Poor people and poor attitudes
So, our group met a week ago to help understand what poverty in our area looks like and what we can do to fix it. My wife's group met on Sunday afternoon to determine the same.
Here, as in other places, there are people who are poor but have a positive attitude and therefore do not "act" poor, and there are others that seem to wallow in their misery and work the system every which way. Our group came to the conclusion that the first group, usually those of working families making slightly above minimum wage, could benefit from action taken and should be focused on, while the deadbeats should be left alone.
So, what needs to be done? Well, this will probably get fleshed out as we get further into the program, but here's my preliminary idea: We need homegrown business startups, entreprenuership, and reduction of barriers to start businesses. No, not everyone is cut out to be a manager, but a few might be, and those could in turn employ others.
We also need to reinvigorate the ag economy. I'm going to harp on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) again, as Uncle Sam rents over 1/3 of the cropable acres in the county through this program. Releasing CRP acres back into pasture, hay, and conservation-planned row crops would help spur rural economic development. Developing ways to bring this land back into production is important. Environmental groups need not hold sway over our community - if they want to keep land out of production, they can go and buy it themselves and do what they want. These are the folks who think $0.50 for a high power rifle bullet is too cruel for deer population control, but that it's fine to spend $1000 per deer to keep them from re-breeding. Brilliant.
But back to the poor attitude group for a second - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. There's not much you can do for people who choose to live on welfare and p_ss their lives away, except isolate them enough so they don't harm anyone else. Trying to reform 40-50 year olds to spend less, save more, and keep their property in shape is like throwing money down a rat hole.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the Horizons program works out. There are three sections of community members. The one I belong to has a slight majority of "natives", those who grew up and continue to live here. The other two groups, however, are majority "non-natives", those who grew up elsewhere and moved in. It's interesting to see that a lot of non-natives are interested in the growth of our community, even more so that some natives. Maybe it tells us why we're in the state of existence we're in today...?