blueollie

The shallow level of discussion about poverty in the US

Articles like this one drive me nuts. Yes, it is statistically accurate in that if someone is born into grinding poverty, they are likely to stay there, even if they behave reasonably.

What it overlooks is that many do NOT behave reasonably, as this liberal friendly article admits:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

That is pathological and irresponsible, no matter how one spins it. But try getting a liberal to admit that…OMG.

Now, of course, there are also these aspects:

1. Which came first: pathological behavior or poverty; which caused which? There is strong evidence that poverty is the CAUSE of such behavior and not really the result of it. (slso here)

2. While I agree that poor people can make themselves even poorer via poor choices, it does not follow that good choices will lead one OUT of poverty.

I’ll use a sports analogy. Those in my age group who run the fastest times and win the most awards train more than I do. And were I to quit lifting weights so much and to run more, I might improve…but only so much. I might, might, get into the 24s..maybe 23’s with super training. But I can forget getting anywhere the winner’s circle in my age group; guys who do that were generally “college track team” quality in their youth (or the equivalent).

So good behavior will only move the needle so much; only rarely is it enough for someone to escape.

But yet discussion of these issues often causes he heartburn.

Here is what I think is going on: I have people who went to the same schools as I did and had parents who were of the same economic class as my parents. They had the opportunity to apply to the same colleges as I did. I had no special influence as to getting into my undergraduate college, and no “pull” in getting into graduate school. Then years down the line…guess who is said to have been “lucky”???

While one can make statistical inferences about how a general population will do, there is variation between individuals of the same group. Yes, my parents did right by me…more so ..and I was lucky enough to avoid horrible things (abuse, diseases, accidents, etc.) None of that was due to any merit on my part; I admit that.

Anyhow, I DO see quite a bit of “excuse making” by people that I know made bad choices that hindered them down the road. But …that is at the individual level..not a statistical average.

Still, I struggle to accept a life experience that was so different than my own..especially when initial circumstances seem to be so similar.

I suppose that some truths are simply counter intuitive to me.

Workout notes: weights plus my 2 mile treadmill run: 5.2-5.6 for the first 10 minutes, then 6.7-7.0 (every 2:30, 1 minute at 7.1). 11 minutes for mile 1, 19:40 for mile 2.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: decent), incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, 10 x 135 (strict, planted those hips), military (dumbbell), 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, head stand…not that bad this time.

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March 10, 2017 - Posted by | poverty, running, social/political, weight training

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