Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

How Poor Are The Poor, Really?

The problem, generally, is staying in a home, not finding one

From our Swindon Correspondent:

I’m a big fan of the comedian Doug Stanhope, and there’s a routine that he once did which is about people’s poverty being their own fault. From Wikiquote

If you listen to anyone bitch about the economy for long enough, just let them talk, cuz you’ll eventually hear why it’s exactly their fault. And not just Wall Street people, just dumb fucks at a lunch counter in Flint, Michigan. “I’m just a simple man, with a simple wife and four simple children, and I just want an honest day’s work. Y’know, Obama’s exporting all or jobs overseas, now I can’t even find work.” You sad motherfucker– Hang on a second! Did you just say you had four children?! Wait, wait, you have four children? In Flint, Michigan?
And this appeared via Twitter
Gemma and Sana are just two of the 1.5 million people living in overcrowded social homes in England.
Sana Ahmed (not her real name) knows all too well the struggle to live in such conditions and says she feels ignored by Barnet Homes who provides the two bed flat her family of six have lived in for 15 years.
Her and husband Ali (not his real name) take it in turns to sleep on the sofa downstairs, their two-year-old daughter bunks in with them.

Their three older children, two boys and a girl aged 15, 14, and 10, sleep on the floor of a single bedroom.
So let me get this straight. At the point when you had something like a 12 year old, an 11 year old and a 7 year old, in a 2 bed flat, you figured it would be a good idea to have another one?
Facing a similar struggle is Gemma. For 15 years she’s lived in a two bedroom flat that’s now home to her and her three children.

For now her seven-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as her, but she’s living in fear of the time he grows too old to do so.

Maybe you should have thought of that before shagging some bloke who it now seems isn’t in the picture.
There was a time when people got poor, desperately poor, through misfortune. Husband loses his hand in an accident and can’t work, the pit closes and there’s no work nearby. And clearly there are still people with disabilities (and we should probably help more).
But the more I see stories of misfortune, the more I notice that as I get into an article, the more I lose sympathy. At a certain point, you aren’t unfortunate or even a bit irresponsible, you’re downright reckless and self-destructive. And if these are the best cases the media can find, how much of a problem do we have?
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decnine
decnine
4 months ago

I think you are right on the money – but don’t expect general applause. The really, really evil thing about journalists and the poverty porn they peddle is that genuine hard cases won’t get a fair hearing. Slightly off topic, but I wonder how many immigrant families Yvette Cooper is now hosting?

John B
John B
4 months ago

People are ‘poor’ because the welfare state encourages them to be so, or they lose their benefits and actually have to work hard to support themselves. They also come from non-industrialised Countries where they could not develop skills to get them a decent job in a modern, industrialised economy. Minimum wage which excludes them from the labour market, does the rest. In times past, immigrants (or anyone) living umpteen in a pokey flat was an incentive to work harder to escape, now it’s an incentive to whine and bother the local council to provide a better place – a nice… Read more »

Spike
Spike
4 months ago

The entire US immigration debate—from Democrats styling immigrants as “dreamers” to Republicans citing statistics and anecdotes of crime and dependence on welfare—is aimed at promoting a stereotype of the entire class, to prepare to legislate based on how we feel about that stereotype.

But, yes; almost no one is forced to live in poverty, except by the gov’t policies that reward poor decision-making.

Esteban
Esteban
4 months ago

If you’re not sleeping outdoors, have minimal heating cooling and aren’t missing meals, you ain’t poor. Aside from the self-inflicted bit.

james morgan
james morgan
4 months ago

You’re a cruel and evil man Tim. I will pray for you.

Spike
Spike
4 months ago
Reply to  james morgan

And you are a name-caller. You have worked through the arguments presented above, though you won’t show your work, only your conclusion that Tim has a character deficiency. Most likely, you can’t prove that Tim’s presentation is not true; you merely wish it were not true.

james morgan
james morgan
4 months ago
Reply to  Spike

Huh? It was a joke. Maybe your reply was too. Who TF knows.

Spike
Spike
4 months ago
Reply to  james morgan

Sorry, mine wasn’t. Your joke was poor—for a reader in a nation of gaslighting rather than reasoning—too lifelike.

james morgan
james morgan
4 months ago
Reply to  Spike

Tim is an evil man. You need to learn how to take a joke. I’m sure Tim has no problem with what I said. Because HE GETS THE JOKE.

ComputerLabRat
ComputerLabRat
4 months ago

Good grief – the people in the free government housing are whining because it’s too crowded? AND they keep having more kids? Ye gods – people on the dole piss me off to no end. Get stuff for free, and it’s never enough. I’m with Esteban on this – they’ve got a roof and food, and for the ones in the UK free medical care (although I think in the US they get medical care for free too, on welfare). They aren’t poor.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
4 months ago

When poverty is measured in a relative way poverty ceases to be genuinely identifiable. During the financial crisis (2008), poverty measured relatively decreased, because at least immediately the richer folks were harder hit. The fact that bankers lost their bonuses didn’t really make other people less poor, in fact it is bound to have made the poorer less wealthy, as the disposable income of the wealthy decreased, leading inexorably to fewer meals eaten out, a reduction building extensions and the non-purchase of a myriad of other items, the purchase of which is the back bone of employment, for the many… Read more »

Boganboy
Boganboy
4 months ago

This does remind me of the present fuss about Lebanon. The French and Germans are actually demanding reforms before they shovel out the cash.

But just as the UK won’t send the above complainants to the workhouse, the Frogs and the Jerries won’t really send in the Foreign Legion and the SS to flog the Lebanese into line.

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