Hitting For The Cycle

In baseball there is a term, “hitting for the cycle” which recognizes a play who gets a base hit, double, triple, and home run in the same game.  This is both an exciting and remarkable accomplishment.  There is another cycle one often reads about.  Its called the cycle of poverty.  It is also remarkable but not in a positive way.

The cycle of poverty explains why it is so difficult for poor people to gain upward mobility.  The cycle suggests why an individual remains poor and why his/her descendants are likely to wallow in poverty too.  Those caught in the cycle of poverty for some reason can not break out.

The cycle might contain episodes such as lack of education, broken families, too many children, poverty, lack of education, broken families, too many children, and more poverty etc.  After some number of iterations, one of the children reproduces and for that descendent, the new cycle of poverty branches off and follows that person.  Why can’t something be done?

We have government programs like “no child left behind”, SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and dozens more.  Regardless of these program’s merits and meaningful intentions, poverty continues and few escape.

The right says “enough”!  It’s time to stop waste spending money and getting nothing in return, they say.  The current budget deficits have been red meat for these conservatives.  What a chance and a time to sharply reduce these expenditures or better yet, eliminate them altogether.

Progressives counter with the tried and true,  “How could anyone be so inhumane as to leave the most vulnerable further exposed”, the liberal side would say?

Of course both sides are demagogues.  Both sides’ advice will do nothing to break the cycle of poverty.  If positions such as cutting education funding (head start, school lunches, after school programs, etc), or eliminating food stamps, or making Medicaid less available prevail, the cycle will remain intact.  And if these programs are kept as currently established, guess what, the poverty cycle will remain intact too.

The average US family income is about $50,000 per year.  The minimum wage income is $15,050.  Healthcare for a family of four, if purchased openly, is over $20,000 per year, more than the cost of food according to Forbes .

Education can not simply be measured by a high school diploma.  Emotional intelligence (controlling ones emotions and desires, appropriate behavior with others), and executive function thinking skills (decision making, priority setting, problem solving) are critical to being able to use high school skills effectively.

Without total education, it is near impossible to see how the poverty cycle can be broken.

Broken families is a mystery.  Why form a family and then break the unit?  Some argue the welfare benefits associated with the number of children encourage family size to increase.  Hmmm.

Maybe, but I would look to the lack of education and unhelpful advice from religious groups which lead to family planning ignorance.  In example after example, lack of family planning (population growth) in the poorest countries coupled with religion over education simply locks in poverty.

The idea, however, that the US can cut food stamps (or other welfare programs) and somehow reduce poverty (recipients will begin finding work), to ludicrous.  Similarly, maintaining food stamps (or other welfare programs) will reduce poverty is just as ludicrous.  Hmmm.


Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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