Archive for ‘Specials: Poverty’

March 11, 2011

How Rush Limbaugh Sees Our Recession

by Vince Giordano

I have off school today so I am able to relax a bit (I really need to), have some coffee with cream, and write about an article that stuck out to me. I am sometimes so drained during the week that it is hard for me to put together my thoughts and churn out a piece. However, when someone explains something to a T, its hard not to

write about it.

I don’t think I have ever been in my car and listened to Rush Limbaugh. You could count me as lucky. However, from time to time I catch glimpses of his screeds on his website. Andrew Sullivan highlighted one particular screed of his that captures Rush’s true essence:

We all know Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, but unemployment compensation? The payment of unemployment benefits is almost as high as Social Security in this country.  Folks, we are not going to survive as a nation, not the way we’ve been founded, with this kind of sloth and laziness and feeding at the public trough. It just cannot happen.  And to even call this “wages” — I’m actually kinda glad they did because it points out how ludicrous this is and how dangerous it is.  “Handouts,” handouts, the redistribution of wealth “makes up one-third of US wages.”  Social welfare spending has increased three and a half times since 1960.

We declared war on poverty, and it’s given us this.  We declared war on poverty, and what do we have?  Thirty-five percent of our people living on the dole!  Thirty-five percent of American citizens living on “handouts,” and where are the handouts coming from?  Their fellow citizens… I know it’s depressing, folks.  I mean some people are so lazy that they will only be unemployed if they’re paid to be unemployed.

After his min-sermon, a listener dialed in to share his real (not abstract) story of battling cancer, being unable to work, and collecting unemployment benefits. Rush’s response:

Do you think I actually think you ought to be denied stuff? Okay.  I don’t think that.  I’m not talking about people like you, but there are people who fudge this disability business.  I had a story not long ago about a bunch of drunks in jail getting disability payments because they were alcoholics. Well, we are a compassionate country.  There is not a person in this country that does not want somebody who cannot provide for themselves to go empty.  There’s not a person in the world who wants that. You don’t fall under the headline definition freeloader or what have you.  And if you’re bothered by it, it’s life.

A lot of things affect a lot of people.  But we’re not talking about you.  And you are not the majority of that 35% on the dole anyway.  You’re a small percentage of it.  You’re not the problem we’re talking about.

Sullivan sums up Rush’s general caricature of those unemployed as jailed drunks, lazy sloths, and the like. As Sullivan put it, Rush backs down from his abstract tirade when faced with a real life case.

What does this show us? Maybe we shouldn’t allow bigots such as Rush dictate the conversation every time unemployment benefits come up for renewal in Congress. Maybe we shouldn’t let a multi-millionaire tell us how every person on unemployment acts, behaves, or uses their money. Maybe we should turn off the radio and step into the actual world of someone whose life is decaying because of being without a job.

February 15, 2011

Verse of the Day: Serving the Poor

by Vince Giordano

“When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 14:12-14

February 14, 2011

Poverty, Justice, Compassion, and our Politicians

by Vince Giordano

Dan at FIPL exposes the truly draconian measures in our proposed budget:

  • Chopping $1.3 billion from community health centers, which provide primary care for 20 million low- and middle-income Americans. This cut would take away health centers’ ability to serve 11 million people. By way of comparison, the tax cuts passed in December give individuals with annual incomes of over $1 million an average tax cut of $100,000.
  • Completely eliminating funding for Title X ($327 million), which ensures access to contraception for women who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Not only will this very likely result in massive increases in unintended pregnancies, that increase is very likely to lead to an increase in abortions, which the Republican party ostensibly opposes. By way of comparison, the estate tax cuts for multimillion-dollar inheritances passed in December will cost $23 billion.

This truly shows where too many of our leaders hearts are at. It unfortunately reflects many of the stereotypes our nation unreflectively digests. Think about these:

We take away the dirty Planned Parenthood and we will not only save money but be a more pro-life, Christian nation! We cut out community health and nutritional assistance to use that money in “better” places/ways. We give the breaks to our rich because they create our jobs (shown to be a sham here, here, and here). Anything else i’m missing?

February 7, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince Giordano

“Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?” -Mother Teresa in her book “In the heart of the world” (p.56)

December 13, 2010

Unemployment Benefits

by Vince Giordano

Ezra Klein has a straightforward piece on unemployment benefits. Both of his charts/graphs are helpful, too.

It is helpful, if you talk about this, to be clear when addressing “the unemployed”. Beyond that terming resulting in an inhumane description, there are many Americans who go to job fairs or actively pursue jobs but to no avail. Remember: there are on average 5 applicants for every 1 job available.  Extending unemployment benefits, in many cases, keeps not only the recepient afloat but the businesses they shop at each week for their food, gas, and other necessities. Essentially, if you cut off the unemployment benefits in a draconian manner, you cut off the businesses. Please, let’s not lose reality and humanity in this discussion. How often does that happen with immigration, health care, and Islam?

Google has a great tool that allows you to look up each state, county, and region‘s unemployment rates.

December 7, 2010

Obama Reaches Out

by Vince Giordano

For Obama’s bipartisan sake, his caving in to the Bush Tax Cut extension is a good thing. It better quell some of the huffing and puffing from the Right that he won’t “meet us on our side” and follow some unspoken order from America to take up a smaller government.

Lately, I am seeing two lanes of thought in relation to “Obama’s welfare state / dependency programs”. One side sees that these programs have people on their rolls who are ignorantly and lazily dependent on government money and the Democrats have done some sort of lobotomy experiment to make them forever follow them their handout trail. The other side sees some people on the program rolls that are generationally dependent but also many enrolled who wholeheartedly need it. A case and point example for the first side can be seen below:

The emerging deal is not all good news, of course.  It is not wise to provide extended unemployment insurance for the duration of 2011.  That’s likely to contribute to persistently high unemployment and discourage the adjustments necessary to get more people back to work.  And temporary tax cuts are much less effective than permanent ones at spurring productive investments and job creation.

The author banks on a black and white schema for unemployment insurance. He sees that this insurance provided for those out of work will just keep their butts planted down on the couch and give them no hope other than to be a parasite of the government.

Such views taken up by the author can be credited to only knowing a few people on welfare or unemployed and who also happen to enjoy not having a job and not making much off of the government. This view is quite condescending and probably comes from a privileged white ledge, far removed from their ivory towers and white suburbs. Another source of such poppycock stereotyping is Rush Limbaugh. When Rush Limbaugh makes racist jokes or jokes insinuating racial stereotypes towards Barack Obama, one not only gets a bad picture in their head of Barack but also of black people. Rush must not think too highly of black people, even ones who have risen out of a tough single parent home and gone on to be a constitutional scholar and president of the United States.

After sifting through the racist innuendos and the seemingly truth statements that “all people on welfare or who are unemployed are lazy”, one needs to ask some questions. What about there being only 1 job out there today for every 5 applicants? What about our nation being in one of the worst recessions in decades? What about our unemployment rate still not going down but hovering around 9.8%?

More times than not, the first side is held up by privileged whites who haven’t had to worry about not receiving great education, health care, living in a stable home, or living in an impoverished neighborhood. Their existence is never questioned based on their races behavior on a macro level. They simply live without having their race drag them down. The second side can tend to be a mixed bag of colors. They may make up educated whites as well as those who have been or have known someone enrolled in a state program. The words of Andrew Marin, even though spoken about the divide between the church and the GLBT community, ring true in this case: “We have to go to a culture before we know a culture” (emphasis mine).

Back to taxes, how we construct our outlook on taxes and the economy in turn directs our allegiance towards a certain direction. Sure our personal experiences play in to that as well (Growing up, my Dad always complained about extra taxes coming his way. He was, and still is, a self employed landscaper, so extra taxes hit him and he feels them). If we see taxes towards the rich as a hindrance towards job creation, especially in a recession, we will say ‘no way’ to ending tax cuts. On the flip side, if we see tax cuts for the middle class as helpful for they are the ones who are more apt to spend on the basics (food, furniture, stimulating local business) than to save in large amounts, then one would say “sure, give those guys the tax cuts”.

As I said, in the end it comes down to the reality we construct. How much of that is based on actual reality (our experiences, empirical evidence) and based on faux theology (Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Fox News), only ourselves can fully peer into that source.

November 19, 2010

Reflecting on Zacchaeus and Economic Justice

by Vince Giordano

Sojo collects some commentary by biblical scholars:

Joel Green finds, “Unlike the rich ruler, Zacchaeus does not employ his wealth so as to procure honor and friends; rather, he is a social outcast who puts his possessions in the service of the needy and of justice. Such a person would indeed be eager to welcome Jesus, anointed by the spirit to bring “good news to the poor (Luke 4:18-19), with joy!” (The Gospel of LukeThe New International Commentary on the New Testament, Eerdmans, 1997, p. 672).

November 16, 2010

Book Reviews: 3 Books by Jonathan Kozol

by Vince Giordano

I just finished reading a third straight book by Jonathan Kozol. I went in this order: Amazing Grace, Death at an Early Age, and Letters to a Young


I heard about Kozol from a friend of mine about two years ago. He is a numbers theorist at my alma matter who had first hand experience working with students in poverty stricken Appalachia. His students were white and contrast in skin color to Kozol’s students of color in the inner city. Regardless, I still see poverty as poverty. I will come back to this point in a bit.

I only started to read these books by Kozol because I had them around our room and I was meaning to read them. These books have turned out to be great gifts and have been excellent to have in this season of teaching.

First up, Amazing Grace. I had a hard time chugging through this book at times. I thought that out of the three I read, this one was the most depressing. A large chunk of the book relies on his first hand interviews with students, teachers, clergy, older community members, and families within the South Bronx. Seeing the gripping effects waste plants located in this community have on the respiratory systems of those who live near by is sickening. His stories and first hand encounters shows the dark side of de facto segregation in NYC.

In Death at an Early Age, this was Kozol’s first book, published in 1967. This

book originally was written out as notes on envelopes. He later wrote it all out and eventually made it into a book. This book documents his first year teaching in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His experience working in the de facto segregated Boston school system is eye opening. He was well aware of the corporal punishment used against students and much against it. Kozol brings to light the well guised racist feelings by some of his colleagues. Much of this guise is ultimately rooted in a separate but equal ideology. Kozol was ultimately fired for reading to his students a poem not on the approved curriculum list. This poem, however, was by a Negro who spoke in a “slang” very similar to those of the children in the city, which the school district wanted to “break”. The superintendent plainly told Kozol that he couldn’t read any literature by Negro authors who talked about suffering. Ironically, there was no issue when Kozol read to his students a poem by Robert Frost, who was not on the approved list and was even praised for presenting his students with such “cultural material”.

Finally, Letters to a Young Teacher was Kozol’s correspondence to a young teacher named Francesca. Kozol frequently stopped in to her class and observed. He then would follow up with lengthy letters. This book was neat for it is rather contemporary compared to the two previous. Letters deals with the issues of vouchers, high stakes testing, the lack of space for creativity in such classrooms, and the many differences in style and spending per student between urban and suburban/private white schools.

Across these books, Kozol approaches education as a universal good that is meant to be shared, provided for others, and valued both individually and collectively. He is Jewish and has a large respect for churches. He goes at Washington and corporate “experts” who overuse and abuse educational lingo laced with excessive syllables.

I found his books extra accessible for me because of my recent time subbing in the inner city. These books, the stories, their insights, and the general loving approach to teaching have all driven me to a new sense of feeling alive in the classroom. One issue I had with these books is that the notes in the far back are not cited in the chapters. I would of liked to of seen symbols to check a citation in the rear of the book.

“Visitors from outside these neighborhoods who witness confrontations often make the unkind observations that “these students act like animals.” But if you treat them like animals, herding them along for squalid feedings like so many cattle rather than providing them even minimal civility, its not surprising to me that they act accordingly.”

In the above quote, Kozol describes a mega-school in L.A. that houses 3,600 students but is meant only for 1,800. The school goes in shifts for lunch, starting at 9:30am until 2pm. He mentions that many of the students are not hungry yet at 9:30am and get rather rowdy come noon time. Some are known to even leave school to get food and not return.

“Many of these kids cannot constructively participate in class discussions because they have never learned in elementary school to ask dissecting questions or to analyze or criticize complex ideas.”

Kozol attacks here the standardized test craze that is so common in urban schools. Sure, suburban schools prep for these tests but so much of this craze gets embedded in urban schools to the point of wondering if this all would fly and be acceptable for suburban parents of students.

I am on now to Shame of a Nation by Kozol. These books remind me that as a teacher who cares for kids, and by kids I mean kids of all colors, even sometimes more so for kids of color (because racism twists poverty differently for blacks than whites, in my opinion), I am not alone in my passions. I care for hearing students stories, hearing about their families, asking how they came to America, their views on their school, their neighborhood, and life. Generally speaking, I am the white guy who grew up in the suburbs who really doesn’t know anything about inner city living or school. I am mostly there to listen.

The kicker is that I can level with these kids. Kozol mentions this, either explicitily or implicitly in these three books, that the majority of urban students are not “animals”. I have taught dozens of students who are great kids and well behaved. Sure, there are poorly behaved kids and even those who are disrespectful, but that is surely there in the white suburban schools I have been at.

November 7, 2010

Unemployment News of the Day

by Vince Giordano

Some reactions to the above graph here and a money quote below:

“The real question from Tuesday night’s outcome is how long can the US government issue its own increasingly toxic sovereign debt into the global market at a rate twice as fast as underlying economic growth? The cynic might say: as long as the Fed can continue to monetize 100% of the new debt issue, as it promised in Wednesday’s $100 billion per month quantitative easing 2 (QE2) announcement. But it should be obvious to all except the insouciant boys and girls and robots of Wall Street that the world’s leading central bank is now dispensing pure monetary heroin. And, ironically, that’s likely to kill the patient before the fiscal question is even addressed,” – David Stockman.


November 6, 2010

Cash in Hand; No Strings Attached

by Vince Giordano

Simply giving money to those in poverty, the antithesis of sorts within America, has had positive results.

One of the biggest impacts of these programs: education. Since its launch more than a decade ago, South Africa’s Child Support Grant has cut the number of children out of school in half. South Africans are free to use their payment any way they wish, but some countries require school enrollment to keep the money coming in. “It changes the dynamics of the way people conceptualize welfare,” says John Hoddinott, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “Both parties have rights and responsibilities.” In many cases, however, simply having cash in hand allows parents to keep their children in the classroom. “Poor households … need the labor of their children; that’s why they don’t send them to school,” says Santiago Levy, the architect of Mexico’s cash-transfer program, now called Oportunidades.

But what works in one country doesn’t always work in another. In Malawi, one of the least-developed countries in the world, the World Bank compared two different groups of school-age girls: one was given cash only if they went to school; the other was simply given the money. The results showed little difference in attendance. In fact, those without conditions fared better when it came to reducing teen pregnancy and teen marriage, factors that often pull Malawian girls out of the classroom.

This surely isn’t a magic bullet, as Schneiderman notes above, but is striking in the results it shows for quality of health. Cara provides a wise note:

The strategy is rooted in a simple idea: people generally know what’s best for themselves. A whole lot better than those on the outside, who often don’t recognize or understand those needs, let alone the cultural and structural barriers preventing those needs from being met

Her full piece is amazing.

October 7, 2010

Hard Times: Theocrat Responses

by Vince Giordano

First off, I will admit that it is much easier for me to post complaints or gripes with fringe religious groups and not post any positive, guiding words. Let me make an effort on this post.

Bryan Fischer and Newt Gingrich, the first with religious mumbo jumbo and the second via political attacks, keeps the theocratic march going.


Last month, firefighters in Obion County, Tennessee watched a home burn to the ground because the homeowner had failed to pay a $75 fee to receive fire protection from the city of South Fulton.

The fire department did the right and Christian thing. The right thing, by the way, is also the Christian thing, because there can be no difference between the two. The right thing to do will always be the Christian thing to do, and the Christian thing to do will always be the right thing to do.

If I somehow think the right thing to do is not the Christian thing to do, then I am either confused about what is right or confused about Christianity, or both.

In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.

This story illustrates the fundamental difference between a sappy, secularist worldview, which unfortunately too many Christians have adopted, and the mature, robust Judeo-Christian worldview which made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world. The secularist wants to excuse and even reward irresponsibility, which eventually makes everybody less safe and less prosperous. A Christian worldview rewards responsibility and stresses individual responsibility and accountability, which in the end makes everybody more safe and more prosperous.

Newt Gingrich, advising the 2012 GOP to vilify food stamps and use it as a weapon against the Democrats:

It’s a bit out of left field. Most of the election cycle has centered on rich people and their tax cuts rather than poor people and their food-assistance programs. But there’s a very obvious reason why Gingrich wants to frame the issue this way: food stamp usage has historically gone up with Democrats in office, and down when Republicans were in charge. Frame it like that, and it looks as though Dems are the welfare-state-loving socialists and Republicans are the patriotic capitalists.

Republicans have long struggled to shake the image of the party of wealthy white folks, but belittling food stamps seems a curious strategy to regain the GOP’s identity. That kind of rhetoric might play well with those Tea Partiers who can afford to jet to Washington for a political rally to restore conservativism. But those of them who can’t–the ones who receive food stamps–probably won’t be flattered by the argument.

First with Newt, I don’t know if he wants to outlaw them completely. That wouldn’t happen anyway but it is good his party is proposing some policy ideas even if they are unrealistic.

Second with Fischer, it sounds as if he has taken a very strong stance towards life from a few Old Testament texts out of context (?).

Both seem to stand on a form of self responsibility which everyone in one distinct shape or another is truly striving after. It must be noted that the capitalistic ways of the white GOP can act, and have in the past, as suppressing tools against the poor, further preventing them to rise out of poverty. Many inner cities have been abandoned after industrial industries moved south then over seas. This cyclical (in cycles) issue is inter connected. Many of these pressures on inner city “food stamp usin'” denizens are not on the shoulders or hanging around the necks of the Grand Old Party. I see these harsh circumstances as making inner city families flustered, forcing them to survive and feed themselves and their kids in a more frantic way than most are use to. In the end, the problems with urban families and struggling children are not fully the blame of the schools nor the families. These neighborhoods have been forgotten and continue to be jested about in the media without any medium between programs and hands on work.

I hope Newt and Fischer can see this video:

July 9, 2010

Poverty, Not Conflict, Divides a Country

by Vince Giordano

Marcus Bleasdale provides some photos of Djibouti where poverty, not conflict divides the African country.

July 8, 2010

More Analysis on Unemployment

by Vince Giordano

The Daily Dish provides some links and analysis on the subject of the unemployed receiving benefits and the pro’s/con’s of extending them. This article confronts the idea of wanting to cut unemployment benefits now but being fine with tax cuts over the last eight years:

I’d be more sympathetic with these new converts to fiscal responsibility if they were as enthusiastic about paying for extending $32 billion worth of special interest tax breaks as they are about funding the unemployment extension. If I understand correctly, these lawmakers insist that Congress fund every dime of added jobless aid, which nearly all analysts agree will help boost the economy. But they feel no need to pay for continuing these special interest tax breaks, which will not. They fret about unemployed workers who allegedly game the system to get jobless benefits but seem undisturbed by those businesses and individuals who do the same to maximize their tax subsidies. Politics is indeed a funny business.

More reading here.

July 6, 2010

Tackling Homelessness

by Vince Giordano

Barack Obama’s new plan, Opening Doors, confronts many issues:

In the long run, officials say, ending homelessness will save taxpayers money. It actually costs more to place people in shelters and hospitals than it does to help them find permanent housing.

Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, called homelessness “a preventable tragedy.” That is especially true in such a wealthy nation.

The latest homeless statistics in a government report show the need for more funding: 1.6 million people spent time in shelters last year. There are about 3,000 homeless people in Philadelphia.

Those numbers will likely only rise as more veterans return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers are already going up as a result of the recession, high unemployment, and mounting foreclosures. Families have been especially hard-hit, with the number of homeless jumping by 30 percent from 2007 to 2009.

July 4, 2010

Poverty: Poor and Rich Mindsets

by Vince Giordano

Mindhack’s has a great read on poverty in the eyes of a poor person, not looking at the poor from a rich person’s perspective:

Social liberals have countered by blaming racial prejudice and the crippling conditions of the ghetto for denying the poor any choice in their fate. Neoconservatives have argued that antipoverty programs themselves are to blame for essentially bribing people to stay poor.

Karelis, a professor at George Washington University, has a simpler but far more radical argument to make: traditional economics just doesn’t apply to the poor. When we’re poor, Karelis argues, our economic worldview is shaped by deprivation, and we see the world around us not in terms of goods to be consumed but as problems to be alleviated. This is where the bee stings come in: A person with one bee sting is highly motivated to get it treated. But a person with multiple bee stings does not have much incentive to get one sting treated, because the others will still throb.

July 2, 2010

Addressing the Stigma of Gov. Handouts

by Vince Giordano

The new Citizen Cohn blog puts out a great piece addressing the myth that government handouts make people lazy:

In fact, a 1990 study of unemployment benefits by Lawrence Katz and David Meyer suggested as much: They found a significant link between how long people could receive payments and how long people stayed unemployed. (For each five to six weeks of extra benefits, people would stay unemployed one additional week.) Katz and Meyer also noticed that people stopped being unemployed at the same time as their benefits ran out—proof, it would seem, the more generous benefits encourage people to stay jobless.

But subsequent research showed otherwise. A 2007 study from David Card, Raj Chetty, and Andrea Weber took a closer look at what happens to people when their unemployment benefits run out. They don’t magically find jobs, it turns out. Rather, they simply stop submitting the information that would cause the government to count them as unemployed.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, there are about five job-seekers for every job opening right now. In December 2007, when the recession officially began, there were only two job-seekers per opening.

I don’t have a full belief on this yet beyond knowing that it is not a cut and dry situation. No ones case is black and white and in each case we need to reflect on the stigmas WE BRING to each into the discussion (e.g.- every person on welfare sits around and is lazy, every person on welfare buys luxuries they don’t need, every person on welfare needs to be shunned and not trusted, and the list goes on).
I was able to attend a Poverty Simulation almost 2 weeks ago in my area. We were given a name, a family, and a life situation. Many of us had little to no education, typically 1 of us had a job for the whole family, lines were long to pay bills, transportation and food costs were high,  stress was heavy, and we didn’t think one bit about stopping to care for each other; we were focused on how we could pay our bills or steal from each other to make that happen (others found it ordinary to skip work to go take care of other things).

June 29, 2010

They See Us Not See Them, Ctd.

by Vince Giordano

A reader writes in:

How sadly true. We will unfortunately see more of this as our country continues to down slide economically. All the more reason for all of us to come together and put our faith into God. It is also important for us to step up and help those who cannot do so, but not become their crutch, for they will never be able to grow on their own.

June 28, 2010

Living standards and Government handouts

by Vince Giordano

*I would like this post to serve as the beginning of a wide series on poverty, the government, and how it affects our personal lives.

Jonah Goldberg wrote a piece the other day questioning the liberal policies of Barack Obama. It centered on Obama and his liberal ilk’s tendencies to see government help America’s citizens.

Indeed, the Democratic party in recent years has become obsessed in looking at the economy only in that one negative way to justify its avocation: giving more stuff to the poor and middle class because they are “falling behind.”

Throughout this non-screed editorial, Goldberg doesn’t clarify what he means by “stuff” that the government gives to the poor and middle class. From the multiple citations of electronics and other non-necessities, you would assume that all most people who collect “handouts” from the government quickly cash them in for TiVo or other contemporary luxuries.

A money quote from Goldberg amidst his piece:

The wealth of nations, according to Adam Smith, the founding father of the market economy, is not measured in GDP or cash reserves. Rather, it “consists in the cheapness of provision and all other necessaries and conveniences of life.”

Today, there are estimates to being $2.5-2.7 trillion worth of consumer debt. This, surprisingly, has even lowered over the past decade, but not because of less spending: many credit card agencies have cancelled some debts or interest payments.
Furthermore, a lifestyle of simpleness and thrift is always a plus and accommodating to others, no matter the economic climate.