Comments about ‘John Florez: Professionals perpetuate intergenerational poverty’

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Published: Saturday, March 29 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Moab, UT

Left out of this article is the fact that most of our tax dollars that is meant to aide the poor, goes to this army of professionals that administer the myriad of programs.


Mr. Florez I would be interested in hearing specifics on how you would re-design the system to help the needy.

I've had some involvement in helping people who access the system. One was a woman with mental health issues and advanced multiple sclerosis. I am grateful she has a state-paid-for home healthcare worker 5 days/wk. However, mental health services is poor---no continuity, limited resources etc. i've seen other cases where an adult is provided services which could be of value but the adult is, so far, unable to escape the dysfunction they grew up among and are still connected to. It is extremely sad to see another generation not reach their full potential because their parents lack the skills and experiential vision to make it happen.

Salt Lake City, UT

A major reason for poverty is domestic abuse, mostly by men. Women try to make their marriages work, but are thwarted by their abusive husbands. This may go on through several kids, but eventually the woman must bail, leaving her and her kids in poverty. Ways must be found to help women get out of abusive relationships without a poverty sentence.

In the meantime, the only way out for many women is abortion, and for that reason abortions must remain safe and legal. There is a mass movement to prevent abortions. If successful, the plight of women and their kids in poverty will become progressively worse.

Government can't deal with this because we cannot reach consensus.

And in the background we have a dynamic which is concentrating wealth and income up the food chain. A perfect mess this.


Florez gets it right: any government agency that is ostensibly created to solve the poverty problem will likely do no better than manage the problem and institutionalize it. Changing the focus of the many social agencies from the individual to the family does have the potential of making government more efficient at managing the problem, but I don't see how it provides any incentive to actually solve the problem because it would put a lot of professionals out of work. Government is ill-suited to solving this kind of problem, and we would be better off if they weren't in this business at all. It would be far better for the private sector to carry the burden because we would want to actually solve the problem and get on with other aspects of our lives.

Salt Lake City, UT

John gets so close a couple of times to touching on the real problem which is non profits reluctance to educate their funders about what has actually been proven to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Here is what they are to scared to tell you because its not going to give you the warm fuzzes. They can take your $2.00 donation and give five families a small bag of peanuts to take the edge off their hunger and you get warm fuzzes for helping five families or they can take that $2.00 and combine it with other funders donations and give one family the services and resources that have been proven to work.Tell me honestly what you think funders want to hear this or, "wow your so great we are going to change 5 families lives with your $2.00? " They tell you what you want to hear because they can help those families for one night or they can not help anyone when you take your desiree to have warm fuzzes to someone that well tell you what you want to hear.

Salt Lake City, UT

RE: Pops "It would be far better for the private sector to carry the burden because we would want to actually solve the problem and get on with other aspects of our lives." Nonsense, the private sector is no more motivated to solve poverty than government is, in fact a whole lot less. For example, are payday lenders trying to solve household debt? Heck no, they live off of it.

The reasons for poverty are much more systemic than Florez, with his Republican ideology, can understand.

Salt Lake City, UT

"...we have created the greatest “social industrial complex” that has to perpetuate poverty for its own existence; that for every human problem they have created a program to manage it — not solve it. Manage it."

That is a perfect description of much of government. It would be great if the management of these problems were at least moving toward a solution. But, as Mr. Florez points out, too often the perverse incentive built into what I'll term the "socialized industrial complex" is its own self preservation at the expense of the purpose for which it ostensibly exists. Namely, the solution of the problem.

The only real solution to almost every social problem is to strengthen families, not governments.

Cleveland , OH

I think he is trying to say is that "you cannot solve a problem you are proud of." If your problem is your identity and defines who you are, then getting rid of the problem is your greatest fear.

For government agencies and non-profits alike, solving the problems of the poor would mean they would have no reason to exist. IT would mean ending money streams and grandiose projects. Victory in the War on Poverty is the enemy.

@marxist highlights another problem, above.

No, not "men." Blame. If you follow the idea in that post, women are helpless innocents who have bad choices thrust upon them. In the real world, the problem is men AND women who make bad choices in education, spending, having too many children, thinking an employer owes them a job and paycheck while missing the "earning" part.

Privatizing care for the poor is also problematic. Churches, for example, either focus on helping their own members or trade help for conversion and participation. In other words, they are not giving help, they are arranging their own strings and control just like the government does.

Cleveland , OH


If the private sector wanted to solve poverty then Walmart would sacrifice corporate profits to pay a living wage and companies would not require a 4 year degree for truly entry level jobs.

Charles Dickens described too much of the private sector too well: "Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret" asking "are there no prisons... and workhouses?"

Too often the corporate attitude seems to be let them die "and decrease the surplus population."

Charles Dickens did much to bring attention to the system that caused the problems, and that did bring change. We need another Christmas Carol today.


Corporations are only one part of the private sector. We all are the private sector. What are WE doing personally to solve the poverty problem (other than complaining about others not doing their part)?

The break-up of the family is a huge part of the poverty problem. In that regard, poverty is but a symptom. The poverty that arises from the dissolution of the family cannot be solved without fixing the family.

Another large part of the poverty problem is the intergenerational poverty that results from dysfunctional cultures. Like many from those cultures, I started adult life with nothing. But my culture instilled within me a desire to work, to improve my situation through education (I worked by way through college), and to not consider myself a victim nor to consider myself entitled to the fruit of the labor of others. In this case, poverty is also a symptom of a deeper-seated problem. This poverty cannot be fixed without addressing the underlying problem.


I don't suppose it would comfort the author to know that a large number of these so-call "Professionals" are themselves card carrying members of the working poor class. As a worker for the Home Energy Assistance Target (HEAT) program, I work and subsist under the poverty level. Obviously, having a job (or being a "Professional") is not a guarantee against poverty. As long as we have a system that generates large populations of working poor, we will also need a response to assist these people. Or, we could change the system to one that values people and environment over profit, and ensures that everyone who is able to work can earn a living wage.


The author is correct that we have a "social-industrial complex", but this is not news and should not come as any surprise. We have a "social-industrial complex" for the same reason we have a "military-industrial complex" - because our economic system requires it. If we don't like these complexes then we need to dismantle the system that makes them necessary. Blaming the people who operate within these complexes is antithetical to solving the problem. They are only doing what the system requires of them.

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