For once, I thought, I may be able to avoid a heated political confrontation.
I was wrong. What's worse, because this took place late at night, my exhaustion from a long day of political argumentativeness soon began to take its toll.
Ripping off a saying I once heard:
pets in America live better than poor people in third world countries
That certainly qualifies as an incendiary political comment.
Unfortunately there's a good deal of truth to it, I actually heard that one from Maria.
Also, hard to deny (u can't) that most poor people in America have the luxury of being fat.
The last time you made that comment*, I told you what I thought of it, both morally and in terms of its accuracy (which is, to say the least, grossly distorted by your own pro-Wall Street biases).
My opinion of your Limbaugh-esque contempt for the American poor has not changed at all since the last time you expressed it.
poor people are more likely overweight than not, you can't deny that.
Difference between me and you: I have plenty of friends that are poor. There's a lot of poverty in Louisiana. I once had that self rightious attitude you now have on display, then I learned to detach myself when cinsidering controversial issues that the PC crowd refuses to touch (and often cannot refute)
How exactly are you so certain that I don't have friends who are poor?
What's more, how dare you denigrate the suffering of human beings whose plights - though not as terrible as those of the economically underprivileged in third-world countries - are nevertheless quite awful?
I have friends who don't have health insurance, who struggle each month to afford their rent, who have real worries about being able to pay for the basic necessites of life, such as electricity and water and, yes, food (one of the reasons so many poor people are fat, by the way, is that junk food is much cheaper than the healthier alternatives). The mere act of getting by everyday is so difficult for them that the notion of socio-economic mobility - of going to a decent college, getting a sound education, and having opportunities to tap into their personal gifts and thereby advance their station in life - is more quixotic than realistic.
You don't know nearly as much about me, my life, or the predicament of the American working class as you claim. You, Tom, are all sail and no ballast.
Matt, perhaps you could just as easily have said this: knowing poor people does not make you any more likely to propose good policy. Southerners being Southern doesn't make their economic policies any better for the South. (Etc.)
True, although frankly, I am trying to end this conversation. While I appreciate your support, John, I am TIRED. lol
That's certainly a lot shorter, John. Though having a masters in public policy indicates to me Im likely more apt at discerning the impact various policies have on allieviating poverty.
"Much reading is an oppression of the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason of so many senseless scholars in the world."- William Penn
I'm using a Penn quote to rebut your latest point - the one about having a Masters - because I'm so tired that my natural laziness is prevailing, so I'll just use the words of a 17th Century proto-liberal to back me up instead of having to come up with my own.
Poor people are fat because cheap food is unhealthy. Cheap food is unhealthy because of the US Farm Bill.
Are you two arguing over who has more poor friends?
Poverty is poverty no matter how you cut it, and it's unacceptable no matter the context. I have been working in sub-Saharan Africa since 2008 and poverty there is just as upsetting as poverty in the US. Poverty is poverty. Everyone deserves basic amenities and an opportunity for decent work (see ILO definition).
At the same time, one could argue that it's more unacceptable/upsetting in the US, given that it is a so-called modern and industrialized country (and arguably one that should take more care of its citizens because the government is/should be less corrupt and more accountable).
One could also argue that it's more upsetting in low- and middle-income countries (note: the term "third world" is outdated) because the absolute poverty there is higher, there is little/no government support, and the poor in those countries don't even have access to basic amenities (water, shelter, sanitation).
In any case, poverty sucks.
Good point, Liz. I agree with most of what you said, although your characterization of what I was arguing - namely, that I was trying to see "who had more poor friends" - is inaccurate (Tom began by claiming that I didn't know any poor people, and I rightly pointed out that he had no basis for claiming that).
After responding to Tom's assertion, by the way, I then went on to make pretty much the same points as you (albeit without half the hands-on expertise that you possess, and while neglecting to take into account the psychological dimension of how poverty affects people in industrialized-versus-poor nations).
Agreed. Matt, you sure did make those points - "whose plights.... are nevertheless quite awful."
Sorry I had to jump in on this argument. I was mostly trying to point out that "knowing" poor people doesn't necessarily make one's argument stronger, nor does geography make anyone's poverty more or less dire. I think we totally agree on this. Which just leaves Tom out there all alone....?
p.s. I wouldn't necessarily say that I have very much "expertise," but thanks for the flattery :)
Hey, you gave me free beer and fried chicken at the Super Bowl party last February. The least I can do is acknowledge your expertise where such acknowledgement is due (and possibly hope for more fried chicken in my future... lol).
I don't know which comment you're referring to but if it has to do with your knowing poor people I'll concede to that lol
Liz, the US Farm bill should shoulder a lot of the blame, but it's clear healthy, affordable choices do exist (grocery store vegies and rice vs McDonalds--- McDs is more expensive) and Americans, of which poor folks are more likely not to exercise that option. I don't blame them, eating unhealthy tastes good and it's my mo too
I'll concede defeat on this one matt, tho to my little sister, not u! Bwahahahahaha
* - For Tom's original comment, and my reaction to it, see: http://riskinghemlock.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-become-economic-policy-dick.html
ADDENDUM - July 5, 2010:
An excellent Paul Krugman article that addresses some of the themes touched upon in this conversation: