Originally Posted by GermanStar
It is extremely difficult to achieve beyond one's ability to dream.
I made almost exactly this same point to a colleague last week - he's making about $40k a year and is now divorced, but lives as if he's impoverished largely due to a history of self-victimization and poor choices.
I certainly don't begrudge people who are happy living with less or who don't strive for personal wealth. Money does not equal happiness...however, having been on welfare as a child, it's damned tough to be happy without it.
Regarding the way this affects the poor, I'm not sure that I ever "saw" or "experienced" someone living my life, except for what I saw on TV. I saw lots of middle-class families on TV - as a child, their lives looked like mine, but as an adult, you can assume that there's way more money in the bank than we had. The lifestyles I idolized were in movies and TV shows where you could see how high the bar could be set. Miami Vice was great for this, as were movies like "Trading Places". I still have Trading Places on DVD - I like watching the opening few minutes, because the life Dan Aykroyd lives is one I'd very much like to.
So perhaps there are people in the world who have never seen a better life - not even on TV - but I seem to think (like McBear) that we're a full generation away from a fix. We have got to eliminate social programs that say implicitly that the rest of us don't think you (poor people) will ever make anything of yourselfes, so we're going to give you some stuff for free that the rest of us get by working for it. As I've said before, we have to brainwash children in poor areas into believing that they can do anything they want, and can achieve anything they set their minds to, and ensuring that self-destructive behaviors are called out as barriers to living a better life (unwed/teen pregnancy, drug abuse, gang membership, etc).
There's not an organization with customers anywhere in the world that would let a failed program go for 50 years without significant change or outright abandonment. Except the U.S. Government, and with welfare. These programs do nothing but make self-hating affluent Americans feel better about themselves. We don't need to abandon any form of government assistance - our "welfare" programs should be providing the type of assistance that McBear and his colleagues provide...give the people who are in genuine need and of sound mind, that bit of help which will get them over the hump.