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The local economy runs on black-market soda

In Appalachia the country is beautiful and the society is broken.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 11, 2014 - 109 comments

Batman Pobre

The Poor Batman
posted by Tom-B on Nov 29, 2013 - 17 comments

Names for Change

Name this mouthwash. Name this winter coat. Name this urinal. Name the herb garden. Name this salt and pepper. Name this fire extinguisher. Name this Case Manager. Name this pie. [more inside]
posted by threeants on Nov 26, 2013 - 28 comments

"...research that is scientifically valuable but morally disturbing."

The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
posted by zarq on Nov 6, 2013 - 28 comments

San Francisco’s most glaring contradiction

San Francisco Magazine visits the Tenderloin: "Barring a seismic shift in city politics, the TL is not going to gentrify the way that similar neighborhoods have in other cities. Not next year. Not in five years. Maybe never. For better or worse, it will likely remain a sanctuary for the poor, the vulnerable, and the damaged—and the violence and disorder that inevitably comes with them. The thousands of working people, seniors, and families, including many Southeast Asians, who make up a silent two-thirds majority of the Tenderloin’s 30,000 residents will remain there. And so will the thousands of not-so-silent mentally ill people, addicts, drunks, and ex-cons who share the streets with them—as well as the predators who come in from the outside to exploit them. The Tenderloin will remain the great anomaly of neighborhoods: a source of stubborn pride for San Francisco, or an acute embarrassment—or both."
posted by porn in the woods on Oct 24, 2013 - 50 comments

Why Don't I Give Money to Poor People?

"What am I, USAID? Who cares what he spent it on? If those two dollars (or 10, or 20) magically disappeared from my back pocket, I never would have noticed. Why am I Jay Gatsby when it goes to making me better off, but Ebeneezer Scrooge if it does that for someone else? All that shit about enabling, it's just an excuse for me to keep what I feel is mine."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 19, 2013 - 105 comments

Meeting Real Live Poor People

Jim Leff: How I Outgrew Libertarianism
posted by blue_beetle on Sep 5, 2013 - 92 comments

What's Killing Poor White Women?

For most Americans, life expectancy continues to rise—but not for uneducated white women. They have lost five years, and no one knows why.
posted by Pater Aletheias on Sep 3, 2013 - 99 comments

"Elites preying on the weak, the gullible, the marginal, the poor."

"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2013 - 57 comments

Disclaimer: The opinions on this page are the property of the writers

Can Silicon Valley Save the World?
posted by infini on Jul 1, 2013 - 43 comments

Hiding Public Land

For years in Malibu, CA, homeowners have tried to hide public access points to local beaches in order to prevent people from using them. A recently released app has tipped off the public as to exactly where these access points are, causing an outcry from the homeowners.
posted by reenum on Jun 23, 2013 - 114 comments

Gold plating the cuckoo clock

BBC: Some 70% of Swiss voters appear to have supported plans to give shareholders a veto on compensation and ban big payouts for new and departing managers, projected referendum results suggest. One of the organisers of the referendum, Brigitte Moser Harder, told the BBC she thought the Swiss people agreed with the proposals because the gap between rich and poor had become wider. "From the beginning, 2006, we had the support of the people of Switzerland because you know not everybody in Switzerland is rich." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Mar 3, 2013 - 15 comments

I don't think Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright will be at all surprised.

It's good to be the Kinga Micklethwait. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a new study of unusual surnames offers some depressing insights into the lingering impact of class on social mobility.
posted by Diablevert on Feb 14, 2013 - 14 comments

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks

See how much money people make in every neighborhood in every city in America with Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks, a map that displays wealth distributions across US cities (and states).
posted by EvaDestruction on Jan 4, 2013 - 59 comments

They deserve better

The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing. Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”. No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini on Nov 8, 2012 - 23 comments

"Just the idea of holding money can make people selfish."

How Money Makes People Act Less Human: Earlier this year, [Paul] Piff, who is 30, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that made him semi-famous. Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”
posted by Mooski on Jul 3, 2012 - 70 comments

The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators.

How Corporations and Local Governments Use the Poor As Piggy Banks. Barbara Ehrenreich (previously) talks about how the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by wage theft, municipal/criminal fines, and debtors prisons.
posted by desjardins on May 20, 2012 - 85 comments

"Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert."

The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]
posted by 2N2222 on Apr 19, 2012 - 63 comments

Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life.

Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 21, 2011 - 22 comments

The cost of healthy food

Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? In which the blog Get Rich Slowly chronicles an argument about nutrition vs cost and then invites readers to chime in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 23, 2011 - 129 comments

Last-Place Aversion: Why America's Poor May Not Be as In Favor of Taxing The Rich as You'd Think

Poverty may be miserable. But being able to feel a bit better-off than someone else makes it a bit more bearable. Economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest that people near the bottom end of financial inequity are less likely to be in favour of programs that will help increase their income if those programs will also help those lower on the scale than they are.
...the authors of the new paper argue that people don’t like to be at the bottom. One paradoxical consequence of this “last-place aversion” is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions. The authors ran a series of experiments where students were randomly allotted sums of money, separated by $1, and informed about the “income distribution” that resulted. They were then given another $2, which they could give either to the person directly above or below them in the distribution. The people who were a spot away from the bottom were the most likely to give the money to the person above them..
This may also explain why Warren Buffet's cry to stop coddling the rich (previously) will continue to fall on deaf ears.
posted by asnider on Aug 16, 2011 - 137 comments

Nickel and Dimed, 10 years later.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the the 2001 bestseller "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America", releases a new afterward for the tenth anniversary edition of the book, focusing on what has changed in the last 10 years. The conclusion: Poverty has since turned into an American crime. [more inside]
posted by windbox on Aug 11, 2011 - 178 comments

Outliers

The World Top Incomes Database (click on "Graphics" and select countries, years and other variables) (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 7, 2011 - 5 comments

Why Can’t More Poor People Escape Poverty?

Psychologists are now theorizing that humans have a depletable reservoir of self-control, and that this is why poor people remain poor.
posted by reenum on Jun 6, 2011 - 118 comments

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

Farmers of the Poor

For all the faults of the poorhouse, the system it replaced was perceived to be even worse. In post-Revolution America, if you were poor, you could be "farmed out" at public auction to the lowest bidder. [more inside]
posted by Knappster on Dec 30, 2010 - 8 comments

Why is income inequality growing?

Over at Slate magazine, Timothy Noah is doing a multi-part examination of America's growing income gap. The Great Divergence.
posted by Trochanter on Sep 17, 2010 - 6 comments

Rosa Lee's Story

In 1994, Leon Dash, while still at the Washington Post, wrote a Pulitzer winning series of articles about a woman named Rosa Lee Cunningham. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 27, 2010 - 12 comments

The Justice Gap in America

Nearly one million people who seek help for civil legal problems, such as foreclosures and domestic violence, will be turned away this year. A new report by the Legal Services Corporation, a non-profit established by Congress in 1974 to ensure equal access to justice, finds that legal aid programs turn away one person for every client served. The full report, "Documenting the Justice Gap in America" is available here (pdf). The 2009 report is an update and expansion on a 2005 report (available here) finding that 80% of the poor lacked access to legal aid. [more inside]
posted by lunit on Sep 30, 2009 - 8 comments

Too Poor to Make the News

Too Poor to Make the News "The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the “great leveler,” smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.

But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility — the already poor. From their point of view “the economy,” as a shared condition, is a fiction."
posted by nooneyouknow on Jun 17, 2009 - 74 comments

You have to be rich to be poor

The High Cost of Poverty : The Washington Post explores why the cost of living is proportionately higher in poor areas. Double Jeopardy: Why the Poor Pay More (pdf): a report on payday loans, the cost of homeownership, medical debt, and banking in poor communities.
posted by desjardins on May 19, 2009 - 230 comments

Poor Little Rich Kids.

Influential billionaires like Carl, Thomas, Kirk, and Warren have been losing their shirts. And it's being felt around the world. [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 20, 2008 - 65 comments

Children's Letters to God? Check.

Children's Letters to God? Check. [more inside]
posted by Lacking Subtlety on Nov 18, 2008 - 55 comments

The America We Never Seem to Talk About.

The America We Never Seem to Talk About. Brenda Ann Kenneally captures the female working poor and culture of incarceration in Troy, N.Y., where the presidential race has little resonance.
posted by chunking express on Nov 4, 2008 - 53 comments

I see wizardry

Attach syringes full of oil to the temples of a pair of double-lensed magic Harry Potter eyeglasses and let poor people see.
posted by orthogonality on Aug 4, 2008 - 57 comments

The Next Big Threat?

Food insecurity may not be as sexy a cause as climate change, refugees or terrorism, (or bird flu for that matter) but for many people around the world, rising food prices are driving them to riot . [more inside]
posted by Megami on Apr 9, 2008 - 44 comments

feedback.

Invest wisely. End poverty.
posted by gman on Oct 25, 2007 - 30 comments

Marriage in America: The Frayed Knot

Marriage in America: The Frayed Knot. "As the divorce rate plummets at the top of American society and rises at the bottom, the widening “marriage gap” is breeding inequality."
posted by chunking express on May 25, 2007 - 133 comments

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Victorian Workhouses
I sometimes look up at the bit of blue sky
High over my head, with a tear in my eye.
Surrounded by walls that are too high to climb,
Confined like a felon without any crime...

posted by Miko on Sep 18, 2006 - 14 comments

Rich state, poor state, red state, blue state

Rich state, poor state, red state, blue state: a November 2005 statistical analysis [PDF] and presentation [PDF] on the the relationship between income and voting. Republicans are richer than Democrats, "blue states" are richer than "red states," and income matters more in "red states." Recent writeup by E.J. Dionne, with a response by the paper's authors. Discussed earlier at the Washington Monthly.
posted by kirkaracha on Mar 15, 2006 - 11 comments

The $39 Experiment

About ten hours (over the course of two days) and exactly two bloodshot eyes later, it was complete. I had 100 letters to 100 different companies — stuffed, sealed, stamped, and ready to go. I put all 100 letters into the mail on Friday, February 24, 2006 at 9 AM. Now all that was left to do was sit back and wait for a response (or two?) via
posted by Kwantsar on Mar 4, 2006 - 62 comments

Are americans poor ?

UN Hits Back at US in Report Saying Parts of America are as Poor as Third World Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.
posted by zouhair on Oct 15, 2005 - 95 comments

Restive masses grasp knowledge: outcome ?

Simputer : High tech meets extreme poverty
posted by troutfishing on Sep 29, 2005 - 22 comments

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being Poor ... what it actually entails. More from Body and Soul, and from Making Light, and from here's a whosit. And this article, in which ...they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue. ...
posted by amberglow on Sep 11, 2005 - 35 comments

From Rags to Wretched

Why some people stayed behind in New Orleans Wealth buys many things, not the least of which is safety and connections. What role does the society have in looking after all the poor? Should it have a role and if so, why? What could these people have done to help themselves? Why did it only take a few days for society to fall apart?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 4, 2005 - 21 comments

Book Report As Criminal Sentence

Throwing the Book at Em'. 2,500 words about a memoir of growing up poor in South Boston. It seems like a great idea, but the book has glaring errors and many Southie faithful consider it a work of fiction. Nevertheless, it has to be a better educational tool than this Southie memoir written by a sociopath.
posted by Cassford on Feb 11, 2005 - 10 comments

The Workhouse

The Workhouse 'is an institution that often evokes the harsh and squalid world of Oliver Twist, but its story is also a fascinating mixture of social history, politics, economics and architecture.'
posted by plep on Mar 3, 2004 - 3 comments

Why Poor People are pretty much f*cked

Why Poor People are pretty much f*cked. No one can make reading about the growing gap between the rich and the poor as fun as the Onion; but other than describing the issue in humorous terms, the story makes it more accessible than your typical article in a newsmagazine.
posted by gregb1007 on Dec 9, 2003 - 33 comments

The

22 year old schizophrenic Farrah Russell was rebuilding her life. But when the plug was pulled on the state program that allowed her to subsist, she took her life. Her heartbreaking story is a cautionary tale of the dark consequences of state budget cuts. While politicians argue over tax stimulus proposals that benefit the wealthy, while wild numbers are applied to war budgets, the States have been forced to cut social programs in order to survive. Whether it's California teachers, Connecticut and New York residents dreading tax hikes, Pennsylvania public transportation, or Texas prescription drug coverage for the poor, the States, supposedly United, have been left out to dry. While the States have been forced to cut their programs, groping for survival, Washington remains silent in its mission. It does not remember history. Why do we turn a blind eye to the hidden costs? What can be done about this? And how do we make it stop?
posted by ed on May 5, 2003 - 53 comments

A Special Kind of Poverty

A Special Kind of Poverty This great article appeared in yesterday's Washington Post Sunday Magazine. Its subject: the trials and tribulations of the poor seeking treatment for their infertility. I don't think I have to list the whole raft of issues this subject raises. As touching as it is thought-provoking.
posted by tommyspoon on Apr 21, 2003 - 77 comments

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