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.