Las Vegas Sun

January 30, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Most people don’t embrace poverty

Regarding the letter, “Want higher pay? Improve yourself”: I can’t image that most folks aspire to make just minimum wage. There are some people who lack the physical and or mental capacity to earn more. For example, low-skilled or entry-level jobs may be the most some people can accomplish no matter how much training or education they complete.

Most people are not poor because they want to be or because of simple laziness. Get real.

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  1. I agree with the letter writer in part. BUT there is no doubt on God's green earth that in an effort to care for those who are truly in need, the liberal government rule makers over the last 50 years have fostered an indolent entitle minded society with a governmnet owes me attitude. Their intentions were noble, but the results are not.


  2. Mr. Gross... with all due respect, you'd do yourself some good if you did what I did, accidentally. I started a business that put me in direct, face to face contact with people who are not doing too well financially. They come into my office to file bankruptcies.

    A few did almost everything right, like the woman who had a 60 k a year job with Ford, was married, had two kids, and bought a house in Henderson. She went through a divorce, was laid off at Ford and the value of her house tanked. She took two jobs that paid half of what her old job paid and dutifully paid her house payment until her savings ran out. I could not feel worse for her.

    BUT I also see so many people that Sgt Rock describes. People that did not finish high school, are not qualified for anything but low wage jobs, that cannot spell, that want me to complete the bankruptcy workbook for them because it is 'too hard', that have Iphones when they can't pay their credit card bills, that make 20 K a year and have a car payment of $ 450 / mo and drive a nicer car than I do, that live a life that someone making twice what they make could afford, but one they cannot afford, that enter into debt consolidation without reading and understanding the contract and then get ripped off.... that are nice people... but completely clueless, completely unarmed to go into the battle that life is, and that are unwilling to live the life that their choices have made possible for them.

    It's been a 12 year eye opener for me and I know it sounds harsh, but it is REALITY. Many things need to change in order for us to slow down the conveyor belt that churns out these people every day but holding people responsible for their choices must also be part of the equation.

    The bottom lines is that if we don't change quite a bit, we are going to reach a place where our whole system is going to collapse, badly crushing both the people I described above and everyone else.


  3. Apprently, Wayne Grose started his working career at the top. I did not. I started at minimum wage many eons ago - just like most everyone I knew. When I retired, after many a moon, I was no longer making minimum wage - just like most everyone I knew. It seems Grose doesn't have a clue as to how it works in real life. Most of us start at the bottom, get experience, move on and move up. That some folks are incapable of that may be true, but that's the way it is. We can't all play shortstop for the NY Yankees and make 12 million a year.

  4. Wow, Michael 5:23 a.m. People must live the life their choices brought. Excellent.

  5. low-wage jobs aren't just for kids anymore. Walk into any Walmart store. You will find people working between the ages of 18 and 90. Most are making 11 bucks an hour or less. If you have $250,000 to go to a good college your chances of making it in this country are fairly decent. If you don't you're probably going to end up being one of the working poor.

  6. the medical industry drags vast numbers of people into court every year for nonpayment of medical bills. What they have found is that families with incomes of over $200,000 a year are able to save some money. Families with less income than that are basically broke.

    Half the elderly are dying penniless and only one person in three can come up with $1000 in the event of an emergency. The working poor are basically the majority of the people living in this country. No money and up to their fannies in debt.

    Read the above. These are the working poor

  8. It's an achievement just to get a minimum wage job with 8-10 % unemployment ! Are you all out of touch silver spoons ?

  9. What do we expect when we shovel our money onto planes, trains and every conveyance possible to ship it overseas? Someone somewhere has to pay for all the stuff we give away by claiming we are the richest nation ever and don't have to spend rationally. Mr. Hageman: I agree with some of what you post but tell me why: Why do so many working poor / middle class put so little into making do? For example, Walmart is overrun with shoppers while I find better values at Smiths / Kroger, immensely better values. I am good at math but the average shopper should be able to figure it out. Shopping stores / businesses that pay citizens semi-decent wages would help us all. Further, stores that provide more American-grown and American-made items helps us all. Further still, I like being treated well which seems to happen more when the employees are happy. Mr. Hageman, you have discerned that the "middle class" is the working poor, not the fictionalized norm of semi-affluent dreamers with a full 3-car garage. The politicians realize that the working class (poor or not) must be the taxpayers. My objection is that we pay for everyone else but nothing is left for us especially when we retire. Overspending in so many areas means nothing is set-aside to pay our SS, Medicare, senior programs. But we continue to spend on every lost cause of "right thing to do" without regard for reason, common sense....

  10. Let me play Devil's Advocate. Read your history and discover that every established culture/government had some kind of support system for poorer citizens [and sometimes non-citizens]. Let me propose that this was not done out of some misguided empathy for the poor but was rather a safety valve to keep the proles stupid and less troublesome. In Rome it was bread and circuses. In the contemporary US it's TANF, Section 8 and SNAP. A proportion of every society is too stupid, too lazy, too indolent to compete and it is far better to minimally support those folks in their own communities and let them prey upon each other instead of preying on us.

  11. Let's grant that "most" people don't embrace poverty, but they *do* accept it without much of a fight, it seems.

    I see this situation as many-headed hydra.

    We must instill once again the work ethic that several of us talked about earlier. We must provide a good education that not teaches basic skills for work, but critical thinking for wise decisions in the voting booth. We must elect people who are also capable of critical, rational thought when looking for workable solutions. And much more.

    Above all we must once again realize that, yes, the tools we need to grow might be provided by the government, but it is up to individuals to use them and not depend upon the government to do it for us.

  12. Mr. Hayes: The problem is not that we should have a safety net. The problem is that the safety net is an ever-expanding bloating jelly fish. "They" who receive are living better than many of those who pay for them. UNSUSTAINABLE. And, they are not staying in their neighborhoods. They are in our backyards, breaking and entering. They demand the latest technology while we make do with electronics from 2-3 cycles back. We pay for infinite medical care for them but cannot afford our own. And let's think about "safety net." Wouldn't that apply to people who have worked and earned but have hit a roadblock, not those who've never moved?

  13. Roberta,

    Thanks for the compliment, but what I wrote is what I see. Nobody wants to be poor but if you make poor choices when you are you are young, you are probably going to be poor. A big problem here is that this country offers sooooo much that people who are poor go ahead and use credit to live much above what their income can support. When they crash and on their way to crashing, the rest of us pay the freight for that. We are fast approaching the place where the people who pay the freight are going to be outnumbered by those that create the bills.

  14. If a person does not aspire to make more then min wage he/she should adjust their lifestyle to live on it, IE, not having 5 kids, no expensive cable, cell phone, car,etc. There are ways to get above the min wage life, those who want more will. There really are many who will not because they do not want to put in the extra effort, be it getting a second job, learning new skills, looking for a new employer, etc. If people are still sneaking into this country to work at these min wage jobs it shows demand for them is there. It is always a persons' choice as to the future of his/her earnings, not that it always is easy. Many want the middle class lifestyle without achieving middle class...

  15. Michael, I agree again. AND the cost to pay for those who don't pay their bills is added to the cost the rest of us pay. So once again, minimum wage would be liveable income IF the things we buy did not include this additional price for those who don't pay and the taxes to pay for the bloated "safety net." Some have tried to limit fees that banks and credit card companies can charge. Looks like the public is going to have to demand legislation to end credit for those who can't handle it. Credit counselors (I've done that too.) try to get the delinquents onto a cash-only basis but so many people resist that--until they are forced into bankruptcy. The companies just keep extending credit. I personally refuse to pay interest, fees, and/or annual charges but I have all the credit cards one could possibly need. If a company thinks I should pay for something I dispute, I drop the card and go with someone else. My FICO score is above 800, usually.

  16. Chuck 1:24. There are people of limited capacity, mentally and / or physically. They should be able to be self supporting. Many are. That doesn't mean they can have it all but they can have a good life. These are some of the people I don't mind paying taxes to support--some assistance in job training, counseling while in high school, diversion into occupational school. It is essential that they have realistic expectations and understand birth control. They can have families and kids but perhaps need more explanation of what happens if they have too many kids. We keep feeding Somalia while they generate more pirates. We feed much of Egypt while their angry young men have no time to farm abut lots of time to riot in the streets. Let's stop the nonsense abroad and at home.

  17. Michael's point is a strong one. Also the consequences of the poor choices can lead to generations of poor. The kids of those who made the bad choices have an uphill battle as well. Would you prefer parents who graduated college or baby momma that dropped out (that gives credit for taking action; stopped going is more accurate) of Junior High.

  18. Roberta,

    My FICO score is also in the 800's. I've long advocated that as the amount of credit you've used on a card rises, the minimum payment must rise with it, not at the small ratios they use now, but at a level where you simply could not run up $ 10,000 of charges on a $ 25,000 income (which I see over and over again for those facing bankruptcy).

    I'm not a big government guy but in this case I think the government should set limits on what amount of credit a CC company can grant someone. That amount would be tied to their credit score, amount of debt and income. I hate to advocate that but CC companies and other credit grantors will not police themselves (too much money to be made). They simply grant the credit, figure their default rate and charge the rest of us a high enough interest rate to have a zillion customers and make a great little profit. It's a total scam that I did not realize existed before I started doing what I do. I could tell you stories you would find hard to believe. CC companies

    I believe that if credit was managed the way it should be in this country, most things would cost less and those that make poor decisions and get a low wage job would be encouraged to make greater efforts to better themselves. Why? Because as much as low wage people complain, many of them live lives and have items and services that they can ONLY have because they run their lives on credit that they will NEVER pay back.

    I'm compassionate, but unless some people suffer consequences of poor decisions, they cannot learn to do things differently. That's how we all learn.


  19. The average welfare cash payment for a single person is about $300 a month. The average food stamp payout is about $138 a month. I want to be poor so I can collect some of that gravy. That's some big money!!!!
    The premise that people prefer to live like this is absolute nonsense. The most fundamental behavior postulate in economics is that, "more is preferred to less". The above is not more.

  20. Speaking of Poverty and the Joke TagLine of the Year:
    Seniors will not get a cost of living raise in 2013 because There Is No Inflation!
    Now Clinton took food and fuel out of the inflation there hasn't been any increase in the cost of living since Clinton..
    Does anyone believe the "unemployment numbers?"
    Does anyone believe the democrats care about seniors when the democrats cooked the books ..and cheated seniors out of cost of living raises for years?
    I guess Al Gore, John Kerry, Reid and Pelosi don't worry about the cost of gasoline But oh how they do Love seniors..because they wring their hankies and coo..and tell the seniors so..
    Talk about Lies!

  21. Michael5:23am,
    Your job is not for everyone one.I can't imagine anyone who comes into your office that leaves happy.People who come in to file for bankruptcy are at a low point in their lives.

    It must be hard on you to not see many happy clients.You've heard it all and seen it all,and it does not make you feel good about how things really are out there.

    It takes a special person (such as yourself) to do what you do and maintain a sense of sanity. Would you not agree that we should have all our seniors in high school take a mandatory class on how to handle credit? It very well could help many of our young people get ready for life.

  22. Well now brown cow:

    What do we say of the hyperinflation peeking around the 2018 corner?

    This kettle and the books began cooking in 2001, to pay for two wars without regard for the fact that this would debase the dollar. When the Administration was asked what of this malfeasance, the response was that is something for the future to worry about.

    Most folks fail to understand what America is about, not that their ideas and objectives are without good intentions; just that they have been conditioned by epochs of Americas plenty. There was a time in America that folks just picked-up and moved west to strike their claim of fortune contingent on their self-determination.

    America today is much more changed by mere demographics than by population. This single fact alone makes the distribution of the pie less satisfying for the once powerfully related descendants who wheeled and dealt as they wished with little regard for the underclasses.

    Today's Americans have little in the way of morale support by people and politicians with vested interest in another country rather than our homeland and what it should mean for all who live here, bar-none. The over-all complacency of American citizens to think that rights not used in the past no longer apply today is melancholy, and bless their souls thinking that religious institutions will care for all who need, that just isn't the reality, never was never will be. Americans are entitled just as a monarch is entitled in his country to be supported by his/her subjects.

  23. zippert: Big difference between "preferring" to be taken care of versus having enough work ethic and/or self respect to work your way out of it. Medicaid costs us multi-billions--it amounts to non-working parents being treated for serious ailments while working adults are left to their own devices--unfair--those who work should get better treatment than those who don't. It's almost like the Perps who commit the crime to get incarcerated so we can pay for their dental work.

  24. Medicaid is a completely different story. Harvard did the most extensive study ever done on how high medical costs affect families. The study was done in the 90s. The conclusion! If you get seriously ill you're going broke. Everyone in this country going forward that comes down with a serious chronic illness or injury is going to be standing in line for some type of assistance. Some drugs are currently costing over $30,000 a month and I won't even get into the multimillion dollar hospital bills.

    There are about 80 illegal aliens getting dialysis treatment at UMC. How much are they being billed for these treatments? $28 million a year. How many Americans could afford over $360 thousand dollars a year for serious kidney ailment. None! Even millionaires would have a tough time with this one.

  25. Someone above said Social Security recipients haven't gotten an increase since Clinton was in office. Absolute nonsense! They've gotten a bump every year but one. Where do people get this is crap.

  26. Sam,

    You'd be surprised how many people are happy about filing bankruptcy. They have been under stress for a long while and are ready to start over.

    There are many things we need to do but teaching personal finance in schools as a required course is right up there.


  27. Bob,

    Many people do ask if they can list school loans on their bankruptcy. We are paralegals and not attorneys so we cannot provide legal advice. I tell them they can list the loans but it is up to the courts whether they are discharged or not. When the loans are still with the government agency involved in granting them, they are usually not dischargeable. If however, as is happening more and more, that government agency cannot collect what is owed, then sells the debt to a collection agency for a fraction of what is owed, and then the debt held by the collection agency is often dischargeable in a bankruptcy.

    All in all, this is another government / taxpayer ripoff. The student borrows the money (taxpayer money), which may or may not be used for school, then defaults. Then the government agency sells the debt to a collection agency for a 30 % discount (we taxpayers eat the difference) and on it goes.

    Just makes you want to go strangle our government.


  28. zippert 8:46. I agree. But one should be able to handle a more minor illness or injury without medicaid, bankruptcy, destitution. UMC / dialysis is a continuing issue: we coddle the illegals while Americans do without. Recurring THEFT of services at UMC and nothing is done to send them packing. OK, it's not PC. So what. We're facing insolvency and we should keep paying for illegals health and welfare? What about us and our kids? You'd give up a comfortable retirement so 82 illegals can have a nice life in Vegas?

  29. Michael,

    I won't argue the point about people filling for bankruptcy and leaving your office happy. This is your business and you are in the know.

    We both agree that it would do a lot of good for most young people to learn about personal finance in high school before graduating.This would be a great tool for them to have,once they begin to face the real world.

  30. Gee MC and Bob, you think we can find more money to give to "students?" Bob is on the spot again with mention of student "loans" for car payments. What's wrong with you guys? Aren't you for more money, more money, more money for education?