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A few days ago I wrote a blog about American politics and received a great amount of feedback from the smart ladies of Fab40.  We shared our perspectives and talked about the tax burden on the middle class and a few other things.

Like many of you stated, $100,000 per year does not make one rich.  In no way do I think that the tax burden should be on the backs of the middle class, in fact I believe the exact opposite.  The tax burden should be on those that are unfairly reaping benefits but not shouldering their share of the burden.This group should NOT shoulder an unfair part of the tax burden.  

What I find most interesting is that we continue to carry the “corporate generated” line that the majority of wasted money is going to “shiftless poor people“.  But is that true????

I always find it very interesting that we always assume that the government resources and subsidies are actually being exploited by the “poor and shiftless” people.  Even in my blog discussion on Fab40 the focus of the blame and MAJORITY of all of the criticism about wasted resources is attributed to people that are taking advantage of the system.  

Ok...I totally agree with the premise that “A man must work to eat” and no one should be allowed to take advantage of the system.  Yes certainly there are many people that exploit the system but many working people benefit from these programs as well.  If you research  government spending studies you would know that money spent on social programs in the country is a drop in the bucket to the amount of corporate welfare given.  We are so focused on the ants that we can’t see the elephants trampling the fields.

Unfortunately, I feel like we have been duped by corporate America.  As long as poor people,working class and middle class America continue to blame and focus on each other we will never see where the bulk of our capital and resources are going.  

It’s like having a big family argument while the robber is sneaking out the back door with the televisions and other valuables.  Everybody is looking at each other as the real ROBBER eases out the door without a question.

Are we are looking in the wrong direction!!!!!  

- Did you know that according to the Heritage Foundation government could save $20 billion a year by eliminating just three dozen corporate giveaways. This is almost one year’s worth of AFDC.

So let me get this right.... only 36 corporate tax giveways is MORE than the federal AFDC dollar assistance for an entire year. Only 36 subsidies!!!! So let's say there are some shiftless people in the AFDC bunch that are getting assistance then we must also admit that there are a whole lot of hard working people that are trying to make ends meet. Who would you rather help? Large corporations?  

- The Office of Management and Budget and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation report that taxpayers pay businesses $51 billion in direct subsidies and lose another $53.3 billion in corporate tax breaks, for a total of $104.3 billion a year.

So let me get this right....Americans give businesses more than 104.3 billion a year in tax breaks and subsidies but we are arguing about who should get or not get unemployment which s a fraction of that amount?  

-In a three-part series on corporate welfare (7/7/96), the Boston Globe writes: “The $150 billion for corporate subsidies and tax benefits eclipses the annual budget deficit of $130 billion. It’s more than the $145 billion paid out annually for the core programs of the social welfare state: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance (excluding Social Security and medical care).”

So let me get this right...Americans are willing to eliminate child care subsidies, social security programs, medicare programs but let's keep giving away MORE than that amount to corporations!  

What is interesting to me is even in my conversations on this issue the bottom half of society are blamed for the overtaxing of the system.  this sounds logical but it’s not true.  Research the numbers!  The American tax payer is giving away billions of our dollars to corporations that are exporting jobs, cutting benefits, reducing wages, forcing loyal employees to retire and recklessly spending our money.

Why are we looking at the ants when the elephants are trampling the fields????

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Member Comments

    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote May 31, 2011
    • LaTosha and Annie, you both make really great points.

      One thing I hear a lot is about the tax burden on the middle class.  Well, I figure my husband and I are middle class and this year when I did my taxes, I found that we really don’t pay much in taxes, but I don’t know, maybe we are considered poor.   Of course we pay in plenty for soc. sec. and medicare and as Annie says, we’ll never see any benefit from them, so it’s really just more taxes.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote May 31, 2011
    • Annie,

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree with your points. Great points!

      I’m not opposed to corporations at all but I am adamantly opposed to government subsidies to large businesses as long as there is no accountability, the CEO’s are walking away with millions of dollars in bonuses and no loyalty to American workers.  

      How can bank execs still get bonuses when they almost destroyed the financial system.

      My point is that we target and blame to social programs yet we seem to forget to hold corporate America accountable. I sincerely believe that most of the social discussions are generated by those that want us to look the other way.  As long as we are only focused and angry with the “food stamp thief ” we want ever hold the oil execs accountable.

      But thanks for the feedback.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote May 31, 2011
    • I think that if someone never sees “any of it” perhaps their relatives may need it in the future?

      That’s what I feel. My dad paid into the system for years and now as a disabled person, my son who has never worked gets ssi for mental illness. I would say that had my daddy (who died when I was 17) been able to have a voice with out a shadow of a doubt he would say to apply His “input” for  go for my son. He was a small business owner and paid taxes as did my Grandfather and mother... they did not use theirs either.
      Just my pov



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote May 31, 2011
    • Annie,

      I agree with you but the fact of the matter is the blame is not equally shared. Disproportionately
      social subsidies are blamed and cut first. This is the problem. We can find crooks in any segment of society. My critique is that there seems to be a concerted effort to blame the petty thief to cover for the one that is robbing us blind. Wrong is wrong but when you are talking about large s ale government budget issues we should start with
      the largest budget items.

      For example, we have seen social programs cut year after year but the budget deficit is still growing. Why??? Who is gettingore money?? Did you know that although the BP oil spill has cost the government billions of dollars and substantial damage to fishing communities yet they made a profit last year and organized the largest cash reserves. How is that possible?

      I don’t think one wrong excuses the other i.e. petty thief vs. Corporate crime. However, if we are to seriously deal with budget issues we have to prioritize where the true bleeding if capital is co
      Ing from. American polictical discussions are dominated by the blame of social programs but the numbers don’t lie... The bulk of the budget helps the top 1% of the country. Therein lies the core issue.

      My point isn’t that “system exploiters” aren’t wrong my point is that our collective disdain for poor people(from as far a biblical times) creates the atmosphere that allows wealthy people and companies to point fingers on those that are not as fortunate as us. We blame homeless people for thier condition yet many of them are plagued with mental health issues. We have cut mental health services in half yet corporate subsidies have risen. That’s a problem.

      There have been times that I had to check my own sense of judgment of other peoe that didn’t seem to work as hard as I do.  I’ve got plenty of stories to share about how I’ve had to eat humble pie because I watched the pundit shows and took certain positions without researching the info.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote May 31, 2011
    • I agree. I don’t mind paying it forward. I know that most of what I currently enjoy was paid for my people before me. We are all enjoying many of the past investments and labor of past generations. I want future generations to have an even better quality of life than me.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 31, 2011
    • I’m not opposed to helping the less fortunate at all. I am just opposed to it being a way of life for some. I just think that there should be some kind of consequesnces if you don’t take advantage of programs that help you get ahead. I believe if you are on welfare you also qualify for schooling. Take advantage!

      On the other hand I am opposed to big corporations getting all the breaks too. Maybe they should be forced to support some of the people on welfare to qualify for the breaks they get????



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • Annie for me it’s a much bigger issue than food stamp theft.  

      When I first moved to Memphis I was amazed that we were tearing down govt housing and rebuilding NEW govt housing. Then I started to read about the unemployment rate here which has only recently went up to 10% from it consistent for the last 10 yrs 9%.  

      There are jobs here yet our unemployment rate is that high AND we are building govt housing. What does that say????
      I resent working hard to pay for those who are able bodied and just do not!

      Ugh! I need coffeetongue out



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @Annie,

      Perhaps you probably don’t see the same perspective of poor people as I see it because I actually work with the poor. I have worked and volunteered in poor communities most of my adult life.  My life’s work has been to help make life better for everyone, redistribute wealth and help those that are less fortunate.  

      I personally make over $100,000 through my consulting business and I have worked very hard to live the type of lifestyle that I enjoy.  However, I also recognize that I am extremely blessed and I have enjoyed tremendous favor, good luck, grace and privilege.

      I don’t take my circumstance for granted.  I was blessed to have a certain internal drive, a certain family and be exposed to certain things that gave me an advantage.  I don’t judge people based on my circumstances and blessings. I sincerely believe that I have been blessed so that I could in fact help others.  I believe in the bible verse that says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  I have been given an extra portion so according to my faith I am required to help inspire the lives of others.    

      Americans love to think that hard work is the answer to get people out of poverty yet I know for a fact it is isn’t that simple.  Some of the hardest working people I currently know are living in poverty.  The working poor!! I know people that worked jobs for 40 years out of a sense of loyalty and retired not being able to afford medicine or even doctor’s visits.  

      I know people that go to work everyday and can’t pay rent.  I know people that have over $50,000 in student loans and can’t even find a job making $30,000.  I know people that want to work but keep getting overlooked.  

      So yes you are right I look at poverty completely differently than you.  For me, poverty is an enemy of human development.

      There are currently people living in poverty that want to work but can’t because of illness. Their illnesses have caused them to lose jobs and everything they own. Some of them don;t have the same type of support system that you and I may have.

      I KNOW children that go to school eating little debbie cakes because there is no food in the home.  Perhaps their parents are on drugs, perhaps there is no money, perhaps they are being raised by family members. But they are innocent little children. Their entire lives are being shaped by their reality of living in poverty.  They may grow up and make decisions based on their experience.  Don’t we all do that????  

      Extreme poverty has a profound impact on young lives just like your childhood upbringing has had an impact on your life.  I didn’t grow up rich but I grew up surrounded by love.  Unconditional love and safety is also a privilege.  

      I have met people in homeless shelters that are poor and destitute based on mental breakdowns, mental illnesses, lack of family support, major life set backs and other life issues.  Unfortunately, they could not afford to get the mental help they needed and their mental state was too unstable to find and secure constant employment.

      I have never had a problem finding a job but I recognize that it is hard for many people to find employment.  Do I think I am smarter of better than them certainly not..I have been blessed. I don’t take any of my blessing as an opportunity to find fault in others because I don’t know what people have gone through in life.  Life can be hard.  

      Most importantly, Annie perhaps you and I see things differently because we have different faiths and beliefs.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ whose entire mission on this earth was to help the poor, heal the broken-hearted, give sight to the blind and set the captives free. I love the ministry of Jesus because he always hung around those poor people that the Pharisees despised and judged.

      I have had the opportunity to travel around the world and NO I don’t believe that Americans work harder than anybody else.  Yet if hard work was the answer to poverty why is the majority of the world poor? Over 80% of the world lives in poverty.  It’s not that simple we have got to have a deeper analysis of the acuses of poverty.  Yet it is easier for us to be critical to those that are poor.  

      I sincerely believe that God works through people....human beings.  Based on that belief alone it is my life’s mission to fight for a more equitable re-distribution of wealth, feed every mouth that needs to eat, hold leaders accountable, share the good news and give hope to those that lack hope.

      God created an abundant earth filled with FREE fruits, vegetables, meats, water, seeds, etc.  Why are people dying of hunger? How dare we(Americans) become so self centered and self absorbed that we now believe that OUR hard work gives us the right to control all of the resources that God gave the earth for free.  

      As long as there are hungry people, broken hearted people, rejected people, etc. I will always have a problem with poverty. Why? Because poverty is man-made.  Basic resources are not available to people because those that seek to get rich have exploited the same resources God gave the earth for FREE and now CHARGE us to use the products.

      Let’s not even dea with the pink elephant in the room in America.  Well certainly we are now the richest country in the world.  How many millions of people (including over 100 million of  African people died for this to happen)?  This country has exploited other human beings for more than 400 for FREE slave labor.  Give me millions of people to work free for me for 400 years and I guarantee I can build a hell of a country as well.

      Now of course, we don’t want to talk about slavery because it was in the past but it’s the truth even if it makes us uncomfortable.  This is just one example of how the whole un-equitable distribution of wealth has impacted generations of people.    

      My overall point is that selfish and greedy human beings have always exploited the weaknesses and oppression of other people since Antiquity. We find this on every continent and throughout ever race of people.  The amazing thing is that Caesar had the nerves to talk about how lazy his workers were after he had eaten the fruits of their labor.  

      I agree with you perhaps you and I have very different perspectives.  Thanks for the feedback.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • LaTosha I love the way you write! I appreciate the points you make.

      I know for me that it’s not the people that are sick with whatever that I have a problem with. It is the ones that knowingly abuse the system. And maybe I’m just jealous because I have not figured out how to not work yet be supported. Or maybe it’s because I see our resources going to able bodied people and taking away from those truly in need.

      If I could quote a % of who should not be on govt assisted programs I would. I don’t believe the govt knows because they have not taken the resources to make adjustments to the programs.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • LaTosha, I applaud your post as well as all of your replies back to the post, you are dead on with this thank you for sharing your outlook on poverty and being a beacon of light for those who are suffereing in it and as always I can see you keep this in the fronnt of your mind W.W.J.D? God's blessings to you my friend.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @ Vikki

      Thanks so much for the comments. I agree there are major problems with the system.  I guess my problem is that the perception is that the majority of people that are receiving assistance are lazy.  The numbers show the exact opposite the VAST majority of people on assistance are ACTUALLY working people.  Some are the same people that prepare our food, clean our hotel rooms, dry clean our clothes, that fix pot holes in the streets, etc.  

      The system has been changed where it is almost impossible to receive aid without working other than issues like SSI.  Ask a social worker.  MOST people actually work but the rising cost of living has not kept up with wages.

      Yes there are people that exploit the system but they are a very small number of people receiving aid.  Yet we see billions of dollars going to the ultra wealthy.  But for some reason that doesn;t seem to bother us the same way.

      I know some people that work 40 hours per week and can hardly pay rent.  Rent rates and gas prices are killing people.  Heck, it’s killing me and I make a little money!!!

      Please check out an online game called playspent.org.  It was an eyeopener for me. Let me know you experience.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • I played!

      I made it thru the month (with some shady decisions) and had $116 left over. I think the ramen noodles caused that pain in my chest!!!!!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @Annie I had to look up your word tzedakah,for it's meaning.

       What does the term tzedakah mean? It is derived from the Hebrew tzedek, meaning "justice" or what is right. I however do agree with you on the being lazy part I don't like lazy people who are able bodied people that can work and support themselves I know several who rob the welfare system and it is such a pitiful shame. Yes being lazy and being poor are two different issues and we need not get them confused. Some are forced into being poor while others are just plain ole lazy and are poor by not wanting to support themesleves through education, jobs, etc....



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @Annie

      Then why are we ONLY talking about lazy poor people and not lazy rich people????

      Do you think Paris Hilton is a hard worker? (_Just a joke because perhaps she is..I don’t know)_  

      My point is WHY is the focus ALWAYS on those that are poor when the largest subsidies and tax breaks go to the ultra wealthy and businesses?

      Why are we focusing on a small percentage of people that misuse the system when the bulk of resources are given away to those with the least need?

      I agree with you about the charity of all religions.  I have studied most of them, including Judaism.  I am very familiar with the concept tzedakah.  That is one of the concepts that I most admire about Jewish culture and philosophy.  I’ve actually visited Israel and had many conversation about this concept.  

      I shared that I was Christian with you not in judgement of other beliefs but so that you would understand that our difference in perspective about poverty may result from my personal belief system.  

      My perspective about poverty is shaped by my personal belief in Jesus Christ and his ministry to help the poor.  As a Christian, I am required to be sensitive and mindful in helping those that are most in need.  Jesus instructs his followers over and over again in his teachings to spread the good news, feed the hungry, give sight to the blind, set the captives free and bind the broken-hearted. I think this is figuratively and spiritually.  Jesus tells his followers specifically, “What you do unto the least of these you also do unto me?”  That is pretty cut and dry for me.

      Should we hold lazy people accountable?  Absolutely.  Even Jesus taught his followers that lesson when he instructed the sick man that laid by the wading pool for 38 years to “take up his bed a walk“. He saw the man’s laziness yet he still spoke a word of encouragement and found redemption. Jesus gave explicit instructions on how his followers were to treat poor people.  

      Does that excuse calling people out that are lazy?  Absolutely not...but who talked about supporting lazy anyway.  My point is that the MAJORITY of poor people and people that currently receive assistance in this country are working poor people.  Why is the conversation now dominated by helping lazy people? I talked about poor people, specifically working poor people.  

      Lazy is not synonymous with poor.  Neither is receiving government aid synonymous with being lazy.  

      Those are the points that I am making.  

      Don’t forget there are also lazy rich people and we are paying a share of the burden to support them too.  Unfortunately, they aren’t an interesting target for most of us to blame. We see access to wealth as a result of hard work.  Is that really true???

      Poor people are easier to blame. Unfortunately, there is an assumption that if you are poor you are lazy.  This is simply not true.    

      Shall we focus on the ANTS while the ELEPHANTS trample the fields?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @ Neicy

      Thanks for your comments and teaching.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @Vikki

      LOL!  

      Yeah ramen noodles can give you serious indigestion.(smile)



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • Wow!..I actually read through this whole entire blog, which is a plus since my pain usually takes over after a bit.

      I can see where everyone is coming from, but Annie made a good point about the lazy rich..maybe someone can clarify it for me...if a person works from the bottom up, going through rough times, maybe for years, and then finally after a long period of time is able to secure a more profitable position, does that make them now a lazy rich individual who wants to gloat in their greed? or, does it make that person someone strong who asked for nothing, took the bad times with the good, maybe was dumped on from time to time and now has the opportunity to bask in their glory?

      Does this make sense?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • well I posted before that in the 1980’s I was left with a baby and no husb. in CA knowing noone and a friend (I knocked on my neighbors door and asked her to be my friend)She said get welfare go to school.  

      At that time they had a program called the GAIN program. they helped me with gasoline, and babysitter (I had to show proof -gas receipts etc)I graduated early with honors and landed a job as asistant editor of  billion dollar magazine.

       1990’s I was unfortuanately put in a position to go back on welfare... the rules changed and had to show that you applied for 4 jobs per day (with no car) while having a child at home (alone) you cant take a child to job interviews.. also no $ for babysitter...
      at that time i recieved a whopping 500 a month and rent was 450.00 you do the math.

      I went on a limb and worked through a temp agency (who at that time paid for cab fare to my apt and to the jobs  because  the owner was a woman who fought her way up!)(while my son was a latch key kid) I was lucky! I ended up working as assistant to chief legal advisor for motown records  

      my friend ended up homeless and LOST her kids!  Now, she and I paid into the SAME system and I know for a FACT she was trying!

      PEOPLE do not ALWAYS choose hunger, homeless, or to suck off the wealthy!
      I hope you guys just try to see this side of the street please.
      respectfully
      MsJ



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • Marya
      I like yours... I say bask in the glory of the hard work!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      LaTosha Brown wrote Jun 1, 2011
    • @ Hey Annie,

      That’s is exactly my point.  You assume that all rich people have worked to get to that point.  I work as a consultant for Rockefeller Philanthropy and rest assured there are plenty of rich kids blowing through their parents money like it’s hotcakes for sale.

      Perhaps this is the core of what I am talking about.  Is there an expectation that wealthy people not contribute to society as well?

      Why can’t you understand anyone having money being lazy? That is what I find very strange.  Perhaps I don’t understand your definition of lazy?  What does money have to do with that?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Jun 2, 2011
    • Annie I like you question answer post. heart



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