Wednesday, 18 March 2015 22:03

Want to Erase Poverty? Here’s How

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Dr. Dr. Michael Omidi is a co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here, he discusses several things we can all do to fight poverty.

What can we do, right now, to alleviate global poverty? Believe it or not, the most effective way anyone in a developed nation can fight poverty is by donating money to organizations that specialize in eradicating poverty. Those who wish to become more personally involved have many options as well. Here are some ways that you can help starving people get the food they so desperately need. Choose whatever methods suits your abilities and means.

Eliminate food waste: In the U.S. alone, people waste approximately 100 million pounds of food each year! Cutting down on the amount of food waste is not a direct, immediate way to reduce world hunger, but it has a powerful indirect effect. We can strive to purchase only what we need and donate the additional money to our favorite charity. In addition, being conscious of food waste will make us more aware of hunger and thus more likely to join the fight against it.

Donate your time: There are literally thousands of online charities that could use your help with website design, content writing and various other tasks. It is common for non-profit organizations to enlist unpaid, volunteer help to get their messages out. So, go online and donate a few hours each week to an organization that works to reduce world hunger.

Reverse-boycott: That’s right, reverse-boycotting has become the newest wave in the fight against global poverty. It simply means rewarding retailers who donate a portion of their profits to legitimate charities that fight hunger. Nowadays, it’s easy to find local retailers in any U.S. city that have such programs in place. When you buy their products or services, you are directly aiding a worthwhile cause.

There are many ways to join the battle against world poverty in addition to direct monetary donations. If you are not already part of the solution, why not join up today and do whatever you can to help those less fortunate? You’ll be making the world a better place for everyone.

Yours in health,

Michel Omidi

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi MD, are dedicated to the elimination of global poverty. No More Poverty was co-founded by the brothers.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 17:20

Worry: Another Price of Poverty

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In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the anxiety associated to living below the poverty line. It cites a 2010 Princeton that shows people who make $75,000 annually have better emotional well-being than those who make less than that.

In past blogs, we have discussed the physical tolls taken on the body associated with poverty. This includes malnutrition because a lack of food as well as disease because a lack of proper health-care. There is also an underlying emotional prices poverty takes… worry.

A 2010 Princeton Study cited that “Emotional well-being also rises with log income, but there is no further progress beyond an annual income of ~$75,000.” The study defines ‘emotional well-being’ as, “the emotional quality of an individual's everyday experience—the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one's life pleasant or unpleasant.” As the study suggest, those making less than $75,000 often feel both sad and depressed.

Just how sad does someone in poverty feel compared to a person living above the poverty line? Ronald Anderson, a former University of Minnesota professor who studies compassion and suffering states that, “poor people are reporting it at three times the rate of higher incomes.” In his studies, Anderson found that those below the poverty line were twice as likely to report both chronic pain and mental distress.

With all that data, what then can be done? We must start looking at poverty from multiple points of view. In order to treat the symptoms of poverty and alleviate it all together, we must also address people in poverty’s emotional health, as well as their physical health. If they are sad, depressed and lacking optimism, it will be harder for them to change their circumstance, even with assistance.

Depression can be emotionally crippling for those who are suffering. They can become catatonic and unable to better their circumstances, regardless of their mental capacities. If society is able to help those in poverty’s mental health, those suffering may have a better chance at rising from the shackles of poverty.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi, along with his brother Michael Omidi and mother Cindy Omidi, are co-founders of No More Poverty, a charitable organization that works to rid the world of poverty.

Thursday, 05 March 2015 22:45

The Real Causes of Childhood Poverty

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here he discusses the true causes of poverty among the world’s children.

What are the root causes of poverty among children? The online publication Poverty Living notes 10 key reasons for the phenomenon of starvation among children, especially in the U.S.

You might notice a common thread that runs through the following list of causes, namely the breakdown or absence of the family unit. That said, here are the 10 causes that the admittedly unscientific analysis came up with, in no particular order:

• Being born into a low-income home: This seems almost too logical, but when low-income families have more children than they are ready for, the cycle of poverty becomes stronger.

• Pregnancy when the parents are not married: An international phenomenon, unmarried parents are more likely to become impoverished than married parents.

• Being born into a single-parent home: Single-parent homes are the most common site for impoverished families.

• Families in which neither parent is educated past elementary levels: Education is seen as the key to poverty elimination all over the world. Education means skills. Skills translate into jobs, and jobs into money.

• Children born into families where the parents are unemployed: Children born to unemployed parents put an even greater strain on financial resources.

• Expenses above and beyond the basic necessities: Many families live just at the breaking point, where a single emergency can break the bank, or what there is left of it.

• Teen parenthood: The younger the parents, the more likely that the family will be, or become, impoverished.

• Drug and alcohol addiction: Needless to say or analyze, when parents are drug abusers, their children are almost guaranteed to suffer in numerous ways.

• Family breakdown as a result of a tragedy: Whether it is a fire, a divorce, a flood or the death of the sole breadwinner, a tragedy often can propel an entire family into poverty in a matter of days.

• Hereditary poverty: While not all those who live in poverty pass the situation on to the next generation, many young, uneducated parents become role models for their own children, who see family units as worthless.

While there are no easy solutions to these problems, identifying the underlying factors that contribute to poverty can help us focus on long-term goals that can end the cycle.

Educating ourselves and others is the best way to effect positive change in the world. With all of us together, we can work toward a world where no child has to grow up in poverty.

Yours in health,

Michel Omidi

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi MD, are dedicated to the elimination of global poverty. No More Poverty was co-founded by the brothers.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 17:15

Government aid Often Misses the Poorest Americans

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Today he discusses how government aid often isn’t accessible to our nation’s poorest.

Last week, The New York Times posted an article examining the distribution of government aid to the economically challenged in America. Throughout, the article raises awareness of those who are often missed in receiving financial assistance. Today, we will address the questions raised and offer suggestions on how you personally can help.

Since the mid-1980s, there has been an increase in assistance to the disabled, working poor and married couples. However, aid directed towards the poorest Americans has shrunk. From 1983 to 2004, aid to families just above the poverty line has nearly doubled. These numbers are in far contrast to those at the bottom of the income gap, those benefits have decline by one-third.

Recent government reform has emphasized rewarding those who are disadvantage that work, are disable and elderly. These are the ‘deserving poor.’ Those who do not work, are generally seen as ‘not trying’. This can be seen through the Obama administration’s proposal for a $500 tax credit to working parents with children, the increase in the national minimum wage and paid parental leave.

Much of this decline started back in the 90s with the Clinton administration’s pursuit to end welfare as we know it. That was in hopes to stop welfare cheats. However, this type of decline in aid truly hurts those who are in desperate need. With all that said, how are the country’s most poor able to get by?

Ending Poverty through Non-Profit Aid

As the article highlight, many of these men and women are forced to look through private organizations for assistance. One such man had help through the Salvation Army and various shelters. Without individual support, it then is left up to charitable contributions from individuals and non-profit organizations.

We here at No More Poverty feel for these individuals. We offer resources to those looking to get ahead by giving access to information on micro-lenders and organizations like, which provides online education regardless of income or circumstances. We also work with many charities that help aid those in need with necessities like groceries, clothing and temporary shelter.

Ultimately, it is important for our government to help their citizens in need. Yet, the politics to do so become very difficult because of disagreeing views from both sides of the aisle. Luckily, our country has so many charitable individuals who want to help provide economic relief to those in need. You can help in that cause by donating to charitable organizations, as well as volunteering your time at shelters. As individuals, we have the power to change our nation. I hope those of you who are able to, do your part to stop poverty.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a better place.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:40

Income Inequality is Bad Medicine, Expert Claims

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here he discusses Richard Wilkinson’s TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk on income inequality.

In a recent TED talk, Richard Wilkinson discussed how income inequality harms societies. Wilkinson is a left-leaning epidemiologist, not an economist, who penned the controversial book, “The Spirit Level,” which outlined his economic theories in detail.

In “more equal” countries, according to Wilkinson, like Japan and Portugal, the top 20 percent are three times richer than the bottom 20 percent. However, in more unequal nations, like the US, the UK, and Singapore, the top 20 percent are between seven to 10 times richer than the bottom 20 percent.

It is no surprise that countries with higher income inequality are more likely to experience more social problems.

It’s all about distribution

It doesn’t matter how wealthy the residents of a particular country are. Wilkinson demonstrated there is no relation between amount of wealth and social problems. The key issue is how wealth is distributed and how wide the income gap is.

An interesting point that Wilkinson brought up is that countries with higher income inequality trust each other less than the nations where the income gap is smaller. Lack of trust leads to higher crime, which is also documented in Wilkinson’s study.

Beyond the data, one can visit the countries and see for themselves. I knew someone who fell asleep on a train in Tokyo and woke up with all of his belongings intact. If that had been a train in New York or Chicago, who knows what the victim would have been missing when he woke up, or if he would ever wake up again at all?

Wilkinson also notes, “If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should move to Denmark.”

Inequality affects everyone

Social mobility has become difficult in the United States, where a full 42 percent of Americans born in the bottom fifth of the income strata stay there their whole lives. This is in striking contrast to Denmark, where only 25 percent get stuck on those lower economic rungs.

Wilkinson also noted that two of the most “equal” countries, Japan and Sweden, have a different philosophy when it comes to shortening the gap. The Swedes have more welfare programs and higher taxation of the rich, while the Japanese have lower taxes and a smaller welfare state.

Income equality does not affect only the poor, it affects everyone. Wilkinson’s research clearly shows that the smaller a society’s income gap, the higher its standard of living, and the lower its crime and stress rates.

Yours in health,

Michel Omidi

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi MD, are dedicated to the elimination of global poverty. No More Poverty was cofounded by the brothers.
Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:37

Income, Education Dual Factors in Poverty Cycle Featured

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here he discusses poverty in American schools.

According to a CNN report, half of all children qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches this year, compared to just 32 percent in 1989. Steve Suitts believes that one of the reasons poverty is increasing, despite the economy being on the rise, is that there are not enough well-paying jobs to help lift families out of bad financial situations.

The performance gap between low income students and those who are not classified as such is large. In 2013, 20 percent of eighth grade students from low income families were proficient in math, compared to 49 percent of eighth graders not classified in the lower income range. The results are similar with reading proficiency. Concerns arise when these students become old enough to enter the workforce. Low income students will enter the workforce ill equipped to compete in a changing economic environment. As workplaces become more technologically oriented, and finding qualified employees becomes more difficult, there almost certainly will not be enough eligible candidates in the American talent pool.

A lack of skills will not allow lower income families to rise out of the cycle of poverty. also points out some key facts about students who come from low income families:

• Children who live in poverty have higher rates of school absenteeism or drop out because they have to work or take care of family members.

• Less than 30 percent of students who come from the bottom quartile of incomes go into a four year university, and less than half in that group graduates.

• By the time they hit fourth grade, low income students are two years behind their peers in terms of grade level. When they finish high school, the gap turns into four years.

Education is an important tool to help slow down the cycle of poverty. It provides people with marketable skills and the ability to adapt to a changing workforce. With the demand for technological skills on the rise, it is important for this country to create a good educational foundation for all of its students.

Striving to eradicate poverty can benefit our society as a whole. The easiest way to do this is to make sure low income students get the benefits and opportunities that higher income students have. This would allow those on the lower end of the economic ladder to contribute equally to our society, and possibly even make it better.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi, are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a better place.

Tuesday, 03 February 2015 19:17

Non-communicable Diseases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that nations increase efforts to prevent their citizens from dying prematurely of non-communicable diseases (NCD). The WHO recently reported that nearly 38 million lives were lost to NCDs in 2012, and that 16 million of the deaths were preventable, an increase from 14.6 million in 2000.

What are the Primary Causes?

Globalization and urbanization have helped spread unhealthy lifestyles that are threatening public health worldwide. Habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, eating too much fat, salt and sugar have brought on NCDs such as heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. These diseases are largely preventable. Approximately 82 percent of NCD deaths that occur before the age of 70 take place in middle and poor income countries where the population is more likely to be vulnerable to harmful products and whose inhabitants have very limited access to healthcare. The deaths are closely associated with poverty, as the premature death of a breadwinner drains family resources and forces many people into destitution. “NCDs are one of the factors that must be addressed in order to alleviate poverty,” says Julian Omidi, co-founder of No More Poverty.

Progress is Being Made

Since 2011, the WHO has been seeking to reduce deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by the year 2025, with guidelines that will address the highest risk factors such as tobacco use, salt intake, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and alcohol use. With 190 countries participating, the organization hopes the governments will help promote healthier habits by restricting advertisements for alcohol and tobacco, and implement policies in agriculture, education, food production, trade, taxation, urban development and healthcare, to help reach its target. Several countries have already achieved progress in some areas: • Turkey reduced smoking rates by 13.4 percent since 2008 through price hikes and a ban on tobacco advertisements. • Hungary registered a 27 percent drop in junk-food sales through high taxation. • Brazil’s NCD mortality rate dropped by 1.8 percent per year with the expansion of healthcare. • Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Mexico and the US promote salt reduction in foods and bread. For the full report, Click here.
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 19:21

Help Poor Children with Money

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In today’s article Michael Omidi writes about potential government solutions to our nation’s problem with children in poverty. It may seem an overly simplistic solution to a complex problem, but poor people have essentially one problem, a lack of money. A couple pieces of legislation poor families have been helped greatly by, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, are set to expire in 2017. Republicans are mostly opposed to these credits, but President Obama has threatened to veto any bill that excludes the two credits. Many leaders from both ends of the political spectrum are in favor of tax reform. Whatever you think of the tax credits, they are our most effective tool for lifting children from poverty. Combined, they have helped to raise 5 million children out of poverty and helped an additional 8.8 million youngsters who live just above the poverty line. Unless other programs are put in place, removing these credits would push 7.7 million children deeper into poverty.

Are There Other Options?

It is just plain wrong to have nearly 10 million of our nation’s children living in poverty while our productivity and wealth steadily increases. Our nation has the capacity to help, but with gridlock in the government, not much will get accomplished. Cash allowances could be used in place of these credits. Families would receive a set amount of money weekly or monthly, depending on how many children they have. This may sound a bit crazy in a nation that can’t even design tax credits that require recipients to work, but these types of programs are not new. They have existed in Europe for decades. Brazil and Mexico also use them to combat extreme poverty. The trend toward tax credits since the mid-1990s has created a shift of benefits away from the out-of-work poor to the working poor. One example is when Aid to Families with Dependent Children was replaced by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families in 1996. The new aid has stricter working requirements and far less cash assistance. As a result, the percentage of children living in deep poverty has increased faster than the percentage of children in poverty overall. The poor are getting poorer! These guaranteed income allowances would reach many more poor people than the Child Tax Credit currently does. It only has an 80 percent participation rate. The United Kingdom’s 70-year-old allowance program has a 96 percent participation rate. That program makes sense, mainly because it is easier for poor people to take advantage of it. The bottom line is, how are we going to help the less fortunate? Without programs in place to catch those who fall, our whole society suffers. Our nation has had a serious problem with job creation over the last several years. Requiring those who receive government assistance to work excludes those who are worst off. You can’t work if there aren’t enough jobs available. Yours in health, Michael Omidi The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi, are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a better place.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 19:59

Thirsty in the Rain: American Income Inequality

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here he discusses income inequality in the U.S.

When you’re sitting down to a great feast over the holidays, try to remember those less fortunate. To some, the holidays are a reminder of what they lack and not a celebration of abundance. We live in a country that has gross income inequality and it has only gotten worse in recent years.

Income inequality is a real problem, and it isn’t just about luxury expenses. Research shows that a large difference in incomes can lead to increased feelings of disenfranchisement, increased poverty and fewer opportunities for advancement. Most economists agree that severe income inequality is bad for economic growth, too.

What is causing income inequality in the U.S.?

You may hear the old canard that “Americans are lazier” than we used to be or something to that effect. This is simply and demonstrably not true. The graph above illustrates just how untrue that sentiment is. Our productivity has increased by 80 percent since 1979 while wages have stayed nearly the same.

If productivity is up, where is all the money going? Take a look at that red line. That line shows the average income of the 1 percent. These are the wealthiest people in the nation, those in the top 1-percent income level. It is pretty obvious where much of our nation’s wealth is going.

The average CEO makes about 354 times more than the average worker. That means that by the middle of the day on Jan. 1st, the average CEO has made what his average employee will make for the year. Think about that for a minute. Is this sustainable? Most experts don’t think so.

What can we do about income inequality?

There are many things a nation can do to combat income inequality. Raising the minimum wage to a livable wage could do a lot. If we were to attach the minimum wage to inflation, we wouldn’t have to fight a political battle to have it raised every few years. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit would give more money to those Americans who work and still can’t get by. Most people agree that someone who works full time should not be in poverty.

Raising taxes on corporations and wealthier Americans would help, too. The tax rate for wealthy Americans in 1954 were at 92 percent. Today they are at 35 percent, with plenty of loopholes. Many of those in the top income bracket end up paying 14 percent or lower.

There are many things we can do to improve our situation. Making college cheaper would help to lift families from the cycle of poverty. Many things could be done with our tax system, as well. The first step is admitting we have a problem. It seems most Americans are aware. Stay informed and vote for leaders who protect your interests, not corporate interests.

The last time we had such a disparity in wealth was just before the Great Depression in 1928. We may see things get worse before they get better, but a change is likely on the horizon. Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

Enjoy the holidays,

Dr. Michael Omidi

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi MD, are dedicated to the elimination of global poverty. No More Poverty was cofounded by the brothers.
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