Another whopper from Cleveland; GOP lawyer backs him up

The AP has a thorough story this morning on Rep. George Cleveland’s’s statement that “We have nobody in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty.” In it, reporters Martha Waggoner and Gary Robertson shine a little more light on what lies behind Cleveland’s weirdly distorted view of reality.

They quote Cleveland as follows:

“I’m sure there are hungry people in North Carolina, but to say they are living in extreme poverty in North Carolina, I think that’s an overstatement.”

This actually explains a lot. According to Cleveland, even if you’re poor enough to be going hungry (as thousands upon thousands of North Carolinians — many of the children — are) you do not live in extreme poverty. Apparently, unless you’re collapsing in the street from starvation, you do not live in extreme poverty in Cleveland’s warped and troubled view of reality.

Meanwhile, you’ll be happy to know that rather than censuring or criticizing Cleveland, the North Carolina Republican establishment appears to be embracing him. This morning, a lawyer for Senate GOP leader Phil Berger tweeted the following in reponse to the AP story which also reported on an underemployed  low-income fellow in Cleveland’s home county who’s been trying to work his way out of poverty by attending community college classes when he has the resources to do so:

 “Only in the mind of a Democrat could someone who is going to college be facing ‘extreme poverty.””

You got that? Not only is this guy not taking Cleveland to task, he’s putting down a person trying to work his way out of poverty (and by implication) dismissing the obvious and numbing poverty that afflicts hundreds of thousands of innocent children in our state.

Come on Senator Berger and Speaker Tillis (and Mayor McCrory) — you guys can’t really be this mean-spirited. Speak up and repudiate these crazy people now.


  1. Sharon Turner

    March 2, 2012 at 11:19 am

    As an educator, I come in contact with all levels of our economic society. Please let me assure you that there are many, many people in the state of NC that live on less that $1.50 per day. In fact there are students sitting in my classroom that would be grateful if someone pushed that $1.50 into their hand so they could eat on Saturday. The only meals these students get are the ones supplied to them at school. I can no longer count the meals, clothing, school supplies and so on that I have given to these students who live in abject poverty. We are talking homeless families. The mythical and non-existent extreme poverty that doesn’t exist in Mr.Cleveland’s privileged world. This statement is a prime illustration of just how out of touch with the realities of life our current leadership operates under.

  2. Rob Schofield

    March 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Sharon — As a the spouse of a high school special ed teacher, I can corroborate your observations and experience.

  3. Jack

    March 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Again, public policy and local politics creates poverty. Our elected officials are in a position to correct the situation. An example of the kind of public policy that creates poverty – peonage.

    The gentleman who is working to educate himself out of poverty doesn’t have the support of public policy and local politics to assist him in achieving his dream. I hope he makes it and most likely he will but he is bucking a system that is similar to peonage. A system geared to keep him in poverty. And this is a man who wants more for his life than a monthly check from the government and still right-wingers make fun of his efforts. Talk about shallow twisted minds.

    People like to think that they are self-made but the fact is no one is self-made. That there are people who think such a thing is proof that they are not self-made. They have experienced the support of a public policy that for them is readily accessible therefore there is no conscience awareness of such support.

    There’s a bigger than life mechanism that supports those who are deemed worthy, but due to public policy and local politics others are denied access to that support.

  4. Doug

    March 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I can appreciate what you are saying Jack about public policy. but I have always thought that attitude creates poverty.I was born to a very poor family, but early on never entertained the thought of remaining poor, and gradually worked myself out of that situation. We never received any public assistance , and the family had a very strong work ethic.In today’s families, there are now multi-generations of people who have never worked, nor have they seen even a relative working a regular job.Even in better economic times, most of them chose not to work, and gradually any initiative has disappeared. Throw in the factor of drugs and easy money that has severely plagued the lower class. and you have the recipe for permanent cycles of poverty. No amount of government funding will likely break this cycle as it becomes tougher to distinguish between the deadbeats and the truly needy. In fact the government becomes the Great Enabler providing for the basic needs, and allowing more money to be siphoned off for drugs which perpetuates the cycle even more.

  5. Ricky Leung

    March 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

    That is a very big generalization you are making, Doug. Not to mention public policy affects attitudes, too.

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