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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is an interesting read:

America's Second Harvest - Hunger and the Working Poor

A few snippets...

* In 2006, 16.8 million people lived in working-poor families. This translates into 7.7% of all American families living below 100% of poverty have at least one family member working
* Younger workers are more likely to be among the working poor than older workers because of lower earnings and high rates of unemployment. In 2004, 10.2% of 16 to 19 years old workers and 11.6% of 20 to 24 year old workers were living in poverty
* According to the most recent survey on hunger and homelessness conducted by the United States Conference of Mayors, 40% of adults requesting emergency food assistance were employed. In addition, 21 of the 24 cities surveyed cited unemployment as a determining factor of hunger in their communities.
* 31.6% of all client households served by the America's Second Harvest Network have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care

I ran across this charitable organization in a Wall Street Journal article. Apparently, Rent a Center has become a major player in high interest rate payday loans. Second Harvest belongs to the Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending which is pressing the state legislature to cap high interest rates on payday loans. Rent a Center is saying that if the food banks don't drop out of this coalition, they will cancel charitable contributions.

As is painfully clear to everyone these days, predatory lending practices hurt everybody. I applaud the effort to protect low income people from being exploited by big business. I'm also always looking for a good charity to get involved with. So in the spirit of taking up for those that are taking up for the little guys (rather than those that choose to exploit them), I'm countering Rent-A-Center's move by donating to Second Harvest. I'm hoping I can inspire others to do the same.

Every $1 buys 16 meals. A $100 monthly contribution results in 53 meals per day. If you're in the 35% tax bracket and you live in CA, that $100 actually costs you $56 in net income. (edit: CA state income tax is asymptotic to 9%, so that would be 44%, thus making the net income -$56)
 

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I was walking past the mental hospital the other day, and
all the patients were shouting ,'13....13....13'
The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a little gap
in the planks and looked through to see what was going on.
Some bastard poked me in the eye with a stick.
Then they all started shouting '14....14....14'...
 

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As is painfully clear to everyone these days, predatory lending practices hurt everybody. I applaud the effort to protect low income people from being exploited by big business.
While I applaud your desire to help those in need...

Is someone forcing these people to take out high interest rate loans? Do you understand how interest rates on loans are determined? What is painfully clear is how little people understand credit markets.

If you think that the interest rates offered to people with questionable credit are too high... find a group of like-minded people, pool your money and offer lower interest rate loans to people in need. Put your money where your mouth is...

Having the government step in and cap interest rates is the best way to make sure that these people have no access to credit at all.

EDIT: That last statement wasn't entirely true... they would still have access to credit: from organized crime (i.e. loansharks). I'm sure that they'd be much more reasonable at both setting interest rates and collecting late/unpaid debt.
 

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Rent a Center?

If people can't afford food because they just can't afford food, then I say give them some food. If people can't afford food because they spend $50 a month for a crappy television, then too bad.

xtn
 

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Rent a Center?

If people can't afford food because they just can't afford food, then I say give them some food. If people can't afford food because they spend $50 a month for a crappy television, then too bad.

xtn
YouTube - ABC 20/20 Freeloaders - Creating Dependency Segment


It's very rare that anyone legitimately needs food in this country. I know, I know...someone is going to say that he knew a guy or when he was a kid... blah blah...but I said rare, not never. Typically hand outs just create dependence on the system and laziness.
 

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some other points that are overlooked...

sometimes, rent a center type of places are a "lender of last resort" for some people that have no credit, bad credit, bankruptcy victims, and so forth.

i'm pretty liberal, but when people mis-prioritize and rent a big screen or crappy surround system and then complain about lack money for food? C'mon!

look..these people have managed to survive for how long??? without cellphones, bigscreens and the plethora of trinkets from a "modern society"

thank goodness i saw this on tv last night as a reminder!

BBC NEWS | Americas | Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

what do you really NEED (versus want) in life?
 

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I agree that it seems that people that are always in financial difficulty always spend unusually high amounts of money on things that are luxories like tv's, cable, computers, cigarettes, things like that. I don't know if anyone ever saw that mtv true life about being poor, but one family was living in a one bedroom house, barely any food, and was getting evicted. So they had to load up their possessions and move. Well I was starting to feel bad for these people and then it happened, the mom said, "Make sure to dig up that satellite dish, it cost us $300." I wanted to just yell at the tv, well i guess at least they could watch themselves on tv. It's frustrating and makes me not want to help if my money will just go towards something like that. The thing I always try to remember is most of those people probably have kids that aren't making the financial decisions and deserve to at least be able to eat 3 healthy meals a day and have a decent place to sleep.
 

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Isn't this just a 2008 version of that same old "welfare queen with the cadillac" myth that Reagan started back in the '80's?
 

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I am happy to give a helping hand up. I WILL NOT give a hand out.

Don't want to work? Then too damn bad - starve.

And have a nice day :)
 

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I used to work for a web company that served non-profits exclusively. They ranged in size from animal shelters all the way up to Komen, ASPCA and The Red Cross. I no longer donate to anything other than small, local charities, and when I do, I usually donate time. It was my experience that the larger the non-profit, the more waste they generated. Let me illustrate.

One national customer called one day asking about doing a "site redesign". The site was less than 2 years old, but the org was worried that the appearance was stale and uninviting. Also, there were too many working elements obstructing the brand. As in, "the Donate Now button should be moved to the bottom of the page to make room for our logo here".

To prove their point, they complained that online donations were only up ~20% for the second year, and 65% since they became our customers. I was shocked when they decided to push ahead with a $60,000 project that changed some colors, fonts and locations of buttons and links. This is a national organization you all know (and probably love). 90%+ of their donations are less than $100 each. I felt a bit used; my wife and I were donors before this.

The project itself was an endless fiasco. They had no less than 30 people making "contributions" to the project, usually by conference call or mass email. Some of them made trips to Austin to discuss the slow progress. The whole thing took 6 months and wound up costing more than 6 digits. Their progress? Donations the next year we up 10%. It is impossible to tell if the money was well spent, but I think you know my opinion.

Despite the fact that my wife and I support their mission, and that we had given every year for 6 years before this, we are no longer supporters.

There are NUMEROUS examples of this type of squander. In my experience, non-profits are generally less well-managed than government agencies. Protecting the brand (and raising revenue) is usually more important than doing the mission. Many people involved are working as volunteers, or are severely underpaid. As a result, incompetence abounds. Leadership is often missing and decisions are usually made by committee.

I know nothing about Second Harvest and they may be a fine group. However, the mission can likely be done locally; probably more effectively, too. Just go help at the food bank or give them your cash.
 

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The thing I always try to remember is most of those people probably have kids that aren't making the financial decisions and deserve to at least be able to eat 3 healthy meals a day and have a decent place to sleep.
It's not even that simple. My wife works at a homeless shelter organization. They have to reject lots of donations (actually they don't reject them they just don't get used). You want to donate some kids coats for the winter? Fine, as long as they have the proper name brand logos on them. Heaven forbid that the homeless kid could actually go to school with a no name jacket instead of an new Adidas jacket. Same with shoes, shirts, etc.

One family was "adopted" by a business for Christmas donations to the kids. They got a new TV, a new Play Station, and lots of other stuff. The next year the same company has the same family and they had the much of the same stuff on the list. You see the kids had gotten tired of the Play Station games, so they threw it away. But by the next Christmas, new games had come out and they wanted a new Play Station and the new games. This was not isolated, it was typical.

Some of the homeless can be helped and are grateful for everything they can get. Many of them (most?) however expect to be helped and are new happy with what they are given. It can be very frustrating. :shrug:
 

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My next door neighbors in my townhouse community had rent-a-center come and repossess a bunch of stuff. I was like :huh: There was lots of yelling and screaming. I think I'll be moving soon...
 

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Ignorance breeds ignorance- It's a never-ending cycle that keeps rent a center (and payday loan centers) in business-
It's not ignorance. It's willful denial.

If a person knows he can't afford food, then that person know's it's a stupid idea to spend $50 a month on a television. The fact that the person does it anyway (or anything similarly stupid) is not ignorance.

xtn
 

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I shouldn't still be surprised by the lack of compassion and understanding (of how poverty works; its cyclical nature, etc) on this site, yet here we are again.

If it makes some of you feel better to imagine the old 'welfare queen" imagery, to erect cathedrals around examples of one, to think that everyone who is poor is somehow stupid and/or lazy, that companies don't target the poor and undereducated to prey upon, then do what you must to fool yourselves.

I know you guys (mostly) are not bad people, but apparently the smells of gasoline, brake pads and burning rubber have attacked your empathy genes and those two tiny little brain parts labeled "common sense" and "how America could be 50 yrs from now".

Might I suggest that it's good mental exercise for adults to occasionally re-think their prejudices and assumptions?

I highly recommend it.
 
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