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Forum Post: Since When Is It a Crime to Be Poor?

Posted 6 years ago on March 20, 2012, 12:54 p.m. EST by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

from http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/nickel-and-dimed-afterword?page=1

"In what has become a familiar pattern, the government defunds services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Generate no public-sector jobs, then penalize people for falling into debt. The experience of the poor, and especially poor people of color, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks. And if you should try to escape this nightmare reality into a brief, drug-induced high, it's "gotcha" all over again, because that of course is illegal too.

One result is our staggering level of incarceration, the highest in the world. Today, exactly the same number of Americans—2.3 million—reside in prison as in public housing. And what public housing remains has become ever more prison-like, with random police sweeps and, in a growing number of cities, proposed drug tests for residents. The safety net, or what remains of it, has been transformed into a dragnet."

More at the link.



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[-] 2 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 6 years ago

its been that way for about 30 40 years now. where you been?

[-] 1 points by elf3 (3900) 6 years ago


the truth behind the economic injustice will be found here as well as the answer

[-] 1 points by PopsMauler (182) from Chicago, IL 6 years ago

There used to be a thing called ursury laws. It was codified law not too horribly long ago. These 1% 'ers would probably love to bring back poorhouses too...

Also, just because it's off the books doesn't mean people aren't still jailed in creative ways.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

but without the poor -
where will we get our
soylent green ?

[-] 0 points by elf3 (3900) 6 years ago

I believe there is a certain amount of truth to this - I don't believe in giving anyone a free pass on crime - but I do believe in the hopelessness that has become the life many in the poor and black communities. When there is nothing to look forward to day after day year after year I think it's going to induce either anger, despair or desensitization. Hopeless people can become dangerous. They're also fighting against stereotypes of those who are not representative of everyone. Admittedly I find myself becoming more and more cynical of minority cultures looking at the crime, and neighborhoods and lifestyles - I honestly get angry (just like I get angry about rich housewives driving around all day in their $90,000 vehicles shopping all day and going to the spa.) Rationally I know stereotyping is not always correct and I know I'm in the wrong to do it nonetheless they pop up. But yes all black people aren't responsible or representative of crime or bad culture withing their populous just like all white woman aren't wealthy and driving around in their benzes shopping all day. I do believe the government is operating to keep a caste system in place and to prevent upward mobility no matter what color people are. I think the poor must unite if they are going to see real change - people need some hope and I think rather than turn to crime or be recruited by gang members there needs to be a sense of opportunity and something else to look up to or forward to. I hope that this protest might give people that hope from all walks of life- we are more powerful than all of Wall Street combined - we care about other human beings and we don't have to fight each other. It's a diversion from the real truth and that is that one percent of the world's population has stolen away and is hording the planet's natural abundance for themselves, they've hired protectors (our government) to keep us from being able to challenge them and from being afraid to do anything to stop them. But this cause will not end we will never give up - the awareness is spreading - 99 percent of us together are stronger than Wall Street. They will be forced to back down, they will be forced out of our government - keep the awareness alive stay focused - never rest. This is our democracy - we own it and the things it does.

[-] 1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

African Americans will be more and more marginalized as we move from manufacturing to a high tech informatin society. The large factories of the Rust Belt needed huge amounts of unskilled labor, and blacks moved from the Deep South to settle near the mills and factories.

Unfortunately blacks, particularly black males have not found equivalent success in education. As they find themselves at the fringe of society, they will be ensnared by the prison system.

[-] 0 points by elf3 (3900) 6 years ago

I think more and more of everyone will find themselves out in the cold - especially since our education system is severely lacking. Most of the hight tech jobs are already heading off to India or in-sourcing high tech employees who are willing to do it for less so high tech schmi tech - not the answer

[-] 1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

33% of Chinese get highly technical rigourous engineering degrees. Less than 5% of Americans get similar degrees. The education system is fine, the kids arent trying anymore.


[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 6 years ago

Maybe the kids can't afford those engineering degrees? How much does it cost a Chinese person to go to college?

[-] 1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

They are getting degrees in poetry or sociology or philosophy so money isnt the issue. Right now there are 7000 openings for cardiologists in the US. Cardiologists make over $300000 year and could pay off their whole school debt in less than 5 year.

Nice try tho

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 6 years ago

I doubt that a poetry degree costs as much as an engineering degree. Nice straw man, bro.

Again, how much is a Chinese person paying for that degree? How much are Americans?

[-] 1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

A poetry degree is exactly the same cost as a engineering degree at the same school. But of course you knew that.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 6 years ago

You got proof?

Here's mine, just off the top of my head:


Different number of credit hours required > different total cost of tuition.

[-] 1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

Go to your own state school NC State. Undergrad tuition is $7000 for ANY of the undergraduate degrees. Its $191/ unit. You cherry picked Devry Uni. Thats a for profit Uni.

Plus using YOUR link, the difference is roughly $30000. Chicken feed over a 30 year engineering degree.

[-] -1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 6 years ago

I'm not going to attack your strawman any longer. I posted my link to prove that in many schools it costs more to get an Engineering degree. You cherry picked a state university, while I picked a school that has campuses all over the country. Guess which one is more relevant?

I could find tons of other schools that show the same thing, but I don't waste my time with trolls.

Again "Maybe the kids can't afford those engineering degrees? How much does it cost a Chinese person to go to college?"

China is beating us in Education because they codify how important it is for China to grow into their own laws:

from the text of the Higher Education Law of The People's Republic of China" Chapter 1: http://www.edu.cn/21st_1407/20060323/t20060323_116528.shtml

"Article 9 Citizens shall, in accordance with law, enjoy the right to receive higher education.

The State takes measures to enable students who come from among ethnic groups and students who have financial difficulties to receive higher education.

Higher education institutions shall enroll disabled students who are up to the admission qualifications prescribed by the State, they may not refuse to enroll them on account of their disability."

AND their schools have cheap tuition compared to ours:




Undergraduate Programs (every academic year)

Application fees US$ 40


programs in liberal arts: US$ 2,400 Programs in science: US$ 2,650

Books:on your own"

Compare that to DeVry's $73,000+ for an Engineering degree tuition... and of course China is beating us! Heck, these are the rates for students that are from out-of-country, so Chinese citizens may be paying even LESS for their education!

For under $12,000 I can get a BS in Engineering in China... I'm tempted to fly over there right now!


[-] -3 points by BlackSun (275) from Agua León, BC 6 years ago

Well, there is rampant crime in much of police housing. Should it just be ignored so we don't oppress those "poor people of color"?

[+] -4 points by shamefuldays (-42) 6 years ago

What???? This is an outrage! People whose wallets are being tapped by those living off of them want to make sure they're not completely being taken advantage of. So, the welfare people want money and the providers of that money want to know they're clean. Nuts, huh?

[-] 3 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

While we're at it, let's drug test the 1%. They are the ones who really live off others labor.


[-] 2 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 6 years ago

it is when politicians are not drug tested. you base your reasoning on the taxpayer footing the bill.. the taxpayer foots the bill for politicians also. but you want to treat them differently you provide thier housing, food, healthcare but they are not subjected to illegal searches. why?

. “[I]t is … immaterial that the intrusion was in aid of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

—Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States in 1928

Read more: The Supreme Court: Testing Politicians for Drugs — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/cig/supreme-court/testing-politicians-for-drugs.html#ixzz1phobqwvD

[-] -1 points by shamefuldays (-42) 6 years ago

What do you suppose costs more, the salaries of politicians or the welfare budget? Who do you think is more likely on drugs, someone in elected office or some exhibiting profound signs of dysfunction like not even being willing or able to support yourself?

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 6 years ago

someone in elected office. its easier to get, no penalties, . who do you think funds the billion dollar drug industry? women with 3 kids getting 300 buck a month? that alltogether make up less than 5 % of the population? you think they are the ones sustaining the drug industry? if you do your ignorant. drug testing will cost states about 300k more of your money, and has history has shown it will not make any difference. a waste. its just a social control mechanism for the elitist to make them feel good when they are on vacation doing the same drugs, thier kids are doing the same drugs , thier doctors lawyers plumbers gardeners are doing the same drugs.. i think warmongering politicians are costing way way more than any 5% of the population with no money no hope and no opportunity will ever cost. and by your thinking,, shouldnt welfare millionaires also be tested?? theres something different about those parasites? you think they are morally superior? you think those people are not doing drugs?

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 6 years ago

The drug testing thing is only a small part of the article... read the whole thing...

I think we should end the drug war entirely and replace this draconian enforcement of possession laws with heavy regulations (and taxes) on legalized versions of these substances. We will save tons of $ on enforcement, and we will have more revenue to use to improve the country.