Immigration welfare high cost families with children.
Fig. 1 Families with children collecting welfare by race.

Practical Education Key to Escaping Poverty

by Lewis Loflin

Update Oct 26, 2017: "Is math racist? Does your skin color determine your ability to succeed in math? University of Illinois Professor Rochelle Gutierrez thinks so! She claims that white people are the ones able to achieve success in mathematics and therefore math only serves to perpetuate 'Whiteness' because minorities are unable to conduct abstract reasoning."

What does this even mean? The continued rise of irrationalism. She believes non-whites can't employ abstract reasoning. That is total racism and easy to disprove. Math isn't politically correct and doesn't give a hoot about one's race, gender, feelings. Thanks Bill Whittle.

See Intelligence Predicts Economic Social Outcome

Poverty has three sources: intelligence (as used here to refer to varying degrees and types of talent), behavior, and economic circumstances.


In America behavior is the main cause of poverty that transcends circumstances and intelligence.

Many lower income people of all races must end their stupid, irresponsible behavior. Drug use, dropping out of school, unwed motherhood, and simple lack of impulse control is leading to the ruin of millions. They can't afford dumb mistakes and should be held accountable for their own good. People ask all the time how we own a house living on less than $10 an hour in household income and a disabled spouse?

The answer is simple - get a damn job even if it's below what one expects. Even with college I've cleaned yards and basements to make ends meet. Yes we get a little help from the government (Medicaid because my wife is uninsurable), but I choose to work and refuse most government aid. Yes the job market sucks and some employers are abusive, but most will work with anyone willing to put in some effort.

We refuse food stamps, I raise a garden. We learned to can our own food, buy in bulk and buy reduced meat, and shop at Dollar Tree. We stay away form over using credit cards and never touch drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. I buy older fuel efficient cars (Japanese) I can repair and maintain. We saved and bought an energy efficient refrigerator, used new LED light bulbs, heat with a wood stove (and cut wood by hand without a $1500 log splitter) and cut our energy bill to about $100 a month! We don't sit around cold or in the dark.

An important aspect of behavior is to be realistic about resources available and impulse control. If one can live without it don't buy it unless one can afford it - stay away form credit cards and pay-day lenders. Behavior is the difference between a poor household which is easy to overcome in time,vs. a dysfunctional household driven by vice, broken families, etc. Dumping money into those situations is a waste of time other than maintaining the dysfunction.

Resources and Talent

Many today are born into poor and dysfunctional households - but being poor doesn't mean the household is dysfunctional. Poor as I define it lack of material resources or in general money. In New York City a rent free apartment through the welfare system is worth $60,000 in income, but that doesn't mean the tenant has any money. America has an extensive safety net, but most the time it maintains the situation and punishes those trying to escape.

Thus poor people must learn to MAKE resources be it money or by learning to do things and what one can learn to do is related talent or intelligence.

The computers and electronics I use most have been built by me or come from salvage. Why billions of dollars in perfectly good stuff is being crushed or thrown into landfills just mystifies me. I taught electronics and electricity at a community college (part time) and have a website devoted only to electronics gadgets I designed and built. See

Yes I went to college, but most of what I do is self-taught. Most of what I've done can be done by the average person with some effort. People must learn to rely on themselves as much as possible, but the rest of us might have to step in and help those that really need it who try the best they can.

Oddly many lower income immigrants have figured this out. See We Can Learn from our Latino Community.

Now we come to the thorny and politically sensitive subject of education and the role of education. For years we've wasted billions trying to social engineer outcome equality as opposed to looking at individual "talent". Millions have useless college degrees and straddled with debt, others drop out or don't go because they couldn't hack algebra, etc. when in fact they should never have went to a 4-year institution.

Many schools such as those in Germany separate students by talent and skills onto differing tracks. A math wiz is on a college track, a medium math student on a vocational track. An engineer needs calculus and can design a machine, yet a factory worker today needs math skills as well on the algebra or trigonometry level to build, install, and maintain the machine.

Automation mean less workers are needed but they must have better skills. A machine operator ends up baby sitting the machine, programming it to a degree, and filling out paperwork. This goes with low-level cleaning and perhaps changing the oil.

Yet all three workers are needed to produce that can of pork and beans for 59 cents that's clean and safe to eat.

As an educator myself I know for a fact that any student of any race or social standing can learn and succeed, but all will never have an equal outcome. That doesn't mean for one minute that a calculus major is somehow a better human being than a high school graduate that can repair a car or build a beautiful wood cabinet.

We've developed this socially destructive attitude that there's no value in actually working with one's hands or creating real things we can use. This attitude of actual work has no value and only a piece of paper is what everyone should have because that has social value.

There is more real demand for good vocational workers than most liberal arts majors and they often make more money. So why don't we look at people as they really are and utilize what talents they have? Note that,

"Of the top 10 hardest-to-fill positions in the US, only three - engineers, nurses, and teachers - require university degrees. The other seven are: skilled trades, IT staff, sales representatives, accounting and finance staff, drivers, mechanics, and machinists.

The reasons employers cannot fill these positions are lack of experience, candidates asking for more money than they can afford (or willing) to pay, and lack of talent and training."


The problem in this region of Tr-Cities Virginia-Tennessee, and I daresay much of the country, is our education system is utterly determined to keep those entering skilled vocational trades from receiving a better academic background in science, math, etc. As a vocational instructor myself I have fought this problem for years only to be stonewalled time after time by the so-called education professionals.

At the bottom of the ladder are the totally unskilled - those with a high school diploma or less. Government policies and trade, mass immigration, etc. hurt these people th most and pretending everyone can go out and get a 4-year degree to make up for it is feel-good, self-righteous hype. They have failed and it's time to get real.