Cost of eliminating poverty in America

The American Prospect published a debate-sparking article when it said that bringing every American above the poverty line would cost $175 billion, or 1 percent of the US Gross Domestic Product.

We’re not talking about a lot of loot when you keep in mind that the US will spend $4 to $6 trillion on the Afghanistan military mission after 9/11, and that rigged WMD treasure hunt known as the second Iraq War.

I’m not suggesting that the answer to poverty is to give away checks. In fact, I’ve always felt that a check culture doesn’t build the ambition to escape poverty, and simply cutting welfare benefits will not make poverty disappear.

I’ve said this before so forgive me for being repetitive – perhaps the solution is more complex and out of the ordinary.

How about teaching poor people what wealth is, how to create it, as well as how to protect it?

Most welfare back-to-work programs do not provide poor people with the skills needed to earn real money in the modern economy. What’s wrong with creating realistic job skills training programs that will help folks land a job that would be levels above being low-wage gophers?

Financial literacy and real job skills, combined with targeted education investments and temporary government financial assistance, will go a long way in eliminating poverty.

The poor will begin to make enough money to pay taxes, as well as build their savings.

And the check culture will eventually die.

Plus, the investment would have to cost much less than than hunting for non-existent WMDs in a country thousands of miles away.

My suggestion makes so much sense that you have to ask why policymakers never seriously pursued it.

I’m sure their answers would be equally amusing and sad…

song currently stuck in my head: “go up moses” – roberta flack

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