Aug 5, 2011

Poverty As A Growth Industry

When I ran as an independent candidate for mayor in 2005, I was shunned for my politically incorrect statements. The Morning Call declined to run my photograph, allow me to participate in their sponsored debate, or profile my candidacy. Because I said that Allentown had become a poverty magnet, the NAACP president asked me to prove that I was not a racist. Since that time the community has learned that I never was a racist, the term Poverty Magnet is used by no less than Alan Jennings, but poverty continues as a growth industry. While the NAACP president was questioning me, he never disclosed that he was employed by Jennings. If organizations such as Jennings' Community Action Committee of The Lehigh Valley just serve existing poverty, or help attract more to the valley, remains a taboo question. As a center city property manager for many years, who asked thousands of people why they moved here, I knew the answer. Putting aside the Poverty Magnet, one thing is for certain; poverty is a growth industry. Jennings and other poverty entrepreneurs would have you believe that they alone provide for the poor among us. Actually the city, county and state have thousands of employees and millions of dollars for that purpose. Jennings' organization became so large, that when he complains of one cutback, another branch is receiving grants. Three years into the great recession, a state sponsored job training program is finally cutting back. Considering the want ads have been non-existent, who have they been training for what? Jennings will go on. Years ago Habitat for Humanity built a few houses on N. 5th Street. Although the newspaper article stated the new owners put in sweat equity, in fact, they could hardly get near the place. Different congregations were literally lined up and waiting to work, they needed a coordinator to keep it from being too crowded and dangerous. There is always a corporation or a church looking to feel good about itself. Occasionally, there will be a bastard like me, to question what's really going on.

this post was written with a grant from the Council of Bastards

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good idea, Allentown, just jam some more people into an already over crowded space.
Some of the shelter people come with automobiles.
This is a neighborhood where many, if not most of the homes have been converted to multi-unit dwellings. "After work" parking is at a premium here in the neighborhood.
The city routinely denies working, tax paying, residents the privilege of having so much as a "paper" office in their homes - ostensibly due to parking.
The parking authority will profit from ticketing the homeless too.
This in no way serves the people living here.
Feeling the flux.
.

Anonymous said...

To continue this question of what's going on at Habitat for Humanity, the houses built by HFH on the hillside above the casino now are a mess. Garbage, torn screens, discolored siding, junk on the front lawns and more. HFH does not follow through with its feel good pledge to be betterment to the community. Your description of folks lining up to feel good about themselves is right on target and that guy who criticized you still works for Alan.

gary ledebur said...

William F. Buckley, Jr. used to say that folks like me, raised in the sixties, wanted to end poverty, unemployment, wars and injustice. In the forty years since, we still have poverty, unemployment, wars and injustice.

The only difference, I and many of my friends from the sixties have made a good living fighting poverty, unemployment, wars and injustice.

Leah Brahms said...

Allentown is now the Access card capitol of the world, nobody works here anymore they all mooch off the government.maybe they should have an access card pride day in Allentown and have a prize for whoever can fill up the most shopping carts with groceries at the taxpayers expense.

Anonymous said...

tmi from ledeber

Anonymous said...

Comrade Ledebur,

Perhaps you and your well-connected buddies have made more than a couple of bucks to crow about ...

... but I think it is pretty safe to safe 40-50 years later --- you and your well-connected buddies accomplished very little save line your own pockets.

V. LENIN

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:34 and 9:41, i found gary's comment both honest and insightful.

Anonymous said...

I find it rather naïve, for many folk of "The Valley" to think that poverty is not a business. A very big one I might ad. Look at the players. Most non profits, including Mr Jennings corporation, make a decent living off of the industry of the poor for many of their employees.

If you were to study their business model, much of the benefit derived from their tax free status, you would probably come to the conclusion they are very similar in their practice of the business processes and goals of taxable corporations. The chief difference though, as of late, is they may very well be more profitable than taxed corporations.

The executives and their underlings, in many cases, live quite well and often far removed from the populations from which they serve and derive their personal income and wealth. This is a disconnect. There is a duality in existence that dictates an inherent paradox in values and practices.

How would they ever know what it is like to try and get fresh fruits and vegetables in a local store or even have their shopping decisions dictated by how far the stores are within a reasonable and safe walking difference of their homes?

Of interest as well, is the nature and source of political connections developed through the executive teams of many of these institutions. Want to see the goals and objectives of the chief poor provider than go onto the web site of any local united way and you will see who defines poverty and dictates who will benefit and how they will benefit.

Yes I know all corporate leaders are really altruistic (sic) at heart. It is part and parcel of their ascendancy up the corporate ladder. Developed, I presume, through their compassion for the collateral damage they inflicted to select colleagues on their way up.

But in the long run who do they really support, the guy/gal who is trying to supply housing and nourishment for the homeless, or who ever seems to have the in on the grant market at the moment? I will refer you to previous posts on restaurants and hockey rinks. I think those winning the grants is the choice.

They ultimately will associate with who the winners are. The winners, often to them, are those with the grant money and the vision imbued upon them by their checking accounts and political whims.

The real shame is that if these folks were true businessmen or businesswoman they would have had the foresight to see at least glimpses of the current fiscal crisis and develop their own funding mechanisms, not victims of the whims of our current crop of self serving politicians. Poverty and misfortune are not dispelled when grant funding dries up.

Get rid of all tax frees or impress upon them the need to really support their communities responsibly. Not in a manner that best serves their business interests, but the true interests of the community.

Anonymous said...

I find Comrade Ledebur's comment to be extremely honest and insightful, as well.

The Soviet Experiment was, of course, a catastrophic failure ...

... but you better believe we had Politburo members, other Party Apparatchiks and, of course, military officers who lived quite well, indeed, in the old USSR.

gary ledebur said...

my favorite Arnold Toynbee quote:

"The history of civilization is the rich convincing the middle class to pay for the lower class."

steelbreast said...

Haven't we gone too far to try to paint our political opponents as communists? Come on guys try to get into the 21st century. We should be able to paint those who try to stop injustice and end poverty with a better brush. How about "poverty pimps?"

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite quotes from history :

"Socialism works great until you run out of other people's money." --- Margaret Thatcher

E. THAELMANN

Anonymous said...

I hear Obama want to extend unemployment compensation. This is stupid. People are out of work because they could not hack it working for a living. I don't want my taxes supporting some shiftless dude who got laid off from Kraft or Scott Chevrolet.

End socialism now. Vouchers for all school students, and no medicare, medicaid nor social security. Work hard, pay your bills and save for old age. That worked for my grandparents, parents and it will work for me.

Anonymous said...

Ain't painting nothin' today, Comrade Steelbreast...

...merely making historical comparisons with respect to Big Government Bureaucrats, sharing my own personal experiences...

...and leaving the Citizenry to decide for itself just exactly what the bleep is going on here in America.

Vote for whomever you wish, as always.

V. LENIN

ironpigpen said...

Prime Minister SILVIO BERLUSCONI, who used to own the powerful AC Milan football club, has pledged that Italy will work immediately to enact a balanced budget amendment.

www.cbc.ca/news/business/2011/08/05/italy-budget-g7-finance-ministers.html

Wow!

Italy's Prime Minister is a HOSTAGE-TAKING TERRORIST!

Anonymous said...

You can say what you want about Berlusconi but he has priorities in order: young girls, lots of money and political power. Priceless!

Anonymous said...

"The history of civilization is the rich convincing the middle class to pay for the lower class."

Is that better than "forcing" the rich to pay for the poor?

Anonymous said...

no silly, the rich get a free ride--the middle class are the suckers

gary ledebur said...

MM: Can you explain to me how the millionaires and billionaires have been able to convince the middle class tea party members to advocate for their tax cuts and breaks for jets, yachts, off-shore bank accounts and many other gimmicks not available to the rest of us who make less than seven figures?

michael molovinsky said...

gary, recently i saw a headline on the huffington post with piles of money, the headline said millionaires don't pay taxes. I do not believe that class agitation. in reality, they're in a higher bracket, and most pay 35%. secondly, i don't count other people's money.

gary ledebur said...

MM: You did not answer my question--you seem to doubt my facts. Show me a billionaire that pays 35% of his earnings in taxes and I will show you a billionaire with an incompetent accountant. Warren Buffett pays a tax rate of 15% (capital gains) on his earnings and his secretary pays @ 28%. Is this fair?

Does it bother you that Exxon, with the highest profits of any company in history, gets tax credits, not deductions, for drilling oil wells while we pay $4.00 a gallon for gas? General Electric pays no taxes at all and has an entire floor of accountants working full time to ensure the company pays no taxes.

I hear Butz gets a full write off on his helicopter while a waitress at the Fairgrounds hotel pays taxes on her estimated tips whether she gets them or not.

I thought you were an advocate for the middle class?

gary ledebur said...

By the way, I was at a cocktail party on the Main Line last weekend (don't ask me how I got invited) with many folks with 7 and 8 figure incomes. You may have seen the multi-million dollar estates there. Well anyway after three 12 year old scotches I started to inquire about their taxes. In short, with only one exception (an interesting story for later) they all said they were happy and a bit surprised the tea party was keeping their taxes low. Did they feel guilty for not paying their share--hell no! They believe they are superior to the tea partiers and the rest of us in the middle class. They are the job creators ---although for most the only jobs they seem to create are for the Mexicans who come to southeast PA in the summer to clean pools and cut grass.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, i believe that there is also a statistic which shows that the top 1% of the population pays about 70% of the taxes received. i know the billionaires and millionaires annoy you, but i suspect that you're more annoyed by the business executives than the baseball players and professional athletes. at any rate, this post has nothing to do with tax rates as punishment.

gary ledebur said...

I never said anything about tax rates as punishments. stop spinning

Fair taxes for all---if you reap the benefits of our economy you have a responsibility to conribute!

michael molovinsky said...

imo, fair would be a flat tax, with all receiving the same rate, including all those currently below the minimum, who pay nothing, but get money back. anyway, i prefer not to host these tax rate arguments

Anonymous said...

"Show me a billionaire that pays 35% of his earnings in taxes"

If 50% of workers don't pay taxes at all, where is all the revenue coming from? Only the large corporations that are part of Obama's close knit group, don't pay taxes. Giving huge donations to the Democrats has it's benefits! GE's Immelt is just one! I never felt I was a "victim" of the rich, but I do feel a victim of the Dems and their failed social programs that help democrat politicians instead of the poor they claim to love so much.

Anonymous said...

"no silly, the rich get a free ride--the middle class are the suckers"

If you, (the middle class,)work for a corporation, you should quit. Being a "sucker" for the corporate America you hate would be hypocritical! Make it on your own! How about Cuba? I hear they are looking for suckers!

Anonymous said...

According to the IRS, roughly 8,000 Americans had incomes of 10.0 million U.S. dollars or more and, altogether, this group made about 240 BILLION U.S. dollars last year.

If Comrade Ledebur taxed these people at the rate of 100% --- the Federal Government would have enough money to operate for ABOUT FIFTEEN DAYS.

According to the IRS, roughly 2% of American households have an income of $ 250,000 or more.

Taxing this group at 100% of income earned would give the Federal Government roughly 1.4 TRILLION U.S. dollars ...

... enough to run Big Government for 141 days (which still leaves 224 days unaccounted for).

I say, go ahead and let the Dummycrats take it all.

It's the SPENDING, Comrade!

V. LENIN

gary ledebur said...

You guys are making my point about carrying water for the rich. The rich are laughing at you all the way to the bank, or should I say off-shore accounts.

Anonymous said...

Gary, you're missing IPP's point. The fact is that the only way we can pay for this spending spree is to hit the middle class, and hit it hard. By arguing against the level of spending, we're protecting ourselves because our illustrious elected officials aren't intelligent enough to figure this out.

steelbreast said...

Although I hate to admit it Ledeber may have a point. I recently found out that the Koch brothers, two of the richest men in America, are funding the Tea Party with over 2 million in organizing money. I don't think it is because they are worried about the debt and deficit. When you take that kind of money you don't pull the tail of the sugar-daddies.

former councilman said...

Anon 2:13 - You are right. With the current debt and baby boomers costs to medicare and social security only the middle class has enough money to pay the bill. Molovinsky writes a blog entitled "Poverty as a Growth Industry" and wants to avoid posts on taxes. He is living somewhere else. Ledebur thinks the tax cuts for the rich are to blame. He is wrong. It is Defense, Medicare and Social Security costs, current and those looming in the out years, that will bring this country to its knees.

Anonymous said...

"the Koch brothers, two of the richest men in America,"

You forgot to mention the Hollywood left and George Soros.
The bottom line is that hard working people that "earn" their money, are the ones that keep America going, not the poor. All of us are tired of funding all the derelicts which includes most of the politicians. They have no right to redistribute (steal) what I have earned so they can buy voters. That's what Socialist and Communist countries do. Stop being a victim feeling sorry for yourself and work for what you want! You leftists are a bunch of losers!

Anonymous said...

"The rich are laughing at you all the way to the bank, or should I say off-shore accounts"
Do you mean Immelt of GE? Your arguments are really getting old. I guess that is the way it is with Socialist cry baby victims that can't make it without government help! Maybe you should be working to improve your lot instead of wasting time on blog sights whining about the successful not giving you enough!

gary ledebur said...

I have never seen so many posts defending the rich by folks who would never be invited to their parties. As Leona Helmsley said, "Only the little people pay taxes."

Anonymous said...

"Only the little people pay taxes."
We don't mind paying taxes, it's how much we pay and what our taxes are being used for that we don't like! As I said, if you want more, work for it! Stop blaming the "rich"! Wallowing in a pool of your tears will get you nowhere!

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and tax "the Rich" at 100%. Not just the "millionaires and billionaires" with their "corporate jets", either. Hit every household who grosses $ 250,000 combined, as well.

Take it all.

Lower the "definition" of "rich" to, say, $ 200,000 or $ 150,000 gross and shake them down for 100%, too.

Probably still ain't enough.

IT's THE SPENDING

I don't care WHO you are or HOW MUCH you make --- I have a very hard time believing YOUR TAXES in America will not be going UP (and considerably) in next few years.

Yes, a very hard time, indeed.

Sincerely,
16.7 TRILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT
(I used to be only 14.3 trillion)