Path out of poverty

The solution is simple -- and it doesn't involve government handouts

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Advocates for the poor have too long argued that welfare was the solution to poverty. Yet most evidence points in a different direction.”

That’s not a quote from any Republican eyeing a 2016 presidential run. Those words did not come from the mouths of any Tea Partiers. And it’s not a position statement from a conservative public-policy group.

It comes from, of all places, a left-leaning think tank in Washington.

The statement was part a now-landmark report on poverty more than a decade ago by the Brookings Institution, which says the best anti-poverty program is jobs – not government handouts.

“The reform of welfare in 1996 has had far more positive effects on employment, earnings and poverty rates than almost anyone anticipated,” Brookings wrote. “The data ... suggest this is because work is a powerful antidote to poverty and that, in its absence, no politically feasible amount of welfare can fill the gap as effectively.”

We reflect on this study in light of new figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The good news is that employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth month in a row in which hiring topped the 200,000 mark. In all, employers added 1.4 million jobs in the first six months of 2014, the strongest six-month job growth since 2006. And the month’s 6.2 percent unemployment rate was the best reading since September 2008.

Now for the bad news: If the more than 5 million Americans who had given up looking for a job were included in the mix, the 6.2 percent jobless rate would actually be 11.1 percent.

Even worse, the Labor Department’s work force figure – which counts people who have a job or actually are trying to find one – has been stuck for three straight months at 62.8 percent. That’s down sharply from 66 percent in 2008, and is a 36-year low.

It’s chilling to consider how close to the equilibrium point this nation’s wealth-producer-to-wealth-consumer scale has come. A dangerous tipping point is clearly in reach.

Blame rests squarely with this nation’s policymakers, who in recent years not only have ignored the time-tested wisdom of free-market capitalism – the U.S. economy has shrunk by 2.9 percent under the Obama administration – but have doubled down on job-killing, wealth-squandering nanny-statism.

Presently, a mind-boggling 70 percent of all federal spending goes to fund programs that foster dependence. Today’s welfare system is a convoluted amalgam of 80 programs, 13 federal departments and a bloated smattering of state agencies and programs.

Overall, welfare spending amounts to more than $900 billion per year – more than the country spends on national defense.

Spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the Food Stamp program, more than doubled from $37.6 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $78.4 billion in fiscal year 2012.

It should astound anyone in the world’s most prosperous nation that one in six people are relying on government food aid.

Sadly, the current administration’s policies have favored welfare expansion over job creation. What little job creation this administration has fueled has been focused on the wealth-sucking public sector and union-dominated, crony industries whose beneficiaries are most likely to support nanny-state politicians.

Our next president, whoever it is, should put welfare reform and private-sector job creation at the top of the domestic agenda.

This nation’s leaders have taken $20 trillion from Americans to fund government welfare programs since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty.” It’s been 50 years without moving the needle; it’s time to change the war strategy.

May we suggest one whose tactics are less complex, much cheaper and already identified?

Look no further than that same decade-old Brookings study, which mentions a starkly simple recipe to avoid poverty: Graduate high school; wait until marriage to have children; and get a full-time job – any full-time job.

If you do those three things, you’ll have a 74 percent chance of being in the middle class, and have less than a 3 percent chance of winding up poor.

Fighting poverty isn’t rocket science. It’s time we stop acting like it is.

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deestafford
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deestafford 07/27/14 - 06:43 am
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Another excellent editorial...

Another excellent editorial.

When Johnson's War on Poverty started the poverty rate was 10% and declining. Today, after almost $20 trillion dollars it's 15% and increasing.

The left measures success of a government program by how many people are on it. The right measures the success of a government program an how many people are not on it.

Rep Paul Ryan just came out with some detailed cuts in federal programs and what we are spending money on is astounding and stupid. Of course, the left continues to say the government is cut to the bone.

Once again, Obama and the Democratic party know that them more people they have slopping at the government trough the easier they are to control. It's not about helping people. It's about power over the people.

deestafford
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deestafford 07/27/14 - 06:46 am
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The way to avoid poverty is very simple...

The way to avoid poverty is very simple and statistics show those who follow this path have greater than 90% of not living in poverty.

The pathway to avoiding poverty is: (1) Finish high school. (2) Get a job. (3) Get married when you can support a spouse. (4) Have children when you can afford them.

deestafford
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deestafford 07/27/14 - 06:46 am
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The way to avoid poverty is very simple...

The way to avoid poverty is very simple and statistics show those who follow this path have greater than 90% of not living in poverty.

The pathway to avoiding poverty is: (1) Finish high school. (2) Get a job. (3) Get married when you can support a spouse. (4) Have children when you can afford them.

deestafford
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deestafford 07/27/14 - 07:21 am
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It maybe good to tout the number of jobs...

It maybe good to tout the number of jobs "created" each month, but when one looks at that number in comparison with the number of legal immigrants one will see there are more legal immigrants accepted each month than there have been jobs created.

This does not count the number of illegal immigrants. There are studies which show the vast majority of jobs since 2000. The Center for Immigration Studies show that:

--127,000 fewer natives working in 2014 vs 2000
--5.7 million more immigrants working in 2014 vs 2000
--17 million more working-age natives not working in 1st quarter 2014 than 2000.
--58 million working-age natives not working

Not only are immigrants taking lower skilled jobs they are now gaining employment in higher skilled fields such as management, computers, and health care practitioners.

Our immigration policies, or lack there of, contributed significantly to the number of people in poverty. Couple this with government proposals such as increasing the minimum wage and we have increases in the number of people getting jobs.

hoptoad
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hoptoad 07/27/14 - 07:26 am
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The military wrote a "Lessons

The military wrote a "Lessons Learned" or "After ActionRreport" on just about everything they did to discuss pros and cons. This editorial pretty much fills that bill.

The difference is that the military used those reports to adjust, delete or discuss the continuance or improvement of an action. Whereas, our politicians just want to throw more money at a problem and continue on down the same road.

Even though democrats are totally aware of the destruction welfare has wrought upon the success and prosperity of this nation and its populace, they welcome even more potential welfare recipients in the form of "refugee" status illegals. All in the name of keeping their power!

hoptoad
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hoptoad 07/27/14 - 07:29 am
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If Mr. Bush had manipulated

If Mr. Bush had manipulated the unemployment numbers, reported a negative GDP and created a few million more poor people, he would have been brought up on charges - his empeachment would have been in the bag.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 07/27/14 - 09:10 am
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WELFARE
Unpublished

Generational welfare is the is the product of the Democrats great society program. Many on it have never had a job and wouldn't take one if it was offered. Companies look at a work record when hiring. If you have a one or two year gap in employment without a very good explanation you'll generally be screened out of a job. Companies view such gaps as an indicator of a lack of desire to work and no company wants an unmotivated employee. Deestafford outlined the way out of poverty but unfortunately most on welfare would refuse to listen.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 07/27/14 - 01:43 pm
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The Brookings Institution?

"It comes from, of all places, a left-leaning think tank in Washington"
When your "left-leaning think tanks" have been headed by people like Michael Armacost, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for Reagan, have a co-chairman like David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, and your some of your major donors are the Walton family, The John M. Olin Foundation, The Smith Richardson Foundation, and you have a joint group with the American Enterprise Institute, AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies (the AEI being one of the Koch brothers many funded and controlled organizations), you might as well not even bother having any "right wing" think tanks.
Well brilliant, a job is better than having to rely on the safety net programs. Did anyone mention that to US industry before they outsourced most of the decent paying US job overseas so they could pay pennies on the dollar for labor and dump toxic sludge in the rivers without any penalties? Heck, they're making record profits and they think $7.25 an hour is too much to pay their employees. McDonalds and WalMart even had employee help pages set to assist their employees in obtaining government benefits because their wages are so low. US corporations rely on the taxpayers to supplement their wages while they break records on how much money they pull in.
"a mind-boggling 70 percent of all federal spending goes to fund programs that foster dependence"??? Didn't the paper get zapped for plagiarism once before in the past? That sure sounds like it came from some right wing groups talking point page, and a quick check looks like it came from the Heritage Foundation. Since that's Jim Deminted's baby now, and he always had a problem with the facts, I'd put my money on them. Since over the past decade, we've spend roughly $2.5 trillion-$3.5 trillion per year, and our REAL defense spending (Defense, Homeland, Security, VA, and defense spending buried in other department, like SRS coming out of the Dept. of Energy's budget) is estimated at $1.2 -$1.4 trillion per year thanks to our 2 little wars, it's a little tricky to get you numbers to add up. Even without adding the rest, just the straight defense budget in 2013 was roughly 24% of our spending, $820 billion out of $3.45 trillion. So, you're trying to say everyhting else the govern did only cost 6% of our spending? No, your throing in Social Security and Medicare in those number aren't you? Programs that have a separate tax that brings in 35% of our revenue.
Also, there's nothing like using a decades old study for the Chronicle's usual propaganda purposes, and extremely wrong information, as usual. "Graduate high school; wait until marriage to have children; and get a full-time job – any full-time job.
If you do those three things, you’ll have a 74 percent chance of being in the middle class, and have less than a 3 percent chance of winding up poor."
WRONG! The purchasing power of the dollar has lost over 50% of its buying power since 1980, but wages haven't increased for the average worker but a measly 5.7%. That's not going to get you into the middle class with "any full time job". The US has around 130 million jobs. 18 million pay less than $10 an hour. 63 million pay between $10 and $20 an hour. That's 81 million, or 62% of the jobs in the US that pay less than $20 an hour. In this day and age, with todays prices, and IF there were full time jobs out there, that does NOT get you a middle class lifestyle, unless you're at the very top of that scale and most of the jobs are towards the $10 end, not the $20.

hoptoad
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hoptoad 07/27/14 - 05:24 pm
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Bod, you must have caught the

Bod, you must have caught the Koch addiction from Harry Reid. If you can tell me ONE reason the Koch brothers are "unamerican" or evil because they give money to conservative causes, I would like to hear it.

It's okay for unions, wealthy entertainers, Corporate CEOs and the likes of George Soros to give to the left-wing party, but it's evil to donate to the conservatives? And let me tell you one more thing, there are many more liberal controlled entities than conservative entities.

You are a full-blown hypocrit!

specsta
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specsta 07/27/14 - 06:51 pm
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Cut Corporate Welfare

Wow ACES, you guys are such economic geniuses. "Get a job" is the most intellectual mantra that anyone could ever utter. How did you think of that one?

But your logic is flawed.

You put 100% of the responsibility on the job seeker for his sorry lot in life. Meanwhile, greedy corporations practice clandestine discrimination, overt sexism, and institute unequal pay - and these same corporations, who collect BILLIONS in government welfare, pay their workers a pittance of a slave wage, while reaping obscene profits.

The common man and woman struggle to fund their education, struggle to repay student loans, and struggle to find a job that pays a wage that allows marriage and children.

This is typical of ACES - blame the poor for their horrid state of being poor. Give praise and worship to the greed-filled companies who don't have the decency to pay a living wage and needed benefits to the ones who give their blood, sweat and tears to help the company be successful. Look no farther than the crime syndicate that is Walmart, which pays it workers such tripe, they must rely on SNAP and other benefits just to survive.

When will ACES come to the understanding that not everyone has an inheritance, stocks, bonds and a trust fund when they are born into this world. Some people don't have a silver spoon - they have no spoon. Some people are BROKE and suffer horribly under poverty. Yet, ACES would rather give government dollars to subsidize billion-dollar corporations that pocket their windfalls in offshore accounts, than see our government help feed, educate and house the ones that need assistance.

You have to think right in order to do right. ACES, time to change your thinking.

carcraft
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carcraft 07/27/14 - 09:17 pm
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Specstra, I didn't have a

Specstra, I didn't have a trust fund, an inheritance. I barrowed money to go to college and worked full time. Used to drive my car till I ran out of gas, park it by the side of the till I could get gas money. Then I joined the army to get my Masters degree. No guaranty I would get accepted into the masters program. I got rejected the first time I applied. I had to take a couple of extra college courses to get into the masters program. When I was in the Army I worked with a Neuro surgeon who started in the Army as a 91D, an OR tech. He went to college at nights, got into med school then went to residency for neuro surgery. There are worlds of opportunity. At one point in my life I worked three job's. I had to put in a lot of effort that God blessed.

willie7
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willie7 07/27/14 - 10:39 pm
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Thanks Bodhisattva for
Unpublished

Thanks Bodhisattva for presenting the truth!'
So few Americans are exposed to the facts.
The Money Making- Machine Fear mongers supply so much misinformation.

cush1944
16762
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cush1944 07/28/14 - 05:56 am
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"There are worlds of

"There are worlds of opportunity. At one point in my life I worked three job's. I had to put in a lot of effort that God blessed."
Man that is very hard. The liberals think it should be handed to them.

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