Wow, I disagree with so much of this premise, I don't know where to start.
"...people are poor (in the United States) because of unwise, uneducated, even foolish life & educational choices" assumes that poor people have choices. People born into poverty generally have no opportunities, and very few choices. It's very difficult to get a good education in a poor neighborhood, where resources are stretched thin, and there's little support from the community. Having taught in a poor Hispanic neighborhood, what I saw was parents working two or three menial jobs each, for below minimum wage. That left them little time to supervise the kids, help with homework, or ensure students left home in the morning with a good breakfast in their stomachs, and money in their pockets for lunch. Kids came to school hungry, tired and dirty. It's hard to get a good education when your stomach is empty, and you're falling asleep at your desk. It's harder still to understand why an education is necessary, when the adults around you have dropped out at a young age, and have jobs that don't require it. There are no examples of what it's like not to be poor, so poor and uneducated becomes your role model. It's a vicious circle, and one that's not easily broken. To say people are poor because they've made bad choices implies they actually have choices. They don't. If they did, why on earth would they choose endless generations of poverty?
I don't know that anyone argues no one has the right to be wealthy, but I do think, as members of a society, that we have an obligation to help those who are struggling. If I own a corporation that makes billions in profits, I have an obligation to ensure I'm not making it on the backs of workers who are unable to scrape together even the most meager of livings on what my company pays them. If workers are the first to have hours cut, or lose their jobs when a company does poorly, shouldn't they be the first to share in its success? If I have more than I will ever need in this life, shouldn't I, as a human being, want to ensure my workers aren't poor, uninsured, and living in squalor?
It's not income equality. It's making sure that as a society, we aren't creating an oligarchy, with the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor. It's taking care of our fellow citizens, for the good of all of us. When everyone is educated, fed, and cared for when they're sick, we all benefit. Why is that so hard to understand?