My Take: Five misconceptions about poverty in America
Bread for the World President David Beckmann explores five poverty myths.
September 23rd, 2011
12:29 PM ET

My Take: Five misconceptions about poverty in America

Editor's Note: Rev. David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World and the Alliance to End Hunger. He is the 2010 World Food Prize laureate.

By David Beckmann, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In the midst of a ballooning deficit, an unbalanced federal budget and the upcoming presidential election, Congress doesn’t need to be worried about poverty in America, right?


Poverty is an all-too-familiar struggle for many Americans, and they have a stake in how these issues play out over the next months.

I believe God is calling us to change the politics that render our friends, neighbors and co-workers hungry and poor. To do so, we have to first tackle some common misconceptions about poverty.

1. “Poverty doesn’t exist in the United States.”

Although poverty often appears less extreme in the United States than in other countries, it is nonetheless real. There are 46.2 million Americans living in poverty, according to data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The poverty rate increased to 15.1% in 2010, from 14.3% in 2009. That's nearly one out of every six Americans — the highest rate since the Census began tracking poverty data in 1959.

Children and multicultural groups were hit hardest. The poverty rate increased for those under 18, from 20.7% in 2009 to 22% in 2010. Among Hispanics, the rate went to 26.6% in 2010 from 25.3% in 2009. And for African-Americans, the rate soared to 27.4% in 2010 from 25.8% in 2009.

2. “There is no such thing as extreme poverty in America.”

If you don’t believe poverty exists in this country, you’ll be hard-pressed to understand that there are people in America living in “deep poverty.”

Deep poverty means living below 50% of the poverty line, which would be an income of $11,157 for a family of four and $5,672 for a non-elderly person living alone.

Many think this level of poverty is exclusive to people living in developing countries, but the number of people in America living in extreme poverty has reached a record high: 20.5 million in 2010.

3. “If you live above the federal poverty line, you’re doing just fine.”

$23,000 a year is too little for most two-person households to live comfortably in America, let alone a family of four. Most people don’t understand that having a job doesn’t mean you’ve made it out of poverty.

In fact, working full-time at minimum wage earns you only $14,000 a year. But there are also millions of Americans living above the federal poverty line who are struggling to make ends meet.

Why is it so easy for us to overlook poverty in the United States? Because to a certain extent, it is being managed by federally funded safety-net programs that help families make ends meet when times are tough.

4. “These so-called safety-net programs cost American taxpayers money when we need to be focused on balancing our budget.”

Neither SNAP benefits (what used to be called food stamps) nor refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit is accounted for in the census poverty figures.

If these benefits were included, they would show that SNAP lifted 3.9 million people above the poverty line in 2010, and the tax credit lifted 5.4 million people above the poverty line in 2010.

Programs like these can mean the difference between getting by and going hungry.

For example, despite increases in poverty, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recently released hunger data shows that the percentage of families struggling to put food on the table remained unchanged for the third consecutive year.

This means that nutrition programs such as SNAP and school meals are keeping hunger at bay.

5. “Fifty percent of all Americans do not pay taxes.”

This is a powerful point that some members of Congress like to argue, without providing any context.

By context, I mean that many Americans do not earn enough to pay taxes. For those who do, when payroll taxes are taken into account, really only about 15% of Americans did not pay taxes in 2010 (excluding Social Security recipients, who do not pay taxes on their Social Security benefits), and this still fails to account for state and local taxes.

Everyone pays taxes in some way or another.

At the end of the day, Matthew 25 teaches us that what we do unto the “least of these,” we do unto God.

It is clear that the needs of hungry and poor people are at the center of the congressional budget debates, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has until November 23 to identify $1.2 trillion in funds to reduce our nation’s deficit. We pray that the needs of hungry and poor people are at the center of their decisions.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Food • Politics

soundoff (902 Responses)
  1. AGrey

    How about all the myths the article forgot? I'll name them.

    Myth 1
    All people living in poverty are lazy.
    Truth 1
    A lot of people end up in poverty simply because they've lost their jobs and haven't been able to find a new one. A lot of people work freelance jobs that just don't bring enough in. Others may have some sort of disability that they may or may not get benefits for and then you have single parents who are single with kids for various reasons.

    Myth 2
    People on government assistance who wear jewelry or drive nice cars are defrauding the system.
    A person can fall from financial stability quickly. This doesn't mean they lose their jewelry and fancy car. Most jewelry most people have is actually worth nothing and impossible to sell, or the jewelry was a gift at one point that would be rude to sell. My mother pawned her engagement ring when she needed money and it was always a sore point in the family as it had been passed down in my family for generations. So you have a car that works. Great. Under most assistant programs you are allowed to keep it. Keep in mind luxury cars are not necessarily expensive to get either. You can get them cheap at government auctions and some of them devalue quickly because repairs costs or insurance is high. A lot of times people get stuck with the car they have.

    People in poverty with children were irresponsible.
    Children can be expensive but not all families with children that are below the poverty line were started when the parents weren't financially stable. Most middle class Americans who have families are just a few paychecks, or even one paycheck away from poverty even if they make $60,000 a year. If the breadwinner gets fired a lot of these people are screwed.

    It's a waste of money to have pets.
    Multiple studies have shown that those who have pets generally are able to maintain a better quality of life that those who do not have pets, because pets provide companionship and reduce stress and anxiety. People with pets generally have lower blood pressure, less loneliness, and suffer less from depression and mental health issues. Having a pet could mean the difference between helping someone get through rough financial times or ending up in chronic poverty.

    People on food stamps like to buy junk to eat.
    Most people who rely on food stamps are still food insecure and have to stretch what they have to get through the month. To do this they often have to resort to buying cheap food, the most of which happens to be junk. It costs money to eat healthy.

    It's abusive to buy things like frappacinos with food stamps.
    You have to be seriously stupid to think this. So a person pays $3 for a coffee type beverage every once in a while. It's not like they are buying alcohol to support a drinking habit.

    People who are poor are uneducated.
    A good number of college graduates were never able to get jobs or pay off their loans because the jobs they were hoping to get were outsourced.

    September 25, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • butterfly harmon

      As for your myth about jewlery and expensive cars. Yes I think those people should have to sell them. When I was seeking assistance in NH I was asked what assets I had, I had some jewlery from my mother who passed and I was told to sell it and when that money was gone to come back. I dont know if it was cause I was white or what, black people at the same office had big gold necklaces and were already in the system. so Yeah if you have fancy jewlery and fancy cars u should I had to.

      September 25, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      These complaints are empty because most of you voted for this: you asked for it - you got it. Many degreed people cannot find their way to the street corner. You (the majority) voted for the politicians who gave you NAFTA (and it was not Bush) and O-care (and it was not Bush) and phony bail-out that went to unions and banks (and cannot be accounted for) You wanted it - you got it - do not complain about it.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  2. NostalgicTreasures

    America, taste what hunger is like and let's lose some weight at this time of financial crisis. Keep helping all nations, America. Real heroes rescue others when they are in their own deep troubles. Anyone can do tossing out leftovers but only heroic Americans unconditionally sacrifice themselves for what is right. A noble heritage from your Christian ancestors. Usually crises come in double or triple layers anyway. You can withstand by cleaning up your personal life and putting faith on God.

    September 25, 2011 at 3:18 am |
  3. Descartes

    Not to lack all empathy-because I can empathize, I just refuse to sympathize-but: Was the conception of your children immaculate? I do not think it is fair to be complaining about your children going without as if you had no control over their existence in this world. People should not have children if they cannot be emotionally, financially, physically, legally accountable for them.

    September 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  4. munchma cuchi

    @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: Is that the only comment you can make troll breath?

    September 25, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is that the only comment you can make, carpetmuncher?

      September 25, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  5. TexasChick9

    Misconception #283: Unemployment pays enough to live on. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Actually, I don't think it's that funny, because I'm currently struggling to live through this lie. I'm single, no kids, with no other income. I've run through all my retirement and other savings. I do not qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, or any of the other assistance programs. With my unemployment income, I make too much to qualify for a free flu shot through my county health department. There is no health insurance plan that will cover me that I can afford - my premium for the Texas high-risk pool, which is supposed to be a safety-net program, would be over $800/month, while my unemployment is $1460/month. $1460 almost covers my regular monthly bills, if I skip medical care (including prescriptions) and grocery shopping. I would LOVE to be a working, productive member of society, but I've been looking for a job for over a year with no luck. My unemployment will run out in January, at which point I will have to sell my house, with its $583/month mortgage payment. I'll have a hard time finding an apartment in a safe neighborhood for less than that, but it doesn't matter, because I won't be able to pay rent anyway. The people who say we're on the road to recovery are delusional.

    September 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      T h e r e . .a r e . .e n o r m o u s . . t e n t . .c i t i e s . .o f . .8 , 0 0 0 . .a n d . .1 0 , 0 0 0 . .a n d . .t h e y . .a r e . .n o t . .e l i g i b l e . .f o r . .w e l f a r e . .o f . .a n y . .k i n d . . . . .M e n , . .w o m e n . .a n d . .k i d s . .f r o m . .t o t s . .t o . .t e e n s . .. . . .a n d . .t h e y . .a r e . .n o t . .e l i g i b l e . .f o r . .a n y t h i n g
      . .Y o u . .s e e . .t h e y . .a r e . .n o t . .c o n s t i t u e n t s . .o f . .a n y t h i n g . .a p p r o v e d . .b y . .A C O R N . .( y o u . .r e m e m b e r . . . .( A C O R N ) . . . . .. . . . .o n l y . .l i b e r a l . .c o n s t i t u e n c i e s . .a r e . .e l i g i b l e . .f o r . .g o v e r n m e n t . .m o n e y . .( i n c l u d i n g . .u n i o n s . .y o u . .d o . .n o t . .b e l o n g . .t o ) . . . . .I t . .h a s . .n o t h i n g . .t o . .d o . .w i t h . .w h o . .O U G H T . .t o . .g e t . .w e l f a r e . .. . . . .a n d . .e v e r y t h i n g . .t o . .d o . .w i t h . .v o t e s . . . . .D e m o c r a t i c . .v o t e s . 9 a n d . .t h e . .D e m o c r a t s . .s a y . .y o u . .a r e . . h a t i n g . . . .i f . .y o u . .d o . .n o t . .a g r e e . .w i t h . .h o w . .t h e y . .d o . .i t )

      September 25, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Bob S

      You only get that much because of what you were making before you got laid off.
      If you make the minimum wage and get laid off, the monthly check is much, much less.
      Rents are too damn high! Or wages are too damn LOW!
      I think it's a good time to raise the minimum wage to something that will actually support a person living on their own.
      This would have to be balanced by an emergency moratorium on any labor contract where salaries are tied to the minimum wage to stop any automatic increase in pay just because the Federal Minimum Wage goes up.
      Otherwise it wouldn't make much difference towards helping the economy or min-wage workers.
      Wages need to be frozen except for the minimum. A rising tide lifts all boats. We need another New Deal.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • IllinoisChick

      The real kicker was after 6.5 months of unemployment I took a job to try to be a productive member of society, and ended up making less than I was making on unemployment. I was an idiot for forfeiting my unemployment benefits for a minimum wage job that promised to be 30-35 hours a week and ended up being only about 20. I had to juggle 3 jobs going months without even one day off to make more than I made on unemployment.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  6. alpha123

    I am very surprised to see a myriad of hate filled comments concerning this article. I pay a great deal of taxes and think it is the patriotic thing to do. In addition, I also volunteer my services as a physician for free and also participate in the medicaid program. From my experiences, no person wants to be on public assistance and those that are work very hard to make ends meet. The one factor that motivates me to help out those in need is what would my family say if I were to tell them that it is okay to kick a person when he is down. I can tell you right now that I would be rightfully ostracized and ridiculed for being simple minded and stupid. Taking a nuanced perspective on a person's individual situation allows for greater empathy and compassion.

    September 24, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      W e l l . .y o u . .a r e . .e x t r e m e l y . .n a i i v e . .( w h i c h . .i s . .n o t . .u n u s u a l l y . .f o r . .a . .p h y s i c i a n . .o r . .a . .p r o f e s s o r . .o r . .a n y . .i v y – t o w e r . .r o s e – g l a s s e s . .l i b e r a l ) . . . . . .W e l f a r e . .i s . .t h e . .h i g h e s t . .e x p r e s s i o n . .o f . .f r a u d . .a n d . m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . .w h e r e . .p o l i t i c i a n s . .a n d . .s e l e c t e d . .c o n s t i t u e n c i e s . .r i p . .o f f . .t h e . .A m e r i c a n . .p u b l i c . .b y . .b i l l i o n s . . . . .I n . .f a c t , . .M e d i c a r e . .i s . .s o . .f r a u d u l e n t . .( I . .r e c e i v e . .i t ) . .i t . .h a s . .b e e n . .c a l l e d . p h y s i c i a n s . .w e l f a r e . . . . .T h e . .e n t i r e . .w e l f a r e . .b u r e a u c r a c y . .( f o o d . .s t a m p s , . .c h i l d . .s u p p o r t , . .h o u s i n g , . .e d u c a t i o n , . .s p e c i a l . .e d u c a t i o n , . .t u i t i o n . .g r a n t s , . .M e d i c a r e , . .h a n d i c a p p e d . .p a r k i n g , . .m e d i c a l . .m a r i j u a n a , . .w o r k m a n ' s . .c o m p , . .A D A ) . .r a i s e s . .f r a u d . .t o . .a n . .a r t . .f o r m . . . . .I t . .i s . .a . .m a j o r . .p o r t i o n . .o f . .y o r u . .t a x e s . . . . .( a n d . .i t . .b u y s . .n o t h i n g . .. . . .t h e r e . .i s . .n o . . p r o g r e s s . .t o . .b e . .s h o w n . .i n . .a n y . .o f . .i t ) . . . . . . .I t . .i s . .M E R E L Y . .r e d i s t r i b u t i n g . .i n c o m e . .( t a k i n g . .i t . .f r o m . .A . .a n d . .g i v i n g . .i t . .t o . .B . .. . . .t o . .p u r c h a s e . .t h e i r . .v o t e s ) . . . . .E v e r y b o d y . .k n o w s . .i t . .. . . .e v e r y . .b o d y . .s e e s . .i t . . . . .( c o m e . .d o w n . .. . . .c o m e . .d o w n . .f r o m . .y o u . .i v o r y . .t o w e r . .. . . .b u t . .w e a r . .b o o t s . .b e c a u s e . .i t . .i s . .v e r y . .d e e p . .a t . .g r o u n d . .l e v e l )

      September 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • cynthiao4

      Very well said alpha123. Your voice of compassion is a rarity in e-postings and much appreciated. I imagine you are an excellent physician and your patients greatly appreciate the care you give.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • hmbguy

      Yo right-turn. If Medicare is a fraud, why you taking advantage of it?

      I am a tax paying hard working American. I am liberal. I want to know where your fraudulent ass lives so I can come down to your trailer and beat your lying, overfed white ass.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      @hmbguy bad choice of words and also a bad choice would be to believe that because I am white and right you would be able to do anything physically criminal to me except be a six o'clock hold on top of a front sight. you voted (no doubt) for O-care and you favor government health care .. so you are voting in favor of massive fraud. it's built in to the "system" and everyone with an IQ greater than 60 is aware of it. But you can get by with 60 as a HS drop out with some help from ACORN and O

      September 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  7. TommyJeffs1776

    Misconception #6: Policies constructed by Democrats, particularly Obama, will end the economic decline.

    September 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      The real purpose is to buy votes. That is what all of this is about.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  8. Denise

    According to the local Department of Social Services here in New York $801 is all you need to care for one adult and three children. I think it's safe to say someone in Albany has lost touch with REALITY!

    September 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      They expect you to feed those children kraft dinner and tuna, not anything nutritious that will help with the developing minds. Maybe those setting the rules should attempt to live on what they say can be feasibly lived on for a month or two....they might have a different outlook after that.

      September 25, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  9. Teri

    Poverty levels need to be defined and based on standard of living, not solely on income. A family with an income that allows a comfortable lifestyle in a low cost of living state may not even be able to afford the basics in an area like New York City. In my area, $40,000 is considered a good solid income and allows one to let mom stay at home with the kids, afford two modest cars, and a modest home. In NYC, it would get you a rat-infested flat with a leaky roof and crackheads for neighbors.

    September 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  10. trex


    September 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Steve Grimes

      The fact that you use the term "GOP millionaires" in describing the committee shows that you put your bias above common sense. All those living in poverty should blame GWBush, right? How silly you are.

      September 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Bush has been gone a long time and the new guy is spending trillions and trillions - but not on poverty. You wanted change ... you got change

      September 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • David Johnson


      The only way we will be at the Republican's mercy, is to not vote.

      Get as many people as you can to register and vote. The Republicans are waging war against the poor and middle class. If we stick together and vote for the Dems, we can break the Republican stranglehold.


      September 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • carriedi

      LOL, who gave 535 MILLION DOLLARS to soylindra?

      September 25, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  11. Paleta


    September 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  12. larry

    Call me spoiled, but I buy my meats at a butcher shop. The people in line ahead of me using a food stamp card are buying the finest cuts of meat and a lot of it. One day, at a butcher shop a woman ahead of me wearing a ton of jewelry pays with food stamps and drives away in a silver Jaguar. Our tax dollars at work.

    September 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • trex

      So, due to a SINGLE scammer that so far has got away with it, YOU want to MAKE HUNGERY KIDS IN OUR NATION. You should have taken the license # of the car and called a TV station and let them deal with the scammer until the authorities take charge. BUT, it is EASIER for YOU to WANT KIDS TO GO HUNGERY......... read the BIBLE and figure it out.

      September 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Teri

      I dont' really place much weight on what a person drives or what they are wearing because they could be purchasing groceries for someone else. But, the high dollar cuts of meat I've seen as well. I've also seen people buying Frappucinno at the checkout. And, we've all seen them buy junk food. My biggest gripe is people receiving foodstamps who have pets. They'll buy expensive pet food and then use foodstamps to buy junk for their kids.

      September 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      O h . .y o u . .s e e . .t h i s . .a l l . .t h e . .t i m e: .w e l l . .d r e s s e d . .w o m a n . .a n d . .s e v e r a l . .k i d s . .u s i n g . .a . .f o o d . .s t a m p . .c a r d . .a n d . .h e r . .d u d e . .d o e s . .n o t . .f o r k . .o v e r . .c a s h . .u n l e s s . .s h e . .s o m e . .u p . .s h o r t . .( t h e n . .p e e v i s h l y . .h e . .t h r o w s . .i n . .$ 5 . .o r . .e v e n . .$ 2 5 ) , . . . .H e . .h a s . .a . .$ 6 0 k . .p i c k u p . .t r u c k . .w i t h . .B a j a . .p l a t e s . .. . . .g e t s . .p a i d . .c a s h . .. . . .d o e s . .s t u c c o . .o r . .r o o f i n g . .( u n d o c u m e n t e d . .a n d . .u n l i c e n s e d ) . .. . . .m a k e s . .g o o d . .b u c k s . . .P a y s . .N O . .t a x e s . . . .( t a k e s . .o u r . .t a x e s ) . .. . b r a g s . .a b o u t . .h o w . .m a n y . .b a b i e s . .h e ' s . .m a d e . .w h e n . .h e . .i s . .a t . .t h e . .c o n s t r u c t i o n . .s i t e . .( 5 . .o r . .m o r e . .w i t h . .e a c h . .w o m a n . .. . . .o f . .w h o m . .t h e r e . .a r e . .f i v e . .o r . .m o r e ) . . . . . . .t h e y . .g o t . .p l e n t y . .o f . .m o n e y . .s o . .t h e . .s e n d . .h u n d r e d s . .t o . .M e x i c o . .o n . .W e s t e r n . .U n i o n . .. . . .s p e n d . .w e e k e n d s . . . .i n . .L . A . , . .g o . .t o . .t h e . .I n d i a n . .C a s i n o s . .( l o t s . .o f . .c a s h . .m o n e y ) . . . . . . . .p u t . .t h e . .r e s t . .i n . .a . .l o c k . .b o x . .i n . .t h e i r . .r o o m . .L o w . .p r o f i l e . .. . . .u n d o c u m e n t e d . .. . . .n o . .t a x e s . . . .n o . .f i n g e r p r i n t s . .. . . .n o . .l i c e n s e . .p l a t e s . .( a u t o . .d e a l e r . .a d ) . .. . . .c e l l . .p h o n e . . . . .V e r y . .t y p i c a l . .p r o f i l e . . . . .( I . .k n o w . .m a n y . .o f . .t h e m )

      September 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Sarah

      Speaking as someone who lives below the poverty line and works with issues of poverty, what many people do not realize is that there is a culture to poverty entirely different from the average middle-class culture. Where you might see a woman scamming the system based on your assumptions of what she's wearing and what she drives, what you don't realize is that to those living in poverty, the acquistion of cool cars or nice jewelry rather than saving that money for long-term needs (a very middle-class concept) is a cultural norm. The culture of poverty is one of instant gratification in a sense. For example, say a family in poverty receives their paycheck one Friday and it comes with a little extra money than normal. Rather than save that money for some long-term need, it's more likely that the family will spend that money on something quick that will produce instant happiness for the family (say a pizza night out with the kids). In short, the cultural norms of each class differ drastically so what you take to be frivolous or irresponsible behavior may be perceived differently by those in a different socio-economic class.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Nitalynn

      You know I am 56 and must have been blind all my life. I've never seen anyone dressed up or with anything but a few pieces of costume jewelry or driving a nice car who uses food stamps.

      September 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  13. RightTurnClyde

    This author is a total misconception. Poverty is s state of mind (not an economic condition). These goody-two-shoes always work in collecting money to hand out (well, not all of it .. they need to keep some for expenses like cars and TV shows and books and press agents and summer homes and research vacations .. and their shrink) In America the quickest way to end poverty is a Business Plan followed by action. File a Private Placement Memorandum and sell your stock at the country fair (where ever you can) then get your tush into high gear and poverty vanishes.

    September 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      P r i v a t e . .p l a c e m e n t . .i s . .e x e m p t . .f r o m . .r e g i s t r a t i o n . .b y . .t h e . .S e c u r i t i e s . .A c t . .o f . .1 9 3 3 . . . .k n o w n . .a s . .R e g u l a t i o n . .D . .. . . R e g u l a t i o n . .D . .( o r . .R e g . .D ) . .c o n t a i n s . .t h e . .r u l e s . .. . m a k e s . .i t . .. . . .p o s s i b l e . .f o r . .s m a l l . .c o m p a n i e s . .t h a t . .c o u l d . .n o t . .o t h e r w i s e . .b e a r . .t h e . .c o s t s . .o f . .g o i n g . .p u b l i c . .. . . . . .T i t l e . .1 7 . .o f . .t h e . .C o d e . .o f . .F e d e r a l . .R e g u l a t i o n s , . .p a r t . .2 3 0 , . .S e c t i o n s . .5 0 1 . .t h r o u g h . .5 0 8 . . .T h e . .l e g a l . .c i t a t i o n . .c i t a t i o n . .i s . .1 7 . .C . F . R . . .§ 2 3 0 . 5 0 1 . .e t . .s e q .

      September 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      # 1 . .a . .v i s i o n : . . . .w h a t . .c a n . .y o u . .d o . .t h a t . .i s . .w o r t h . .w h i l e . .a n d . .l o t s . .o f . .p e o p l e . .w o u l d . .p a y . .t o . .g e t . .i t . . . . . . .D e s c r i b e . .i t . . . G e n e r a l . .C o m p a n y . .D e s c r i p t i o n . . . .W h a t . .b u s i n e s s . .w i l l . .y o u . .b e . .i n ? . .W h a t . .w i l l . .y o u . .d o ? M i s s i o n . .S t a t e m e n t : i n . .3 0 . .w o r d s . .o r . .f e w e r . .- – – . .w h a t . .a r e . .y o u . .d o i n g . .( f i x . .h o u s e s ) C o m p a n y . .G o a l s . .a n d . .O b j e c t i v e s : . .G o a l s . .( i n c o m e . .e x p e c t e d . .y e a r s . .1 – 5 ) . . . .O b j e c t i v e s . .t o . .m a k e . .$ X . .i s . .Y . .m o n t h s . .w i t h . .( w h o . .- – . .p r o b a b l y . .w i t h . .m e . .a l o n e ) . B u s i n e s s . .P h i l o s o p h y : . .C u s t o m e r . .s a t i s f a c t i o n . . D e s c r i b e . .y o u r . .i n d u s t r y . . . . .W h o . .e l s e . .i s . .d o i n g . .w h a t . .y o u . .p l a n . .t o . .d o ? D e s c r i b e . .y o u r . .m o s t . .v a l u a b l e . .s t r e n g t h s . .a n d . .c o r e . .c o m p e t e n c i e s . . .W h y . .w i l l . .y o u . .s u c c e e d ? . .. . .P r o d u c t s . .a n d . .S e r v i c e s . . . .D e s c r i b e . .i n . .d e p t h . .y o u r . .p r o d u c t s . .o r . .s e r v i c e s . . d e s c r i b e . .c o m p e t i t i v e . .a d v a n t a g e . . . .( q u a l i t y , . .p r i c e , . .t i m e , . .g u a r a n t e e ) d e s c r i b e . .p r i c i n g . . . .( q u i d . .p r o . .q u o ) . M a r k e t i n g . .P l a n . . . .H o w . .w i l l . .y o u . .a t t r a c t . .b u y e r s ? . .F o r . .e a c h . .p r o d u c t . .o r . .s e r v i c e : . .D e s c r i b e . .t h e . .m o s t . .i m p o r t a n t . .f e a t u r e s . . .W h y . .w i l l . .t h a t . .s e l l ? . .w h a t . .b e n e f i t s . . . . .w h a t . .w i l l . .t h e . .p r o d u c t . .d o . .f o r . .t h e . .c u s t o m e r ? C u s t o m e r s . . . .I d e n t i f y . .y o u r . .t a r g e t e d . .c u s t o m e r s . .( A g e , . . . .G e n d e r , . .L o c a t i o n , . .I n c o m e . .l e v e l , . .E d u c a t i o n ) C o m p e t i t i o n . . . .W h a t . .p r o d u c t s . .a n d . .c o m p a n i e s . .w i l l . .c o m p e t e . .w i t h . .y o u ? L i s t . .t h e m . .
      That is all you need to become a multi millionaire.. do the above and then contact a PPM lawyer and then sell your stock...

      September 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I know a lady who was walking dogs for a living. 12 dogs every day (4 at a time) $50/week. $600. 50 weeks = $30,000 tax free (not reported). The SBA is full of MBA's who work for a paycheck. They told her she did not have a business. But she reasoned (I make money as the consequence of work .. yes it IS a business). so she rented a low-rent retail store and put in dog-washing stations. Next hing you know she was walking dogs + washing dogs + selling dog food and collars and leashes and flea repellent .. and then vets came and gave shots at her place. Then trainers allied. Then she did the same for cats. ... NOW - she makes $70,000/month and has 5 employees ... you know?

      September 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I know a Puerto Rican woman (she was about 25) and a single mother. I drove her up to Bakersfield to take the R.E. agent exam and she was one of my agents. She was young and needed some guidance but she made friends with some baseball players and listed apartments and rentals (more than one unit). Long story short: I closed the office in 2007 and she had her own way on 2006 - but she owned TEN rental properties and none of the worth less than $500,000. She was a H.S. graduate from Brooklyn. .. but plenty of energy and a quick study. Several other stories like this one.

      September 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  14. DrMikey

    Jesus Christ told his disciples that the poor would always be among them, and they stand as a test for the greedy, all those who have too much, who throw away eatable garbage, when the worst off would love even to eat the garbage of the rich. That inequality hurts, people, and even the government. Howcome we let so few control more money than they need, and let hungry so many more, who have few means of making money? Greed is what drives the US wall street, and greed makes a few rich, but many more poor.
    The country has to realize, that the original thought on communism, was correct, but it needs a goverment to know the needs of its people, and give according to number in family, and special needs.
    Capitalism, is only a friend of the well off. It never helps the poor.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Evan

      "Justice is blind," the old saying goes, but those scales she's holding are for weighing the amount of wealth you're able to fork over to her wealthy attorneys to determine just how much justice you will receive. No money? No justice.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Brian

      Jesus was also crucified for being an iditot. Live in the real word.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  15. Leroy jackson

    I agree his pay is up there especially working for an organization that works to eliminate poverty, but that does not change the validity of his points. In regards to the organization do not donate to it – donate to another that does not give high pay to its administration.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      No validity at all. "Poor me" is always a road to poverty. Self pity. Bad luck. Booze, pot, meth .. crying time – crying towels –the road to the gutter. Just get going and don't look back. Find something you are good at - and do it as well as you can.

      September 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, you tell 'em Recycled. You know everything, don't you? You know all about what others' lives are like and exactly what they're doing wrong.

      There's always some moron like you bellowing your pompous azz off about people you've never met.

      September 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  16. cck99352

    263K per year (reportedly from the good reverend's IRS filings)?


    But, apparently being an advocate for the poor pays well! Of course, he wants to pay for their assistance with someone else's money..... not his own.

    September 24, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Well yeah .. but he collects millions so his little ol $250K is just a little set aside. But then he can fly on their planes .. but that's not HIS expense and DRIVE their MB (it's not his car) and his kids get Porsches (not their cars) and naturally the organization buys THEIR food (after all they buy everybody food). And the organization pays their tuition and seminar fees .. and health insurance and gasoline and accessories. So actually he GETS $1 million but only pays taxes on $250K .. NOW what would he do without those poor people???

      September 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  17. E

    I live in New York City and I think people fail to understand that almost half of the population in major cities like mine are barely able to survive because jobs are scarce with or w/o a diploma and rent is SO HIGH HERE. I only make 1,100 a month and am trying to go through college but I can barely afford basic necessities. God Bless the man who wrote this; and if only it was on the news.

    September 24, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  18. Reality

    One more time:

    It is always interesting to see what the directors/founders of "non-profits" pay themselves. For example, the Rev. Beckman president of the Bread for the World, the Bread for the World Insti-tute and the Alliance to End Hunger as per IRS Form 990 (www.guidestar.org) pulls in $263,802/yr. To say the least, he has not taken a vow of poverty. Please do not contribute to his groups. There are groups serving the poor with significantly lower overheads to include local, state and federal government agencies......................................................

    September 24, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • cck99352

      If the above statement is true, then clearly Reverend Beckman is a hypocrite because in addition to his compensation (stated in IRS forms), he most likely has other "benefits" that may include expense account, travel perks, car, cell phone, etc – things that most of us "pay" for but he likely receives for free.

      Note that when I was younger, I worked tirelessly for the United Way – until I found out how much the executives were paid. Then I quit.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • @@


      September 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • .........

      spam alert hit report abuse to all reality posts

      September 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    Go God's way!

    Someone is poor, if he has not enough to feed or to dress (including no sufficient shelter).

    Someone is not yet poor, if he cannot afford a car, a holiday trip, a nice garden or a ticket for an opera. This is not yet poverty, but a modest life.

    Some people may call a modest life a life in poverty and may call real poverty desti-tution, but that is actually wrong. I suppose, not a few people would like to own a garden. It may be quite ordinary at rural areas to own a garden. But at conurbations it is luxury. Thus, if you life in a big city without a garden, you are not poor, but you don't have reached the highest standard of living.

    Everybody, working about 40 hours per week, will have enough money to survive. There are several reasons, why someone cannot earn enough money. Maybe he suffers from a confirmed disease or he his mentally handicapped or he is a blind man or or deaf or has got any other disability. Some people may have a lack of soft skills and thus don't manage to cope with work life.

    Every Western society will care for people with clear disabilities like deafness or blindness.

    The problematic group of poor people are the people, having got a lack of soft skills.

    I suppose, the increasing lack of soft skills more and more harms the work life. Most things can solely get produced by teamwork. It is not enough, when some people have a certain gifts, they also have to cooperate, in order to produce something. Five enemies will never cooperate, but five friends.

    Private friendship depends mostly on sympathy. Nobody forms a friendship with somebody, whom he finds repulsive.

    At the workplace we find sometimes people, which are not exactly according to our taste. However, at the workplace we are supposed to cope with them. This is a very hard lesson to learn, actually that hard that we cannot succeed without God's help. We are all born enemies. Actually we often perceive our neighbours as a burden for us (we are a fallen mankind).

    God is able to give us love (for our workmates and for everybody). Maybe by the ordinary daily work God wants to educate us. It is not only about processing certain equal routines every day, but also about loving our workmates with all their weaknesses (sins).

    Of course, the ability to love somebody, independend from his natural character (capricious), is pure Christianity. The natural man is a slave of hatred and will always find a real reason for his hatred. He needs divine help to overcome his hate, for which he will always find an excuse (of course our neighbours do things, which really harm us, but God wants that we learn not to revenge ourselves).

    The Gospel:

    Jesus Christ has borne our sins on the cross. Believe it and get baptized (if you have yet received infant baptism, don't get baptized again. Just refer to your infant baptism, which is valid.). At baptism the power of Jesus death and resurrection is dedicated to you. Your old man of sin dies and you resurrect together with Jesus to a new life. God gives you righteousness as a cost-free present. Rightousness, of course, means loving God and your neigbour (also workmates) at any rate. God gives you two presents at the same time: Forgiveness and a new life in Christian love. Either you take both presents or you get nothing at all. Show the rightousness, which God gave you: Love your neighbour in God's power.

    September 24, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Reality

      from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      September 24, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Untheo

      Whiner, how come your all-powerful skydaddy needed a scapegoat to be killed in order to save anything? Why not do the good job without all that nonsense (which was lifted from earlier myths anyway).

      Hint: the correct answer is that your god doesn't exist.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Evan

      I don't believe in a skydaddy. I believe in God.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      The Holy Bible reports on a lot of miracles, which Jesus performed. As far as I know there is no anti-Christian scripture of a contemporary of Jesus, which denies or rejects the miracles of Jesus. Please note that solely a contemporary anti-Jesus scripture would be of any interest (of course, today everybody could deny the miracles of Jesus without any resistance, because all eyewitnesses, which would resist, have died for a long time).

      Assumed, Jesus had been an impostor, surely the chroniclers of Jesus time had recorded it. Even if the apostles had made-up the whole story, people of Palestine (for example Palestine mirgrant workers in Greece) had sharply protested against the message of the apostles and the chroniclers had recorded it. A lot of ant-Jesus scriptures had been drafted in that case.

      No scripture, denying the miracles of Jesus, drafted by a contemporary of Jesus or the apostles, has survived (as far as I know). Obviously the reports of the Bible on Jesus are all true, otherwise some copies of an anti-Jesus scripure of Jesus' or the apostle's time had survived.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Matt

      @Rainer: There can't be contemporary anti-Jesus writings, as you referred to it, because there were no contemporary "pro-Jesus" writings. The many books of the New Testament were written years after Jesus's death. How can you write a book deconstructing and disproving Quantum Mechanics before Quantum Mechanics had been proposed and formulated?

      September 24, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Untheo

      Evan, a skydaddy by any other name, yours included, is still fiction. Fiction for idiots too, since there are far more interesting myths than what is contained in the buybull.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Assumed, someone would deny the Holocaust, he would get punished (at least in Germany), because there is still a great awareness of Hitler's crimes, although the last comtemporaries of the bad events are about to cease. Even in 50 or 100 years it will be difficult to establish a scripture, which denies the Holocaust.

      Solely in maybe 1000 years (after the awareness of the Holocaust has become weaker) someone could draft a anti-Holocaust scripture more or less successfully. However scriptures, confirming the Holocaust, would still exist and honest people would use them to prove that the Holocaust was historical.

      Even some decades or even centuries after Jesus' lifetime people were aware of his miracles. Even the Koran, which was drafted more than 600 years after Christ, confirms the miracles of Jesus (this is extremly interesting: although Muhammad was an anti-Christian, he did not dare to deny the miracles of Jesus, because probably people had stoned him).

      September 24, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Matt

      @Rainer: The evidence in support of the Holocaust is overwhelming: physical evidence (Auschwitz, legal docu-ments, pictures) and anecdotal evidence (the many, many people whose lives were affected). There is very little evidence that supports Jesus's miracles. There is no physical evidence, only limited anecdotal evidence. The Gospels never claim to be eye-witness accounts and were written 50+ years after Jesus's death.

      In addition, almost all ancient religions and cultures speak of miracles. Buddha is said to have performed multiple miracles: creating a golden bridge with his mind, creating fire and water simultaneously, and several others. Perhaps this is validation of Buddhist ideals and principles? The burden of proof was low two thousand years ago and belief in miracles was commonplace. The "evidence" you cite is little more than word of mouth. And Muhammad was not anti-Christian, but viewed Jews and Christians as fellow "people of the book".

      September 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      However, you must admit that in thousand years or so the physical Auschwitz will probably no more exist (although it is not sure). All contemporaries will have died for a long time. In 1000 years people will largely depend on scriptures (also electronical docu-ments), in order to know something about the Holocaust.

      Did you actually know that here in Germany we have one of the oldest church-buildings of the world. This church was built by the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Roman emperor, which protected the Christian Church). Constantine lived around 300 a. D.. Obviously at least 300 years after Christ the people believed that Jesus was authentic.

      By the way, the church is still used for worship services (Germany city of Trier). For 1700 years worship services are celebrated in Trier. That is overwhelming.

      September 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Matt

      I admit I can't predict what will happen to Auschwitz in 1000 years. I imagine though, like Trier's church, if people wish for it to remain, it will remain in some form. The longevity of Trier's church is impressive but there are many other Buddhist monasteries that have existed for longer. All this means is that people have believed in something for a very long time – that doesn't validate their beliefs, just that they are willing to believe it.

      Among the docu-ments from the holocaust that survive 1000 years, there should be numerous eyewitness accounts. If there are no eyewitness accounts, there will probably be, though I hope not, similar atrocities committed because of religious, ethnic, or racial motives. On the other hand, there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus's miracles, and there are no modern miracles similar to those performed by Jesus or Buddha.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Reality


      "What follows are eight heresies, ranging from sects that see Jesus Christ as purely divine, to others which see him as purely human.

      Sabellianism: Sabellianism is named for its founder Sabellius (fl. 2nd century). It is sometimes referred to as modalistic monarchianism. The father, son, and holy ghost are three modes, roles, or faces of a single person, God. This, of course, implies that Jesus Christ was purely divine, without humanness, and therefore could not truly have suffered or died.

      Docetism: The name comes from the Greek word dokesis, meaning "to seem." Along the same lines as Sabellianism, Docetism says that Christ was not a real human being and did not have a real human body. He only seemed to be human to us. In a nutshell...

      Christ only (no Jesus)

      Monophysitism: Monophysite comes from the Greek words for "one body." This heresy says that Jesus Christ was a joining of the eternal Logos with the human person Jesus, which occured at incarnation. He therefore is two separate natures joined in one body. Monophysitism is very much alive in several present-day Egyptian and Middle Eastern sects of Christianity.

      > Jesus Christ

      Adoptionism: Adoptionism says that Jesus was a human being who was "adopted" by God at his conception, at which point he developed a divine nature. Later versions sometimes suggest that he was adopted later, such as when he was baptized by John the Baptist.

      Jesus > Christ

      Nestorianism: Supposedly, Nestorius, Patriarch of Antioch (fl. 410), believed that Jesus Christ had two natures - man and God - which remained separate throughout his period on earth. This is not really what Nestor said (although he did deny virgin birth) but the name stuck. You can still find a few Nestorian churches in Iran.


      Apollinarianism: Named for Apollinaris of Laodicea (fl. 350), this heresy says that Jesus Christ was not a real man, but not totally divine either. Apollinarians suggested that he had a human body and a human soul, but his mind was taken over by the eternal Logos.


      Arianism: Arianism is named after Arius (c. 250 – c. 336), a priest in Alexandria. This is considered the most serious heresy. Jesus Christ was thought of as a special creation by God for man's salvation. Arianism was the form of Christianity that the Goths adhered to, and it was popular in all the areas they conquered, including Italy, Spain, and Africa.

      Socianism: A version of Arianism called Socianism (from the Latin socius, meaning "companion), simply says that Jesus was an extraordinary man. This heresy still lives on in two very different forms, the Unitarians and the Jehova's Witnesses.

      Jesus only (no Christ)

      September 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Reality

      o "Miracles" do not happen since miracles violate the human character of natural law. If God (if one exists) were involved in our daily lives, cures would not be needed. You cannot have it both ways.

      Curing the sick?? Hmmm, there is no medical doc-umentation of this because there was no diagnostic tools for said sicknesses in first century Palestine. And many NT "miracles", are single attestations and therefore are historically unreliable.

      September 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • tnwoman1948

      @Rainer Braendlein:

      Kudos and thank you for an intelligent and beautiful comment. So many of us "Christians" DO NOT reach this level of love (Agape) because we are in reality unconverted. We are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, but do not possess His Robes of Righteousness. Thanks again for the words of wisdom.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "I don't believe in a skydaddy. I believe in God."

      Both are products of the imagination, akin to saying: "I don't believe in Santa. I believe in the Easter Bunny.


      September 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • munchma cuchi

      How sad you need a sky daddy to keep your hatred at bay.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • carriedi


      to give the opportunity to save even the unbelievers like yourself

      September 25, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  20. R

    Ok seeing these comments, had to say something. I one of those that live on 900 a month with two kids, one of them is special needs. Was working until my ex decided to move two hours away, my wages can not cover the child care (charged more because one is special needs.) So try paying 500 in rent, 120 in electric, car insurance (22 year old car with 300,000 plus miles that is always breaking down) gas and whatever the kids need. I can tell you what property is, going hungry, going with out heat, doing without, your kids knowing that any second that you can be homeless again. The so call government help is a joke,

    September 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • cck99352

      You may be poor, but at least you have access to the internet!

      September 24, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • HeavenSent

      R, we only pay taxes to pay their over inflated salaries.


      September 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Thank you for giving us a glimpse of true poverty. I hope your circ_umstances improve.

      Note that the Republicans would take away even the small help that you get. Vote for the Dems in 2012. The Republicans serve two masters: The rich and the religious right (Tea Baggers).


      September 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, bushwa, HS. You don't pay any taxes, you phony pos.

      September 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • munchma cuchi

      @cck99352: ever heard of a library?

      September 25, 2011 at 12:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.