Melissa Harris-Perry returned to the topic of poverty on her show Saturday morning, not only to discuss its absence from both major parties’ political conventions, but the fallout from her impassioned explanation of what it’s like to actually be poor in America.
Among the hate mail she got, Harris-Perry told her panelists, one response calling her an “idiot” was particularly irritating.
“What it said was, ‘Melissa, you’re an idiot. Actual poor people live in the Third World,’” she explained. “‘In America, they have social services.’ And I thought, no no no no no. Actual poor people live right here. That vacuum of simply talking about poverty — even beyond the question of policies — just talking about it feels to me like something that, to me, both parties needed to address.”
Part of the reason they don’t address it, said Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of The Grio.com, was conservative success over the past three decades in demonizing the poor as being lazy, which has an effect on undecided voters.
“The voters who are still available, who are white and middle-class voters, have built up a resentment over the last generation, where they feel that their ‘stuff,’ their money, is being taken from them through taxation to give to the poor,” Reid said. “So talking about the poor just stokes more resentment.”
Even as new data indicates 800,000 more Americans skipped meals every day to get by last year, writer Lola Adesioye said talking about the poor wasn’t a “sexy” issue, an omission that has major implications.
“It’s not just about shoring up what’s already there and getting more jobs,” Adesioye said. “It really is about addressing the fact that there are some serious factors on the table that, if they’re not being dealt with, you could have more and more people falling into the poverty trap.”
The discussion, aired on The Melissa Harris-Perry Show Saturday, can be seen below.
Well, let's see, now. Extremely high exports of raw materials, extremely high importation of finished goods, check. Two tiered justice system, check. Extremely high disparity between the rich and everyone else, check. Elections that are no more than a sham to soothe the masses into thinking they actually have some power in their own lives, check. Police acting in the interests of the rich, and not society in general, check. Health care system similar to most other uncivilized countries, check. Political hacks running the place like their own little banana republic, check.
Looks to me like we ARE the third world. And so, by definition, we DO have poor people. Plenty of them.
WJM51 Great post. And so true. Repubs do not want anyone knowing their dirty little secrets it might mare their 'perfect' picture they are trying to dump on the American public. I personally get annoyed at Romney-Ryan because I cannot keep up with their lies. I simply do not have enough fingers or toes. Listening to the talk shows this morning. Romney on Meet the Press, Ryan on This week. They speak'id with forked tongue.
Bill Bennett saying Obama's budget was sacked by everyone in both chambers, DJ said that was because Dems understood, it was a strictly political vote, not to get involved. Romney would keep on the table the military for dealing with Iran and their nuclear program, and would keep our troops in Afghanistan to get a win! He does not care about the lives of our troops. He wants to show off his virility.
They discussed healthcare, budget, Roe v wade, jobs, budget, taxes. All Romney could say about his budget was that Harvard, wsj, Princeton, AEI all show that if we bring down our top rates and actually go across the
board, bring down rates for everyone in America, but also limit
deductions and exemptions for people at the high end, while you can keep
the progressivity in the code, you could remain revenue neutral and you
create an enormous incentive for growth in the economy.
Erskine Bowles, who is part of the Simpson Bowles commission, said that
something's got to give. That your plan would not actually reduce the
deficit. That indeed taxes would have to go up on the middle class.
And my-- my-- my tax policy is designed to find a way to encourage
more-- more hiring in this-- in this country. I’m-- I'm very concerned
that we have 23 million people that are out of work or stopped looking
for work or under-employed. And so everything I want to do with regards
to taxation follows simple principles, which is bring our rates down to
encourage growth, keep revenue up by limiting deductions and exemptions
and make sure we don't put any bigger burden on middle income people.
But, Governor, where are the specifics of how you get to this math? Isn't that an issue?
I'm not going to increase the tax burden on middle income families. It
would absolutely be wrong to do that. But you know I've had the
experience of being a governor. I've demonstrated that I have the
capacity to balance budgets. I balanced them four years in a row in
Massachusetts and we cut the taxes 19 times in Massachusetts.
He cannot give specifics, cause he has none He says after the election when he is in office he will give specifics. r-i-g-h-t !!!! Go listen to both programs......
The problem is the republicans want to constant tell their voters that their money is going to social benefits. Now if you look at all the welfare money, subsidies and such that go to corporations and a lot of the rich, who really don't need it why isn't that being broadcast far and wide. Why is it that money is supposed to go to the rich who don't need it but it shouldn't go to the poor who need it.
Not to forget when money goes to the poor it immediately circulates back into the economy. When money goes to the rich, it stagnates and as soon as it can shifts to some offshore tax haven.
Poor spend that money on necessities and a limited amount on locally produced leisure, which all still circulates locally.
Rich well that disappears into luxury imported products, mansions, luxury yachts, imported super cars, unimaginably expensive overseas holidays, basically the bulk of it disappears out of the local economy.
Basically, the rich hoard money. It becomes a means to their ends. Eventually, it becomes their end. Same when you buy Wal-Mart. That money goes to China and contributes to the trade deficit. Taking wealth out of America.
That's where the so-called Business Leaders of America have taken us. Destroyed massive amounts of industry for what? Money. American wages are too high, etc... fine, then Chinese wages and the rest of the world's wages should at least rise to American levels.
Our political leaders, such as they are, facilitate this. If they were at all interested in preserving America, something would have been done.
Now, our business & political leaders are only interested in preserving wealth. Their wealth. And amassing more. What they amass has to come from somewhere.... and that somewhere is your pocket.
Take for example the billions of dollars that went to the auto industry to save it. Now if those billions were dispersed among the poor instead, the auto industry would have poof, disappeared and millions would be out of a job, adding to that number of poor. Meanwhile after the first pool of poor that the money was dispersed to burn through that, they still remain poor and now have the company of the millions of new poor from the auto industry. Now there is no auto industry in the U.S. That door that fed millions now closed.
Sound like a wise choice to you? How would you handle the situation.
BigBuck: There's little or no demand for windmills or electric cars, no demand for high speed rail, yet Obama and this administration is pumping billions of our dollars into these, claiming this is how we get to "good times". Apparently, no demand, good times.
How do you explain that?
And how does the bottom get that brass in pocket?
frankensteinsANODIZEDbolts: Frank, if you triple the minimum wage, you could remove a big chunk of the need for welfare, food stamps, and other forms of financial assistance for the poor that you so despise. But you won't, because there's no demand for it. Not in your head, anyway.
By the way, there's no demand for global warming, either. Or old age. Why do all these things exist when there's no demand for them?
Personally, I'd love high-speed rail. I'd love an electric car. If I had enough money, I'd buy them. But Mitt Romney took all the money for himself. Rich people do that, and dumb people cheer them on.
jimbo92107: The value of the US dollar is based on two things, the price of a barrel of oil and the cost of an hour of unskilled labor. Tripling the minimum wage would have the effect of devaluing the dollar even more than the Fed has been able to with their printing presses. Every time the minimum wage has been increased the poor have suffered for it, the cost of everything went up more than the wage increase. And the price increases always happen first. I'm 60+ and in my lifetime the dollar has decreased in value to about 5% of what is was in the 1950s.
Your premise is wrong, there's great demand for all those. There is the same demand for wind power as there is for any other method of creating electricity. Hybrid/electric cars are selling record numbers. High speed rail will make it economical to travel between urban areas and not use individual cars. and people who build and maintain all of those will have jobs and money to spend on other items.
Em Turner Chitty: Having a job though, requires that someone with a business that is making money, gives that person at the bottom who performs a job for them a paycheck.
Doesn't sound like the bottom up as "BigBuck" claims.
Reminds me of the saying, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"
As a matter of fact, the next 21 nations spend less then our nation on weapons of war, that figure if given to helping people out of poverty, through education, through the act of being given proper food, medical care and of course help to get out of poverty, would engender a massive upsurge of wealth creation in our nation. We must for the sake of our future start now defunding the war machine in our nation, start giving more to our future through education and proper medical care and of course housing those who cannot help themselves.
A society's health is determined by how well it takes care of its weakest citizens, the poor, the elderly, the sick and infirm, the disabled and unemployed. As of now, our nation is a banana republic and failing fast the test of compassion and empathy. We have forgotten the maxim, "We are all our brother's keeper." For too long we have demonized and excoriated those who need help in our nation and this comes from both sides of the political debate. President Reagan started this movement and it has lasted until President Obama. We are caught in a downward spiral of fear and loathing when it comes to empathy and compassion and if we do not break this unhappy chain we will fall as a nation into ignominy and failure.
Consider your vote carefully in November, if you want to be known as the generation of the end of the social service safety net, if your plan is for millions of your fellow citizens to die in the street of starvation and disease then please vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They have the plan for this to happen!