To continue my thoughts from my last post – what can be done differently to help those in poverty? Very little was done to help immigrants a century ago, free public education being the major exception. Going back to that low level of aid just isn’t going to happen, even if you think we should. So how can public dollars be better spent? If my theory is at all true (that not-so-bad living conditions don’t motivate people enough to improve their lot in life), then perhaps we need to stop providing “affordable” government-subsidized housing, except on a very short-term basis. More money could be spent on transporting people to job training centers and jobs. But this would be way too radical, I know. Kicking families (or partial families, as it often is) onto the streets just doesn’t sit well. But somehow we need to figure out a way to make living below the poverty line less comfortable. Hunger is a great motivator. Ouch. How uncompassionate I sound! I’m not really that hard-hearted. It’s just discouraging to see how decades of government social programs and handouts have hurt rather than helped so many people. Here’s a sample idea: to be eligible for WIC or food stamps, you may not subscribe to cable TV. But wait, that requires more government regulation – probably a commission to study it, and a whole bureaucracy to enforce it. What a quandary!