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Topic: Frontline:  Poor Kids, Better Safety Nets needed?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 9:43 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/nov/14/frontline-poor-kids/

Watched it last night.  Uncomfortable.  Put faces  on some of the poor that some of us, including me, don't remember enough.  I will not enjoy Thanksgiving dinner quite so much tomorrow.  

Something to keep in mind as washington deals with our fiscal woes.   

".....In "Poor Kids," FRONTLINE travels to the Quad Cities, a great American crossroads along the border of Iowa and Illinois, to explore the lives of children living in the suburbs of the nation’s heartland and growing up poor. Told from the point of view of the children themselves, this one-hour documentary offers a unique perspective on the nation’s flagging economy and the impact of unemployment, foreclosure and financial distress as seen through the eyes of the children affected.


FRONTLINE spent months following three young girls, including Kaylie (pictured), who are growing up amidst their families’ struggles against financial ruin.
For 10-year-old Kaylie, the hardest part of dealing with her family’s financial difficulties is ignoring the gnawing hunger in her stomach. “I’m just starving,” she says. “We don’t get that three meals a day, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”........


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 9:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is a topic that I am particularly sensitive to.  Just really tugs at my heart.  but I did want to point out something questionable in that story.  I hope it was just an inaccurate statement.

"Kaylie and Tyler’s mother, Barbara, earns $1,480 a month. Rent and utilities consume $1,326 of that, leaving little money for food or gas."

That doesn't make sense to me.  I live in Boston.  Not 30 miles away, and just calling it Boston because I'm proud.  I literally live in Boston.  Now granted it's one of the poorer neighborhoods, so my rent isn't nearly as high as it would be if I lived in one of the more upper income neighborhoods.  I don't pay much more for rent and utilities than what is quoted above. So, how on earth is it costing this mother SO much for just rent and utilities, in a decidedly more affordable section of the nation??!!??

Heck, if I moved an hour south of Boston, I'm confident I could find a place to rent that would keep my total rent and utility bill under what she's paying.  Massachusetts as a whole has very high cost of living compared to Iowa/Illinois...

Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread for that seemingly innocuous point, but it just left me scratching my head.  I would like to see this.  There's always something special, and something brutally truthful to be heard when a child speaks of anguish.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Stop thinking rationally about it, EastTrekker. Just blindly give them money and government programs instead. Less you start sounding like one of them evil conservatives who would rather treat the problem rather than keep painting over it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(N2theWild @ Nov. 21 2012, 12:13 pm)
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Stop thinking rationally about it, EastTrekker. Just blindly give them money and government programs instead. Less you start sounding like one of them evil conservatives who would rather treat the problem rather than keep painting over it.

Awww you're back Pats. Dried your eyes and ready to go again.

Given the fact the film crew were with this family for months it's hardly likely that they were trying to fool anyone. More than likely a mistake in how it's presented in the write-up. I have it recorded here and I'll watch it later.

Pats, its probably on PBS online. Maybe you'll learn something if you watch it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Has anyone tallied how much WE AS A SOCIETY spend each year on "entertainment"?  I am thinking of the big bucks we collectively lavish on 'stars' (sports, entertainment, etc.) -- and on stuff like Xbox, whatever other games, iPads, smart phones, etc., etc., etc.?

It seems to me there is a lot of cash going around -- just as we grow a heck of a lot more food each year than we can actually consume.  But something about the way we prioritize and distribute our fabulous wealth... yes, fabulous even in slow times like now.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 1:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, I know that 20 years ago, I did not have a bill for cell phones, cable/satellite TV, or internet access, but now those are a necessary part of my utility budget.
OTOH, 300 dollar land line bills used to be quite common due to my wife calling her mother long distance almost daily, now long distance charges are a thing of the past, unless you are calling Bengladesh.
But it is interesting that what was not available at any price a few decades ago is now considered routine parts of our life-and our bills.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rents are horrible here, and based on real estate prices of the past. Being a tourism destination also fudges our prices as there are people coming in from the cities and out of state that are willing to pay MUCH more. They consistently out buy us for our own land.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 1:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Last I paid rent, years ago, two bedrooms went $8-950 a month, three bedrooms started at $900, houses $9-1500. Sometimes you could find better, usually from someone who rented a portion of their house made into an apartment, or was renting an otherwise unused property.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 2:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is also the question of property taxes. The owner will be factoring them into rent. No state income tax here but my property tax is nearly $12k a year. Not suggesting that the tax on her property would be as high, but at a third of that amount rolled into her rent alongside the actual rent it is soon going to add up.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Lower property taxes and help the poor!

Wait, lefties don't believe in lowering taxes. I forgot.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 2:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(star @ Nov. 21 2012, 1:33 pm)
QUOTE
there are people coming in from the cities and out of state that are willing to pay MUCH more. They consistently out buy us for our own land.

Liberals get tired of the cities because their policies create shackles and misery, so they move and take your cheap property located away from the city.

Problem is, they never learn and thus create the same mess in your woods eventually.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 2:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Land Rover @ Nov. 21 2012, 2:15 pm)
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There is also the question of property taxes. The owner will be factoring them into rent. No state income tax here but my property tax is nearly $12k a year. Not suggesting that the tax on her property would be as high, but at a third of that amount rolled into her rent alongside the actual rent it is soon going to add up.

Right, but that's obviously factored into my apartment as well.  Boston landlords are pretty astute about making you pay a "fair" share of the total expenses generated by the apartment building.

I still feel like $1,350/mo is abnormally high for that area of the country.  If a 2bdrm is $800-950 that means her utilities are $400-$550 a month??  Just feels high doesn't it?

But, I also haven't seen this documentary yet.  Is she renting a house?  That might make more sense, but then I'd argue she has cheaper options.  What about state or federally subsidized housing?  The USDA has programs for rural areas in particular.

I guess my point is that there is no way someone should be paying 90% of their take home pay on rent and utilities.  There are programs out there to assist her, with paying the rent.  Section 8, vouchers, state or federally subsidized housing (which by the way is sometimes of nicer quality than the little scathole I live in).


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 3:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Living in the cities, I would imagine her rent is around a grand... Madison apartments run that and more a month, and I think they'd be comparable. Not as bucolic as you thought we were, eh? Then figure in heat, lights, water, phone, probably have internet with the kids in school, maybe even garbage pick up.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 3:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One cannot survive without cell phone and internet. Food and Heating be damned.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well Internet is needed to research and apply for jobs. Cell is basically people's only communication form now and is easier to deal with than land lines.

Children without access to the Internet are also starting life at a disadvantage.

How about you watch the show Patsy. It's more about the kids than the parents. The question you have to ask yourself if what sort of life these kids have to look forward to? How likely are they to do well in school? What life skills are they picking up?

What people like you don't seem to get is that a lot of the welfare and 'entitlement' system is about giving children born into poor families some sort of opportunity in life.

But then you don't really get it at all do you patsy. The reason I treat you like something I'd wipe off my shoe is because you continue to act like something I'd wipe off my shoe.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 4:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have no internet at home and a cheap flip phone with basic plan.

What a bunch of horse sh#t that either is a necessity.

You remind me of a high school female who was calling our local power company "Nazis" because they wouldn't wave their mandatory $300 deposit for her.
This was posted on her facebook page from her i-phone.

I guess a smart phone with data plan was more of a necessity than heating her house for her kids.

Instead of teaching people to be responsible, you'd rather just give them more money, taken from others. If you truly cared you would help those people instead of simply using other people's money to ease your guilt.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 5:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You seem to have missed the point and gone off on your only little wander patsy. Focus little man.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 5:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

But again. Watch the show. It's online. You may be able to actually deal with the points being made rather than the generic bs.
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(N2theWild @ Nov. 21 2012, 3:16 pm)
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One cannot survive without cell phone and internet. Food and Heating be damned.

Do you have kids? Over a decade ago it was already assumed that every home had a computer AND a printer, papers were to printed off, not hand written. We had to go into town to use the computer at the library for homework often, there were times we had to wait around a LONG time just to get on one, let alone do what they needed to do, if there was a wait you had a 30 minute limit, then you'd have to get off and wait again. So yes, it was something we very much needed and the first that I could afford, I bought one. The internet access itself has never been terribly expensive, I don't think I've ever paid over $20 a month.
Cell phones now. Very recently I got a smart phone, but 99% of the time I've had one my cell phone cost less than my land line ever did. Free basic phone, no long distance charges, and now I have no land line. Even now at $55 a month it's only become comparable to what I used to pay... and in times of family goings on I used to pay even more. So I'd have to consider that a quality purchase as well.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 6:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, and you can get a variety of pay as you go smart phones these days, some for as little as $35 a month. At that price why NOT have one, when a basic phone costs the same?

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 8:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's the thing. Internet and cell phones are now an integral part of life, from interacting with schools and teachers, through to homework, applying for jobs, working part time jobs.

How does a child from these backgrounds work their way out of it?

Now there is a moment in this show where the parents of one of the kids gets pregnant and has another baby, and that makes you think wtf, but then you have to think that this is not the children making the decisions here. If you do nothing to address their poverty then you just have another person making poor life decisions down the road.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2012, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Land Rover @ Nov. 21 2012, 8:22 pm)
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.....
Now there is a moment in this show where the parents of one of the kids gets pregnant and has another baby, and that makes you think wtf, but then you have to think that this is not the children making the decisions here. If you do nothing to address their poverty then you just have another person making poor life decisions down the road.

^^ Yep ^^

No doubt some child poverty is caused by irresponsible/ lazy/dysfunctional/etc. parents.

But seeing the excitement when a kid found a aluminum can to sell....or, especially, the little girl whispering to her Mom "I'm hungry"...was wrenching.

Maybe as disturbing is an attitude, apparently shared by many, that for our government to help them is stealing  from the more economically blessed.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2012, 8:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.washingtonpost.com/nationa....ry.html

In Rust Belt, a teenager’s climb from poverty
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 7:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There have been a couple of recent studies that pointed out that the amount spent in the "war on poverty" was around $60,000 per person below the line.....more than the median income

Just more govt efficiency.....the greatest of all oxymorons

as far as the smart phone statements....one of my most vivid memories from serving Thanksgiving Dinner at a homeless shelter was this homeless guy calling another homeless person to tell them how lame the meal we were serving was


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 7:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Do you have a point BillBabb? You seem to have ignored every other post on the thread and gone into some BS ramble that plays into the narrative.

What's funny is watching you blame ores for the GOP loss. It's because you spend so much time with your head up you own backsides that you don't see what's going on in America.

You are a prime example of the abject failure of the American right. No thought, no brains, just nothing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 8:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A d just to flash that out a little. America is facing a real challenge in that a large segment of the population isn't seeing any benefit from the shifts made in America in the past few decades. Stagnant median incomes, little or no chance of advancement in life, and through generations. Difficulties finding work, keeping work, getting healthcare. Hard lives with little reward.

And what's the response from American right - to pretend that this stuff isn't really happening in America, because it goes on outside their subdivision or gated community. To describe any reports of real problems as a liberal myth.

You get your asses handed to you in an election you should by rights have walked, and back come the likes of babb...., "there problems aren't real, they're living on easy street..... I once saw two homeless people with mobile phones".

And thus the challenges facing America are dismissed. Keep it up Babb. America needs people like you. The more you speak up the likelihood of us ever seeing a GOP president recedes, just a tiny bit.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 9:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(star @ Nov. 21 2012, 3:08 pm)
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Living in the cities, I would imagine her rent is around a grand... Madison apartments run that and more a month, and I think they'd be comparable. Not as bucolic as you thought we were, eh? Then figure in heat, lights, water, phone, probably have internet with the kids in school, maybe even garbage pick up.

Look, based on my past posts here, I think it's quite evident that I have a pretty heavy liberal bias.  I am all for supportive social programs to reverse the circular trends of poverty (some of those very programs allowed me opportunities that I would not have had otherwise).  Most of all, I have deep compassion for children in these situations who really have no other option, than to deal with what life gave them.  Programs like these raise awareness, and I also support that.

However, I'm still not buying this situation.  I've been to Madison, and of course apts are more expensive in the city vs the burbs.  But...there are many more programs for affordable housing in larger cities such as Madison than there are in the burbs.  I still maintain, that no one should be paying 90% of their after-tax income on housing.  As I mentioned above the USDA, the state, and the city of Madison all have various programs for rental assistance/rental abatement for which rent paid by the tenant is restricted to a more reasonable % of their income.

If she is truly paying 90% of her income just on shelter and utilities, then I hope PBS, in addition to a little stipend for the taping, directed her to the proper applications for these various rental-assist programs.

ETA: Also according to REIS.com, a highly reputable source rental data, the average rent for Madison as of 9/30/2012 was $858.  Within the distribution of rental rates, for properties built post-2000, yes the rental rates were indeed above $1,000.  However, one does not "need" to live in a newly constructed apartment.  I cannot afford a new apartment (or a nicer neighborhood) in Boston so I live in an old, small apartment in an edgy neighborhood.  

So again, social programs are VITAL, and I support them 100%.  I support reasonable taxes to pay for them.  I feel that a nation improves when its weakest links are able to better themselves.  However, there are other options than paying $1,350/month in Wisconsin.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 10:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Eastie, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that your experience in Massachusetts translates to Wisconsin.  I've lived in Massachusetts and in Michigan and social programs in Massachusetts are significantly better in Mass than Michigan.  My understanding is that Michigan is better than Wisconsin.  Yes, there are programs, but they have much more stringent criteria.  (For instance, just owning a decent car can disqualify you from some housing aid.)

Also, and this isn't always obvious, some people simply can't afford to move.  Maybe she moved into her current apartment when her financial situation was better.  Maybe the rent and utilities expenses rose faster than her income.  These days, moving into a new rental often requires a credit check, a big deposit, not to mention moving costs.  When a family is involved, it's rarely as simple as just deciding to get a cheaper place and moving.

As a parent, I would probably live at my limit to avoid sending my child to school in an "edgy" neighborhood.  You may not consider that a "need" but I probably would.

I live in Ann Arbor, which is pretty comparable to Madison.  $1,350 for rent and utilities is low.  It's VERY low if she's paying for heat.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 5:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Eastie - watch the show. It's online. They don't really focus on the financials - it's the story of the lives they are leading.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 5:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Land Rover @ Dec. 10 2012, 5:28 pm)
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Eastie - watch the show. It's online. They don't really focus on the financials - it's the story of the lives they are leading.

I know...I really should have done that before all my comments - not typically my style to make assumptions like that, but something just sounded funny.

I will watch it tonight, but if I end up crying, I'm blaming it on you guys  :;):

Seriously though, the reason I didn't run out to watch it, is because some of my personal and professional experiences in life have been involved with children living in poverty, and I'd like to believe I understand their plight all too well.

However, that's not really an excuse for not watching the topic that I have had some lengthy comments on.

ETA: Well at least Wisconsin seems to be making a concerted effort to streamline the affordable housing programs a bit, which should eliminate some of the bureaucratic garbage that sometimes delays folks' ability to secure reasonable and affordable housing. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/STELPRD4014920.html


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I request all the possible consumer protection organizations, and fight with their injustice.   ???
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