A new study confirms that growing up in poverty means you’ll likely be impoverished as an adult. With the negative consequences for the individual and society. The Nats’ low-wage, high unemployment policies create the poverty trap. Poverty is a design feature of the rightwing economy. Hypocritical and useless to demand their victims save themselves from poverty. Change the policies, fix the problem.
Anyone who tells you we can’t afford to fix poverty is a lying son of a bitch. $5 billion a year it would cost. Less than 3% of GDP. To get quarter of a million kids and their families out of poverty. When you consider the economic and social damage of poverty – not to mention that our goal should be for all our people to have a decent quality of life – 3% of GDP sounds like a bargain.
And we know how to fix poverty. Because we’ve already started fixing it a couple of times only to stop.
The First Labour Government got poverty falling by lifting wages, creating jobs, and giving unfortunates a decent backstop. By the late 70s, early 80s, poverty was down to less than 13% of the population.
Rogernomics destroyed the jobs, cut pay, and slashed benefits while making hundreds of thousands more people dependent on them. Poverty ballooned to 30%.
Labour got it down to 26% with more jobs, better pay, and working for families. Now it’s rising again. Why? You just have to look at the rightwing campaigning to get wharfies wages slashed by a third, campaigning to cut benefits further, doing nothing about job creation to know why.
No accident that poverty goes up when the Right takes power. It’s the flipside of their policies that give more and more to the elite. Someone has to lose something for everything the elite takes.
Jobs that pay a decent wage. Enough jobs to go around. Decent benefits as a backstop. That’s how you fix the poverty trap. We’ve done it before. Will we do it before we condemn another generation to a life of poverty?