What Does it Mean to be Poor in America?

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#1
From The Article:
As scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.”[3] In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation.[4] In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

The home of the typical poor family was not overcrowded and was in good repair. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European. The typical poor American family was also able to obtain medical care when needed. By its own report, the typical family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.

Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Their living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media.
Poverty in the United States: Air Conditioning, Cable TV and an Xbox | The Heritage Foundation

What drives me crazy is the fact that we use our social programs to encourage irresponsibility. How can we justify subsidizing the pay-TV industry with food stamps? And yet, that is what we do. I have no problem with helping those who are truely poor, in fact that is something I believe that we are morally obligated to do, but why should we turn it into a trickle up subsidy of the hyper-rich to the detriment of those of us, poor or middle class, who choose to use our resources wisely?
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
Yea. I'm fed up with it. I've seen REAL poverty, and it's appalling. But here, you get a FREE CELL PHONE from the government if you have no money!!

Exposing the Free Government Cell Phone Scam and Safelink Wireless | IHTM
March 11, 2009 · 2,301 comments

Today we ran the story of Michelle Obama serving risotto at the soup kitchen down the street from the White House. She was surrounded by poor people frantically snapping photos with their cell phones. If you’re anything like us (and we understand completely if you don’t want to be) you wondered, how can the poor afford cell phones, fancy ones with cameras? The monthly bills on these things can eat you alive. Is there some sort of free government cell phone service we didn’t know about?

We were tipped off to the Safelink Wireless website. But please be warned that if you visit this site you are likely to walk away pissed off. Here’s what it says:
“SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program 
that provides a free cell phone and airtime each
 month for income-eligible customers.”

...Un-freakin-believable. Outrageous. Shocking.
The way we read it, this Safelink Wireless program gives you a free cell phone, free monthly service, and free minutes. You qualify even if you make 35% more than the designated “poverty” level or if you’re already getting additional freebies from the government. And we see nothing that indicates you have to be a legal resident of the United States to qualify.
This giveaway of MY money to the so called "poor" and the wealthy Cellular industry HAS TO STOP.

Dude, you want to see poverty? Come with me on my next trip outside the USA. Kids in rags, picking garbage to survive. Trust me, you will come back with a whole new outlook and your tears won't dry for a long time after you return home.

Yea, I don't want to hear about your "poverty" here in the USA. Please use your free government provided cell phone to call someone who gives a F-.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#3
In 1935, when my dad was born, my grandparents lived with their three other children in a 14' x 20' two room "house" with an outhouse and a windmill 30 feet away. In the early 1950s they had to drive 10 miles to use one of the two phones in the county. Now, we think that if you can't afford a cell phone, cable TV, and an Xbox 360, that the government should pay for it (with other peoples tax money, or money we either print or borrow from the Chinese). Of course if they can just get rid of free TV the corporations will be able to collect even more tax money in the form of "lifeline" pay-TV subscriptions.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
Many people out there are claiming that the free phones are NOT paid for by the government. Well, partly true. No direct money or subsidy changes hands. But the companies get some pretty serious tax breaks. Remember, Tax break = less taxes paid by one group so that another group will have to pay more taxes to cover the shortfall, so TAX BREAK = SUBSIDY.

You really don't think these companies are doing this out of the goodness of their heart, do you?

As far as subsidizing Pay TV, this idea has been kicked around. Grant low income people a Pay TV subsidy to be financed with the proceeds of the spectrum auction. So, how many things is this magic spectrum auction money going to be spent, and what happens when the auction proceeds are gone? Why yes, you and I will pay. The ones that make their own way in the world, who currently earn "too much" on paper, but in reality are broke after taxes, fees, insurance, electric, gas, etc to actually afford the pay TV bill that we will provide to others at no cost - TO THEM.

So there we'll be, to "wealthy" to afford even small luxuries, and indeed, even the necessities, we pay for it for others. While they can get food, housing, heat, electric, medical, TV, phone, and even several thousand dollar mobility scooters "at no cost to you!", (DAMN THAT PHRASE!) you and I work every day to barely break even, without even the small luxury of free advertiser - sponsored OTA TV.

God bless our congress critters - the best government money can buy.

(BTW, the "lifeline" phone service that qualifies low income households for free cell phones was started by the Reagan administration for landline phones, so I don't want to hear any "Damned Liberals! comments)
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#5
Just be careful to keep the 'blame' in the right place. Low income people should not be on the bad end of the stick if a company chooses to subsidize or whatever.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#6
From the article...

"Today we ran the story of Michelle Obama serving risotto at the soup kitchen down the street from the White House. She was surrounded by poor people frantically snapping photos with their cell phones. If you’re anything like us (and we understand completely if you don’t want to be) you wondered, how can the poor afford cell phones, fancy ones with cameras? The monthly bills on these things can eat you alive. Is there some sort of free government cell phone service we didn’t know about?"

Yes there is but those phones don't have the ability to take pictures, they're not camera phones. The phones you get via the offer only provide the bare basics of cell phone service and are a lifeline in an emergency.

The author of that article is just being gay.
 
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tvcraze

DTVUSA Member
#7
From The Article:


Poverty in the United States: Air Conditioning, Cable TV and an Xbox | The Heritage Foundation

What drives me crazy is the fact that we use our social programs to encourage irresponsibility. How can we justify subsidizing the pay-TV industry with food stamps? And yet, that is what we do. I have no problem with helping those who are truely poor, in fact that is something I believe that we are morally obligated to do, but why should we turn it into a trickle up subsidy of the hyper-rich to the detriment of those of us, poor or middle class, who choose to use our resources wisely?
I totally agree. :D
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#8
This is completely appalling! I personally know someone who is on the assurance wireless plan and they have a brand new IPhone on the government’s (i.e. taxpayers’) dime with free minutes to boot. At least he does have to pay for all the games he downloads, right?

I also know that assurance wireless (the other ones probably do as well) pays these people who are already getting free phones and free minutes $1500 just to do a little commercial for them! So our tax dollars pay for their cell phone (which should be a privilege, not a right!) and then the company who’s making money hand-over-fist from these government payouts turn around pays them %1500 for less than one days’ worth of work! How many of us working class schlubs make $1500 a week, let alone a day?!?!

But back to this guy I know…he is a single father who can’t really hold a job. He’s in sales and he applies for a multitude of jobs he’s not qualified for but occasionally he’ll find a sucker who feels sorry for him. Then he’ll work for a month or two…long enough for his employer to find out he’s really a schmuck..(i.e. not bothering to leave his house everyday for work). The only reason he’s in sales is because it takes a little longer to prove someone isn’t doing their job, so it buys him a little time (and a little more free money). Then when he loses that job, he goes right back to living off the government and religious organizations that pay for his rent, gas, insurance, electricity, water, etc. Then when they start prodding him to get a job again the cycle repeats itself.

I think these organizations need to be investigated. I’d like to see our money used more wisely. I prefer to give a hand-up not a hand-out.

And the emergency use argument? What’s wrong with a land line phone that costs $10 a month? There was, after all, a time (not that long ago) when cell phones were considered a privilege you work to earn, not a right simply because you're a citizen (if that's even a requirement). No where in this countries' founding documents do I see the promise of this or any other "free government cheese". I am promised "life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness," and to pursue something means to go after it, not sit and home on my rear and let the government take care of me. Free I-Phones and minutes galore is ridiculous!
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
This is completely appalling! I personally know someone who is on the assurance wireless plan and they have a brand new IPhone on the government’s (i.e. taxpayers’) dime with free minutes to boot. At least he does have to pay for all the games he downloads, right?
I assure you, they did NOT get the iPhone on the Assurance plan. The phones they give are bottom dweller phones.
 
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Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#10
And the emergency use argument? What’s wrong with a land line phone that costs $10 a month? There was, after all, a time (not that long ago) when cell phones were considered a privilege you work to earn, not a right simply because you're a citizen (if that's even a requirement). No where in this countries' founding documents do I see the promise of this or any other "free government cheese". I am promised "life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness," and to pursue something means to go after it, not sit and home on my rear and let the government take care of me. Free I-Phones and minutes galore is ridiculous!
I agree on the landline comment in that there are measured options and life line options where you can get home phone service for less than $10 per month. However, when you are out and about, I am also for having a phone for emergency use. We live in dangerous times, and I myself carry a basic cell phone that I use only for emergencies when I am out. I believe we all have a right to that safe feeling.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
Another point I'd like to make concerning these pre-paid cell phones... well a couple of points, really.

First, there are a number of FAUX News followers out there referring to them as "Obama Phones" - Just an outright lie. The program has been in existence for years before Obama, and like him or not, Obama had NOTHING to do with the free cell phone program. snopes.com: Free Cell Phones for Welfare Recipients

Second, this program by some reports cost the government about $1.6 BILLION a year, of which 33 MILLION may be wasted on fraud: Whoops. Government Gives Free Cell Phones to Wrong People, Costing Tax Payers | fox4kc.com (note: if Felicita SanMiguel gave up a few cheezeburgers a month, she could pay $8 a month for a cell phone without starving. Just sayin')

Third, Landline phones are available if you are on assistance for about $10+ a month - It's your phone providers "lifeline" program. A basic phone for your home costs $5-$10. You may need a phone in today's world, but nobody "NEEDS" a cell phone. A landline is a better option for those that have a place to live, because calling those "vital services" and prospective employers often results in being put on hold, eating up valuable cell phone minutes. If you feel you truly need a cell phone, see my fourth point below-

Fourth, and finally, I use Tracfone, the provider of "SafeLink Wireless". I have a pretty decent cell phone which I bought on sale myself for under $20, with DMFL "double minutes for life". Tracfone's best value in a DMFL phone is $9.99: TracFone | Prepaid Cell Phones | Prepaid Wireless . Using DMFL and finding "promo codes" online (TRACFONE Coupon Codes), I get at least 150+ minutes for $20, and it keeps service active for 90 days. I rarely use all my minutes, they roll over - because I don't use it as an "entertainment center". It's a PHONE. Total cost to me is less about $8 per month.

Summary: $8 a month is not a lot of money for ANYONE IN AMERICA. There is no reason for the government to provide cell phones for free.
 
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#12
This issue pushes my buttons. Free phones, free this and free that and EBT (food stamp ATM cards) for over 46 million Americans have these cards. Then they go to suppermarket and buy food like Perrier water, lobster, shrimp, chocolate.

This is how the program should be run. Have the Government tender for the private sector to provide soup kitchens. If you are hungry no problem just go to the government soup kitchen and hand them your meal chit...are you still hungry now?

Food Stamp Nation\

I was reading that many of the restaurant chains are lobbying to be allowed to accept EBT cards at the likes of McDonald's and KFC. Can you believe it!

The American social welfare system is looking better than what the Russians had under the USSR.....the new USSA for better or worse.

Now to get back on topic I'm earning 6 figures (yes correct) and ditched cable 2 years ago, just use the OTA antenna, Netlflix and DVD from the library. I tell you some folks not working have more toys and more free time that I do. nuff said. :(
 
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Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#13
nobody "NEEDS" a cell phone.
Yes they do. Your car breaks down on a country road in the dead of winter and you don't have a cell phone...you may die there. The people getting these free phones are for the most part poor people that are probably driving clunkers. A cell phone is truly a lifeline that everyone should have a right to. As far as the cost, the government can afford it.

Vishnu (Lord) knows the government takes enough money out of our pockets anyway so they may as well spend it on something worth while instead of blowing it all on killing middle eastern people.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
Yes they do. Your car breaks down on a country road in the dead of winter and you don't have a cell phone...you may die there. The people getting these free phones are for the most part poor people that are probably driving clunkers. A cell phone is truly a lifeline that everyone should have a right to. As far as the cost, the government can afford it.

Vishnu (Lord) knows the government takes enough money out of our pockets anyway so they may as well spend it on something worth while instead of blowing it all on killing middle eastern people.
I hear you, Tim... but from the late 70's to the 90's I drove SERIOUS clunkers on many SERIOUS back roads during the SERIOUS upstate NY winters. I'm still alive.

Tracfone, under $10 a month out of pocket. My comment stands.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#15
Yes they do. Your car breaks down on a country road in the dead of winter and you don't have a cell phone...you may die there.
True, but ... your free cell phone might not have reception coverage where you happen to break down. Having proper winter gear in the trunk of your car is far more important than relying on 'The Auto Club' to rescue your sorry butt! Be self-sufficient.

The people getting these free phones are for the most part poor people that are probably driving clunkers.
Clunkers? I thought the taxpayer ripoff / Obama 'Cash For Clunkers' Program removed all of them from the roads (not)!

A cell phone is truly a lifeline that everyone should have a right to.
A right? Nonsense. You have the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. If having a cell phone makes you happy, then pursue it.

As far as the cost, the government can afford it.
The Government is currently borrowing 41 cents from China for every dollar it spends. The US Government is beyond broke.

Vishnu (Lord) knows the government takes enough money out of our pockets anyway so they may as well spend it on something worth while instead of blowing it all on killing middle eastern people.
At the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the US spent no more than 17% of its GNP on our Military and that includes retirements, the equivilant of the GI Bill, etc. Compare that to WW2. The Iraq war is over and spending is way down. When Middle Eastern people stop trying to kill people from Westerized Countries, we can consider further reducing our military spending.

Jim
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#16
True, but ... your free cell phone might not have reception coverage where you happen to break down. Having proper winter gear in the trunk of your car is far more important than relying on 'The Auto Club' to rescue your sorry butt! Be self-sufficient.
OK, you may not have reception where you're at but without a cell phone, well it's a moot point. As far as proper winter gear and an auto club membership, we're talking poor people here so I doubt they'll be able to afford either. Instead maybe they could call a friend or family member to come and pick them up. Being self sufficient is fine but what happens when you're out and about and have a heart attack, whip out the old do-it-yourself heart transplant kit or a cell phone?





A right? Nonsense. You have the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. If having a cell phone makes you happy, then pursue it.
I never said it was a right, I said that it should be. Cell phones are an amazing technological breakthrough that everyone should have access to. They're referred to as lifelines for a reason.

The Government is currently borrowing 41 cents from China for every dollar it spends. The US Government is beyond broke.

At the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the US spent no more than 17% of its GNP on our Military and that includes retirements, the equivilant of the GI Bill, etc. Compare that to WW2. The Iraq war is over and spending is way down. When Middle Eastern people stop trying to kill people from Westerized Countries, we can consider further reducing our military spending.Jim
So we're beyond broke and can't afford to provide cell phones to the poor but unnecessary wars against the people of countries that have done nothing to us is an ok use of the money we borrow from China?
 
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Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#17
I hear you, Tim... but from the late 70's to the 90's I drove SERIOUS clunkers on many SERIOUS back roads during the SERIOUS upstate NY winters. I'm still alive.

Tracfone, under $10 a month out of pocket. My comment stands.
I see where you're coming from and agree that you're basically correct. I just believe that as far as government spending goes, it's a better use of our money than a lot of things they spend it on.
 
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