Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Creating an Opportunity Society is a book written by Ron Haskins and IsabelChoices and Poverty Sawhill. In it they speak about poverty and how to avoid it. They say, “Our research shows that if you want to avoid poverty and join the middle class in the United States, you need to complete high school (at a minimum), work full time and marry before you have children. If you do all three, your chances of being poor fall from 12 percent to 2 percent, and your chances of joining the middle class or above rise from 56 to 74 percent. (We define middle class as having an income of at least $50,000 a year for a family of three.)” They go on to say, “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children living in single-parent families are about five times as likely to live in poverty. There’s also a high probability they’ll drop out of school, get arrested, be involved in teen pregnancy themselves, have more mental health problems, and be less likely to be employed or in school as young adults. Indeed, parents themselves are physically and psychologically better off when married than single.”

Many view much of poverty in America as a choice. According to the above statistics, there’s only a 2% chance of ending up in poverty if people will do all of the following: “Complete high school (at a minimum), work full time and marry before having children.” Those are all choices that most people have. Yet, today, too many student-aged kids drop out of school, roam the streets, and become teenage parents. Furthermore, a disproportionate number of single-parent households and teen pregnancies are among the black community. What is the common solution? We keep adding more government programs for single parents, singles moms, and the poor. It’s taboo to talk about the real issue: Poor life choices.

These poor life choices are robbing individuals of their economic liberties and saddling society with a tremendous burden. Because these people choose to live without responsibility for their future and the future of their children, the taxpayer is left to take care of them. If someone objects, they are called heartless towards the poor. Many school teachers are making an effort to motivate students to care about their studies and their future. Of course this concept is quite difficult to affirm in students when they themselves are from a single parent, and have been for generations.

There are certain things that the wealthier people in America predominately keep choosing to do in order to be in the middle class or above, and there are certain things the poor keep choosing to do. The choice in America is largely ours. Our nation’s children are at risk because of our poor choices.

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