You read the words in my column but you totally missed the message.

Your response was:

“It is virtually impossible for someone to remain poor if they follow these practices.”

Factually, this is a totally and completely false statement. It’s what you fantasize that the world is like for the urban poor but it is just that, a fantasy. It is not true.

You went on to give your ideas about how poor people should live their lives. Essentially, you said:

“If poor people (1) managed to shed their low-class cultural values (how and why would they do that?) and (2) graduated from a good high school (easier said than done in gang neighborhoods and poverty-stricken families that need every penny of income) and (3) didn’t have any children until they could afford them (tough to do when you have a weak family structure and no job) and (4) committed to working really, really hard, (minimum wage is still not enough to live on) and (5) joined the military to get a free education (the Army will take a total of about 28,000 new enlistees. 51 million Americans qualify for food stamps. How silly is your solution?) then they could earn a decent living.

Expecting millions of kids in crappy urban schools and broken families to somehow learn to do something that will pay a decent wage on only a high school education is beyond unrealistic. After the Army fills up their 28,000 slots, then what?

Your unreasonable laundry list of things that you think poor people should do is not even close to a realistic program for these tens of millions of people.

Implied, I think, in your list of what poor people should do is this attitude:

“If they don’t do those things that I, with my strong, middle-class family and family values upbringing think they should do then they deserve to be poor.”

That’s exactly the point of my column.

Your comments reflect the conservatives’ position of moral superiority of defining what other people should do, namely, live their lives like the conservatives think they should according to conservative cultural values, and that if they don’t do what the conservative says he thinks he would do if he were born into a single parent family in an urban slum, then they deserve to have what they’ve got.

The conservatives don’t want to realize that the approximately 51 million Americans who are poor enough to qualify for food stamps can’t realistically succeed without jobs that pay a living wage for unskilled work.

Your attitude of “If they would only do what I would have done they would be fine” is not a practical or realistic response to the vast poverty in America.

The “I think you should do these things and if you don’t, you deserve to be poor” attitude is elitist, judgmental, theoretical and totally impractical.

When full-time, unskilled jobs that pay a living wage and provide major medical insurance are available to everyone who is willing to work full time and people still refuse to take them, then you can pontificate that they “Deserve to be poor” and not before.

That was the message in my column and, sadly, your comments make it clear that you totally didn’t want to hear it.

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 17 novels and over 200 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.

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