How government programs trap people in poverty

I often disagree with Albuquerque Journal columnist Winthrop Quigley, but once in awhile he hits upon a very important issue and sheds some real light on it. His recent article on problems with America’s “anti-poverty” programs. The problem can be illustrated in the chart which accompanied Quigley’s column:

Basically, as an individual (in this case a single woman with a child) works harder, improves her skills, and earns more money, the various government programs conspire to limit her improvement in living standards. So, she works harder, invests in herself and her education and winds up back where she was before (or arguably worse off because she is working harder).

Libertarians have argued for a variety of reforms including simply giving the cash equivalent of these programs to the poor. Others have argued that anti-poverty programs should be block-granted to the states where the “50-state laboratories of democracy” can come up with better ideas than a one-size-fits-all policy dictated out of Washington. Still others argue that private charity is the best option.

No matter what changes are made to current welfare programs, it is hard to say that those who are out to dramatically reform the current welfare system “hate the poor.” Rather, it is the current system that keeps the poor trapped in a discouraging cycle.

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3 Replies to “How government programs trap people in poverty”

  1. Yes, I too was pleasantly surprised when I read this piece by Quigley. It is a rare bit of truthful journalism.

  2. I total agree with this article because I am a single mom who raise one child. I have worked full time at a Lorain Products for 9 years then lay off from that job, lived in low income housing, paid full rent of 562.00 and child attended St. Mary. Became a STNA still struggle on Section 8, received child support and Section 8 took half of that. Had to home schooled my child because St. Mary closed down for five years. I figured I was giving Section 8 free money while I struggle to put food on the table. I had applied for food stamps, but was denied because I received to much money for child support(126.00)per month. Every three months my rent was different and lost my health insurance because I was few dollars over the limit. So, I had to get fire from my job to survive as a single mom. I had live off my daughter’s child support, received food stamps and health insurance. I have great news! My daughter graduated from college on May, 2015 from Xavier of LA. I am employed at Oberlin College part time, gross 6.425.00 last year and my rent is 113.00 per month, I off for the summer and still have to pay 113.00 per month. This system is corrupted, outdated, and steal from the poor. First Lady Obama spoke about social justice that just a slogan, rhetoric tactic to move folks emotions,but the government continue to reduced programs for the poor. This will be my last year on Section 8 because I shall make a change in my life!

    With the development of industrial capitalism, a new and unanticipated system of injustice, it is libertarian socialism that has preserved and extended the radical humanist message of the Enlightenment and the classical liberal ideals that were perverted into an ideology to sustain the emerging social order.
    Noam Chomsky

    Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    Frederick Douglass

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