees and in a sense a whole lot of people have been. And if you want to do something about crime, deal with poverty first. When everyone prospers to some degree crime goes down. It's a fact. You have executive's pay 5-8 times of what it was 10 yers ago while these same a-holes shipped our jobs overseas and destroying opportunity in our country. Soon there won't be anyone left to by the stuff they are having made, and crappily I might add, overseas. But you likely don't see anything wrong with that. Schmuck!

oldvet 8 years ago

Poor left-wing liberal socialist... keep blaming President Bush... it helps distract you from the clown you have currently in the White House...

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

I'm moderate and you obvioulsy wouldn't know what actual socialism is if it slapped you in the face. Have you heard of the concept of the working poor? It's rather pervasive in our society right now and if you care to look outside of the extremely tiny box that is your point of view you might actually see that. Fact: Not evey citizen who receives assistance from the government is is stitting on their duff. And the vast majority of those who Charley is referring to are not either, and yes, I know Charley. The average person has less not because they don't work, they have less because republican policies destroyed the economy and Bush's tax incentives didn't help anyone but the rich. Yes, I blame him - and I blame Clinton (the welfare reform guy, remember?) for dealing for deregulation which facilitated, this mess as well blame those you wish to allow to continue their shady business practices - but Bush did absolutely nothing to stop the economic train wreck I saw coming and I'm not even an economist or surrounded by teams of peopel who should know! I have a good job but I am sick to freakin' death of the fact that my annual salary increases fall far short of the increased costs of medical care, paying more for consumer good becuase of the increased costs of transporting said goods all while the oil companies are making record profits You can't see those things!?! You don't want to because of your petty partisanship. Oh, wait, you're a vet so you are getting plenty of government handouts, I am sure. I think you are an aboslute hypocrite and partisan fool who will support whatever the GOP has to say. The same GOP that wants to keep letting these crooks get away with what they have done and who will continue to do as much damage as they can, to hell with the effect on everyone else so long as their pockets are fully line with greebacks. It is sickening! And I bet you call yourself a Christian and if God exists as you understand him then he's going to have some bad news for you, sunshine.

I'm still waiting to hear what you think should be done about the huge amounts of money corporate america sucks from the government in various forms which welfare for individuals pales in comparison. I don't hear you applying your boot strap mentaily to corporate American and that they need to manage within their means. I guess it's just OK with you that Corporate America cares only for their bottom line and could car eless for our great country. Meh!

oldvet 8 years ago

I don't work for a large corporation... after doing that for too many years, 4 friends and I started our own company and have grown it even beyond our own dreams... no one has prevented us from getting up every morning, risking everything we own to make it grow, and living the dream... the fun of it is that we can work all the hours we want to and we don't have someone telling us to stop working so hard. The only person preventing you and all others from being wealthy is the person you see in their mirror every day...

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I don't think there was anything wrong with what oldvet said to be honest. He's just simply stating that people should be able to work if they are receiving aid from the government. I actually admire him for saying that he doesn't have a problem with helping them out, as long as they are productive members of society.

Not to say that there aren't poor people who ARENT, because goodness knows some people work very hard and don't get much from it. However, there are also a ton who just milk it.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

on that note, I forgot to mention that people who are unable to work (severely disabled, elderly, etc) should also receive govt help. Even mentally disabled peoples work sometimes (i.e. Cottonwood Consumers) and are helpful members of society. Even though they are receiving help, they are also working actual jobs and not just sitting there eating up the system. Admirable.

geekyhost 8 years ago

Yeah, but then if they carried through on that by actually creating jobs, it's socialism oh noez1!111

9070811 8 years ago

Read "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. The problem is housing. It is nearly impossible to live with housing and work without some kind of assistance.

Thinking_Out_Loud 8 years ago

A problem is housing. Another is access to health services. Yet another is access to healthy food choices. Another is building/developing skills necessary to compete for and achieve good jobs.

And you're right. Ehrenreich's book is a great read.

cato_the_elder 8 years ago

To the letter writer: It was misguided, in some cases corrupt, efforts by politicians to "spread the wealth" by ordering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make home loans to people who couldn't begin to afford them that directly caused the current financial crisis. Efforts by the Bush administration to rein this in were met harshly and rejected by politicians of both parties who had received substantial political contributions from Fannie and Freddie. As I've stated before, the top three recipients of Fannie and Freddie money from 1989 to 2008 were all Democrats - including Barack Obama, who made that list having served only one partial Senate term from 2005-2008. Think about that - Obama's partial term represented only 4 years out of the 20 years tabulated, and yet he took second place behind disgraced Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who himself received a cushy home loan from one of the key lenders involved in the subprime crisis. Obama's efforts to "spread the wealth" through reckless, wasteful "stimulus" spending have created no positive results whatsoever for our economy - it was reported yesterday that jobless claims rose last week by the largest margin in 3 months. The letter writer's visceral hatred of Republicans will probably never allow him to see the material harm that Obama and other radically liberal Democrats have already inflicted on our country, both at home and abroad (see Charles Krauthammer's excellent column in today's J-W). As Margaret Thatcher said, "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." The letter writer is obviously incapable of realizing that.

CHANDLER007 8 years ago

Sure. Blame the government for this. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the problem here was the loan originators and their greed? I have personally witnessed loan originators falsify loan documents to the underwriters due to their desire to have the loans approved so that they could receive their commission checks. No loan approval, no commission. Not everything is as black and white as what you obviously wish it could be.

Maddy Griffin 8 years ago

Another undeniable fact; The gap between the "middle class" and the outright poor has quadrupled since the '70's.That is not the fault of either side.

georgiahawk 8 years ago

Yes Tom, it brought you out, only in your case, it is "have-not" any brains!

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

"racist hate filled posts from teabaggers"

Yes, beobatcher is clearly our example this morning of love and goodwill.

ECM 8 years ago

Yes because your only response to those who don't agree with you is to call names. How typical of the liberal crowd.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

apparently you just skip over the name calling from everyone else, then, because that makes NO sense.

citizen0123 8 years ago

race card AGAIN?how very clever of you.beo

Jay Keffer 8 years ago

Man (or something to your preference) are you drawn to the TB slur. What gives?

At ease, sailor!

georgiahawk 8 years ago

Oh my God, I saw that very thing on Glen Beck. Do you take notes?

geekyhost 8 years ago

He's got his very own chalkboard in the living room.

think_about_it 8 years ago

Sorry Charlie,

Unfortunately too many of the have-nots are will-nots.

Socialism has never worked and it never will.

independant1 8 years ago

ok, but we aren't a pure capitalist economy, more like mixed economy

geekyhost 8 years ago

Yes, as are most economies. That's why the "Sociaism has never worked and never will" argument is so ignorant. A degree of socialism has worked quite well, no matter how much Glenn Beck tries to condition his audience into foaming salivation and howling every time they hear the word.

gr 8 years ago


First, why do the have-nots not have? Is it because the government does not give them enough?

Second, does the government really take care of the rich? Really?! Seems to me, you are spinning that the rich are only rich because they pay a less tax rate than the have-nots. But you know that's not really true. What you really want is to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

How is that fair? The gays say they want equal and fair treatment even though they already have it. But what about the tax system? How is that fair to charge people different rates? What if it was voted to tax gay people at 70% but everyone else at 10%? What if people like you keep punishing everyone who puts forth an effort so they either quit or leave? Where is the government going to steal the money from? Didn't that experiment happen (and fail) at the start of this country?

beatrice 8 years ago

gr, gays aren't allowed to marry. Straights are. Equal? Try again.

I agree on the tax issue. People who live off stock dividends should have to pay the same amount as everyone else.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago


Anyone in America is allowed to marry an adult member of the opposite sex. Equality still reigns.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

It's simply not marriage if it's not one man and one woman. That's the definition that every nation and people group has recognized since recorded history. You can't simply change what marriage was, is and shall be to suit your proclivities.

jafs 8 years ago

Other countries seem to have had no problem doing just that.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

Failed experiments in certain subsections of ancient cultures do not change the meaning or definition of marriage.

gr 8 years ago

We are told by gays that they can and in fact do marry people of the opposite sex like normal people. If you say that they aren't in love with them, that doesn't mean they aren't treated equal. Otherwise, you would have to map that to income levels. Just because someone desires to work hard doesn't mean they should be treated unequally. Just because someone has no desire to be successful is no reason they should be treated unfairly by paying a less tax rate.

jafs 8 years ago

A recent article showed that about $60 billion/year of tax revenue is lost through a legal means of transferring income overseas.

That means that a company doing essentially all of it's business in this country can set up a tiny office in another one, send the income there, and avoid paying taxes on it here.

That's just one example of how the government "takes care of the rich".

Massive federal bailouts of companies on the brink of failure is another, especially when that money goes to top executives and bonuses.

gr 8 years ago

So instead of manipulating tax rates and ignoring the situation, maybe the tax rates should be kept fair and equal to everyone and stop up the problem/loophole?

How can anyone say there are tax breaks for the rich if they are being charged higher than anyone else? If you don't like any loop holes, figure out how to prevent them.

And, you never said why can't the have-nots do the same? You inspire me!

Brent Garner 8 years ago

To the LTE writer and those who support him I refer you to the following link, http://www.american.com/archive/2007/november-december-magazine-contents/guess-who-really-pays-the-taxes. Granted this is an article from 2007. And you could also look at this link (a report using 2004 data) http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sr151.pdf. Further, back in April, a headline from Yahoo appeared reposted at www.drudgereport.com that pointed out that between exemptions, deductions, and refundable tax credits roughly 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes in 2009.

Now, is there income inequality in the US? Certainly. Should government then be in the business of guaranteeing incomes to people? That is a dangerous place to go, for as both Daniel Webster and John Marshall observed in 1819, "the power to tax is the power to destroy." And, in closing, do you really want to give such power to the government? Are you thus so certain that abuse and favoritism won't occur?

jafs 8 years ago

Abuse and favoritism exist now, and are slanted towards those with money and power.

jafs 8 years ago

So it's ok with you for the government to bailout and subsidize corporations but not help the people who need help most?

jafs 8 years ago

That's consistent at least.

However, what happens to people who need help, especially those in difficult situations that are not of their own making?

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years ago

DP is just aching for more upper-class tax cuts, just like Tom and Barry I imagine.

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Yawn Those lines were never good and your relentless use of them is so very tired. I doubt that anyone pays attention to them. But I am happy that it appears your menstrual cycle had ended. You must have been severely aniemic!! Did you go to your doctor and get some birth control pills to regulate that.

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

Wow, the screamers are out in force on this one.

How about a little perspective.

"Have-nots" as wellas "haves" are generalized terms that must be broken down and considered.

Have nots include: -the mentally ill who are incapable. -the physically handicapped who are incapable. -the temporarily down-and-out, out of work, just laid off, looking for work. -the working poor. -the lazy who do not want to work and want a subsidized life.

I am with all of the right-wingers on this site who oppose the lazy and unwilling. Let's not lose perspective, though, by focusing solely on this class.

The have include: -the bootstrappers who started with nothing and built themselves a fortune. -those who had good, solid social upbringing and are taking advantage of their opportunities (the middle class). -those born into wealth who are increasing their fortunes through hard work. -those born into wealth who choose to be lazy and non-productive and exist solely on the fruits of their ancestors' labors.

I am equally opposed to this last class as to the lazy welfare recipients. They seem to be of a kin to one another.

gr 8 years ago

The last class?
Ever hear of those who win the lottery never have it very many months?

Could you give some examples of the last class and some percentages?

feetup 8 years ago

I was a have, now a have not. Lost my fat job and found one at 1/2 the pay. I do not blame anyone one but myself for not seeing the writing on the wall, for not planning ahead, for just plain shortsightedness. I do not nor have i ever really aspired to be a rich person with tons of money and possessions. Just to make ends meet and have some left over to play with recreationally or buy something i wanted or needed. ie washer/dryer, go shopping for stuff, or a vacation. When my income crashed, i changed my world from living quarters to food n play budget. Now that I am making much less money, it may sound funny buy my goals are still the same. I want to be comfortable, have plenty to eat, and still i am happy. I plan on going back to school in the fall ( i am over 50) I do not need the governments help but i admit i will look for funding and loans for school. But i do wish people Dems and Reps alike would get a grip on what is happening on Main Street in once thriving communities that i see are now ghost towns. I consider myself very blessed to have found another job in lawrence at all. I do have one major gripe tho - jobs overseas is just wrong. Bring them back! then we'll see how Main Street fares when those jobs return.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

Do you think that bringing all of those jobs back (some of which hire thousands of people who work for pennies) would be fulfilled by Americans? I like getting people's opinion about it because I'm so torn. On one hand, yeah, it would keep money here and create jobs. On the other hand, I question whether people would WANT to work those jobs, and if they would bring in more illegal immigrants plus other's who used to work there overseas and relocate to work the same job here. Also, would the higher cost of bringing those jobs back here (people are going to want more than a few cents an hour...) raise the prices of everything, or do you think that the companies would just eat the lost profit? Ahhhh, this subject sucks.

jafs 8 years ago

Good questions.

I think that Americans need jobs right now, and would welcome some they may previously have been averse to doing.

The extra costs could probably easily be absorbed by the companies if CEO's didn't make such exorbitant salaries/benefits. Average salaries are in the $7million/year range. They could cut down to a measly $2-3million and provide jobs for Americans.

Of course, the right-wing folks think that $2-3million/year is very hard to live on, and that CEO's and corporations should be free to outsource labor and avoid taxes, while spouting the rhetoric that their success "trickles down".

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I was kind of wondering about the CEO salaries. Chances are, the way things go now, if their cost was higher, they would want more money, which would drive up the cost of the product. Then everyone would complain and demand more money from their jobs...creating a cycle...etc etc. Maybe not, but I guess thats how my simple mind forsees it. Would there, could there be a cap to how much profit they could make?

georgiahawk 8 years ago

I would bet that a lot of the people that lost their jobs to overseas would gladly take them back, given the chance.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Ok. I am sympathetic to the notion of encouraging a better distribution of the wealth of this country and have suggested some approaches to do so on this space.

That said, I have never understood the notion of “haves” and “have nots” as thrown around by some. Now, I know in Lawrence that some in this space argue that those east of Iowa are “have nots” and those west of Iowa are “haves “and that money to “downtown” or certain neighborhood schools addresses the perceived inequity. To me that is unduly simplistic and counter productive in addressing the real inequities.

First – what is a “have not”? How do you define a “have”? Is anybody who earns an income a “have” or do you have to be at some arbitrary income level? Who decides - the self identified “have nots”?

Buried in this simplistic call are people who will not work, people who have chosen a less stressful and lower paying job, people who are deferring income toward a better life in the future, people who failed through their own fault to prepare themselves for their own future and others. Then, there are some who chose a life of chemical dependency that robes them of any real existence. Are these the “have nots” Many of these people already receive a great deal of public funding to attempt to address the real or perceived imbalance. How much income transfer is enough? Are we focusing it well?

On the west side we find two wage earner professional families. There are small businessmen who work long hard hours. There are retired people who have saved to do so or who are receiving pensions they earned – some not all that well off. Of course, there are some people who make a very good income – are we to decide how much they can keep? These people pay the bills for the government income transfers and contribute a not insignificant amount (time and money) to charity. Is everyone in this diverse group a “have”?

I guess the “have nots” will not be happy until there are no longer any “haves”. Will the “haves” work if they live no better than the “have nots”. The concept did not work well in the former Soviet Union.

How about we carry on this conservations with terms we all can understand if not agree upon.

jafs 8 years ago

That's a good idea - defining the terms.

In my world, the "have nots" would be people who cannot afford the basic necessities of life - food, shelter, clothing and transportation with a little left over.

The haves would be the rest of us.

I count myself in the latter category, and feel very grateful to be there.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

By your definition I am also.

How about the efforts we already make to try to help the legitimate "have nots"

Legitimate = people who work at the best they can do, who do not spend a lot of money on goodies like cable, mobile phones an the like, who do not live to party, who do not own a car (public transportation), eat hamburger instead of steak, live in a small rental and the like.

I personally know people who live well, eat well, drive, drink, entertain, have phones and cable - all on public assistance.

beaujackson 8 years ago

When was the last time a "have-not" provided a job for anyone?

Be grateful for the "haves", although, thanks to the Obamacrats, there are fewer "haves", which translates into more "have-nots".

headdoctor 8 years ago

The theory of Trickle down economics works just fine but not when coupled with massive deregulation and unchecked free wheeling fraud and greed. Under those circumstances the money only trickles down to the wealthy and their buddies. They then only release enough money into the system to maintain their position.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I don't think anyone is saying that everyone should have the same salary depending on how hard they work.

If they are saying that, then they are wrong. I think most people are just trying to lessen the huge gap between the super rich and corrupt and the super poor. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer...that isn't helping anyone either. Except for the few who are super rich, corrupt, conceded, and don't give a sh*t anyway.

There ARE "rich haves" who are Democrats. I hardly think they are complaining about having money, yet they realize that protecting people who are less fortunate is important as well.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

I think there are people from all political backgrounds who contribute.

There are also people from all political backgrounds that demand their not very rich neighbors contribute and they do not.

Why are all our Senators very rich? Why to the very rich pay less in taxes then the not so rich?

headdoctor 8 years ago

Threads like this are absolutely a priceless example of stupidity when the angry right wing have-nots make a show of support for the ideology that has done nothing to help their cause. The example grows even larger when the Christian right show up to give support for almost everything that the good book they study from tell them not to do. Abortion, gay marriage, separation of church and state being the exceptions. I am beginning to see now why that whole education thing is such a conundrum for the modern Republican party.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I'm not usually the one for grouping people and all that, but someone once told me that Republicans are either super rich and want to protect it, or poor and completely naive. Sometimes reading this stuff on here and other blogs really nails that into the ground.

Liberty275 8 years ago

I'm no republican (libertarian), but I'm far from rich or naive. I agree with the republicans on this one. Government help like welfare should be reserved for ONLY the mentally or physically handicapped. If you are capable of working, then you should work at a job or live on the street. Kids? If you can't afford them, put them up for adoption or abort them.

Why do I think this way if I'm not rich or naive? I see the amount of money I lose to taxes every year and every day. I worked for that money, welfare cases didn't. It is my money, stolen to finance the lives of people that I don't care about and that don't care about me.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I think "have nots" are being grouped unfairly. Not all "have nots" are using the system, lazy, and drug dealers. Some "have nots" work their tails off and can't make ends meet (especially now). Some "have nots" are those who are very very sick and/or elderly. Some "have nots" are physically and/or mentally disabled.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Yes and as a society we contribute a lot of resources for these people already so why the original opinion

headdoctor 8 years ago

I am thinking you have been reading a little to much regurgitated Right wing spin. Try stepping away from the TV to avoid things like Fox News and take the time to look into it yourself. Preferable on some other web site than the Right of Left wing spin sites.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

I do not understand this comment related to what whats_going_on (anonymous) wrote. I read it as a counter to what some people on the far right opine.

headdoctor 8 years ago

Yeah, isn't this post threading wonderful? NOT. I replied to kubacker's comment. Not whats_going_on's comment. This system tends to stick posts where it wants them instead of the order received.

Liberty275 8 years ago

I'm thinking you need to think on your own as well. Some people would rather be poor and live off what they can earn than take hand-outs from the government. Maybe that sounds foreign to the left, but that isn't surprising as most have so little character or self-respect that they will beg in a heartbeat.

Reason #851 to hate left wingers.

georgiahawk 8 years ago

Do you know any of these people? How many? What are their situations?

9070811 8 years ago

Former welfare recipients are cannot work full-time or full-year. Most are earning between $6.00 (waiting) and $8.00 per hour (Acs and Loprest 2001; Administration for Children and Families and Office of Planning Research and Evaluation 2000; Brauner and Loprest 1999; Freedman et al. 2000; Loprest 1999; Loprest 2001; Parrott 1998), a wage insufficient to enable them to provide for their families. And although the poverty rate has declined overall, it has increased among working families, particularly those headed by single mothers. For those families that were already poor, poverty in the last several years has deepened (Primus and Greenstein 2000). (Boushey 2002) Boushey’s research of the social welfare reform of 1996 shows that just like Ehrenreich, those in the making the same wage can barely “make it” for their families. Thus, it is an economic strain to the masses.

The strain of the system comes from the fact that it is nearly impossible to move up the ladder when making such a low wage. Manufacturing jobs within US borders are extremely valuable and important to our labor force and standard of living. Dean Baker of the Economic Policy Institute states: “The availability of good jobs in manufacturing helps boost wages and living standards for the non-college educated portion of the workforce as a whole.” (Baker). This means that the manufacturing sector is a competition market for the service economy. Basic economic knowledge is that when one market has traditionally higher wages, another market must have competing wages in order to attract a workforce. The workforce is of the same general education level as mentioned by Baker. (Baker). Therefore, when the higher wage jobs (the manufacturing economy) leave the country, the service economy is allowed to lower their wages because it does not have competition in the labor force it employs.

A family making below the poverty line can receive welfare benefits to subsist on and when they reach the poverty cut off they must then provide for themselves that which they were receiving in benefits. This obviously puts them down back into the bracket of the living standards they were at before. There is little to no room to move up economically. It could mean a re-entry into the welfare system.

9070811 8 years ago

For example, hypothetically, I have two children and am earning a fixed income of $600 a month and the poverty line is defined as earning at or less than $625 a month. I receive a $50 voucher a month for groceries, as well as a $100 voucher for childcare. If I earn a raise at my service job, as a waitress, and my monthly income becomes $640, than I will no longer be eligible for welfare benefits. I am then expected to come up with the difference of $150. It is extremely likely that I will end of on welfare again. An example such as this shows how families barely make it in poverty. My hypothetical family is poorer than when we had monetary supplements. For these reasons the trickle down effect of capitalism has created an extreme strain on the welfare system. If the US service economy had the manufacturing economy to compete with, then my hypothetical family would have a great chance at success. The shift from manufacturing to service has led to the decrease of well-paid union jobs that lead to economic security. Service jobs, such as entertainment and information jobs, are held by only a minority of the labor force; because of this there is a polarity between the poor and rich. (Cootz 136). Therefore, the gap between the poor and the rich that has nearly tripled between 1979 and 2008 could become less if the service economy had competition.

Brent Garner 8 years ago

Your situation illustrates how stupid our welfare system is. It literally makes it almost impossible to break out of poverty. Once there, you are trapped and that is a government idea.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

There are some people deserving of help. There are some not. Our government run income transfer system does not sort it well. The objective hould be to help people return to self-suficiency (if possible). We seem to avoid "judgement" - but that is exactly what we need.

headdoctor 8 years ago

Nice idea Tom. Since when have any of the political zealots even here on LJW had the good since not to go for a good rant regardless of facts, You included. I don't know why anyone would have to throw a thank you to the "angry right-wing conservatives". A lot of them can't even afford to pay attention or have the education to know what they are talking about, much less provide any help toward a job, house, or car.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

reminds me of an older lady I know, a devout Republican tea bagger...gets everything she owns from the government, house, meds, doctor visits, food, "stuff".... and yet wants to do away with all that and for people NOT to pay taxes.


Liberty275 8 years ago

I'd opt out in a heartbeat if they would refund the money I've paid in to social security and medicare. I'd be more than happy to invest that money and more for my retirement, and when the retirement money runs out, I will too. If I finish before the money, it should go to my closest relative.

geekyhost 8 years ago

Good thing you didn't retire recently. You might have been one of the people Goldman Sachs in their infinite unregulated free market wisdom decided to bilk by intentionally selling risky investments and betting against them.

I'm guessing you don't currently have a retirement account.

imastinker 8 years ago

I would opt out in a heartbeat and let them KEEP the money they have from me if they would let me keep the money I earn in the future.

This year I bought a rental property with a down payment that cost about what I paid into social security last year. It's a two unit duplex and I got a good deal on it. It will provide a small amount of positive cash flow until it's paid off, at which point it will earn about one fourth what my social security income would be, maybe slightly less if I hired a management company.

Therefore, if I did this four times I could replace my social security income in four years rather than pay in for fourty. Most of you wouldn't call me rich, although I plan to be someday.

Social security is one of the worst type of investment programs known to man, and it's mandated for everyone.

geekyhost 8 years ago

You do realize that you (the employee) only pay 6.2% of your salary into social security with a 106,800 cap, which means your down payment was $6621 or less? And (assuming a standard 20% down payment) that means your good deal was for property with a value of $33k or less? Yowza.

Hope that works out for you, and you don't find out you need to treat for termites, fix the foundation, or re-roof the place. And you're not sued by the tenets, the place doesn't flood, and it's never condemned. I'm not saying that to be snarky. It may be a great deal. But you've still made an investment with risks, so I wouldn't count on owning a bunch of slums as a better investment than Social Security. It may not pay the same dividends, but it doesn't carry the same risk. That's the whole point.

imastinker 8 years ago

I don't want to get into what I paid for the place, although you are very wrong in your math. There are certianly risks, but considering social security anything but a huge risk is ridiculous. It's the same as a ponzi scheme, and the current projections are that I will be nearly 70 before I can draw anything from it.

Also, the matching portion of my contribution that is made is still part of the cost of having me at work, and still made by the fruits of my labor regardless of who cuts the check.

geekyhost 8 years ago

In other words, when you said "about what you paid," really you meant about what you AND your employer paid. So you doubled your contribution as your estimate and bought a $66k (or less) duplex, you somehow managed to get it for less than 20% down (hard to do in this economy), or you don't actually know how much social security costs and are just pulling figures out of a hat.

Yes, the employer contribution is a part of the expense of having you as an employee, but it's not part of your income and not part of the portion you paid into the system. You didn't pay for your checks to be printed, pay for the accounting software used to calculate your wages, or pay for the bank fees for the account used to pay them.

We can argue about solvency as a separate issue (and it is an issue, I'm not ignoring that.) But it's a solvable issue tied to the entire government, not something tied to one guy and whether or not he knew foundation damage wasn't covered by insurance. The idea that the average citizen would be better off investing that income in real estate is silly and potentially disastrous, especially given our recent economic history. It's not coincidental that social security started as a reaction to the Great Depression.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

sometimes/rarely, you have a point, sometimes, you've naive, sometimes, you're just an arrogant prick.

Right now is the "far right" of the three.

Why would anyone thank you for being an insenstive as*hat.

geekyhost 8 years ago

Are you going to thank me for having a job and a house and a car? Oh right, you assume because I don't agree with you politically, I must not have those things. You're wrong.

geekyhost 8 years ago

Nice ethnic slur in your username. Just pointing out to the editors why I flagged your comment for removal.

headdoctor 8 years ago

Oreobama (anonymous) says… The have-nots don't hire, haves do. Haves are Obama favorites. He wants to take stuff from haves. When he does this, why don't cry baby whiner liberals cry even harder, because it ends in the end with whiney have nots having even less. Just give Obama some time and he'll prove me right.

There goes some more of that priceless example of stupidity. Have you even bothered to look at what Obama has done with your own eyes and brain? He has been more Republican in many areas than the Republicans have been. The last time I took a look Bush and his cronies have done more to turn haves into the have-nots. The money didn't end up in some social program. It ended up in his and the cronies pockets.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

The sooner Dear Leader is back in his mob-financed Chicago mansion, the better off America will be.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Liberals hate to have this thrown up in their face, but I'm happy to oblige. There is nothing they can say; they have no come-back. As long as barry is in office I'm going to bring this up again and again and again.

A great democratic (Kennedy even!!) President once said: "...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. "

JFK sounds more like Reagan & Bush than obama! OUTCH! Kinda hurts there libs?? I get cold sweats when I think of what barry would have done during the Cuban MIssle Crisis.

CHANDLER007 8 years ago

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Ouch! Now THAT hurt! Thank you, Mr. Right Wing, for a good laugh this afternoon. ;)

jafs 8 years ago

With many jobs outsourced and many people laid off and unemployed, I think many people who'd like to work are having a hard time finding a job.

Andrew Reeves 8 years ago

"I/Me/Mine, I/Me/Mine, I/Me/Mine". JL

Liberty275 8 years ago

Government hasn’t taken care of them as well as the “haves.”

That's a sickening statement. It isn't governments job to "take care of people". Anyone that does want the government taking care of them is a sad excuse for an American. I'm fairly poor, but I don't want ANYTHING from this or any other government. I'll get what I deserve by working for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

So when one is incapable of taking care of one's self, do you favor having one's self dumped in the wilderness to die, or planting a bullet in one's own brain?

And if you prefer the former, if one can't afford to have someone dump one's self in the wilderness to die, and one can't afford a bullet, much less a gun, how does one avoid the embarrassment of being too poor to live, and too poor to die?

headdoctor 8 years ago

Perfect. May is Zombie Awareness Month.

Liberty275 8 years ago

So when one is incapable of taking care of one's self, do you favor having one's self dumped in the wilderness to die

In another post I made the distinction that the government should help people with mental or physical handicaps. When I hit old age and can't carry my weight, I won't need a wilderness, just $4 worth of benzos and $50 of Glenlivet.

how does one avoid the embarrassment of being too poor to live, and too poor to die?

By working.

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

Everyday Americans don't have the time, money or resources to keep up with all the current events. They don't have access to reliable information.

Today, too many Americans are choosing sides and losing their independence. They are turning themselves into parrots for the Republican or Democratic parties. We know they did a bad job the last 10 years. We just don't know exactly who is responsible because they are so good at hiding.

One of the big problems we have now is that we listened too much to these jokers and we let our selves get divided into "us" vs. "them".

Our lives should not be like this. It is not just government getting too big. Politics itself has gotten too big. Politicians are too much in our face and we are pressured to choose sides when the information is almost always unreliable.

Tom has so much faith in Fox News and the same old geezers pushing the country to the right.

Other people here believe as this letter writer believes.

The problem is that we are too easily fooled into believing all these jokers. It is time to put new people in Congress. I am tired of being pressure to choose sides when I know that I am often being used, lied to or being given inaccurate information designed to mislead me.

They have turned us into an "us" vs. "them" society. We let them get away with that and that is our biggest mistake. Our votes for the wrong people turned our congress into a dysfunctional mess run by special interests and money.

We did that to ourselves.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."


Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub tea party has been in involved two major home loan scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy. Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

The republican tea party have become masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans along the way.

What the Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush FINANCIAL Scandals http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Home Loan Scandal http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

All of the above displays reckless economic behavior that which drains the cookie jars.

What do Reagan,Bush and Bush tea party republicans plan for 2010? Start the typical repub character assassination campaign which in essence is a massive cover-up scheme for the financial disasters that illustrate how the repubs are NOT the financial giants of our time.

George Lippencott 8 years ago


My war was initiated and expanded by a democrat. Seems that both parties use force for different reasons - but they both use those Air Force bombers. Bombers also bring better paying jobs. If the government has the tresponsibility to produce "jobs" why not with bombers?

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

We know that everyone in Congress shares blame for the current economic crisis. You cannot gloss over this by blaming one political party over the other.

This came down to simple human greed and irresponsibility. Some would say the devil ran amuck because men with weak character did not stand up to temptation. Another explanation could be just lack of talent and skill. The "Peter Principle" put people with big egos and less than adequate brain power in places they didn't belong.

Not Republicans or Democrats. Just people with weak character who don't belong in congress.

independant1 8 years ago

The Lord split knowledge up among his subjects about equal. The so-called ignorant is happy. You think he is happy because he don’t know any better. Maybe he is happy because he knows enough to be happy. The smart one knows a lot. That makes him unhappy because he can’t impart it to his friends. Discontent comes in proportion to knowledge. (Will Rogers 8/32 cherokee 23/32 caucasion)

jafs 8 years ago

In the last 40-50 years, the ratio between top pay and average pay has greatly increased, although average productivity has increased as well.

So folks are working harder and better, but not being compensated adequately, while those at the top are raking in the bucks.

independant1 8 years ago

a conservative intellectual, Walter Williams, recently said about Free Markets pro rich or pro poor - The market is a friend in another unappreciated way. In poor black neighborhoods, one might see some nice clothing, some nice food, some nice cars but no nice schools. Why not at least some nice schools? Clothing, food and cars are distributed by the market mechanism while schools are distributed by the political mechanism.

jafs 8 years ago

I tire of the "jealousy" interpretation.

Most of the liberals I know are quite comfortable with their own financial well-being, as am I.

Our concern comes from the widening gap between the folks at the top and the rest of society.

CEO salary/benefit/severance packages are often guaranteed regardless of performance - how does that make any sense?

These are the same CEO's that led our financial system to a near meltdown.

Meanwhile unemployment is high, jobs are outsourced and gone forever, and many people can be fired or laid off without cause (may have been doing a great job) and without severance packages.

It seems wrong.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Well jafs, I agree with you - again. That said - I always have a side - why is most of what the current administration has done to "fix" this problem fallen on the middle and upper middle?

Obama Care = increases in insurance costs for the middle and upper middle who have insurance. Deficit = devaluation of the currency that affects the middle and upper middle who have modest savings. Uncertainty = A looming tax increase that inhibits investment impacting (in this case) the very people we are trying top help

Why do we not just eliminate the special treatment of stock options (they are after all income?) Why don't we just extend the current partially progressive income tax system to be consistently progressive (stop protecting the very rich) Why not extend the tax of social security to all income (including stock options). Along with this, cap the benefit at some reasonable level. Others - you specify

These actions would affect about 2% of the population and bring in a revenue increase of about 10-15%. Bill should take no more than 30 minutes on the floor given democratic majorities in both houses.

OOPs – this would impact big donors!! Could not even pull this off here but we could increase taxes on just about everybody but the really rich (excepting a few poor people).

jafs 8 years ago

Not a substantive response.

Stephen Roberts 8 years ago

Poor have nots - they will never be happy until they take everything from the haves. Poor people. I am a have but i am also hurting as well. I have to work more because we have not hired as many people. Life goes on.

jafs 8 years ago

Hard-working people like the CEO's who ran the auto companies into the ground?

Or the Enron executives?


independant1 8 years ago

America is a land of opportunity and don’t ever forget it. (Will Rogers)

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

Real Americans don't need to follow any politician.

They are supposed to be working for us.

Think about that awhile and ask yourself why you are now working for them.

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

I went to buy a concealed weapon the other day and had to listen to a lot of right wing bs, as I usually do, when associating with the gun guys.

I agree with a lot of what they say and like these guys, who usually are very intelligent. But it does not take long for the conversations to drift into the extremists territory where Obama is about the worst thing to happen since Castro took over Cuba.

How can really smart people be so dumb?

It is the poltical rhetoric of our time. The experts who get paid high dollars to get candidates elected, who write their speeches, who tell them what to say and what to wear. The army of phony journalists and columnists who are paid to repeat the slogans and zombie language of politics and deceive us into thinking they are smarter than us.

It is time to stop the bs.

The political parties have gotten to the point where they believe they can make you believe anything and you will buy it all, hook, line and sinker.

That is why the country has become so partisan and so much dumber than ever before even though we have more information than anyone in history. It is the greatest irony of our times. We are now literally tethered to these political parties, their special interests and their money.

PS: Having grown up with guns and gotten away from them, I now see the value in owning firearms. I reject the anti-gun point of view. I believe we live in a time when law abiding Americans who are so inclined and with proper training, should definitely know how to handle a gun and have the right to own one and carry one. I think this should be a states rights issue. But that is another story.

independant1 8 years ago

Fairness as equal treatment does not produce fairness as equal outcomes. The confusion between the two meanings of the same word has created enormous mischief, much of it at the expense of lagging groups, who have been distracted from the things that would enable them to catch up. And whole societies have been kept in a turmoil pursing a will o' the wisp in the name of "fairness." (Thomas Sowell)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.