18 October 2011

Poverty, addendum

I have tried three times now to write a follow-up to the post below, and have deleted each one for being awkward and overlong.  My  points were this:

1. When one is poor, one's choices change, from choosing between a want and a want, or choosing between a want and a need, to choosing between a need and a need.  Choosing between needs may mean choosing to buy something cheap that won't last rather than something more expensive that will (and thus being stuck buying it again and again and again), (my most common experience at my level) or choosing between buying food or rent, heat or light.

2.  Real poverty still exists, but it is softer now that there is help.  But even with help, it can get bad.

3.  Even though the help offered here is limited, it still acts as an incentive to some to take advantage of the help offered, rather than work to find one's way out of poverty.

As an example of point three, my sister in law, who is a teacher, tells me that there are girls in high school who deliberately get pregnant, and time their pregnancy so they will deliver around graduation.  The regulations in Toronto mandate that single mothers of colour are to be put at the front of the line for welfare and housing.  So the girls are guaranteed a home and a small income immediately.  Only a few girls do this, but every year it is a few more.

So when people debate about increasing welfare and aid to the poor, on the one hand it would help those at the bottom, but it would also increase the incentive to go on the rolls and take advantage of the system,.

1 comment:

Patience said...

There will always be people who work the system as well as people who truly need the system for a time. If this trend you mention is growing; it seems like there is a reason (perhaps not trivial) why these girls are so desperate to leave home. Perhaps what is needed is some kind of dormitory style living where they could continue their education and get some job skills while out of whatever situation that drove them to do this.