What Causes Poverty?

What Causes Poverty?


I ask people, “What causes poverty?”


Today I asked a state employee.


She said, “Lack of money.”


I said, “Explain yourself.”

She said, “I had more stuff when I was on food stamps. I was on every government program. My rent was $200 each month because I was on the Section 8 program. Power was paid by the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. I had food stamps and WIC, (Women, Infant, and Children.) Medicaid. Everything was taken care of. I had a boyfriend and a baby. I earned $500 each month working 2-4 hours a day cleaning rooms at minimum wage. It was easy. I didn’t have to worry about anything.


Now I make $13 an hour and have to pay $600 each month in rent, utilities, (she still probably qualifies for food stamps because now she has more than one child and her $2,200 monthly income is below 185% of the federal poverty line for a household of 3), $130 a month in internet so I can go to college, (I wonder what kind of internet that is- mine is $48). Why work when if you don’t everything is taken care of? Everything!”

My sister is on all the programs. She’s taking advantage of the system. She went to a culinary arts school inOregon, a Cordon Bleu school, and ran up $90,000 in debt. She has a 60” TV and the monster sound system. She and her friends frequently go to IHOP and Denny’s. I go out to eat maybe twice a month. She works part-time for spending money, but otherwise everything is taken care of.

I don’t know why she is like that- we were raised in the same household. Maybe it’s being from a different generation- she’s three years younger. She got the idea of entitlement somehow.

People taking all the benefits have nice new cars. It makes me sick the way they spend their big check at tax time.”


I asked a school administrator, “What causes poverty?”

He said, “It’s not money. It’s a mindset, a culture, though you can be temporarily short on money.”

I asked a business manager, “What causes poverty.”


He described growing up with a father who was a tradesman and worked sporadically.

“My parents did not know how to get out of that pit. It (poverty), is partly due to the economy. There is a need for jobs. It (poverty), is also a choice. People I interview for jobs say, ‘I only want to work Tuesday through Friday and I need to get off at 1:00 on Friday.’ Or they say,’ I just have to come to these interviews so I can get benefits.’ I think it’s easier to accept assistance than take an entry level job.”


3 Responses

  1. Ah good…..you found your data point to prove that all poor people are lazy. I was wondering when Reagan’s welfare queen would be found. And just in time, as the paper just reported that there are 49.1 million of these lazy people in our country. As a representative of the people of Montana, what is your final solution to this growing problem?

  2. So you obviously have some issues with your sister. Why not hash things out with her? Try therapy. Why further victimize the disenfranchised by targeting projecting towards them the purulence festering within your deeply-rooted psychological wounds? Oh, and three years does not separate you by “a generation.” That’s just silly.

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