Lawmakers to tackle the question: Can the poverty cycle be halted in Utah?

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  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    If you want to better understand how the welfare system has created a cycle of poverty where not trying to get ahead give you the best results read the following:

    "SPENCER: Single moms getting a sweet deal in Pa." in the Deleware County Times

    "‘Welfare Nation’: The Sad Truth" at The Blaze.

    Why work and earn $29,000/yr when if you don't work hard you can have the government give you enough stuff that you now live like a person earning $69,000/yr?

  • Dave D Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 1, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Very tricky problem that many have worked on throughout the years, largely unsuccessfully. I laud this legislator for tackling an issue that is actually important, however. I sense that the economic system in which we live is one issue, individual factors may be another, and there are likely many other issues in between, but then again, I don't have the hard data to prove that.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    First off I would like to see the state be more aggressive in getting needed (and overdue)child support from runaway dads.

    It seems like I hear of so many dads making babies, then moving on. Driving a corvette the following week.

    I've also wondered if the state social services agencies could work out some kind of program to assign one caseworker to help and track clients with their progress. The system we have now sends the unemployed/indigent to one office for food stamps, another office for unemployment, another office for educational opportunities, etc. There is never any real tracking progress done.
    Many times if people have a "coach" they do better.

  • perhaps Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Providing government services to children from the womb until they are 18 might help them get out of poverty as adults. Reid seems to think it is worth experimenting to find out if it is true.

    It seems to me that it would be better to spend part of the money Reid wants to spend helping those children's parents to get whatever skills they need to get better paying jobs so their children get out of poverty before they become adults. That is what the Perpetual Education Fund does.

    Of course, all Reid's bill does is create another state commission. How many people believe another commission to study poor kids will do anything for them?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    This is especially interesting because it comes from a very conservative Republican. Perhaps there is some hope out there.

    One of the posters above had what may be an excellent idea: Include some people from the ranks of poverty as members of this commission. They may have some insights that would be impossible for anyone who has never experienced poverty.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    There is a lot to this issue.

    Poor kids right off the bat probably will not have the same educational opportunities that a more affluent family may have. The kids (like in the case of my wife) may have to work at a very young age just so the family can eat, and school seems to take a back seat.

    It's hard to back away from a job that is currently paying the bills and go to school to improve your situation in life. A degree in four years doesn't put food on the table today. Thus their kids get stuck in the same cycle.

    In my opinion what is needed is a "leg up" to these families. I have a friend who has two kids, husband made some bad choices (through no fault of her own) and is in jail. She works hard, but without the necessary training in school is hard to get any job that pays a liveable wage. A mother of four in my ward had a husband that beat her, she is trying to go to school with grants, but still cannot make ends meet.

  • johnbh99 Daytona Beach Shores, FL
    Feb. 1, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    I just want to say that I regularly read news articles from the Washington Post, the NY times, LA Times and several foreign services as well as this service. It is refreshing to follow comments from readers of this site who actually stay on the topic and generally write in respective tones. Comments from the other sources I mentioned generally start right off in blaming one or the other political parties for what is being discussed in the article and in very crude vile terms.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 1, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    Adopting a living wage law might help. Those who work but are not salesmen or of the professional class do not do very well in Utah.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    Utah has many divorces where the men are not required to do their part for the ex-wife who usually has the responsibility of taking care of the children. Utah almost forces a lot of divorced women to suffer not only the grief and humiliation of the divorce but the maintenance and upkeep of the children while the man goes off and gets married, again, to throw another group of children into the generational poverty woes.

    Utah is made for men as seen by the Token governor and legislators in the mix. I worked for a boss that felt women should not earn as much as men of the same caliber and education. He only thought of people with a husband that worked. He didn't think of the women out there who were single parents having to make the hard decisions and get the children ready for school, fed, and taken care of in every need, and still had to make money to live on.

    Utah used to be more isolated from the world. However, little by little and with all forms of mass media, we wanted to become just like our neighboring states. Well, we have. Poor children.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    The system does need revamping. Something is wrong when a single mom with 6 kids, no child support, and no job, can afford a larger screen then a two parent two income home.

    Having grown up in west side SLC, I think the problem in large, is that children in poverty are raised with a scarcity mentality. There's never enough of food, money, clothes, you name it. There's literally no way for them to operate from a mentality of abundance because no one around them has learned it to teach it to them.

    That's why the story of kids breaking the cycle and growing up to be a multi millionaire is such a huge deal, because they were able to learn it, and live it, and break away from what they came from.

  • leroy2 SANDY, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I agree with Reid but we cannot forget the parents. Children seem to adapt much more quickly. I recently watched three different Frontline reports from PBS. Sometimes children have insurmountable challenges with out intervention. Parents are where they are because of the quality of their thinking. Thinking that a job is the answer is not good enough any more. Technology advances have both created endless opportunity and created a deconstruction of the channels where the "jobs" were.
    Quit talking about redistribution of money through taxes and start creating the future. Look at any 3,4,5,or 6 year old with a smart phone and know we can choose to have a bright future.

  • DGDENTON Gainesville, TX
    Feb. 1, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Generational poverty is as much a lifestyle based on poor choices as it is an economic problem. We all have money problems. The difference is how we handle the problems that makes he difference between those who have chronic problems and those who have temporary problems.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 5:08 a.m.

    It is probably hard to pinpoint why people stay poor from generation to generation. Some people may simply be lazy, others may have addictions, others may have had good intentions but either divorce or health problems got in their way. But wealthy people can be lazy, have addictions and so forth.

    Another point is in a capitalist system their will always be people at the top and people at the bottom. Not everyone can be a millionaire.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 3:52 a.m.

    Not only are people "forced" by the state government and its policies by promoting poverty and very low wages and incomes for even the most educated of the masses and unemployed they now want to throw people in jail for being poor and homeless and unemployed for living in poverty.

    Quality of education is part of the problem, and the right to work laws is the other half which strips workers rights to keep a job if they are impoverished by the laws preventing prosperity. If CEO's can hire lawyers to negotiate tens of millions of dollars pay and benefits, then every worker has the right to joint legal representation with lawyers to negotiate the same rights and benefits in their jobs.

    It's very ludicrous for this representative to blame poverty on the parents and level of education. Utah's economic basis "is" poverty and prosperity is discouraged. It's not a cycle of individuals choice, poverty is a mandate of government restricting income to secure suppressed poverty. Education is irrelevant and any study would prove how wrong this Right to Work law is, if that was their basis and reason to break this so called poverty cycle.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 31, 2013 9:11 p.m.

    What if YOUR focus is wrong, Glenn Bailey, and Reid hits upon a viable solution?

    My degree is not even in sociology or psychology yet I can tell you that intergenerational poverty (like the kind I know from growing up in inner city Chicago) actually encourages children, when they’re grown, to stay stuck in the habits and culture of their assistance-receiving parent(s). Familiarize yourself, for instance, with the Altgeld Gardens housing project there, and you will see why 20 years from now there will still be a grandmother, single mother and her children inhabiting each of those units.

    Senator Reid’s personal experience of residing among these folks may offer him greater insights into solutions than those suggested by bureaucrats and even intellectuals who “study” the problem.

  • jrgl CEDAR CITY, UT
    Jan. 31, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    How about invite actual parents in poverty and their children to be part of this commission?
    Obviously what the legislature is proposing will impact them tremendously. Their views on their reality and what keeps them trapped in generational poverty is important. It's easy to sit on a committee, pontificate on their morals, lack of education and life choices and hold them accountable through more demands on their already strapped lives.
    What do you plan to do if they don't change or improve? More kids in foster care? Throw the parents in jail? Fine them? Welfare (AFDC) is already time limited in Utah to three years.
    How about tracking "where the money is spent" in middle class, upper middle class & the wealthy too? I'm sure if everyone never went to Disneyland all their money problems would be solved.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Jan. 31, 2013 8:22 p.m.

    I wonder if anyone has tracked where the money is spent in low income homes. We have relatives who have lived on a combination of LDS and government help over the years. As soon as they receive their tax rebate they go to Disneyland. They spend their whole life begging for free car repairs, medical, dental, well all that I would consider necessities. Never do they have money for emergencies. Even when they are working they follow the same patterns of spending. I know it is impossible to force someone to learn new skills such as cooking, budgeting, first aid, etc., but I sure am tired of hearing them whine.