Think of the poor as part of the solution

  • Article by: JOE SELVAGGIO
  • Updated: November 17, 2012 - 5:01 PM

They're a source of economic growth. That's why we can afford to help them.

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swmnguyNov. 17, 12 5:29 PM

Mr. Selvaggio is absolutely correct, and he should know as well as anyone. To look at the poor as a drain on society makes some sense, but the answer is not to leave them as a net negative to society. The answer is to help them become a net positive to the economy. People who don't see this are myopic in the extreme. To think that raising someone else up will damage one's own standing is the sign of small-mindedness. The poor are an enormous untapped resource, as well as human beings in their own right, leading less-than-fulfilling lives below their potential. It's not that we can afford to help them and should. It's that we can't afford not to help them. If our economic system is such that it's contracting and can't meet people's needs, then what's the point in keeping it the way it is?

jmusielewiczNov. 17, 12 6:20 PM

Hey its true--there's this huge 'pool' of 'labour' in the 'poor'!! And they, of course, support 'our' vision. We are the world conquorers--we are the heros--we- will NOT relenquish any ground!! Everyone must work!! Say have they finished making the knoutes and locating ALL the 'poor' so we can send the social workers in and DRIVE them out to do OUR work??

pumiceNov. 17, 12 7:06 PM

From the article: "People see the poor as a problem, and if we don't have enough money to help the middle class, how in the world will we have money to enhance the lives of the poor?" The answer to that question was proposed during the campaign: "Build the economy from the middle out." Instead of squeezing workers out of the middle class, reward effort and responsibility. Grow the middle class. Subsidize job creation; invest in education, invest in research; invest in transportation and communications infrastructure; invest in alternative energy. When everybody plays by the same rules, everybody does his/her fair share, and everybody has a fair shot at success, everybody's life will be enhanced. Work, as Joe Selvaggio wrote, produces wealth. In addition, work adds dignity to human life, and a fair day's pay for a fair day's work feeds demand for the goods workers produce and the services workers provide.

dtkingNov. 17, 12 7:22 PM

Brilliant! We must have the cooperation of the community leaders who work with those in need. Parents, too, must try to find more time to encourage their children to study harder and get an education to help lead them out of poverty. Kids must assume more ownership for their learning. They are key to making positive change happen.

alansonNov. 17, 12 7:23 PM

If I understand Mr. Selvaggio, he is asking the government to please take money from me and spend it on him.

SorghastrumNov. 17, 12 8:29 PM

By shrinking the upper and poor class and expanding the middle class with a green oriented and energy efficient economy we can begin to provide for the framework that will give our children and grandchildren the chance to prosper and persevere in the global economy and globally altered climate patterns of the future.

mglovettNov. 17, 1210:23 PM

Johnsons great society and every plan since gave money to the poor, so that the poor wouldn't be hungry (who could argue with that?) It would also stimulate the economy, grocery stores, housing and the basics. But very little effort was made at getting people out of poverty. We simply made poverty more comfortable. why?

warmfiddleNov. 18, 12 8:01 AM

America was built on strong morals, discipline and ethics and people took pride in taking care of themselves by working hard for the rewards they can have. These people built the greatest country on earth. Today FREE Government money seems to be the new reward for people who do not want to work. Personal responsibility is not taken seriously. Our country will fail under it's current trend and is already close to rock bottom. Who will lead this country out of it's current down fall? We must help the poor but our current welfare system only leaves the poor at the bottom. Who will work if the government check in the mail,housing,and many free extras are bigger than the work check. We need a system that gets the poor back to work. I don't see anything happening until the American people commit to the morals and discipline it once had to take care of themselves and give back to the Country that has given them so much! GOD BLESS AMERICA........!

swmnguyNov. 18, 12 9:19 AM

There's a toddler mentality that's very popular today; more or less, "He got a cookie, but he didn't deserve it!" Well, yeah, if cookies were distributed based on who deserves them, our society would look very different. There wouldn't be any inherited wealth, for one thing.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family with well-educated parents who had health problems, so we lived in poverty. I got all the sneering looks from everyone, showing up in clothes from Goodwill, using the family's food stamps to buy groceries, and knowing that the welfare cheese didn't melt right. My first serious girlfriend thought it was really weird that I cooked rice by put it in really salty water and getting it hot, then skimming off the top and rising it in a sieve and then cooking it. It occurred to me then that not everyone grew up with bug-infested welfare rice.

What we did have was high expectations of ourselves and our potential in society. That's what so many people in poverty do not have. Poverty is far more than a mere lack of money. It's about awareness of the possibilities, and a feeling that you actually can succeed despite having to make up a lot of ground. When I was a kid people said snide things about the fact that our family on welfare had lots of kids. As we've turned out, I wonder which of us they would have preferred not be born, the veterinarian, the lawyer, the three teachers, the library administrator, the soil ecology expert, the senior paralegal, or maybe me, the corporate consultant?

We went from poverty to upper-middle-classness, because we had the attitude that we could. We had relatives who had. We were temporarily in poverty. It's entirely different when you're born into a generational poverty from which nobody you know has escaped. You don't know how. You make decisions at most a week into the future. Every step you take up, your support is decreased, which makes it the more likely you will fall back down.

Basing assistance on some Puritanical formula of who deserves what simply doesn't work. It allows some people to take self-righteous delight at the misery of others, but it isn't worth dragging down the entire economy and wasting our natural human resources so some people can get their jollies pointing the finger at others.

traderbillNov. 18, 1210:03 AM

Hmmm, the right wing zealots believe that gays 'choose' to be so, and the same for the poor. How else can they rationalize not punishing the financial community for creating the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Note, none of them were prosecuted, no one went to jail, and now as Citi, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Barclays and others get huge fines for their crimes...who has to pay them? The shareholders who already lost most of their investment! Is this a great country or what? Occupy Wall Street (although poorly named and with no central theme) was maligned by both the GOP and Wall Street from the beginning, while they did everything possible to deny financial reform...yet it was this group that was the only thing remotely related to Wall Street to mobilize their people to assist with the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy. Too bad they didn't have a strong leader and call themselves RCA - Reform Corporate America...and also Congress!


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