Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The cure for poverty isn't cash

Canada is likely heading to the polls because the federal government isn't spending enough money to lift Canadians out of poverty, according to opposition parties. There’s nothing in the budget on affordable housing, says NDP Leader Jack Layton. There's nothing for childcare, says Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

The mythology continues that government is the best institution to get people out of poverty, and cash is the best weapon in its arsenal.

Similarly economists, unions, anti-poverty groups and pundits are still debating whether Premier Christy Clark's recently announced minimum wage hike will help rescue British Columbians from poverty.

If government spending and legislation is the key to getting people out of poverty, then there is no end in sight. In a recent letter to The Vancouver Sun, two anti-poverty groups recited a lengthy list of "recommendations for a bold child and family agenda." All involved more government intervention and more government spending.
Last week's blog entry The real cause of poverty pointed out that government and anti-poverty reports and studies consistently fail to identify the greatest contributor to poverty in Canada. In opposition criticism, in hundreds of pages of government reports, and in reams of recommendations from anti-poverty groups, you find utter silence when it comes to the leading cause of being poor: the absence of fathers in households.

All the research into the issue confirms that children who grow up without a dad are more likely to end up in poverty, crime, and substance abuse, and are far more predisposed to dropping out of school and to becoming victims of sexual abuse.

Tinkering with minimum wages and daycare programs is mere window dressing when it comes to getting to the root of poverty.
So why is there no father in the picture of so many children's lives? Let's face it, society hasn't exactly laid out a red carpet for fatherhood.

Can we really feign surprise when marriage -- the bond that holds families together more securely than anything else -- is socially downgraded, politically neutered, and financially strong-armed to the point where a married couple is the same as two men living together or serial monogamy, which are the same as hooking up or one-night stands.
With easy birth control, taxpayer-funded abortions, schools, media and entertainment equating everything to matrimony, and government constructing a system that rewards parents who place their kids in day care, it's no wonder single parenthood and poverty are flourishing.
The family is the foundation of society, and marriage is the cement. A government that truly wants to end poverty will build up that foundation instead of chipping away at it.

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