General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

With a possible high initial cost, would it not be better in the long-term to train the poor to become self-reliant?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) August 8th, 2016

The system as it stands is a broken system, to give money to the poor and sandbag them whenever they try to better themselves by going to school or getting job training. That seems counterproductive to getting them of the government dole. Why not take a person, for instance, a mother on welfare with kids, provide her with childcare, let her keep her dole, but pay for her training, through a vocation, trade school, or Jr. college for two years. One can get training in 24 months in many areas that will allow them to get employable skills. If they stick with the training and don’t flake, they get the training covered, and the childcare. If they flake, then they have to pay back what was expended on them. Even if the initial cost per recipient might be high, in the long-term if it gets them working and off the government teat, would that not be a better use of the money?

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30 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish they’d come up with something. It is damn near impossible to get out. I mean, they get a minimum wage job, making $200 a week and boom. Benefits start getting cut left and right. They find themselves having to pay out $400 a week just in living expenses and babysitters and stuff. It doesn’t even make financial sense to get a job, especially if you have kids that need day care.

johnpowell's avatar

The poor must be punished for being lazy. That woman you describe must be punished for being a whore.

At least that is what my family that leans to the right always told me.

But yeah. I agree that I would rather spend the money on training instead of prisons. Every other reasonable country has figured it out.

flutherother's avatar

Your plans separate mothers from their children, train people for jobs that might not exist and expect the poor to pay for failed training with money which they clearly don’t have so that the wealthy and the absurdly wealthy can have even more wealth?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It isn’t training that’s the problem. It’s the strongly enforced belief that “the poor are always with us” and that the poor somehow CHOOSE poverty, thereby absolving the rest of us for their responsiblity.

kritiper's avatar

What would you train them to do? Some people, be they rich or poor, don’t have the brains of creek rock, or the sense to pour piss out of a boot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think a two year associate’s degree would be a very good idea. My daughter was working on her para legal associates, but got stalled out when she had the twins.
She was finally able to go to work when they were about a year old. She got her fork lift license and that has opened so many doors for her.
She works long, brutal hours though. I wish she could finish her degree so she could have a semblance of a normal schedule.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But there are deep systemic reasons for pockets of devastating poverty in the country. The one thing consistent in places where poverty is endemic is that there are always forces at work dedicated to maintaining the status quo to their considerable profit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A huge part of it is the fathers refusing to help support their kids, if they can get away with it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@flutherother Your plans separate mothers from their children, train people for jobs that might not exist and expect the poor to pay for failed training with money which they clearly don’t have so that the wealthy and the absurdly wealthy can have even more wealth?
It was just a for instance of one group that faces huge huddles getting off the government teat, it could be any poor, but the government is quicker to help women with children than other poor. Jobs that might not exist, there is always that even for those going to college from middle income families. But, there are certain fields that will always be here, and they can be trained in those, such as I don’t see the US having a dearth of X-ray techs, insurance coders, CNAs, phlebotomist, notaries, auto mechanics, auto body people, or graphic designers, just to name a few. The training is there, it is not the training that fails because people with money take those courses and if they were not working it would be known before you offered it to the poor. If the training was no good, then we should stop having Larry lunchmeat of the middle class send his kids there and just put them on the government dole as oppose to having them rack up college debt for a course of study that doesn’t work. There are risk to everything and not all will make it, but if they have no skin in the game they might not put in all the effort they could, if they know that they will be on the hook for money that would be hard to pay back, they might make damn sure they study hard and get through so they can get a job and not have a debt with the state, county of feds. Then…..nothing could be done and it would be business as usual, hand out money for years and years until the last kid turns 18 or until the person dies, etc. How has the way it is being done working, you in favor of keeping just the way it is?

@kritiper What would you train them to do? Some people, be they rich or poor, don’t have the brains of creek rock, or the sense to pour piss out of a boot.
X-ray techs, insurance coders, CNAs, phlebotomist, notaries, auto mechanics, auto body people, or graphic designers, and barbers, etc. I know there are more jobs out there, some I don’t know, if blind people can work, and those in wheel chairs, someone with a caveman mind can be found something to do. Or we can put dumb and stupid people on the government dole and pay their way as if their lack of intelligence is a disability?

@Dutchess_III She works long, brutal hours though. I wish she could finish her degree so she could have a semblance of a normal schedule.
Something like this was in play and she was willing and motivated to get trained, she would have the childcare covered, get a stipend, and paid training, then she could go chase her dream without worrying they will cut her off at the knees for every dime she took in. In two years, three at the most she would be out of the system and making her way in a job she likes. Makes sense to me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But it’s actually beyond that, particularly in this country where poverty is regarded as a sort of vice. All the training in the world would not benefit the poor even 1/10th as much as affordable decent childcare, and robust child nutrition programs. Social Security and Medicare went a long way toward removing the stigma of poverty as the blight defining the elderly in this country. What is little appreciated in this era of declining standards of living is that the blight is now about the country’s kids.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right @Hypocrisy_Central. Exactly. The way the system works now, for every dollar you make they take away $2.00 in benefits.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III
“A huge part of it is the fathers refusing to help support their kids, if they can get away with it.”

Can we get through one thread without you hating on men so much?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t hate men. This question is about poverty, and men not helping support their children is a huge part of it @ARE_you_kidding_me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You just earned your name! You can’t get any government help if you don’t have children. Most of the young impoverished are single mothers struggling to raise one or more kids all by themselves. They have no help with those expenses if the father exits the picture, and too many do just that.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think you need to do more than just a surface scan on this. The reality of poverty is more complicated than guys are assholes
People want to play the blame game too much.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve been in poverty. My daughter has been in poverty. You can’t get government assistance without dependent children.
We both pulled ourselves out. It’s still an ongoing process for her, but she’s getting there, and I’m proud of her.
I don’t think our stories are at all unusual.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Do you think this is a novel idea? We’ve been screaming it since the 70s. It’s part of why the PeaceCorp exists. Surely you have heard the saying (paraphrased) “Give a man a fish and he’s not hungry for a day; teach him to catch his own and he’ll never be hungry again.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Sorry that happened to you, so that must be the source of antimosity.
Poverty is not caused by deadbeat dads. The ones that are don’t help single mothers but it’s a very small part, not a huge one. Poverty is caused by a lack of opportunity and resources. By drug addiction, low wages, lack of adequate education or training. It’s caused by destructive cultural norms, poor decision making, lack of access to good role models, abuse… should I keep going on reasons that are not “guys are just assholes?”

Dutchess_III's avatar

The OP was referring to the “system” that is supposed to help address poverty. I was answering from that POV. There isn’t much help for people who are poor, but don’t have kids.

ibstubro's avatar

Give him a fish, he eats for a day.
Teach him to be a fisherman, he feeds others.

It’s a parable, for chrips sake.

kritiper's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central How would you train those who don’t wish to be trained, those who do not want to work? And some of those trades you mention require talent and talent can’t be taught. Of course, they could always be taken out and put against the wall. There! Problem solved! There’s too many of them anyway, right?

YARNLADY's avatar

There are not enough jobs available for already trained, capable, ready to work adults in the U S today. When the government pays a business to hire a welfare-to-work employee they often replace another worker. The work of a trainee is usually lower quality.

When I was a receptionist, I was asked to train a welfare worker. She came in late every day, spent her first 20 minutes in the restroom putting on makeup. She was asked to assemble packs for a meeting, stack 5 pages together and staple them, using an automatic stapler.

She constantly dropped pages on the floor, did not stack them evenly, so that the stapler missed one or two pages out of every stack, and took a restroom break every 15 minutes, followed by the 20 minute break the law requires for every two hours of work.

Her boyfriend came in to see her during her break. He had been sitting outside the whole time she was there. He then stayed in the waiting area in front of her desk until lunch. They talked to each other the whole time.

This went on day after day. Her tasks changed, but she managed to break pencils, get ink all over the desk and documents, jam up the copy machine every time she used it, and so on and on. She even broke the desk chair and drawers by jerking them open and dropping them on the floor.

I kept a cup of coffee at my desk, and she kept a bottle of soda, which she managed to knock over at least three times a week, soaking everything and everyone in sticky soda.
She spent the babysitting money on expensive shoes, so her babysitter quit, and she had to quit also to take care of her children.

hornet's avatar

I think this piece is relevant: The Homeless Homed

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@kritiper How would you train those who don’t wish to be trained, those who do not want to work?
If they can work and choose not to, if you cannot dry up the milk, because they have minor children or something, then a trustee will handle their expenses, if there is any change left over after the bills and daily maintenance is covered, they get that. If they have no children then it is drawn down less each month for 4 months and after the 4th month, zilch, they are totally on their own, same for those who do not wish to get training, to get them off the teat, you sour the milk.

And some of those trades you mention require talent and talent can’t be taught.
Talent makes you execute better, but everyone can be trained. A person playing AAA baseball learned the game, they just are not talented enough for MLB yet, and some will never be that good, but they can still play baseball.

@YARNLADY When the government pays a business to hire a welfare-to-work employee they often replace another worker. The work of a trainee is usually lower quality.
Whenever the government has a hiring incentive I can’t say what the quality of jobs they offer, or if the worker sent truly wanted the job or was made to take the job in order to continue getting or start getting some entitlement. If the job the government is willing to pay is a grunt job, they will get grunts working it. The woman you describes sounds as if she did not care, because it was not a job she was passionate for, almost as if she were forced into it, so she thought she would punish those in the office for her having to work. Some would appreciate the chance to make money. Not only did she have a safety net, if she got fired she can go back to the dole as usual and not have to work. There was also little oversight as she was able to spend the money on shoes and not child care, a trustee would have seen the things that need to be paid would have been paid before the money got into her hands. That lack of account ability is one reason I figure men do not try and meet their child support payments. Who is to say she is not neglecting the kids for shoes and feeding them low-grade meals so she can have money left over to go to the hair salon, get a weave, her nails done, or buys gifts for the next baby daddy? I think if men knew the money was actually going to be spent on the child they can hardly see but 6 days out of a month, if that many, the state would get more fathers and baby daddies paying.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As far as actual cash assistance, you guys, there were a total of two months where I got it. It was the month after teaching ended, and the month before my daycare would kick in for the summer, and then the opposite 4 months later. I got the max of $475 for the month. I had 4 kids, rent of $350, then utilities, phone bill, not to mention clothes and toilet paper and cleaners. There was nothing left over.
I had a bachelor’s degree in education, too.

It’s a miserable existence. People do want to work, but the way the system is set up makes it really hard to get out. If they provided training, good training, hell a 6 week course in welding, I think people would take sign up. If they could have help with daycare, well that’s a huge one.

My daughter did get help with daycare when she got a job in fast food, but then the babysitter started demanding over and above what the state was paying her. There was nothing left of her check, just from the daycare expenses alone. And all the other benefits started dropping out. She couldn’t afford to work.

kritiper's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I think I see your point. Forced labor. “Work or die.” Very practical. It solves the problem of the workers who have no interest in the work they do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! It’s a motivator, for sure!
I do wish people would stop with the assumption that poor people don’t want to work. In my experience they do want to work.

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YARNLADY's avatar

First, there are not enough jobs to place every person who wants one.
Second there is a disparity between the jobs that need filled and the ability of those in need.
Third, many poor people are working, but don’t make enough to pay their expenses.
Forth, many people are incapable of managing their daily lives, no amount of training can help.
According to my research, there tens of thousands more people needing a job than there are jobs available.

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