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Why does poverty exist?

Updated on March 9, 2017
Why do we still have poverty in America?
Why do we still have poverty in America? | Source

Why does poverty still exist?

Have you heard this one: You're poor because you are too lazy to get a job! In reality, many who are poor do have jobs, often times more than one. So, why are they still poor? Why are they still living in poverty taking welfare benefits only to scrape by?

There are those who live in poverty because of their own doing, and choices that they have made. Believe it or not that is true, many who are poor, are poor due to their own bad choices. However, this issue is substantially more complex than just 'poor choices'. Many don't even know they are making poor choices!

Some really don't want to work: We've created a welfare monster!

Ok, I'll just get this one out of the way now because Maine proved it. According to the Heritage Foundation some really don't want to get out and get a job. If the government will pay for my basic needs, why should I get out and work! A couple years back Maine rolled out it's ABAWD (Able Bodied Adults without Dependents) work initiative. Basically it said, if you want your food stamps, you have three choices: 1. Get a job 2. If you can't find a job participate in job training. 3. Community service. Therefore you earn the food stamps which you receive. There was a huge outreach push for this, Maine made sure those eligible knew the options available to them. The number of ABAWD's on food stamps dropped by 80%. One cause of poverty is laziness.

But, many living in poverty do work:

That is absolutely true. Many living in poverty do work, sometimes two jobs just to make ends meet! So, why are they living in poverty? Many are working minimum wage or low paying jobs. They live paycheck to paycheck. They don't have money to save if an emergency comes up. Many of them have children, and are possibly single parents. They work hard, but have very little to show for it. There are only so many hours in a day. Here is one disturbing quote from Health line “Many adults living in poverty, however, were born into it — and likely to stay in it.”

The Children of Poverty:

The Children of poverty are the most profoundly effected by poverty. They don't have a choice in the matter! They were born into this, and without the skills to get out of poverty, they will remain poor for their adult life too. Parents (or parent) are working two jobs and don't have the time to teach their children the skills to get themselves out of poverty. The children simply learn by example, and sadly they aren't getting a good example. Typically, they learn how to remain in poverty from their parents, not to get out.

According to Tirado in her piece for Health line, “Breaking free of the cycle of poverty is not as simple as 'working harder.'” She is absolutely right! It is much more complex than that for adults and children. So what is the solution? You will have to read my next piece to find out!


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