Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to Avoid Poverty

The child poverty rate for single-parent children is quadruple that of children living in a two parent home

While investigating poverty statistics,  I quickly found myself detoured into a thicket of indignant liberal apologists who blame child poverty on corporations, lack of government assistance, greedy rightwingers, anything and everything except irresponsible behavior.

Underlying much of the liberal argumentation was a barely-contained hostility and scorn for the very institution of marriage.

Has our society become so emotion-driven that we can no longer analyze the facts as they stand?

People on the left hate the single-parent/two-parent poverty rate statistic. There it stands. In black and white. They can’t blow it up, so they instead make the illogical leap of declaring that anyone who mouths this statistic is criticizing single parents. This is a non-sequitur. The conclusion that single parents are bad people does not follow from the stated premise. Any of us who know single parents know how ridiculous this is. But that’s not the point. The point is to blunt the argument and shut down the conversation.
“… a Republican state legislator from Colorado, [...] argued on Monday that families can stay out of poverty by avoiding having kids outside of marriage.

"Those children are almost guaranteed to be in poverty," Swalm remarked in an interview after speaking out against House Bill 10-1002, which would provide much-needed tax relief for Colorado's poor. "You don't want kids in poverty? Don't have kids out of wedlock."  (

Progressives hate such personal responsibility talk, so they use emotional appeal to demonize people who point out the obvious…
“House Speaker Terrance Carroll rightly identified Rep. Swalm's comments as "an insult to every single person who lives in poverty, who works their butt off every day just to keep their head above water."” (
The child poverty rate for single-parent children is quadruple that of children living in a two parent home. That’s a fact, and not one outraged liberal could actually explain how this statistic insults “every single person who lives in poverty, who works their butt off every day just to keep their head above water."

Here’s the best liberal argument I could find:
“It's that he got his causation all mixed up. These statistics shed light on a real problem: single-parent households (and not just in Colorado) struggle with low incomes disproportionately more than families led by two parents.

But whether a child winds up living in poverty can't be boiled down to the number of parents he lives with. Countless factors, like unequal access to affordable health care and educational opportunities, play a huge role.” (
Tis true that correlation is not causation, but as any exhausted single mom or dad can tell you, it’s hard work keeping it all together. This is not about demonizing people who have suffered misfortune, it’s about identifying what works. Refusing to hold up the traditional two-parent family as the ideal is nuts. Single parents will tell you that a two-parent family is the ideal.
“After all, what single-parent families need definitely isn't an extra dose of unfounded criticism. They need the resources to help their children succeed.” (

This is not about criticizing single parents; it’s about warning other off this very difficult path. MTV has a whole reality series based on the travails of those who give birth out of wedlock.

This is what’s wrong with our dialog nowadays. We cannot have a rational discussion without people getting huffy and taking offense. Platitudinous twaddle clouds the issue. Go look at the cited article’s comment thread and shudder. One suggests HUD should do more. Another criticizes mean-spirited conservatives for suggesting that those on the public dole submit to drug testing. Anything to avoid stating the obvious and putting the burden for success or failure where it belongs: On the individual.
Sawhill and social researcher Ron Haskins authored a book, Creating an Opportunity Society (Brookings, 2009), in which they assess what are in reality the extremely low barriers to exploiting opportunity in the U.S. They note that a youth who finishes high school, gets married before having children, and maintains a steady job is almost guaranteed middle-class status, no matter what his background. Those three conditions shouldn't prove insurmountable for anyone. (The American Spectator)

Put more simply, here are Dr. Walter E. Williams’ Rules for Avoiding Poverty

* Graduate high school
* Get married before you have children
* If you get married, stay married
* Get a job, any job. A minimum wage job is a stepping stone
* Avoid engaging in criminal behavior

Further Reading:

Heritage – Marriage and Child Poverty

Cornell Study


Quite Rightly said...

Great post.

Williams' list should be hanging in every classroom in America.

Divine Theatre said... hangs in our classroom, for we home school!

Silverfiddle, facts are stubborn things but lefties are even more stubborn. They tend to obfuscate issues which they cannot debate, they feign indignance and haughtily walk away, ponytail swinging in the air! Do they not realize that the very children they purport to help are suffering?
I noticed Jersey neglected to respond to my post regarding DCFS in IL. Wonder why that is?

Lisa said...

What do you expect from people who cry racism whne you disagree with Dear Leader?
I don't what they maxed out more,their "race card" or their "poor children" card.

Jersey McJones said...

Liberals are all over the place on this issue.

There seem to be two main causes for the rie of the single-parent household: one, a rather slovenly culture, and two ,how tight money has become among today's working-and-middle-class families.

There is not much we as a people can or will do about our culture. It is a product of our history and society, after all. We are not the ancestors of aristocrats and high society.

But the tightness of money is something we can do something about. Nothing tears a family apart more than money issues. Over the past two generations we've seen utterly stagnant wages, while inflation naturally marches along. By today's value, people make less money today than tehy did 30 years ago. On top of that, both husband and wife have to work if theey're going to raise a family.

That is something we could remedy - via mainly trade policy.

I don't see social programs having much effect on this, other than we can and should help the poor when and if we can.

Divine, I didin't see it. What was it about?


WomanHonorThyself said...

Has our society become so emotion-driven that we can no longer analyze the facts as they stand? a word :YES!

Endo_2011 said...

5 simple rules, yet people refuse to follow!

and helping the poor is a personal choice, not a government obligation.

Jersey McJones said...

You guys really do want a return to the Dark Ages.

A main cause of the decline and downfall of the Byzantine empire was the rise of an old, originally military but gradually just idle rich, aristocracy in the themes. Slowly but surely, and then rapidly at the beginning of the second millenia, they absorbed all the small holdings, refused to pay taxes, or serve militarily as their ancetors had done to accrue those holdings in the themes.

They became a useless rich, and in order to do so, relinquished the old free classes of men to serfs. Unable to pay any imperial taxes, the serfs could only pay their local masters, while their local masters refused to pay imperial taxes, and sure enough no one was paying taxes to Constantinople, Byzantine money became worthless, a once reknowned government was reduced to collecting in kind.

Is that where you guys want to go?


Endo_2011 said...

Jersey, not sure how following 5 simple rules will lead us back into the "dark ages" as you put it.
Simple personal accountability is all we ask for.

As for giving to the poor, I simply do not want the government giving my hard earned dollars to people who take no accountability for their lives. Giving money to welfare recipients who are not drug tested before recieving money is a sham. Yes, I donate, probably a hell of a lot more than most, but it is to people and charities that I know will make use the money to make a difference. I will pay my share of taxes, but I do not feel I should pay a higher rate simply because I worked hard to get where I am in life. As for the military, you are off your rocker if you think we would skirt our duty. Most who frequent this site are ex military or people who are strong advocates of the military and stongly advocate for a larger military. The post is about accountability, nothing more!

Lisa said...

Jersey many people are just trying to pay their electric bills and put food on the table and all we see is the wasteful spending in Washington and the same people who demand we don't pay enough of our hard earned money want to take more of it while they live like royalty. They are so elite they couldn't even bother to do a budget last year.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, Jersey, we're all idle rich... You've got us pegged!

I worked 58 hours this week, and it's only Thursday. I haven't seen a day off in two weeks, and with this Obama economy, I'm not complaining. I thank God I'm still employed.

Lisa, I love your avitar! (Can a married man say that to a married woman???) We have a Westie, so we think all Scottish Terriers are so cute.

Jersey McJones said...

Okay. Each of you took me the wrong way here.

What Makes Us Right,

If you completely neglect the poor, you will collect less and less tax revenues, as more and more people become poor, and the wealthier become wealthier and then refuse to pay taxes because you have no power to collect them. That was the point of my Byzantine reference.


I know this sounds esoteric, but it has serious implications. Our national investment is low, even with the BS "stimulus." We're not getting back nearly as much as we should for what we as a nation can afford. We're spending a ton of money on policing the world. W. T. F?


I don't know what "we're" you citing, but no, I don't think you or anyone else who blogs here is "ilde rich." I know the idle rich. I've been around them. I wouldn't be here if I thought you were among them.


Jersey McJones said...

Ya' know. I was just thinking. You guys all misunderstood me in all sorts of ways there...

Just remember:

I am a liberal.

I am not young.

I am a progressive.

I am not trying to take over your life.

I believe that my reasonable rights end at your reasonable rights.

I'm an American.

You guys think "liberals" and "progressives" are dangerous - existentially dangerous - people. NO! We're just people. We only disagree by degree. Don't let the powers that be divide us completely. Otherwise it's misery for all of us.


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey, I have often said that progressives are not evil. It just that progressive ideas have crashed the country and snuffed personal initiative.

Obama is talking about how government can create jobs and he brought in crony crapitalist Jeffrey He Melts. Wrong!

Put a predictable and stable tax and regulatory structure in place that is less onerous than the other developed countries and things will take off.

But no, progressives have to dream up trillion dollar schemes...

Lisa said...

"But no, progressives have to dream up trillion dollar schemes"


MK said...

I think it was Coulter who said, keep your legs closed if you want to avoid poverty and only have children if you're married.

leftards will never acknowledge this, anything, even stupidity like blaming the byzantine empire for it will be trotted out.

"If you completely neglect the poor..."

There in lies your problem, you lot have been 'helping' the poor for a few decades now and it ain't getting any better. So here's a really radical thought, perhaps you should stop 'helping' them and just leave them alone to sort out their own affairs.

MK said...

"I am not young.
I am a progressive."

Seeing as how you're the history buff and all that who was it that said - if you're young and are a conservative you have no heart, if you're old and still a socialist, you have no brain?

"I am not trying to take over your life."

Oh i don't think that anyone here believes that you or your kind are angling to move into our homes and dictate when we wake up, when we sleep, when we go to work and all that. The liberalism of today that you lot have hijacked is of a more indirect and softer type of fascism. You don't tell us that we can't use certain light bulbs, you just ban the sale of the ones you fear. You don't send jack-booted thugs around to collect money to 'help' the poor from us, you just take it out of our paychecks before we get it. You don't make us have abortions, you just take our money and use it to fund abortions irrelevant of how we feel about it. You don't tell us that we can't defend ourselves with a gun or walk into our homes and hold us down when criminals come, you just try your level best to hinder us from actually doing so ourselves.

Yes, you're not trying to take over our lives, you're just trying to control as much of it as you can get away with. Subtle difference i know, but the outcomes aren't all that far apart.

"I'm an American."

But do you believe in American exceptionalism?

"You guys think "liberals" and "progressives" are dangerous - existentially dangerous - people. NO!"

Speaking for myself, YES you are!

Silverfiddle said...

MK: You speak for all of us, Mate.

And I can use that term because I have served side by side with Aussies during my military career. Your country upholds the finest military traditions of the English speaking world.

Divine Theatre said...

MK, you speak for me as well.
I just posted a memorial to my dear friend who was murdered along with four other women at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL. She died with a cell phone in her hand because she was legally not ALLOWED to defend herself with a gun. Frankly, I blame EVERY gun grabbing leftie for her death. They will NEVER be able to wash that blood off of their hands. Progressive indeed!

Silverfiddle said...

Well said, Divine. The blood is on the hands of the gun grabbers who steal our God-given right to defend ourselves.

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