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Four Changes to Reduce Poverty

Updated on April 21, 2017
Source

Eliminating the need for government assistance

Most people living in poverty today are those who are unemployed, those who have inadequate employment or retirement funds and those who do not receive the child support they are entitled to receive from adults who are responsible for their well-being. Changes must be made within government policies regarding education and training, minimum wage, part-time vs. full-time employees; and also, child support laws. Without change, forty years from now, panhandlers and food crawlers will be commonplace on every street corner and in all neighborhood alleyways. Four changes in governmental policies that will offset this inevitable fate are to incorporate limits to the number of part-time employees companies are allowed to hire and to require companies to provide benefits to the ones they do, to offer community based programs to educate and train unemployed and under-employed individuals, to increase the minimum wage to a living wage based on a realistic budget in each state, (with tax breaks for small business owners to offset the expense to them and to encourage manufacturers of goods sold to smaller businesses to give discounts to help offset small business employee expenses) and to instill more stringent child support laws while also putting more resources into the enforcement of them.

Finding a decent, full-time job these days is about as likely as finding a million dollar money-order in your mailbox addressed to you. You can hope for it until you’re blue in the face, but most likely, it’s not going to happen. Most companies avoid paying insurance premiums, vacation, holiday, sick pay, and pension investments for many of their employees by working them part-time. In addition, prices continue to rise while minimum wage stays the same. As a result, the unemployment rate has decreased while the number of people living in poverty has increased. Most part-time and many full-time employees, simply, do not earn enough money to sustain the costs of daily living; and, many have little or no investments to sustain life when they are no longer employable due to sickness or age.

According to a statistical sampling test performed by the United States Census Bureau, In 2011, of an estimated 296,068,441 Americans aged sixteen or over, 119,918,598 people worked full-time, 72,980,351 worked part-time, and 103,169,492 people didn't work at all. Now, before you get all hell-bent over the 103,169,492 people who didn't work, consider that a good chunk of those people were young adults who attended school full-time, seniors, people with disabilities, clergy, caregivers, and homemakers. As you can see, they are not all lazy badgers. There are also some who lack the necessary skills to get hired. Others have undiagnosed mental illnesses, addiction problems, and self-esteem issues that interfere with their ability to focus on the many facets of finding a job, working a job, and keeping a job. Some are non-custodial parents who refuse to work. Many of these people are among those who live below the poverty level.

Of these workers 3,589,504 people who worked full-time, 35+ hours per week, lived below the poverty level while an estimated 16,554,486 part-timers working up to 34 hours per week suffered the same fate. In addition, 28,820,375 unemployed people also lived below the poverty line. Below is a list of "the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2)." from the following website: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11fedreg.shtml

The number of people living in poverty above does not include children under the age of sixteen. It also does not take into account the number of people who are living at or slightly above the poverty line, which as you will see, in all actuality, they are living in poverty. They, simply, didn't make the cut.

The 2011 Poverty Guidelines for the
48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
Persons in family Poverty guideline

1 $10,890

2 14,710

3 18,530

4 22,350

5 26,170

6 29,990

7 33,810

8 37,630

For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,820 for each additional person.

Map of % of People Living in Poverty

U.S. Census Map 2010
U.S. Census Map 2010 | Source
Often, people in Sheila's situation have to make do with what they have...using a child's cushion for a bed and another for a couch, for example. But, she is fortunate to have a roof over her head.
Often, people in Sheila's situation have to make do with what they have...using a child's cushion for a bed and another for a couch, for example. But, she is fortunate to have a roof over her head. | Source

Sheila, A Full-Time Minimum Wage Workers Scenario

Sheila, a single parent to one six-year old son, lives in Illinois. She works 40 hours per week at a fast-food restaurant with swing shifts earning the minimum wage in Illinois of $8.25 per hour. Her annual income is $17,160.00. According to the poverty guidelines, her income exceeds the poverty line by $2,450.00. Therefore, she is not, officially, considered to be living in poverty. However, that doesn't mean she won't qualify for any government programs because some programs determine eligibility by using a percentage up to 185% of the poverty line. Here's her budget without assistance.

2 bedroom apartment $600.00 per month or $7200.00 per year

Childcare $125.00 per week or $6500.00 per year

Utilities $125.00 per month or $1500.00 per year

Cleaning supplies/Toiletries $1200.00 per year

Food $4800.00 per year

Gas 4 gallons per day @ $3.50 per gallon $5110.00 per year

Phone no extra services $20.00 per month $ 240.00 per year

School supplies/Sports/Lunch $1000.00 per year

Clothing/shoes/coats/personal items $1000.00 per year

TV/Entertainment $300.00 per year

As you can see, I used minimalist estimates for her yearly expenses; I didn't deduct anything for taxes, social security, medicare, or any 401k; and still, her bills total $27,350.00 per year which is $10,190.00 per year more than what she earns. Obviously, she needs to receive assistance or child support in order for her and her son to survive. Now, if minimum wage was $12.50 per hour, her annual income would be $26,000.00 per year, still below her expenses but much closer for sustainable life for her and her son. If the child support payments were based on 20% of minimum wage regardless of whether or not the non-custodial parent worked at all, or 20% of whatever the non-custodial parent earned in the past twelve months, whichever is greater; and, if the non-custodial parent had until July 31th to catch up on any back payments for the first part of the year, and until December 31st to catch up on any back payments for the second part of the year while also accumulating late fees, or he or she would face house arrest, community service, and/or fines for non-compliance, more non-custodial parents would comply.

Suppose, Sheila's son's dad had not worked at all but still was required to pay 20% of the minimum wage of $26,000.00 per year or he would be placed under house arrest, only being allowed to leave the house to look for work between 8 a.m and 4 p.m, required to enter a 6 month Community Service Program, and be faced with fines for non-compliance, surely, he would find work. And Sheila would receive another $5200.00 per year bringing her annual income to $31,200.00 leaving her $3,850.00 to use as needed for car insurance or maintenance, or to put a few things under the Christmas tree for her son, or to put into his college fund, while also, eliminating the need for assistance or at the very least reducing the amount of assistance needed.

Imprisonment Vs. Home Monitoring w/Community Service

Currently, laws exist in most states to imprison or take away driving priveleges of non-custodial parents who have fallen behind or who have never paid their court ordered child support. In some cases, the fear of the enforcement of these laws causes non-custodial parents to find some sort of employment and comply with their orders to support their children. These laws, however, have little benefit to the custodial parent or child who will continue to suffer from no child support while the non-custodial parent cannot get to a place of employment or while they are imprisoned which introduces an enormity of other problems that could result such as illnesses or criminal behavior that could be passed from parent to child. The plan of community service with home monitoring gives the non-custodial parent a chance to get out and find employment while letting them know that inaction is not an option. They have six months in the proposed plan to try to find a position equal to what they feel they would settle for and to settle for whatever it is they have to if at first they don't succeed. When it comes down to the welfare of their children, they have to be willing to take any legal position offering atleast minimum wage within the six month time frame. Even at the worst of times, help wanted ads fill store windows and with some serious leg work for the sake of the children anyone can find something. If minimum wage were raised many of those something positions wouldn't be so bad.

Is this what he wanted to be when he was a young boy? What happened?
Is this what he wanted to be when he was a young boy? What happened? | Source

Doesn't the government have an obligation to fulfill their promises?

Let's examine one example of what a state's Preamble consists of:

"We, the People of the State of Illinois - grateful to
Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty
which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing
upon our endeavors - in order to provide for the health,
safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative
and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality;
assure legal, social and economic justice; provide
opportunity for the fullest development of the individual;
insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense;
and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves
and our posterity - do ordain and establish this Constitution
for the State of Illinois. {Adopted at special election on December 15, 1970}
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)" http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/conp.htm

Nearly 42 years ago, the State of Illinois made a promise to their citizens to "eliminate poverty and inequality." More than likely, this promise existed many decades before that. Nevertheless, somebody's been sleeping on the job. I'm pretty sure Sheila would agree. Where's the "economic justice" when people work full-time and earn less than what it cost to live? There is no justice in that. How can anyone even presume that people living under these circumstances know the meaning of "tranquility?" They have no peace. Peace eludes them. Life is a continuous struggle. Day in and day out, worry consumes their thoughts. "How am I going to pay the electric bill?" "Who can I borrow ten dollars from so I can get gas to go to work?" Even if, the "opportunity for the fullest development of the individual" exists, most people exhausted from work and worry succumb to the "inequality" bestowed on them. These are people working forty hours a week. They deserve the tranquility promised to them. They've earned it. How, after all these years, our government hasn't rectified the gap between income and the actual cost of living is mind boggling. Imagine a Holocaust type pit with the unemployed laying at the bottom of it, the part-timer's trying to crawl back up the wall, and the underemployed full-timer's in mid-air, falling a little further into it every day and you will have a visual of what the ignorance, ccmplacency, and inaction has done and continues to do to our poor or impoverished citizens.

Fear not though, the government, finally, attempts to right its wrongs. It should happen overnight. The people need it to happen overnight. But, it won't. It will take years to undo the damage that has been building up for far too long. In the meantime, that pit is filling up; and, some people will be lost forever. Sheila's son will have graduated eighth grade; and, if they are not homeless by then, they will still be living in an apartment. Her hope of attaining the "American Dream" diminished. Or maybe, the government's plan begins to shape sooner.

Sheila Gets a Raise Vs. Sheila Gets Occupation Education

The Ending: Six months down the line, Sheila receives a .25 cent per hour raise. She takes this $520.00 per year and purchases mandatory auto insurance. She no longer has the worry of being ticketed for non-compliance or being involved in a car accident without insurance.

The Alternate Ending: Six months down the line, She and her son walk down to the local high school. She drops her son off in a government sponsored Arts and Crafts Class/Childcare room while she attends the last day of her 4 week certification course in HVAC sponsored by the government and free to low-income people, and conveniently located in the high school. Her dream of owning a home before her son graduates eighth grade becomes a little more attainable and her goal of no longer needing government assistance awaits her as she anticipates her new career earning $16.78 per hour or $34,902.40 as an HVAC technician at a major company. In addition, she and her son will get to spend more quality time together helping him to become a more well-rounded, productive member of society. And, she starts celebrating by taking her son on his first trip to ChuckECheese with the first child-support check of many more to come.

The Big Elephant

Source

Where will the money come from to implement this plan?

Here's one example:

The money the government saves by lessening the amount of assistance a person needs goes toward helping small businesses adjust to the added income expenses. The employees become much more productive, feeling that their time is valued, and profits increase for the businesses, making it possible for the employers to require less money back from the government, in time.

The corporations that manufacture goods for small businesses could give those businesses discounts that soak up most if not all of the added expense to the Mom and Pop owners who raise the minimum wage to a living wage for their employees.

The money the government puts out to enforce child support laws comes back to them by paying less out on assistance. As a result, custodial parents feel much less pressure and their children benefit from, not only, their increase in resources; but also, from living in a less stressful environment. When the non-custodial parent has to support their child/children, they may also become more involved in their lives.

The money the government puts out to educate and train no or low-income people comes back to them through less crime ... less poverty will result in less crime which will result in less taxes.

Child Support Backpay

Approximately, 16 billion dollars per year goes unpaid toward child support. If that money was recovered, along with an increase in minimum wage, and retirement benefits for all employees, Americans will be filled with hope for a brighter today and tomorrow. They will excel and charge ahead with gusto, gleefully anticipating their self sufficient futures. Perhaps, it will all appear to be a wash for the government when they are getting money from one source and giving it to another; however, in the long run, when more educated, hopeful self-reliant people line our street corners and clean up our alleyways, not only will the people win but so will the government. And, they will save money on crime prevention to boot.

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    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 6 weeks ago from Illinois

      I agree, especially one that pays a living wage. There is a lot of controversy going on here about raising the minimum wage. I've come to realize that simply raising the minimum wage may have dire consequences however a significant raise is the right thing to do. A plan needs to be in place to compensate small business owners whose profits are below a certain number such as $200,000.00 US dollars. Companies with profits above $200,000.00 should get no subsidies. I think the government should subsidize these small business owners for the difference in the current minimum wage (or what they are currently paying their workers) and a living wage. They could use the money they save from workers earning enough to be able to get off government assistance. This plan would work for all as people would have more money to put back into the economy and get off assistance and there would be no need for inflation.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 6 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      That was a really interesting hub to read. Alas, poverty and unemployment is all too common here in England too. Sad as it is, it's so difficult to get a steady job these days.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 2 years ago from Illinois

      "Now" not "not"

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 2 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Mel for the Vote of confidence. Not you got me thinking about running for Governor...lol! :)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I agree with all of your proposals here, and if I was a resident of Illinois I would write in your name on the ballot for Governor. The poverty guidelines are ridiculous, and minimum wage definitely has not kept pace with inflation. I find it repulsive that Illinois resident Obama has waited until he has a hostile Congress to begin fighting for a higher minimum wage. Republicans and Democrats both are to blame. Time to look elsewhere. Great hub, splendid research and analysis.

    • Ronald Bachner profile image

      Ronald Bachner 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I appreciate the hub, HoneyBB. It was worth the read. Enjoy

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Wow Tammy, thanks for all the complements and for signing my petition. I will stop by your page to get to know you better. Thanks for stopping by mine.

    • tammybarnette profile image

      Tammy Barnette 4 years ago

      Honey BB, How am I just finding you:) This is an excellent, well researched, fantastically articulated common sense hub. I signed your petition! I am proud to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your work:)

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Those are excellent suggestions AMFredenburg, They sound like they could be helpful in changing things for the better when it comes to employers hiring part-timers mainly to avoid providing any benefits.

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 4 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      I especially like your idea of paying part-time workers benefits; I've always thought that businesses should be required to prorate benefits based on the hours they worked - for instance, if someone working 40 hours a week gets 40 hours of vacation pay a year, the person working 20 should get 20 hours. If someone at 40 hours a week gets health insurance, the person working 20 hours a week should get the prorated amount paid into a public option program by the employer. That would prevent the employer from hiring "part time" people at an hour less than he considers full-time employment, cheating them out of benefits, and then expecting them to do work for free that ends up having them work longer than the full-time hours. School systems pulls this all the time on their paraprofessionals.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Au Fait, I don't know enough about Universal Healthcare to have suggested that; however, it does seem like something well worth looking into. I added another paragraph entitled Imprisonment Vs. Community Service to explain why I think that would work better. While I agree that jobs are hard to come by when people are looking for things that fit into what they are accustomed to, I still have never seen a fast food restaurant or often stores in the mall that weren't hiring. I don't think that anyone should have to settle for something outside of what they know at first but when they have children they have to put their welfare at the forefront when things don't pan out for what they want. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

    • Radical Rog profile image

      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Some good points here. Living in England with our National Health Service, I could never understand why many Americans campaigned against universal healthcare. People generally can't help becoming sick and access to treatment surely benefits the whole community.

      I'm reminded of a situation in the film 'As Good As It Gets.' Mother trying to work but sick child with no access to treatment, so mother can't work. How does that help.

      A similar situation exists when it comes to the unemployed getting a job. If you have a job its easy to get another. If you don't it's difficult.

      Then on experience. A friend couldn't get a job because they didn't have enough experience. Luckily they managed to find a course, took the course, qualified, then told they were over experienced so didn't get the job.

      It sometimes seems that the system is designed to keep people down.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Rather than employer based health insurance, I would prefer to see universal healthcare. That way one doesn't lose their insurance or find themselves between insurances (which is when bad things always seem to happen) if they are also between jobs or unemployed long term. You mentioned that employers hire part-time employees to avoid paying benefits and should be forced to do so even on part-time employees. With universal healthcare, the most important benefit would be out of the hands of employers.

      I'm not sure that fining someone like a non-custodial parent for not making court ordered payments when they are unemployed would help them find a job. It would depend on the situation. Right now there is an extreme shortage of jobs and even if you fine me a million dollars a minute until I find a job, it won't persuade employers to hire me any quicker if they're not hiring.

      Alas, it is against the law to hold an employer at gun-point and force him/her to hire you, so without that added incentive to hire you when there may be only 1 job per 1000 applications or no job per any application, would not improve the jobless situation for anyone.

      Even now employers refuse to even consider people who are unemployed whether they have been unemployed for one second, one minute, 6 months, 3 years, or any other amount of time. To employers, unemployed is unemployed is unemployed. They don't care for how long. They see 'unemployed' on your application and in the blink of an eye your application is in the trash.

      Fining someone in an effort to force then to get a job when there are no jobs isn't likely to improve the situation. After all, at some point when the fine accumulates sufficiently and can't be paid, the next thing is prison. That means the tax payers foot the bill for the 'dead beat parent' AND the kid who gets no support. Plus, turning a person into a convict or putting jail time on their resumé rarely helps them get a job -- if they ever see daylight again and can apply for a job.

      Employers will not create more jobs until customers/clients create more demand. Until customers/clients have more money (jobs) they will not create that demand. You can't get a job driving a big rig until you have at least 3 years of driving experience and a clean driving record. You can't get 3 years driving experience and a clean driving record until an employer hires you to drive the big rig. We're pretty much at an impasse.

      Mr. Roosevelt created jobs and hired people to work them for the government and that got the economy up and running again. Customers had money again and created demand that created jobs. With more jobs in the private sector people were able to get out of the temporary government job and into a regular job. That needs to be done again. It solved the problem before and could do so again. But some people would rather hold tightly to their penny because they fear they will lose even that one penny. In fact they would double and triple their pennies by getting the economy back on track, but fear creates more selfishness and hate, so there is going to be a lot more poverty before it's over.

      Voted you up and interesting!

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Yes, it is sad Liam and is such an outward admission of people who have no integrity and feel no need to act like they do. You say you always made sure to pay and I instantly think, "Now, there's a man of integrity." Thanks for your comments.

    • LiamBean profile image

      LiamBean 4 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      It's sad to read that some parents are still not paying their child support. This is one debt I always made sure to pay regardless of my personal situation. Because of that I always felt better about myself regardless of my financial situation. "At least I'm paying for my child's care."

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you Radical Rog, i couldn't have said it better myself. No really, I couldn't have....lol. Thanks for putting it out there. Many of the corporate leaders keep complaining that they will have to cut jobs if they are forced to pay someone let's say 12.00 for an hour of that person's time, often the person has work enough for two or three people that they have to get done within that timeframe, and these leaders think that somehow these people don't deserve even that when in actuality they deserve much more. They threaten to close shop or cut jobs and I say, do it, if they can't pay the people a fair wage they shouldn't be open and if they have to raise prices to be able to afford to pay higher wages then they are simply raising the what a fair wage is, if they can't figure out how to take money from their top earners and spread it out more proportionately they should have to close shop because it won't be long before somebody comes along who will open that business or one similar and pay their employees a fair wage if they have to.

    • Radical Rog profile image

      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      I have to reply to James' right wing rant, but first a personal political theory. The standard linear view is that those of a left wing persuasion continue left into ever more extremist views and those on the right do the same, but in the other direction. However, when the effect on the people living under these two different systems is compared, the effect of the extreme right and extreme left is very similar. It is not a linear left versus right, but two variations that curve around and meet in a system of total oppression and subjection of the people, with the right suppressing the people to prevent them swinging to the left, consider the Macarthy era, and the left suppressing the people to prevent them swing right, Stalin and the rest.

      It still amazes me that some in America, the richest and most powerful country in the world, can argue against Obama's introduction of a healthcare system that provides assistance for the poor and less fortunate, where previously, even those working could not afford

      treatment if they or a member of their family fell ill. I think of one of the threads in the movie, 'As Good as it Gets.'

      According to James the unions and public schools are to blame. I'm no fan of unions and who sets the laws determining how public schools work? Oh yes, the government 'confiscates' millions in tax, but the rich use clever accountants to escape paying as much as possible. Make America a right to work country, far enough, if there are enough jobs and the wage paid is fair and equitable, which all too often it is not because the multinationals use the argument that they'll have to dismiss staff if they are forced into paying a fair wage. So their profits rise and wealthy share holders reap the benefit of workers living in fear of their children falling ill.

      James is right in saying that extreme left wing policies do not work, except for the rich and ruling classes, but nor do extreme right wing policies, except for the rich and ruling classes. It still boils down to the immoral principle that there is no point in being rich if there are no poor people about to, run and fetch and do all the work while the rich lounge around basking in the illusion that they are doing it all for the benefit of those they have slaving in near poverty for the peanuts they deign to throw.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      James, Many people don't choose to be poor. Many are born into it and brought up in environments that don't support them getting out of it. The government and unions, while not perfect systems, have lessened the number of people living in poverty and have provided some protection against corporate leaders who unproportionately distribute their profits among the workers who labored to bring them in. These leaders take advantage of their hard-working employees, often overloading them with work enough for two people if not more while paying them the least amount of money the law allows which if it wasn't for minimum obviously they would even pay them less. These corporate leaders feel entitled to use up the health and welfare of their employees so that they can live their luxurious lifestyles while giving their employees less than many slaves received. Labor Unions formed because corporate leaders were working children as young as six years old for twelve to nineteen hours a day, six to seven days a week for extremely low and sometimes no wages at all and in dangerous work environments. Yes, the government has to protect the people. That's what we have one for. They are not just there to make laws to punish the people who resorted to crime to survive. They are there to give them the opportunity for a fair and just chance to get out of poverty and become educated so they can learn how to make better choices. They are there for "the people." And even "the poor" are "the people."

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      You write: "I don't understand how, after all these years, our government hasn't rectified the gap between income and the actual cost of living."

      I would like to know where on earth you got the idea that it is the job of government to decide how much your job skills are worth. The 20th century is littered with 100 milion human corpses from the utopias inspired by Karl Marx that believed such nonsense as this.

      Since the 1960s, TRILLIONS of Dollars confiscated from people who earned it—legalized theft—has been redistributed to those who didn't earn it. Why was this done? We were told that it would eliminate poverty in our lifetime. Did it? Did it work? Then why on earth would any sane person say that what we need is MORE of it?

      The cost of complying with federal regulations—laws enacted without representative democracy—is $1.4 trillion each and every year. That is what hampers our economy the most. That money could go to WAGES instead! But what do dreamy-eyed idealists say about this too? We need MORE regulations!

      The greater the size of the State and the larger the scope of State power the less freedom each of us has as individual human beings.

      What creates all jobs? Business! So why on earth would anybody concerned about jobs hate and demonize business?

      All taxes collected in America total 50% of all money earned by everybody. Is that not enough for you? If 10% is enough for God why is not 10% enough for the Almighty State?

      Why on earth, decades after we all should have learned that the theories of Karl Marx are all wrong and deadly in practice, would anybody think the government should tell companies who to hire, when, where, for how many hours, and for how much pay and benefits?

      Make America a Right-to-Work country and unemployment will end nearly overnight. Unions—monopolies of labor—are to blame for much of our economic woes.

      But most of all, the public schools are to blame as well for their teachers union based teaching of socialism and godlessness and America-bashing while turning out kids that are lousy employees, who can hardly perform basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.

      If you don't want to be poor, and see your male children in prison, have a real mariage and real family headed by a real father and the odds are tremendously in your favor that you won't be.

      It is about the choices people make and to make good choices people need to be taught that all choices are NOT equal.

      Thank you.

      James

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you healthylife, I appreciate your reading and commenting. Everything is just too expensive for people to survive on minimum wage even without a child. Somethings gotta give.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Wow...so well thought out and I love the example you used to realistically illustrate the financial struggle. A person can work full time but lose so much of their income paying for childcare and the cost of living continues to increase but the pay does not. There has to be more government programs to help people in this situation while they are trying to improve their life. Voted up!

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Dancing Water, I appreciate the time you took to read this and your comments. You're right about those in leadership positions being asleep at the wheel and others are blocking every plan to eliminate poverty along the way. If only, the ones with the most money and power would think about the country they are leaving to their grand children, great grand-children, etc. and do what is best to make this world a better place. Crime is absolutely one of the main symptoms of poverty and it's not going to go away on its own. Prisons are too overcrowded as it is. We need to eliminate poverty for the love of people but also for the dissent of crime. Thanks for the willingness to sign the petition. I actually have two petitions going for the same thing. The one attached to this hub is through change.org and I have another one with petitions.whitehouse.gov

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      What a well-researched, well thought out vision and plan you have in your clear, concise hub, HoneyBB! It seems that so many in leadership positions are asleep at the wheel when it comes to the rise of poverty in this free market enterprise society that is the United States of America. In my opinion, it will require grass roots movements such as Occupy Wall Street that will revive the middle class. Your article is one significant contribution to that grass roots movement to end poverty. I am waiting to sign the petition when you are ready to submit this to Congress. Thank you for caring, and for putting your hard work and sweat into this important hub.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Rog for your comments, I will go to your economic river hub and see what that's all about. I appreciate your comments and it sounds like that's the same thing that happens here in the U.S. The top has to be willing or forced to give up some of the profits because at this point not doing so is like biting off their nose to spite their face.

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      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Here's a scenario we have in England. Labour governments tend to give more benefits to the poor and unemployed, which sounds all very well except that the whole system tends to deter taking a job when offered. This is not because the individual doesn't want a job, it's that the system means that they then can't pay their bills, rent etc because they loose so much in benefits. The only job they can take is one that pays a really high wage and most, due to poor education and other circumstances, won't get that. There is also the situation that some employers won't employ people living on certain estates irrespective of the individual.

      Then comes the Tory government who are always talking of cutting benefits and making work a more viable option. Once again, all very good in theory, except that a recent survey revealed the clear gap between what the government calls a minimum wage and what its own statistics shows to be the minimum wage an individual or family requires to pay all their bills. Then there has to be a job to take and if there are no jobs, cutting benefits isn't going to help.

      Being cynical, I can quite believe that Labour grants benefits in the believe that this will tempt those on benefit to vote Labour. They always make great play about the other party cutting benefits during the run up to an election.

      Add in statistics showing the top bosses have increased their salaries by 20+% while the ordinary wage has risen by 2% for those who are lucky enough to have had a payrise, most have not and many have seen cuts.

      There are those who avoid responsibility and are happy to live on benefit, but I truly believe that the majority would rather have a better life if only that had the opportunity. I also believe that it is all too easy for those who have created and run the system to blame the victims of that system. What is needed is a fundamental change to the system and my hub on the economic river might help to explain where I'm coming from.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading Dalton, I know it's long and that's why I didn't continue with other plans that I have to help the economy. I do agree with you that spreading the wealth is the only way we can grow and I think taxing the rich more would help a lot. However, I do still believe that my plan would help and not hurt the economy. I am looking at it as a whole picture; whereas, if all these plans went through people would have more money to put back into the economy helping to grow businesses and keeping costs of products and services down, not to mention that tax incentives would be given to small business owners. Parents should have to take responsibility for their children and if they aren't saving money by taking care of their children so childcare isn't necessary then they definitely need to support their children. The way this would work is that the non-custodial parent would have less expenses (not having their child living with them) therefore they can still afford to support their child. Of course, my plan doesn't bring minimum wage up enough to get people totally out of poverty in the first two years of it but it gradually brings people out by raises that bring people to a liveable wage. I appreciate your opionion and I appreciate you sharing your take on it.

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      Jeremy Wade 4 years ago from Tennessee

      First off let me say that I enjoyed your hub or I wouldn't have read it to make a comment. It was well written and very informative.

      While I agree with the fact that we have to make every possible means to raise our economy. I don't necessarily agree on your means of doing so.

      You can't get blood from a turnip if a dead beat mom doesn't pay her child support raising the penalties is most likely just going to make her go further into hiding and ultimately be harder on the child. (I decline child support for just that reason) And if your not the only father she's left holding the kids then you have to consider that she still has to feed, clothe, and house herself before she could start to pay extra for a child. If this non-custodial parent make as little as or less than the custodial parent then you'd just be forcing them into poverty.

      You have to watch raising minimum wage because you lower the value of the dollar. In result you make more money but everything cost more so you're still in poverty.

      Public higher education would be a great ideal but funding it would raise taxes and there would still be a need for people in the service industry and they would still be paid poorly. But it would at least give those that wanted to better themselves a chance.

      In the end as a country we need to change our way of thinking so that economic equality can be realized. Spreading the wealth is the only way we can grow.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent hub my friend! You did your homework on this one, and diligently outlined solutions. I know for a fact something has to be done because the current system is dead from the neck up.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Wow...I didn't even notice that. I have to look at that more. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. You would think that more people would want to help rather than oppress. I think a lot of people only see poor people as people who want to take, take, take, (which some do) however, a lot don't seem to care how they got to where they are (the circumstances whether being born into poverty, losing a job, etc), those people only want to blame and shun them. The help that has been given is nowhere near enough to get the people out of that situation. It's barely enough to keep them alive. (And I know some will say they have cellphones and buy snacks and this and that) but not all do and many work and need a cellphone to contact their children or maybe to try to find other jobs. And come on, now people want to take away a child's birthday cake or maybe the only fun thing they get to have, (sure we hope they all eat healthy, but mostly we want them to eat.)

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      Old Empresario 4 years ago

      Thanks for the good read and information. It was perfect and offered solutions. Your example with Sheila was very helpful. I know child support delinquency is a big problem in Texas. Not to politicize this, but I could not help noticing from your US Census chart the heartbreaking fact that all of the traditionally "Red-Voting" states seem to have the highest poverty levels. That is baffling.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Kenja, I thought about my response to Rog's statement after I had written it and it occurred to me that things seemed much better to me because I was a child and I suppose the means of communication not being as broad as they are now shielded us from knowing many of the evils in the world but as you point out it also kept us from seeing all the good outside of our own little neighborhoods. We all become one big family and do as much good as we can to comfort each other after a natural disaster; there couldn't be anything more moral than that. Imagine what we could do if we all put that same conviction into helping people overcome the manmade disasters of our country.

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      We all pine for btgone days that never were, esp as we get older... Were people so very righteous during the communal, hippie dippy and anti-war 60s and early 70s? No, most were a mix of wildly optimistic and strongly anti-govt, but from the Left. The truth is that during that time the Left was as radical and uncompromising as the far Right and Teabaggers are today...

      As for a higher morality; this nation still is the most charitable in the world, and comes together like no other after a natural disaster or after 9/11. I remember some wonderful yahoos from Texas coming to feed first responders great chili at ground zero after 9/11' driving nearly 2000 miles to do so, and the conservative minister who just came up to our largely liberal area a few days back to help out after Sandy with a large donation from his small church.

      Americans remain a generous people; left, right and center, church-going or more secular. We have been a neighborly, communal, free association people for about 375 years.

      As for a Higher Morality other than natural disaster, WWII and right after 9/11.... It's about where we decide to use our still ample resources. The military over education & higher edu? Pork barrel projects over infrastructure? Excess Medicare over more broad-based poverty alleviation?

      And on that score -- where the people demand change, no less than with civil rights, women's rights, pot laws, state union benefits -- and so who we vote for determines how sensible, widespread and "moral" our allocations, and society, are.

      Are we somehow worse people than we were 40 years ago? No, just less politically activist, interventionist and demanding. I repeat: when the people lead the leaders do follow.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Rog, I thought the same thing as you when I read that "nobody forces ... a wage ... " statement. They absolutely do. Thanks for agreeing. I also agree that it will take a higher moralty which I think is something that was more prevalent back when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's. I'm not saying it was perfect back then but I think a lot more people knew the meaning of integrity and tried to do the right thing. Thanks for responding.

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      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      This started as a suggestion of four changes that might alleviate poverty. Some of the replies indicate why that will never happen so maybe the question should be, what level of morality allows some to argue against the principle of alleviating poverty?

      As for the statement that nobody forces an individual to work for a wage they think is insufficient, of course they do when the option is, work for the wage they deign to pay or don't work and starve.

      Statistics show that the wealthiest have increased their earnings by 20% + while those on low income have barely had any increase, in some cases, suffered a drop in income.

      However, the solution isn't political, right wing, left wing, liberal or socialist, because the majority of politicians that start under those banners soon get tempted by the rewards of power. A higher morality is required and I haven't a clue where that's going to come from, and please don't suggest religion. Most religious leaders seem to be on the same self serving glory hunt as most politicians.

      So, I'm a cynic, but that's born of age and experience.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      LOL! Thank you Kenja, I appreciate your comments! It is really comical. I can't stop laughing!

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Honey, who is this empty kettle fool who ignores historical fact and calls us self righteous when he combines the arrogance & ignorance & mock righteousness of geniuses Trump & Palin? Pathetic, but partly comical...

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      oz-vitez 4 years ago

      Alas, so many ignorant liberal talking points. Its time to let you wallow in the pitiful economic theories that prop up your self-righteous beliefs.

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Alas, there is so much convenient cherry-picking going on... Wasn't the Govt forcing the entire auto industry to convert to military jeep & truck manufacture and aviation companies to do the same during WWII the ultimate in Socialism? And didn't it save both the Free Western world & capitalism? And then wasn't the GI Bill after the war, sending the Greatest Generation to college on the public dime, true Socialism? And today, 49 out of 50 states forcing ALL drivers to have auto insurance (or be fined) -- isn't that Big Government on the state level?

      We take for granted we MUST have car ins. so everyone is protected, rates are lowered and no one goes bankrupt from an accident. It's considered common sense. But national healthcare -- with total freedom of choice who you get insured by -- is NOT common sense, it's Socialism? So what puts the United in the United States? The national highway system, McDonalds and the military?

      Where is the Commonweal and the real public domain, in action, for the common good? Yes, there are thousands of fine charities but NONE could do the work FEMA, the EPA, the Dept of Ag, and federally assured student loan program do! So, WWII forced factory conversion and car insurance are just fine... But the rest (usually the newer stuff for the current Right) is bad?

      One nation, under God, or 315 million Americans all on their own? (And good luck to you).....

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      I think that your views are narrow. How does one know what a worker "deserves to earn"? Any full-time worker deserves to earn, at the very least, a wage that could provide them with the things they need to support themselves and their family without needing government assistance. And yes, it is acceptable for government to set economic standands, in fact, it's crucial that they do, however, they need to set the standards based on a realistic budget of the cost of living in each state. And I really think that your economic viewpoint is ignorant. Prior to minimum wage, poverty was rampant. Children as young as 6 years old had to work in factories for 14 to 19 hours a day and they had to do it for pennies. The reason they had to work was because their parents working alongside them were paid so poorly that they would have had no chance of survival without everybody in the household working and even with all of them working they still suffered horribly in poverty. That's what the free market does to the laborer. No thank you, I'll take the government over that. And yeah, my reaction may seem emotional to you...that tends to happen to people after they've been called ignorant umpteen times. I don't agree with your viewpoint but I didn't feel it necessary to say over and over again that your viewpoint is ignorant; however, now that we're on the subject, your view is the only ignorant one here. If companies were concerned about the livelihood of their employees, they would pay them well above minimum wage for the work that they do. They shouldn't have to be forced to but they do because history has shown us that when most are given the chance to do the right thing, they do the opposite.

    • Radical Rog profile image

      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Those possessing moneyed might,

      Oft suppress those poor, even when right.

    • oz-vitez profile image

      oz-vitez 4 years ago

      Actually, Milton Friedman called it "forced charity", not I. I simply included it in my hub. Thanks for the view, however.

      How does one know what a worker "deserves to earn" if there is no market to dictate this information? Nobody forces an individual to work for wages he does not think sufficient. Is it acceptable for "rich, greedy, ignorant fools" in government to set economic standards? We see how well this works, right?

      I do not think you are a "brainless scarecrow", just ignorant on very specific economic principles. See, you worldview is much too narrow. How do you think people earned money prior to minimum wage laws? Everybody has just been scrounging around until government stepped in? The market is older than any government, and does not necessarily need the government to operate.

      I'm sorry you think that you need to get emotional in your answers. I simply challenge you to think outside of your own opinions.

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      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, HoneyBB. Governments, federal, state, and local need to tackle these problems and make our lives more livable. Child support definitely needs to be enforce much more tightly. It is tragic that these men skate away too often without paying a cent. Our tax policies should also be changed to help the middle and lower classes and not widening the split.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Oh, The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken...let me put my ignorant hat back on so I can respond...first of all, I didn't just pull the "forced charity" theme out of thin air. It came from your "...Mininum Wage..." hub that you wrote on your profile page. It's something "You" said. And to say that "minimum wage actually retards employment growth" ... justs goes to show that you need to come out from behind that stained glass curtain you're living behind and live in the real world. The market won't set the price...rich, greedy, ignorant fools will who think that paying somebody well below what they deserve to earn is okay because it will create more jobs. All that does is create more need for more assistance. I'm not the brainless scarecrow you think I am. You're the one who can't stand up against the facts. Signed, the scarecrow....oh, wait....maybe I'm actually The Wicked Witch of The Midwest.

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      oz-vitez 4 years ago

      I would love to hear how the government can give someone hope. That must be a rich conversation. See, excessive government aid simply rewards bad behavior. People look at it and say, "Hey, if I lounge around, I can get the government to give me money and stuff." Remember comments such as "Obama money" and "Obama phone"? It gets worse as government steps up its aid.

      Your second post is even more ignorant than your first. See, I never said anything about "charitable" business or "forced charity". (Its possible that you did not understand the word "confiscatory" in my earlier post; that is not surprising given your economic worldview.) You introduce these concepts because it fits your socialist template. Minimum wage actually retards employment growth, as businesses with fewer resources can hire fewer workers. If you think no minimum wage laws would result in extremely low wages, you are wrong. The market would set the price. Additionally, maybe somebody thinks hauling furniture around at $8 is better than flipping burgers at $7.25; higher pay for harder work. How capitalist.

      Finally, your comments about the 20% are perhaps the most ignorant. I mentioned the fallacy of each group (20% at the bottom and 20% at the top) being static. You buy into that with your socialist beliefs. However, economic studies show high mobility among these groups, i.e. some from the bottom 20% move into the top 20% and vice versa, over their lifetime. But again, you cannot let facts affect your narrow socialist vision.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      And Oz, for you to even fathom that a company is being "charitable" when paying their worker $1.25 above minimum wage or equal to any amount that doesn't amount to a liveable wage is absolutely absurd. Would you spend an hour of your time to help an acquaintance carry a truckload of furniture up three flights of stairs for the minimum wage of let's say $8.00 and do it solely for that 8 bucks? You see, the "forced charity" comes from the worker and is given to the employer and their charity digs deeper than their pocketbooks, they give the employer their time away from their families for that meazly 8 bucks; they give their employer the days of their youth and health for that meazly 8 bucks; they give their employer their skills for that meazly 8 bucks. Perhaps, it's time for the top 20% to start giving back some of that forced charity they have been taking from the bottom 20. I mean, afterall, it is the bottom 20% who have been making their businesses grow by purchasing all those cadillacs, iphones, snacks, and laptops and many of them do it with extremely high interest rates because they are credit risks.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      I don't believe I was talking as government generates revenue, I think, government waste revenue and the waste is not because they give money to some of the poor it's because they give some of the poor just enough to keep them from starving without giving them the tools they need to be able to get out of poverty. The government is at fault for allowing the gap between the minimum wage a full-time worker earns and the actual cost of living to expand as far as it has over the past few decades. The government had a responsibility over these decades to protect the people from prices that couldn't be managed for a one-income family whether they increased minimum wage or put a cap on how much people could charge for services/products, etc. it makes no difference. Now the government has to start righting its wrongs and use the funds they have more wisely by educating the poor, giving them hope, and building up their confidence by showing them that if they work a forty hour week they can prosper and will not need assistance to survive.

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      oz-vitez 4 years ago

      Socialism and ignorance go hand-in-hand. First, you must carefully study income inequality. There is actually a lot of mobility in the groups reported as most unequal in America, i.e. the bottom 20% and the top 20%. It is a huge fallacy to think that each group is static, thereby the "rich get richer" and the "poor get poorer". I know, facts are difficult to understand when they contradict your view, but, they do.

      So, how is Chicago doing with crime management? Big government Rahmbo is really keeping people safe, eh? See, Chicago citizens keep paying taxes for public services and they do not get them, at least not in the quantity needed. Where does the money go?

      The real question is: what level of confiscatory taxes will you be willing to pay in order to have a socialist society? You will need to pay more for the poor to earn a "livable" wage, you know. So how will you be able to reduce your lifestyle in order to finance another's lifestyle? You talk as if government actually generates revenue. News flash: it doesn't; the money comes from confiscatory taxes. Unless you are willing to pay up, forget your socialist dreams.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Lol Kenja! I have been stumped by all this talk of "Socialism" too! Seriously, if socialism means that the poor will be offered the resources to earn a livable wage with a retirement and disability plan, be educated to enhance their lives and reduce crime, feel safe and secure in knowing that crime is being dealt with and is in the process of becoming the exception to the rule and not something that people turn to out of necessity, etc. etc. etc. Then Bring It On! LOL!

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Why do people keep carping about creeping Socialism -- as if we have become France or Holland -- when the unadulterated fact of the matter is that there is greater income inequality than in the past 100 years, and these super rich write many of the laws, hire the lobbyists (has there ever been a Poor Persons Lobby?), and keep getting remarkably richer. Who, exactly, is taking from whom? Where is all this so-called Socialism as we race toward a South American-style banana republic? Income equality? That would be Sweden and Norway, it sure ain't NY or Texas...

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      oz-vitez 4 years ago

      The additions to the 1970s Illinois state constitution are a load of Progressive horse puckey. Have you read the previous state constitutions? Much more realistic.

      Anyway, inequality will never be eradicated, at least not in a free market system. Inequality provides incentive to improve upon one's lot. To eradicate inequality, full-blown socialism needs to be implemented. Then, we can all be equal in the sharing of misery, to quote a famous statesmen.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Ken, I agree with you that "the people" need to speak up but the problem doesn't lie on the people alone, the government has been the problem for a long time also. Some may have meant well, others, maybe not so much, but not speaking of the current administration, in the past, they have only seen pieces. They never seem to look at the big picture.

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Rog (and others): You can be as cynical or skeptical as you wish. But, as John Adams so powerfully stated, "Facts are stubborn things."

      Since WW II we have had 6 Democratic Administrations and 7 Republican Administrations. In 2006, the Democrats won back the house after losing it 12 years earlier. A mere 4 years later, the Republicans won it back. We have had divided government under popular Presidents Reagan and Clinton, and under W and Obama. The average time served by Congresspeople is about 12 years, Presidents obviously 4 or 8. Some in Congress serve only 2 years, others 22. New administrations pick new cabinets and appointees, federal and supreme court judges.

      Change is constant, change is the norm. NOW, WHAT IS different today than 20, 30 or 40 years ago is the access, influence and power of Lobbyists, usually for big companies, large unions, big sectors (oil, pharma, food giants), or big blocs, like seniors and gun owners. But there is also (almost, nearly) enough dynamic tension between liberal and conservative groups, big business and union groups that the raw balance in our democracy is maintained, as it is with our divided government -- just as the Founding Fathers set it up and wanted it to be.

      THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE GOVT... it's people uninformed, uninvolved, and thinking Some Other will solve a serious problem for them, and that includes both conservatives and liberals alike. WHEN DOES CHANGE HAPPEN? When the people demand it (think gun laws, pot laws, civil rights, pollution standards, food safety), OR better still, when the people do for themselves. "When the people lead, the leaders will follow." Great bumper sticker -- and it's also the truth.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Sounds about right to me! LOL! Thanks for responding.

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      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Government for the people, by the people is a nice theory. The problem is that government ends up being by the politicians for the politicians and the main reason for this is that the majority of 'the people' can't be bothered to get off their backsides to even vote and those that do stand up are called radical, or liberal by politicians who will always have enough energy to protect their own positions.

      Or am I just being cynical?

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you very much! I was beginning to wonder if it was just me or if some people just didn't get the fact that as you said, "We...Americans...are...the...Government!" I'm glad I'm not alone! Thanks for your comment!

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Here's the thing: the same side that has gone from redefining Liberal to mean weak-kneed, foolhardy and enabling of the "undeserving," has also turned the word Government into a slur -- naught but a negative. AS IF... the gov't is a group of robots or Russians or Indonesian bureaucrats or an elected-for-life monolith... when IN FACT the Government is comprised only of Americans, all of us, every state, every color, every creed, usually in service for 2-20 years (Supreme Court Justices & the rare Senator sometimes excepted)... male and female, north and south, liberal and conservative (with about 22 moderates left), and ALL citizens -- no robots, no foreign persons, no one but us!! All but a few fire-able, as in removable in the next election, so constantly changing and replenished, organic and diverse! Hello! Tea Party fringe and others of that ilk: We... Americans... are... the... Government!

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Tammy, I have a petition going on for it so hopefully they work on some of it soon! Thanks for reading and the compliments.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! This is an impressive suggestion. I think the government could learn a lot from those of us who struggle day to day that want to get ahead. Great thoughts!

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading and for your comments, it would be so wonderful if personal charity worked to get all the poor people out of poverty and provide them with everything they need. However, people are not required to provide charity, and while many do, many others do not, which means there will still be many people living in situations like Sheila or worse. We have to depend on our government to get them out of that situation because the government has been taxing the people for many, many with a promise to keep them out of these situations. In a sense, for some workers, the taxes they pay will never be recovered in what they get out of it, for example, some of our taxes go to schools, but if you have no children, you're still paying taxes for schools; therefore, when they pay taxes, they may feel like they gave a little more charity than others. Unfortunately, the buddie system doesn't work. there was a time when we didn't have rules and regulations and the people with lots of money treated the people with little or no money awful. Children, as young as six, had to work in dangerous factories, to help provide for their families. People lost everything they had just trying to survive. Work conditions were dangerous and many children died. The government is the only way we can get out of the mess we're in. Maybe, after the government gets people to a point where somebody like Sheila could afford to pay for all her and her households needs with no other help needed, maybe, then, charity could play a bigger role, but thinking that charity will cover it all is not good, people if it doesn't some people remain poor with no power to change it, for instance, the people who are disabled, seniors, and children, to name a few.

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      Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

      HoneyBB, very well written article. You have successfully written about the struggles that many people have.

      Let me point out one issue about minimum wage - if it increases for the mom you mentioned, while she may keep her job and make more, there will be fewer jobs for teenagers (because companies won't have as much to pay out and the teens will be assumed to not be worth the cost). This simply causes the problem to prolong because we will end up with more high school and college graduates who do not have work experience (something already happening).

      In Australia there is a tiered minimum wage - one rate for under 18, higher for 18-21 and even higher after 21. I think something like this may be beneficial.

      Additionally, I believe that we too often expect the government to solve problems (which is ridiculous because we all see how many problems it creates!). In reality, we should take Ghandi's advice and be the change we want to see in the world. You know what job pays about $12 an hour? Being a CNA. And it's incredibly easy to get a job after the 2 month course. As a friend to the above mentioned lady, why not help her become a CNA? Provide her with some financial help. If you cannot do that, take care of her daughter for her, or even put her up in your home while she studies.

      We too often expect the government to take the place of personal charity. The government is too big to notice every little situation. People will always fall through the cracks. As Americans, it is our responsibility to help catch those who the government misses.

      I am currently trying to find a way to support someone through a CNA program myself. It's not easy, but I know that this investment will change the person's life. Consider doing the same yourself.

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      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Hi HoneyBB

      Haven't got a clue what you're writing about labor unions. Here in little old England that word has a 'u' in it- labour.

      Part of the problem with some unions is that the ordinary worker gets caught between the unions and the bosses playing their political games. Then there's a lot of duplicity.

      At one time I was in a rail union. British Rail had a bonus system that was totally impossible to work out but back then, gave us about £5.00 per week. British Rail wanted to buy us out and everyone agreed. They scrapped the bonus and added £5.00 per week to our pay. Nobody looses, nobody gains and everybody is happy.

      About 4 months later its the annual pay round and we read in the papers that the militant unions are demanding a pay rise only months after receiving one of £5.00 per week. No mention of the bonus being taken away.

      Politics!

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      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      A simple beaut, Honey. Simple, straightforward, clear.

      Of course, conservatives immediately CRY, "Wait, NO WAY small businesses can afford $12.50 an hour -- or too many people will become dependent on the state and federal govt for ever. But they are speaking in an automatic, partisan fashion, not common sense, as they believe.

      You point out the tax credits for that small business would offset the rise in the minimum wage -- AND that the govt (and the rest of us) would SAVE money paying for this rather than a whole array of social services. They don't budge.

      Then one can point out that a well cared for, well educated child, assisted by the state for about 12 years, has a MUCH BETTER chance of becoming a productive, TAX PAYING citizen for the next 50 years of his or her life (as opposed to a govt dependent and a social drain for the next 30-50 years). It is a great investment, with a superb ROI! But they don't budge.

      Nope, they see the little hole of "dependency" (and aren't ALL children dependent up to age 18, 21 or 25?), and simply DO NOT want to see the larger, sweeter donut. Why?

      You can't challenge people's set-in-concrete worldviews when it comes to their religious beliefs, their arch-conservatism (or unbudging Liberalism), or...

      Even their set beliefs, 80 years later, that pot is like heroin, and people busted for it should go to jail for 3 -15 years, turning them into career criminals and costing taxpayers $100,000 a year --rather than a small fine (that's income) + community service + a drug rehab program that costs $25,000 or less, and one time -- as opposed to $1,500,000 for 15 years in jail -- for what? For hemp!

      There is no crowbar for the closed mind and there is, at present, no cure for stupid. Good job Honey. Keep it up. Ken

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      thanks for your comments, I am currently writing a hub about the importance of Labor Unions and I have The Rich Keep Getting Richer and The Poor Barely Survive as part of it. Can you see what I've written so far or did you just say all those things I'm writing about out of blue? Strange happenings? LOL

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      Peter Rogers 4 years ago from Plymouth

      Great hub, good research, but I wonder if a basic human characteristic means nothing will ever change.

      For a start, there is no point in being rich if there aren't any poor people around. Having people around means the rich can snap their fingers and have others do all the dirty work they don't want to do, or work in shops and factories for minimum wage and so on. Of course there's the greed element. Those that have always want more.

      Politicians won't help despite their weasel words because most of them are from among the wealthy. An example is a local council that has just voted themselves a 20% rise in allowances while at the same time, cutting care allowances for the elderly because of the financial situation.

      The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, as the statistics show and all the blame is centred on the poor.

      Are people poor because they use drugs, get pregnant under age, have a poor education etc, or do they resort to drugs, get pregnant under age and have limited access to education because they are poor, etc?

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you for your comments William and Tamara, while I agree with both of you, I would like to add that most of the girls who are getting pregnant and having babies out of wedlock are living in poverty before they make those poor choices. If we lessen the number of people living in poverty through the plans that I have suggested, more and more girls will be able to use the new tools that they acquire through income and it will bring hope and willpower to help them succeed. There was a time in the past when one parent's income was enough to sustain a household. That is what should have never changed. One parent should have the option of staying home to teach their own children their value and morals. It shouldn't be to the point where they both have to work in order to have their basic needs met. We certainly don't need a president who thinks that the poor are "Moochers". Our problems will escalate exponentially, especially in the area of crime. And girls don't need somebody to "stop" them from having babies they're already pregnant with, they just need someone to make sure they know all of their options and how they can effect the people in their lives and people whose lives they can make better if they choose to.

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      Tamara Wilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      The factors that drop the poverty rate to 5% or less are: finish high school, get married after the age of 20, don't have a baby out of wedlock, and have a full time job. Much of the growth of poverty we have seen is from girls having kids in high school and in their 20s without ever being married repeating the cycle with their own children.

      And children raised in a never-married household are more likely to go to jail, abuse drugs, be classified as mentally ill, commit suicide and have children out of wedlock.

      We need to keep the kids in school and the men into jobs - and we need to stop unwed mothers from having babies they cannot adequately support and repeating the poverty cycle.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 4 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Your hearts in the right place, HoneyBB, but the country's presently going in the other direction. The government certainly needs to do a lot more for the poor and middle class, but there's one political party that thinks almost half the country's population are moochers. Businesses don't even want to pay minimum wage much less a living wage, and government programs to assist the poor are called "handouts." It would be a good start, though, if people get out to vote on Nov. 6 for all those candidates who understand that poverty is not an option and government has a legitimate role in making sure that all citizens deserve a decent standard of living, a job with decent wages and universal health care.

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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi HoneyBB,

      Congrats on a well-researched hub. This is more like a thesis than an article. WOW. You did a lot of work and your passion for the topic shows. Good luck! Voted awesome!

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you Jamie, I'm glad you enjoyed them. I look forward to reading more of yours also. I have always wanted to get into making crafts, mostly, home decor items; and, I see that you have many for me to choose from. Things are really tight for me right now as I was laid off but I will definitely be making some of the things on your hubs as soon as I can spare a dime. LOL.

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      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      HoneyBB- Congrats on the nomination! When I read this earlier... I had no idea it was the one that you were nominated for..I guess I missed the latest newsletter with the rising stars on it. I definitely see why were nominated.... this hub is awesome... in fact, love all your hubs I've read so far. Great job!!!!!

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Jamie for taking the time to read it and reply. I appreciate all your thoughtful words and definitely understand the struggle. I think it's great that you get to stay home with your son even if or though you have to struggle. Your love and attention will be what he will remember when it's all said and done. So enjoy it while you can.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      LOVE this hub and you are right on! I know exactly what you are talking about...we live it every day along with so, so many others. Good thing about it, I know we aren't alone. Husband works full time at a job with OK pay...I stay home with my son everyday mainly because daycare is so high. I feel that he would benefit from daycare but the cost is too expensive.. Any money I would gain from a part-time job (unless it was a good paying one) would pay for daycare and not really contribute to much else. It's frustrating. My son will be starting school soon and it will be more feasible to work then. I do often worry about the world when my little one is older.. I sure do not want him to have to struggle like we have. I get angry when I hear people talking about people wanting a handout. That's not it. The numbers don't add up.. and you made the point crystal clear in this hub. Thank you :) Voting up and sharing!

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      Vivianne Kanawi 4 years ago

      Hi HoneyBB,

      Our socio-economic problems are worse than yours, you are still ok.

      Anyway, good luck with the rising star program.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading my hub dwachira, poverty here in America has been growing rapidly in the past few decades especially. We are in an election year; and, I fear that if one candidate wins over the other, we may be in just as bad shape as Africa before their term is up. I hope things get better for all. Thanks for the vote ups.

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      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi HoneyBB,

      Poverty is such serious social-economical problem that easily trigger other problems in the society. Your article is well thought and true something need to be done. In Africa it is even worse, i don't know if to call it Poverty or suffering. We all hope that things shall get better, but when is the question. Voted up and useful.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for your comment, Millionaire Tips, I know it's a shame but it's so much more than that. Imagine that "Sheila" after working 40 hours a week and still being unable to pay the minimum of her bills gets a little food assistance from the government, and she goes grocery shopping and maybe has a tub of ice cream and some chocolate cake in her cart that she pays for with her Link Card/food stamps, and the people in line get disgusted because their tax dollars are "supposedly" paying for her junk food. I think that the minimum wage should allow her to pay her bills and buy her groceries without assistance, and the fact that it doesn't is the government's fault, not hers. So people should let her have her cake and eat it too while focusing their attention on unfair wages instead of trying to take ice cream from a child. Sorry, I'm ranting, I think. LOL

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Lots of great ideas here - it really is a shame that someone working full time does not have enough money to live on.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      I sent a link to this blog entry to the White House. Let's see if they respond.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Good thoughts and facts on this topic, Honeybb. Our present economy is suffering from a real lack of direction on how to provide equality for all. Hopefully, we will see a positive change of everyone with the coming election.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      You have put a lot of thought in to this and it is a very good idea. My concern is the small business owners who cannot afford to hire workers at $12.50 an hour which means they will either be understaffed or go out of business. Keep working in it - you have some great idea's to go off of.

    • HoneyBB profile image
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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading. I'm actually still working on it. I thought I had 24 hours before anyone else could see it. I don't even know how to begin to do all that you suggested; but I'll give it some thought and try to figure it all out.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      You have really put some time time and serious thought into this! Sounds like a damned good plan to me......Write something up...get 10,000 signatures and send copies on, to every politician from local all the way to Pennsylvania Ave..... Everything worthwhile starts somewhere...and very often it starts with One person and a great idea.....

      Good luck!