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Host Theresa Mitchell focuses on poverty and the financial arena.
You don't have to be in poverty to not be able to afford to have a tooth fixed. My husband had been going more than six months with a rotting tooth. He didn't even have the money to have it pulled, let alone the $4000 to 5000 to have a prosthetic tooth put in and we have dental insurance--but the limit is $1000 a year. It isn't his fault--its his heredity and the place he grew up that gave him bad teeth. Finally, he had to get it pulled --co-workers were starting to tell him how bad his breath smelled and now we can't make our loan payment on our home equity line of credit because the dentist made him pay cash up front. We have a good income--around $70,000--but all our money is committed to the oil companies, the gas and electricity companies, the garbage, sewer and water providers, the usurious credit card companies--21 to 29%, the mortgage on a tiny crumbling house and the equity line of credit, the businesses that charge an arm and a leg to put in new windows and new siding, the life and car insurance companies--and other than our nice computer, we don't have lots of toys--no boat, no big screen t.v., no WII or PlayStation--don't even have a DVD player--no vacations to exotic places, like the Oregon Coast--no fun recreation if it requires funds or special equipment, no attendance at plays or concerts, no visits to aging relatives, and now we are having to cut back on charity and organizations we belong to. My husband buys his suit jackets at Goodwill. We're about to quit our church because we can't give. And people like Dave Ramsey and Susie Orman continue to perpetuate the notion that it is the people's fault for not managing their money better. Maybe a little, but, no, it is banks and businesses and government's fault--they never want to raise the wages--they haven't gone up in real dollars since 1977 and yet they want to continually raise prices and rates. (Businesses that contract with the government should really be examined--they think they've found the cash cow.) We have to pass usury laws. The high interest rates are what is ruining us--the money is all flowing to the banks and into the hands of the few wealthy. And the big myth of home ownership--well, it has been a source of equity for us but that is all gone--we owe more than our home is worth now and we need about $50,000 to fix it up to sell it or even to make it livable for all the people crowded into it.
The state is going to cut back on funds for developmentally disabled people. What a sad thing. To me the greatest tragedy of poverty is no art, no music, no dance, no fresh and delicious food, no trips into the countryside, no trips to connect to family--so what do you have--maybe really bad television--maybe some have books to read or video games to play--alone, in their small grimey room--having macaroni and cheese from a box again.
I don't think the report on poverty even begins to touch the tip of the iceberg--and the tip of the coming poverty as baby boomers who are now expected to work until they are 67 will not be able to do it and so many will have nothing but maybe Social Security pay which is abysmal. We better get ready with lots and lots more homeless shelters or else send the elderly out on an ice floe.
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