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Upwards Mobility Bunk: Don’t Lie to Poor Kids About Why They’re Poor, And Will Stay Poor

| August 6, 2017

American social mobility, once a reality, is now a myth.

American social mobility, once a reality, is now a myth. (Carrie Ann Images)

By Josh Hoxie

Work hard and you’ll get ahead — that’s the mantra driven into young people across the country.

But what happens when children born into poverty run face first into the crushing reality that the society they live in really isn’t that fair at all?

As new research shows, they break down.

A just released study published in the journal Child Development tracked the middle school experience of a group of diverse, low-income students in Arizona. The study found that the kids who believed society was generally fair typically had high self-esteem, good classroom behavior, and less delinquent behavior outside of school when they showed up in the sixth grade.

When those same kids left in the eighth grade, though, each of those criteria had degraded — they showed lower self-esteem and worse behavior.

What caused this downward slide?

In short, belief in a fair and just system of returns ran head-on into reality for marginalized kids. When they see people that look like them struggling despite working hard, they’re forced to reckon with the cognitive dissonance.

This problem doesn’t afflict the well-off, who can comfortably imagine their success is the result of their hard work and not their inherited advantage.

other-wordsErin Godfrey, a psychology professor at New York University and the study’s lead author, explains that for marginalized kids who behave badly, “there’s this element of people think of me this way anyway, so this must be who I am.” She points out that middle school is the time when many young people begin to notice personal discrimination, identify as a member of a marginalized group, and recognize the existence of systemic discrimination.

The existence of a permanent and rigid system of inequality can be hard to grapple with at any age. The United States leads the world in overall wealth yet is also near the top in childhood poverty, with one in five kids born into poverty.

Despite an often-repeated myth about social mobility — the ability of the poor to become rich — the United States lags behind in this category. Canada now has three times the social mobility of the United States.

In the wealthiest nation on earth, one in five children is born into poverty.

The gap between the rich and poor starts early. A 2016 study by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund reports: “From as early as the age of 3, children from more affluent backgrounds tend to do better in cognitive tests.” By age 5, children from poor families are three times more likely to be in the bottom 10 percent in cognitive ability.

It’s a complex problem. But the solutions to this deep structural inequality are actually fairly straightforward.

In short, we need major investments in universal public programs to rebuild the social safety net, ensure early childhood education as well as debt-free higher education, and good-paying jobs.

flaglerlive commentary, opinion dissentIn other words, we need to help those born without inherited assets to get the same shot at education and employment as everyone else — and also reassure them that if they fail, they won’t end up homeless.

Those who claim the country can’t afford such programs should look at the massive subsidies lavished out to the ultra-wealthy. In 2016, half a trillion dollars were doled out in tax subsidies, overwhelmingly to the already rich.

But before we do all that, we simply have to tell the truth: Our economic system is far from fair. It’s tilted heavily against marginalized communities.

Teaching that to kids, rather than perpetuating a myth about “fairness,” is an important step forward.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Taxation and Opportunity at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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41 Responses for “Upwards Mobility Bunk: Don’t Lie to Poor Kids About Why They’re Poor, And Will Stay Poor”

  1. Veteran says:

    Probably lousy parenting that instilled the bad attitude. If you are poor but encourage your kids to do well in school and work hard they will get out of poverty. Don’t have to be rich, just middle class.

  2. happening now says:

    Funny thing, you don’t have to be rich or poor, educated, or not, blue blood, or other genes. You just have to be BEAUTIFUL. We are so obsessed with fashion, Botox, plastic surgery, to be beautiful to pass inspection. …………………….

  3. Sherry says:

    Josh Hoxie. . . YOU ARE SO WRONG!!

    While your premise is essentially correct. . . those born in a “poor family:” certainly have a much harder and longer road to financial success in the USA. Discrimination and Racism may be even more rampant than ever, and certainly judicial “equality” and equal access to education and jobs is a myth these days.

    BUT! BUT! BUT! Hitting children over the heads with that reality, at a young age, would be a complete travesty! Taking away their hope of a better life would be nothing short of HORRIFIC! The incredible damage to their self esteem would only serve to trap even more young adults in that maelstrom of defeat.

    “I” was born into a very poor family. However I never felt “poor” because my parents and grandparents consistently kept us focused on the “richness” of LOVE and FAMILY. They encouraged me by making sure I knew I could accomplish anything I wanted by working hard on my “public” school studies, and telling me, every day, that I was as good as everyone else. They boosted my self esteem in every way they could and they did it “honestly”. They did not lie to me. . . they encouraged me!

    Even in the 60s, they could not afford to send me to college, so I went to work and put myself through school. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to move away from the “low self esteem” culture of backwards Florida.

    Ya know what. . . it took me until I was in my mid 30’s to fully understand that, even as a young woman, I was the equal of the other men sitting around that board room table. . . BUT, I finally got there. If someone, anyone, had told me the “brutal truth” of the unfairness stacked against me, I may not have.

    So, Josh Hoxie, I implore you to rethink and amend your conclusions on this subject. . . YOU ARE WRONG!

  4. Jon Hardison says:

    Veteran’s comment illustrates what I believe to be an honest lack of understanding of what has transpired over time. Having watched the world change, and opportunity dry up, it became very clear what was going on.

    Employers’ attitudes shifted in many ways. On easy one to see is the corporate need to take care of their employees (the source of their success), to their need to take care of their shareholders and in so doing adopt the view of a shareholder while managing day-to-day operations.

    Employees go from being the catalyst of success to being a hindrance – a dangerous assertion for all involved.

    Another side-effect of the “shareholder view” is the inevitable swift change in the meaning of “hard work”.
    The goal is always to cut costs and the fastest way to do that is to cut labor, compensation and benefits – to minimize “skilled labor” wherever possible and make fewer executives responsible for more oversight.

    So the game shifts from the production of a superior product / service / etc., to the assembly and maintenance of a money machine.

    This wasn’t the case when I got my first real job and it probably wasn’t the case when Veteran got his/hers.
    But I did get to watch it happen. I did get to see folks who had worked for the company for 20 or 30 years lose their jobs while I, who had been there barely two years, was promoted to VP and then made to do several times the work they ever did.
    It wasn’t sustainable, but it’s important to understand that it wasn’t designed to be.

    Is there a man or woman out there that could have done the job, given up Christmas after Christmas, vacation after vacation, time with their children, significant others and more? Yep. I’m sure there was. But even that magic person would ultimately lose.

    We say that government should get out of the way and let free markets sort themselves out… Let employees and employers negotiate their own deals, but that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is our focus on wealth is killing American Employees, Consumers, and products. Cuts to education and an assault on Unions are killing our workforce. And the special interests that write the free market mantras are using Government exclusively for their benefit.

    All I’m saying is that this isn’t the same world “We” grew up and flourished in.
    We need to put aside our pride in our accomplishments for a second and look at the world we’re asking our young people to succeed in. It’s actually pretty screwed in my opinion.

  5. PCOG says:

    I started washing dishes at a local restaurant when I was 15. By the time I graduated High School I had about 10 grand. I didn’t even go to my own prom because I was working that night. I’ve worked very physical , outdoors jobs since and I now I own two homes, not really ever using the the college degree I have. More than anything we should be pressing youth for self-reliance rather than government reliance. There is discrimination and unfairness for sure. But this is a system tempered in iron. It makes no sense to beat against it when you should be teaching youth how to overcome it by moving over and around it. As I was saying before being censored here – even if the 1% were destroyed and all their money redistributed equally; each American would only get $3000. All the problems we have would carry on nevertheless. The laziness of many of today’s Americans is astounding. I’ve seen so many people lose jobs over bad attitudes and cockiness, too cool to take out the garbage or clean up a mess. Overthrowing the big bad system won’t do anything to help the toxic culture we’ve created by installing safety nets everywhere. All we are teaching is it’s ok the throw yourself about haphazardly the government will catch you with nets posted on the backs of the weary and responsible.

  6. Sherry says:

    @happening now. . . You certainly have an excellent point! Especially during these times of narcissistic, self centered, image worship. . . equating to style over substance. . . not being good looking is yet another huge hurdle to success.

    Although. . . in addition to being from a very poor family. . . I’ve struggled with a woman’s glass ceiling my entire life, I was fortunate to be born “white”, tall and slender.

    The reality is that most children have “many” different barriers (real or imagined) to adult success. Perhaps that is part of the reason why 20% of teenagers have had thoughts suicide. Those who are marginalized and have the “chips stacked against them” need even MORE ENCOURAGEMENT, not the “brutal truth”!
    Life is hard enough!

  7. Pogo says:

    @FL Readers

    Mr. Hoxie is completely correct. If anything, he is too restrained and understated.

    Everyone alive today are heirs of every human being who came before them. All the great discovery, invention, and incalculable striving, suffering and sacrifice are received. As Newton famously stated, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

    Republicans love juvenile fiction become mythology, e.g., the Horatio Alger myth.

    Mitt Romney deliberately misunderstood President Obama’s “…you didn’t build it…” by leaving out the context: You didn’t build it alone.

    Another Republican favorite is the juvenile fiction of Ayn Rand.

    Anyone who bothers to look will find an oil well is almost entirely the wellspring and life’s blood of so-called conservatism. Big oil, and all monopolists, buy everything they can and pander to isolationists, nationalists, provincial reactionaries, racists, and religious fundamentalists to turn one percent into fifty percent plus one. The worst oxymoron of recent memory sums it up: citizens united vs fec.….0…1..64.psy-ab..0.1.264.tjv0XRxduFg

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
    – Anatole France

  8. Layla says:

    Hallelujah, Sherry…we are in 100% agreement on this one! The sky is the limit. It is in the way in which the child is raised, the environment of achievement and success or the culture of victimhood and mediocrity.

    Despite economic differences this country still offers amazing possibilities for all. The harder you are willing to dream and to work, the higher you will fly.

    Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you cannot do it, because you can. Great story, Sherry!

  9. Katie Semore says:

    @Sherry, you are a very wise woman. I agree with you 100%. I would guess that like me though, you had to be twice as good for those men around the board room table to accept you as equal. ;)

  10. Sherry says:

    Jesus of the Bible had plenty to say about the poor ― their dignity, righteousness, and faith. He went so far as to suggest that those who serve the poor will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Some American Christians’ beliefs about the poor may not be as forgiving, according to a recent poll from The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Christians in America are twice as likely as those of other faiths to blame poor people for their economic status, the study found.

    The survey of 1,686 American adults asked respondents what they thought was generally more often to blame if a person is poor ― lack of effort on the individual’s own part or difficult circumstances beyond their control. Researchers found that 46 percent of Christians said that poverty is generally due to a person’s lack of effort. Only 29 percent of all non-Christians said the same.

    According to The Washington Post’s statistical analysis, white evangelical Protestants, compared to those with no religion, were 3.2 times as likely to say that poverty is caused by a lack of effort.

    Atheist, agnostic, and unaffiliated Americans blamed difficult circumstances for people’s poverty (65 percent).

    Forty-two percent of American adults in total believed poverty was due to a lack of effort, while 53 percent believed it was due to difficult circumstances.

    Although religious identity was an important factor, The Washington Post found that political partisanship is the most important demographic identity when it comes to this particular question. Seventy-two percent of Democrats attributed poverty to circumstances, while 63 percent of Republicans blamed lack of effort.

  11. JROCK says:

    I got a great idea for the ‘Canadian system loving’ author. Let’s do some social modeling. What would happen if Canada were to absorb the 33 million Mexican nationals that are in the US? It would turn them upside down. No other country in the world can absorb the number of immigrants, illegal or legal as the US does and still function. And the reason they come here is for the economic mobility. People who work hard in the US, and make sound decisions move forward. Please show me otherwise….don’t just say it.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      “33 million Mexican nationals in the US.” Oh how Americans love to flatter themselves. Then again where would their myths be without nationalist inflation. Bile loses its bite in reality.

  12. woody says:

    It’s easy just live off the government,oh I sorry Trump is in power now oh you have to get a job now sorry.

  13. Born and Raised Here says:

    According to Charles Barkley, 11 time NBA allstar. A young poor black boy has a unbeleivable chance of a career in sports, and should concentrate on working hard in school, go to college and become productive to society.

  14. Lou says:

    Most if not all the comments are driven by ideology and not by factual data.
    Stock holders share will increase in value after employees are let go.
    Great opportunities for educated people. :)

  15. Mark says:

    Working hard doesn’t mean or include sitting in front of the TV, playing a video game for hours and hours or hanging on the street corner selling drugs.

  16. Pogo says:

    @John Hardison

    Well said. This country isn’t manufacturing less; it’s manufacturing more with fewer people. Fewer farmers are growing more than ever in history. And yet, the school year is a hold over from a past era when the needs of the farm came first.

    Everything is changing and the rate of change is constantly increasing. The same people who smugly opine about getting to work will soon find themselves unnecessary when cars and trucks drive themselves; when health care providers eliminate the middleman, aka health insurance companies, and health insurance company employees.Everywhere one looks it’s the same. As what’s his face says, this I can tell you.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee. This is a recording.

  17. Sherry says:

    @ woody. . . blaming those who may need a little “Christian” /human compassion, understanding, “equal” justice/education, and a helping hand onto the ladder of success is nothing short of despicable!

    @Jon. . . thanks so much for an honest view from your side of the long, hard road!

    I may have been born into a poor family, but, I had all the advantages of being “white”, with a good mind, attractive, and with parents who were always supportive. I had it much easier than many. many others!
    We all need to walk a mile in their shoes before casting the typical “negative judgement” of those like “woody” and “born and raised here”. .

  18. TRex says:

    Let’s see….the youngest son of 5 children to a single ________ (qualifier omitted) mother in rural South Carolina, born in the late 60’s. Raised in the 70’s rural south, when all the textile industries started being exported to third world countries. The only options out of high school were…. (1) Go to work in a textile mill (If the stars were aligned), (2) Go to jail, or (3) Join the military. I chose option 3 and worked my way up from a private to receiving a commission, and eventually retiring as a Captain. Earning 2 Bronze Stars and countless other awards for meritorious service, 2 Associate Degrees, 1 Bachelor, and 2 Graduate degrees. There are no assurances from failure in life……it is life dummy. All I inherited was a work ethic. You want a debt-free higher education, find your hustle my friend. Just because you are born into poverty doesn’t mean you have stay there. The real problem is the decline of the American family….wait, wait, wait!!!, I just debunked that myth in sentence number 1!! It is all about the individuals drive, determination, and wait for it………………work ethic.

  19. r&r says:

    The parents of poor children look around and blame everyone but themselves. They play the blame game so they wouldn’t have to deal with it.

  20. Pogo says:


    Always nice to hear from successful public employees who make the most of their government job. I worked full time and earned an A.A. and B.A., both with honors, in four years – thanks to the G.I. Bill. It’s too bad you didn’t mention that the United States’ armed forces and federal civil service are about the closest thing to a true meritocracy there is. I’ve no doubt you’ve often thought of people you knew who didn’t survive and pondered why you’re here and they’re not. Anyone who doesn’t give thanks to dumb luck – In my experience – is like a rooster who thinks the sun came up because he called it.

    Most people in this country live in a feudal system where it’s not what you know – but who you know, who you were born to, and what you were born with. You really think kids raised in lead poisoning, poverty, uncertainty of anything, etc just need to try harder?

    BTW, any real veteran knows for a fact that donald j trump’s conduct during his so-called adult life would have not been tolerated by any command and/or the UCMJ. He would have certainly been dishonorably discharged.

  21. palmcoaster says:

    33 million Mexicans? what a distorted data… where did you find it? It could well be a fair realitry if tru as 1/3 of our USA used to be Mexico Territory until 1848 that we took it away from Mexico:
    And before that in 1836 they took also Texas away from Mexico after: “The Battle of Veracruz
    These events brought within the control of the United States the future states of Texas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Washington, and Oregon, as well as portions of what would later become Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana.

    Following Texas’ successful war of independence against Mexico in 1836, President Martin van Buren refrained from annexing Texas after the Mexicans threatened war. Accordingly, while the United States extended diplomatic recognition to Texas, it took no further action concerning annexation until 1844, when President John Tyler restarted negotiations with the Republic of Texas. His efforts culminated on April 12 in a Treaty of Annexation, an event that caused Mexico to sever diplomatic relations with United States. Tyler, however, lacked the votes in the Senate to ratify the treaty, and it was defeated by a wide margin in June. Shortly before he left office, Tyler tried again, this time through a joint resolution of both houses of Congress. With the support of President-elect Polk, Tyler managed to get the joint resolution passed on March 1, 1845, and Texas was admitted into the United States on December 29.
    All is in better hands now..but anyway.resounds loud to me when someone here points at 33 million Mexicans in USA …if so, maybe they have first right to be here than any of us now..? and even more rights to be here and be successful our Native American Braves! A little history may make your hatred for our neighbors to the south hopefully to subside. Why are we so afraid of them….maybe because we know we took their land?

  22. palmcoaster says:

    Also to POGO; Americans are jobless because the greed has taken over our manufacturer employers that moved their factories overseas to profit even more from slave wages. Is not only because automatization of the industries. That is a good excuse mostly. Look China super rich exporting here with no tariffs., all made in China or elsewhere in Asia mainly, some made in few Latin countries all for the sake of more profit!
    Greed is eroding our country along with the non intended purpose and miss use of our hard earned taxes…what about repairing our infrastructure creating millions of jobs, other than funding all these loosing wars and now a billionaire needless wall. We need the honest one’s to run for office!

  23. a tiny manatee says:

    Those of you preaching this everyone has the same chance bootstraps crap need to get your heads out of your asses. If you’re poor, chances are you’re living where other poor people live. Guess how schools are funded? Property taxes. So your school district is unable to offer the same student to teacher ratio, materials, and activities to its student base, and probably doesn’t have the money to pay its teachers a living wage either. That’s the reality of the situation.

  24. Steven Nobile says:

    I found the following an interesting read from Basically, states that hope should be encouraged but focused and reasonable. Let’s hope to be successful, not an actor, sports star, or musician, but a more realistic attainable hope like slowly moving out of poverty generation after generation. From my grandparents to my children, hard work and hope moved each generation out of poverty to the middle class and HOPEFULLY beyond.

    Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson argues that hope comes into its own when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities.[4] Frederickson argues that with great need comes an unusually wide range of ideas, as well as such positive emotions as happiness and joy, courage, and empowerment, drawn from four different areas of one’s self: from a cognitive, psychological, social, or physical perspective.[5] Hopeful people are “like the little engine that could, [because] they keep telling themselves “I think I can, I think I can”.[6] Such positive thinking bears fruit when based on a realistic sense of optimism, not on a naive “false hope”.[7]

    The psychologist Charles R. Snyder linked hope to the existence of a goal, combined with a determined plan for reaching that goal:[8] Alfred Adler had similarly argued for the centrality of goal-seeking in human psychology,[9] as too had philosophical anthropologists like Ernst Bloch.[10] Snyder also stressed the link between hope and mental willpower, as well as the need for realistic perception of goals,[11] arguing that the difference between hope and optimism was that the former included practical pathways to an improved future.[12] D. W. Winnicott saw a child’s antisocial behavior as expressing an unconscious hope[further explanation needed] for management by the wider society, when containment within the immediate family had failed.[13] Object relations theory similarly sees the analytic transference as motivated in part by an unconscious hope that past conflicts and traumas can be dealt with anew.[14]

    Hope theory[edit]
    As specialist in positive psychology, Charles Richard Snyder studied how hope and forgiveness can impact several aspects of life such as health, work, education, and personal meaning. Snyder postulated that there are three main things that make up hopeful thinking:[15]

    Goals – Approaching life in a goal-oriented way.
    Pathways – Finding different ways to achieve your goals.
    Agency – Believing that you can instigate change and achieve these goals.

    In other words, hope was defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.

    Snyder argues that individuals who are able to realize these 3 components and develop a belief in their ability are hopeful people who can establish clear goals, imagine multiple workable pathways toward those goals, and persevere, even when obstacles get in their way.

    Snyder proposed a “Hope Scale” which considered that a person’s determination to achieve their goal is their measured hope. Snyder differentiates between adult-measured hope and child-measured hope. The Adult Hope Scale by Snyder contains 12 questions; 4 measuring ‘pathways thinking’, 4 measuring ‘agency thinking’, and 4 that are simply fillers. Each subject responds to each question using an 8-point scale.[16] Fibel and Hale measure hope by combining Snyder’s Hope Scale with their own Generalized Expectancy for Success Scale (GESS) to empirically measure hope.[17] Snyder regarded that psychotherapy can help focus attention on one’s goals, drawing on tacit knowledge of how to reach them.[18] Similarly, there is an outlook and a grasp of reality to hope, distinguishing No Hope, Lost Hope, False Hope and Real Hope, which differ in terms of viewpoint and realism.[19]

  25. palmcoaster says:

    Trex I take my hat out to you!

  26. capt says:

    As parents we have that obligation to raise our children to be better then we were. Provide them a loving and supportive home, regardless of a families wealth and to give them the best education to support their dreams we can afford.. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but it starts with the parent(s). Be supportive, its really that simple. Its all about the family and its values as a parent and make and break a child’s dreams. .
    TRex posted which I agree. ” Just because you are born into poverty doesn’t mean you have stay there”, thats so true.

  27. Sherry says:

    POGO, PalmCoaster, Tiny Manatee. . . Excellent points!

    Context means everything! While I somehow managed to grab onto “my” boot straps, and accomplish more than my parents ever imagined for me. . . “I” ,at least, had those boot straps. Yes, I was often the only woman in those board meetings, and, “yes” I had to work 3 times as hard and accomplish 3 times as much, to get there.

    Millions have lived in devastating poverty for “generations”. . . they have not been personally exposed to “anything else”. No, TV and movies don’t count. . . they are complete fantasy. . . and are often depressing, not uplifting. Programs showing the (fake) lives of the “rich and famous” often sow the seeds of insecurity, frustration and hopelessness.

    Blaming “them” for their lack of “work ethic” is the same as blaming a paralyzed person for not walking. I personally believe that “only” cutting a “welfare” check every month is merely an attempt to do the “minimum” to assuage the guilt of our acceptance of an “under class”. It’s the “wheel chair” for that paralyzed person. It keeps “them” in their place. . . handicapped. The long, hard road to financial independence for the poor can be compared to the hard physical therapy required for the paralyzed to walk.

    That “physical therapy” for the poor cannot simply begin with better parenting because the parents are often also trapped in those wheel chairs. It begins with “equal” education. . . with school districts that receive “equal” financing across the state, if not the country. It is devastating that our state government is actually moving us in the OPPOSITE direction, with the huge push for charter schools. .

    It is the same with the “therapies” needed for health care, better nutrition, better housing. . . and on and on.
    I personally believe that those who want things like food stamps and housing need to be required to grow “some” food in a community garden and need to help build their future homes. Nothing is truly valued unless you have participated in creating it . . . in some way.

    Then again, “I” am but a single voice . . . among others. . . in the overwhelming storm of change. A storm that seems to be quite foreboding and challenging for the future.

    Don’t even get me started on “Climate Change”!

  28. Veteran says:

    Hey tiny manatee….tell that to Ben Carson and his brother.

  29. Sherry says:

    @ veteran. . . Ben Carson is an excellent example of someone who was born into a “poor” family. . . whose mother received the assistance from “we tax payers” through FOOD STAMPS, and went on to be the accomplished man he is today. PROOF positive that NOT all those born into poor families are doomed to remain poor. . . AND, that needing “government assistance” does not make all people scum of the earth, useless and lazy!

    It’s just too bad that Ben Carson doesn’t want to assist others in the way same way he and his own family was was assisted by all of us tax payers. How soon he has forgotten!

  30. A tiny manatee says:

    Hey Veteran, Ben Carson was born in 1951 and didn’t have to worry about money, his father was a WWII vet that had a sweet job in detroit as a plant laborer, and even when things were “rough” for him he lived in a nice neighborhood and they had secondary rental income. So I’m not sure exactly what your point is here, other than to point out that hey there was a black guy in a middle class home that did well.

  31. another vet says:

    blame the decline in the family how many kids are born without two parents in the house?

  32. Anonymus says:

    Part of today’s problem is that of parenting as well as these young people crying victim. I cannot believe how lazy a lot of these young kids are these days. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care what color you are or how poor you are. Once you reach a certain age you can change the way you live, your financial status, etc., the choice is up to that individual. There are many people that don’t like change, so therefore they stay in the financial conditions in which they were raised. I’ve met too many people with that poor attitude. It may be harder for some, but the opportunity is there for the taking!

  33. Komodo Dragon says:

    Veteran, has nothing to do with parenting although it may seem like it. The very young children have yet to understand what being poor is. They are happy until someone flaunts their possessions and begins wanting what others have. I grew up feeling that way but I understood that my parents couldn’t afford to keep up with the Joneses. I understood that they had possessions of monetary value, however, I had both my parents that are still together and we went out to the beach or state parks every weekend. I was rich in relationships between family and a huge circle of friends who were in the same boat. How rich and poor is defined makes a huge difference and my kids are very rich in relationships and very comfortable financially.

  34. a tiny manatee says:

    Haha, kids these days, seriously. Lazy you say? Entitled you say? Tell me, have you seen boomers? Now that right there is the laziest, most entitled generation yet.

    Let me tell you about what this generation has to deal with. The boomer generation, and the consequences of their selfish, idiotic behavior over the last 6 decades. They’ll leave higher education with crushing debt to find jobs that offer salaries that haven’t been adjusted to meet cost of living and inflation in 10 years. They can’t afford houses because they’re paying more on their student loans than they would on a mortgage for a $200k home. All because of the legislation and crap that the boomer generation has pushed because FYGM.

  35. Veteran says:

    Hey manatee, you conveniently left out a few facts. Suggest everyone Google Ben Carsons childhood.

  36. a tiny manatee says:

    Yes, everyone should Google Sleepy Ben’s childhood, then weed out the lies.

  37. Pogo says:

    @FL Readers

    Someone else always said it best:

    Angela’s Ashes Quotes

    If you don’t see what McCourt’s words have to do with this – that’s fine too.

    Good day.

  38. Nancy N. says:

    I am SO sick of hearing older people go on about “kids these days” and how they should just suck it up and “work hard and pay your own way through school like I did”.

    Have ANY of you all looked at the cost of college lately? It has more than doubled, in inflation adjusted dollars, since the parents of today’s college aged kids were in school. The average four year public college now costs around $20k PER YEAR in tuition, room, board, fees, and books. To “pay your own way” with rates like that, you’d have to work 40 hours per week (while being a full time student, remember) at a job making at least $10/hour, 52 weeks per year. And that doesn’t even account for expenses like transportation, clothing, medical expenses, a phone, etc.

    When I was in college around 1990, you could pay your own way with a part time job and a small loan that wouldn’t cripple you after graduation. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE.

    It’s real easy to just grouch “kids today” but the reality isn’t so easy. Those kids aren’t living in the same world we did – and we created the world they live in. To turn around and blame them for that, instead of trying to solve this complex problem of our making, is generational blame shifting on an inexcusable level.

  39. Bill says:

    Everyone thinks they work hard. But most don’t know what hard work is. There is a silver spoon class, however the rest of us earned what we have. Our parents guided us to be better than they were.

  40. Trailer Bob says:

    I grew up in a poor family, father was a mean drunk, mother had mental illness and was often taken away to the nuthouse in an ambulance. I had bad, bad, acne that got me the name “pizza face”. Our family was the losers of the neighborhood. I am white, but big deal. Kids don’t think about race as much as adults think they do. They are built from what they have, hear, and see as a young child. I was homeless at 13, lived on the streets and was mentored by prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves. So I have to differ with those who argue that I as a white person had it made…couldn’t fail. I just retired from a 24 year run as a self employed Certified Financial Planner, now starting up a new company renting trailers and providing hauling for businesses and individuals. What is the answer? I don’t really know. But I do know that being white had nothing to do with my overcoming major obstacles in my path of life. So what is my point? Not sure, but I think it is that we are all humans with the same world in front of us, and if we had what it takes we can soar higher than we ever should have. So forget all the BS and go forward, work hard, and get to love yourself instead of waiting for others to do so.

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