View Full Version : Poverty in Oklahoma City



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JenX67
03-13-2014, 09:49 AM
With a new documentary on poverty (http://www.npr.org/2014/03/12/289451669/juggling-work-and-motherhood-on-a-shoestring-budget) in America airing Monday night on HBO, I thought it was a good time to start a thread on poverty in Oklahoma City. The documentary is called Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert (http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/paycheck-to-paycheck-the-life-and-times-of-katrina-gilbert#/).

The following poverty statistics (2012) are for the entire state; however, Oklahoma City's rate of poverty (17.6 percent) is higher than the state's overall rate (more than 16 percent). Approximately 640,000 Oklahomans live below the poverty level. Approximately 107,855 Oklahoma Cityans live below the poverty level. (That is 17.6 percent of the city-only population, 599,199+)


Oklahoma has the 16th highest poverty rate in the nation.
Since 1969, the poverty rate for Oklahomans 65 and over has decreased dramatically. It is now at 10 percent (2012).
During the same period of time, the poverty rate for Oklahoma children under 18 increased. It went from 20 percent to 24 percent.
In Oklahoma, the current (2012) poverty rate for children under 5 is 31 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Oklahoma has the nation's third-highest rate of people working at or below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Single parents who work full-time for minimum wage fall below the poverty line.

The poverty rate for single-parent households headed by females is 37 percent. In married-couple families, it's 9 percent.

The poverty rate is 28 percent for adults over 25 who didn't finish high school. It's 15 percent for those who graduated high school. It's 5 percent for those who graduated college.

The poverty rate is 30 percent for African Americans; 29 percent for Hispanics; 23 percent for Native Americans. It's 13 percent for non-Hispanic Caucasians.


SOURCE: NewsOK, January 2014 (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-watch-poverty-declines-in-oklahoma-but-disturbing-trends-persist/article/3923060)

coov23
03-13-2014, 10:14 AM
If we're going off of world facts, anyone that makes 33,000 dollars a year is in the upper .01 percentile of wealth in the world. We say that's near poverty in America, but in terms of worldly wealth, it's actually rich. Just a little fact. Maybe we, as Americans, should start living in our means and not off credit lines so much. Just a thought, with facts.

PWitty
03-13-2014, 11:06 AM
Is the poverty line that your basing those numbers on specific to OK? That is one thing I hate about the poverty line is that a lot of stats use the same poverty line for NY/CA that they use for KS/OK. Well when you do that of course OK/KS have a higher rate of poverty. The COL isn't as high so incomes aren't as high. Most times poverty stats are based on a federally set poverty line, so I'm just curious.

JenX67
03-13-2014, 11:21 AM
You make a great point. The poor in America still live much better than most of humanity (http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/06/01/astonishing-numbers-americas-poor-still-live-better-than-most-of-the-rest-of-humanity/). And, yet, 43 percent (http://www.infowars.com/debt-slavery-30-facts-about-debt-in-america-that-will-blow-your-mind/) still spend more than they make every year. "Debt slavery" is a way of life in America. The most disturbing stat for me comes from UNICEF: Of all developed nations in the world, the U.S. is second only to Romania for child poverty (http://www.infowars.com/debt-slavery-30-facts-about-debt-in-america-that-will-blow-your-mind/).

Here are the 2012 poverty rates for children in Oklahoma (http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/Tables/2548-child-poverty---annual-estimates?loc=38&loct=2#detailed/2/any/false/868,867,133,38,35/any/9001,9002). Maybe our numbers will be better for 2013, but last year was worse than the prior five with the exception of 2010. The rate that year was .3 percent higher than 2012.

Click here (http://www.cbpp.org/files/pullingapart2012/Oklahoma.pdf)for information about the growing income disparity in Oklahoma.

JenX67
03-13-2014, 11:39 AM
According to the NEWSOK article from January 2014, the stats are from the Census Bureau which cites "637,429 Oklahomans below the poverty level in 2012 $11,170 for a single person, $15,130 for two people, $23,050 for a family of four. The figures are based on federal estimates of the amount of cash income it takes a family to cover basic expenses such as food, housing, utilities and clothes."

Click here to see how the Census Bureau measures poverty (https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/measure.html). Poverty thresholds set by the Census Bureau do NOT vary geographically. I agree -- it's really important to consider this against the cost of living in Oklahoma. In 2013, we led the nation in the lowest cost of living (http://www.cnbc.com/id/100824779). We were second in the nation for cost of doing business. This sounds good, but is this paramount to low wages?

Click this next link to see per capita income in Oklahoma. We rank in the bottom 10 at 41 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income). Sorry in advance for the Wikipedia link. The data does come from the Census Bureau.

So, all these things have to be weighted to gain an accurate view of poverty in OKC.

soonerguru
03-13-2014, 04:55 PM
With a new documentary on poverty (http://www.npr.org/2014/03/12/289451669/juggling-work-and-motherhood-on-a-shoestring-budget) in America airing Monday night on HBO, I thought it was a good time to start a thread on poverty in Oklahoma City. The documentary is called Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert (http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/paycheck-to-paycheck-the-life-and-times-of-katrina-gilbert#/).

The following poverty statistics (2012) are for the entire state; however, Oklahoma City's rate of poverty (17.6 percent) is higher than the state's overall rate (more than 16 percent). Approximately 640,000 Oklahomans live below the poverty level. Approximately 107,855 Oklahoma Cityans live below the poverty level. (That is 17.6 percent of the city-only population, 599,199+)


Oklahoma has the 16th highest poverty rate in the nation.
Since 1969, the poverty rate for Oklahomans 65 and over has decreased dramatically. It is now at 10 percent (2012).
During the same period of time, the poverty rate for Oklahoma children under 18 increased. It went from 20 percent to 24 percent.
In Oklahoma, the current (2012) poverty rate for children under 5 is 31 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Oklahoma has the nation's third-highest rate of people working at or below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Single parents who work full-time for minimum wage fall below the poverty line.

The poverty rate for single-parent households headed by females is 37 percent. In married-couple families, it's 9 percent.

The poverty rate is 28 percent for adults over 25 who didn't finish high school. It's 15 percent for those who graduated high school. It's 5 percent for those who graduated college.

The poverty rate is 30 percent for African Americans; 29 percent for Hispanics; 23 percent for Native Americans. It's 13 percent for non-Hispanic Caucasians.


SOURCE: NewsOK, January 2014 (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-watch-poverty-declines-in-oklahoma-but-disturbing-trends-persist/article/3923060)

What policies should OKC government pursue, in your opinion, to address this problem?

okcpulse
03-13-2014, 09:10 PM
According to the NEWSOK article from January 2014, the stats are from the Census Bureau which cites "637,429 Oklahomans below the poverty level in 2012 $11,170 for a single person, $15,130 for two people, $23,050 for a family of four. The figures are based on federal estimates of the amount of cash income it takes a family to cover basic expenses such as food, housing, utilities and clothes."

Click here to see how the Census Bureau measures poverty (https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/measure.html). Poverty thresholds set by the Census Bureau do NOT vary geographically. I agree -- it's really important to consider this against the cost of living in Oklahoma. In 2013, we led the nation in the lowest cost of living (http://www.cnbc.com/id/100824779). We were second in the nation for cost of doing business. This sounds good, but is this paramount to low wages?

Click this next link to see per capita income in Oklahoma. We rank in the bottom 10 at 41 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income). Sorry in advance for the Wikipedia link. The data does come from the Census Bureau.

So, all these things have to be weighted to gain an accurate view of poverty in OKC.

It is worth noting that the per capita income ranking published on the Wikipedia page is per capita income by place of work. The actual per capita income of Oklahoma in 2012 was $39,006, ranking Oklahoma 32.

The actual per capita income includes income from place of work, dividends, rental and propriety sources. People have disagreed whether this figure is viable, but it is, because no matter the source, it is your income. So even though income by place of work (wages) is 41, Oklahomans obviously seek other sources of income which does impact Oklahoma's ranking. Texas, for instance, ranks 25 in per capita income by place of work and 25 in actual per capita income (counting other sources of income).

Mel
03-13-2014, 09:17 PM
No child should go hungry. I would rather see an expansion on free chow programs through the school or community center. Even during the weekend. That would help make sure the money would go for food.

betts
03-13-2014, 09:23 PM
The Food Bank has a great backpack program where they send food for kids for the weekend home with them in a pre-packed backpack.

Laramie
03-17-2014, 09:00 AM
Every September-October, I purchase five brand new coats and place them in the trunk of my car. As I'm driving around going about my regular routine, there are always children walking around without a coat. Do you have a coat? When they say 'No.' I open the truck and ask which one of these would you like and as they put it on and it fits, I just tell them--'take care of it!' The immediate 'Thank You' and smiles I get in return is enough for me to know that I have successfully helped some in my community.

In the nation of opportunities we live in today, there shouldn't be any children in the United States walking around 'cold' and/or 'hungry.'

Once I had a parent tell me that they wouldn't accept any charity. I told her that this wasn't charity--you need to pay this forward to someone else less fortunate than you when you get back on your feet.

So well do I remember my mother working ten to twelve hours a day as a barber (six-day week) to pay the bills and provide us (boys 5,10,13,15) with the basic necessities. My father passed away when his youngest was three. Mother never remarried. I remember a male friend of hers offering to marry my mom; she told him, 'when my husband died, a part of me died with him--and I think that's the part you are looking for.'


I don't know how we survived; somehow whenever she would reach into her purse--the money was there for shoes, slacks, sweaters, coats and whatever our family of four boys needed. God rest her soul, she was a saint--she had patience, wisdom--she taught us to walk away from fights. "It's best to say, yond he run than they he lay, you can always come back and first another day."

Mother showed no fear of anything, she handled her business as best she could and then she put the rest in God's hands. My friends tease us today saying, how did your mother (a national Baptist) with a husband who was a CME Methodist--raise four boys to become Roman Catholics was a mystery indeed...


http://www.thunderfans.com/vforum/images/smilies/okc.gif "Oklahoma City looks oh-so pretty... ...as I get my kicks on Route 66." --Nat King Cole.http://www.thunderfans.com/vforum/images/smilies/okc.gif

PennyQuilts
03-17-2014, 10:54 AM
They set the poverty line at the national level, which is absurd. People allegedly are poorer here but that doesn't take into account the lower cost of living. I could not possibly live as well on our current income back east. Your dollar, especially your housing dollar, stretches much further, here.

Moreover, in the past twenty years, many people have stopped marrying before having children. If you aren't married, you only count the custodial parent's income (which is often zilch if she is "living in sin" with a working father). An unmarried intact couple counts only one income. A married couple counts both incomes. On paper, the first is far more likely to be living in poverty when their actual income (not counting public assistance) is exactly the same as the second.

traxx
03-17-2014, 11:40 AM
The problem is that people just look at these numbers and think "Let's just throw some more public assitance their way." I can't speak for other states but for Oklahoma a lot of it (not all) is by choice.

Now mind you, the children have no choice and that's what's sad. But the children see very little of this public assistance. Hence the reason for Backpack program. They came up with that to give a benefit directly to children who need it. Even then the children don't always get the benefit of the program. An OK Food Bank person told me once of a child on the backpack program that always had a backpack covered in dirt when he returned it to school on Monday. The teacher asked him why and he said he hid it under his house, otherwise the grownups would take the food and he wouldn't get any.

When I was married, we lived in a smallish town and we bought an older house that had just been completely redone. After moving in we found out that we lived kitty corner to a meth house. It was a family business with the grandparents at the top of the business, their kids in their 20s and 30s and the grandkids. They had children in that house. When they cooked, it smelled horrible just being outside. I can't imagine what those children dealt with inside. The house had exposed insulation for years until they finally bricked it. People had called the cops on them in the past but they would always be back within a few weeks doing it again.

I've seen couples with children who don't wear the proper clothes for the weather. Probably because they don't have the clothes. But the children wear a Marlboro t-shirt or Camel shirt or somesuch. They don't have the money to buy their kids proper clothing but they smoke so many cigarettes that they get free t-shirts and jackets from the tobacco companies.

My ex wife has an aunt who's in her 50s and still lives with her parents. She works jobs at the quickstop until she gets fired and moves on to the next gas station. She just doesn't want to be responsible. I've had relatives myself with similar stories. They dont' want to move out of poverty. They get by with what they have or who they can mooch off of (that sometimes being Joe Taxpayer). They don't want to live responsible lives.

I know this is anecdotal evidence, but I've lived in Oklahoma my whole life and have been around this state enough, been to many of the towns have been related to these types of people that I think it tells the greater story. I don't believe these are isolated stories. These people don't want to take responsibility for themselves or their offspring, their children learn this way of life and grow up and do the same with their children and it becomes a viscious cycle. I know that government assistance is actually needed by some people. But for these other types of people, the assistance, by and large, perpetuates the problem instead of solving it.

I don't know it it's a cultural issue or a genrational issue or both. But a lot of this poverty in Oklahoma is by choice.

JenX67
03-18-2014, 06:06 AM
I'm working on writing that textbook now. :donatello

@SoonerGuru
Here are a few ideas, many of which have been or are already being pursued in OKC with varying degrees of passion.

This list was composed by a group of writers for Global Urban Development Magazine (http://www.globalurban.org/GUDMag06Vol2Iss1/Serageldin,%20Solloso,%20&%20Valenzuela.htm) and inspired by the work of Amartya Sen, a Harvard professor of economics and philosophy. These "local authority actions" are inclusive of cities across the globe.

Instituting participatory urban processes that give a voice in decision-making to poor and marginalized populations.

Partnering with communities, community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations including advocacy groups, on community-based initiatives.

Providing access to infrastructure, and urban services.

Initiating integrated programs for the improvement of the urban environment.

Supporting the development of small businesses and micro-enterprises.

Fostering citizenship and social inclusion.

Collaborating with foundations and philanthropic organizations on social projects.

Alleviating the hardships endured by poor and marginalized populations.

Initiating special programs to reach vulnerable groups.

JenX67
03-18-2014, 06:52 AM
Back in the fall, I came across these animated gifts that illustrate how income inequality in the states has grown over time. A factual discussion about poverty in Oklahoma City needs to include accurate numbers for growing income disparity. I will try to post the GIFs. If they don't appear go here and see them (http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2013/09/state-inequality-visualizations.html). (Red implies lower within-state inequality, green implies higher.)

7045

7046

PennyQuilts
03-18-2014, 07:53 AM
Treating generational poverty is different than treating families who simply fall on hard times, typically from a job loss or illness. Transitional poverty (for instance, new immigrants or a student) is a different type of poverty.

Often, people who teach about poverty seem to primarily use a densely urban model that focuses on high population centers with large groups trapped in generational poverty and high numbers of new immigrants who struggle with language and cultural issues in their transition. These groups often deal with high crime, often violent, and bad schools. It some ways, it makes sense to use a densely urban model because that is where most poverty is located that call for professional assistance. In urban centers, the answer is to typically provide public services including after and before school care, housing assistance, etc.

You see the most economic inequality in large urban centers because it attracts highly educated professionals (because that is where the good jobs are) as well as the lowest incomes because social services are provided and attract the poor.

Alternatively, they teach rural poverty such as you see in Appalachia where you see generational poverty resulting from living in areas where the infrastructure is poor, education is difficult to come by/not valued and there is a certain level of isolation from other areas. That's a whole different world than the urban jungle, notwithstanding they share some of the same problems.

IMO, these traditional poverty studies are well and good for the populations they address but seems to me, they often skew a mindset to "see" what they expect to see based on their education. And you can get the same sort of education back east and at OU. Someone from NYC might be justifiably upset about income inequality because they see it everyday. That their solution to the problem only increases the likelihood of it expanding is one of those loops that is hard to get out of. Maybe impossible, short of a collapse or near collapse. The day NYC isn't filled with very rich and very poor won't be when there are no longer any very poor or they are subsidized into the lower middle class - it will be when the very rich relocate. It is already extremely difficult for middle class families to make a living there.

Moreover, unlike many places in flyover country, there has been a move away from charitable support in favor of government subsidies - and that has trickled down to the population. Accordingly, someone who studies urban poverty often builds a mindset that private giving, much less faith based giving, is too unreliable to be worthwhile. And yet, in a different community/culture, that sort of thing is commonplace, targeted and the individuals involved are dedicated. This is an area where you see a lot of private support in medical assistance, for example. Someone who studies poverty too often, IMO, thinks the whole country is like Queens. It isn't.

It is difficult to get too upset about income inequality in much of the midwest because we're in a different situation than big urban areas or Appalachia. We make far less money but housing and expenses are much cheaper and a look at a bell curve would give us a big fat middle compared to a lot of bigger cities. That isn't to say that poverty doesn't exist, but when the brilliant egg heads insist (or at least imply) that we are all living in shacks and going hungry due to horrible poverty based on our income levels without taking into account that this isn't NYC, LA or the south side of Chicago, you have to wonder what planet they are living on. We have our own types of poverty issues but people poor in OKC aren't necessarily poor for the same reasons they are poor in a big city - and accordingly, the solutions aren't necessarily the same.

Here's a for instance. It is one thing to not have a job because there are no jobs. It is another thing to not have a job even though there are jobs to be had. At that point, you have to ask the question of why this individual isn't working - is it because of lack of training or education? Disability? Drug abuse? A criminal record? Government subsidies make working a waste of effort? Laziness? Independent wealth? Rearing children or caring for sick/elderly relatives? A student? They can't speak English? Depending on the demographics, you are liable to get more or less of the above categories. Our government, unfortunately, has a one sized fits all mentality with a citizenry that wants to help and worries that targeting assistance will end up having it be too narrow to cover all the needs. Sometimes, a policy causes more ultimate harm than good but I don't expect to see any real constructive reforms until we run out of money.

As someone who spent much of her career trying to find public and private funds to assist families with special needs, it is frustrating to see huge sums of money going to people it isn't really helping while families that really need the help go without. People tend to think there is plenty of assistance available without realizing that most of it is put into little funding pies depending on the community. Once a given pie is exhausted, too bad, so sad. Come ask us next year. We spend so much money on deadbeats that waste it and every dime of that could be going to help a child that is really needy. I guess what I am really saying is that if you want money to support a poor family, ask the government. They'll give you housing, food stamps, blah, blah. Chances are, they aren't going to get off the public dole anytime soon. Even families with skills and education typically wait until the funding runs out.

Alternatively, if you have a family with special needs - a kid out of control, drug abuse or mental illness, a child who needs counseling following abuse, etc., funding is sometimes available but you have to prove it is needed and there is great competition for these resources. Once it is gone for the fiscal year, look for other funding sources and good luck. Thank god for private giving.

PennyQuilts
03-18-2014, 09:03 AM
Much is made of income inequality and I don't mean to come across as dismissing it. That being said, I personally believe the stats being used are less than helpful in terms of addressing what is really happening and more about fueling an ideology or social theory. Comparing today vs. the '70's is comparing apples and oranges. Until and unless comparisons take into account actual household income, I think the stats commonly used are misleading and leave you only guessing: 1) what the actual state of inequality is, today; and perhaps more importantly, 2) how relevant it is to most of us. Most of us are living much better than we were in the 70's if you use a scale of material possessions. Unfortunately, most of us have a lot more personal debt than we did in the 70's. And there is no doubt that student loan debt is a monster for our young and needs to be addressed/reformed. The student debt, however, is primarily a problem for young people going to college and often the burden of the privileged - the actual poor typically think that is a rich guy's problem and they may be on to something.

Cultural norms have dramatically changed, especially in discrete demographics to the point where couples are not marrying even if living together and having children. A very wealthy man with a live in stay at home girlfriend may well be in the one percent but his companion would be counted as poverty stricken with a legal entitlement to food stamps and housing assistance. Yes, she would. The only thing keeping her from claiming them would be a cultural bias against it and that bias is rapidly eroding. So when you compare income from the 70's to today's income, you are often comparing TWO incomes back in the 70's (or one person making a good living) whereas, today, you might have a "single mom" with little or no income even if she has a hard working, well paid live in boyfriend who is her child's parent (or vice versa - the dad could be staying home). Overwhelmingly, even if they are living together as a couple, the young and the poor aren't marrying at the same rates as the middle class and that has made their counted income take a nose dive, making them look poorer than they might be. Additionally, if a young mother, for example, is drawing public assistance, it often makes no sense for her to give that up to go to work. The end result is that should her relationship fail with her boyfriend, she's left in a bad way - trapped in poverty without even the right to alimony or assistance in getting training or education. You want fries with that? Moreover, the overall household income is less as a result.

IMO, the stats that are relevant in determining income inequality would be a comparison of individuals to individuals, or married to married. I don't know a good way, factually or practically, to account for household income because so many people live in shared homes (especially new immigrants) or informal romantic relationships.

soonerguru
03-18-2014, 10:35 AM
I'm working on writing that textbook now. :donatello

@SoonerGuru
Here are a few ideas, many of which have been or are already being pursued in OKC with varying degrees of passion.

This list was composed by a group of writers for Global Urban Development Magazine (http://www.globalurban.org/GUDMag06Vol2Iss1/Serageldin,%20Solloso,%20&%20Valenzuela.htm) and inspired by the work of Amartya Sen, a Harvard professor of economics and philosophy. These "local authority actions" are inclusive of cities across the globe.

Instituting participatory urban processes that give a voice in decision-making to poor and marginalized populations.

Partnering with communities, community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations including advocacy groups, on community-based initiatives.

Providing access to infrastructure, and urban services.

Initiating integrated programs for the improvement of the urban environment.

Supporting the development of small businesses and micro-enterprises.

Fostering citizenship and social inclusion.

Collaborating with foundations and philanthropic organizations on social projects.

Alleviating the hardships endured by poor and marginalized populations.

Initiating special programs to reach vulnerable groups.


Thank you for your reply. These seem like worthy goals. I don't have the time to research, but I'm sure OKC already does many of these things. It would be helpful if we could model successful programs from other cities: programs that have a track record of success. It would also be great to get pretty granular and choose one or two things we can focus on -- using this successful empirical data -- and put our stamp on it, tweaking as necessary.

Some of these proposals are quite vague, and people may disagree what they mean.

I'm not an expert at all, but the poverty continuum in OKC ranges from working folks who can't get ahead -- or even catch up, to folks who are desperate and on the streets. We have a large population of people suffering from mental illness, homelessness, and substance addiction. These folks need immediate help.

The larger issues seemingly transcend what a municipal government can do alone. We need better help from the state (not gonna happen with the current leadership), and the Feds.

LandRunOkie
03-18-2014, 02:56 PM
There are some books that are so powerful that the fact that you never heard of them before might make you believe in conspiracies once you've read them. Captains of Consciousness (http://www.amazon.com/Captains-Consciousness-Advertising-Consumer-Culture/dp/0465021557) is one such astonishingly well kept secret. It is such a popular (or powerful) book that not a single copy can be found in the Metropolitan Library System. Their copies must have walked off. Fortunately its available for purchase fairly cheap. It would be required reading for all my students if I taught any humanities course in the OKC public school system. It describes the way foreign and domestic populations were tricked into taking on debt so that consumption and "the economy" would continue to grow. The fact that I had to find this book on my own heightened my sense that public schools are more geared toward producing "factory workers" than educated, financially responsible adults. If poverty is a state of mind, Captains of Consciousness explains why.

PennyQuilts
03-18-2014, 04:28 PM
Let me just point out that plenty of people simply aren't suited to do any higher level work, be it by IQ, some disability or temperament. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with factory workers as implied by the way you contrasted them with "educated, financially responsible adults." Who do you think is going to do the "grunt work" in society? Absent someone to pick up the trash, stock shelves, clean bedpans, etc. society would break down. Honest work, however humble, should be appreciated, not sneered at.

LandRunOkie
03-18-2014, 04:55 PM
Of course society needs people to clean bedpans. And if those people teach their children to apply themselves to their studies in public school, that child should have a strong chance at being better off. Unfortunately that is becoming less and less true. If you are suggesting public education doesn't need major overhaul, you're part of the problem. Economic history is the most revealing of all forms of history and is the one conspicuously absent from public education. If debt was demonized as much as evolution in the schools poverty would be a mere curiosity rather than a pandemic.

PennyQuilts
03-18-2014, 05:44 PM
Of course society needs people to clean bedpans. And if those people teach their children to apply themselves to their studies in public school, that child should have a strong chance at being better off. Unfortunately that is becoming less and less true. If you are suggesting public education doesn't need major overhaul, you're part of the problem. Economic history is the most revealing of all forms of history and is the one conspicuously absent from public education. If debt was demonized as much as evolution in the schools poverty would be a mere curiosity rather than a pandemic.
I am not sure where you got that I said anything about school reform. All I addressed was individual aptitudes and abilities and took issue with elevating one "career" track over another. Personally, I completely agree that kids are not being taught anything about basic economics and they should. And I am not just talking about personal finance or even high finance - I mean they should understand how the economy actually works. Most adults I know don't have a clue of cause and effect or how governmental policy impacts the way business (and everything else) is conducted. They don't seem to even consider cause and effect or what is likely to happen if this or that is adjusted or changed. To me, good government policy has to be wed with sound economic reality. Not to derail this, but take Obamacare - it is as if the morons that wrote that law (and regulations) are living on another planet with no earthly idea of how that law would play out in the real world, practically and in terms of the economy. It is one huge unintended consequence, most of which was easily predictable when economics (and human nature) was factored into it.

PennyQuilts
03-18-2014, 05:49 PM
If debt was demonized as much as evolution in the schools poverty would be a mere curiosity rather than a pandemic.

We will always have poverty but I agree, we'd be much, much, much better off, individually and as a nation. Yes, sometimes you need to go into debt but the way we handle it is idiotic. People don't understand the difference between going into debt as a genuine investment vs. just borrowing to get something rather than saving up for it.

soonerguru
03-18-2014, 09:38 PM
I think this is a great discussion, and I hope to keep it as devoid of politics as possible. Let's also avoid demonizing poor people -- it is ridiculous to say people "choose" to be poor. This is something someone says to themselves to feel better about having greater fortune.

Those of us who are successful, and educated, and have careers that are fulfilling and challenging, should feel blessed. Yes, we work hard for our success, but we are also lucky to be in the position we are, and probably benefited from many people helping us along the way.

There's no way to address the problem of poverty by casting blame on the poor.

Let's move this toward discussion of ideas that can actually positively impact this problem.

Great comments from Penny, by the way, about employment. No one should ever look down at anyone for what they do to contribute to society. What is forgotten -- or unknown -- is that most poor people have jobs. The population of working poor in this country is enormous. It is extremely unhelpful and inaccurate to characterize the poor as welfare recipients.

LandRunOkie
03-19-2014, 11:06 AM
I missed the part where the poor were blamed or characterized as welfare recipients. This may not be surprising since I skip any post longer than my pinky finger (here's looking at you PQ!). My point, which can be examined by looking at the book I recommended, is that traditional values have been beaten out of people's heads by mass media. If we want to eradicate poverty, the public schools have to play a primary role. Thrift and savings are simply not values that are passed down from generation to generation anymore. Propaganda, even corporate propaganda, rather than government-sponsored, is powerful. Imagine if the USA declared a Cold War on debt rather than the Soviets.

PennyQuilts
03-19-2014, 11:46 AM
I think this is a great discussion, and I hope to keep it as devoid of politics as possible. Let's also avoid demonizing poor people -- it is ridiculous to say people "choose" to be poor. This is something someone says to themselves to feel better about having greater fortune.

Those of us who are successful, and educated, and have careers that are fulfilling and challenging, should feel blessed. Yes, we work hard for our success, but we are also lucky to be in the position we are, and probably benefited from many people helping us along the way.

There's no way to address the problem of poverty by casting blame on the poor.

Let's move this toward discussion of ideas that can actually positively impact this problem.

Great comments from Penny, by the way, about employment. No one should ever look down at anyone for what they do to contribute to society. What is forgotten -- or unknown -- is that most poor people have jobs. The population of working poor in this country is enormous. It is extremely unhelpful and inaccurate to characterize the poor as welfare recipients.

Thank you for the good comment statement but I didn't see anyone demonizing the poor, either and you seem to be going off on something not part of this conversation. If you are saying none choose to be poor, that's simply the flip side of demonization and it is also untrue. Some do choose that path and they have that right. Pretending it doesn't happen because YOU find it too shameful to acknowledge is your prerogative but I wish you wouldn't try to control others' speech or ask them to also ignore reality.

Demanding that this truth be not spoken is one of the reasons hard topics are increasingly difficult to address. It reminds me of the days when rape and incest were dirty little secrets that people couldn't talk about. There are many reasons people are poor including choice. The mere mention of that is not demonization and I hope you weren't trying to equate the two. There is a fundamental difference in terms of addressing the issue between someone poor by choice vs a multitude of other paths. If we can't look at this issue with open eyes due to some ideological filter, we might as well give up. Please don't try to claim an honest discussion amounts to demonization simply because you are projecting your own intolerance on others. If you can't tolerate including choice among the many reasons people may be poor, all you will do is shut down a constructive conversation. We don't need to be preached to, thank you very much. That attitude is one of the primary reasons we can't get it together, policy wise, to help people in need. We were having a pretty good conversation until you brought your bias into it and got preachy.

PennyQuilts
03-19-2014, 11:56 AM
Here's a question: Young, healthy, unmarried woman of average intelligence who does not abuse drugs or alcohol from a middle class family finishes high school but rather than go to college, takes a low wage job and has three children before she is 24 with 2-3 different dads she has no plan to marry. Her siblings stayed in school, married before having babies, and are all doing well.

Did she choose to be poor or did she just make bad choices? And does it matter? How do you compare her situation with a new immigrant or someone who is disabled or has a drug/alcohol problem?

PennyQuilts
03-19-2014, 12:02 PM
And let me throw in there my own experience - finished high school, married at sixteen and had my third child at age 22. I sure felt poor and it was hard - even with a spouse.

soonerguru
03-19-2014, 01:44 PM
Thank you for the good comment statement but I didn't see anyone demonizing the poor, either and you seem to be going off on something not part of this conversation. If you are saying none choose to be poor, that's simply the flip side of demonization and it is also untrue. Some do choose that path and they have that right. Pretending it doesn't happen because YOU find it too shameful to acknowledge is your prerogative but I wish you wouldn't try to control others' speech or ask them to also ignore reality.

Demanding that this truth be not spoken is one of the reasons hard topics are increasingly difficult to address. It reminds me of the days when rape and incest were dirty little secrets that people couldn't talk about. There are many reasons people are poor including choice. The mere mention of that is not demonization and I hope you weren't trying to equate the two. There is a fundamental difference in terms of addressing the issue between someone poor by choice vs a multitude of other paths. If we can't look at this issue with open eyes due to some ideological filter, we might as well give up. Please don't try to claim an honest discussion amounts to demonization simply because you are projecting your own intolerance on others. If you can't tolerate including choice among the many reasons people may be poor, all you will do is shut down a constructive conversation. We don't need to be preached to, thank you very much. That attitude is one of the primary reasons we can't get it together, policy wise, to help people in need. We were having a pretty good conversation until you brought your bias into it and got preachy.

There was a very specific post on this thread that said people choose to be poor. I didn't want to get into a flame war. And you are right, there are some people who make very poor life decisions that lead them to being poor. I was just hoping people could discuss specific ideas AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL that have worked in other cities.

JenX67
03-19-2014, 05:01 PM
Treating generational poverty is different than treating families who simply fall on hard times, typically from a job loss or illness. Transitional poverty (for instance, new immigrants or a student) is a different type of poverty.

Often, people who teach about poverty seem to primarily use a densely urban model that focuses on high population centers with large groups trapped in generational poverty and high numbers of new immigrants who struggle with language and cultural issues in their transition. These groups often deal with high crime, often violent, and bad schools. It some ways, it makes sense to use a densely urban model because that is where most poverty is located that call for professional assistance. In urban centers, the answer is to typically provide public services including after and before school care, housing assistance, etc.

You see the most economic inequality in large urban centers because it attracts highly educated professionals (because that is where the good jobs are) as well as the lowest incomes because social services are provided and attract the poor.

Alternatively, they teach rural poverty such as you see in Appalachia where you see generational poverty resulting from living in areas where the infrastructure is poor, education is difficult to come by/not valued and there is a certain level of isolation from other areas. That's a whole different world than the urban jungle, notwithstanding they share some of the same problems.

IMO, these traditional poverty studies are well and good for the populations they address but seems to me, they often skew a mindset to "see" what they expect to see based on their education. And you can get the same sort of education back east and at OU. Someone from NYC might be justifiably upset about income inequality because they see it everyday. That their solution to the problem only increases the likelihood of it expanding is one of those loops that is hard to get out of. Maybe impossible, short of a collapse or near collapse. The day NYC isn't filled with very rich and very poor won't be when there are no longer any very poor or they are subsidized into the lower middle class - it will be when the very rich relocate. It is already extremely difficult for middle class families to make a living there.

Moreover, unlike many places in flyover country, there has been a move away from charitable support in favor of government subsidies - and that has trickled down to the population. Accordingly, someone who studies urban poverty often builds a mindset that private giving, much less faith based giving, is too unreliable to be worthwhile. And yet, in a different community/culture, that sort of thing is commonplace, targeted and the individuals involved are dedicated. This is an area where you see a lot of private support in medical assistance, for example. Someone who studies poverty too often, IMO, thinks the whole country is like Queens. It isn't.

It is difficult to get too upset about income inequality in much of the midwest because we're in a different situation than big urban areas or Appalachia. We make far less money but housing and expenses are much cheaper and a look at a bell curve would give us a big fat middle compared to a lot of bigger cities. That isn't to say that poverty doesn't exist, but when the brilliant egg heads insist (or at least imply) that we are all living in shacks and going hungry due to horrible poverty based on our income levels without taking into account that this isn't NYC, LA or the south side of Chicago, you have to wonder what planet they are living on. We have our own types of poverty issues but people poor in OKC aren't necessarily poor for the same reasons they are poor in a big city - and accordingly, the solutions aren't necessarily the same.

Here's a for instance. It is one thing to not have a job because there are no jobs. It is another thing to not have a job even though there are jobs to be had. At that point, you have to ask the question of why this individual isn't working - is it because of lack of training or education? Disability? Drug abuse? A criminal record? Government subsidies make working a waste of effort? Laziness? Independent wealth? Rearing children or caring for sick/elderly relatives? A student? They can't speak English? Depending on the demographics, you are liable to get more or less of the above categories. Our government, unfortunately, has a one sized fits all mentality with a citizenry that wants to help and worries that targeting assistance will end up having it be too narrow to cover all the needs. Sometimes, a policy causes more ultimate harm than good but I don't expect to see any real constructive reforms until we run out of money.

As someone who spent much of her career trying to find public and private funds to assist families with special needs, it is frustrating to see huge sums of money going to people it isn't really helping while families that really need the help go without. People tend to think there is plenty of assistance available without realizing that most of it is put into little funding pies depending on the community. Once a given pie is exhausted, too bad, so sad. Come ask us next year. We spend so much money on deadbeats that waste it and every dime of that could be going to help a child that is really needy. I guess what I am really saying is that if you want money to support a poor family, ask the government. They'll give you housing, food stamps, blah, blah. Chances are, they aren't going to get off the public dole anytime soon. Even families with skills and education typically wait until the funding runs out.

Alternatively, if you have a family with special needs - a kid out of control, drug abuse or mental illness, a child who needs counseling following abuse, etc., funding is sometimes available but you have to prove it is needed and there is great competition for these resources. Once it is gone for the fiscal year, look for other funding sources and good luck. Thank god for private giving.

Thank you for taking the time to write all this down. I think there is a lot of good information here and I plan to read this again soon. I agree so much with your very last statement: "Thanks God for private giving." It continues to help so many people in desperate situations. There are thousands of examples of this across OKC that we can all point to. Two of my favorites are Catholic Charities and Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.

JenX67
03-19-2014, 05:29 PM
I think this is a great discussion, and I hope to keep it as devoid of politics as possible. Let's also avoid demonizing poor people -- it is ridiculous to say people "choose" to be poor. This is something someone says to themselves to feel better about having greater fortune.

Those of us who are successful, and educated, and have careers that are fulfilling and challenging, should feel blessed. Yes, we work hard for our success, but we are also lucky to be in the position we are, and probably benefited from many people helping us along the way.

There's no way to address the problem of poverty by casting blame on the poor.

Let's move this toward discussion of ideas that can actually positively impact this problem.

Great comments from Penny, by the way, about employment. No one should ever look down at anyone for what they do to contribute to society. What is forgotten -- or unknown -- is that most poor people have jobs. The population of working poor in this country is enormous. It is extremely unhelpful and inaccurate to characterize the poor as welfare recipients.

Yes, if we can keep this conversation from devolving that would be great. I agree with your comment about the state. Ugh. Cities can and do act as incubators for the social and cultural innovations that shape our world. That's one reason I think a discussion of the working poor in OKC is appropriate. Local governing bodies across the metro can serve as beacons of great processes for the entire state. Well, maybe...hope springs eternal.
:Smiley105

PennyQuilts
03-19-2014, 06:54 PM
I would count myself among the working poor for quite a long time - living paycheck to paycheck with the kids getting older and more expensive by the day. Frightening. When my youngest was a year old I went back to school, eventually got my degree and after working a few years, went back to law school. It is SO MUCH EASIER to have money and the working poor have a special place in my heart.

There are so many roads to poverty - bad decisions (my hand just went up), illness, etc. Helping someone who is mentally ill and poor as a result is one thing. Just keeping them on an even keel with their bills paid may be the best you can hope for and so much depends on the extent of their illness and social network. A new immigrant with poor language skills who can't get a decent job is another situation and, candidly, it may be that their children are going to be the ones to be upwardly mobile since they won't be as hampered by language barriers and/or will have better opportunities to network with the children of the middle class. Encouraging someone who made poor decisions but has the ability to be socially mobile is a whole different problem and every situation is different. Some people are just stupid, some just have awful judgment. Some are just young and that is a time honored detour that doesn't have to ruin a life. I couldn't cite you the studies but from what I recall, although there is increasing income inequality, the stats suggest that it isn't static and that there is quite a bit of upward and downward income mobility with individuals.

We had a thread awhile back where we discussed the phenomenon of how the widespread education of women and increased employment opportunities have contributed to less upward mobility. So the theory goes, not long ago women tended to have less education and married "up." By virtue of their marriages, their children ended up in a higher income class and their extended family also tended to benefit. These days, women going to college tend to marry men in college. Women in the work place are not as likely to marry the boss as in the old days, rather, they marry peers. The end result is that poor women are less likely to marry up and more affluent women are marrying in their own income class. The end result is less social mobility and people aren't really interacting with people not like themselves.

zookeeper
03-19-2014, 07:13 PM
I would count myself among the working poor for quite a long time - living paycheck to paycheck with the kids getting older and more expensive by the day. Frightening. When my youngest was a year old I went back to school, eventually got my degree and after working a few years, went back to law school. It is SO MUCH EASIER to have money and the working poor have a special place in my heart.

There are so many roads to poverty - bad decisions (my hand just went up), illness, etc. Helping someone who is mentally ill and poor as a result is one thing. Just keeping them on an even keel with their bills paid may be the best you can hope for and so much depends on the extent of their illness and social network. A new immigrant with poor language skills who can't get a decent job is another situation and, candidly, it may be that their children are going to be the ones to be upwardly mobile since they won't be as hampered by language barriers and/or will have better opportunities to network with the children of the middle class. Encouraging someone who made poor decisions but has the ability to be socially mobile is a whole different problem and every situation is different. Some people are just stupid, some just have awful judgment. Some are just young and that is a time honored detour that doesn't have to ruin a life. I couldn't cite you the studies but from what I recall, although there is increasing income inequality, the stats suggest that it isn't static and that there is quite a bit of upward and downward income mobility with individuals.

We had a thread awhile back where we discussed the phenomenon of how the widespread education of women and increased employment opportunities have contributed to less upward mobility. So the theory goes, not long ago women tended to have less education and married "up." By virtue of their marriages, their children ended up in a higher income class and their extended family also tended to benefit. These days, women going to college tend to marry men in college. Women in the work place are not as likely to marry the boss as in the old days, rather, they marry peers. The end result is that poor women are less likely to marry up and more affluent women are marrying in their own income class. The end result is less social mobility and people aren't really interacting with people not like themselves.

Thank you, Penny. You are one of the most honest posters here. I don't always agree with you (but often do!) but I appreciate your willingness to weave your own experiences - even when they weren't the best decisions - to make a point and show alternatives. It's also clear to me that you are a kind and compassionate poster from just little posts you make checking on people, remembering little things people mention and check back on progress, etc. You don't often find that in forums like this. I'm a Penny fan.

traxx
03-20-2014, 09:34 AM
There was a very specific post on this thread that said people choose to be poor. I didn't want to get into a flame war. And you are right, there are some people who make very poor life decisions that lead them to being poor. I was just hoping people could discuss specific ideas AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL that have worked in other cities.

Dude, stop beating around the bush. Come right out and say it. You're talking about my post. When you say that some don't choose to be poor, you're getting into semantics and splitting hairs. It's the same sort of thing as no one chooses to have cancer yet they continue to smoke a pack a day. They make the choices to end up where they do.

I never made a blanket statement saying all poor people made the choice to be that way but there's a lot in this state that make the choices to cause them to end up being poor. Government assistance and government programs aren't gong to solve this problem. You have to change their mindset. Or at least break the cycle so it's not passed down to their children. You have to change the culture. The question is how do you do that?

soonerguru
03-20-2014, 09:44 AM
Dude, stop beating around the bush. Come right out and say it. You're talking about my post. When you say that some don't choose to be poor, you're getting into semantics and splitting hairs. It's the same sort of thing as no one chooses to have cancer yet they continue to smoke a pack a day. They make the choices to end up where they do.

I never made a blanket statement saying all poor people made the choice to be that way but there's a lot in this state that make the choices to cause them to end up being poor. Government assistance and government programs aren't gong to solve this problem. You have to change their mindset. Or at least break the cycle so it's not passed down to their children. You have to change the culture. The question is how do you do that?

Good question. I don't think anyone here has an easy answer. If they did, we wouldn't be having this discussion. As for your post, I avoided calling you out because there was much more depth to what you were writing than that statement.

And I agree people make very poor choices that lead them to where they are. That does not equate to them saying, "I really want to be poor. That would be awesome."

It seems you're making a blanket statement that no government programs will solve the problem. While that is true, does that not mean that government programs can be helpful in solving this problem, or at least in lessening the severity of this problem?

There are many very successful people today who, for example, lived in government housing. There are many others who lived in similar housing who led failed lives. So the net is not "government housing is the answer" just as much as "government housing is bad."

onthestrip
03-20-2014, 10:19 AM
Well we all know one thing, cutting income taxes that only affect the top 60%, which further starves education funding and creates larger class sizes and worse instruction thereby keeping Oklahoma near the bottom of education in this country is certainly a good move to reduce poverty.....

traxx
03-20-2014, 10:35 AM
Good question. I don't think anyone here has an easy answer. If they did, we wouldn't be having this discussion. As for your post, I avoided calling you out because there was much more depth to what you were writing than that statement.

And I agree people make very poor choices that lead them to where they are. That does not equate to them saying, "I really want to be poor. That would be awesome."

It seems you're making a blanket statement that no government programs will solve the problem. While that is true, does that not mean that government programs can be helpful in solving this problem, or at least in lessening the severity of this problem?

There are many very successful people today who, for example, lived in government housing. There are many others who lived in similar housing who led failed lives. So the net is not "government housing is the answer" just as much as "government housing is bad."
Yeah, I don't think anyone says "I wanna be poor." But I go back to my smoking comparison. No one says, "I want cancer." But they keep making the choices that cause them to be poor or cause cancer.

I think much of it has to do with priorities. It's not a priority to buy clothes for their children that fit or will keep them warm but it's a priority to have their cigarettes. That's why the kids wear oversized shirts advertising cigarettes. Many years back, I used to inspect home daycares. Many of the homes were not well kept or falling apart, they may have had a car out front that didn't run but they always had a huge TV. That was their priority.

It's not that I think government assistance doesn't help anyone. It just seems that by and large it's abused. It does more harm than good. It gives people a hand out instead of a hand up. It rewards behavior that is in direct conflict with the behavior that would get them out of that situation. More kids = more $. I've got to have more kids so I can keep getting my checks. I would say that a better use of government money would be for a program to help change the culture and mindset of these misplaced priorities. But I'm afraid a government program would screw it up. I think a philantrhopist with a passion for it would make more progress. Or a botom up, grass roots community program rather than a top down, government funded or subsidized program.

About ten years ago, I read a study (that I wish I could find now) about inner city kids and their health choices. They came to the conclusion that the kids knew about the physical dangers of smoking, drugs, eating poorly etc. But they just didn't care. Why not? Because of a lack of hope. They didn't think it'd make any difference to try to live better or be more healthy or make the decision to not start smoking or doing drugs. They had no hope that they would ever get out of the situation that they were raised in. No hope that it could be better or different.

I think you make that same assumption for kids in rural Oklahoma. And it can be extended from health choices to financial choices or any choices they might make about their future. "Why should I try to do good at school? It'll never get any better. I can't do any better than my parents who obviously don't care. I can't do any better than work at Subway making sandwiches at the gas station. That's my plan after I graduate. If I graduate. I'll be lucky to make it past my sophomore year." Lack of hope changes priorities. It kills desire. It limits the future to where you can't see past tomorrow.

soonerguru
03-20-2014, 12:26 PM
One thing that seems to influence people's financial situation is whether or not they have been convicted of a crime. Once someone has a record, it may be difficult to impossible to find a good job. Is there something that could be done on a municipal level to reduce the number of people "branded" as criminals while still continuing to fight crime?

PennyQuilts
03-20-2014, 01:22 PM
The problem with a criminal record is one that I run into with my clients on a regular basis. One silver lining I've seen in that situation are the ones who go out and create their own businesses because they can't get a decent job, otherwise. That's rare but it happens. With more and more social media and ability to run background checks, it makes it all the harder for someone to get beyond their past.

Employers are understandably not going to want to hire someone who is dishonest and they certainly don't want to get any tort liability arising from hiring someone who turns around and hurts someone. I don't think there is a good answer for it although I saw, someplace recently, where a bill was being floated to somehow keep prospective employers from discriminating on the basis of a criminal record. I think that's nuts.

There are horrible repercussions for having a criminal record but to build on the previous post, if you don't think you've got much of a future, anyway, it doesn't seem like that big a deal at the time. If you think death is waiting, that is one thing. If you just think working is optional, then we've got a policy that practically encourages crime. How many of us wouldn't dare do something small because we know it would screw up our ability to make a living, cause us to lose a security clearance, lose our ability to have firearms, etc.? In discussions on the subject, most of us think in terms of jail when we think of deterrents. But for most working people, protecting our livelihood (or pension) is also a cultural control and likely at the forefront of our mind.

Those of us with young kids, parents, etc., certainly don't want to have a criminal show up at our home if we don't know them. You'd worry that they would be casing the joint or, god forbid, looking for prey. I once had some tile installed and hired a guy on the say so of a family member. While he was working, he candidly mentioned that he'd spent time in jail on manslaughter after killing a guy in a bar fight. Now, I didn't think this guy was going to make the leap from killing someone in a barroom brawl to murdering some woman who had hired him to install tile in the bathroom but I don't mind telling you it freaked me out. I admired him for going out and trying to make his life okay. I just wish he did a better job laying tile. Honestly, I wouldn't have hired him if I'd known his record. I was home, alone, while he was working. Perhaps in another circumstance I'd have felt less leery.

On the one hand, I feel some sympathy for people who screw up with petty crimes and are trying to get their lives in order. On the other, with the prevalence of plea bargaining, even if you know what they were convicted for, what actually happened is often even worse.

onthestrip
03-21-2014, 12:40 PM
One thing that seems to influence people's financial situation is whether or not they have been convicted of a crime. Once someone has a record, it may be difficult to impossible to find a good job. Is there something that could be done on a municipal level to reduce the number of people "branded" as criminals while still continuing to fight crime?

This is true. The continues expansion of crimes being considered a felony is doing nothing but keeping a person a 2nd class citizen for the rest of their life. It basically assures that person and any of their offspring to a life of poverty. Something needs to change about the type of work a person can do if they have been convicted of a felony.

LandRunOkie
03-21-2014, 01:36 PM
Government assistance and government programs aren't gong to solve this problem. You have to change their mindset. Or at least break the cycle so it's not passed down to their children. You have to change the culture. The question is how do you do that?



It seems you're making a blanket statement that no government programs will solve the problem. While that is true, does that not mean that government programs can be helpful in solving this problem, or at least in lessening the severity of this problem?

There are many very successful people today who, for example, lived in government housing. There are many others who lived in similar housing who led failed lives. So the net is not "government housing is the answer" just as much as "government housing is bad."


Well we all know one thing, cutting income taxes that only affect the top 60%, which further starves education funding and creates larger class sizes and worse instruction thereby keeping Oklahoma near the bottom of education in this country is certainly a good move to reduce poverty.....
It actually isn't that hard to teach or learn financial skills. The problem is one of community-level leadership. If ministers in the impoverished neighborhoods moved away from the wishful thinking of "prosperity gospel" and toward something like or based on Financial Peace University change could happen. Things are the way they are because spiritual leaders in poor communities have found that is easier to tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need. A question for the pious: when is the last time your preacher quoted this verse?

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Proverbs 22:7
There isn't a municipal solution to poverty. Communities are composed of families and families of individuals. A change in attitude at the personal level is what is required, many times over.

kevinpate
03-21-2014, 08:05 PM
onthestrip. it's not limited to those who have been convicted. I've seen numerous times where someone did something, and in lieu of a conviction they receive a deferred adjudication. If they jump through the appropriate hoops, pay the requisite financial amounts, etc., at the end of the deferral period, their case will be dismissed.

I've also seen employers tell these people with no convictions, people whom even the prosecution feel are worthy of another chance to walk tall, that their services are no longer needed. So off on the job search they go, with many, many employers electing to pass them by.

It's no less devastating to the person with no conviction, only a stain to their name for the time being, to be unable to find work than it is for the person who served their time and carry a conviction record through life. Some do find work. Some retain the jobs they had. But many do not.

Dennis Heaton
03-22-2014, 08:06 AM
7097

JenX67
03-22-2014, 08:17 AM
I'm a fan, too. You are really giving me a lot to think about, Penny. I appreciate you sharing your personal experiences, also.

I grew up with very bright, educated and incredibly hard-working parents. From about 1978 to 1981, we were very poor. Those four years shaped me in untold ways. I think it's important for people who have lived in poverty to share the grim realities of it, and when possible, contribute to policy-making processes. I am not prepared to share those grim realities yet, but someday I will. I do know that one must walk this road to truly understand it. Poverty is a culture and if you live in it long enough, you become part of it. It is so much more than underemployment, hunger or even bad choices. For so many, it's a life that is not just devoid of possibilities, but devoid of the notion that possibilities even exist.


Thank you, Penny. You are one of the most honest posters here. I don't always agree with you (but often do!) but I appreciate your willingness to weave your own experiences - even when they weren't the best decisions - to make a point and show alternatives. It's also clear to me that you are a kind and compassionate poster from just little posts you make checking on people, remembering little things people mention and check back on progress, etc. You don't often find that in forums like this. I'm a Penny fan.

JenX67
03-22-2014, 08:31 AM
It actually isn't that hard to teach or learn financial skills. The problem is one of community-level leadership. If ministers in the impoverished neighborhoods moved away from the wishful thinking of "prosperity gospel" and toward something like or based on Financial Peace University change could happen. Things are the way they are because spiritual leaders in poor communities have found that is easier to tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need. A question for the pious: when is the last time your preacher quoted this verse?

There isn't a municipal solution to poverty. Communities are composed of families and families of individuals. A change in attitude at the personal level is what is required, many times over.

Several years ago, KOSU or KGOU interviewed Frosty Troy about poverty in Oklahoma. In that interview, he slammed the pulpit saying it had fallen silent in matters concerning the poor, incarceration of women, child hunger and more. It was a great interview and stayed with me because I knew firsthand it was true. IMO, the prosperity gospel is a bad interpretation of Biblical Scripture, but many wonderful people keep spreading it with great passion and hope. *Sigh*

Regarding your last statement about no municipal solution to poverty, I can think of 50 different ways off the top of my head that municipal governments lift burdens from the poor. Here is one of my favorites: [url]http://www.okc.gov/PARKS/play_in_park/index.html.

Dennis Heaton
03-22-2014, 09:08 AM
IMO, the prosperity gospel is a bad interpretation of Biblical Scripture...

You are sooooo right on target about this! Unfortunately, it is these people that non-believers look at as "Christians." I guess that is a subject for another thread.

LandRunOkie
03-22-2014, 12:58 PM
I spent a great deal of time in the city parks in the summers of my youth, particularly the city wide swim league where we competed with each neighborhood pool association (Woodson, Macklanburg, etc). While the competition was not all that stiff, it was a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. The familiarity I gained from being with these inner city people and their mind sets, it is one of the reasons I try to help when I can. But merely giving kids a free rec spot won't teach good financial habits. It bears repeating that I've known people who've taught Ramsey's Financial Peace classes with positive results for themselves and participants.

bradh
03-22-2014, 01:27 PM
Are basic personal finance courses still not taught in high schools? If not that's a joke.

LandRun you and I certainly have had battles, but you're dead on with what needs fixing, and what's sad is it's not just with the poverty stricken, kids in every class need this type of education.

PennyQuilts
03-22-2014, 03:21 PM
I absolutely agree a personal finance class is so important for young people. A different problem that concerns me, however, is the commonplace utter lack of understanding of basic economics, supply and demand etc. displayed by policy makers. People ignorant of such things typically are less skeptical of the devil in the details and almost entirely focus on the stated intent of a policy. Criticism of a given policy or proposed policy is frequently met with rage and scorn as if criticizing the means is an attack on they intended end.

soonerguru
03-22-2014, 05:44 PM
Are basic personal finance courses still not taught in high schools? If not that's a joke.

LandRun you and I certainly have had battles, but you're dead on with what needs fixing, and what's sad is it's not just with the poverty stricken, kids in every class need this type of education.

Yes. And it wouldn't hurt to teach them civics and history, either.

LandRunOkie
03-22-2014, 07:59 PM
Yes such a required class would be a positive. I took one as an elective in HS but it wasn't enough to "break" the learned behavior picked up from parents and media. Having the knowledge and making the right decisions are two totally totally different things. Its very humbling to give prescriptions and recommendations but the school of hard knocks can give you some pretty good lessons if you sit up and pay attention.

PWitty
03-24-2014, 10:42 AM
I know something like this has been posted somewhere in the past, because I posted it, but OKC was found to be the 43rd most segregated metro out of the 51 largest in a recent study posted on The Atlantic.

Cities Where the Poor Are the Most Segregated (http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-us-cities-where-the-poor-are-the-most-segregated-from-everyone-else-2014-3)

soonerguru
03-26-2014, 08:46 AM
I know something like this has been posted somewhere in the past, because I posted it, but OKC was found to be the 43rd most segregated metro out of the 51 largest in a recent study posted on The Atlantic.

Cities Where the Poor Are the Most Segregated (http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-us-cities-where-the-poor-are-the-most-segregated-from-everyone-else-2014-3)

What do they base that on? OKC has more income variety than just about any city I've visited. It's one of the things some people have complained about here. Tulsa? Way segregated. Austin? Segregated. Dallas? Segregated. New York? San Fran? Just about any city in the South? Very segregated by income. OKC is not.

BoulderSooner
03-26-2014, 08:51 AM
What do they base that on? OKC has more income variety than just about any city I've visited. It's one of the things some people have complained about here. Tulsa? Way segregated. Austin? Segregated. Dallas? Segregated. New York? San Fran? Just about any city in the South? Very segregated by income. OKC is not.

Which is what his link says

LocoAko
03-26-2014, 08:59 AM
What do they base that on? OKC has more income variety than just about any city I've visited. It's one of the things some people have complained about here. Tulsa? Way segregated. Austin? Segregated. Dallas? Segregated. New York? San Fran? Just about any city in the South? Very segregated by income. OKC is not.

43rd most segregated = 8th most integrated out of the 51 metros studied.

soonerguru
03-26-2014, 10:03 AM
Whoops! Sorry. Need more coffee.

Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

LandRunOkie
03-26-2014, 07:14 PM
They set the poverty line at the national level, which is absurd. People allegedly are poorer here but that doesn't take into account the lower cost of living. I could not possibly live as well on our current income back east. Your dollar, especially your housing dollar, stretches much further, here.
Would be interested to see if you could prove that Oklahoma has a lower cost of living for the poor. The ramshackle roads here absolutely destroy vehicles. I recently had to replace two otherwise decent tires just because driving over so many potholes caused one of them to separate inside. It is a truly phantom prosperity that results from lower taxes at the expense of road maintenance. Also the lack of expedient bus service and hodgepodge development patterns necessitate vehicle ownership, lots of driving, and lots of repairs.

PennyQuilts
03-26-2014, 07:48 PM
Would be interested to see if you could prove that Oklahoma has a lower cost of living for the poor. The ramshackle roads here absolutely destroy vehicles. I recently had to replace two otherwise decent tires just because driving over so many potholes caused one of them to separate inside. It is a truly phantom prosperity that results from lower taxes at the expense of road maintenance. Also the lack of expedient bus service and hodgepodge development patterns necessitate vehicle ownership, lots of driving, and lots of repairs.

Why do you think the condition of the roads in Oklahoma is any different than any other city of like size and weather? A lot of poor people don't even have cars. Regardless, do you think this is the only place with bad roads and that somehow makes this place have a higher cost of living? I can assure you, it doesn't - plenty of places have just awful roads and this winter has been tough on roads. And Oklahoma certainly isn't the only town that relies on cars to get around - MOST cities this size are in the same boat. In more expensive areas, people can't afford to even live close in - they get shoved out to suburbs or further just to find something they can afford.

But as to "proving," to start out with, the federal government pays people much less in Oklahoma than they do in NYC or DC for the same job. There are reasons for that.

I've lived back east and there is no way I could afford to live as well there as I do here on the same salary. Not even close. I doubt I could even pay my bills. I certainly couldn't afford to have bought my home - it would literally have cost 4-5 times more back east.

Have you lived in places with higher costs of living? It really DOES cost more to live there. I've got family living in tiny apartments in NYC for $3,000 a month. I know poor working people who spend two - three hours a day commuting in because they can't afford to live closer. And as to people who take the bus - do you have any idea how difficult it is to go grocery shopping? If you don't have time to make 3-4 trips to the grocery store (at about 1.5 - 2 hours each trip), you end up buying expensive groceries at the corner deli or hiring a cab.

JenX67
03-27-2014, 06:32 AM
Phantom prosperity is a great term. It's right up there with the phantom economic recovery. Ugh. My husband was born and raised in the Bay Area and complains about the roads here tearing up our tires all the time. I thought he was exaggerating, but maybe not. I wonder how much our roads are impacted by the extreme weather we have here compared to other places.
Would be interested to see if you could prove that Oklahoma has a lower cost of living for the poor. The ramshackle roads here absolutely destroy vehicles. I recently had to replace two otherwise decent tires just because driving over so many potholes caused one of them to separate inside. It is a truly phantom prosperity that results from lower taxes at the expense of road maintenance. Also the lack of expedient bus service and hodgepodge development patterns necessitate vehicle ownership, lots of driving, and lots of repairs.

JenX67
03-27-2014, 06:53 AM
That would be a great thread. Reminds me of this Ghandi quote (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/22155-i-like-your-christ-i-do-not-like-your-christians).
You are sooooo right on target about this! Unfortunately, it is these people that non-believers look at as "Christians." I guess that is a subject for another thread.

boitoirich
03-28-2014, 02:09 PM
Some thoughtful posts in this thread -- I am really enjoying reading this.

I do have some thoughts on the infrastructure concerns someone mentioned above. The lack of sensible development planning absolutely impacts the working poor in OKC much more than in other places. The poor will have to live where it's feasible, and then find a way to commute to work, which may be 15 miles away. This limits their options to 1) purchasing a car they cannot really afford but really need, 2) relying on others for rides to and from work, or 3) using the bus systems, which has well known issues.

Option 1 is expensive, and even if road conditions are perfect, cars still demand costly repairs -- about $3,000/year in upkeep costs for the lowest quintile owners. Replacing certain parts or even entire vehicles place significant burdens on the working poor. Option 2 is inconvenient and even more embarrassing. People require a certain amount of dignity, a powerful factor which keeps people who truly need it from seeking help. Option 3 is a non-starter in Oklahoma City. I don't think I really need to explain why.

With more compact development, it is easier to serve more people (whether they drive or use transit), more people live closer to a greater number of jobs and services, and there is a range of housing options. It also solves the racial and income segregation problem because it brings a variety of different people together.

I met a young woman who lives on the Eastside near the location Buy4Less plans to build a new store. She wants to ditch her car and commute to work, which is a half-mile south of NW Expressway on N Portland Ave. After looking at bus routes, she realized the length of time it would take her to get to work and home from work was unworkable. She decided to look at housing in the area instead. All of the options were unattractive. Even if they were acceptable, she still could not figure out how she would get groceries, see the doctor, go to the lake for exercise, socialize with friends, etc. A city such as this, 626 square miles of unapologetic sprawl and without adequate means for active transportation, turns the car from a means of freedom to a form of burden for the working poor.