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Poverty In The United States

Updated on September 27, 2013

The Facts

49.7 million citizens in the United States are living at or below the poverty level, according to the latest Census Bureau statistics. That figures out to be 16% of the population.

The Census Bureau uses a standard called the poverty threshold when determining these figures. According to those calculations, the poverty threshold for one person in the United States is a yearly income of $11,170. For a family of four it is $23,050.

The states experiencing the worst poverty are California, the District of Columbia (yes, I know this is not a state), Florida, Arizona, and Georgia; the worst region is the Deep South.

Broken down by ethnic groups, Blacks experienced the worst rate of poverty, although for the first time in quite some time, their rate actually improved. They are followed closely by Hispanics.

Common sight in most major cities
Common sight in most major cities | Source
The facts
The facts | Source

The Reality of Those Figures

Let us take a look at that figure of $11,170. Imagine, for a moment, what your living expenses are. Of course, most people have rent and/or mortgage to pay; they then have payments for food, transportation, medical, and utilities.

Let’s just take an absurd figure for rent/mortgage; let’s say that this person pays $500 per month for somewhere to live, which basically means they are renting a room. That computes to $6,000 per year, leaving that person with $5,170 for food, transportation, medical, insurance, and utilities. Divide that by twelve and they have $430 per month for those additional expenses.

What say you? How about a single mother with one child? Well, their poverty level is $15,130. Do the math in your head and imagine raising a child on that amount of money. I can practically hear some of you saying “yes, I can imagine it, because I’m doing it right now.” Indeed, millions of single parents are doing it right now, to the best of their ability.

Now consider a single parent, with small child, who previously had a decent manufacturing job paying $30,000 per year, but who was recently laid off. He/she has some credit card debt, maybe a student loan, and everything was okay while they had that previous job. Unfortunately, when they were laid off, their income dropped by 50% but their bills remained the same.

Welcome to the United States of America in the year 2012.

The Snowball Effect

So now that parent or individual is looking at some serious problems. The bills won’t go away by themselves; they do not have some magical button to make the debt disappear. Their income can only rise if they can find a better job but oh, gosh, suddenly there are fewer and fewer jobs available. No problem, they can just work two jobs to make up the missed income.

So what do they do? Apply for food stamps? That is certainly an option, but an option that is embarrassing for many, practically degrading for some. They can, of course, try to find a second job, but now what about child care? Who will be the parent? So the child goes unsupervised in many households, and now we are looking at a whole new set of problems, with drugs and petty crime entering the picture.

Now multiply it all by 49.7 million and we have a country that is floundering. Now we have entire regions with a lower tax base, less services, less police and fire, sub-standard education, and around and around we go, and where it stops nobody knows.

An Over-simplification?

Of course, to a certain degree, the problems are much more complex, but sometimes we need to break it down to a level that everyone can comprehend. There are those out there who are so jaded that they refuse to see the problem as it exists. When one is making $75,000 per year, it’s a bit easier to discount these realities. I only have one question for the jaded out there: If you were to lose your job tomorrow, and had to get a job at McDonald’s, how do you think your financial situation would look in two months? Six months? One year? Considering your current level of debt and expenses, how fat and sassy would you be if you were suddenly making $11,170 flipping burgers?

The face of poverty
The face of poverty | Source

Food for thought

It Is Time for a Rant

This writer is not adversely affected by this current recession. Bev and I live at the poverty level, but we live frugally and we planned ahead, so we are certainly not the norm. Most people living at the poverty level are nowhere near as comfortable as Bev and I are, and it is for them that I write this rant.

Here is what I am tired of, in no particular order:

· I am tired of the fat and sassy pointing fingers at the poor saying that they are to blame for the nation’s problems.

· I am tired of elected officials in Washington D.C., who seem incapable of compromise or of working towards a solution, making $174,000 per year.

· I am tired of the narcissistic attitude that is pervasive in this country, the pretty people who are only concerned with themselves and couldn’t spell “compassion” if you held a gun to their heads.

· I am tired of the bigots who point to a minority and claim they are the reason this country is no longer strong and vibrant.

· I am tired of corporations selling out the American worker for larger profits.

· I am tired of hearing that the only thing poor people want is a hand-out.

· I am tired of the divisiveness in this country that has pitted the haves against the have-nots, or perhaps the rich against the poor, or the pseudo-intellectuals against those who did not receive an adequate education, or the whites against any minority.

· I am tired of hearing that the rich are to blame for all of our ills. It is high time each and every one of us accepted responsibility for the ills of this country.

· I am tired of citizens not being safe on the streets, and I am tired of abuse and violence.

· I am tired of rudeness and callousness, and I am tired of inadequate education.

· I am tired of veterans being ignored, and I am tired of the homeless being treated like lepers.

· Finally, I am tired of this once great nation crawling when we once reached for the stars.

Yes, I am tired of it all!

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Understand this well: We will not make it as a nation unless we learn to come together for a common purpose.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” King James Bible

It is time to stop acting like children, put away our childish differences, and begin walking the road of recovery as men and women.

It is time to drop the Party lines; this is bigger than Republicans, Democrats or whatever third party you choose; we are talking about the welfare and common good of all of our citizens. Why is this so hard to comprehend? When did we lose the ability to compromise?

In a nation of 310 million people, nearly 50 million of them are hanging by their fingernails, and it threatens to get worse.

There are certain species of animals and fish that eat their young. It is called filial cannibalism, and some theorize that it is nature’s way of insuring that the strong survive. I am beginning to believe that what we now see in the United States is a prime example of Darwinism, with the richest surviving and everyone else scrambling to avoid the tentacles of the Grim Reaper.

Right now someone is reading this and saying to themselves that it is not their concern. They are comfortable; they have a job and the bills are being paid and they live in a nice gated community, and quite frankly this stuff does not relate to their life. I have one thing to ask you: Have you lost your mind? Do you really believe that when 16% of the population cannot adequately provide for their most basic needs that it does not affect you? On an economic level it affects everyone; on a human level is should affect everyone.

Study history and you will see endless examples of the down-trodden rising up in revolution because of deplorable living conditions. Do you think it can’t happen in the United States, a country born from the womb of revolution?

I do not advocate revolution; I deplore violence. However, in a class battle, I can say emphatically that I will side with the poor each and every time, simply because this nation is only as strong as our weakest link, and right now we have nearly fifty million weak links.

Sit with me awhile

Final Thoughts

I truly am not conducting a crusade against the rich or for that matter against corporations. This country was built on capitalism and it is not, inherently, an evil system. I am, however, conducting a crusade against selfishness and greed, and I am calling on all of you to do your part to lend a hand to your fellow citizens.

Do not tell me how this is President Obama’s fault; I do not want to hear it. Do not tell me how this is President Bush’s fault; I do not want to hear it. We are far beyond the blame game at this point. We need to come together for the common good, or we will fall together. Tell me how you are going to be a part of the solution, and I will stand by you, regardless of your social status, political leanings, or race.

I am a human being. You are human beings. Let’s work together now, as human beings, for the human race!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Efficient, we are two years from that exact thing happening. The countdown has begun. :) Best of luck to you my friend. We have worked hard enough and it's time to enjoy the simple things in life.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      That is my goal for retirement - to be at a point where I don't need much and don't have high rent or mortgage to keep a roof over my head and then live comfortably on less money. Sounds like a good plan to me. Since getting older I feel like I just don't want "stuff" anymore and hate shopping. That's a good place to start I guess!! :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Efficient, I can live on that amount but I am a special case. I marvel at how some people get by with kids...it is damn near impossible to do. :) Thank you for the visit.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      In most larger cities where the unemployment rate is lower, $23,050 for one person wouldn't even come close to being enough to support oneself.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lone77star, thank you! An excellent comment and one I happen to agree with. I have believed for quite some time now in positive thoughts in and positive actions out.

      I would remark more my friend but my mind is on Connecticut tonight.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write a positive and empowering comment.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Billybuc, a great analysis and some compelling statistics.

      I also believe in individual responsibility. That's always the best place to start. But I think it's also important to be aware of the mechanics of any failure in order more optimally to fix that failure. Kicking your dog won't fix your flat tire.

      I was recently reminded of a long known, but too narrowly disseminated fact, that what you put your attention on you get. Jesus talked about this when he spoke of faith and reaping what you sow. I've experienced many miracles that broke the laws of physical reality, so I have been quite ready for the wisdom I only recently learned in a full and rewarding manner. I'm talking about the Law of Attraction. I've used it my entire life and didn't know what it was called. I found the love of my life by changing a year's feelings of loneliness and frustration to feelings of being "in love" -- this only days before she first contacted me. And prosperity is just as accessible.

      Mother Teresa once said that she would never attend an Anti-War Rally, but she would welcome attending a Peace Rally. The difference may appear trivial, but in the realm of creation, it's as big as the Himalayas.

      Your focus on poverty, difficulties and problems is all based on true facts, but any condition persists if the focus of attention is only on reality. Change is possible through Faith (perfection of confidence) in things unseen. That's how Peter was able to step out of his storm-tossed boat in order to stand for a moment on the unsettled Sea of Galilee. Only doubt (one of the weapons of ego) ruined his moment of miraculous bliss.

      The self-made millionaires use this all the time. They not only think positive thoughts, but they feel them in their bones. They live them.

      The truly adept at this, fear not being generous with their abundance, because all abundance springs from an infinite source. Generosity only strengthens their abundance, because it focuses only on abundance for everyone. Those who are stingy are focusing on scarcity and they will receive their reward of scarcity in due time.

      So, my suggestion is to focus only on abundance (not scarcity), and prosperity (not poverty).

      I love how you introduce hate, but then turn the focus toward love. That's the idea. That's the seed being planted.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, it is a shame and quite sad. Thank you once again for stopping by.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most interesting and quite a surprise to me knowing how most people want to live the American dream. It is really a shame!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, where did we go indeed! I know about being busy; let's both of us get caught up and then we'll chat. :) Thanks buddy!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I'll keep this short as I am so far behind. I think the lopsided income in America is disgusting. We no longer have a middle class. Our people are either filthy rich, boasting their greed, or painstakingly poor. Something's got to be done! Where did we go?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pamela, we are in complete agreement. I do believe there are people who do not want to work, but we will never know until there is a job available to everyone who does want to work. Raise a person's self-esteem and you go a long way towards raising a person out of the muck and mire of poverty. Thank you!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I am playing catch up with some of the hubs due to a house full of company and sending my mother off in an ambulance. I agree that we need to work together and political affiliation should be irrelevant. I believe poor education is part of the problem and not everyone wants to go to college, but they need job training programs. We also need jobs! People need to have the dignity of being able to support themselves when possible and we need to make sure we care for those who cannot. We need to spend money more wisely. Some of the government expenditures seem crazy when there are bridges and roads that need repair for example. Together we can accomplish so much more than doing anything alone. I love your rant and it is inspiring as a call to action.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Levertis, it is nice to see you again. Thank you for the visit and the great comment. Unfortunately you are correct...selfishness and greed do abound in this country. People think if they are not poor then it does not affect them; I'm not sure where they learned their economics but they could not be further from the truth. Perfectionist? That's an interesting statement; if someone asked me, I would say no in a knee-jerk reaction. However, regarding this country and its social woes, I am afraid I might be looking for perfection where none exists. :) Thank you for sharing!

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      I do appreciate your writing about poverty in the US. It is serious and real among working and non-working people.

      I am listing a few of your powerful points:

      "It is high time each and every one of us accepted responsibility for the ills of this country."

      "Understand this well: We will not make it as a nation unless we learn to come together for a common purpose."

      "Do not tell me how this is President Obama’s fault; I do not want to hear it. Do not tell me how this is President Bush’s fault; I do not want to hear it. We are far beyond the blame game at this point. We need to come together for the common good, or we will fall together. Tell me how you are going to be a part of the solution, and I will stand by you, regardless of your social status, political leanings, or race."

      You seem like a perfectionist. You like to do things carefully, right and well. You think hard and use a lot of common sense, and you care for the common good. Unfortunately, too many people do not think like that. Selfishness abounds.

      After reading this hub, I felt as if I had listened to a powerful sermon, and I only want to be a part of the solution. I firmly believe that if one feels a burden for the betterment of his country, keeps a level head and a sharp eye, he will soon realize what he can do personally to help the situation. It could be as simple as avoidance of being a part of the problems such as the grievances you have written above.

      Thanks for sharing such insightful and valuable information. I must share it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I agree with you. Most people just want to work; they feel better about themselves when they do, and I do believe we have set up a system that enables taking freebies.

      I appreciate you, but then you probably know that by now. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Outstanding thoughts. It is a shame how much poverty is in our country. I think the government would do so much better by the people if they invested more in job training, skills, etc.. than just outright suppporting people. I think the government enables people to live in poverty. So much more can be done to give people the skills, knowledge, and opportunity to rise above poverty. Great thoughts here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rachel, you were missed, and I and several others were wondering where you disappeared to. :) I'm so happy you found another job so quickly, and I am hoping that your dream will come true in 2013. Yes my dear, keep working hard; I know you will pull this off. :) Thank you for visiting with your limited time.

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome hub, awesome rant. "Welcome to the United States of America in the year 2012." Yup. I wish I was older, and had lived through different times in this country. The farm I work for is suffering so badly that my pay had to be reduced by half, though I've been able to retain my onsite housing (thank god). Even with this hardship, I am constantly aware of how blessed I am. The situation with my pay has forced me into other work, which is why I am not on hubpages much any more - in case you were wondering where I've been! But how lucky am I that I even found another job so quickly, so help make up for my lost income??

      Anyway, if I didn't have the goal in mind of A Farm of My Own, I really don't know what I would be working for right now! My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling to make ends meet, not just during the holiday season but all year long. Good point about our elected officials and their salaries. Here's to better days ahead!

      As for me, all I can do is keep working hard, and then work harder, and put those pennies by for the coming of 2013 when (hopefully) I'll be relocating to a more promising and rewarding situation.

      Great hub Bill!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Louisa, it may be hard to admit, but I think we all understand your statement. I see it daily here as well and I cringe and then hurry to the safety of my home.

      Thank you for your honesty and for being who you are!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dexter, I am proud to have you on "our" team. Thank you my friend and have a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, thank you so much, and I wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. I might add, thank you for the wonderful work you have done in education. We are a better nation because of you. :)

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Bill, ten years ago we moved from one of the wealthiest counties in California to one of the poorest. Poverty is "in my face" in a way that it has never been before, at least not in this country. Before, I saw it from the insulation of a car window, or when I volunteered, safely returning to my home at the end of the day. In Eureka, you can't avoid it, and it's tough to face. Not pretty. It's mixed up with meth and people sleeping on streets and mental illness and anger. All that said, the community we live in is a very generous and caring one. Sometimes, though, and this is hard to admit, I just don't want to see it. It was easier being in denial.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

      Billybuc! You are da man! I intend to do my part - being kind to my fellow man (and woman), extending a helping hand and cheering on those that are trying to make it, by encouragement. I will be happy to do more as needed.

      I'm on your team!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I agree whole heardedly with your message, Bill. We have got to stop blaming each other and work together for the common good of all human beings. Our neighbor is out of a job so he is now sealing driveways for fellow neighbors. Resourceful and not resorting to government handouts! Happy Thanksgiving, Bill & Bev -- in case I don't get back on here this week. God bless you richly for what you are doing for society.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Healthy, I don't believe for a second that things are getting better in this nation. I think the government would want us to believe that, but I don't.

      Just a side note; Bev has a fifteen year old daughter who lives with us. It is not easy, and we have had some months when we didn't know how we were going to get it done....but so far we have been blessed.

      Thank you my friend and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love that you give a voice to so many that are suffering in this economy. The situation seems to be getting worse even if the news claims there is an improvement. I have to point out that where I live 75,000 does not go far. Happy that you and Bev are not impacted by this economy. I think it may be a little easier to deal when you don't have children living at home that you are responsible for. I appreciate that you do point out the realities of childcare because it's hard to find a part time job around school hours in the real world. Thank for making others aware because that is the first step toward change!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rhonda, I greatly appreciate you following me and buying my book. It's a bit different from anything I have written on HP, as you will soon find out. :)

    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Well, you're doing a great job raising awareness. I've learned new things reading your hub and some of the replies. And I love the way you reply to everyone personally. Guess I'll be following you now.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rhonda, a great message and then you had me sadly laughing with your last comment.

      I don't know what to do other than raise awareness and try to prod people into action. I am that nagging fruit fly that won't leave people alone. :)

    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Yes, Billybuc. I absolutely agree with you. So many of us are looking for a messiah. The one person with the one plan that will solve all our problems. But like the saying goes, I can't do everything, but I can do something. I am only one person, but I am one. I saw a group of young men standing in front of the supermarket making money by carrying folk's groceries to their cars. I had a friend who was temporarily homeless who washed tires rather than beg. I myself pay my apartment manager's 16 year old sen $10 a month to carry my garbage to the dumpster. Of course, $10 is not something I can wink at, but it's important to me to make this investment in my community.

      A poor man is a man who can't afford to start his own business but can afford to buy ring tones.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I know you are; I'm going to have to give this more thought and hope my old brain doesn't overload. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I am READY....Throw me a responsibility or 2!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I have never understood this way of thinking. Whenever budget cuts have to be made, it is always to education and social services. What's up with that b.s.? The thinking is back-ass-wards in this country, and it is going to rise up and bite some people in the butts if it doesn't end.

      Thank you as always my friend; you are appreciated greatly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you so much! I love the message; now how do we make it happen?

      Have a very Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, you know I am a huge believer in dreams.....hell, I've never seen a dream I didn't like.....I'm simply bamboozled right now as to how to go about it. I'm working on it....you know I don't give up......we can make a difference....we are making a difference.....I just need to work harder and smarter. :)

      Thanks buddy; we'll stay in touch on this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rhonda, you are preaching to the choir with this great comment. We have the ability to put millions back to work within weeks; we can create jobs overnight to repair the infrastructure in this country....and yet we don't. I'm with you; now we have to convince millions more. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pinappu, thank you for a powerful statement and I agree...shame on all of us for allowing this to happen. Further shame if we do nothing about it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      phoenix, here's hoping that our two countries reach their potential in the near future. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I used to take my students to the Food Bank to volunteer, and it was, indeed, an awareness raising event. Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Honey, bless you for the work you are doing. You just brought a smile to my face; it helps knowing there are others who care enough to help in any way possible. Blessings to you and may you have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bravo, Billy!

      "It is time to drop the Party lines; this is bigger than Republicans, Democrats or whatever third party you choose; we are talking about the welfare and common good of all of our citizens. Why is this so hard to comprehend? When did we lose the ability to compromise?"

      It is time to drop the "us versus them," which is so evident in politics today, as well as this "social divide." I loved this hub.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You write this rant at a time when I just read in our local paper that a local soup kitchen will no longer be open for breakfast because they don't have the funds....and what happens to the people who were eating there? Where do they go? We need to wake up as a nation..."he ain't heavy, he's my brother"...we are all brothers and it is time to start thinking that way and helping our brother....no more trying to be the king of the hill....time to share a commonality where everyone eats every day....time to make sure everyone has clothing and a warm place to live....with freedom comes responsibility and our responsibilityt is to make sure our neighbors are eating and cared for....I could go on but I think you get the gist of my feelings.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Reaching MILLIONS....even billions is directly in front of us.....literally "at our fingertips." If a You Tube video of a baby laughing, some one singing, or bullies kicking a victim, can receive millions of hits in a DAY........there should be no question as to how to reach billions.. You are very wise, though, to mention "momentum" and continuance of a "movement." Can we entertain the fact that movements are OJT? learn and grow as you go? Do they not, if powerful enough, take on a life of their own. As "it" spreads and people SEE and wake up.and become motivated....focused....more and more individuals who "get it," proceed to carry it further and more powerfully.

      Perhaps I am dreaming. I've been lead to believe that everything worthwhile to humanity, begins with a dream.

    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Barbara Kay, I am thinking we need to establish jobs here. Those corporations that moved to China have no allegiance to the United States and will only come back when we get rid of the unions, stop demanding clean safe working environments and allow them to pay us just enough so we can't claim to be slaves. Do we really want something that's good for the economy but not good for the people? Why is no one questioning the need to sacrifice one for the other?

      America wasn't built on big corporations. It was built on small enterprises. I read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and was amazed at how different what they did is from what we are now told is the American way.

    • pinappu profile image

      pinappu 4 years ago from India

      Circa 2312, a boy studying history is wondering how primitive and cruel was the human societies and cultures of the 21 st century were. There was a country with $41,560 per capita income but with millions of people without food or shelter. It was the richest and most powerful country of the world where people can not get treatment for lack of money! No, the situation is same almost everywhere in the world. What a shame on us as a generation or group of generations.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You could easily have been speaking about the UK. We too need to stop blaming others and do our bit to make Britain Great again.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I am very proud of SF's Food Bank. If I were well, I would be taking my youth groups there for the great awareness raising program.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Great hub! I feel the same way and I have a petition going with change.org and also petitions.whitehouse.gov to make the changes I think will start to bring people out of poverty. One of the petitions is on my poverty hub if you care to sign it. I appreciate your passion in getting this view out and you are not alone in feeling sick and tired of poverty getting worse instead of better. I hope together we can open some eyes and hearts to people who will help make the changes for the better. Thanks for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Ruby, I see very clearly, but seeing and changing are two different things. I hope our President accomplishes all the great things that are possibilities. I am rooting for him.

      And thank you my friend; I hope you have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love it when you rant, but surely you must see that our collapse started when bush started a war and used our surplus, to fight a war that was disconnected and unholy, plus giving the one percent a tax break. We are beginning to see a president in action who will repeal tax breaks for the rich and will bring peace through engaging talks with countries who , like us love freedom. I surely love your hubs. Thank you..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasta, thank you for an excellent comment. I always love to get a different perspective from someone traveling through this country. I am a big believer in farming, too. Many who could, don't, for whatever reason. I have the feeling, my friend, that many more are going to see the wisdom in farming in the near future here in America.

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      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for saying something. During the presidential debates there was no mention of the poor. It was all about the middle class and the rich. You never hear nothing about the poor in media either. All the sit-coms are based on the middle class.

      Recently travelling through America, I had to go through some poor communities. I was very shocked at the living conditions. It was very similar to the urban ghettos of Jamaica.

      The difference between the American and Jamaican poor I observed was that the American poor are unable to grow food because of the cold weather or do not have access to fertile soil. The Jamaican poor are also willing to pool together in large groups to cook dinner. The American poor are more individualistic and spend their last money with Walmart.

      I am a strong believer in a farming agenda. Nobody wants to grow food and build their houses any more.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I hope you read this before your head explodes. :)

      I don't know dear friend. I keep hearing about these movements that start ground level and then gather momentum and go viral and suddenly they involve millions, but I don't know how to do that. I know how to write....I know how to motivate people and I know how to engage them and pull at their hearts....but I don't know how to reach millions. :) Believe me when I tell you that this is my greatest frustration....I'm not doing enough and I don't know how to change it.

      Anyway, buddy, rest well tonight. Tomorrow is a new battle, plus all the old ones, and we need to be strong.

      Thank you!

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, thank you for sharing that personal information. Bev quit her job of thirteen years a year ago....at my insistence....she was wearing down physically and it was hurting her health. So she was then out of work for six months, and we couldn't have made it without food stamps. Now she is working again, but I'll be damned if I'll feel bad about getting food stamps after working hard for forty-five years.

      How is that possible in this country, that someone who works that long and that hard needs assistance just to eat?

      Okay, I'm done with my rant. Thank you again; I appreciate you more than you know!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, I abhor the idea of revolution, but I feel something bubbling up from the depths of this country, and it won't stay sealed forever. The "Occupy Wallstreet" movement, which has horribly organized but still managed to garner quite a showing, was just the tip of the iceberg.

      Great question on Mexico! Where did all that money go? And could we just give up on the War on Drugs in Mexico; all we are doing is lining the pockets of our paid informers, who obviously have their own goals in mind.

      Now I'm upset! LOL Thanks buddy!

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      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill, Just win the lottery and give it to the Chinese. That should stop all our problems! Big business has been doing it for years, and Mexico has also been a recipient. Just out of curiosity, if moving a plant to Mexico was so beneficial to big business, why are so many illegal aliens coming from Mexico into the United States? The first place I saw the high greed concept showed up was in car dealerships. When daddy owners gave the dealership to their children, salespersons contracts were changed to give a larger part to the new owner. It's now such a common practice that it's uncommon for someone to make any money in the lower ranks. The whole thing still boils down to the "me" generation only caring about itself. Until this changes to the "we" generation, we're not going to see change. Plus, it has become a global problem. Perhaps, revolution is the answer. I don't advocate violence either, but I'm beginning to wonder if there's any other way. Good questions, my friend. I wish I had a magic crystal ball that could provide the answers.

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      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Bill- I agree 1000% . I can't tell you how disgusted I was months ago when my husband had gone permanent at his job and received his first check from the actual company and at the time he didn't have a bank account so went to the bank that was on the check and I couldn't believe that they charged him 6.00 to cash the check even though the check was drawn from THAT bank. I thought to myself how greedy and disgusting that was especially since he didn't get paid much to begin with anyway. Whoever is getting that 6.00 is taking 6.00 that could buy a couple of cartons of milk or a small pack of diapers. Six bucks is a lot of money to some people. It's robbery and I'm sick of it. Who the heck is getting all that money? I bet they don't even know how much a carton of milk is.

      Whew... OK... just breath....LOL! At least he has a job and I am grateful for that... he was unemployed for over a year prior to finally getting this last job. Poverty really is a problem and I'm so sick of hearing about people complain that people want hand outs. We had to get on assistance at one point and it was humbling but we HAD TO... or else we didn't know where our next meal was coming from and that's a hell of a place to be when you have a little one.

      Great hub, Bill... voting up, useful.. everything and sharing.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....ohhh, bill. Here I am, after a long and busy day, thinking I might kick back and begin to unwind.....and then, along came bill.

      I must tread carefully here.....you've lit the "fire-of-the-crazy-woman." Whenever I must face these realities, what I struggle with most, is my feeling of helplessness and frustration. Being one person...and a-not-so-powerful or influential one, at that.....angers me. For all that I know I may be able to do...to REALLY make a larger and more profound difference than the small, occasional smidgeons of help I offer. Then, I look closely and see all of the FAT CATS...who are more than able to do what I WISH I could do....but I don't see them doing...or giving...nor even caring. This is when the boiling begins.

      I am filled with shame. The shame, that in this country....The U.S of America, we have so many hurting, struggling....starving. While, only to add to our rage, our government hands over BILLIONS to foreign countries.......countries who despise us and wish us dead.

      And...it's time for me to close...because I swear to God, I feel the top of my head will explode. It's that frustration and that helplessness.

      What can we do? What sort of peaceful and powerful movement can be initiated?.......Just a thought, bill....what about a letter....an extensive, explicit letter, signed by thousands and thousand and sent to every local, State and Federal agency, politician....in every corner of this country? Doesn't everything have to begin somewhere, somehow?..........s i g h

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, your first statement is a beauty....helping short term is not taking care of the problem, and the problem just keeps getting worse. We need jobs....we need education....and we need awareness.

      Thank you my friend and I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      I give to the food banks and the homeless shelters, but this isn't taking care of the problem. We need to get jobs back from China.

      The charge card debt that some people carried was crazy too and that spend, spend, spend attitude needs to change.

      We didn't have much money when we were young and from that we learned how to save now. We need to share with the young our frugal ways and teach them how to make do with what they have.

      Great article Billybuck!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rhonda, bravo! I have great faith in myself, and now, after reading this, I have enormous faith in you, and others like you. I have lived on $700 per month. Not comfortably but I know I can do it, and I know the sacrifice it requires, and the determination not to give up. Thank you for sharing your story; hopefully others will read your comment as they visit here.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You know, Julie, American politics used to be different. Back in the 60's and 70's, Congress came together and compromised on important issues. There was little of this stonewalling and refusing to budge on issues. Now that's all the politicians care about....their way or the highway!

      Judging from the new reports, things definitely aren't much better in the UK.

      Anyway, thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I completely agree with this comment. Everyone I know who is a quality person probably thinks this is aimed at them. LOL In truth, just as you said, the people who need to change their ways are the ones who think this doesn't apply to them. Sigh! IT APPLIES TO ALL OF US! We are floundering; why is that so hard to see for some folks?

      Anyway my dear, I'm sorry you have such a tough week; sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy some soft music for the soul.

      Hugs and appreciation always,

      billy..........you and Eddy are the only two good online friends who still call me Billy instead of Bill....I like that you do.

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy

      Great job as always. I believe those of us who read this and feel guilty are probably the ones who try to do something. Those who read this and have a feeling of "not my problem" are the very ones who should be affected by this hub but probably won't even blink an eye.

      Hard week and I am tired but you always nurture my soul. For that, I love ya.

      Beckie XO

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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Well said Bill! Things are not much different here in the UK but the welfare system here is probably better than the USA, though there is squeeze on that too at the moment. Politicians will never stand together and engage with one another for the good of the many - they will always fight on party lines and claim their way is best. The trouble is the time they spend arguing with one another could be better spent sorting out the issues and helping those so badly in need. And this wasn't a rant Bill, you are passionate about these things - good on ya!

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      Rhonda D Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Yes, the Constitution says we the people, not I the president.

      My income is roughly $700 a month. But with the way I handle money, if I were up there with you guys at the poverty threshold, I'd be living high on the hog.

      I believe in myself, although with my dual disabilities, I haven't had much success convincing employers to believe in me. So what do I do? Contrary to what the media would have us believe, I do not just sit at home soaking up taxpayer money and contributing nothing. I am a writer and have used my skill to contribute emotionally and intellectually to the world. I use today's technology to accommodate my visual and hearing impairments, to learn computer programming and website design so that I am among the 5% of the global population that is computer literate and internet savvy.

      Not bragging. Just sharing because I have every excuse to fail and very few would blame me if I gave up. I'm not particularly strong. I have a PhD in procrastination and am often frustrated by the littlest thing. Yet, people are inspired by me so whenever I sit down, going over in my mind what I will tell people about why I couldn't do something, the thought appalls me and I rise up.

      I believe in myself. I believe in you, I believe in America

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Elle, thank you! I have been living frugally for so long, now, that is seems normal. :) I hope you are right about the poor people.

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      elle64 4 years ago from Scandinavia

      I hope you get less tired of everything, but living frugally gets tiredsome too, I send you love and light, and I hope America will be a better place to live for poor people.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, one of your last statements was one of the most powerful. Frugality is no longer a choice.

      I hate seeing a company like Hostess go under, for whatever reason. To me it is symbolic of all that is wrong with this country. Stalwarts of the economic landscape are going under because we forgot some valuable economic lessons over the years. Until we remember them I think we are in for much more of the same.

      I hope this finds you happy my friend; have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

      hugs and appreciation coming your way

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, and Deb, great job on Boomer Lake yesterday. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, you are right of course. I just chose to pick on my country, but the truth is that this is a global economy, and what happens to one of the players happens to all of them. If Greece goes under we feel it here in the U.S., and so it goes around the globe.

      I took a week off from passion; maybe it all just bubbled out in this one. :) Thank you Jo!

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Amen!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you so much! I'm afraid I don't have the patience to work with these elected officials. I'll keep trying to raise awareness and little by little maybe we can change it all.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Poolman, good to see you again. I am so far beyond the blame game at this point. It makes no difference to me who got us in this mess; I now just want solutions.

      Thank you Sir! I always appreciate you stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I love it! You are cracking me up! Honestly, I have no problem saying goodbye to those who don't want to be a part of this country. Have a nice trip and don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out. As for blowing them off the map....hmmm....maybe just a tad harsh. LOL

      Thank you for a great laugh today; the underlying point, of course, is that this nonsense has to end if we are to ever be a strong nation again.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, this article must be your most passionate and powerful yet. lets hope the people are listening.

      This symptoms of decay selfishness and greed is not solely a US problem. Many European countries are teetering on the very edge. The people who believe that their money will always protect them are living on another planet. I hope something can be done before the situation becomes more desperate. A great piece of work my friend.

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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, we need more people like you running this country and making decisions. I too am tired of all of this. Most of us are one pink slip away from falling into a financial abyss. I don't know how to fix all of this but I do know one thing, we need to stand together and united to fix this mess that we created.

      Very well said my friend.

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      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Yes, Bill, I wonder how the poverty level income would sustain the fat cats in America today. Who decides these abysmal numbers and how does anyone pay the basics with the mathematics called abject poverty? It appears that another 18,000 employees, some who have worked at Hostess all their lives, will now join the unemployment lines. And, upper management had the audacity to blame the strikers as the reason for liquidation of the company. The workers were protesting the mismanagement of company funds. I've heard rumors for at least a year that the company was going under. There are no logics that the haters will listen to. Though I believe in democracy, I had to stop reading the relentlesss hate speech that comprised opinions regarding all things political during the election campaign. I believe in free speech, but not abuse. Differences in opinions received a barrage of name-calling that became a vicious cycle of hate...on both sides. Serious issues were critiqued by a playground full of childish bullies. If our future is our children, they are watching and learning the very lessons that parents claim they abhor. Sadly, we have become a nation of bullies. The world has changed. Our leaders, lawmakers, and business politics are bought. The new way of life demands that we take care of ourselves. It is no wonder that crime is rampant. Once the jails are full and money has little or no value, anarchy is not far behind. I have come to these conclusions by how my life has changed and, despite propaganda to the contrary, layoffs are still happening. At best, a strong economy remains a distant hope. Frugality is no longer a choice. Thank you for your compassionate work to enlighten in the direction that our new reality demands, Bill.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Bill, this hub should be required reading for everyone in America, followed by a test to see if they truly understood what you had to say.

      A large part of our problems of today is apathy and division. Apathy in that we don't demand performance from our elected representatives, and the growing divide between the citizens of this once great country. Until we join forces and start pulling together all we can hope for is more of the same.

      Thanks for writing and sharing this.

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      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      I agree 100%, friend Billybuc. I’m tired of all the bellyaching from the rich, from the Tea Partyers, and from the intellectually challenged in general. I count my blessings now because I am comfortable, not rich, but comfortable. I have a good job for which I am thankful, and we plan wisely how to spend our dollars. But it wasn’t always that way. I know what it is to go hungry, so I try to share a little every now and then with the local food bank, Meals on Wheels, and the animal shelters. I would never oppose or try to impede Obamacare because as a single mother raising two boys, the kids and I were always uninsured. Luckily, we never had anything major to happen, but we have had repercussions from our lack of good dental care.

      I have a suggestion: Let’s set aside a section of the United States, and allow these secessionists to secede and set up their own government, no taxes, no beholden to the government, no government help, and see how long they survive on their independence. There would be only one condition, if they start hostilities toward any of their neighboring states, with or without foreign help, the USA would blow them off the map. What say ye? Am I too harsh?

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Doc! :)

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Thanks for your kind words. I admire & respect u as a writer too.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, it's going to take creative thinking like that to get us out of this mess. I know you know firsthand about this, as do I, and I am tired of seeing this epidemic go unchecked.

      Thank you buddy; I hope you are all.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I concur with that statement. I also believe that people are terribly afraid that it could happen to them, so it's like see no evil, hear no evil....as you said, don't acknowledge it and it might go away.

      Thank you my friend.

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      This is 100% right on Bill. What would happen if the banks took the hundreds of thousands of homes that they have foreclosed on, and donated them to a charity that provided homes for the poverty level and homeless people of this country. What would happen if that charity sold a portion of those homes, and used that money to pay the poor and homeless to facilitate the upkeep and structure of this project?

      Maybe we should start a petition to the banks and gather signatures!

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      chrisnstar 4 years ago

      It was interesting that I found your Hub today and I just today published a Hub about my recent exerience hoping to inspire people not to give up. http://chrisnstar.hubpages.com/hub/Much-to-be-Than... I have also witten hubs about poverty and prejudice toward poor people. I think some people look at poverty as a disease. If they don't acowlede it and don't get involved, they won't catch it....

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Highland, thank you, and thank you for the following.

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      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Well Said.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I like you more with each new day. Beautiful comment, one of compassion, wisdom, and empathy. No wonder I call you a friend; I like to surround myself with quality people.

      I'll keep up the fight, Liz! It is frustrating and at times depressing, and it seems it does not good at times, but I will keep up the fight.

      Thank you my dear friend! Now, on a brighter note, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I don't know how anyone could not notice what is happening around them....anyone with compassion that is. I have dear friends who can barely come up with food each day....that is a horrible way to live, and it shouldn't happen in this country. I'll keep up the fight knowing there are people like you who are listening. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I was homeless at one time too, so I'm with you in this fight. I'm truly sorry for your recent downturn, and you are oh so right....everyone is one illness, paycheck, or accident away from the same experience that you and I have had.

      Blessings to you my friend, and thank you.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Buddhism says that there is no way to achieve happiness, either for yourself or those around you, without compassion. America has planted and nurtured this individualistic attitude of "every man for himself", so is it any wonder that everyone is so miserable and chronically depressed?

      It is that "we built it" way of thinking (didn't you just love that bs?) that is ruining us. Every single person in this country is where they are right now because of other people, including those well below the poverty level. You didn't pick or package your food, you didn't make the fabric that covers your back, you didn't create the building materials that make up your house, etc.

      We owe it to our children to get rid of this stinking attitude that is eating away at us like a disease. Stop the blame game! You are so right on, Bill. Stop looking at others to blame because that keeps us from moving forward. Holding each other accountable will truly push us forward.

      Keep fighting the good fight, my dear friend. You are one of the few good ones we have left.

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      Mary Merriment 4 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      I am so glad to see someone who could put into words the exact thoughts that I have running through my mind every day. Thank you!

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      chrisnstar 4 years ago

      Well said! I am a college educated woman with an impressive work resume. I've done all the things society told me to do. Got married, raised children, worked hard, owned my own home. Things started spiraling down in 2007 when I got divorced. In 2010 I lost a job I loved. In June 2012, at age 60, I found myself penniless, homeless and living in a park in 105F heat. Poverty can happen to anyone! If you think your life is great and those "poor people" are to blame for their own situations, think again. Everyone is one payceck, one accident, one disease, one moment away from losing everything. Thank you for your great up. Voted up.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, I hear you; living at poverty level is challenging at best and downright depressing at worst. I wish you well my friend, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, I don't know why our leaders don't ask you and I for solutions. It seems so simple to me; we are already in debt....might as well increase it and get some of these infrastructure projects going....after we survive the deadline of course.

      Thank you my friend and have a great Thanksgiving!

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      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Bravo! I agree with you 100% Bill. This country is on a dangerous downward slide unless we all pull together to turn things around. It is shameful that so many of us live are living at the poverty level. Excellent hub!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, that is the truly frightening thing: compared to developing nations, our problem with poverty seems insignificant, and yet it is very real for those trying to take care of their children. Thank you for caring so much; just another reason why I respect you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mandy, I'm not sure how we are going to turn this around, but I'm positive it will not be by blaming each other. A new revolution will happen if change does not occur. I hope I'm wrong but I doubt that I am.

      Blessings to you during this holiday season.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, you just touched upon something that is becoming more and more the norm. Because people have no negotiating rights, they are asked to do much more for the same small pittance. And...it will only get worse.

      I feel for you my friend, and I wish you the best. You can bet my rants will continue! Thank you!