America needs to break cycle of poverty

April 18, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2014 at 11:18 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Why hasn't the poverty cycle been broken? According to Walter Williams, columnist, since L.B. Johnson declared war on poverty, $18 trillion has been spent on poverty by the local, state and federal government.

This effort has not broken the poverty cycle because the basic causes of poverty were not addressed.

Being and remaining in poverty is a mind-set of those who have accepted a way of life that prevents escaping the poverty cycle. This mind-set is further supported by the ideology of socialism, which strives to provide subsistence and survivability from cradle to grave. There are a substantial number of able-bodied, unemployed individuals receiving government welfare who shun jobs at minimum wages. They do so because welfare benefits provide a subsistence level almost equal to or better than working. Politics reveals a dark side to the poverty dilemma, as politicians rarely address the causes of poverty but rather spend taxpayers' money on endless welfare subsidies. This approach encourages those in poverty to vote for those providing benefits.

Note: This article is not about major welfare programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - nor those who are unable to work.

To solve this problem, all able-bodied individuals who can work must be jolted out of their current mind-set of government dependency. Government publications should be issued indicating what welfare benefits are available, eligibility qualifications and time schedules explaining when and if certain benefits will be reduced or eliminated. This action will provide an adjustment period for individuals to find jobs and provide incentives to escape the poverty cycle. Community organizations, governments, churches and poverty advocates should assist families socially and to find jobs.

To put all this in perspective, a couple with each working for minimum wage can earn about $30,000 per year. This is above the U.S. 2014 poverty guidelines for a family of two at $15,750 and a family of four at $23,850. Also, I agree with Mr. Williams when he said that those who try to address poverty issues do so at the risk of being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive.

Allen J. Novosad, Edna



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