How about we stop moralizing and end child poverty tomorrow?

How much would you pay to stop having to listen to rich people tell poor people how to run their families?

If my calculations are correct, we can end child poverty for $62 billion per year. Is that a lot? No, it’s not. It’s $578 per non-poor family — but (if Twitter analytics are to be believed) my typical reader will pay less because I’ll put it on a sliding scale for you. Details below.

Americans tend to think of poverty as a giant, intractable problem, combining intergenerational dynamics, complex policy tradeoffs, conflicting cultural values, and “personal responsibility” (not to mention genetics). For example, in her book Generation Unbound, Isabel Sawhill says, “If we could return marriage rates to their 1970 level, the child poverty rate would be about 20% lower.” She’s (wisely) not advocating that, because it’s impossible, but think of it — rolling back one of the major demographic trends of the last half century would be social reversal on an unprecedented scale. For a measly 20% reduction in poverty? Apple alone could eliminate 100% of U.S. poverty for two years with the money under its couch cushions. (One reason people think poverty is so hard to solve is they don’t understand the scale of the population and the economy. Because “millions and millions” of poor people sounds like an insurmountable problem, it’s very helpful to play around with real numbers to get a sense of the magnitudes we’re dealing with.)

In our system, the vast majority of poor people are those in hard-to-employ categories. As Matt Bruenig recently wrote, 83% percent of poor people are either children, old people, people with disabilities, students, people taking care of family members, or people who can’t find jobs. (Among the employed poor, most are sharing their income with family members who can’t work.) We are a “country that relies heavily on the market to distribute the national income,” Bruenig writes. But it’s actually the market via the family. If these vulnerable groups are people who need someone else’s labor to support them, at least temporarily, then the attitude written into our policies is that such support should come from their families. If your family can’t do it — or you don’t have a family — good luck. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Isabel Sawhill, incidentally, is behind a column the other day by Catherine Rampell, which makes the reasonable suggestion to increase access to contraception for poor women, for the unreasonable reason that such a policy would “fight poverty” and reduce spending on welfare. The poverty angle here is that poor parents have — wait for it — poor children:

Children brought into the world before their parents were financially or emotionally ready for them are … disadvantaged before they’re even born, no matter how loved they are.

That “financially or emotionally ready” line is from Sawhill, and its implication is clear, though its advocates are for some reason squeamish about saying it plainly: poor people should not have children. I hate this attitude.

Look: children usually (fortunately) don’t make money. Somehow income from someone else’s labor has to pay for their homes, schools, doctors, food and water. A lot of that money comes from the state (for rich and poor kids alike). But under our stingy welfare state, if their parents don’t have decent jobs they wind up poor. The mindset that sees our welfare system as a fixed entity looks at this and says, “These kids are poor because of their parents. They weren’t financially ready to have kids.” Wrong. They’re poor because we insist on it.

I would like to live in a society — in a neighborhood, a community — in which people without good jobs can still have children, while they’re young, and have happy families. And I’m willing to pay my share of the cost of that. Are you? It’s not as much as you think.

Here are the details

All I did was calculate how much below the poverty line all the poor families with children are. That is the amount we need to raise (each year) to end child poverty. Then I distributed that cost across the non-poor families, on a sliding scale. How hard would this program be? We already have all the infrastructure in place to move income around; it’s just a change in the tax code.

With the 2014 Current Population Survey data from, I can calculate how much each poor family is below their poverty threshold. I’m focusing on families with children for now. There are 6.5 million poor families with a child under 18, and on average they are $9,450 below the poverty line based on their family size and composition. So, to eliminate child poverty we need $61.6 billion dollars per year.* (Note: I have repeated this with the 2015 CPS data, which reduces this number to $57 billion, but I haven’t updated the whole post.)

Where are we going to get that kind of money? From non-poor families.

There are 107 million non-poor families, so we’re going to need about $578 per family per year to pay this bill and end the scourge of child poverty. Of course, $578 is a lot of money for some people, but on average the non-poor families have incomes $40,874 more than their poverty threshold. To ease the pain, I created a simple, continuously-graded scale. I broke the non-poor families into 10 equal-size bins from rich to less rich, and slid the tax rate from 1.8% down to 0% (that way there’s no penalty for moving just over the poverty line). Here’s how it works (click to enlarge):

eliminate child poverty

The tax is only applied on the surplus for each family — that is, the resources they have (after taxes, work expenses, health care and child care) over their poverty threshold. If we tax the surpluses of the richest 10% of non-poor families at the virtually painless rate of just 1.8% — and everyone below them at an even lower rate — we end child poverty in the U.S.

Here’s the chart that shows how much you have to pay, broken down by average income in each decile of non-poor people**:

eliminate child poverty.xlsx

Some people say the Pope should stick to religious matters, and not speak about politics. Some people also say a social scientist should stick to scientific analysis, and not make moral demands. You can ignore my moralizing, as long as you understand the fact that child poverty is a choice we make with our policies. Eliminating child poverty does not require restructuring American families, mass contraception campaigns, or a new ethos of shame. It just costs a little money.

* Technical note: To do the calculations, instead of the official poverty rate I used the Supplemental Poverty Measure. This measures resources versus needs for “resource units,” which are either families (including cohabitors, foster children, and other people that are normally considered “non-relatives”) or unrelated individuals. For every resource unit, the poverty threshold is based on the cost of food, clothing, shelter, and utilities, adjusted for geographic location, housing type, and family composition. In addition to money income, the resources for the calculation include non-cash assistance like food stamps, school lunch, housing and energy subsidies; and then they deduct from resources taxes, work expenses, child care expenses, medical expenses, and child support (it’s all described here). I call resource units “families,” although some of them are single people. The Stata code I used to analyze the data, which includes the variables you need from IPUMS, is here.

** Please consider making a contribution of at least twice this to help address the much larger problem of poverty in the poor countries of the world.

109 thoughts on “How about we stop moralizing and end child poverty tomorrow?

  1. This is just like the guaranteed minimum wage. We can save so much money eliminating bureaucracy!!, they say, which totally ignores that (1) bureaucracies *never* go away, and (2) even if it — and it’s a *big* multi-headed bureaucracy — did go away, many millions of people who know nothing but how to be government bureaucrats would enter a job market that does not need nor want their “skills”.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. This is an issue I am very passionate about. I am Irish living in Ireland and poverty in the capital Dublin is easy to see. It is all over the city centre. Teenagers sleeping in doors and a massive increase in drug addicts. I was working voluntarily on a helpline for people experiencing depression, bipolar and anxiety and near where the charity was a man died on the street the night before my shift in front of our parliament. I was very touched about this and I nearly cried when I heard the news that a person-a fellow human being- had died across the road from the parliament. I laid flowers at the spot like very many other Irish people has done. I have taken part in nearly all the anti-water charges marches where nearly 100,000 people in all five marches have marched. These marches have really meant a protest against the government. There are 30,000 people homeless in Ireland and 1000 of which are young children. The government tells the Irish people that our economy is recovering but this is at a huge cost and very many people have not felt any benefit. Yet we are the fourth wealthiest country in the world. I am a writer and my first book, The Golden Age Dawns has been very much influenced by the issue of poverty in Ireland and the strength I have seen in people as they struggle.

      I continue to believe in the goodness of people despite the evidence to the contrary. I believe that there is goodness in most people and if you reach out and try to communicate with this goodness people will show it. Visit my website and post a comment.


  2. You and I disagree about alot of things, but this is not one of them. Bravo! One question: how would you suggest this money be used to end poverty? Would it just be given to people via tax credit so that they are no longer by definition in poverty?

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Thanks. Right, it’s ending poverty mathematically by giving poor people money. Then we can do all that other stuff people like to do to get at “root causes,” etc, while everyone at least has the money they need to get by.

      Liked by 9 people

  3. So, this is your solution to ending “child poverty”? Send $ 9450 to each family in poverty? A freshman course in economics will teach you that this would simply shift the poverty level up by X $.

    How is poverty solved in any way by this? In order to solve the poverty, if you had recommended increase in minimum wage, or keeping more lower wage jobs in the country by limiting immigration or not draining jobs, or training the poor more vocational skills, it is possible to lift people out of poverty. Even if you had recommended negative tax rates by income, I can appreciate it, not that I approve of it. Your plan does nothing to lift people out of poverty but just creates another spending plan. What you have recommended is nonsense, a graded tax on wage earners to divert it to a special category. Given that the average income in the United States has stagnated for the last several years, this is basically a nonstarter. Of course it would be welcomed by the academic class, but still the working man has to pay for it, even it is a smaller fraction of his income as compared to yours.

    I am increasingly disillusioned by academic solutions to real problems.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. “A freshman course in economics will teach you that this would simply shift the poverty level up by X $.” No. You must not have been paying attention in your 1st year econ class, because that’s not how poverty, or inflation, in fact work. At all. (That is such a bizarre claim in fact that I’m not even sure what economic principles you think you referring to.)

      Cohen has not presented an “academic solution” to a real problem — rather, he has simply described what every country that has in fact successfully addressed childhood poverty in fact does. Countries with low rates of childhood poverty have low rates *because* they successfully transfer money to parents who would, in the absence of those transfers, be poor. The rates of childhood poverty in countries with low childhood poverty rates *absent* those transfers would be approximately the rates we actually see in the U.S.; there is nothing, therefore, particularly intractable about the size of our problem. Giving poor people money reduces childhood poverty rates. That is simply an empirical fact, and should be utterly uncontroversial and obvious.

      Cohen’s notes re: paying for this are not supposed to be a precise policy recommendation, I take it, but merely demonstrate that paying for the transfers is well within our financial grasp. I see nothing in your comments that would suggest that this is in fact wrong.

      The recommendations you suggest you’d be more sympathetic to (anti-immigration rhetoric, vague hand-waves towards training, minimum wage, etc.) ignore Cohen’s notes regarding who the poor actually are, and why they are poor; I take it that you didn’t read his post carefully, and certainly didn’t bother to read the material he linked to at Bruenig’s blog. I’d recommend that you do so; there are good reasons to think that better jobs, as valuable as they are for many reasons, are not and cannot be the solution to childhood poverty.

      In short: No country has successfully addressed childhood poverty *except* by giving cash transfers to the poor; every country with low rates of childhood poverty does *precisely* that. To willfully ignore this, and pretend that cash transfers can’t work, or that other systems would, implies that you really don’t care about ending childhood poverty.

      Liked by 13 people

      1. I find it bothersome that this entire argument seems to be about eliminating child poverty on paper. So, if the parents of households deemed “poor” are given enough money to raise their yearly income to over the poverty threshold, then no child will be poor? Such a redistribution assumes that poverty only exists in numerical formulas. The moment a family takes in precisely the supposed amount it needs to pay the basic bills, they are no longer poor and children won’t suffer from lack? Only in a world where all parents (poor or not) put the basic needs of their children above their own desires and addictions would such a tactic truly eliminate “child poverty.” I wish the solution to actual child poverty (rather than statistical child poverty) were as simple as you make it sound.

        Liked by 8 people

    2. Thank you Vijay. A solution to poverty my a** – whatever sliding scale definition of income that constitutes poverty will simply be adjusted to redefine the poverty level. The US poverty level is already out of context with true poverty, as seen in other nations. The academics don’t want to solve any problems, they want the poor to be dependent on the political structure that hands them our money.

      Liked by 7 people

  4. First, let me say that I fully support the introduction of some sort of child benefit aimed at reducing poverty by simply giving families the money they need to provide a minimum level of support for themselves. I’m also weary of anything that smells like moral paternalism directed at poor families. That said, I find most of the assumptions underlying your argument to be, at best, problematic. My argument has nothing to do with costs, fear of dependency, or the sorts of unintended consequences folks usually worry about with a policy proposal like this.

    The main issue is that you treat the issue only as a technical policy problem (“How hard would this program be? We already have all the infrastructure in place to move income around; it’s just a change in the tax code.”). In one sense, you’re right. We have the technical “know how” necessary in order to design a policy that could effectively reduce child poverty in the United States. This this is really no different than arguments about the “success sequence” which you (rightly) disparage though. We know that families who follow the success sequence are much less likely to have children in poverty. In theory, we could substantially reduce child poverty tomorrow if folks began to follow the success sequence. In reality, as you’ve pointed out many times on this blog, there are huge structural obstacles that make is impractical (impossible) for people. In the same way that telling people to “just” complete high school, work full time, and wait until you’re at least 21 years old and married to have children is extremely naïve because it ignores all these structural obstacles, saying that we “just” need to change the tax code is similarly naïve because it assumes the politics out of policy. What makes you think that it’s somehow easier to change the tax code than it is to follow the success sequence? There are entire subfields (public choice, fiscal sociology, welfare state development, etc) dedicated to the studying why (power resources, veto points, party systems, path dependency, etc) introducing ideal tax policy is so hard, especially in the United States where political structures are so unique relative to other rich democracies. When you say we could reduce poverty tomorrow if we wanted, you ignore a very substantial literature that says “No, this is much harder than you think.” Knowing how to do something is not the same as being able to do it.

    You do seem to acknowledge one obstacle (“They’re poor because we insist on it.”), but in doing so, engage in the exact same moralizing behavior that you rail against in the post. In other words, we could reduce poverty if Americans (or Republicans or whatever your favorite bogeyman is) weren’t such shitty people. Instead of the personal failings of the poor, you shift the blame to the personal failings of American voters or policymakers. The problem is still shitty people. Apparently, we’ve just been had the wrong suspect this whole time. I can see why this is an attractive attitude. The way the poor are stigmatized and stereotyped on a regular basis is ignorant and disgusting. If I had to choose a scapegoat to replace them for the blame, I’d go for Trump supporters or politicians too. It really is preferable to blaming the poor. It would make me feel good if my end goal was proper moral posturing. My end goal is eliminating child poverty though and such moralizing blame game attitudes are actually counterproductive because they still encourage advocates to take a “shitty person” approach to policy change. The conclusion is that if only we could replace these shitty policymakers with virtuous policymakers then we’d reach our goal. Of course, this ignores all the other political obstacles (I discuss some here: that someone serious about change would need to deal with in order to see meaningful policy reform enacted.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Planning and managing a funding opportunity that meets its goals is a complex and arduous task. Writing that if we give $9,450 to each family in poverty, and solving child poverty “Tomorrow” is the kind of nonsense that gives academics a bad name.

      Something nearest to this is the Alaska Permanent fund which pays out an average of $1,425 per person or $5,700 per family. However, this is reflected almost equally by the higher cost of living, namely a poverty threshold of $27,750 for a family of 4 in Alaska, vis-a-vis $22,300 for the US in 2010. Granted, the 5700 helps people to move out of poverty, but it is easy to wonder if the permanent fund actually shifts the poverty level too.The second effect on poverty is that providing specific poverty supplements like permanent fund, and specific stipends and grants to tribes have not increased the number of natives out of poverty.

      A second example is the Social security and elderly poverty. This is an example where elderly poverty has decreased after SSI and SS. However, there is no change in elderly income vis-a-vis overall income since 1980, as the SS and SSI are calculated off the poverty line. Nor there is an expectation that the elderly will exit the SS/SSI over time; in contrast, we intend that more families need to shift them out off the poverty line with time, without subsidy.

      A summary of this long diatribe is follows: Managing governmental funding programs is a nontrivial task; and achieving soci-ecoomic goals needs no lectures from either side, namely, “HAVE LESS CHILDREN” from the family consrevatives, or “JUST GIVE THEM X000 $ from the liberal side”. Neither prescriptions work.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. The idea that the higher cost of living in Alaska is a reflection of inflationary pressures from the Alaska Permanent Fund is so stupid that I can’t believe you actually wrote something that suggests it. (Do you, for example, know where Alaska is? Thinking about where Alaska is, can you think of any reason that the cost of living would be higher there, that would have nothing whatsoever to do with the stipend? For fuck’s sake…)

        Again, “just give them money” is what every country with low rates of childhood poverty in fact does. And we know it works, because those countries have low rates of childhood poverty with the transfers, and wouldn’t without them. Pretending that what in fact works, can’t, is just weird.

        You might prefer high rates of childhood poverty to giving people cash, but if so, that is simply a preference for a high rate of childhood poverty. Don’t try to pretend that it is because giving people money doesn’t work.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Most of the writing here and by Philip, are of an academic bend. There is a long way between what you and Philip propose, and reality.

          First and foremost, federal programs have a large overhead. Having spent 22 years in industry and the federal government, I estimate an overhead of > 45% in simply setting up the bureaucracy; so he should have started with a $ 100 billion as a start. Second, it appears that neither of you understand how the taxation and spending programs work. It is not as if you target a tax increase and then allocate it one on one directly to spending.

          The bigger issue is, how does one sell this plan, when nearly 70% of the poor are minority? The way to make a cash transfer work with smaller over had is, as follows: take it off existing programs. Take the money out of pensions, healthcare, defense or welfare; and send it a s block grants to county level. All government spending is shifting one in favor of the other. Knowing what I know after 25 years, this will be an eternally growing program starting out at 100 billion, and will simply keep the same generations in poverty.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Josh — Every country with a low childhood poverty rate has a low childhood poverty rate because they give money to parents who would otherwise be poor. No country has a low childhood poverty rate for any other reason. Cash transfers in fact work to reduce childhood poverty rates. No country has ever succeeded in reducing its childhood poverty rate by any other means. So if we want to reduce our childhood poverty rate, cash transfers are in fact not just the best solution, but really, the only solution.

      As far as I can see, your point re: the political difficulty is really just a bald restatement of the blindingly obvious fact that we don’t, in the U.S., actually want to reduce the childhood poverty rate.

      Liked by 5 people

  5. I can think of a few organizations who could end it today. The world’s richest church could sell one painting in the Vatican. Sadly in Indian Country we are now a 4th World – even worse than the Third World – and it’s because “they” set it up that way, by design…it doesn’t change.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I suggest you travel to different parts of the world to see what “poor” actually means. Then you will indeed realize, the term “poor” in the United States are quite privileged. “Giving” money to the poor has never been a good idea. For one, It takes away their incentive to work. I don’t know why you say we have a “stingy” welfare state because I’ve seen people milk the system and are living more comfortably than hard working Americans. While I feel for the poor, your approach needs to be redefined. This is more than a dollars and sense type of problem. I’ll be damn if I have to give my hard earned cash to support some lazy ass welfare case. Make your own damn money.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I can certainly understand how you feel, bukbukgirl. Nothing infuriates me more than to see someone pay for their groceries with food stamps and load them into their new Hummer. Let’s not forget the designer clothes, shoes, jewelry and perfume they went shopping in. I did actually witness that exact scenario some years ago. There are people out there milking it. No doubt.

      And then there are people like me. The honest kind. I am 53. I started working full time at 15. I was not fortunate enough to have attended college. Not for financial reasons. I won’t go into the reasons here. It just wasn’t feasible. I worked my butt off taking as many hours as my employers would allow me. I often worked two jobs. I was injured in 1993 through no fault of my own. I suffered in pain for 11 years before breaking down and having back surgery. Five months after surgery I ended up being declared disabled. It took almost FOUR years to get approved by Social Security. I have been diagnosed with at least four conditions that are on their “list” of qualifying conditions.

      I did all the right things. I worked hard for many years. I even listened to my dad when he talked about insurance. All the girls in my office laughed at me for paying extra money for short and long term disability insurance. Thank God I listened to Dad and not them. It is what allowed me to eat and keep a roof over my head for 2 1/2 of those 4 years while waiting for my hearing.

      My husband is an honest, hard working may with a crappy paying job. No college for him either. He drives a big rig. He is one of those folks that make sure we have toilet paper to wipe our a**es with, food at the grocery store and just about anything that we want to see when we go shopping. I see my husband anywhere from 12 to 30 hours per week. It sux. We fought for custody of my nephew because my sister decided that drugs were way more fun than her kids and living off of SSDI was more relaxing. Took her 5 months to get approved, by the way. She acted super crazy they practically hand delivered her check. My Mom has guardianship technically so they both live with us. We do the parenting and all that entails. Mom gets her little check. I get mine and my husband usually comes home with about $500 a week give or take. We get no help from anyone. No child support. Nothing. This week marks the eighth time this year I have had to choose between good for my family and my pain medication. There is no choice. My family will ALWAYS come first. I will spend the next 8-9 days crying much of the time because of pain. I’m sorry. I left something out. During back surgery, my surgeon nicked the durra allowing spinal fluid to leak out and blood to seep in. My nerve roots in my lower back are now encased in scar tissue causing horrific pain. My feet never stop feeling like they are on fire.

      I am not asking for sympathy or your hard earned money. I don’t want it and wouldn’t take it if someone offered.

      I don’t know if the original poster is right or wrong about the $578 dollars a year. I wanted to leave a comment stating that even as tough as things are for us, I would have no problem giving up that little amount of money every year so that no child in this country would go to bed at night with an empty tummy. But then, you probably haven’t seen what I have.

      Every meal my nephew ate during his first month here with us was way more painful for me than my back ever could be. He would cram his mouth so full of good that I just knew he would choke. His cheeks couldn’t possibly stretch any more. I had to excuse myself from the table every night so I could go in my bathroom ball my eyes out. That is a child that knew what it meant to live in poverty. The reason isn’t even important – anymore. But I sure did hate my sister for a long time.

      I used to feel and think just like you. If I saw someone begging for money, I would want to scream out and tell them to get a damn job. I had two and was dog tired. Damned if those lazy jerks were getting my money. And then I became homeless. Not because of drugs or laziness. I ran for my life because my ex was trying to kill me. I had the clothes on my back. Within 3 weeks of entering the shelter I had a part time job at the shelter and a part time job at a church. I helped take care of women that needed a place to crash while they where kicking heroin. I thought I was too good to have to clean up the messes that came out of them. Over 80% of them were hooked on dope, hooking

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I can see that you’ve had your own battles in life, and I wish you well. Regarding drug addiction, I would like to say that addiction is the loss of control; or in the very least a major obstacle to the ability to control. A drug addict is no longer in control. Most rational people would not choose to live the life of an addict. But addicts are not in control. True they made a choice to begin in the first place, but once addiction set in the choice was no longer theirs. Addiction makes you lose sight of everything important to you. It takes great strength and support to overcome addiction, not everyone can. I guess what I’m trying to say is hate the drugs, not the addicts. It sort of seems callous to hate the lost, for being unable to find their way while being lost.

        Liked by 9 people

        1. I have made peace with my sister. I do understand addiction because I have been there myself. It was a lifetime ago and I had no children. The rage came from having to watch the damage her addiction rained down on my nephew. I worked hard to find peace and forgiveness. His hunger issues were/are just the tip of the iceberg. I love my sister. I am deeply saddened by her choices. The main reason I posted that was in hopes of opening the eyes of someone that has probably never had to go to bed hungry.

          I am so saddened by the attitudes so many people in this country seem to have nowadays. I think everyone that grew up comfortably in this country should have to live in a homeless shelter for just one month. I would not trade my experience for anything. It opened my eyes. Allowed me to see what I had become. My heart had hardened over the years because of a bad home life as a kid. It helped me remember that EVERYONE carries burdens that I know nothing about. Who am I to judge them. It was very humbling cleaning up vomit from women that were kicking/withdrawing.

          I don’t have a pot to pee in because I don’t have $5 to buy one from home depot. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I would gladly part with $600 a year if it meant that the recipient of those funds would never go to bed hungry.

          Thank you very much for sharing your insight. I was thinking I would get some nasty responses from folks. I haven’t. I appreciate your post. Have a great day!

          Liked by 10 people

          1. I see, thank you for elaborating I understand what you are saying better now. It is saddening but take heart! You are doing what you can, and you are making a difference. By posting here you are making a difference. The more we talk about these issues the more aware people will become. I really like your idea of the better off trying out the life of the less fortunate. It’s true that’s the only way for people to really understand.

            Liked by 5 people

          2. You are so right! We do need to talk about these issues and what we can do to make a change. Before that could ever happen we would need to find a way to get folks to take their egos at the door. So many people think they know all the answers and refuse to look at another point of view. I have lived in other countries. I was living in Italy at the age of nineteen and found myself in need of emergency surgery. I spent 10 days in the hospital and it wasn’t until I went to checkout that they asked if I had insurance! Can you believe that? I was treated just like the people that had insurance. My surgeon was the head of the hospital. How many people die every day in this country because they have no insurance?

            I’m sorry. Once I start talking, I don’t stop. I am so happy that you responded. I am trying to get up the courage to write my first blog. Soon. I hope. Lol

            Liked by 4 people

  7. And homeless by the age of 15.

    I’m sorry. I could write a book about this. I will be eternally grateful that I was given that opportunity in order to gain compassion and gratitude in my life.

    It saddens me deeply that so many in this country feel the way you do and the way I used to. Live with a child that knows what absolute hunger is and it will change you. At least I hope it would. $600 a year is nothing to so many. Yet again, it is so very much to those that are hungry.

    My point was not to offend or anger you. Only to help you maybe see it from someone else’s perspective.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. thanks for sharing your story and educating people on the real struggles are in life. I think of us that think we have had a ‘hard life’ don’t really realise wha that is so thanks for the education

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry. One more thing. Please don’t forget the fact that there are probably just as many politicians, COO’s, CEO’S and CFO’s that steal from the people they are supposed to be helping/working for as there are freeloaders milking the system.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Rather paternalistic view op a woman who I assume doesn’t have any experience of the challenges people’s with a very low income have to confront. Like many Americans she uses the it’s their own fault excuse.
    An excuse of those in a better financial situation to absolve themselves of some sort of solidarity or emphaty for those less fortunate.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. Once upon a time, a treasurer and prime minister offered a one off payment to every single working Australian. Anyone earning $80,000 or less was paid $950; those earning between $80,000 and $90,000 got $650; and people earning between $90,000 and $100,000 received $300. People weren’t told how to spend that money. There wasn’t enough for each person to do much with, but the total spent by the government doling it out was enormous. People weren’t any better off, nor was the country which is now in deficit because the treasurer and prime minister squandered the credit amassed by the previous government on projects that turned out to be both useless and in some cases disastrous.
    I’m not one of those rich people and if I were, I wouldn’t want to lecture the poor. Frankly, I don’t have the answer. I’m surprised that you think you do. Even if you find a way to help today’s poor there’s always tomorrow’s poor to think of. Throwing money at the poor isn’t going to help for long. There’s not one definitive answer, but I do think that there’s dignity in work and in earning to support yourself and your family, but there’s not enough work for everyone, especially as a lot of the entry jobs have disappeared. I think that finding a way to create jobs and putting as many people into work is a better answer.

    Liked by 9 people

  11. How dare you ? Gwyneth Paltrow to blame someone for having Cancer Who are you? How cold can you be ? Because you have money and prestige does not give you the right to be heartless to someone like this people like you make this world a wrong place to live Money and prestige will not get in Heaven God does not care how much money you have on your bank account He cares How you treat others trust me today you are famous but all this can change in a blink of eye you can lose all if is not God watching over you In this life trust without him and he’s grace you got nothing the way you got there where you are He can take everything away just like that sometime we need to hit bottom to treat other people with kindness My thinking off you have change as from today I lost all the respect I had for you This situation that you have created only will hurt your career trust me with a lots of people out there losing there love ones with cancer people in the show business you will have problem finding your next pay check people will not go watch you anymore until you apologize this will go viral trust me SAD SAD SAD that you could not think before you have speak 😢

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Excellent post. Ending childhood poverty should be #1 on our to-do list. I have seen hungry (really hungry) children right here in America. It is a shame on all of us. Regardless of their parents circumstances we should look out for the children. No child should worry about basic necessities when we live in a country capable of helping them. We ARE our brothers keepers and we DO have a responsibility.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Did you buy each of these “really hungry” children a bag of groceries? Or does redistribution of wealth only apply if it’s someone else’s wealth and not your own?


  13. poverty is absolutely a curse. but we can see that, many of the countries there are many kind of people.some are rich some are poor. but the countries which are in asian region and african region they are suffering a lot in poverty. I’m from Bangladesh. so i can say that in my country people who have money they are earning more, but those who are living under poverty line they are loosing money or their path of earning is stopped. so there is a great problem we can see rich people are getting richer and poor people are getting poorer. so in the solution we all have to do is to create a fearless zone of equality and stop the illegality. check out my site to know more…

    Liked by 7 people

  14. Poverty is an intrinsic part of western economic and political system. Economics is not an exact science but motivated by psychological factors. There are poor, when in principal it is and has always been solvable, because most people wish it for reasons that are pretty obvious. Corruption of the heart precedes corruption of society.

    Liked by 7 people

  15. This is very interesting; and I agree with your ideas. Not only this, but I also think, if countries like the UK would join in with the taxing scheme, more money would be raised. However, I hate to imagine the political argument that would occur if we actually try this out. A lot of non-poor families would need a lot of persuading.

    Liked by 7 people

  16. The U.K. Has long had a system of Child Benefit where the primary carer in each family is given a pot of money every month. It worked very well by putting the cash in the pocket of the person who was buying the nappies or the extra food. Now it’s all about tax credits and phasing out child benefit.
    Giving families/individuals enough money to lift them out of poverty would take away many of the impediments to work and achievement, starting with stress and anxiety. If you know you can feed yourself and your family, pay the rent/mortgage and keep you house warm, all the mental energy that went into worry could be a positive force for your future.
    Let’s not be afraid of putting cash in people’s pockets. The vast vast majority of people are not going to buy Hummers with it.

    Liked by 11 people

      1. Communism is not what I’m describing. Nor is it what the OP described. Social justice is the goal here. There are some elements of socialism, but even a capitalist system could support this. As poverty decreases, so does the welfare bill making more money available for the fat cats.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Do you know the difference between communism and socialism?
            Do you know what social justice is?
            Do you know exactly what your taxes go toward? Are you happy about that?
            Paying a govt benefit to people living below the poverty line isn’t communism, or even quite frankly socialism. It’s the right thing to do if we are all decent human beings. People living in poverty in a developed nation is a disgrace.

            Liked by 4 people

          2. Yes, I do know what all of those are. Know it isn’t pure communism or socialism. It’s certainly legal plunder, however. Like I said, I would love to give, and I would be an ungrateful little snot if I didn’t give, but it’s a different story when somebody steals it.

            Proof that I know what those systems are:
            Communism is the form of government in which all things are held in common, and there is no property, while socialism is where all of the businesses are held in common, but you can earn different amounts of money and have property.

            Social Justice is where you keep what you earn, inherit, win, or receive by someone’s free will. 🙂

            P.S. I am a minor, so I do not yet suffer from taxes.

            Liked by 5 people

  17. I think sometimes you need to help even if it will make you sacrifice the things you worked hard for. I know that when you start giving poor people your help they’ll be dependent to their helpers. They will be lazy to work for their own cause they know that someone will still help them. Giving money will not really help in solving the problem in just a snap of time but I’m sure it will at least lessen the problem. A little amount of money can still change children’s lives. Now, if these poor people you helped will not stand on their own I think it’s not our problem anymore. The important thing is that you helped and it’s their choice if they will help theirselves that’s if they want to have a better life. Look, no one can live without other’s help but still it needs us to save ourselves coz no help from others can help us if we can’t help ourselves. For those who think that if they help these poor people will just waste their effort or their money, do you think that you’ll waste your love for these poor people? For me, its a no. These poor people wasted our love or help. They wasted the chances we gave to them and we did not. We just gave what they need. We helped them. I think helping is not wasting if its from your heart.

    There’s a story I heard from a Priest. A group of Christian helped a poor family that has 8 children. They give donations to this family so their children can go to school and their can eat three times a day. The father of the family tried to find job but he did not success. Each job he applied for ignored him. He graduated college yet no one accepted him coz he’s poor. They did not believed on what he can do. So nothing happened. They depend to those Christian’s help but they didn’t know that one of his son was inspired by the help of those Christians. He got his dreams so.he studied hard and now he’s a pilot and he’s helping his family.

    (Sorry, my English is not good.)

    Liked by 6 people

  18. This very thing is what is wrong with our entire system… There is a quote that comes to mind when I read ludicrous things as such…”Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

    I wish I saw more palms down in our society than this palms up thing… It is outrageous really. Gimme, gimme, gimme…gimme more, gimme plenty is all I’m getting from reading this.

    Quit taxing folks that work their rear off for the things they do have. It isn’t how you fix things, teach people when they are willing to learn and try, if they are unwilling and/or unable, sorry, but that’s the life card they’ve been dealt. Life isn’t fair and people are far from being equal to one another.

    I grew up in a pretty darn poor household, but my parents never gave up and worked extremely hard, today they are doing well for themselves, because of their perseverance and dedication. I did not want to be poor, so I worked hard to get to where I am at today, we weren’t given handouts in life.

    Look, I am a 30 y/o female, with an engineering degree, worked my way through college, and continue to work my rear off in my everyday life. I refuse to have children, I don’t want my own and certainly don’t want to take care of others’ by force.
    I guarantee the majority reading this post couldn’t handle doing what I do for a living.

    Would you be okay being away from your family over 250 days a years?
    Would you be okay having to work through weekends, major events, holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc?
    Would you be okay staying up for over 24 hours without sleep when problems at work arise?
    36 hours without sleep?
    Would you be okay being covered in dirt, oil, etc to try and help your crew out because some equipment is broken mid-job?
    Would you be okay taking a 20 min power nap in your vehicle when need be?
    Would you be okay if your workplace only had porta-johns to use (restroom) (as a female)?
    Would you be okay with not knowing when you were going to make it home next?

    These are just a few of the things I deal with at my workplace, and I do it because my income is rewarding and not many people want to do this job, especially as a female, so why punish someone for doing something you are willing or are unable to do?!

    Don’t you dare tell me I have “extra” I should give to someone who can’t take care of their own.

    Quit punishing people who sacrifice a lot to earn a damn good living for their families…

    You get mad and upset when “rich” people try to tell “poor” people how to do something, well honey, it’s a 2-way street. Do not tell me where my income should go, rich or poor.

    I’m essentially already giving to the poor children by being forced into paying property taxes on land I own outright, and a huge majority of my property taxes goes towards the public school system…I don’t have children, that isn’t fair, now is it?!

    Another tax is not the answer, period.

    That brings me to another quote; “A fine is a tax for doing wrong, a tax is a fine for doing well.”

    The answer is be proud, and earn an honest living no matter what that living is. There are oodles of jobs needing filled, sorry but not everyone is qualified for CEO type of positions…
    You have to earn it. You have to do work.

    These days people think you are cursing at them when you say that “w” word, “work!” Heaven forbid you get off that couch and do something productive in society.

    I am not lucky in life, there hasn’t been anything handed to me in life, I earned every single bit of it, by learning, trying and working.

    Lastly, if you cannot afford to care for a child, don’t have one, it’s pretty simple…

    You may think I’m being super harsh, go ahead, but this is reality, and truth does hurt, people are so scared of the truth… And that is sad.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. What are these responses after October 28? They do not even talk about taxing 578$ per head to provide $9,450 per poor family. Did you post it on some other website? many of these comenters look like they just read the title, and launched on some tangential issue.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. And there it is, socialism. Who exactly is going to determine what exactly “surplus” money is? That’s money that goes into savings to buy new houses, new cars, and other durable goods, things that actually create these things called “jobs” that actually work to pull people out of poverty.
    It’s a noble notion to say that it’s “only” $578 per year, per family, but that’s $578 that’s going into the grist mill of government bureaucracy that chews 70% of what it takes in waste. Those people would do better to get a tax deduction on that money in donating to private organizations that do job training or community reinvestment.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Mm… a fantastic article, but I hear echoes of Jeffrey Sachs’ “End of Poverty.” He believed that with sufficient financial commitment, it would be possible to end poverty worldwide in a very small amount of time. His figure was $200 billion / year, however, far above your $67 billion estimation.

    In the end, his ideas fizzled out—not because of a lack of monetary backing, but because they simply didn’t work. The villages he’d visited ended up far, far worse than before he’d arrived.

    How does your model trump his?

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Very well thought out idea, but on the poor countries, not ourselves. We need to focus on us before helping others. How can we help others when we struggle to help ourselves? Many born into poverty will remain in poverty their whole life, due to the lack of opportunities available to those that have to choose between food and a coat for winter. There are groups out there that have been helping, but not all cases can be addressed. All I’m saying is that we as Americans need to look inwards before we reach out to other countries to offer our resources.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Thank you, a big thank you for writing such a great piece and triggering such an intense debate on an urgent issue. An issue that can be solved as you said. It is just a matter of will. Andre Guide said everything that exist in nature is natural, man contradict it when creates a piece of art. Nature hasn’t created poverty, human-unkind does. People could agree or disagree with your statement as to how to solve the issue of child poverty, but we have to start agreeing that it is our responsibility to solve it. Tackling greed and waste and making words into action will help at least contribute that change urgently needed. Thank you again. Adrián

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If this were the case, nobody would be having children. Unless you’re a millionaire, you will never be able to afford children. And if you waited until you could actually be financially able to do so, you’d be dead before hand. It’s a sacrifice you make when having children.


      1. That’s not true. You just need to be responsible, work hard daily, don’t marry a loser and put your kids first. My parents did it. My mom did not work & my dad earned about $50M a year, not a millionaire.
        No new car, iphone or trip to Hawaii. You must feed your kids first.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. I could not agree more with this post. So much can be done, but no one wants to do it. I believe in a sense that certain people want it left that way to just keep them down in the dirt without a chance of survival. It’s truly sad because it’s the kids that suffer which are the same ones that never asked for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. After reading this post, I was wondering whether giving money to the poor would create a negative mindset for children who are currently in school. Would they go, “Hey! If I end up without a job, I’ll receive help anyways.” Eventually, it could lead to children not diligently in school(not that some if not most don’t anyways).

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Like you, I also want to live in society that has happy families despite them living in poverty. But, by giving them money, does it really solve the problem? Will they be happier if they have more money?

    Money, should not be, the only solution to happiness. We can seek happiness in various ways- encouraging families to go bonding sessions, building better recreational, public facilities like parks and so on. Poor families should not let money problems get in the way of achieving their own happiness. Because every family is unique.

    And, whether you are rich or poor, having children is a personal choice. Although money does play a part in your decision, sometimes one should not overthink. No doubt, money is important to sustain a family. But, we should start spreading actions of love rather than transferring money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you…money seems to preoccupy the discussion doesn’t it – as if money is what life is about. That is the real poverty in our lives. We are poor in ideas and comprehension of what is true value – love, friendship, teaching and learning, accomplishing something that benefits others. I’m sure we could give everyone a few thousand bucks who needs it for far less than we spend now on trying to do just that through a variety of entitlements – yet we still have poverty. Hand out money and the value of money goes down, the buying power goes down and everyone is poorer.

      There has always been enough money around. How it gets allocated is according to value provided – those who work to provide a value to society get rewarded. Money has no meaning without that and its worth will adjust accordingly. Advocates of handing out money like this don’t understand that it will only devalue the money by devaluing the purpose of money. They worship money. It’s just a piece of paper – it’s what it represents that gives it meaning. Take that away and its just meaningless paper.

      Volunteering time to help those in poverty is a far better value than handing them a few dollars. Maybe that is why some people want to hand out money – so they won’t feel guilty for not actually doing something.


  27. Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime. I grew up piss poor. I know what it is. It was food when I was hungry, scholarships, low interest loans, government youth jobs etc, etc, etc that got me out of poverty. Had you given money to the adults in the household they would have bought more smokes and drinks and things they wanted. I would never have gotten out of poverty.


  28. True, but in the absence of all of this, it’s still fine to not have children. Personally, I see it as the best course of action.


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