People are always looking for the easiest answers to poverty. There are no easy answers. Practitioners of systemic change know this. They know that poverty is a complex problem.
There was an critique of one of those “easy answers” published earlier this summer. The original argument opined that low marriage rates were one of the causes of poverty among the young. The facts say otherwise.
We all want our children to get educated, work hard, and find partners who will treat them well (if they want partners). But George Will’s column conveniently forgets two things: At the macro level, in an off-kilter economy, where the gains from economic growth are concentrating among the wealthy few, all the hard work in the world isn’t going to change this basic economic reality: There are not enough good jobs for today’s young people, and this has implications for their marriage prospects as well.
At the micro level, life happens. People lose jobs. They get sick or have an accident that leaves them with a disability. They have babies in a country without paid leave or adequate child care, leaving families struggling to afford the basics for their kids. “The poor” aren’t some stagnant group that just needs to make better life choices. Seventy percent of Americans will turn to a means-tested benefit at some point during their working years, because Medicaid, nutrition, tax credits for working families—all the things at risk under this conservative Congress and president—are there for us if we fall on hard times. And most of us will.
Macro-level. Micro level. No easy answers!
- How do you analyze situations.
- Are you comfortable taking the time to search out real, systemic solutions?
You can read the rest of the analysis here.