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#1 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 10:44 AM

What is poor? Or for that matter what is rich? Two questions that by in large should be pretty simple to answer. After all shouldn't each be a simple number? Namely one based on your income and not much else? If we can define what is rich then we must be able to define what is poor, and of coarse vice versa. The problem is we have no clear definition.
In part because it's a political hot potato that is worth millions of votes and billions of dollars and in part because rich or poor is also has much to do with geography. Truth is it's really a lot more simple, at least in regards to 'poor'.

Growing up I knew damn good and well we were not rich. Well maintained mobile home 'A.K.A. Trailer', in a pretty much stereo typical trailer park(believe those stereo types exist because a lot of people live up to them), vehicles that where usually older but for the most part well maintained as was the tiny specs of grass. I saw all types, from single dads and moms to lazy asses who did the absolute bare minimum but never went without thanks to the efforts of people like my own parents who worked their asses off paid their taxes and lived honest respectable lives.

But, I always felt there was something different about us. That we had cable TV, our home and yard was one of the handful which was well maintained, OR should I say maintained at all! Thing is we never went without, sure I didn't get bought birthday cakes, and going out to eat in any way shape or form was rare, thing is we never went without. I never went to bed hungry. Although mine or my siblings clothes weren't designer or fancy we never had to wear anything worn out or raggedy. It begs the question, where we really poor? Or just poor on paper? There where plenty of people in that trailer park who where genuinely poor. Many who where doing there utter best to improve their situation but just as many who either didn't give a damn or thought it wasn't their responsibility to at least try and pull themselves up.

I saw that and everything else in between as well. But again, why where we different? Simple, my parents where very careful with what they had and not only lived within their means but also knew what truly mattered in life. Family, good friends and good neighbors. By in large I WE where blessed to have all those things. The irony is they pretty much lived the same way. The other irony is that many of the people who where 'poor' actually had MORE $ then we did due to all the assistance coming in. If we counted all the assistance received you'd be stunned at how rich many of the poor would be. Then we would have to ask the question so why isn't this person or family with a true income of 30,40,50 or what ever thousand dollars a year not able to have the same standard of living of a person or family at the same level who is NOT on assistance? What are the key differences?

Still though what is poor? Hell, what is rich for that matter? Is it $ $? Or is it really the standard of living you are able to maintain? Look, my parents both grew up on windswept prairies of South Dakota in the 1930's and 1940's. To put it simply remember the show Little House on the Prairie? Other than a battery operated Radio(which was used very sparingly as the batteries where expensive) and a car that was pretty close to their lives growing up. Even riding horses to a one room school house. Sooo.... when there parents gave up farming and moved to town, and my parents bought that trailer had running water, electricity, etc... where they 'poor'? Did they consider themselves needy per sei? My grandma(mom's mom) never considered herself poor one bit.

The reason was they had just enough for what they needed, not by much. But just enough to not go without. Not many people who you can say taught you a lot without saying much. She was that person, and so is my dad. In this day and age 'poor' can mean you are so fat you can't even work. Poor can mean having a high end cell phone, cable TV and high speed internet as well as a very nice car. Poor can mean even having a home far nicer than what my parents had growing up. Ask yourself, is that poor? If you are eaten' so well your fat to the point of having health issues are you really poor? If you have cable tv and can somehow afford a nice cellphone are you really that poor?

Truth be told a hell of a lot people are 'poor' only because of a set number, a mindset and a political system which benefits grateful from having an entire section of population dependent on government for their very existence. While many of these people want to become %100 self reliant and rise up, many do not and think they are owed something.
These are the grocery cart full of expensive items types of people we all see at store while we who are not poor or even 'technically upper income' find ourselves putting things back because we don't have the funds to pay for everything.

And, at times even putting of medical or dental procedures until we have enough funds to cover everything. Begs the question who is the poor person know? The fat ass living on the public dole, the person who has the tax payer paying for a cart full of pricey items or the working class Joe or Jane who budgets and even puts of getting their teeth or body fixed until they can afford it? Like I said, would be interesting to see if we calculated benefits received as income.

As always, thanks for sitting through another of my long winded ramblings.

Oki
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#2 User is offline   JesseR72 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:02 PM

Like you, I grew up knowing that my family wasn't "rich" by any definition. However, I never thought of us as being "poor" either. My parents were farmers. I never went to bed hungry, always had nice clothes. No, they weren't designer clothes and often hand-me-downs, but they were nice. Always got presents for birthdays and Christmases. And while it was always a few years after our neighbors and friends got them, we did eventually get some luxuries like a microwave oven, VCR and a video game console (Atari 2600 ;) ). It's only in retrospect and hearing my parents today tell stories of their struggles that I realize that we were, in effect, poor. They were always living hand-to-mouth with money, but, again, they managed it well and I never felt like we were "doing without" even though we often were.
It was actually only a few days ago that I looked around my house at all of the things I now have that I never thought I would have and realized how blessed I was. How great I had actually done in this thing called "life".

It was also a few days ago that a liberal friend of mine was starting sh!t on facebook about how it takes two incomes to live the same middle-class life as in the 1970's. Forget defining "middle-class", but just think about what families are getting these days with two incomes compared to what we got with 1 income in the '70's. Today, many households (middle-class or not) have two vehicles with air-conditioning, every member of the family over, say, 12 has a cell phone, at least basic cable with multiple TVs, a computer with fast internet, and a home with central air-conditioning. For what I remember, middle-class in the '70's could be achieved with one income, but middle-class then was pretty much 1 vehicle, sometimes two, but usually without air-conditioning. Houses usually didn't have central air-conditioning, if you were well-to-do, one might have a window unit in one room of your house (usually parents' bedroom :P ). Families had a single land-line phone and one, maybe two TV's but cable was still a luxury for only the rich and high-end of middle-class. And nobody had a home computer, the closest anyone had to the internet was, maybe, a set of "World Book" encyclopedias (in my case, it was a mid-1950's edition handed down from my grandparents). In other words, yeah, it takes two incomes to be a middle-class family anymore, but "middle-class" means so much more than it did back when one income could support a middle class family.

Sorry if I went long and slightly off-topic, but I feel it all fits with what you were saying. :)
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#3 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:30 PM

View PostJesseR72, on 12 March 2019 - 12:02 PM, said:

Like you, I grew up knowing that my family wasn't "rich" by any definition. However, I never thought of us as being "poor" either. My parents were farmers. I never went to bed hungry, always had nice clothes. No, they weren't designer clothes and often hand-me-downs, but they were nice. Always got presents for birthdays and Christmases. And while it was always a few years after our neighbors and friends got them, we did eventually get some luxuries like a microwave oven, VCR and a video game console (Atari 2600 ;) ). It's only in retrospect and hearing my parents today tell stories of their struggles that I realize that we were, in effect, poor. They were always living hand-to-mouth with money, but, again, they managed it well and I never felt like we were "doing without" even though we often were.
It was actually only a few days ago that I looked around my house at all of the things I now have that I never thought I would have and realized how blessed I was. How great I had actually done in this thing called "life".

It was also a few days ago that a liberal friend of mine was starting sh!t on facebook about how it takes two incomes to live the same middle-class life as in the 1970's. Forget defining "middle-class", but just think about what families are getting these days with two incomes compared to what we got with 1 income in the '70's. Today, many households (middle-class or not) have two vehicles with air-conditioning, every member of the family over, say, 12 has a cell phone, at least basic cable with multiple TVs, a computer with fast internet, and a home with central air-conditioning. For what I remember, middle-class in the '70's could be achieved with one income, but middle-class then was pretty much 1 vehicle, sometimes two, but usually without air-conditioning. Houses usually didn't have central air-conditioning, if you were well-to-do, one might have a window unit in one room of your house (usually parents' bedroom :P ). Families had a single land-line phone and one, maybe two TV's but cable was still a luxury for only the rich and high-end of middle-class. And nobody had a home computer, the closest anyone had to the internet was, maybe, a set of "World Book" encyclopedias (in my case, it was a mid-1950's edition handed down from my grandparents). In other words, yeah, it takes two incomes to be a middle-class family anymore, but "middle-class" means so much more than it did back when one income could support a middle class family.

Sorry if I went long and slightly off-topic, but I feel it all fits with what you were saying. :)


Amen my friend Amen. And not off topic in the least. IT's a perfect example of how people with very basic means get by and don't go without the necessities. And, yeah, I forgot, we where able to get an Atari in the mid 80's at least a couple years before they quite making them. By that point prices had come down a lot at least. Air Conditioning on a farm, aw hell I thought all the farmers had to do was give the cows some beans and cabbage and you had non stop air conditioning.

As far as the two incomes, again you are correct. It doesn't necessarily take two incomes to survive. It takes two as to afford all the things people want but don't need. Although some things have gone up drastically at a rate far past inflation, other things are purely luxuries and not needed. Myself, the only things I can really claim in regards to saving money or getting by is that I am pretty good at fixing stuff. Cars, the house, appliances not trying to brag but probably in the range of %90 of the things (including the house) I can repair. The other %10 is largely something I don't have access to the needed equipment.

Living, working or growing up on a farm you learn firsthand that you must be able to deal with and maintain things otherwise you won't make it. To be a successful farmer, especially a small one you literally have to be a jack of all trades. Carpentry, Veterinary, Mechanical, Electrician, Plumber, and just about every other trade to at least some extent. Many farmers are barely making it financially but because they know how to fix things and are for the most part self sufficient they appear far wealthier then they are $ $ wise. While some know how to game the system(and do), most just make enough to get by without much left over at the end of the season or year.

What really pi$$es me of are the people who think they are poor when in reality they ain't missin' no meals, they have plenty of luxury items and don't have to do without, much less those who are living on assistance and getting by perfectly fine or even living pretty damn good. A few days ago my wife was speaking of one of her co workers who is from Somalia. She (my wife) mentioned how her co worker planned to finish high school(meaning get her G.E.D.) a better job and move up. My wife asked me how can she be so positive? I answered when you come from somewhere that every day is just a struggle to survive, where you don't even have so much as a toilet in your house and suddenly you are somewhere that there are opportunities and things you couldn't even dream off... all you have to do is be willing to work for them, to learn a new language, assimilate, and become something better it's hard not to be positive.

Co workers name has spoken how here husband has 'so much money', it could be because she simply isn't used to having any money at all. It could very well be that he usually only has $20 or $30 dollars at any one time. It's all a matter of perspective.

Oki
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#4 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:36 PM

Great post Oki...

Here's a thought, back when the Vietnam war was going on, the draft was still in place. With no money for college, I went to work after graduating high school. That's when the gov't decided to discriminate against me by notifying me I'd been drafted into the Army. Mind you, if you were in college or on your way, you were exempt from the draft. So in that instance, the gov't decided my family was poor, so I was expendable.

In my case, I knew my destination would eventually be Vietnam, so enlisted in the Marines ahead of my appointment with the Army recruiter. I figured my best chances for survival would be in getting the best training available, the Marines.

Sometime in the early 70's, after returning to the U.S. and working in management for a local company, one of my coworkers asked me where I'd gone to college. My response? "I got my higher education with the Marines in Vietnam." End of discussion...Lol
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#5 User is offline   Coach 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:38 PM

I have started writing my book. Reflecting on my family situation in the 40's I can assure all of you that what people faced then would bring today's "poor" to their knees. Think how many modern privileged people fly coast to coast and never consider the courage it took for our ancestors to make the trip in a covered wagon or on foot.

Simple questions, did you ever see your mother darning socks or sewing patches on your pants ?
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#6 User is offline   USMCforever60 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:38 PM

Grew up upper-middle class. Graduated high school 1979, enlisted USMC Reserves (1979-1985) to pay for college (ate more than my share of fried baloney and cheap cereal), graduated college 1984 degree in Ag-Economics, minors in animal science, plant/soil science, biology, worked at family farm during the summer 6 days week 0600am to work was done, had all the milk I could drink, no A/C in farm house.
Worked for family banking business, started as collector in 1985, now own family business with brother 25 companies, 2 dairy's...still consider myself middle class. But i do know the poor working class and they are nothing like what we see today.
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#7 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:52 PM

View PostCoach, on 12 March 2019 - 12:38 PM, said:

I have started writing my book. Reflecting on my family situation in the 40's I can assure all of you that what people faced then would bring today's "poor" to their knees. Think how many modern privileged people fly coast to coast and never consider the courage it took for our ancestors to make the trip in a covered wagon or on foot.

Simple questions, did you ever see your mother darning socks or sewing patches on your pants ?


Many times. And got laughed at at school for wearing my brother's hand-me-down shoes that were way too big for my feet...
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#8 User is offline   Coach 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:04 PM

View PostNH Populist, on 12 March 2019 - 12:52 PM, said:

Many times. And got laughed at at school for wearing my brother's hand-me-down shoes that were way too big for my feet...



My worst was when mom made me wear a handed down pair of knickers to school. That nickname stuck for a couple of years.
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#9 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:17 PM

View PostNH Populist, on 12 March 2019 - 12:36 PM, said:

Great post Oki...

Here's a thought, back when the Vietnam war was going on, the draft was still in place. With no money for college, I went to work after graduating high school. That's when the gov't decided to discriminate against me by notifying me I'd been drafted into the Army. Mind you, if you were in college or on your way, you were exempt from the draft. So in that instance, the gov't decided my family was poor, so I was expendable.

In my case, I knew my destination would eventually be Vietnam, so enlisted in the Marines ahead of my appointment with the Army recruiter. I figured my best chances for survival would be in getting the best training available, the Marines.

Sometime in the early 70's, after returning to the U.S. and working in management for a local company, one of my coworkers asked me where I'd gone to college. My response? "I got my higher education with the Marines in Vietnam." End of discussion...Lol



Why thank ya'. My higher educaimication came largely from Uncle Sam as well. Just not during a time of war.
Although growing up 'poor' and in a trailer park certainly shaped who I am today, it sure as hell didn't limit me in any way shape or form. If anything it taught me that how your start in life is not where you will end, it's up to you.
By in large all my brothers and my sister are doing all right. Not rich by any means but not destitute. Half my cousins are either doing all right for themselves or either in and out of jail or living on assistance. It's telling that the latter half by in large thinks they where screwed over by the rich, the government or whomever and are owed something. While the other half have simply worked hard, didn't do stupid sh$t and are know living a decent life.

And by the way, God bless and forever protect you for going to hell and back.

Oki
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#10 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:18 PM

View PostCoach, on 12 March 2019 - 01:04 PM, said:

My worst was when mom made me wear a handed down pair of knickers to school. That nickname stuck for a couple of years.


My brother and I were discussing a while ago how our mother was dead set against accepting money from the gov't. I think she called it "assistance", but there was NO WAY she was taking it. Contrast that to young people today, young women for example, expect the gov't to pay for their birth control...Lol
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#11 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:27 PM

Why thank ya'. And by the way, God bless and forever protect you for going to hell and back.

Oki
________________________________________________________________________


Just so we're clear, I spent 13 months working in an ammunition depot in Vietnam, I wasn't out in the rice paddies doing patrols at night like lots of guys were. For sure, there were places I would have rather been, but lots of guys had it a lot worse.

But thanks...

This post has been edited by NH Populist: 12 March 2019 - 01:28 PM

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#12 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:44 PM

View PostNH Populist, on 12 March 2019 - 01:27 PM, said:

Why thank ya'. And by the way, God bless and forever protect you for going to hell and back.

Oki
________________________________________________________________________


Just so we're clear, I spent 13 months working in an ammunition depot in Vietnam, I wasn't out in the rice paddies doing patrols at night like lots of guys were. For sure, there were places I would have rather been, but lots of guys had it a lot worse.

But thanks...


Your very welcome.

There are really only two jobs in the military.
You either kill people and blow sh$% up, or you support those who kill people and blow sh$% up.
It's that simple.

Oki
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#13 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:52 PM

View PostCoach, on 12 March 2019 - 12:38 PM, said:

Simple questions, did you ever see your mother darning socks or sewing patches on your pants ?


Oh yes indeed. What's more, my mom (& grandma) made almost all my shirts & pants at home. We very rarely got store-bought clothes. Shoes, yeah, because nobody at our house knew how to make shoes. But shirts & pants were mostly homemade.

I remember during the Christmas season all the other kids wishing for fancy toys & gadgets & sports equipment & such; meanwhile I was desperately wishing for a pair of Levis...

B)
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#14 User is offline   Junto 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 02:16 PM

View PostUSMCforever60, on 12 March 2019 - 12:38 PM, said:

Grew up upper-middle class. Graduated high school 1979, enlisted USMC Reserves (1979-1985) to pay for college (ate more than my share of fried baloney and cheap cereal), graduated college 1984 degree in Ag-Economics, minors in animal science, plant/soil science, biology, worked at family farm during the summer 6 days week 0600am to work was done, had all the milk I could drink, no A/C in farm house.
Worked for family banking business, started as collector in 1985, now own family business with brother 25 companies, 2 dairy's...still consider myself middle class. But i do know the poor working class and they are nothing like what we see today.


You didn't build that. -Signed Obama & the Left
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#15 User is offline   Moderator T 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 03:00 PM

To me I look at it in terms of food.


Poor: Can't afford to eat without government assistance

Rich: Can go to the grocery store and not worry about sales or prices and buy whatever they want. The person who could eat lobster and steak daily and not feel the financial impact

Filthy rich: Can buy the grocery store and not be financially impacted.
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#16 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 03:38 PM

View PostModerator T, on 12 March 2019 - 03:00 PM, said:

To me I look at it in terms of food.


Poor: Can't afford to eat without government assistance

Rich: Can go to the grocery store and not worry about sales or prices and buy whatever they want. The person who could eat lobster and steak daily and not feel the financial impact

Filthy rich: Can buy the grocery store and not be financially impacted.


Exactly, just add in the 'poor' who game the system to the point that they are able to eat and in effect live better then the very people who pay for it all. I have no issue with helping those who need it, but I do take great issue with those who either abuse the system or don't need the help. Not only is that stealing the money I AND COUNTLESS OTHERS PAY IN it's also taking away from those who truly need it as well as taking it from other areas which need it.

Oki
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#17 User is online   BARman29 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 03:43 PM

Rich and poor are states of mind.
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#18 User is offline   grimreefer 

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:33 PM

View Postoki, on 12 March 2019 - 03:38 PM, said:

Exactly, just add in the 'poor' who game the system to the point that they are able to eat and in effect live better then the very people who pay for it all. I have no issue with helping those who need it, but I do take great issue with those who either abuse the system or don't need the help. Not only is that stealing the money I AND COUNTLESS OTHERS PAY IN it's also taking away from those who truly need it as well as taking it from other areas which need it.

Oki

We have a guy on the ship who's a hardcore leftist Brawndo guzzler and has bragged in the past about how his family games the current system for the "freebies" that are "owed to them". This guy also goes out in port and will blow a few hundred bucks a night on alcohol and bar girls.
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#19 User is offline   Junto 

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 01:02 AM



This song in a way haunts me a little and whenever I hear it I reflect on all the ways I could do better for my family. Don't want to be Jackie Brown.
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#20 User is offline   Junto 

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 02:09 AM

I've never seen truly poor, as in Haiti, India or something to that effect. Growing up, my parents made me volunteer at church on the 'bus route' picking up kids to go to church on Sundays. Every Saturday we went to 30-50 homes, mainly run-down trailers in run-down trailer parks in a rural community and asked the kids if they would come to church the next day. I saw what poor looked like - kids who were dirty, clothes that were given to them, and dirty. Parents that were dirty. Trailers falling apart. Trailers next door to them stripped out with insulation blowing in the wind. Kids who were happy to get a $0.50 toy or a cupcake for going to church on Sunday.

Personally, I went through a phase in my life after a traumatic (traumatic for 20-something me) breakup with a longtime girlfriend. Sold everything I owned that wouldn't fit inside a tiny 4 door car and moved to Mississippi after Katrina. I kept a minimal existence for a few years, sleeping on an air mattress. Never accumulated more than would fit in my car. I had a friend or two who lived down there and they found a roommate for me and promises of jobs everywhere. By the time I got there, all the good jobs for less skilled workers such as myself were already taken. I managed to find a manual labor job, shoveling all day under the hot Mississippi sun. I never worked in a place so hot like that - 95F and 95% humidity. Sweat from the moment I left the house until I got home each night. But since that didn't pay well, I took another shower and worked fast food until 1am.

I did that for a while until life worked itself out like it seems to do for people who work hard. I had no money before I picked up the fast food job because shoveling doesn't always pay well. It sucks putting on a uniform that people instantly see as a lesser job, and demeaning how they talked or looked at you as if you were a lesser human being. You do a lot of soul-searching in situations like that. After I got the second job, I had money but no time to spend it as I worked 6 or 7 days a week. At no point was I poor, and at no point I determined was I going to move back home as a failure. I stayed down there for a few years moving my way up from shoveler to heavy equipment operator. From being treated like a dog at some points to being respected for my work ethic.

Years later I moved back home and after getting married, found myself starting over again. This time I had a wife without the legal right to work while we filed papers, and a brand new daughter. Government assistance apparently doesn't exist for a small family of 3 living on $11/hr, at least not if you are white as we were turned down for everything but WIC. So I sucked up my pride and worked a fast food job again - every evening until 1am and back at the warehouse at 6:30am. Never once was I poor, or felt that way.

As life has a way of doing, I eventually found a great job and every time I start to get upset at some small injustice I see at work, I remind myself about what it's like at the bottom. I bite my lip and keep on working. Kids can be poor, and victims of their parent's flaws - I have much sympathy for them and I have seen what that looks like. Some people have medical issues that more or less limit what their options are, and I am understanding and sympathetic to their situation. Most everyone else that's poor but otherwise able-bodied I have little to no sympathy for other than seeing them as flawed, broken individuals who were never taught or lack the desire to try and fix their situation.
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