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Mom Confessions Mom Confessions

It's Your Fault You're Poor!

Posted by on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM
  • 192 Replies
7 moms liked this

According to Dave Ramsey.

It's so easy to judge when you've never been in someone's shoes.

20 Things the Poor Really Do Everyday Rich Never Have To Worry About

20 Things the Poor Do Everyday That the Rich Never Have to Worry About

Just staying alive is a struggle.

This post first appeared on Ben Irwin's blog. 

Financial advisor and evangelical Christian Dave Ramsey probably wasn’t expecting this much pushback when he shared a piece contrasting the habits of the rich with those of the poor. In her response on CNNRachel Held Evans noted that Ramsey and Corley mistake correlation for causality when they suggest (without actually proving) that these habits are the cause of a person’s financial situation. (Did it never occur to them that it might be the other way around?)

Ramsey fired back, calling the pushback “immature and ignorant.” This from a guy who just made 20 sweeping assertions about 47 million poor people in the US — all based on a survey of 361 individuals.

That’s right. To come up with his 20 habits, Corley talked to just 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people. Ramsey can talk all he wants about Corley’s research passing the “common-sense smell test,” but it doesn’t pass the “research methodology 101” test.

To balance the picture a bit, I wanted to take a fact-based look at 20 things the poor do on a daily basis…

1. Search for affordable housing. 
Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless.
(Source: New York Times)

2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month. 
That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3…
(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)

3. Subsist on poor quality food. 
Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is…
(Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)

4. Skip a meal.
One in six Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating.
(Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)

5. Work longer and harder than most of us.
While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. More than 80 percent of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60 percent have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.”
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts. 
Number 15 on Ramsey and Corley’s list was, “44% of [the] wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of [the] poor.” It may be true that most poor people don’t wake up three hours before work starts. But that could be because they’re more likely to work multiple jobs, in which case job #1 means they’re probably just getting to bed three hours before job #2 starts.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

7. Try to avoid getting beat up by someone they love. 
According to some estimates, half of all homeless women in America ran away to escape domestic violence.
(Source: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009)

8. Put themselves in harm’s way, only to be kicked to the streets afterward. 
How else do you explain 67,000 63,000 homeless veterans?
(Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs, updated to reflect the most recent data)

9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes. 
Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc. In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay TWICE as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%.
(Source: Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)

10. Fall further behind. 
Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you experience poverty as a child, you are 3-4 times less likely to graduate high school. If you spend your entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you.
(Sources: World Vision, Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)

11. Raise kids who will be poor. 
A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a myth.
(Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)

12. Vote less. 
And who can blame them? I would be less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud.
(Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)

13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us. 
Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government. The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters.
(Sources: NPRPew Research Center)

14. Live with chronic pain. 
Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report feeling physical pain on any given day.
(Source: Kaiser Health News)

15. Live shorter lives. 
There is a 10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet.
(Source: Health Affairs, 2012)

16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else. 
Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor.
(Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations. 
The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008.
(Source: Think By Numbers)

18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible. 
Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls within five years. Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

19. Have about the same number of children as everyone else. 
No, poor people do not have loads of children just so they can stay on welfare.
(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

20. Accomplish one single goal: stay alive.  
Poverty in America may not be as dire as poverty in other parts of the world, but many working poor families are nonetheless preoccupied with day-to-day survival. For them, life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured.

These are the real habits of the poor, those with whom Jesus identifies most closely.

by on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:21 PM
I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.
teeloffel
by Gold Member on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:23 PM
6 moms liked this

Of course it does. 

I'm betting you've never been poor, have you?  I offer you a challenge; I'd like you to try to live one month on the weekly allotment that food stamps would allow for your family size and tell me how easy it is.  But I won't hold my breath because if you actually *did* that, you might *gasp!* be proven wrong! 

Quoting Anonymous: I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.


Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM
Sounds about right.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM
6 moms liked this
I'm a single mother to three children, working and going to school full time and I manage to have more in my bank account at the end of each month that I did at the beginning. Yeah- I know what poor feels like, but I'm working to make it better, not giving every reason that I can think of as to why I'm in this position.

Quoting teeloffel:

Of course it does. 

I'm betting you've never been poor, have you?  I offer you a challenge; I'd like you to try to live one month on the weekly allotment that food stamps would allow for your family size and tell me how easy it is.  But I won't hold my breath because if you actually *did* that, you might *gasp!* be proven wrong! 

Quoting Anonymous: I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.


suzanneyea
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM
2 moms liked this

Sorry, number 5 is bullshit. Most wealthy people work a lot!

teeloffel
by Gold Member on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:29 PM
3 moms liked this

That's awesome that you're able to do that!  Unfortunately, not everyone is in the position to be able to do what you're doing. Not everyone was able to obtain the education you did that may have allowed you to get the job you have, or be able to go to school.  

Just becuase someone can't do what you do doesn't mean they are "making excuses".  They just had to take a different path. Why judge? Why not sympathize instead... I'm guessing you're a Christian, wouldn't that be the "christian" thing to do?

Quoting Anonymous: I'm a single mother to three children, working and going to school full time and I manage to have more in my bank account at the end of each month that I did at the beginning. Yeah- I know what poor feels like, but I'm working to make it better, not giving every reason that I can think of as to why I'm in this position.

Quoting teeloffel:

Of course it does. 

I'm betting you've never been poor, have you?  I offer you a challenge; I'd like you to try to live one month on the weekly allotment that food stamps would allow for your family size and tell me how easy it is.  But I won't hold my breath because if you actually *did* that, you might *gasp!* be proven wrong! 

Quoting Anonymous: I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.



JP-StrongForTwo
by on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM
I can agree with most of it. Though now, living in poverty myself for the moment, i see so many women who really are poor because they make bad choices. My friend had 6 kids, living in broken down sub housing for the last 12 years living off of welfare, not even trying to do anything to better her situation, but yet just got very very expensive satellite cable that she's going to pay for every month somehow.

meanwhile I'm working my ass off 20 hours a week for minimum wage to bring home $500 a month just that I can feed my kid. (if I did the math right)
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM
2 moms liked this
I'm
Judging this article. I'm not judging every poor person in America. I understand that everyone's circumstance is different, but the article is just giving 45 reasons why the poor are "helpless."

Quoting teeloffel:

That's awesome that you're able to do that!  Unfortunately, not everyone is in the position to be able to do what you're doing. Not everyone was able to obtain the education you did that may have allowed you to get the job you have, or be able to go to school.  

Just becuase someone can't do what you do doesn't mean they are "making excuses".  They just had to take a different path. Why judge? Why not sympathize instead... I'm guessing your a Christian, wouldn't that be the "christian" thing to do?

Quoting Anonymous: I'm a single mother to three children, working and going to school full time and I manage to have more in my bank account at the end of each month that I did at the beginning. Yeah- I know what poor feels like, but I'm working to make it better, not giving every reason that I can think of as to why I'm in this position.



Quoting teeloffel:

Of course it does. 

I'm betting you've never been poor, have you?  I offer you a challenge; I'd like you to try to live one month on the weekly allotment that food stamps would allow for your family size and tell me how easy it is.  But I won't hold my breath because if you actually *did* that, you might *gasp!* be proven wrong! 

Quoting Anonymous: I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.



littlesippycup
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM
5 moms liked this

Why are you bashing her for proving that through hard work and dedication, someone can better themselves without making excuses? That makes no sense.

Quoting teeloffel:

That's awesome that you're able to do that!  Unfortunately, not everyone is in the position to be able to do what you're doing. Not everyone was able to obtain the education you did that may have allowed you to get the job you have, or be able to go to school.  

Just becuase someone can't do what you do doesn't mean they are "making excuses".  They just had to take a different path. Why judge? Why not sympathize instead... I'm guessing your a Christian, wouldn't that be the "christian" thing to do?

Quoting Anonymous: I'm a single mother to three children, working and going to school full time and I manage to have more in my bank account at the end of each month that I did at the beginning. Yeah- I know what poor feels like, but I'm working to make it better, not giving every reason that I can think of as to why I'm in this position.

Quoting teeloffel:

Of course it does. 

I'm betting you've never been poor, have you?  I offer you a challenge; I'd like you to try to live one month on the weekly allotment that food stamps would allow for your family size and tell me how easy it is.  But I won't hold my breath because if you actually *did* that, you might *gasp!* be proven wrong! 

Quoting Anonymous: I like Dave Ramsey. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.




ButterMeUp
by Butters on Dec. 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM
9 moms liked this

I think that 90% of the time that being poor is cause by the persons actions or lack there of. 

*If you read my post and there are mistakes in my spelling or grammar please note that I never learned either in school and I am currently learning them now. If you see a mistake POLITELY point it out and I'll be more than happy to correct my mistake. Here's a fun little siggy for your enjoyment. *

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