Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

The Power of Money

Posted by redsatellite on September 15, 2008

When I read something like this, it truly takes my breath away. It only reinforces my belief that we in America…have the richest poor people on the planet.

At least 21 people were crushed to death Sunday during a cash handout in an eastern Indonesian town. The people- mostly women, children and the elderly- had lined up in the town of Pasuruan, about 500 miles (804 kilometers) from the capital, to accept 40,000 rupiah ($4.25) each from a wealthy businessman.

A stampede ensued after panic broke out, pushing some into a fence, local media reports said.

“The local government had no prior knowledge of this handout, therefore the necessary personnel needed to secure the process was not in place,” said Pasuruan mayor Aminurrohman, who like many Indonesians go by one name.

Yep….four dollars and twenty five cents. 21 people dead. You can’t even wrap your head around that kind of insanity. I’m absolutely CERTAIN the poor in this country, not only have $4.25 cents, but would hardly be stampeding to get it- if they didn’t. They might get slightly irritated when people cut in line or mildly cranky if the $4.25 turned out to be a coupon. But there’s no way in Hell’s Kitchen, you would’ve had that kind of reaction.

The average welfare check here in America? $400.00….and that’s not including food stamps. If you’re poor….be grateful you’re poor HERE. Americans, rich or poor, are incredibly blessed….beyond their imagination

3 Responses to “The Power of Money”

  1. patriciaaanderson said

    While I completely agree that the US standards of poverty may seem outlandish in comparison to other nations around the world.. thought that the following information might be beneficial in putting the above article in the proper perspective.

    The amount of 40,000 rupiah (or close to $4.25 on the exchange in USD) is ALOT OF MONEY to the ‘middle income country’ as they are classed by the World Bank. The average Indonesian earns $2.36 per day according to World Bank Stats in 2006.
    And so…. that amount is nearly the equivalent of 2 days wages in Indonesia.. being given away.. tax free, for the holiday of Ramadan.

    One must also remember that the differentials of statistics are classed by many different factors when dealing with nations around the world, it is not quite as easy as simply transferring one currency in one nation, into the currency of another nation and calling it a fair exchange and comparable to the sake of argument.

    The standards of poverty as they are calculated is a much more detailed system than this.

    I would also like to say that to say that one is CERTAIN (your caps, not mine) that the poor in this country not only have but would hardly stamped to get if they didn’t.. seems to smack of a certain audaciousness and lack of sensitivity to the plight of those that may NOT have and WOULD– and most certainly would NOT BE READING this blog in order to defend themselves.

    It is at moments like this.. that I am reminded of a few things really…
    1. The reasons why I more closely align with political theories that espouse social justice rather than capitalism.
    2. The reasons why social justice and social programs tend to do better in years of Democratic leadership.

    The statistics you cited above were from a 2003 source, and thus are quite outdated now.. I would be interested to see a more recent one to support your conclusions.. particularly considering that many social programs have been cut in recent years.. sadly, programs such as the dept. of vocational rehabilitation.. which serves many of the underpriviledged and many of those that are now dealing with many of the LESSER KNOWN AND RECOGNIZED issues of poverty in america.. disability and healthcare lacking related disabilities.
    I have a suspicion that that $400 welfare check you cited above.. is no longer the case.

    In any case.. to put this blog into proper perspective..
    If you were to translate this into the American perspective..

    You are talking about an amount that is nearly two days wages at minimum wage TAX FREE.. that totals up to be nearly $100.00

    Oh yah.. poor people in America would definitely be lining up to get a free hand out of that. Bet yer sweet bippy.

  2. redsatellite said

    “I have a suspicion that that $400 welfare check you cited above.. is no longer the case.”

    I looked up another Brookings article (7/06)and found this quote:

    On earnings of $10,000, then, mothers leaving welfare have total income of well over $16,000 in cash or near cash—more than twice as much as they would have had on welfare—and their health insurance and child care are usually covered.

    “well over $16,000 in cash……more than twice as much as they would have on welfare….
    So I think a fair estimate would be ~$7,000/yr in welfare (which is now $583.00/mo not $400.00.)

    Secondly, your using the wrong math when you deem $4.25 in Indonesia equalling 2 days wages here in America. This is all free money, not wage-related. So the correct correlation would be to use the(new) 583.00 in free money. 583 divided by 30 days= $19.43. So they would be lining up for $38.86 not $100.

    There would be more than just poor people lining up for $100. I’ve seen poverty in underdeveloped countries from Africa to Mexico to the Philippines, I know what poverty is. Audacious? No…
    empirical evidence has made me CERTAIN.

  3. patriciaaanderson said

    I would respectfully disagree, Red.. (and I really do mean respectfully..) but World bank is the gold standards of statistical data that is most widely used when comparative analysis is done regarding nations.

    The amount referenced in the article, according to World Bank data does in fact transfer as I processed it the first go around.. because this was free money being given out to the populace, tax free. (My calculations were based on 8 workings hours at $5.85/hour) and the World bank standard of the wage of Indonesia of an 8 hour work day in Indonesian wage scale.

    The point was not that our poor HERE are not DEFINITELY treated much better then in other nations.. I definitely agree that Americans definitely have a much better system of treatment of the poor then MANY MANY NATIONS around the world..
    My point was.. that we here in America.. also tend to turn a rather blind eye to the plight of the poor within our own borders.. and to see it with a rather cynical eye.. as if to say that our own poor are not doing enough.. are not grateful enough.. and somehow we seem to have developed the mentality that they somehow are sinking the system for more then what they have a right to.. or should have.. and I think that is a very DANGEROUS ideal system.. very dangerous indeed.

    Because those that have TODAY.. may not have tomorrow..

    Is it true that there are those that abuse the system? Without a doubt.. but likewise.. there are plenty of people who are “haves” that abuse the system to their gain as well… there are unscrupulous people in every walk and tax bracket of life.

    But it is a very slippery slope when we start saying that or even hinting that all are that way.. or that they are less than grateful.. or wouldn’t do the hard work of acquiring what they could by any means necessary… I just really hate to see when people assume it.. unless they’ve walked a mile in the shoes of the poor. I’ve been there, I’ve done it. Many times what has seperated me from others, has been the love of family and the blessings of the merciful Heavens.

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