The following post is going to refer to words that may refer to politics, to politicians, to money, to poverty and to government programs, but this is not a post with a political agenda!
Phew, now that that’s out of the way…I received a survey in the mail yesterday from my U.S. Representative that asked questions about several random “hot topic” issues politically speaking. There was one in particular that grabbed my attention. It was, and I quote:
“In Fiscal year 2012, the federal government spent $799 billion on 92 different programs aimed at helping low-income individuals and families. Yet, to date, 15% of the U.S. population remains in poverty….”
Now, I don’t enjoy numbers per say, but they do interest me when it comes to breaking down numbers that are provided to prove a point. So taking it for granted that the numbers are real, here’s the breakdown:
- $799,000,000,000 spent to help with the poverty issue.
- 15% of the population (which is roughly 300,000,000 people) roughly equals 45,000,000 people.
- 45,000,000 people divided into $790,000,000,000 equals $17,755 each (rounded down to the nearest dollar).
- Presuming that the poverty numbers include children, that would mean that a family of four would have/could have received $71,020 if the government would have just written out checks to individuals/families who fall below the poverty line.
- As a side note, a billion dollars is a thousand-million. So in other words, you could give 1,000 people a million dollars before you spent a billion dollars. So $799,000,000,000 could actually make 799,000 instant millionaires, as far as the raw numbers go.
Check my numbers on all of that because I had to get my thinking cap out for it, but if I’m correct then $71,020 is a whole, whole lot more money than what my family of three made in 2012 but yet the poverty numbers remain where they are at!
Now considering that the money was spent through 92 different programs I know that the “butter” was probably spread thin across multiple guidelines and issues, but nevertheless the numbers are what the numbers are – and the numbers are huge! But obviously they aren’t huge enough or else we wouldn’t have the size of the problem that we have with poverty. So the question remains, “How much bigger do the numbers have to get?” Perhaps the question should be, “Can the numbers ever get big enough?”
Am I saying that nothing should ever be done to help the poor on a governmental level? Nothing of the sorts! I grew up in a family that was below the poverty level. I personally know what it feels like. I believe that when it comes to our culture, those who can help should help in the form of taxes and in the form of personal efforts. But I also believe that many people are under the illusion that poverty can be done away with politically and religiously. The truth is, there are too many factors that come into play to ever “do away” with poverty. You can’t use a broad-brush to paint over individual problems.
There were serious laws on the book during the Mosaic dispensation concerning the poor, but yet the poor remained in every generation. There are serious laws on the book right now for the Christian dispensation concerning the poor, and yet the poor have remained in every generation. I mean have you ever checked out what the book of Proverbs says concerning the issue?
Socialism has tackled poverty and found itself tackled. Communism attempts to conquer poverty and finds itself conquered. Capitalism has thrown its money at poverty and has found itself spent. Whatever “ism” you can think of at one time or another said that it had the answer and that “ism” was wrong! And it wasn’t because they weren’t doing it right.
So what is the answer to poverty? Well, at least to me, it doesn’t seem like the answer is found in money. What do you think?
“For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good….” (Mark 14:7)