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comment by francopoli
francopoli  ·  1320 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How poor people stay poor

The non-snarked answer is how do we reform the social safety net to keep families together? Several states are finding that it is cheaper and easier to put homeless people in vacant housing and offer job and drug treatment than it is to put them in shelters. Can we do the same for families? I'm an atheist, but I am all for church based and community centered antipoverty programs. Running the programs as close to the community and neighborhoods as possible is what I would like to see happen.

flagamuffin  ·  1320 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Empirically, families used to stay together and now they don't. The 'why' is very sticky and gets into things like obscure divorce law changes, the rise of feminism, etc.

I'm not sure that it has anything to do with the social safety net; rather, I should say the causality is backward. We need the social safety net because the nuclear family is on the decline. Reforming welfare may not do anything about that. (In fact, it could easily do the opposite -- cf welfare babies.)

From my point of view it seems an insoluble problem, I confess.

francopoli  ·  1320 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Of all the bad things Reagan did, pushing no fault divorce as the Governor of California is in the top 10. I honestly don't think this is a feminism thing either. We've allowed family courts to become a mess that runs people through a meat grinder and has lost sight of the goal: the best interests of the child.

    From my point of view it seems an insoluble problem, I confess.

There is a solution, there has to be. The problem is so huge where do you start? Which political advocacy gang do you go to war with first? How do you magically make an economy that allows single income two parent households? How do you force divorcing parents to drop their nonsense, go to counseling and fight through the bad times so they have the resources to raise kids? How do you fix the problem in such a way that the parents in the above scenario don't hate the kids for trapping them in a marriage?

    (In fact, it could easily do the opposite -- cf welfare babies.)

One of the roots of the problem, IMO, is increasing benefits for people who have more kids while on benefits. This guarantees a poverty death spiral. Yet who is going to be the hard-assed jerk who cuts people off? President Clinton ran through a welfare reform that cut people off after 5 years, something I support still. Maybe we need to force beneficiaries into public works projects, but work them so that working people don't get pushed out by cheap welfare labor?

I really, really wish I had a solid answer and not a bunch of anecdotes.