Comments about ‘In our opinion: How to win the war on poverty’

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Published: Sunday, Jan. 12 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Holladay, UT


Burley, ID

This is what happens when the Federal government believes it can spend your money better than you can.

In 1964 the "official" government rate for those, in the U.S., living in poverty was 15%. Today, in 2014 (15 Trillion dollars and 50 years later) the official rate is just barely below 15%.

Only the Federal government can spend that much money and be so ineffective at solving the problem!

Burley, ID

How much is 15 Trillion Dollars?

With that much money the Federal government could have turned 15 million people into millionaires simply by handing them over the money.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Nice piece of rhetoric. What specifically do you think should be done? What government programs do you favor eliminating? What new programs do you suggest to replace them? North Carolina, for example, drastically cut all welfare expenditures. The results have been disastrous for the poor, especially the working poor. And every conservative answer to this intractable problem has added up 'make their lives even more miserable. That'll show 'em.'

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

"Wages are up and prices are down, and leisure time has exploded."

Interesting comment in that every Labor Day, there are reports about how Americans work more hours and have fewer leisure hours than most other developed countries, particularly across Europe. Most families have two-income earners to make ends meet.

The other point is that much of our cheap goods in this country is built on the backs of developing world workers, suffering from low wages and near sweat-shop working conditions -- from the clothes we buy (think Bangladesh clothing factory fire disaster) to the electronics we buy (think Foxcomm's suicide nets for workers making Apple products).

While marriage may play a role, other factors such as access to education, having fewer children, women's rights, access to clean air and water, healthcare, etc., have all helped lift people around the globe out of poverty.

In America, we see less support for education, healthcare, clean environment... in fact, many of our poorest live in communities downwind of polluting industries (think Louisiana'a oil refinery districts) where the costs of healthcare prevent investments elsewhere.

Poverty is complex .. just hope conservatives don't say marriage is the fix-all.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Any discussion on poverty that does not include the word "work" is incomplete. This one is incomplete.

Good points on marriage, though -- indicating that solutions to poverty are not to be found so much in public legislation as in private morality.


"How can we improve the lives of the growing numbers of unmarried mothers and their children? So far, a dominant approach has been to encourage their mothers to marry.

The flaw in this argument is the assumption that all marriages are equally beneficial. In fact, however, the pool of potential marriage partners for single mothers in impoverished communities does not include many men with good prospects for becoming stable and helpful partners.

The new unions that single mothers form tend to have low levels of relationship quality and high rates of instability. A nationally representative study (Graefe and Lichter, Penn State) of more than 7,000 women found that approximately 64 percent of the single mothers who married were divorced by the time they reached age 35-44. More importantly, single mothers who marry and later divorce are worse off economically than single mothers who never marry.

A more promising approach is to focus on reducing unintended or mistimed births."

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

May be all those trillions of dollars is the cause of poverty, that money has to come from some where. Prices are up wages ain't even close to keeping up.

Salem, UT

A nice list of platitudes and general statements based on dubious social science but not a single solid concrete policy idea of how to actually accomplish any of the generalizations. Pretty typical- please put your money where your mouth is and give even one direct and well developed idea and policy recommendations. We all know poverty is a bad thing all this did was say that again with no substance. Stable marriages- great. So how exactly do we get more of those? I could go on but I wasted my time reading the piece and I am now wasting more time on this.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I recently read an opinion piece where the writer made the argument that marriage does not affect poverty. She argued that if a woman with a child marries an unemployed man then she will still be poor. But the relationship is more concrete. If an 18year old girl sleeps with her boyfriend and becomes pregnant, she is going to have a real hard time to go to college. Her boyfriend and she have just written her an express one way ticket to a series of low-paying jobs, junk cars, poor quality housing etc. I have seen that.

If she has a son, he will grow up without a father's example and he may very well grow up angry. He is more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system. I have seen that also.

The Deseret News editorial board should be commended for looking for different ways to fight poverty because the old methods are not working.

American Fork, UT

In broad, general terms, we can do a number of things. Increase the minimum wage, for example, and reduce corporate taxes to get american companies back home from switzerland. A single payer health care system will help, especially because it removes a burden from employers. Improve education. We need a societal shift in attitudes towards knowledge and intelligence. We need a healthier attitude towards sex and procreation, and we need to empower our young women more.

Saint George, UT

The litany of "buts" are already lining up! There are no "buts" with those of us who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts that feel! It is a failed experiment of colossal proportions. What's next? Fascist Socialism or perhaps Communism?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Federal spending in 1965 was 17.2% of GDP. This year is projected at 22%. How is that a 286% increase?

Salt Lake City, UT

"But government gets in the way when it produces a culture of dependency, or when it ties private enterprise in so much bureaucratic red tape it inhibits job growth."

Government for the last 30 years has been a tool of private vested interests, particularly in the area of trade. For example NAFTA rewards corporations in their flight from U S soil to Mexico and then to the far east. This flight of well-paid manufacturing jobs has had much to do with the stasis of poverty and the decline of the middle class in the United States. Remember, capital always wants to pay labor as little as possible - right down to the subsistence level if possible.

The Deseret News simply cannot see capital in anything other than a positive light. Perhaps this is because the sources you use are very limited.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

The editors of this article really miss the mark. They didn't even mention the two types of poverty, situational poverty and generational poverty. I recommend they read the book "Understanding Poverty" by Ruby Payne. The key to ending generational poverty is mentoring. For instance, there are many hidden rules to each social class and if someone from a lower class can understand the things about living successfully in a middle class way, they too can become middle class. This is most effectively done through mentoring and showing people how to manage their money, their families, and their lives. Of course, you have to be open to the mentoring and that can be a problem. I've tried to mentor a few people mired in poverty and unless they really want to be mentored, they will just reject the mentoring. They are comfortable living the only way they know how. It can be hard to change the way you live when you were raised that way. That is why generational poverty is so entrenched and difficult to combat.

wj, UT

"Yes, many still suffer in deep poverty. But the key is to provide them and their children opportunities to rise above handouts, to promote lasting marriages and to unlock the creative forces of freedom." Amen!

Anytime you/government give people free stuff is a recipe for disaster. There is no doubt there are people who need help and they should be supplied for but they must work for it regardless of their circumstances. Unless we/government do that, the "fighting poverty" programs becomes enabler as it has been for the past decades and $ trillions spent and nothing to show

Sandy, UT

As union representation continues to fall so will the middle class and the chance for the poor to move up.



"Increase the minimum wage, for example, and reduce corporate taxes to get american companies back home from Switzerland."

Simply lowering corporate tax rates won't improve the U.S. economy. First, Switzerland doesn't account for a large potential number of American jobs. Many/most jobs go overseas due to wage rates. Second, Switzerland can balance its loss of revenue from lower corporate tax rates with its VAT tax. The U.S. has no VAT or GST tax. (additionally, Switzerland has personal income tax and other taxes, including a VAT tax of 8%)

The percent of revenue contributed to the U.S. budget by corporations has been declining since the 1970's.

Sequestration is hurting the U.S. economy going forward due to spending cuts in research and development.

Data from "Fiscal Year 2012 Historical Tables Budget of the U.S. Government" Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Don of the Wasatch
Alpine, UT

If we really want to help these people, we need to bring manufacturing back to the US and give these people real jobs that add to the national economy. We need to balance our trade with foreign countries s that we have a zero trade deficit. Otherwise, the gov can continue to play Robin Hood by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, while we continue to send 500 billion dollars a year net to foreign countries.

Provo, UT

I completely agree with this editorial. If you teach a man to fish (rather than giving him a fish per day--figuratively speaking...) you will develop determination and a positive desire to do for ones self--changing the world one person at a's a powerful thing!

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