Eight Reasons America is Losing the War on Poverty
Published: June 21, 2011 at 11:22 am
Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the past few decades, more Americans live in poverty today than at any time in American history. Never in the history of the United States have so many Americans struggled to make ends meet.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the poverty rate climbed to 14.3% in 2009. That means 43.6 million Americans are struggling to survive.
Though there will always be people in poverty, there are things our government, our schools, and parents can do to help children in poverty escape the cycle.
Poverty victims live in a style and manner that is dictated by the environment in which they live. The behavior and language of poverty victims is very different from the behavior and language of the middle class, thus poverty victims encounter rejection the first time they venture outside their socio-economic class.
Here are eight reasons America is losing the war on poverty:
1. People living in poverty do not know that they are part of a poverty culture. Poverty victims have no idea that they live in a culture that is different from the mainstream society, no more than a fish knows it lives in water, until it has been taken out of the water. Similarly, poverty victims have no clue that they are part of a distinct culture that is holding them back until they encounter rejection when they enter into the world of the middle class.
I grew up in generational poverty. I had no idea that I lacked the behavioral and language skills that employers value, like reliability, diligence, honesty, and effective communication, until I was taught those skills by the Job Corps in the 60’s. They are the critical factors that affect a child’s behavior and improve life chances.
The common practices of dropping out of school, violence, criminal behavior and teenage pregnancy, or the inability to hold a steady job can all be traced back to a culture of poverty. Teach children in poverty the behavior and language of the middle class and you will change their future.
2. Poverty victims live from paycheck to paycheck: In the culture of poverty, money is to be spent, not saved. My parents did not have a checking account at any time during my childhood and adolescent years. My father rarely kept a job longer than a few weeks. We learned to live with little or no money. To live from paycheck to paycheck makes the assumption that poverty victims have a paycheck in the first place.Continued on the next page