Comments about ‘Letter: Cause of poverty’

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Published: Wednesday, May 7 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Ranch
Here, UT

Darlene, please list your expert credentials.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@Ranch

It doesn't take an expert to spot a logical fallacy. Correlation is not the same thing as causation.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Ranch, please list your credentials.

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

Poverty is the number 1 breeder of crime.

Poverty begets poverty. Crime thus begets crime. It's a vicious cycle that can take generations to break (visiting the curse upon the 3rd and 4th generations is often referred to in the Old Testament)

That's not to say that people who are well to do don't commit crime, and those who are in poverty are destined to be criminals and destitute their whole life; but if you want to lower crime, you have to do away with poverty.

The best way out of poverty is education. Take the criminal element, and educate them; teach them a trade, teach them how to be productive and contribute to society so they won't have a need to resort to crime to deal with their problems.

Give kids in disadvantaged homes increased access to education. We can either pay to teach them; or we can pay to incarcerate them; either way, we will pay.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

How poor do we need to be to "justify" crime? If we make less in a month than some people make in a day, does that "justify" crime? If we work two full-time jobs and still make less than we need to take care of our family, does that justify crime? If "poverty" were the cause of crime, then the priests and nuns of the Catholic Church would all be criminals. They take a vow of poverty. They live their lives serving instead of being served.

Poverty is no excuse for lawlessness. Just because some people think that robbing is easier than working, is no excuse. Criminals want something that belongs to someone else. They are content to take that "something" without working for it or paying for it. That has nothing to do with poverty.

My family was very, very poor. Dad worked three jobs before moving the family to Salt Lake City, where there was greater opportunity. He was not a criminal. He never took anything that belonged to another. Poverty caused him to look for opportunity.

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

@Mike Richards

I was not using poverty to justify crime. Never.

However, look at the trends of who is in our prisons. How many of them came from homes making 6 figure salaries?

Poverty tends to breed crime because the gain to risk ratio is much greater. If I have to steal bread to feed my family, I am much more likely to commit theft than one who can comfortably feed theirs.

I am not saying poverty is a justification, but it is the leading cause.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Poverty is the number 1 breeder of crime."

If that were true, then how would one explain America's Greatest Generation? You know, the one that worked their way through real poverty [not the "I only have 2 big screen TVs poverty," like people complain of today] and the Great Depression [not today's unemployment compensation-sheltered Obama recession], won WWII, then built the strongest, most decent, most egalitarian society in the history of humankind.

It's not poverty that breeds crime. It's failure to adhere to longstanding American values -- faith, hard work, decency, getting an education, taking responsibility, fiscal frugality, etc., etc.

Wouldn't it be great if America returned to those values, leaving the political/academic victimization industry with the highest unemployment rates?

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

procuradorfiscal, part of the "greatest generation" were the greatest criminal minds in our history. Poverty is the greatest barrier to quality education, poverty is the single common thread for recruitment to terrorism. Just because you rose from the very depths of the lowest doesn't mean you lived in poverty. Poor maybe, poverty not necessarily. You have a cynical view of your neighbor if you think all they want is yours. Most of those receiving food stamps are working and since most middle class wages have been stagnant for 20+ years we are seeing the biggest wage discrepancy in history and more falling into that lower income bracket. Take off the binders folks. You have straddled your kids with a trillion + in college debt. You have sent most good paying jobs to the Orient or somewhere. You have given your country to oligarchs.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Sometimes we confuse what actually causes a problem with what really causes that problem. Poverty, by itself does not cause crime (in my opinion). Too many good people live lives of poverty without resorting to crime. But what are SOME of the conditions that can lead to poverty?

- Lack of opportunity, sometimes caused by rejecting or ignoring educational opportunities.

- Despair, which some people try to self-medicate with alcohol and/or drugs, leading to even more employment problems. When people have addictions, they find a way to feed their addiction, many times resorting to crime.

- Pregnancy resulting from kids"experimenting" with sex who should have waited until marriage.

Those three problems are fixable. Proper use of opportunities. Moving to an area where jobs are available. Solving problems for the employer which makes you more valuable. Abstaining from sex until married.

Poverty is a world-wide problem. It will be cured when the greedy who won't work, learn to work and the greedy who take advantage of their workers learn that they are merely stewards of their money, not owners.

But, crime is a personal decision.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

There are MANY causes of poverty. There's not just one.

And the better question is... what can PREVENT poverty? Taking from others? I don't think that works. That just breeds even more resentment (on both sides) and build the presumption of entitlement.

IMO attacking the lack of opportunity is the best approach. Just taking from people who earned it and giving it to those who didn't... send completely the wrong message (to both sides of the equation).

Now people donating their surpluses to the needy (voluntarily)... now that sends the exact correct message (IMO)

slcdenizen
Murray, UT

@procuradorfiscal

The greatest generation lived under the backdrop of socialist policies that contributed to easy access to education, fair labor practices, and high import barriers. If you're in favor of those, then good point.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Okay Mike Richards, this is 100% incorrect.

"Poverty is a world-wide problem. It will be cured when the greedy who won't work, learn to work and the greedy who take advantage of their workers learn that they are merely stewards of their money, not owners."

Poverty will be solved when the GREEDY people making millions off the backs of those who ACTUALLY DO THE WORK start sharing the proceeds of those efforts with those who actually do the work - the poor.

When a CEO makes $100M per year, and the workers are the bottom barely get by WITH government assistance, then you can denigrate the working poor; until then, Mike YOU are part of the problem.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

@RanchHand

What you say seems logical, but the math doesn't work. If the CEO of my company, for example, donated all of his salary to the workers he is allegedly cheating, it would amount to about 15 cents an hour for the rest of us. Does he make more than he needs? Absolutely. But that isn't the problem. 15 cents an hour isn't going to solve poverty.

The middle class thrives when the economy is moving forward. Raising energy prices causes the economy to move backwards. One of the biggest problems I see is that we have an entire political class dedicated to the proposition of making energy more expensive.

Another problem we have is that we have an entire political class dedicated to the proposition of convincing everyone that economics is a zero sum game, that the only way anyone can get wealthy is by taking from others. While there certainly are more than enough people who live by taking, we shouldn't ignore the tremendous upside the comes from the creation of wealth.

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