Oh, you "poor" Americans

This thread is making me sick.

“Boo-hoo! I can only afford a two-bedroom apartment for myself”
“Boo-hoo! if you add in my cable and broadband costs, I’m living beyond my $20 000 income. Thank god for credit cards”
“Boo-hoo! My 30MPG car needs filling up twice a week”

You have no fucking clue what poverty is, do you? You pampered children!
Poverty is a one-room (NOT 1 bedroom, 1 room) tin shack for a family of 9. No toilet.
Poverty is walking 10km to work because you can’t afford the $0.20 for the bus
Poverty is having your one good meal for the day be the soup and bread you get at school.

And don’t give me shit about cost-of-living differences, either, I’m talking about the actual conditions poor people live in. “Electricity? Sewerage? Indoor running water? TV? Internet? Meat? Doctor? Dentistry? What’s that?”
Christ, I know of people who make $10 a day at hard physical graft and they are grateful.

I humbly propose “MrDibble’s First Law”:

“If you can afford to whine on the Internet about how poverty-stricken you are - you aren’t.”

I like it, with the corollary-or-whatever-you-call-it that makes an exception for people posting from public libraries. Who are there because it’s warm.

:dubious: And Americans are the only ones who do this?

In some respects you have a point. One should always be grateful for their blessings. However, people are always going to complain about their circumstances, and it is shameful that all affluent countries have people who are starving and people who drive Hummers.

I’m not a big fan of one-upmanship of suffering. Last time I checked, South Africa wasn’t exactly the poorest country in the world. Find the poorest slum over there in SA, and some person in DR Congo would give anything to be over there.

And I imagine your Internet connection is something you don’t “need”, correct?

It is true, for the most part the poorest folks in the United States live a lot better then the poorest folks of a lot of other countries. When I was at my most poor I never worried about starvation, lacking fresh water, sanitation, or having to walk 7.5 miles to work because I couldn’t afford transportation of some kind.

Still, I’ll complain about the price of gas because it has put a crimp in my cosmopolitan lifestyle. If I ever have to move to California I’ll bitch about the price of housing but ultimately I know I’m doing ok.


Because MrDibble is slagging off the whiners doesn’t make him a whiner himself.

That thread was about the definition of poverty in America. With the usual Canadia comparisons.

It wasn’t that people were complaining about their circumstances, which I can well relate to. It was that those circumstances were considered some kind of non-metaphorical poverty that got my goat.

Never said any different. someone in the DRC might not get a bus even if they had $0.20, for instance. But I’ve been in other parts of Africa, and outside of refugee camps, the conditions of South African poorest are pretty much the same as the rest of Africa. And that’s not something I’m proud of.

Nope, given that I make my living off of it, it is very much something I need.My SDMB subs might be a better example.

Not that I claimed personal poverty at any point, you know. So what your point was, I don’t know.

Hey, I’m all about the bitching, no problem with that. But you wouldn’t call it poverty, would you?

As an American I’ll admit that what you say has merit. But its the fact that you said “You pampered children!” as if we were all spolied brats, the entire country that bugs me. Especially since up until 1991 the majority of poverty stricken folks in South Africa probably got that way due to apartheid. 17 years later isn’t enough time to gain any “belittle another nations populace” points.

Thats sounded more confrontational than I had intended. Sorry about that.

Naah, not every American. Sorry if it came across that way.
I meant those who consider having only a 2-bed a/c apartment, 20" TV, dialup and basic cable, with only 1 car, and meat at only 1 meal, to be “poverty”

It’s not about belittling whole populaces it’s about impressing on some people what real, 3rd world style poverty is. It goes as much for Mumbai, or Rio, or rural Mississippi, as it does for Cape Town. I’m not saying there are no real poor in USA, for instance. I just doubt anyone posting to the Dope are it.

No, I got that, no worries.

Fair enough. It is nitpicking the definition of poverty, though. The thread was about poverty in America. The definition is different depending on where you are, but did anyone in that other thread ever make a direct comparison? I may have missed something but it just seems like the thread is a bunch of housing and gas price comparisons.


Most of what you’re describing is not the result of poverty per se. No water, no sewage, no food and no healthcare are the result of a lack of infrastructure. We have our dirt poor, but we also had programs like rural electrification, and the tattered remains of a New Deal safety net. Most of which was implemented 60 or 70 years ago when the U.S. was a hell of a lot poorer than it is today. Which makes me think a South African would do better to ask themselves why their poor have no running water than to whine about pampered Americans. Who, btw, on the pampered scale, are pikers compared to the Western Europeans (what with their free secondary education, universal healthcare, six week vacations and so on).

Corollary’s a good word. Mind you, if you can post from a public library then you surely have access to good sanitation and potable water for free, and probably have at least a railway arch or flyover to sleep under and people you can panhandle for food and old clothes, and quite likely casual labour within easy reach; all of which puts you some way ahead of the game as it is played by millions. :slight_smile:

1/ The poorest folk in the USA are the homeless and roofless. Their conditions are not disimilar to the poverty experienced by people in the third world, but with the added disadvantage of limited family and community ties.

Average age of death in the mid forties- hardly better than Africa.

2/ The Poor but housed:

· Almost a quarter of all black Americans live below the poverty line; 22 per cent of Hispanics fall below it. But for whites the figure is just 8.6 per cent.

· There are 46 million Americans without health insurance.

· There are 82,000 homeless people in Los Angeles alone.

· In 2004 the poorest community in America was Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Unemployment is over 80 per cent, 69 per cent of people live in poverty and male life expectancy is 57 years. In the Western hemisphere only Haiti has a lower number.

Quotes from the above:
The Lumpkins live at the definition of the back of beyond, in a hollow at the top of a valley at the end of a long and muddy dirt road. It is strewn with litter. Packs of stray dogs prowl around, barking at strangers. There is no telephone and since their pump broke two weeks ago Candy has collected water from nearby springs. Oblivious to it all, her five-year-old daughter Amy runs barefoot on a wooden porch frozen by a midwinter chill.

It is a vision of deep and abiding poverty. Yet the Lumpkins are not alone in their plight. They are just the negative side of the American equation. America does have vast, wealthy suburbs, huge shopping malls and a busy middle class, but it also has vast numbers of poor, struggling to make it in a low-wage economy with minimal government help.
Or they are people like Tammy Reinbold, 37. She works part-time and her husband works full-time. They have two children yet rely on the food handouts. ‘The church is all we have to fall back on,’ she says. She is right. When government help is being cut and wages are insufficient, churches often fill the gap. The needy gather to receive food boxes.

Some of those tragedies in Tulsa end up in the care of Steve Whitaker, a pastor who runs a homeless mission in the shadow of a freeway overpass.

Each day the homeless and the drug addicted gather here, looking for a bed for the night. Some also want a fresh chance. They are men like Mark Schloss whose disaster was being left by his first wife. The former Wal-Mart manager entered a world of drug addiction and alcoholism until he wound up with Whitaker. Now he is back on track, sporting a silver ring that says Faith, Hope, Love. ‘Without this place I would be in prison or dead,’ he says. But Whitaker equates saving lives with saving souls. Those entering the mission’s rehabilitation programme are drilled in Bible studies and Christianity.

Dealing with poverty is not a viable political issue in America. It jars with a cultural sense that the poor bring things upon themselves and that every American is born with the same chances in life. It also runs counter to the strong anti-government current in modern American politics. Yet the problem will not disappear. ‘There is a real sense of impending crisis, but political leaders have little motivation to address this growing divide,’ Cynthia Duncan says.

Save The Children works here. Though the charity is usually associated with earthquakes in Pakistan or famine in Africa, it runs an extensive programme in east Kentucky. It includes a novel scheme enlisting teams of ‘foster grandparents’ to tackle the shocking child illiteracy rates and thus eventually hit poverty itself.

In America, to be poor is a stigma. In a country which celebrates individuality and the goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity to make it big, those in poverty are often blamed for their own situation.*

I get that the amount of what constitutes poverty may vary. What I was appalled by, is the kind of conditions that would be considered "poverty", not what amount that might be.

It certainly read to me like some people were taking the conditions they may have endured as indicative of real poverty. YMMV, that’s OK.

potato, potato. The infrastructure’s there, but at a price. One of our worst shantytowns lines the freeway where SUVs drive to the international airport. We’re not talking the rural poor, here.

False dichotomy. I do my share and more of working for local equitable access to facilities. Doesn’t mean I can’t point out that some Americans are false martyrs.

Good thing I never said anything about the poor in Europe at all, did I? Because of course, I can only complain about one thing at a time, and that other thread was just overun by Europeans complaining about their abbysmal standard of poverty living, so this sentence is completely relevant.

Biullions, even. But still poverty, IMO.

Jeez, now that’s a lot of gold.