John Florez: Agencies perpetuate the poverty cycle rather than creating a culture of caring

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  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Sept. 30, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    Government is not a cure for poverty, Hard work is. There will be poor around. However it is not Governments job to help them as that is a hindrance. People besids the government.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 30, 2012 2:12 a.m.

    Yes, but this isn't just a government caused problem. American workers overall have experienced stagnant real wages (what a wage will buy) for 30 years. More and more of the middle class are falling into the underclass (fits the Marxian model BTW). In the meantime American corporations have given up on America, have off-shored production, destroyed pensions, and generally are determined to do away with the American middle class. But capitalism can't survive without a middle class. No, this a much broader problem than the attitudes of Utah politicians.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 29, 2012 3:59 p.m.

    Another good article from Mr. Florez.

    It seems what families need is a team, a village so-to-speak. If we are talking about social workers, (as opposed to administrators who dole out the benefits) I think they are often over-burdened and underpaid. Often, help consists of a "bandaid" approach to problems. For people who are temporarily poor, having previously been successful, the bandaid approach might be all they need. But those trapped in generational poverty the problems are more difficult and complex.

    Paul Tough reports in his book, "How Children Succeed" that there is increasing evidence that success depends on whether we are able to help children develop qualities such as persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.

    It is easy to be judgmental from a distance. If we aren't personally, consistently dedicating time to help individuals outside our self-selected enclaves we really don't have any room to be judging others.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2012 3:21 p.m.

    Referring to the social service as an industry is accurate. As an industry, it is self serving and is more concerned with a hand out rather than a hand up. Giving away tax payers' money is easier than actually helping recipients break the cycle of poverty.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 29, 2012 12:13 p.m.

    There is no substitute in the end for hard work and self-reliance, so yes, parents with children do have to go out into the workforce. That's where friends, family and neighbors come in. Didn't they used to say that 'it takes a village to raise a child?' You build your own village of people who care about your family, and you care about their families. You help each other.

    Government is not capable of caring because it must be run in a fair and equitable manner. Because some people have taken advantage, the honest people who go to government for help are treated as if they were trying to take advantage. Non-government groups are your friends and neighbors and they can be flexible and understanding.

    What do I know about all this? I went through hard times due to illness resulting in business failure. My wife was injured. We received help from family, friends, the LDS Church and some from government sources. In the end we got back on our own two feet, but had we just gone to government first we would probably have been homeless with young children. The solution starts with the individual.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 29, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    Is government the answer? Has government EVER been the answer?

    Are there fewer people (percentage) living in poverty than there was under FDR or under LBJ? There are MORE!

    Government "programs" have not worked. Government "programs" have taught people how to beg, not how to work their way out of poverty.

    There is another way. There is another "program" that works. You can find it right here in Utah. You can find it in any city in Utah. You can find it in any neighborhood in Utah. It is the LDS Church's welfare program. Groups of families (about 100) are organized into Wards. An unpaid bishop is charged to help the people temporally and spiritually. He is assisted by many unpaid workers who look after groups and quorums. A Relief Society President sees that families are fed and clothed. Deseret Industries gives people a place to learn to work and to serve. Fast Offerings, freely given, assist families in that group. Home teachers assess the needs of each family each month.

    The program is in place. It is not a government program. It is the Lord's program. It works with force, without taxes.

    Give it a try.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 29, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    Excellent op ed piece.

    And, unfortunately, it's true.

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Sept. 29, 2012 4:02 a.m.

    So what would be a good example of going through the agencies here in Utah? I thought our 'safety net' was actually dropping many of the needful and going unreported?