The 50th Anniversary of the W.o.P.


            Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe. So, what does ‘W.o.P.’ stand for? Two clues. First; our President was Lyndon Baines Johnson when the W.o.P. was started. Second; the ‘W’ stands for War. So, with those two clues can we figure out ‘what’ war was started fifty years ago today? Could it be a ‘War On Politicians’? Not likely, they are still around and messing things up royally. One would hope we would win that war. War on pot?  Wrong. However, if that had been the case we would be loosing that war, too. War on the Phillipines? Nope. War on Prejudice? Wrong, but that is a war that I would happily fight and give my life for.

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So, what was this war that was started by President L.B.J. fifty years ago today? The War on Poverty. We beat back the Nazis and Fascists in World War II. We fought and beat back, for many years, the North Koreans in the ‘Korean War’.  As well, at the cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars, and thanks to the engine of free enterprise, we beat back Communism and won the ‘Cold War’. Recently, we won a war against a terrible dictator in the sandy hellhole that is Iraq. 

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However, America has failed, and lost the fifty year ‘War on Poverty’. I write this article for publication on January 8th, 2014 the fiftieth Anniversary of President L.B.J.’s State of the Union Address January 8th, 1964. At the time of this speech, the Poverty Rate in America flirted around 19%. It was higher in some southern states, and in all large urban cities.

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An empowered and less partisan Congress WORKED TOGETHER to pass the following legislation:

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[Above information thanks to Wiki]

My Dear Readers, over the past eighteen months I have been doing a substantial amount of research on this subject, poverty. I have endeavored to publish, on a regular basis, on the subject of poverty. Here are five examples of recent publications on this subject:

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  •  Avarice in America : My problem lies with my fellow man’s avarice. Avarice. Now there is a very old word, a very old word indeed. King Midas had dreams of avarice. King Solomon is what most would see is the epitome of avarice. What follows is the dictionary definition of avarice; “extreme greed for wealth or material gain
  • Pope Francis Strikes AGAIN : ““The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.”[1]
  • Why Must Congress Cut Food Stamps… NOW? : “When LBJ took over the Presidency from our slain President Kennedy, he did not ride on his laurels or those of his running mate. On January 8th, 1964 (I would have been six) Lyndon Baines Johnson changed America by announcing the beginning of the War On Poverty[2] This war was joined by legislation such as the; ‘Social Security Amendments of 1965’’[3]’, ‘Food Stamp Act of 1964’[4], ‘Economic Opportunity Act of 1964’’[5], and ‘Elementary and Secondary Education Act’’[6]. These laws were passed, all of them, with (what we cannot seem to do for the life of US) Bi-Partisan support! In the House of Representatives and the Untied States Senate these pieces of legislation received wide Bi-Partisan support. The major reason why the strong, and across party lines, support?”
  • The Whittiling of America : “My Dear Readers, right now we’re watching the ‘whittling away’ of America. Let me take a moment and try to explain. What I see in America disturbs me greatly, more than even I can put into words (and that, My Dear Readers is QUITE A FEAT). I see this now, and I just can’t take this ‘whittling away’ at the very core of our country. I see it every day. We all know right now America is only ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’. The great thing is most that can read, write and speak ARE ‘haves’.”
  •  The Whittling of America – Part Two – Enclaves : “I see a ‘Hooverville’! I just put, My Dear Readers, an embedded link in that last proper noun ‘Hooverville’. Now for everyone that did want to click the link and go to another page? I completely understand. Let me explain, quite simply Hooverville’s were shanty-towns created by homeless Americans during The Great Depression. These shanty-towns were named after Pres. Herbert Hoover, because he was mostly blamed for the advent of the Great Depression. Again, My Dear Readers, this is July 23, 2013!”

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Homeless Children in U.S. 2006-2011

Homeless Children in U.S. 2006-2011

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Five articles spanning the past seven months. If you are a regular here @ The Other Shoe? Then you know and understand that this topic is very important, and personal, for me. In 2003 I was living in Westwood, CA in a two bedroom/two bath apartment earning roughly $50,000 a year, not including commission for sales and yearly bonuses. Now, I make just $960 a month in Social Security Disability benefits… and what money I garner via occasional charitable funding campaigns. I live in poverty.

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Factoids From Latest U.S. Census Numbers

  • The Census Bureau today released data indicating that the overall poverty rate in 2011 was 15.0 percent – statistically unchanged from 15.1 percent in 2010. This represents 46.2 million people living in poverty in 2011.
  • Median household income was $50,054 in 2011, which is a statistically significant decrease of 1.5 percent from 2010.
  • Today’s data indicate that there were 16.1 million children (persons under 18) living in poverty in 2011, not significantly changed from 2010. The child poverty rate was 21.9 percent, not significantly changed from the 2010 rate of 22.0 percent.
  • For African-American children, the poverty rate reported today was 37.4 percent for 2011. The rate for Hispanic children was 34.1 percent. For non-Hispanic, White children the rate was 12.5 percent.
  • Children living in female-headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6 percent, over four times the rate of children in married-couple families (10.9 percent).
  • The poverty rate for people age 65 and over was 8.7 percent, statistically unchanged from 2010.
  • In 2011, 6.6 percent of all people, or 20.4 million people, lived in deep poverty (had income below one-half the poverty threshold, or $11,511 for a family of four).
  • The overall poverty rate of 15.0 percent in 2011 did not change significantly from 2010. In contrast, the poverty rate had risen significantly in seven of the prior 10 years from a recent low of 11.3 percent in 2000.
  • These figures reflect money income only and do not reflect in-kind public supports, tax credits, most ARRA-funded expansions and temporary reductions in the payroll tax. Data incorporating these and other noncash benefits and how they affect measures of poverty will not be available until November.

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As I said, I am devoting a great deal of time on this subject. Researching and learning, more and more with each and every passing week/month. Just recently I learned about the

 

  • ·        ‘Gini Coefficient’ – The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example levels of income). A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has the same income). A Gini coefficient of one (or 100%) expresses maximal inequality among values (for example where only one person has all the income).[3][4] However, a value greater than one may occur if some persons have negative income or wealth. For larger groups, values close to or above 1 are very unlikely in practice.”[7]

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When this algorithm is used in evaluating the income distribution of the top 133 nations, you are left with a stark and startling realization about America. Please table the graph below:

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Table 8: Income equality in selected countries

Country/Overall Rank

Gini Coefficient

1. Sweden

23.0

2. Norway

25.0

8. Austria

26.0

10. Germany

27.0

17. Denmark

29.0

25. Australia

30.5

34. Italy

32.0

35. Canada

32.1

37. France

32.7

42. Switzerland

33.7

43. United Kingdom

34.0

45. Egypt

34.4

56. India

36.8

61. Japan

38.1

68. Israel

39.2

81. China

41.5

82. Russia

42.3

90. Iran

44.5

93. United States

45.0

107. Mexico

48.2

125. Brazil

56.7

133. South Africa

65.0

Note: These figures reflect family/household income, not individual income.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency (2010).[8]

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America ranks 95th behind countries like; Germany, Italy, France, the Untied Kingdom, Egypt, Japan, China and RUSSIA! That is correct, the former United Soviet Socialist Republic (home to Marxism and Communism) beats America in financial equality. I do not know about you, My Dear Readers, but I found this table and the fact it relays quite disturbing. Quite disturbing, indeed. How can it be that the home of free enterprise and modern democracy can find itself in the company of countries like; Mexico, Brazil and South African in income inequality? They are ‘third World’ countries and America finds itself in their company in any statistical model? That just reeks of something seriously wrong. .

Fifty years ago, today, America engaged in a war. Fifty years later, by most measures, America is loosing/lost that war. On January 8th, 1964 the poverty rate in America was 19%. Today, January 8, 2013 the national poverty rate is 15%… well, there is more than just a little debate about that number. I have seen credible research and documentation that places the poverty rate among some cross sections of the American population as high as 17%.

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Official and Supplemental Poverty Measure Poverty Rates

Official and Supplemental Poverty Measure Poverty Rates

((Found here: http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-247.pdf

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For the sake of argument, and the purposes of this article, let’s use the slightly higher rate of 17%. This means many things, not the least of which is that with fifty years invested in this war and the efforts of three generations America has only managed to shave off 2% points?  My Dear Readers, I cannot manage to put into words the shame I feel (as an America) for that reality. Check out the graphic below for where I get the 17% number.

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For me, this signals a compete and utter failure on the part of the government of America and… … … and a complete and utter failure of America. Nearly SIXTEEN MILLION CHILDREN suffer (Daily) with hunger! We are not talking about some third world country about children with flies on their faces. We are talking about OUR children in America! How the hell can we sleep at night knowing that sixteen million American children are going to sleep hungry? That is so very unforgivable in the single most prosperous nation in the history of mankind. Doubly unforgivable when you factor in the fact that we are a Christian nation and sixteen of our children are going to sleep, tonight, hungry.

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“More than one in five children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, nearly one in three children is at risk of hunger.”[9]

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“About half of all American children will receive SNAP benefits at some point before age 20. Among African-American children, 90 percent will enroll in SNAP before age 20”. AND “One in seven people are enrolled in SNAP. Nearly half are children.”[10]

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For six years I was too embarrassed to apply for Food Stamps. In September of last year… I finally broke down and applied for food aid via Food Stamps. For the next two months, I was really embarrassed to use my SNAP card in public. I would only go to the grocery store very early in the morning, or very late at night. I was embarrassed to be seen using my SNAP card at the check out line. I read the posts on the internet. I hear the anger on some networks. Not only was I embarrassed (severely embarrassed) I was scared. Here is why:

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        “Our “poor” have big screen TVs and smart phones. Bet they all have flat screens, cell phones, A/C and a least one car probably newer than mine.” From: “Wait, what’s wrong with hating poor people?”

AND

        “Totally agree. Where I live, they also carry REALLY nice designer purses, wear designer boots, clothes, drive SUV’s, and seem to shop all day long with about 3 kids each hanging off of them. They also seem to push really nice strollers throughout the mall and usually leave with loads of bags after a day of shopping… I often find myself becoming very envious of them.”[11]

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These are very popular… sentiments? Myths? Misnomers? LIES? I do not own; and SUV, a “Designer bag”, “designer boots” nor do I “leave (the mall) with loads of bags after a day shopping…” However, the internet is just cram packed with hateful and ignorant postings just like the ones above. That is why I fear using my SNAP card when ANYONE is around and this is a great segway to the next part of my article ‘The War on the POOR!”

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Poverty Rate All Persons by Age 2000-2011

Poverty Rate All Persons by Age 2000-2011

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President Reagan uttered these damning words “Greed is Good!” [IMHO this is the moment when the modern day Republican party began to shatter, too], and he is famous for his quotes about ‘welfare queens driving Cadillacs’. These are all old mantras from the John Birch Society of the 1960’s. A good deal of Americas do not know (personally) any ‘poor people’. For a majority of Americas they only know the poor as the person panhandling outside their local grocery store, or people hanging out in public parks drinking from brown paper bags holding bottles of beer or malt liquor. Beyond those encounters, they rely on third party stories of the poor, or out-and-out bigoted, and politically motivated, hyperbolic partisan bigotry told in the form of the well-worn paradigms I have quoted above.

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This lack of personal experience with the poor, and the resulting reliance on hyperbolic bigoted rhetoric has resulted in tens of millions of Americans ‘blaming the poor’ for anything wrong in society. Before the poor it was… blacks. Before blacks it was ‘them Irish’. Before ‘them Irish’ it was those damn greedy Jews’… and so on, and so on. It is really quite sad and pathetic that so many good Americans and (often) ‘Church going Christians’ have so easily fallen prey to this old and well-worn bigotry. Even sadder, is the fact that many of them so believe what they hear, and parrot, that they honestly do not ‘see’ themselves as bigoted or prejudice.

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Wealth Distribution Over Time

Wealth Distribution Over Time

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This does not change the fact that they are acting in a bigoted fashion and are spreading prejudice lies and misnomers. They, in their ignorance, honestly believe that America’s poor are (really) better off than themselves and have figured out a way (or worse, been trained since birth) to use the system. That these poor Americans are all malingerers and con-artists proficient in the ways of robbing the government. Whereas, this might be true in a very small (5% or less) cross section of this impoverished demographic grave harm (and often violence) is being done on all poor people based on a multigenerational lie based in ignorance and bigotry.

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Time and again studies (done by non-partisan organizations like the World Health Organization and universities in America and abroad) have proven that these tales are grossly untrue. Even the Catholic Church has done studies, about these hyperbolic statements, and found no basis in fact for this hyperbolic rhetoric. Regardless of the facts, many Americans still believe this hate filled rhetoric. Often regurgitating their ignorant rhetoric in public and in social media, to the ‘hoots and hollers’ of the like minded and the disgust by all the 90% of the rest of us.

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Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate 1959 to 2011 United States

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate 1959 to 2011 United States

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Having studied sociology, in college and later on my own, this is a very well understood sociological sickness/malady. So as not to spend too much time on this topic, and so as to not loose too many readers that might actually gain for this article. This phenomenon is as old as man, and the Hebrew people put a name to it some 3,000-4,000  years ago.

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Schadenfreude’, or ‘shameful Pride’ is the process of one human gaining self-esteem or pleasure from witnessing the pain and/or suffering of another human. By publicly posting, or boasting, that ‘poor people are not really poor’ they seek to shame poor individuals. Making out other Americans, that might otherwise not differ at all from themselves, as malingers at best and criminals at worst, they seek to improve their own social standing by (figuratively) standing on the shoulders of the poor. Like the sentiment that I posted above:

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        “Wait, what’s wrong with hating the poor?”

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They seek happiness/enjoyment from mischaracterizing the suffering of other Americans. I like to remind all those that seek to mischaracterize the poor of this:

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        “But by the grace of God, go I!”

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Meaning, that only by the grace of a benevolent God… or the mere luck of your birth, YOU could be poor. I know this all too well, as my change in financial means and social standing horrifically changed from 2003 to 2004 (and now). For me, the difference between a very well paying job… a bright and well compensated job with a Beverly Hills property management company… and my current impoverished state was as simple as the long term result of a typewriter dropping on my head in 1987.

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In 2002 I was the #1 leasing agent of Domino Realty of Beverly Hills. I was the go-to guy for training new leasing staff and improving the closing stats of a leasing team. I was often sent to other properties (one in Walnut Creek just outside San Francisco) to work with or retrain the leasing staff of a property when they had lower than normal closing numbers. Being the #1 leasing agent I was paid handsomely and often given generous bonuses, especially in years where I traveled often and showed greatly improved closing numbers in a leasing staff, once I left.

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Poverty Rates by Age 1959 to 2011 United States

Poverty Rates by Age 1959 to 2011 United States

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In the latter part of 2002, I was promoted to Manager of a (once) very beautiful and prosperous property in Westwood. It was originally constructed as The Drake in Los Angeles. (Westwood is actually IN Los Angeles, it is just that all the wealthy people that live in Westwood do not like it being referred to as L.A. Westwood borders on Beverly Hills and Santa Monica). It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I knew that if I could turn the property around, by the end of the year that an Executive position in the company would be in my immediate future. I very much wanted an executive position with this company. To that end, I not only had a plan to turn around the occupancy numbers (I took the property from 70% occupancy to 97% in just three months). I also turned around the resident retention numbers.  

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I had also developed a plan for obtaining City Landmark status for the building. Los Angeles has rent control within the city boarders. As such, this limited the percentage increase a owner could raise, and it was well below the 10% per annum that the current CEO demanded. However, if I could get the ‘Landmark’ status for my building, it would allow me to raise the rents the 10% per annum the owner wanted. I had a plan to return the property to the very same ‘look’ and ‘status’ it enjoyed as The Drake at the turn of the 20th century. This building once was THE place for; Hollywood stars and Producers, Foreign dignitaries and even Royalty. In the 60’s it was the hotel for the ‘Jet Set’ and was walking distance from THREE of one studio’s Preferred Movie Theaters for Motion Picture Premiers.  Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ premiered just two blocks from the front steps of my building.

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Not only did I have planned the ‘Landmark’ status for the building, I wanted to bring back actors and producers as residents. My first year I rented to Linda Harrison[12] , she played Nova to Charlton Heston’s ‘George Taylor’. She also dated, then married, Studio Boss Richard D. Zanuck. I got to meet her son, Harrison Zanuck[13]– Actor, Producer and Visual Effects for; ‘Apollo 13’, ‘Deep Impact’, ‘Dante’s Peak’ and ‘Strange Days’ just to name a few. With that rental, and the ‘friends’ that Linda introduced me to, I was well on the road to changing my (then) current resident base of UCLA med and law students to retired actors and wives of actors and studio executives/producers. I will also admit, I was very interested in meeting many of these people to further my own entertainment employment future. Killing two birds with one stone.

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That all became derailed in 2003 when I began having numerous physical and neurological problems… that just could not be ignored or avoided. Employers frown on an employee ignoring a problem that left them in a crumpled heap at the bottom of stairs. I found out, all too quickly, how rapidly a Beverly Hills property management company could see an up-and-coming executive as a liability… when they needed neurological surgery. But, for the Grace of God, go I. One moment #1 leasing agent -> #1 property manager, the next moment… living hand-to-mouth in an extended stay motel. All to well I know the fickle nature of prosperity and heir apparent.

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I share this for one reason. To make how a good and hard working… very successful (finally) Texan boy can go from ‘Top of the Pile’ to crushing poverty and extreme daily pain and suffering in almost the blink of an eye. I try not to think about all that I lost. Not just the material possessions, but the glowing future and opportunity that I lost.

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Now, I work as hard as my condition and pain will allow writing for this blog. I refuse to malinger. I refuse to become irrelevant. I still desire to make my mark, write something that people enjoy and make a comfortable life for myself and my husband of 26 years. However, I do now live below the national standard for poor.

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I personally know the crushing weight of being impoverished in America in 2014. I personally know how cuts to programs like Food Stamps and extended unemployment benefits can translate into poor health… and growing depression. I find myself in a unique position of being able to be the ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’, warning all of you, My Dear Readers, that poor people (like myself) do not own fancy cars, brand new laptops, top of the line 50” LED televisions, and designer clothes.

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Honestly, I do not eat three meals a day. Doing the very best I can, I cannot afford foods that I know are good for my health, and often must choose foods of poor nutritional value simply because I can get more ‘meals’ into a week or a month… if I eat… poorly. I do my level BEST to not ask for help from; family, friends, and acquaintances. I am deeply ashamed when I do ask for help… and more times than not… I do without food or clothing because my sense of shame outweighs my desire to eat… and live.

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I am not alone. There really are more Americans like me, than there are Americans milking the system. Honestly, the actual number of ‘millionaire farmers ’is larger than the number of impoverished Americans ‘taking advantage of the system’.

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This is why I am so deeply upset by these attacks on impoverished Americans. I am upset and genuinely depressed by the ‘War on the Poor’. That is the honest truth, My Dear Readers, here in America talking heads of the radical fringe on ONE political party have literally began and are waging a ‘War on the Poor’. They do it to raise money for campaigns, they work to divide America against American. Quite literally ‘Brother Against Brother’… and I know of this personally.

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This is not an American trait we should engage in, or be proud of… we should not be supporting and furthering schadenfreude. I am proud of the votes that I have cast, for both Democrats and Republicans. However, the path that the Republican party is being lead… the schadenfreude that some Republicans are engaging in, and furthering. This is not for the good of the Republican party. It is not for the good, or betterment of America. It is time for all good Republicans and Democrats to STOP the “War on the Poor’ and reach out and work together to redouble our national efforts to end poverty.

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Table 5: Percentage of wealth held in 2000 by the Top 10% of the adult population in various Western countries

Country

wealth owned

by top 10%

Switzerland

71.3%

United States

69.8%

Denmark

65.0%

France

61.0%

Sweden

58.6%

UK

56.0%

Canada

53.0%

Norway

50.5%

Germany

44.4%

Finland

42.3%

(Found here: http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html)

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It is time to reengage in the ‘War ON Poverty’ and bring and END to the “War on the POOR’! I have faith in my fellow Americans. I have faith in my fellow Texans. I have faith that we CAN work together to bring about and END to poverty in America. One person, one family, one job and one day at a time. I have faith.

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As always I am deeply honored that you come here and read my work.

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Thank YOU! .


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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to The 50th Anniversary of the W.o.P.

  1. Pingback: A Week In Review – January 12th, 2014 | The Other Shoe

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