Poor People Need a Higher Wage, Not a Lesson in Morality

Source: Greg Kaufmann, The Nation, April 22, 2015

David Brooks’ rendition of poverty is as “representative” of people with low-incomes as corrupt corporate titans are of small entrepreneurs. …. What we really need isn’t a moral revival but a moral revolution, one that might begin with Brooks and others looking in the mirror and asking some basic questions:
Do I accept that people working full-time are paid wages that keep them in poverty?
Do I accept that workers with low-incomes can’t take a paid sick day to care for themselves or a family member?
Do I accept that many parents can’t afford the childcare they need to go to work?
Do I accept that people with low-incomes often lack the transportation needed to get to job assignments and as a result are kicked off of income assistance?
Do I accept that our public schools are separate and unequal—with some kids forced to share textbooks while just miles away an affluent community has state-of-the-art facilities?
Do I propagate myths and stereotypes about people living in poverty, or do I help spread the truth—like the fact that more than 1 in 2 Americans will spend a year in poverty or near poverty during their working years?
Do I embrace the real evidence that shows just how far a little assistance can go to improve life outcomes for people in poverty? ….