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Do you believe that poor people are simply lazy?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by TheMusician, 15 Sep 2009.


Do you believe that poor people in the United States are poor because they are lazy?

Poll closed 15 Oct 2009.
  1. Yes.

    11 vote(s)
  2. No. There are a variety of reasons for families having to be under the poverty line.

    76 vote(s)
  1. TheMusician

    TheMusician Audio/Tech Enthusiast/Historian

    13 Jul 2009
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    In the United States, there is a frighteningly high percentage of the populace that believes that people under the poverty line are poor simply because they are lazy. Rather than blame any sort of pre-existing condition that brings people to poverty, they blame entire families for their "laziness".

    Never mind the truckload of reasons anyone can be poor in the United States- they're all a bunch of lazy bums.

    It's amazing how people can just say this. It's also amazing that the people saying this are the same ones that tout their patriotism so heavily, and yet they won't help their fellow American.

    Also, never mind the fact that cancer treatments can and do bankrupt families, leading to the patient's ultimate death if they cannot afford treatment in the United States. What are the families of these lost ones going to do afterwards? Magically make millions? Many cannot get the education they would need to get a proper degree because they're too busy working at minimum-wage jobs that take up all their time, because if they're not, then they will starve.

    Some will argue that ultimately, laziness is a factor, because a parent may have not done his/her duty to gain a proper career. While situations like that are often the case, it is not "laziness" committed by the parent. Bad decisions maybe. Mental issues, maybe. Laziness? No.

    And even then- is that a good reason to decline a public option for healthcare? Even if the tax increase is minimal and doesn't affect you?
    Last edited: 15 Sep 2009
  2. Rum&Coke

    Rum&Coke What's a Dremel?

    23 Apr 2007
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    Anyone voting yes is hysterically stupid
    Red 5 likes this.
  3. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Multimodder

    4 Mar 2008
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    I think the Willem de Kooning best expressed the difficulty with overcoming poverty - “The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time”.

    Alain de Botton has a good TED talk on success you might find interesting. However if you want to save 18 minutes, basically he's states how the myth of The American Dream has created false expectations. Meritocracy by implication has a flip-side of stating that he who is at the bottom deserves to be there. Today we'd call a poor person a "loser", whereas in the middle ages they were rightly called "unfortunates".

    As for healthcare reform I think the most effective way of dealing with the largely christian right wing is to point out their unchrist-like attitude on the subject - "I'm happy with my healthcare, but the other guy who doesn't have it - **** 'em! I'm an American, not a Samaritan goddammit!"
  4. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

    9 Sep 2003
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    No,Theres loads of reasons why somebody may be poor. But there probaly are some people that are poorer because they're lazy, I know several people that just cant be a****, They have no drive, no motivation nothing. Living on handouts from the g'ment but they're happy where they are in life.
  5. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

    14 Apr 2004
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    Bunch of lazy immigrants! Get a job and quit bringing up the crime rates in my once Utopian enclave!!

    Yes, the economics of poverty can get quite complicated. Interestingly, once you're below the poverty line it's extremely difficult to get back up without assistance of some sort. Here in America, beginning at a very young age we're taught that anyone can rise to great wealth and power through nothing more than an honest day's work. "You can be anything you want, if you just apply yourself," we're told during just about every graduation commencement address.

    We are surrounded by Romantic tales of this or that person, who faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles and climbed to greatness by picking himself up by the bootstraps. If that's all it took, then all those janitors in my elementary school would be living in 6,000 square-feet houses and driving luxury cars.

    If anyone is interested, my wonderful hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, actually devoted an entire article in the Sunday paper to climbing the social ladder.

    One of my favorite parts:
    That's right. In order to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Houston elite, you don't actually have to be rich. All you have to do is live unrealistically beyond your means, and convince them to hang out with you. Who knew it was so simple? (Edit) I'm sure the article has a fair amount of tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it does somewhat illustrate how the deck is stacked against anyone wishing to climb the social ladder.

    God bless America!

    Last edited: 15 Sep 2009
  6. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

    14 Dec 2003
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    Having lived as a homeless person (by choice mind you), and having interacted with a good number of people well below the poverty line (some of whom are even in my own family), I have to say that laziness, or just outright pigheadedness, are major factors in determining if they're going to ever get out of their situation or not. While it may be true that there are a great many factors that can lead to being poor, one of the biggest keeping people there (assuming all other factors are equal to the rest of the population; eg: mental health) is just the lack of will to do anything meaningful about their situation. I've found most of these types are far too content in their choice to suckle off the teet of the government, while living in the squaller they've become accustomed to.

    I'm sure nexxo will chime in with reasoning behind peoples habituation towards their own situation (read: the more you live in squaller, the more used to it, and the less disgusted by it you become), and their specific lack of will due to the idea that there is nothing they can do about the situation. But at some point in time somebody needs to smack these people a bit, and offer them help, by stopping the government handouts, bottle collecting, and general loafing-about so stereotyped by these people. Only by taking out the support network that keeps them content (or stuck) at the bottom rung of society can they actually get anywhere.

    Now, I'm sure you lot will point out that taking away government support in both financial aide, as well as recovery programs will surely just make these people's lives worlds worse, but how often do you hear of somebody using these programs, and becoming a working-class citizen above the poverty line? I, for one, have heard of drastically few people that have done something about their situation by using these government programs. In-fact, the few people I've known that have gotten out of their situation have done it by their own merits, by their own will. All that it really takes is keeping sober, clean, and dressed, which doesn't seem too hard for 90% of the population.

    I'll briefly touch upon my own story with poverty here, just in the interest of full-disclosure: a few years ago I suffered a traumatic accident while working as a bicycle courier. The net result of this was a basic change of my personality (I've lightened up rather substantially since before the accident, and am a fair bit quieter), and came out of it with a touch of schizophrenia (that I'm able to manage without the use of any sort of drugs). However, for the following 10 months I was unable to hold down a job simply due to me trying to get used to myself again, and attempting to function within the new parameters inside my own mind. Although I was on workers compensation for a couple months, they decided to drop me because I wasn't getting any better (their own words), and government aide was so little as to prevent me from actually living anywhere other than the street. But thankfully I was able to keep myself in an apartment, but only by sacrificing food for the cause, along with other bills that I would ignore to pay the rent. It was during this time that I met a rather charming girl named Marie that was homeless at the time, and she decided to bring me into the underworld of Edmonton. I met a lot of people that year, and heard a lot of stories, but very few of them actually made me feel any sympathy for the situation they were in, nor did they give me any hope they would ever get out of the situation they were in.

    But I'm sure I've flame-baited enough for one thread. Let the hatred flow!
    Sir Digby likes this.
  7. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

    21 Jan 2003
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    I can't see why you should get flamed too badly for what is obviously a well-formed and carefully considered opinion.

    For the most part, I tend to agree, but it depends how poor we are talking about here.

    I know a family who probably live just about on the poverty line, but they work incredibly hard to keep themselves and their children fed and clothed, their problem isn't lazyness, just a lack of skills to persue higher-paid work.

    Personally I reckon the two biggest obstacles are a lack of skills/qualifications and pure lazyness, although my experiences are (perhaps fortunately) very limited in these areas. I could be completely wrong.
  8. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

    19 Dec 2008
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    there's no simply.. but yeah imo

    I mean I know a guy from hungary here.. he came over with nothing and he speaks broken english- but he gets up, and does his thing everyday.. he came here with nothing and has more going for him than some people born here

    government handouts make alot of people lazy, that's for sure.. some people just can't see the opportunities in front of them (me being one of them! hehe) or they are really bad with money and end up in a credit card blackhole

    homeless people are legit cause they probably have mental issues they need to work out.. nothing wrong with that if that's where your at.. it's just the peeps that have 10 kids and drive a new car, iphone, all on government checks that's lazy
  9. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

    26 Aug 2004
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    laziness will lead to poverty a lot of the time, but the converse is not true at all.

    i think the rule of correlation != causation comes into play here too.
  10. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

    2 Jul 2004
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    I've been homeless as well, and I got out by staying clean, staying working, and being optimistic-because you know what, it still took the intervention of others to get me out. Once you're in, society wants you to STAY DOWN. You don't believe me? Go try it for a day. I won't tell anyone.

    Even now, it's not that people "don't want to work," it's that "people don't want to pay for honest work." My pay has nearly halved since I started at Office Depot, due to things such as removing incentive pay for certain things, then making the incentive storewide, then recalculating tax codes-and to top it off, they cut everyone's hours, but expect us to do MORE work, not the same amount. When I'm not there, I'm often taking stuff into my own little shop to repair it, to make side money.

    My wife works as a dispatcher for an answering service, forwarding calls for the doctors in the area. She may end up working 60+ hours a week some weeks, for honestly shite pay as well. Put together, for a family with two children, we don't see over the "poverty line." Part of that comes from getting paid cash for my repair work (not inconsequential, but normally just under what I HAVE to report) and we also get a rather large tax return check (last year was near 8,000 USD) so that doesn't tell the whole story (and which can just bump us above that line.)

    What that also means is that we can't save up to move to a better city economically, or save for retirement, or own our own house-things that we call part of the "American Dream." When I went to purchase a house last year, I went with 8,000 cash in hand to try and purchase a $42,000 house. I also made over 2k a month, was paying rent near three times what the payments would be, and I was denied. Reason? I wasn't in enough debt. Seriously. I was told if I had more credit cards carrying a balance (I have none) it would have gone through. We're not making it possible for people to get out of the gutter, and then we ridicule them for being there.

    I'm quitting now, this concept makes me very angry. I'mma go pick up Batman: AA now.
    talladega likes this.
  11. mvagusta

    mvagusta Did a skid that went for two weeks.

    24 Dec 2006
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    In my limited experience it's a definite YES, well here in Australia at least anyway... i'm not 100% sure about the US...

    There are heaps of exceptions, such as people stuck in a 3rd world country for one, but down here in Australia, it's definitely way too damn easy. I've got a little in common with Malfoleo in that i too was homeless for a brief period. I got there from not looking after myself well enough, but from the moment i decided to stop not giving a toss things have improoved.

    It's been ten years so far of what some might consider hard work and sacrifice, but we just consider a little maturity and not alot of laziness, and allthough me & my mrs' current net worth is currently only just over half a million dollars, once our next build is complete in a year or so on the beachside property, the figure will be very close to a million, if not there by then.
    And if we had worked just a little harder, there were a few times we got a little lazy & slacked off a little, we would definitely be millionaires by now, well just, anyway.
  12. Furymouse

    Furymouse Like connect 4 in dagger terms

    4 Feb 2004
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    Yes and no are way to clear cut for such a complex issue. I would lean more to the yes side if pushed into a corner though. As far as laziness causing poverty....I would say it's more apathy of people concerning what's happening in their lives. Alot of people live such that as long as they have a next meal they are happy.
  13. NethLyn

    NethLyn Minimodder

    24 Apr 2009
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    Three redundancies later I can see that I was being lazy with my career, I was never a "stab-you-in-the-face-for-that-promotion" type of operator but I didn't have a backup plan after I'd achieved my first goal, nor did I learn the lesson to get out when you don't get the promotion rather than wait for the next chance.

    On the upside, I have been prepared for the last year of recession six years in advance, so I know how to batten down the hatches. Everybody's lazy about something, it's too broad a term to apply to every bad situation - but it applies in more cases than people, especially condescending lefty politicians, care to admit.

    Instead of signing on a year ago I went temping and filled the gaps with some courses, that's still going on but I'm better with my money now than at any stage in my life including when I was earning twice as much as I do now. Ultimately if your laziness is only affecting yourself and not others, then it's not a life or death issue - eventually even the laziest people might get tired of how things are and then get on with changing them (or they're just forced to like I was).
  14. Shabing

    Shabing What's a Dremel?

    27 Nov 2008
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    Read Down and Out in Paris and London. It's quite old, but I doubt much has changed for those that are what I would call seriously poor, i.e. having barely enough money to pay for food and a roof over your head.

    It's ridiculous to say that ALL poor people are lazy, just as it's daft to say all wealthy people are hard-working.

    I'm not saying there aren't people who are both poor and lazy. One doesn't infer the other though. I come across blaggers in my line of work (I work for the Department for Work & Pensions, Jobcentre Plus), but they're surprisingly few and far between.
  15. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

    23 Jan 2009
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    Some are lazy. Others are not. I voted no because my dad was one of the poor immigrants(refugee from Vietnam) who came here with nothing and made himself a living(quite a good one). But there are in fact lazy people. As one of the above posters said, society wants to keep you down once you've hit the poverty line, whether you like it or not.
  16. Techno-Dann

    Techno-Dann Disgruntled kumquat

    22 Jan 2005
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  17. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

    19 Dec 2008
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    you hmong elton?
  18. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

    3 Mar 2004
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    In the UK we have a small but statistically significant group who abuse the benefits system and who have had no family members in work in 2 generations. As a result we have an underclass of children who live in poverty and know nothing else. Its not that they're lazy, they just don't know any different. But the worst benefit fraudsters, who blatently abuse the benefits offered to them, are corporations. Their abuses exceed the few scroungers and con artists by many factors of ten.
  19. Coldon

    Coldon What's a Dremel?

    14 Oct 2006
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    i wouldn't say laziness is the cause of poverty, I'd say low intelligence is...

    and i don't mean that in a derogatory way, if you take a person with an IQ of 130+ and a person with an IQ of 90, start them out in the same place in life, chances are that the smarter person will get further in life with the same amount of work as the less intelligent one. If you look at all the cases where some kid has worked his way out a ghetto chances are that the kid is pretty bright...

    If anything I'd say poor people are the least lazy, they often have to work much harder for what little they have, and if they don't they'll lose it.
  20. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

    23 Apr 2009
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    But the people that are reasonably well off don't get there by being lazy. A lazy person won't last long in a job that pays reasonably well, but I see people all the time in low paid jobs slacking off, mainly because they have no motivation (understandable if you're in a dead end job).

    I've seen people in my own family who are quite happy living in council housing and accepting government benefits. I've seen people that see having children as an easier way of making a living than having a career. But they can work, there's nothing wrong with them. They may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer but they just have no desire something of themselves, nor do they see any benefit in having a low paid job which takes up all the time that they could be spending at home watching TV when they could just as easily live off government handouts paid for by those that could be bothered to do something with their lives.

    At the risk of sounding like I'm stereotyping, let me just say that I'm not. I know it's not always easy to get a job, especially if you're starting out with nothing at all, and I know from experience that there are many hard working people that only just manage to get by. All I'm saying is that a greater proportion of poor people are lazy than those who are better off (obviously this doesn't count the super rich and those born into money who generally don't even have to bother lifting a finger their whole lives).

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