What consumption can tell us about who is really poor

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  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    re Utah Native
    Farmington, UT


    Your story is interesting and highlights the need to carefully think about the consequences of implimenting new ideas before thinking them through.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    Killpack So you really do want to throw grandma and Grandpa under the bus. Do away with Social Security and Medicare and there will be an economic catastrophe in this country that will make the great depression seem like good times. I do understand your point. There is an urgent need for entitlement reform in this country. The problem is when you are 80 you just can't go back to work. Even if you could work who would hire you? I believe the premise of this article is correct. Lets say I am 60 and own my home and am debt free. I could be low income and qualify for food stamps etc. We need to do a better job of determining who gets gov't assistance. I believe the numbers could be drastically reduced. I agree families with children come first.

  • dimelo PEYTON, CO
    Oct. 8, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    Everyone seems to be so impatient with the poor and so miserly with the pittances they dole out to those really struggling on the bottom, but they have nary a criticism for the 1% on top who usurp 93% of the nations profits and horde vast amounts of wealth measured in the billions of dollars for each.

    It seems that rather than trying to figure out how to draw the poverty line lower and lower to cause more and more to suffer, the problem of inequality would be much better addressed by rather placing a cap on how much the greedy are allowed to horde--after all they are the ones leveraging vast wealth for ever more power, causing the biggest problems in our society (note the destruction of democracy), and almost no one is pointing fingers at them.

    Come to think of it this the very solution the Law of Consecration advocates--collect all of the surplus from the greedy fat cats and use it for the common good, and poverty ceases to exist! Why is the obvious so hard for many to grasp, unless they likewise are greedy and aspire to be fat cats themselves?

  • Western Rover HERRIMAN, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 4:46 p.m.

    When I was briefly on Medicaid about 9 years ago, I had to list all my assets and liabilities. There was easily enough information to determine whether applicants "are income poor but live comfortably in homes they own outright", or how many cars they own, etc. So what have they been doing with all this information all these years, if only income matters under the current system?

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Oct. 8, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, the pverty line in this country is set absurdly high

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Oct. 8, 2012 3:02 p.m.

    For the most part, those who want to be poor are poor. It's been that way for a long time.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Years ago we were advised to apply for food stamps when my husband lost his job. Being naive, I filled out all the paperwork, only to find out our car, which had eight months left to pay on, was worth too much money on their asset list. We had barely enough to pay our house payment and utilities. No money for food, car repairs, gas, clothing, or anything else. That was with being very careful with the utilities. The lady at the food stamp office informed me how to work the system. You transfer the title of your car to someone else. You can still drive it, but you do not have the paperwork in your name. Find work that is paid under the table so it will not be traced by government. If you have a 401K it is considered an asset. When our daughter was dying of cancer it took four months to use up her assets before she could receive help. My point here is that you have to prepare yourself to live on welfare. It is not really for temp help, it is for permanent help.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    I'll tell you who is poor. The US Treasury with $15 trillion in debt and counting. If you don't believe that, I don't know what to do for you. I say no more bailouts, no more handouts, no more food stamps, no more Social Security, no more medicare. Might as well say it now instead of wait until our currency is worthless and we don't have a choice in the matter.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    For most of us, winning the lottery isn't ever going to happen. We have a much better chance of being laid off of a job. When that happens, one would hope that government assistance would be there to help (former) tax payers through a crisis. It wasn't that way for us in 1999. When my husband's company went overseas, he lost his job and began searching for new employment. I went to see about getting food stamps in Davis County. I was turned down because we had just purchased a new car that year, and the woman who was helping me with my application told me that they didn't want "someone to carry their groceries purchased with food stamps out to a brand new car." I explained we didn't even own the car; the bank did. We also would've gladly returned the car to the dealership if they'd allowed it, since we no longer had income. It was ironic to be legitimately in need but be ineligible for assistance. We did have two young children who qualified for WIC, however, but those were 6 difficult months.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    PS. Amanda Clayton is dead at the age of 25.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    The problem of using consumption for measurement is that the items consumed do not have a fixed value for all people.

    A warm coat might be an absolute necessity in New York but not so in San Diego. And have many different values in between.

    Some may consider a cell phone a luxury while others regard it is a necessary tool of life.

    Income is the only common denominator that measures the value of a person’s welfare because it allows the person them self to decide the value. I think we call it freedom.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Doesn't surprise me that this guy continue getting food stamp. You think this guy feeling guilty - NOPE! Even Social Security would continue to give moeny to SSI or SSDI if any client win a big Lottery or Gambling. Winning big money is not an INCOME!