As a change of pace, I thought I'd share readers' responses to my column. Here they are:
just read your article on the asset rich doing their part. I completely agree that we are all in this together, but I struggle every time I hear someone say that the answer lies in taking more from those who have earned more. Our tax system is a progressive one that does that already. We now have an government insurance program that will do the same. Some say it is Socialism, I call it Robinhoodism. Absolute redistribution of wealth. I tell my children that much of what we have is due to hard work, education and taking advantage of opportunities. However, we also have had our share of “luck”. Some say you make your own luck, but I also believe we get some opportunities that are just plain “luck” - be it good or bad. Thus, I do feel I have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than me. However, where does it stop? There is a difference between “helping” and “subsidizing”. The “asset rich” do DO their part. Would if be enough if they gave 75% of their income to the state? That is how Texas “helps” those districts that are less fortunate. The “property rich” districts send an “unfair” ratio of money to the “poor” districts so they can have awesome football stadiums. This approach doesn’t seem to have done much for improving the quality of Texas education K-12. I don’t really view 46 out of 50 as a very good report card. We need to focus on setting up programs & processes that help people help themselves. This “entitlement” mentality is growing and not changing behavior. We, as a whole, need to take responsibility for our decisions and actions. Not everyone is the same. We should be promised to have the same opportunities - not the same of everything. Thanks
I wanted to thank you for your article of March 18 and thank you for your work on the Poverty Task Force. I retired just over 10 years ago and realized that I had the time to "give back" and possibly be able to make at least a small positive difference in my community. One of the things I did was to become a volunteer in Big Brothers/Big Sisters. After just a couple of years I noticed a pattern that existed with the kids I mentored; they were poor, lived with their mom and a couple of siblings, their dad was in prison, and their mom was a teenager when they were born. Plus, I discovered that their grandmother was a teen when their mom was born. This set me off doing some serious research on the problem of teen pregnancies and I learned, among other things, that the U.S. has the highest teen birth rate of all the 28 developed nations in the world and Texas leads the nation in teen births.
Most teen moms never finish high school, only 3 percent get a college degree by the time they are 30. Their offspring are 9 times more likely to live in poverty, are twice as likely to go to prison and are most likely to become teen parents themselves. Being a teen mom leads to depression and a high percentage tend to use drugs and abuse their children. Teen births are clearly a root cause of poverty in Texas and Dallas specifically.
There is a way to reduce our teen birth rate. Other states with similar demographics to Texas have done it. We can do it too! We as a society, particularly here in Texas, concentrate more on the consequences of poverty rather than dealing with the causes, we need to change that.
If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.