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November 16, 2004

How to avoid the poverty trap

Steven Malanga has written an excellent essay in City Journal that thoroughly dismantles the left's view of poverty in America. He focuses his attention on forty years of literature that claims that the vast majority of those in poverty now are doomed to remain there, and that poverty leads to all kinds of personal failure and social dysfunction.

The supposed economic immobility of the underclass is easily refuted by Malanga.

Regarding the alleged effects of poverty, research indicates that the Left is wrong on all counts. Referring to a book by Joanna Lipper on the abundance of poverty, drug abuse and teen pregnancy in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Malanga writes:
[...] Lipper has reversed cause and effect. She sees social dysfunction in Pittsfield and blames it on poverty. But it typically is personal failure and social dysfunction that create poverty. To stay out of poverty in America, it's necessary to do three simple things, social scientists have found: finish high school, don't have kids until you marry, and wait until you are at least 20 to marry. Do those three things, and the odds against your becoming impoverished are less than one in ten. Nearly 80 percent of everyone who fails to do those three things winds up poor.
Read the whole essay.

(Credit: Boortz)

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