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Some Questions About Poverty

You'll find some questions below that are not yet answered and others which I have written about on other pages. I hope to make this into a larger series of articles, each addressing some aspect of why people are poor and what can be done about it.

In the United States we help the poor in many ways, but we also put many obstacles in the way of those who want to better their situation in life. There is perhaps more opportunity in this country than in many for the poor to enter the middle class or even for them to become wealthy in time, but that does not alter the fact that we oppress the poor in many ways even as we hand out food stamps, free education and other forms of welfare that are meant to help.

Not sure if you can believe that we oppress the poor? Look over some of the following pages about poverty :

The Poor Side of Town - I lived in a lower-income area for years, and I watched as the poor around me were regulated out of town so that the rich and middle class could increase their property values.

Higher Property Tax Rates for the Poor - A clear explanation of how renters actually pay the property taxes on the homes they live in, and how these properties are often taxed much more heavily than similar homes owned by their occupants.

The Working Poor Do Pay Taxes - Some conservatives will tell you that 40% of Americans pay no taxes. This is misleading, to say the least. A guy making pizzas sometimes pays a higher tax rate than Warren Buffet.

Making the Homeless Buy Cadillacs for the Wealthy - A shocking thought, and perhaps an exaggeration, but the results of some of our policies are that the poor pay--even if indirectly--for the luxuries of the rich.

I also hope to address questions about poverty beyond the United States. These two pages are a start for that discussion.

Preying on Poor Countries - Make rich bankers richer while making the poorest people of the world poorer? that's not a theory, but the reality of what has been done, and you get to pay for the scheme.

Ending Poverty: Some Ideas - This article is on my website, and is about the ideas of Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank.

For some thoughts on the definitions of poverty, I have this page:

What is Poverty?

More Questions About Poverty

In future articles I hope to address some of the following:

Ways money is transferred from poor to middle class and wealthy:

Property tax differences
Payroll taxes
Sales taxes
Housing policies that push poor away
Welfare to the rich
Farm subsidies
National Flood Insurance Program
Home mortgage deduction
Capital gains exemption for home owners

Wrong-headed ideas about poverty:

The idea that it is entirely their fault.

The lack of recognition of the advantages we had.

The idea that there is an intelligence difference.

The lazy theory.

Moral or character flaws for taking welfare (as opposed to middle-class grants and public school subsidization).

Ineffective policies regarding poor:

Encouraging having children.

Encouraging working the system.

Discouraging work.

Rewarding disability (as opposed to assisting).

Other ways we make it difficult for the poor:

Mandatory car insurance.

Disproportionate fines for various civil infractions.

Minimum wage.

Disproportionate burden of war service (particularly when mandatory).

As I address these and other questions about the poor and what causes poverty, I will add links to those articles to this page.

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