Quote Of The Day

“Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior”. —Walter Williams, professor of economics

37 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”


  • I think the phrase is “Don’t judge [the poor] until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Aparently Mr. Williams – not Walt Williams the poet – hasn’t probably spent even an hour walking alongside those who have experienced long-term poverty. His worship of the power of human choice is almost ridiculous, as if we were solely determined by the choices that WE make.

    How, for example, is someone to graduate from an over-crowded, under-resourced high school that is currently experiencing racial violence on the campus and so has more law enforcement personal than college counselors? And what good will that kind of education do that impoverished person?

    Or what should the domestically abused women with children do – stay married? Sure, maybe she shouldn’t have been with him to start – but should she stay with him? Or should she just go “earn her keep” at a minimum wage job with no benefits and not enough hours to actually provide for herself?

    Clearly if those in situations of long-term poverty would just follow this easy to apply advice, we’d all be rich and preaching the prosperity gospel around the world. Sorry for the dripping sarcasm – since that is the easiest thing to do on the internet – but this quote is too simplistic and assuming.

  • Actually, Walter Williams did grow up poor, and did exactly what you said is so difficult.

    Schools may give you a bad education, but graduating isn’t the hardest thing to do, especially when you consider how watered down the education is now.

  • In all honesty, then, why are the urban poor in America poor? If “Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science,” then it would follow logic that those who are poor have an intelligence problem. Do you believe that?

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic. I really am perplexed about the oversimplification of both Williams’ quote and your response. If breaking poverty were so simple, why are their so many poor in the states? And why are even the poor in the states vastly richer than the majority of the worlds’ population.

    In the beginning to the book “Occupied America”, he talks about the widening gap between rich and poor, that while some are able to progress, their is not collective progression. Instead, in America, we have a growing division of labor based predominantly on class (A friend recently revealed to me how Marxist my thinking is.)

  • I would attribute it to many factors, all of them tied to cultural and personal responsibility. But your right, a lack of intelligence is not one of the reasons…If I had to say what is the primary factor, I would say the lack of ‘ganas’.

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