The Idea of Upward Mobility to Combat Poverty

Here’s the idea: Everyone should be able to rise out of poverty. “Upward mobility” is an American ideal, ensuring that everyone has the equal opportunity to “pursue happiness.”

Paul Ryan’s speech above was on the campaign trail, but it is still worth watching. He didn’t just take on the last four years. He took on the last five decades. The political vision Paul laid out in this speech won’t be embraced by the winning administration, but it is a vision that should be embraced by everyone who desires to exit poverty and find the “happiness” of the American dream.

This takes some bold thinking. Or, rather, re-thinking. Specifically on how government “helps” the poor. If you are poor – perhaps on government assistance for the time being – I have a logical argument to make for you. Follow this progression and embrace the new way of thinking, and chances are you won’t be poor for long.

Soup lines feed the hungry, but do they help people get out of poverty?

Premise: Government doesn’t help people out of poverty. Government programs actually self-perpetrate dependency with “use it or lose it” threats, even encouraging dishonesty and fraud in order to keep benefits. The result: a bloated and flawed bureaucracy that sends people in a cycle of dependency that has no end in sight. Just look at how they evaluate their success. As Paul explains in this speech, government rates itself on how much it spends, not on how many people rise out of poverty. Hardly a model worth following.

Proof: Real success comes from the private sector, not “government knows best” bureaucracies. Paul’s speech commemorates several charities and organizations that are not government. Perhaps this idea is foreign to you. How can anyone but government solve for poverty? That answer is a pretty long one, but largely unnecessary because government rarely has success stories of people exiting poverty. Instead, they cite how many people have been given aid.

Conclusion: Embrace upward mobility, not reliance on the government. At least if you want to exit poverty. As Paul said, this doesn’t necessarily mean “you’re on your own.” There are countless charities that can help, but the minute you start justifying the “free government aid” is the minute you start the cycle of dependency. Instead, self-reliance should be a number-one priority in your journey.

I’m disappointed that Paul Ryan won’t be able to bring this vision to the executive branch. (Yes, I’m still tender about the election.) But this shouldn’t hinder the choices you have. If you are struggling financially, you can still embrace upward mobility by rejecting government assistance and chart your way to self-reliance.

Question: Struggling financially? What are solutions that are most helpful to you? Or WERE you struggling at one point? What solutions helped you the most?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • The biggest (& most obvious) solution for struggling financially (for me at least) is finding a way to generate income that does not depend on investing income- which I obviously don’t have. Something solid, not just an idea that will earn a one time $10 bucks. Finding something that generates income that I can keep doing, I hope this makes sense. A job would seem most obvious, but sometimes that isn’t feasible.

    Also, I do believe that budgeting is essential. You must have a very careful eye on every dollar that goes through your home. By really paying attention you realize where money is sometimes “accidentally” wasted- a coffee here, a dvd there, so on. It is easy when you are struggling and stressed to just let go and tell yourself you need those little indulgences. Buying things, no matter how seemingly small, is sometimes a way to soothe pain and deny to yourself how much you’re struggling. It can become an addictive habit like anything else used to mask emotional struggling. But, it also helps keep you stuck to that dependency. You have to become a good steward of what you currently are in control of because essentially no matter how much income you try to generate, it will keep leaking out and you will keep needing help.

    These are the solutions that have been most helpful to me.

    • Good observation, Andrea. It’s the idea of “capital.” A business idea that is good enough will attract investors who will put up the money to help you get started.