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Yes, Half of Americans Are In or Near Poverty: Here's More Evidence


#21

“Wealth” is not a fixed number. Even if you believe in a “labor theory of value”, wealth expands because there is more labor.

As for the people in poverty, it’s a split decision. The absolute # is up from 36M in 1964 to 46M, but the percentage of the population is down - from 19% to 14.8%. Additionally, these numbers do not include government programs. In 2012, spending in government programs for the poor was more than $600M versus $60M in 1964 (in 2014 dollars). So, although there were 20% more individuals, they were receiving roughly 10x as much support.


#22

And the elite are about to steal more from the common people-----everything happening right now is for the powerful getting these tax cuts . Trump,republicans,media and maybe some democrats are figuring out a way to pass these tax cuts for the rich. These tax cuts will be devastating for the common people.

Also think what Alaska did with its oil royalty’s --they pay every Alaskan $1000. a year from these royalty’s. The same thing should happen across the US—companies and people who make a profit off the common people of the US should return something to the people----the people own this country and all people should share in its wealth----just like being shareholders----your born in the US your a shareholder. STOP BEING SLAVES----WE ARE THE OWNERS! SUPPORT THE COMMONS!


#23

I assume then that you are in favor of reducing the taxes that the rich have to pay and increasing taxes on the poor since you claim that there are less people in poverty now. You say that I’m incorrect. I say that you didn’t comprehend the point I was making in the first place.


#24

Well, you know what happens when you “assume”.

I’m not sure how you got to that conclusion from the fact that wealth is not a zero sum game and that the poor do not necessarily have to get poorer for the rich to get richer.


#27

You might consider moving to Mexico. I lived and worked in Mexico and meant many retired Americans there and many told me their retirement went a lot further in Mexico. But even better yet according to my relatives that have moved there, is Costa Rica. Also, my nephew moved to New Zealand many years ago and loves it; but New Zealand is a very difficult country to move to unless you have lots of $ or high skills that they want.


#28

Americans are being cheated by the elites and our “selected” elected officials. Laws have been passed that allow parasite companies to siphon dollars away from the services they were to fund. These parasite companies are legally allowed to be created and use tax payer dollars for their own gain.
There are so many examples it is hard to know where to begin: privatizing jails without insisting that the money from taxes goes to rehab and community support; there are companies that take funding from the welfare system to line their pockets and their special interests; school vouchers take public school allotments for their private use with little to no regulations; giving private “businesses” taxpayer dollars to fix public infrastructure without demanding accountability; creating legislation that helps those big business corporations with no parameters to the money’s use- including not making them pay taxes and putting a specific amount of fair paying jobs they must create for the money; allowing defense to spend and spend with no accountability; and then there are the banks… enough said. We the people are being cheated.


#29

No, we want justice.


#30

Wealth is not a fixed number, but since wealth is a function of resources, and resources are a fixed amount in a finite world…

Several studies have put the increase in ‘wealth’ in the world as a function of energy availability, and thus the wealth increase of the last several hundred years is a direct function of the increase in fossil fuel usage, which is the direct cause of much of the problem of global warming, which will be a direct cause of the coming collapse, I believe even you can make the connections.

As for 50 years trends, anyone knows past performance is no indication of future results…or something like that.


#31

Wealth is a function of many factors, including natural resources, energy, innovation (so note, for example, how much more we do today with less material investment and less energy than 100 years ago).

The real key is the differential in the rate of growth in wealth and the rate of growth in population. If population is growing faster than wealth, then on average, people get poorer. If wealth grows faster than population, people on average get richer. Over the past 200 years, wealth has grown at a much faster rate than population. Whether that continues in the future is anyone’s guess.


#32

You still don’t seem to be grasping the point that the last 200 years of fast growth is due to the burning of fossil fuels and the increase energy usage per capita. You also don’t seem to grasp that you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet. As for technology being the solution to our problems, people in third world countries growing their crops with their own shit and doing without electricity have far less impact on the global climate than the average American on a per capita basis. Our technology is a big part of the problem, all the cities lit up like daylight all night long, 3000lb vehicles screaming down paved highways at 70 mph, mining for rare metals to feed our iphone habits, the waste of electricity by long distance transmission…and on and on.


#33

You don’t seem to grasp that I am merely stating mathematical laws. You also don’t grasp that over the past 200 years, technology has become more and more efficient, and continues to become more so. The amount of materials and energy to produce just about anything has steadily declined over the years, while at the same time, the end product has become better.

As examples, simply look at the greater efficiency of an LED bulb in terms of cost/lumen over time - the LED is more than 5x as cost effective, and uses less resources.

Our technology is the only thing that can provide a solution that doesn’t involve Malthus.


#34

While I agree with you that @WWSmith is failing to account for the future costs of environmental damage in past growth - I don’t see why renewable energy can’t make for sustainable well-planned growth in the future. Many resources are indeed finite but some are effectively not - and I’d put sunlight in that category.


#35

I have thought of a foreign land but I have a auditory aphasia, I’m deaf and reading lips and faces would be hard. My family is from Scotland and even that would be weird, I’m kinda stuck here.


#36

Are we born slaves or owners? The commons once had a great understanding in our culture. The rich with all their schools have stripped this knowledge away.

Water is a perfect example----Nestle or Arrowhead pumps thousands of gallons of water from the mountains near by----they have been paying $600. a year to pump this water ----this is equal to what one customer might pay for water???The mountain is drying up and is now a fire hazard -----who pays for all this. The Trump administration just approved this company Cadiz to pump water out of the Mojave desert----this will destroy the desert—what in ten years we will see giant blazing desert fires and just shrug it off as strange. WATER IS NOT A PRODUCT FOR THE RICH TO GET RICH OFF OF----IT BELONGS TO ALL THE PEOPLE.


#40

Thanks for your reply to my suggestion.


#41

You are welcome Shantiananda.


#42

And where has all our crap gotten us?


#44

Yes the Sun will continue releasing energy for billions of years that we can use in solar panels, however, just because solar utilizes visible light does not make it infinite. We need to measure our resources based on sustainability instead of renewability, and we need to consider ALL materials that go into manufacturing these sources when we determine sustainability. Yes Solar generates electricity from the sun, which we define to be inexhaustible, but the materials such as lithium, gallium, indium, cadmium, silicon, tellurium, copper, silver etc are not infinite resources. All of these materials are finite and in fact non-renewable. If we run out of cadmium we cannot make CdTe solar panels anymore even though the sun may still exist.

As you may have noticed I do not support renewability, because the way we use this term is extremely misleading in comparing energy sources. One interesting question I have continuously made is what effect raising prices on petrochemicals has on wind. Wind energy is a renewable resource, because we say the wind is renewable (which doesn’t really make any sense when you actually define terms). What bugs me is people fail to recognize that wind turbines extensively require petrochemicals and coal for carbon fiber and fiberglass blades, steel frames, and concrete foundations. If we run out of fossil fuels- you cannot have wind energy anymore based on current technology. In fact if we actually ran out of fossil fuels we likely could not produce any energy.

“Renewables” will likely continue to grow, but there are so major challenges that need to be addressed before they overtake fossil fuel production. The greatest of which is likely to be storage. Not even looking at economics of full scale storage for intermittent sources, there is a considerable problem for large countries in creating enough storage for at least 2TW of capacity. The USA is put in an even greater risk, due to our lack of large bodies of water with high volumetric discharge, unlike other countries like China. Relying on battery storage is an issue not because of efficiency or cost, but because we literally do not have enough resources to manufacture enough batteries to store the entire US grid based on current technology. Id like you to consider the following sources that were calculated by someone who actually supports renewables:
https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/
https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

Lastly, I want to explain why I do not support “renewables”:

  1. There is no current method nor do we attempt to quantify renewability. Have you ever consider this to be odd? We compare energy sources if they are renewable or not, but our evidence in determining renewability is entirely subjective. We do not associate a value to renewability, nor do we compare renewable sources as being on their renewability. How much more renewable is solar than wind or biomass? There is no answer, because there is no way to currently calculate this term. If there is no current way to calculate value in a comparative term, why are we using it as a comparison? What statistical evidence do we have that this a good comparison?

  2. I am a nuclear supporter, and as a nuclear supporter it is extremely difficult for me to understand renewables relationship with nuclear. Solar, wind, hydro, and biomass are only possible due to the energy emitted by the sun that comes into contact with the earth. Where does this energy come from? 100% of all energy emitted from sun is the resultant of nuclear fusion reactions. Yet nuclear fusion is non-renewable and solar is renewable? I’m not doubting that nuclear is non-renewable- that makes sense, given that is a fusion reaction in the sun duetrium and tritium undergo fusion to produce helium and release energy, and at no time is the sun replenishing the hydrogen isotopes. It makes sense that it is non-renewable. However, what makes entirely no sense is by some miracle that released non-renewable energy somehow becomes renewable when it is absorbed by solar panels, or plants or water but only if run through a small turbine. That is ridiculous… The universal reality is there is no such thing as renewable energy.

  3. When I bring up point #2 the common explanation is that renewable source replenish themselves within a human timeline or there is so much energy that their existence does not significantly reduce the energy resource. There are problems with both of these. For " renewable source replenish themselves within a human timeline" this is not a true statement. At no time does a solar panel produce visible light wavelengths nor does a wind turbine produce wind nor does a hydroelectric plant produce water. Furthermore to suggest that your source is replenishing the resource suggests that you are producing 100% of that source back into the environment. This is fallacy, because to do so would violate the 1st law of thermodynamics and create a perpetual motion machine. The energy you receive from solar is not 100% of the energy that was converted by the panel. An amount of the energy was lost during conversion, and transmission and during storage, so at no time are you ever replenishing all of the energy.
    For “there is so much energy that their existence does not significantly reduce the energy resource” this completely alters the definition of renewable. Instead of being about replenishing, now the term is entirely classified by the amount of supply. All it takes to be renewable now is enough supply and therefore the amount of resources that is used does not diminish enough of the resource. Why is this significant? Well by changing the definition to this instead of replenishing now there are some sources that can no longer be renewable and there are some sources that can no be considered to be renewables. For example biomass may largely no longer be renewable because the amount of crops or algae to meet consumption greatly reduces the amount of supply making it a significant decrease and no longer renewable. On the other hand nuclear fusion and nuclear fission can now be classified as renewable, because fusion requires hydrogen and there is enough hydrogen on earth to generate energy for millions of years. Nuclear fission is also renewable based on total fissile material including all uranium, thorium and plutonium on both land and ocean resulting in resources for thousands of years.


#45

Dramatically longer lifespans and higher standards of living. If you prefer a life that is “nasty, brutish and short” you are more than welcome to turn your back on technology


#46

Well, I still prefer “renewable” over “not renewable” - but I agree whole heartedly with the “truth in labelling” issue that you’ve raised.

It’s like preferring to consume certain type of food products. If anyone’s free to use terms like “organic” anyway they want, then lot’s of things got labelled “organic” falsely just to sell stuff. I want a truthful label that tells me about pesticide usage in seeds and growth, proper care of animals (for meat /eggs/other animal products), Fair trade & GMO considerations, and so forth.

So yes - it would be great if we had proper and truthful labelling of energy sources that quantify things like resource usage in equipment and energy production, resource availability (sustainability), affect on environment (e.g. carbon usage, affect on wildlife, potential damage under accidents), quality of work for people in the production and delivery of the energy source, and so forth.

More information - especially easily understood information - always allows us to make better choices and I want to make better choices.