Pity the Poor?

We’ve all seen the pictures of America’s poor.  There is not one of us who hasn’t been touched by the photo of homeless child in dirty clothing crying because of supposed hunger pangs.

Our emotional attachment to that child knows no political boundaries.  Sympathy for the poor is not something exclusive to liberals.  

But shouldn’t we really be having a discourse on what poverty really is and what really is the cause?  Is it defined strictly by how much you earn, or how much you possess?  And what can or should we do about it?

Americans generally see poor people as destitute.  Those that are devoid of necessary shelter, food or clothing.  But only a small percentage of those deemed poor by the US Census Bureau meet those criteria.  

You may be surprised to know that 97% of the “poor” in America own color TVs, 25% own big screen TVs, 73% own microwave ovens, 63% have cable/satellite service, 76% have air conditioning in their homes, 59% own stereos, 78% own DVDs or VCRs, 55% own 2 or more TVs, 73% own a car and 31% own two or more cars.  43% of all “poor” households actually own their own home.

If you’ve ever had to wait in line at a grocery store while someone checked out using an EBT card (the new form of food stamps) it’s very apparent that the majority of recipients of this government largess is not missing snack time.  It may interest you to know that the federal government places no restrictions on what type of food can be bought with taxpayer provided money.  Ice cream, candy, potato chips, pies, cakes, sodas, and any assortment of the hundreds of junk food items available are eligible to be purchased with the only restriction being alcohol or tobacco items. So another government program designed to help the poor has gone awry.  Instead of helping, it’s inflating the obesity epidemic with the poor.

We’ve allocated untold billions of dollars since the 1960s in a vain attempt to eliminate the scourge of poverty, but still have entrenched pockets of destitution in every major American city.  Why; and will throwing more money at the problem really solve it?

Throwing government money at social problems, no matter how well-intentioned, is not the solution; it IS the problem.  Our benevolent (with our money of course) government has created generations of poor.  Look to the 9th Ward in New Orleans for proof of that.  Decades of government handouts have done nothing to alleviate poverty in that city or any other.  

If we truly want to cure poverty (which I don’t believe politicians really want to do, it will only diminish their power) we must create opportunities for quality education and a business climate that will create jobs.  Neither of which is happening in our nation’s capital.  Poor children in our nation’s capital are stuck in hopelessly failing public schools only to have their one lifeline, a voucher system enabling them to go to private schools where they can excel, taken away from them by the same politicians they keep voting for.  

Let’s see what is that pesky definition of stupid?  Oh yeah, that’s when you keep doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.  If you keep voting for liberals and you never climb out of poverty, but you keep voting for liberals, I’d say you qualify for dead-on stupid.

Until we demand better from those who work for us, and until we demand more personal responsibility from those sucking at the breast of big government, poverty will only increase.  More government programs will never alleviate poverty.  They will only exacerbate it.

Pitying the poor will not raise them out of poverty.  It will only entrench them more deeply.

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  1. There has been serious conversation about whether anyone in the United States has died of starvation. This may or may not be true, but the fact that the debate exists should tell you something.
    Also, I have people very close to me who rely on the EBT program for extra income for food and you’re right, there is no restraints on how it can be used. That seriously needs to change.
    There is a government program that has this figured out, unfortunately it’s not pretty. The WIC program (Women, Infants and Children) is basically food stamps for people with infants and young children. The mother can sign up when she is pregnant and they will pay for certain foods to make sure the baby is well taken care of en utero, and then when the baby is born. You are given checks that detail specifically what can be purchased. You present these at the cash register and the cashier will then ring up the items and it is paid for.
    Unfortunately, because of the way this program is set up, you need to announce to the cashier and anyone else in line, that you’re on the WIC program. IMHO, my wife and I needed to use this service and that reason right there is the main reason we were driven to move on. If you make it easy for people to mooch, they’re going to do it, it’s that simple.

  2. Rick Richbourg

    This was sent from a friend (hat-tip Kevin)
    The ant and the grasshopper–forwarded from my niece
    This one is a little different…
    Two Different Versions!
    Two Different Morals!
    The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long,building his house and laying up supplies for thewinter.
    The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
    Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
    The grasshopper has no food or shelter,
    so he dies out in the cold.
    Be responsible for yourself!
    The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
    The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
    Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a
    press conference and demands to know why the ant
    should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
    CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
    America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
    Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper
    And everybody cries when they sing,
    ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’
    Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house
    where the news stations film the group singing,
    ‘We shall overcome.’
    Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down
    to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.
    Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with
    Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back
    of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
    Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
    The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar.
    The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up
    the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house,
    crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it.
    The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is founddead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
    Be careful how you vote in 2010.

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