Comment 26886

By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2008 at 10:47:09

Good points Grassroots. I don’t have the insight of having lived with poverty. My own low-income experience has been limited to short stints in between college courses or career changes. The difference – I’m assuming – for me, as opposed to many folks below the poverty line, is that I have a few qualifications and I’ve been brought up with a sense that I can, and will, always be successful. I’m sure that for many people who are struggling, this sense of hope is waning (if it was ever there in the first place).

In Britain you have generations of people in the same family who have never worked. For them, getting a job is not just about getting a ‘leg up’ it’s about believing such a thing is possible.

I think A Smith is arguing from a point of principal, where as you are arguing from the inside, from a point of understanding. I agree with A Smith’s principal (and he has some solid looking analysis to back it up) that hand-outs are not the way to enable people, and I think you agree with that too. The reality check you are providing is that many folks are not even getting a decent hand out, never mind a hand up.

To your point about the ‘poverty cycle’ – a friend of mine told me about his experiences growing up in Toronto’s Regents Park neighbourhood. He said that every time his Dad got a pay rise, the rent went up accordingly. They couldn’t save up any money to get themselves out of their hopeless environment. So his Dad had to lie, and hide the extra money, until they could afford to move somewhere else. It seems that our current system of funding poverty is doing nothing more than creating a cycle.

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