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Fighting Poverty In America

Updated on October 18, 2012

Billions to the Poor Wasted Every Year


Fighting Poverty in America – Billions to the Poor Wasted Every Year

In our ongoing efforts for fighting poverty in America, there is one thing that bothers me. I just cannot understand this. Inarguably, billions of dollars are spent every year in the name of fighting poverty in the U.S. (and around the world), but decade after decade passes and the number of people in poverty increases.

Does that make sense?

How is it that we have billions of dollars being spent on millions of people, but there is no dent made in the number of poor people in this country?

Here is the reality. The U.S. population stands at a little over 300 million (last U.S. Census). Now, if there are 340 million people (for argument’s sake) in the U.S., it is fair to say that there are about 150 families (or fewer) living here. Most of these families live on less than $1 million per year. In fact, if each of the 150 million families had a $1 million to spend each year, then all of them would immediately move into the realms of millionaires. Everyone would be doing great!

Now, with all the billions of dollars being spent on the 100 million plus poor families annually, why is there little difference being made in the lives of America’s poor?

If you took just $1 billion of all the money that the government, charitable organizations, other philanthropists, and individuals spend on poverty each year, you would get at least $6 million going to each of the 150 million families each year (noting that not all the 150 million families need help). Don’t even do that. Just give $1 million to each of the 100 million plus families each year and voila!, poverty is eliminated.

This of course is really simplistic and would lead to other issues, such as inflation – high prices – many people just doing nothing, etc. Yes, it is a simple solution, which if not managed well could cause other problems.

Anyway, what if $1 million was made available to each needed family annually, with some stipulations – certain amount goes to medical expenses; x amount to training; y amount to education; etc., and the money was released in installments? I believe that this would work better than what we have now.

The fact is that billions of dollars being spent on the poor annually are being wasted.

I know that some of you will find my suggestion ridiculous. However, you cannot disagree with my basic point that there is enough money being spent on the millions of America’s poor and we should be seeing more of a bang for our buck.

Could it be that a certain group of people wants to keep the poor dependent, always looking for a handout, so they can promise them candy after candy to get their votes each election cycle? This seems like the making of another article.

Views On Money to the Poor

Do you believe that the money being spent on the poor annually is doing the best job?

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    • tammybarnette profile image

      Tammy Barnette 

      6 years ago

      I agree, mismanagement of money through state agencies is a large part of the fraud and abuse costing millions. I remember a local story here in my town awhile back where the workers of the Salvation Army would pick through the donations and take the "good stufff" home for themselves...it's a crying shame. This is also a reason I am against a state run healthcare option...But I truly love the idea of giving straight to the people and skipping the middle man, and banks must be kept out of the equation,LOL:)

    • tjmatel3 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Grant 

      6 years ago from McDonough, GA

      Agree that those convicted of violent crimes should return the cash, although that would be challenging. However, it would serve as a deterrent for those receiving the cash.

    • tjmatel3 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Grant 

      6 years ago from McDonough, GA

      Hey, Tammy. You're right about most of the money going to salaries and administrative costs. However, even with that being true, billions of dollars are supposedly spent on the poor annually, but there are only 100 million plus families (U.S.) who need to be helped.

      100 million families vs billions of dollars - there is enough for each family to be given $1 million each, with the stipulations.

      I understand the concern for the jobs that could be lost. However, some of those people could be used to enforce the stipulations and help with the training required of everyone receiving the cash.

    • tammybarnette profile image

      Tammy Barnette 

      6 years ago

      Love this idea! Great thinking outside the box. The only problem I can see here, is that most of that money doesn't go to the poor, it pays the salaries of the agencies to the poor, so those folks would be out of a job...still, I would like to do some figures on this and see...that's innovative thinking...that's America:)

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 

      6 years ago

      Exactly! And now that I think about it, if they wind up convicted of a violent crime after taking their million, they have to pay back every dime.

      I might have to do some real math on this idea. It could work lol

    • tjmatel3 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Grant 

      6 years ago from McDonough, GA

      Sounds good, SassySue1963!

      One stipulation could be that they use some of the money to start a business, get trained or educated, or invest so they can earn more money and do not have to continue receiving more. Something like "leave the program" so someone else can benefit.

      Great idea!

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 

      6 years ago

      I don't know how it works either but I'm all for giving each household below a certain income level $1 million dollars, however, that is all they get. That's it nada, no more, done, finis. Here is your million. Now, go to school, get some job training, invest and live well.

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