A majority of poor people, however, are poor because they did it to themselves. They failed to educate themselves. No matter how lousy government schools are, you can learn in them if you want to. One study of Asian children found that they excelled whether they attended a good school or a slum school. The difference was, their parents motivated them to learn.
Besides, there is hardly a city or town in America that doesn’t have a public library, and there’s a Ph.D.’s worth of knowledge sitting on those shelves, free for the taking. Harrison Ford, the actor, went to a library and taught himself to be a master carpenter before he became a successful actor. The public libraries are probably one of the most valuable and least used resources in America that are available to everyone.
Some people are poor because they develop drug or alcohol addictions. Chemical addictions are not racial in the least. I know of a former lawyer and judge, white as bleached flour, who wrecked his career, his family and his life because of an addiction to crack cocaine. A chemical addiction can drive anybody down if it is not faced and stopped.
Some people are poor because they never developed good work habits or even good grooming. Nobody is going to hire some kid with his pants down around his buttocks, who talks jive instead of English, and who is two days from his last brush with soap and water. Nobody is going to keep or promote someone who is chronically late for work, watches the clock and is the first out the door. …
Some people are poor because they never learn to handle money. Government schools and a lot of parents fail their children in this regard. It’s one of the most important things a child can learn, because the formula for success is simple: You must spend less than you earn; you must save and then invest. That’s all there is too it. There are thousands of how-to books written on the subject, but the good ones all boil down to those three rules. Spend less than you earn. Save it. Invest it. …
Finally, as sad as it is to say it, some people are poor because they are stupid and/or lazy. These you can’t help. They will either squander or let somebody gyp them out of whatever you give them. … But don’t buy this con game of laying poverty on the non-poor. It’s bull uttered by people with an ideological interest in big government.
Charley Reese, “Poor do it to themselves,” Conservative Chronicle 10/19/05