The new face of poverty: As recession lingers, poverty migrates to the suburbs

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    The root of these problems is generally: 1) Spending - Too many spend way too much, too early in life, and then something goes wrong like in this case. If you aren't saving 15% of your income, YOU PROBABLY CAN'T AFFORD WHATEVER IT IS YOU THINK YOU WANT! Downsize the house, skip the cars and vacations, eat at home, skip the prepared foods, cancel the cable TV or satellite, skip the smartphone and expensive cell phone service, wear less expensive clothes, etc. 2) Education (reminder - a college degree is not what matters. What matters is if you have relevant skills. You will have to work hard to keep your skills current. This means evenings and weekends. Too many seek the leisure life and are unprepared as their career changes.)

    C'mon people. We are borrowing too much, living too large, saving too little, investing too little in ourselves and generally living in la-la-land. Wake up, downsize and simplify. You will be much happier than your are now trying to keep up that image that you think you need.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 8:10 p.m.

    If you are underwater and can keep paying your mortgage -- do so.

    Lots of us were underwater when we first bought our homes; we were, for four years, in the mid-1970s. NOW, by staying in that same home, which was big enough for our small family then and nice enough for us now, we've gained a lot. The house is paid for, we live debt free.

    A house is just a place to keep your stuff in.
    Live in in.
    Pay for it.

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    The recession being so wide-spread is the result of our economic model effectively putting all our eggs in too few baskets. This is done through Wall Street.

    Whenever you buy goods and services from publically-traded companies, you are contributing to the consolidation of our economy into big business corporations (e.g. Walmart).

    A resilient economy is a diverse economy. An economy that has a wide variety of providers of goods and services.

    But when huge mega-conglomerate corporations monopolize an industry, it places too many eggs in a basket and puts us at risk for these kinds of economic downturns.

    The answer?

    1. Buy Local whenever you can.
    2. Buy from "Mon-n-Pop" shops rather than big name-brand stores.
    3. Buy from companies that reimburse their employees at a high rate, rather than from companies that try to operate "on the cheap" by exploiting employees and pocketing huge profits for owners.
    4. If you are one of the families described in this article, and you know families like those described, team up with others in similar situations to exchange labor and professional services. Hire one another and barter as needed. Keep skills alive and relevant.

  • Vince the boonies, mexico
    Nov. 13, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    For those 20-50 yr olds(the instant gratification generation) this mess we are all in will not be solved overnight, so don't click your computers for magical and instant fixes. Now we are all going to learn a hard lesson and things will change but probaly not for at least 5 years. 5 years isn't much as for lifes duration. Just be sure not to make the same mistakes ever again.
    Jack abramoff after serving a few years in the slammer for being on of the biggest corrupt lobyists insists that the lying, stealing paying off congressmen and all of the big business favoring payola is still happening as big as ever. We need to stop that and not electing one single incumbent politican will help along with moving what business you do to the small businesses and send a message to the big boys!

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    Judging each other so harshly is not going to help the situation. We were all part of the problem to some degree.

    The ones who have lost everything hopefully have learned and benefited from their mistakes.

    Everyone who is not willing to help is just as in love with their money as those who overextended themselves.

    Thank goodness for those people who are willing to help.

    Thank you. Let's all work together to get through these hard times.

    Sulking about things is not going to make you more attractive to anyone.

    Keep your dreams alive.

  • Jeff Elhardt Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 13, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    move to the smallest, cheapest dwelling you can tolerate.
    Spread your loans out evenly in the garbage can and think back to how you lived before you were offered all the magical loans that inflated your wealth and ego.
    Every now and again we get the chance to be harvested {get cash now!}. Skip a couple of cycles if you can.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    But what can people who are caught in this trap do? One way out, but one which they have no experience in, is voluntary cooperatives of all types. This would be communism with a small "c." But this involves learning social skills which most of us don't have. Since this appears to be a mightly long recession such skills may be necessary. Note to LDS conservatives: cooperatives are an exmaple of self-reliance, mutual self-reliance, of which your church is an outstanding example.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    @one old man

    "Would it be fair to say you're just full of beans?"

    Brilliant argument of the facts. Bravo.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    Re: Doctor - Poeple didn't buy "more house than they could afford," but rather they thought housing was a fool-proof investment, and were told such by the "experts." Well, we know better now.

    Nov. 13, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    We are all one hospital stay away from poverty! I don't care who you are, very few people in America can afford a lingering illness, it will devistate you all financially. Lets say one serious illness one week in the hospital, $80,000, even with Medicare and a plan B insurance the out of pocket is $8,000. Social Security is $700 a month. My reality.
    Your child gets sick,good health insurance pays 80%, $100,000 in cancer treatment. $20,000 out of pocket. Where will you come up with that on regular wages? You can't morgage your house, you have no equity, you can't take from your savings it is gone with the economy. You are beholding to the hospital for the rest of your life. Your reality.
    Economic realities. Insurance companies making billions on our fears and illness, and we don't make THEM accountable. Instead our president wants socialized medicine?
    You all scream about the price of gas, and of interest, and homes; how about the price of insurance, for individuals, hospitals, our government, etc... think about it?

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Nov. 13, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    Yet how can we have it both ways? Low cost products with highly compensated U.S. workers building those products...It doesn't work that way. When we purchase a good or service, we are transferring financial power to those behind our purchase.

    If we expect to be compensated more than others, then we need to produce more than others. If my 10 year old neighbor will mow my lawn for $5, am I wrong for employing him instead of the local lawn mowing company for $20? If I choose the neighbor kid then I have $15 more a week to purchase something else for my family. All of these people that say buy American have great intentions, and I try to do that when it makes sense. Yet if I can get the same quality product for half the cost, it is hard for me to choose the more expensive product. Doing so would lower my own standard of living because I will have less $ for other things. It's truly about comparative advantages and a portion of U.S. comparative advantages are hurt by government policies. However, a large part of the problem is essentially out of government control.

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Nov. 13, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    I believe there are financially responsible, hard-working individuals who have lost their jobs. Many have a solid resume but the work isn't always there. I wish them the best in finding work. It's a good wake up call for all of us to be wise with our financial resources.

    I believe one cause for our current economic environment is that our economy grew too fast because a large portion of product demand was created through credit. When too many people are accruing debt to purchase things, it becomes unsustainable. Businesses that expanded to meet the demand soon find the demand decreasing as people aren't able to continue borrowing money at the same pace.

    Another cause is due to a globalized economy. When there are people in extreme poverty in other countries that are willing to build widgets for $0.50/hour, how can a U.S. company expect to compete? The positive is that some of these extremely poor people are improving their standard of living, but a negative consequence is that American workers become too expensive. Many of us look for the best deal in a purchase decision. Sometimes foreign labor is behind these good deals.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Nov. 13, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    I might even suggest it began before Bush even --- when politicians and elected officials stopped being public servants and started becoming career politicians. Republican, Democrat --- it pretty much boils down to the same thing. Granted, there are still a few honest public servants, but more and more, the policies are aimed at self preservation (their self preservation), notice how many bills don't get passed before recess EXCEPT the lets raise our salary bill.

    Originally, the founding fathers instituted compensation for elected officials to sustain them while doing their public duty, until they could return to their farm and businesses. Not so any more and I realize times have changed, but the principals are the same -- and everyone who can has followed suit. If it makes me rich, I'm all for it. Who cares about the general populous - let them eat cake.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    I went back and re-read the article. There was no mention of how much they paid for their home or that they were overextended. A lot of assuming here. I purchased my home in Clinton for $165,000. It appraised for $180,000. I didn't consider that foolish. Now I upside down to some degree. I suppose that is my fault. I should have known better.

  • hapticz New York, NY
    Nov. 13, 2011 7:45 a.m.

    LOL, this not news. poverty has been in the 'burbs' since they existed, only hidden and carefully obscured by the greedy promoters of media and 'wonderful living'. even as we paint the world with beautiful pictures to avoid the unfeeling and caustic truths, the base issues remain, those of callous disregard for people with less need for power, money and control. those are the ones who live with true dignity.

    where does any reputable news outlet come off with this nonsense? living with heads buried under the sands of time?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    Truth, if you want to see the TRUTH, please Google up "Policy Differences Under Two Presidents."

    And A1994, would it be fair to say that you're just full of beans?

    Please stop listening to Fox News. Maybe try (GASP) the PBS Newshour every evening.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    Doctor, could it be that just maybe they didn't overextend themselves given their circumstances at the moment?

    Could it be that if Wall Street and Corrupt Politicians had not destroyed their jobs everything would have been just fine?

    Or could it be that the lack of affordable medical care ruined them?

    I sincerely hope you're not a medical doctor. If you are, then I'm thankful I'm not one of your patients.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Nov. 13, 2011 6:28 a.m.

    Hey Doctor, how much house can someone afford with $0 after being laid off?

    Many have sinned in not seeing the future. For shame. Good job kicking people when they are down and overcharging them when they are sick. I bet you won't see them at all now that they're broke.

  • common sense in Idaho Pocatello, id
    Nov. 13, 2011 5:21 a.m.

    You folks here are unbelievable. Everybody who's hurting bought a million dollar home while working at wal-mart. Then they lost their minimum wage job through their own stupidity.


    Some people are unemployed because they got laid off through no fault of their own while renting an apartment. And guess what they are having a hard time finding work.

    So how about a little Christian compassion here. Let's take what we have and share it with those less fortunate than ourselves.

    Want a great Christmas?? Take what you would spend on gifts and give the money to the charity of your choice. Then you would truly know what Christmas is all about.

  • MyChildrensKeeper Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 13, 2011 4:43 a.m.

    I'm getting tired of people blaming individuals for being forced in to loans they didn't want. During the money boil many home buyers were given bait and switch loans. Almost all home loans during this period was limited to what ever banks and mortgage companies forced on the home buyer. Banks didn't want the equity loans which turned out to be their downfall.

    It's still not safe or wise to buy a home and you have to expect losing it if you do buy one. The economy is still in a recession, housing is no longer an american dream, it's become an american nightmare and its like buying a car, the first year is a $40,000 loss with depreciating value every year.

    Poverty in the suburbs has been creeping in for over 35 years, when we went on the debt based economy of credit cards.

    Speaking of poverty and education, what does Obama have to say about that? An isolated incident where 56% of theses isolated incidents are proof that education does not earn you and extra 500,000 in 40 years of work. Education and wealth are not synonymous.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Nov. 12, 2011 9:58 p.m.


    See, that's the problem with the left. You guys consider THIS improvement. Unemployment under Bush averaged 5.5%. That is why he got elected twice. Yes, it went up toward the end of his we entered a recession. Nobody is buying the line that Obama just hasn't had enough time. He is the most unqualified president we've ever had. Period.

    As for the homeowners who got into the sub-prime loans and even those who just over-extended themselves, they knew how much money they were making. Yes, the mortgage companies bear some responsibility for offering those loans. But ultimately, YOU know what you make and how much you can spend. You can't go out and buy a new BMW that you can't afford just because the salesman at the lot said you could get financing.

    I don't enjoy seeing people struggle and lose their homes. Nobody does. But there are consequences when you spend more than you make. That will never change.

  • Melanna Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 12, 2011 9:24 p.m.


    "Recessions happen." agreed they do happen and they are out of the control of these homeowners so why blame the home owners that bought their homes in good faith thinking the economy would sustain itself and they would be able to pay for their homes?

    under bush and the GOP the economy slowly at first then faster and faster got worse and worse. Under Obama the economy has slowly gotten better (slower then any of us would like perhaps but improving none the less). I think I would rather stay on the path of a slow recovery then a return to the failed GOP polices of the past but thanks.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Nov. 12, 2011 8:58 p.m.


    Recessions happen. Barack just helped to make it worse. Seriously, TRUTH has a point. Bush hasn't been in office for three years. If Obama's economic policies were sound, things would be in a lot better shape. If you gave Obama another 4 years, unemployment wouldn't go down one bit. His economic policy wouldn't allow for it. He needs to be gone now and we need to get someone who knows what they're doing.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 12, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    Bush hasn't been POTUS for three years.....

    Obama has driven this car in the ditch...all by himself

    Time for libs to move to the back of the bus!!

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    Nov. 12, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    I didn't kick them when they were down. I called it like I see it. They way over extended themselves and knew it when they did it.

  • Melanna Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 12, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    You know it was just those greedy homeowners that should have known that Georgie boy was going to trash or economy and that banks where going to bounce leading to the further destruction of the economy and the jobs these homeowners relied on to pay for those homes where going away. Greedy homeowners wanting a normal life.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Nov. 12, 2011 6:50 p.m.


    Geez! Way to kick 'em when their down! A little harsh, don't you think? Yeah, in the last 15 years, people have taken EVERYTHING to the extreme. People wanted things that they couldn't afford and made commitments they couldn't keep. They have to take responsibility.

    I think this is a good opportunity for America to downsize and get in better financial shape. We don't need to settle for mediocrity or a lower standard of living. But we do need to tighten up on the financial reigns.

    My prediction is that there will be fewer Christmas present this year and maybe even fewer lights on the houses. I don't think it's a bad thing either. Isn't that how it used to be anyway? Simplified life IS the good life. I'd rather have a modest home, a modest car, a modest Christmas, with the occasional vacation and have peace of mind. That's where we need to go back to. There is no shame in cutting back and setting your house (even if it turns out to be an apartment for awhile) in order.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    Nov. 12, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    Greedy homeowners who bought more house than they could afford. The only excuse is ignorance and stupidity. People blame banks like MLM victims blame the fraudsters for offering them 50% returns.