From the Nation 9.30.13 write up on Yale University Study on poor families; Diapers cost between 70 & 120 dollars monthly (for one sweet lovable baby) and diaper services are even more expensive.

30% of low income women with very young children can’t afford an adequate supply of diapers.  Because poor moms don’t often own homes, they don’t own washing machines and their children suffer from dirty diaper issues like urinary tract infections, chafing, and rashes from wet and dirty bottoms.

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Poor moms can’t afford diaper cream, wipes or baby powder.  No diapers, no day care enrollment.  Miserable babies suffering from wet butts and painful rashes while moms fret over how to make the best of having a family while being poor.  Poverty breeds depression and other mental health issues.

We just cut billions from SNAP at a time that 18 million households (up from 12 million 10 years ago) regularly go hungry and live without baby friendly products to keep children healthy and safe.

Grandparents acting as caregivers for grandchildren are being hit the hardest with little opportunity to earn money to support the children they are keeping out of foster care (and saving the government millions).  Food Stamps keep families from living and dying under bridges and are the only safety net many of these working families have.  41% of Food Stamp recipients have a working member in the family but don’t earn enough to feed a family.   3/4 of Food Stamp recipients are elderly, disabled, or children.

Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher (who receives 3.5 million in federal crop subsidies) told the New York Times that his bible states “he who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (remember, he’s aiming this at children).  Not my kind of religion.

Walmart pays its employees so little that they need food stamps and have been living without health care.  So the government gets to support Walmart employees and add to Walmart profits.

New Jersey eliminated mental health workers in its schools a few years ago sending all misbehaving youth to jail.  New Jersey school counselor Thomas Kersting told Fox News that denying lunch to low-income children whose parents had not filled out eligibility forms would be a “teaching moment” (ie, a great idea).

No diapers, no mental health services, no food stamps, and no lunch.  What makes us so mean?

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Poverty in 2013: When Even Diapers Are a Luxury

Being a poor mother in the United States today means reusing diapers and struggling to afford food. But House Republicans think they have it too easy.

Feeding Bottles (Reuters/Carolina Camps)

Here’s a little window into poverty, American- style. According to a Yale University study published in August in Pediatrics magazine, almost 30 percent of low-income women with children in diapers can’t afford an adequate supply of them, with Hispanic women and grandmothers raising grandchildren the most likely to be in need. Some women are forced to make one or two nappies last the whole day, emptying them out and putting them back on the baby. Based on a survey of almost 900 low-income women in and around New Haven, Connecticut, investigators found the lack of diapers—such a simple thing—had profound and complex effects. The risks to children’s health are obvious: rashes, urinary tract infections, painful chafing. (If a mom is too poor to afford diapers, she probably can’t afford diaper cream or wipes or baby powder, either.) But to their surprise, the study authors also found that not being able to provide this necessary item (to say nothing of having a baby prone to fussing because of the discomfort of a constantly wet and dirty bottom) was a major cause of mental problems like stress, anxiety and depression in mothers. Maternal depression, we know, is associated with all kinds of problems in children, especially for poor kids, who need heroic parenting to overcome the many obstacles they face. Diapers are also necessary for kids entering daycare—no diapers, no enrollment. And no enrollment may mean a mother can’t take a job. For want of a diaper, a future could be lost. Two futures.

About the Author

Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt is well known for her wit and her keen sense of both the ridiculous and the sublime. Her “Subject to…

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Was this “shoutdown” an abrogation of free speech or a necessary moment of speaking truth to power?

Novelist Kate Manning richly reimagines Madame Restell as a defender of women from the horrors of poverty, male privilege and their own physiology.

How could something so basic be in such short supply? Diapers are expensive—up to $100 a month—particularly for women who don’t have transportation and must rely on bodegas and local convenience stores. Some women reported spending 6 percent of their total income on paper nappies. And before you say, “Let them use cloth,” Marie Antoinette, bear in mind that diaper services are expensive, few poor women have their own washing machines, most laundromats don’t permit customers to launder dirty diapers and most daycare programs don’t allow cloth diapers. Like fresh fruit and vegetables, humanely raised meat and dairy products, and organic baby food, cloth diapers are the province of the well-off.

Despite this clear need, however, diapers are not covered by the food stamp program (SNAP) or by the Women, Infants, and Children feeding program. The government apparently finds them unnecessary, like other hygiene products (toilet paper, menstrual supplies, toothpaste, even soap), which are also, unlike food, subject to sales tax. Never mind that babies can’t choose not to pee and poo and did not select their parents. Never mind, too, that those grandmothers who are the hardest hit caregivers are performing a crucial social task—and saving the taxpayer millions—by keeping those kids out of foster care.

Food, it’s true, is even more basic than diapers. But some people believe low-income children don’t really need that either. If House Republicans have their way, 4 to 6 million SNAP recipients may soon find themselves bounced from the rolls. This, at a time when the Department of Agriculture tells us that 17.6 million households regularly go hungry, up from 12 million ten years ago. Proving yet again that there really is a difference between the parties, Republicans want to cut the food stamp budget by $40 billion over the next ten years. Let them drink tea! Seriously, are they out of their minds?

Don’t believe them when they say the cuts are fiscally necessary. Governments can always find money for the things they want—like increasing subsidies for rich farmers (or bombing Syria). Food stamps are one of the most effective government programs, keeping countless people from outright destitution. This is about ideology—the dismantling of a social compact that goes all the way back to the New Deal, and the promotion of inequality as a civic virtue.

Tennessee Tea Party Congressman Stephen Fincher must not have been thinking about his $3.5 million in crop subsidies when he told The New York Times’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg that the Bible says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Of the 23 million households currently receiving SNAP, three-quarters include children, the disabled or the elderly. What sort of work should they be doing to earn their supper? Forty-one percent of food stamp recipients live in a household where someone has a job—but they don’t earn enough to feed their families. If anyone is freeloading, it’s employers like Walmart who in effect have the taxpayer subsidize their workforce. The Bible-quoting reactionaries conveniently forget that Jesus also said, “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” And he may have said the poor will always be with us, but he didn’t add, “And let’s make sure we keep it that way.”

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America has always had a mean streak where poor people, especially poor people of color are concerned, but at our best it’s been tempered by a sense of collective responsibility and, dare I say it, common sense. Are those days gone? On Fox News earlier this month, New Jersey school therapist and counselor Thomas Kersting spoke in favor of a school policy of denying lunch to low-income children whose parents had neglected to fill out eligibility forms. He thought it was “a little harsh” to throw the food into the garbage in front of the child, but hey, if the kid goes hungry, it’s “a teaching moment.” Kersting goes Dickens’s Mr. Bumble one better: Oliver Twist got in trouble for wanting seconds. Kersting doesn’t think poor children even deserve firsts.

Diapers, food stamps, even the lowly school lunch. God bless the child who’s got her own.

September 8–14 is National Diaper Need Awareness Week. Can you help a mother out? Visit to donate and find out about volunteering at a local diaper bank—or starting your own. No computer? You can mail a check to National Diaper Bank Network, 129 Church Street, Suite 611, New Haven, CT 06510.

Last month, Greg Kaufmann blogged about the difficulties faced by homeless families.








  1. The politics in this country has reached the point where the directional differences are as extreme as the evident disparity in wealth and basic resources. Poor people do not have access to healthcare, preventive services and in some cases birth control. The Republicans are completely rabid on the subject of government supported / subsidised birth control for women, totally against social programs that feed ( food stamps/wic/snap) educate (pell grants, student loan debt, reduced education cost) emancipate (affirmative action, increased minimum wage, equal pay, anti-discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation). When a woman is homeless she will compromise herself for shelter, when she does not have money for transportation she has limited access to preventive health care services or abortions ( something else republicans are rabid about). My point is that you must first address a persons basic needs for food, shelter, healthcare and clothing. The cost of living has increased to a point where poor people can no longer keep up or catch up. Housing and health care, and food costs are grinding the working poor and the unemployed poor into the dirt.

  2. This is a very lively compilation of comments on this article from another media. • I am concerned that in the discussion of supporting poor with basic needs, we exclude discussing the problem of the poor having children before they are able to deal with them. I am not saying poor people should not have children as that is impossible and socially stratifying. But we need to be talking and doing more about making reproductive services obvious and available as well as funds for basic needs once children do come…We should be addressing helping poor adults up the social ladder with funds for counseling, schooling, training and work programs that benefit them and society….And it’s not PC but somewhere along the line there should be talk about them not having children yet…maybe even giving the adults money not to do so but to use that money for their own advancement, especially the women who will be bound to the child care. We are not doing enough to stop the generational poverty as a wealthy country should be. Republicans are not the totality of the problem and trying to guilt trip them by accusing them of being immoral for not wanting to spend money on the poor is just creating a lot is resistant in them and not addressing bigger issues. I say we work to emancipate poor women…and see what Republicans think of that…Maybe they will give you more diaper money.
    Mental Health Counselor
    Hi Sue- The politics in this country has reached the point where the directional differences are as extreme as the evident disparity in wealth and basic resources. Poor people do not have access to healthcare, preventive services and in some cases birth control. The Republicans are completely rabid on the subject of government supported / subsidised birth control for women, totally against social programs that feed ( food stamps/wic/snap) educate (pell grants, student loan debt, reduced education cost) emancipate (affirmative action, increased minimum wage, equal pay, anti-discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation). When a woman is homeless she will compromise herself for shelter, when she does not have money for transportation she has limited access to preventive health care services or abortions ( something else republicans are rabid about). My point is that you must first address a persons basic needs for food, shelter, healthcare and clothing. The cost of living has increased to a point where poor people can no longer keep up or catch up. Housing and health care, and food costs are grinding the working poor and the unemployed poor into the dirt.

    Addictions therapist/ intern
    I hate it when posts become all inclusive comments about politics. republicans this and democrats that… Patricia you are making all inclusive assumptions and using exagarated comments about a political agenda that is totally non-productive for a forum of this sort. Sounds biased and stereotypical to me. We as a society need to produce work, create incentives to get work and stop giving away tax dollars to reward those who choose to sit on the butts and feel entitled. Now if you want to talk ways this can be done I am all ears, but making accusations as I have just done and what you did solves nothing. The government is not the answer by spending for entitlements, incentives is what we need, to grow jobs, to keep companies from going overseas, to train more personnel in vocations and trades. we have so many trades unfilled because we don’t have a trained younger generation in the trades that are needing qualified workers. The tax codes need revamped, the government needs to get smaller not larger, welfare to work programs need re-instituted; when we raise a generation of people that get everything for nothing there is no incentive to work. lets stop the madness and come up with PRODUCTIVE solutions and not just give away the farm. I have worked as an homeless advocate for 4 years and seen the waste on none productive attempts to help. Obama phones? The homeless get 3, 4, or 5 of them so not to run out of minutes. No oversight just throw money at the problem… I know a lot of SES families that do the same thing. there is a need for those who need help absolutely but when do we say enough of taking advantage of the system so more people can be helped by the system… Come on lets be real, and see our society today for what it is. Gen. Y, Gen X, look at the research of the types of children we have raised, look at the attitudes of those; and yes the baby boomer generation, including myself is the reason and are at fault for creating these attitudes. Social liberalism, rights being violated, laws imposed to handcuff us. My parents grew up during the depression, my Dad used to walk the RR tracks to gather fallen coal to heat the house, my grandfather saved pennies to pay for his fishing license. Wake up to the reality that government and hand outs is not the solution, incentives to learn, to work and to stop feeling entitled is the key, how do we raise our kids to achieve and go forth and not settle for hand-outs?

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    Mental Health Counselor
    Alan – it appears as if you did not read my post at all.Nowhere have I suggested that more money and less regulation be thrown or applied to anything. I simply pointed to a vastly widening gap between haves and have nots and the political voices that are rising from the extreme right. Voices that sound very much like your own by the way. Gone are the days where a person can walk along the tracks a pick up free coal to heat their home – today you pay top dollar for Gas Services or freeze. There is no coal furnance or fireplace available for most poor families. Self reliance / independence / financial freedom is becoming one more something that only wealthy people have access to. I make no knee jerk assumptions about how these complicated social divides should be lessened – only that doing nothing to close the gap is a sure fire way to assure that more individuals and families fall into greater depths of poverty and ignorance. These are not TAKERS and people who sit around on their butts as you say…..these are working people who cannot not afford to pay $500.00 a week for childcare, these are women who have been kicked off of welfare because there benefit period of 21months has run out and they cannot find a job that will pay them enough to pay for the childcare, busfare, rent, etc. Gone are the days of On the Job Training, Gone are the days when neighbors took care of children for free, Gone are the days where your parents and mine managed to scratch out a living by stringing together sheer will and cold sweat. Today a fishing license cost $32.00 per season – in our parents day….$30.00 was half of the rent or one third of the mortgage. Wake up sir we live in the wealthiest nation on the planet and our children are hungry, under educated, and homeless. YOU tell me of a better use for my hard earned tax dollars. Rebuilding Iran, Pakistan, Israel, etc? Excessive war cost from Haliburton? Another Presidential Library that most people will be too poor to visit? Check your pulse Alan, you may be coming down with a case of compassion fatigue. Perfectly understandable and easily treated. I have had it a few times myself.

    organizer at
    I agree with you Patricia and see you are informed and have put a lot of thought in your stand. Even though the discussion moved alone since I started writing my reply, I will post it anyway as I still feel it has merit.

    Wow.. now see there is the other side that you will be hearing from every time you bring this up… especially as blame… I can understand your concern for the poor….But I also think it is unproductive to keep blaming the Republicans for all of their ills. To say they don’t want any help at all for the poor is not accurate, even disingenuous, a great word Paul Krugman uses… You are not saying “why are we so mean”…you saying why are they so mean…But we do have all the programs you mentioned up and running. And I rarely hear them say they want all of them to totally dismantled…And if any one is saying that…they are not the majority.

    I am a liberal and have been poor and have used many of these programs. They were not hard to get. Even in Nevada which is like 43rd on the social service scale I was able to get clinic reproductive health care and even food stamps when I thought needed them. I know some things have changed over time and times are harder and there is less help in some areas…But if you are saying the Republicans want to dump or are against every program on the books, that is not accurate…As you must know 80% or 768.2 billion of the standing farm bill is for food subsidy programs like food stamps,. They want to take down to like 60 -65%. WIC is a subsidy more for the diary and peanut industries than about helping poor moms and the poor can still get Pell grants just not as big as in the past. I think many in the middle class feel screwed as they pay a large portion of their income in taxes and but cant get the same hand out.

    As Alan, my parents grew up in the depression also, eating frozen beans at breakfast and being put out of houses…but they were quite happy to take their SS…and they took more than they paid out. What I am saying is I agree with him about the divisive language. It is not very useful to keep trying and shaming the Republicans into giving out more funds…I doubt it will work..It only brings out their ire and resistance. And if you think enough hammering will eventually break them down..I say that is the long hard way…I have to agree with those who say talking as if Liberals are the pious ones while Republicans are callus ones…only perpetuates our divisions…and feeds our egos and illusions of being separate. We need to see them in ourselves and ourselves in them…And then we need to look for ways to create co-operation and road to solutions.

    My original point is that we don’t like to talk about the about the problems of having child when poor…let alone having children at all in theses days of growing resource challenges and Eco-system degradation. I am worrying that humans will never see how their own breeding will destroy their own host. Diapers will not help.

    But yes people like Limbaugh who feeds fatly off the divisiveness.. leave little space between…well don’t have sex…and if you have sex and get pregnant don’t look or ask for an abortion…or diapers…and don’t ask for food stamps to feed every one. …just deal with it….He is great at creating an example of our own shadow side. If we see our own shadow instead of looking at others for it…we won’t need him..he will be out of business.

    Mental Health Counselor
    Sue I certainly do not blame republicans for the plight of the poor and all their ills. Please read my post without bias. I mentioned Republicans only to contrast the comment Alan made about “Obama Phones” another Rush Limbaugh talking point by the way. I talked about government politics being very divided and creating wider divisions between those that have and those who have not. Honestly I don’t know how you have jumped to the conclusions and assumptions that you have made. I am and have always been a TAX PAYER like my parents and their parents who worked like slaves to make ends meet. I do not avocate a system of dependency for anyone including the wealthy. No one should get comfortable with the idea that they can do whatever they want without regard for humanity. I stated that I would rather see MORE OF MY TAX DOLLARS SPENT HELPING struggling people here at home at the expense of some of the other things that tax dollars are spent for. Again re-read my post.

    Mental Health
    Sorry I meant to mention that it was you who originally brought up Republicans as not being totally the problem….and perhaps using a different tatic they might give us some diaper money. Believe me I thank God that I don’t have to personally depend on that ever happening.

    organizer at
    In your post to me…and before Alan came on line stated: “Poor people do not have access to healthcare, preventive services and in some cases birth control. The Republicans are COMPLETELY rabid on the subject of government supported / subsidised birth control for women, totally against social programs that feed ( food stamps/wic/snap) educate (pell grants, student loan debt, reduced education cost) emancipate (affirmative action, increased minimum wage, equal pay, anti-discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation).” So yes it does appear to me that you are saying they are totally against any help to the poor. Well, I can see why you might think that but I dont agree..You are only hearing the noisiest ones. You are not listing to others like me or Allen for our concerns. Are only yours valid? You discounted all of what I had to say.

    Please dont suggest I re- read your post…as if maybe I can’t comprehend or just totally miss what points you are making…while telling me it’s also my fault you can’t comprehend my points. Maybe you should take you’re own advice then go back and carefully re-read my post. It’s kind of nuanced.

    I actually mostly agree with you some what but not totally… Most important in what I am saying is to not be so pious. I get tired of it from my herd…I want to be the party that knows how to…be open to hearing from all sides without being superior, becoming defensive and shutting down or blocking the messages…or even trying to change what was just actually said to cover a butt…I am saying this where we are are all amiss on the journey…as humans…We have not learned to just hear, have empathy for what others are trying to express. Even if we don’t agree, we should try understand how they came to what ever understanding they have. I have a ways to go on this also and am not great at it…But what I know for sure is that until we learn as individuals how to be open to what others are saying without needing to just defend our own points…we as human won’t lessen the divide you want to see lessened. So it starts with us.

    And yes that last part was meant as humorist a twist.

    Does it matter if the republicans, or democrats are “COMPLETELY rabid on the subject of government supported / subsidised birth control for women, totally against social programs that feed (food stamps/wic/snap) educate (pell grants, student loan debt, reduced education cost) emancipate (affirmative action, increased minimum wage, equal pay, anti-discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation)?” If you can’t take care of your own basic needs without calling on the government to take care of you, why the hell are you having children? Now that’s what I call mean!

    Life and Recovery Coaching
    The reason it matters is that the political parties have chosen these emotional issues to divide us and people like Mark M fan the flames…We have a constitutional requirement to support the least among us.. When it comes to government, any government, it is formed for the good of all… This conservative bullshit is just a defense for excessive greed and selfishness.

    Please explain. How does pointing out the folly of having children when you can’t manage your own basic needs translate to a bullshit conservative defense for excessive greed and selfishness? And then tell me where in the constitution the government guarantees supporting peoples’ basic needs, beyond the need (right) to be free to realize their own dreams.

    Mental Health Counselor
    Questions regarding the poor or those among us who have steady jobs and yet still have access the least resources. We are now calling them the working poor (WP). Would the WP be less reliant on government services if they earned a living wage? Should wealthy business be allowed to underpay (not meet cost of living increases) for employee labor while making record profits for themselves? Should the tax code be revamped so that poor people are not taxed at rates higher than the wealthiest individuals and corporations – so that they can keep more of their money and reduce their reliance on government services? If the working poor earned wages that kept pace with inflation would there be less disparity between haves and have not’s? If the working poor had access to Insured health and preventive services would there be less burden on the healthcare system? I believe that something has got to give. The deck has to be un-stacked and the playing field leveled so that everybody has a chance to thrive independently. Who is fighting for this fairness to happen? Who wants to maintain the status quo? Which approach is likely to decrease the number of poor – and which will likely increase the ranks of poor? Why does a poor man’s labor go towards (via tax dollars) Gold level health plans for their congressperson, senator, etc but is considered treason for the poor to ask the government to include them in the same plan? NOT FOR FREE they already pay into it. I don’t really care which party does the job of leveling the field and making things better for all. I would just like to see that this happens. I will vote for whoever has a real plan to improve life and liberty for all. Not just the 1%
    As a society we have blessed the greed and selfishness… We have what used to be considered compassionate, normal people voting for the most selfish among us.. Willing to deny fellow citizens the basics of living… It sickens and saddens me.

    This country has changed into a very de-humanizing entity. No longer are we a country of the people, by the people, for the people; substitute corporation for people and you’ll have a more accurate picture. It saddens me too, and I take no solace in watching the the country I grew up in self-destruct, but I think it would be a whole lot easier to find a new one, than to try and fix this one.

    Mental Health Counselor
    Mark I pray that we have not gone too far to turn ourselves around. I am not sure that we have lost all power as citizens but I do think that the growing disparity in wealth is causing us to turn on each other. We the people should be united and supporting laws that will be of benefit for all. Our elders and veterans should not have to live in fear of what will become of them. Instead we are supporting special interests and political parties. If we stop paying for war we can afford universal health care. If we rebuild here at home we will automatically increase jobs that pay a livable wage. If we reform our educational system and make college affordable we will increase exposure to intelligence and a higher standard of living among all Americans. Right now we have smart phones and ignorant communities. There seems to be a lot of misdirected anger and frustration growing out of our feelings of powerlessness. I think we all want the same things but can not agree on how to accomplish them, or agree on who to trust to put these things in place. We are literally creating misery in the midst of paradise and abundance. We should keep talking and find more things to agree on. Then we can make things change for the better.

    Great thread as it relates to our interrelatedness and how much all of us really do care. Guess we wouldn’t be invested in this work if these posts didn’t attract and inspire us to comment. I ran across this article recently which allowed me to pause and wonder if it–like in our addiction treatment–is the system rather than the individuals acting out in the system, IE, if we’re not ALL part of the problem, there is no solution:

    Having lived on both ends of the spectrum I can say that Maslow was right on target – when you’re worried about a roof over your head, heat, food, safety and surviving you don’t have the ‘time’ or energy left to reflect, contemplate or debate your local authorities for change. When you’re wealthy – you are removed from it and too often – clueless.

    Here are some numbers that make sense of all of our concerns: From the US Census site – in 1980 (not that long ago!) $66,000 was considered ‘upper middle class’ – the family owned house in the suburbs, car, could get a college education, vacation, and save for their retirement. That same lifestyle now takes $311,000! I don’t know about you but I don’t know very many making that much annually. My parents made the $66,000 in the 80’s and it was a very comfortable ‘life’. My degrees would cost more than $250,000 at the same schools!
    The other major change that has happened in that same framework of time is the innovations that have occurred that we now consider ‘necessities’ or are required to have them for employment, safety, education, and basic communication – that did NOT exist in the early 80’s. Cell phones, Internet, Cable/Satellite TV, PC’s, Computers for school & work, Health insurances, air bags in cars, the fear of lawsuits for every move we make, houses that are 1000+ sq ft larger, 3 car garages, a car per person, regulations that cost: EPA, Medical, Housing, Safety . . . I could go on. Our ‘Depression Era’ parents didn’t deal with these new expected costs – that keep us educated,competitive and employed.

    Your right Karen, the wealth of this country is being stolen through a complex corrupt system called the Federal Reserve. But Patricia, I really don’t think we ALL want the same things. Some people like the growing void between the haves and have nots, and these self-serving moral-less people are living for their own pleasure at the expense and suffering of others. But this is not something new. History is filled with extravagance and oppression. Now it’s our turn. You want laws; guess who writes the laws (the money). You want justice; guess who controls the courts (the money). You want to vote a savior into office; forget about it, we only get leaders funded by big corporations. The allegiance of our leaders is to the money, not to the people. You want to change things; hold on to your weapons, and get ready to spill some blood. You want to live free and have a better life. Good luck, think about relocating.

    Life and Recovery Coaching
    Interesting…. We barely make sense and seldom agree when talking about our own field and then we go off on a political tangent that shows even less acquired knowledge… Opinions are great… I just got a note that my opinion and two bucks will get me a small cuppa coffee at Stabuks…Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we are mean… Just because we feel obliged to comment doesn’t make us right.

    Hence, the reason–or at least, a reasonable purpose for these forums where critical thinking can live and emerge amid various opinions and the sometimes uncomfortable process of living in community. Feels like Recovery, to me.

    Board Member at Kids At Risk Action (KARA) – Children’s Rights Advocacy Network
    Top Contributor
    It hurts me to see the outburst of harshness against poor people. It is as if being born into the wrong family means you can’t have children by definition. There will always be a percentage of a population that lives in the bottom of the economic heap and there will always be haters and blamers that will call them names and say things like, “you should not be allowed to have children”. People I know work 40, sometimes 60 and 70 hours a week and they are unable to make their way in this nation today. We treat service workers and poor people badly. A good percentage of this nations voting population would pay them less (some would even like to deny them a minimum wage). On top of that, don’t have kids? What makes us so Mean? It is a well written article and needs more attention;

    You hear harshness when some one else hears worry for the kids or worry that their taxes pay for others who are not even considering what they are doing…..I agree with you John that our service workers are getting crapped on…but when I was getting crapped on I did not want to have a kid right then…I have a right to think that and say that…as I was there…I knew I could not do it…It is not helpful if we only think our own perspective has having validity while hearing someones else for the worst possible motive…If we give everyone a fair voice in the conversations, just as you want for the poor, we can see the totally of the picture better. When we actually listen to others, we stop creating resistance in them. We resist what other says but then we can’t see why they resist us and don’t hear us, or who we are speaking for… Even if we have the most wonderful thing to say…if we have discounted them, they probably won’t hear us.

    I did not hear harshness, especially not out bursts here…about the poor any more than there was an out burst about Republican not allowing enough help…To me that actually was more an outburst here…especially for this forum….and I am liberal. I said we can’t ask poor not to have kids as it stratifies society…but we should focus on moving them up the ladder before they do…if at all possible. But that is just a hopeful idea..and I dont expect every one to agree on it…But agree with ED…we lose sight that we are just spouting off…and I agree with Patrica that we need to look for common ground as a start…..and that we are in recovery…from being these egos with beliefs and attitudes we think are so well thought through and created…so much more than who ever else.. .Sometimes they actually are, so then we should then show patience and service to consciousness itself…not show connection to others…I think humans ARE all in recovery or un-covery actually…uncovering our deeper connections to others we don’t want to like or dont think we have traits like…We dont like to think we have any of their disdain either we even disdain their disdain…That is pretty ironic…dont you think? well I do for what ever that is worth. Yes let’s learn to be more inclusive…let’s take our recovery out ward to the world.

    I think Patricia and some others here are trying to address the income disparities such as this interesting YouTube clip indicates.

    Mental Health Counselor
    Hi Sue – I just watched the video on wealth distribution and Yes, Yes, Yes….. That is exactly what I am talking about. How can we just accept this. After viewing the video I see that the income disparity is worse than I realized. Translation, I have even less than I thought. I already see how badly the non-working poor are doing. It is shameful to vote to snatch away the few benefits that poor people get in assistance programs like snap (food stamps and WIC) and to kick people off limited unemployment. My representative is not speaking up for me when he/she allows my neighbor to lose their home, go hungry, have no healthcare and then be called names when they BEG for help. Meanwhile my tax dollar goes God knows where for God knows what. This just gets me all in a bunch. We live in the greatest country on earth so I know that we an do better.

    Come on John, who’s stopping economically disadvantaged people form having kids? Of course the greatest majority of people staving to death in the world are kids, and it would be more humane to not bring them in to the world to begin with, but procreation by the poor is actually encouraged by religious institutions in the name of God, while disregarding the added suffering this policy brings into our world. Maybe one reason people are mean is because they’re frustrated with religious dogma suckering people who are stupid. But, if so, don’t confuse mean with wanting a better world for all, we’re all on the same page there.

    Life and Recovery Coaching
    More likely the reason most people are mean is fear-based… I do remember when the Pope openly prayed for “propagation of the faith”… ie have more kids… Maybe the office still does. Don’t compound and confuse the issue by your dogma “religious dogma suckering people who are stupid” .. They pursue religion because of culture and/or search for the meaning of their life… You are educated enough to not demean these folks…

    I agree with Mark there is a big problem with the religious institutions pushing for higher birth rates. But I also agree with Ed about not demeaning the people who lives end up intertwined with such churches.

    But religion is not the only institutions pushing for populations growth…It’s good for business too…Check out this awarding winning short documentary on the subject of business being hooked on population growth.

    Mental Health Counselor
    Mark and Sue: Lets also mention that many women do not have right of refusal, do not have access to birth control, some women are forbidden to use any measures to prevent pregnancy. Once pregnant abortion for many would be out of the question due to lack of access, money, health coverage, or religious/moral beliefs. It is still very difficult to understand why the US struggles to feed its people when we throw away more food in a month than the average third world country sees in a year. We are way too smart not to have figured this out by now so there must be other reasons why we have not eliminated the problem of hunger as well as education.

    These are all complex problems and we have not learned how to address them very well, let alone work together for solutions. We are struggling to find common ground even on this thread of basically peers.

    But I am moved by and really feeling your huge heart and great passion for change toward egalitarianism. As you are seeing and saying, many people especially women are often powerless and many people, often men, are in denial. Many feel threatened when they perceive their behavior or way of life is being reproached. These are also sociological issues that have many and deep roots which need to be addressed with empathy, commitment and patience…not just indignation or outrage.

    I am finding very useful and powerful tools for bridging any mindset in the works of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent communication and Arny and Amy Mindells Deep Democracy They both give us ways to evolve our frustrations into understanding and action that avoids creating defensive backlash, while also greatly deepening our own empathy and collective consciousness, however far along it is. So I say here’s to our own growth and greater support of all sentient beings…especially the underdogs. And to being able to address the overdogs in very useful ways…Big Howls for the New Year’s great challenges and promises.

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