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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Atttitudes Toward Poverty

At The Los Angeles Times, David Lauter reports on a survey by the Times & AEI:
Blue-collar whites were much more likely than nonwhites to view the poor as a class set apart from the rest of society – trapped in poverty as a more or less permanent condition. Minority Americans, particularly blacks, tended to say that “for most poor people, poverty is a temporary condition” .

A majority of whites see government antipoverty efforts contributing to poverty’s permanence, saying that benefit programs “make poor people dependent and encourage them to stay poor.”

Blacks disagreed, saying that the government help mostly allows poor people to “stand on their own two feet and get started again.” The poor themselves divided evenly on the question. Latinos leaned closer to the skeptical view about government programs expressed by white Americans.

Asked if poor people “prefer to stay on welfare” or would “rather earn their own living,” Americans by a large majority, 61%-36%, said they believed the poor would rather earn their own way. Blue-collar whites were more closely divided on the question, 52%-44%.

That was one of several questions on which the views of minorities and college-educated whites were close to each other, while whites without a college degree stood out as different.

Nearly two-thirds of whites without college degrees, for example, said that benefits encourage poor people to remain in poverty. Among college-educated whites, about half took that view.