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On Poverty

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WARNING: Very disjointed post.  Inspired by a meme featuring a quote from Bernie Sanders about poverty and comments from facebook.

One reply to this was : “Three solutions. Finish school. Wait until you’re married to have kids. Get a job, any job. Problem solved.

Of course, many people don’t have access to the education they need to realize that there are options other than the living situation in which they are growing up. With conservatives refusing sex education, the ‘wait till married’ is not working out. And ‘get a job’ is not as easy as it sounds, even with school. ‘Any job’ will also not solve the problem of child poverty and hunger.

I firmly believe we need to invest in education – especially in lower-income, poverty-ridden areas – and have classes dedicated to teaching kids how to be productive members of society. If you think those are things to learn from the parents, then you are a very privileged. Those are things that privileged kids learn from their parents and are things that many kids never have access to. From getting and keeping a job to how to manage finances, credit, etc. That there are options to working at wal-mart or getting a job at the factory and living in a trailer for the rest of your life. How can a parent teach things the parent does not know?

I know it is hard for the privileged to realize that not everyone has the opportunity and education they did. That ‘motivated and willing’ are not always enough to overcome a bad situation. For many, many people growing up in generations of poverty, we are going to have to teach them that there is another way of life that they can have access to, because otherwise, they will always think that the way they are living is ‘just the way things are.’

I have began to see that many people have little to no will (not sure if that is the proper term) of their own. They go wherever they feel expected to go, do whatever they are expected to do or told to do. That is the norm. That is why occupation names became surnames. The baker’s kids became bakers, so the family became The Bakers. Taylor, Shoemaker, LeForge, Parker, Cook, Smith, Farmer – just a few more examples of Family Occupation surnames.

That is why the children of poor people tend to remain poor. The information and knowledge that there is another option is not often made available. Even when it is, the confidence and drive is often overwhelmed by their situation long before it can be utilized. Add to that the weight of hunger, hopelessness and desperation, most people are crushed before they have a chance to achieve more. Upward mobility is harder that ever. The poor parents don’t have the contacts to get their kids special treatment that more connected parents often do. Many don’t even know what opportunities exist nor how to get access to them. If they parents don’t know, how can the kids ever know?

Another problem comes in when bad people learned to take advantage of people’s lack of self awareness and willpower. Advertising. You see something enough times, some people are convinced despite all evidence to the contrary. (see the effects of Fox News)

The best thing we can do to help people not be dependent on welfare is to provide adequate Education, Food, Housing, Transportation and Training – and awareness that options are available. In conjunction with reigning in rampant profiteering, wage inequality and corporate malfeasance (like not paying living wages, overcompensating executives, tax evasion, etc.), we could have a very healthy economy.

Extreme Conservatives want to throw everyone to the wolves and create some Beyond Thunderdome world where the rich and powerful rule by force. Conservatives refuse to educate anyone whose family doesn’t already have a lot of money. Extreme Liberals want to give handouts to everyone who shows a need. Republicans want to shred the constitution and create an Theocratic Oligarchy in it’s place, Democrats seem to want to be Republican Lite.

I just want Freedom and Justice for All. A big part of that is Freedom of Information – which to me means education, awareness of options and opportunity.

We should require money management courses for all those on welfare, those who file bankruptcy and those on unemployment. If you get state-funded support, you get the training to help you not need it. For those on welfare, they should also get life lesson courses – rich dad, poor dad kind of things and basic life skills – how to get along in the workplace, how to find a job, how to find training, how to get access to training, how to make contacts and nurture business relationships. Many people never get that kind of information.
I wish I had the money and contacts to start a training program….

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