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Identifying the Root Causes of Poverty

I receive alot of criticism because of my stance on universal health care, with most critics claiming I do not care about the poor. For starters I would like to make it known that I do not believe those who cannot afford health care should be left for dead, on the flip side however, I do not believe more government is the solution. The solution to the health care crisis in this country aside from minor governmental reforms such as deregulating the industry thereby allowing residents from one State to purchase insurance in another, lies in the overwhelming number of people currently living in poverty. There has been much talk about the ‘war on poverty’ in this country and how the government needs to do more to help those in need. More and more, Americans appear to be relying on our government to take care of them, refusing to take any blame whatsoever for their financial position. Several years back the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) released a study titled How Not To Be Poor. The study outlined some of the common traits those living below the poverty line shared, and offers a roadmap to eradicating poverty in this country. The solution to the poverty crisis seems obvious to some, but it bears repeating over and over again, because many just do not grasp the concept. Before looking at the solution to poverty in America, it is important to first examine the cause of it. According the NCPA study, the majority of Americans living in poverty shared some of the following characteristics: No High School DiplomaAccording to the 2001 Census Bureau report, 22.2 percent of individuals without a high school diploma were living in poverty compared to only 9.6 percent of those with a high school diploma. Additionally 14.2 percent of high school dropouts were living in long term poverty, compared to only 3.8 percent of those with high school diplomas who lived in long term poverty.Not Married8.6 percent of unmarried adults with no children live in poverty, with a staggering 51.6 percent of unmarried adults with 2 or more children lived in poverty. Additionally the study found nearly 80 percent of children living in long term poverty live in some type of broken family or with a never married parent.There are those who would argue that a low minimum wage is the underlying cause of poverty, or at least a catalyst. Only 2.6 percent of individuals over the age of 16 with full time jobs are poor, as opposed to 11.4 percent of individuals who only work part time. Over the long term full time workers have a 0.4 percent chance of being poor. This study makes it apparent (at least to me) that the solution to poverty in America is not more government programs, with more wealth redistribution. The answer lies with the individual, more importantly with individual responsibility. In those who finish high school, get married, have children only within a marriage and go to work, the odds of long-term poverty are virtually nil. The Michael Moore’s and Hillary Clinton’s of this country wish to “Move from me to we”, creating a country where we each take responsibility for the actions of others. This is precisely the oppossite of what needs to be done. Killing individualism, and rewarding those who do not work by confiscating the property of those that do has already proven in other countries to be bad government policy. If Americans refuse to take responsibility for their actions on an individual level, they are dooming us all to a life of government intervention and loss of personal liberty.

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