The most encompassing solution to the problem of poverty is to create an environment that offers real economic opportunities to the poor. I'm not talking about minimum wage jobs, I'm talking about living wage jobs. What are some solutions to this problem? What needs to be done for the long term? Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. is a popular solution but often people have second thoughts when they realize just what that entails. Raising tariffs on imported products, higher prices for goods and services, renegotiating international trade and security treaties, etc. It can be done, but are Americans really willing to accept such a shift in priorities and the legal and bureaucratic headaches that will undoubtedly go along with it? Who among us hasn't gone out of their way to save a few bucks on the silliest of items? How addicted are we to the "good deal"? That addiction and our willingness--or unwillingness--to become rehabilitated will determine the answer to the above questions.
We should also understand that even in the best of economic times, there are always going to be those who are in need of assistance whether it's getting food on the table or keeping a roof over their head. Let us not punish those in genuine need because of a handful who abuse the system. Requiring people in assistance programs to provide some degree of service--whatever they are physically and emotionally capable of handling--as a prerequisite to getting said assistance is not only appealing to those who contribute to the safety net, but it also puts the recipient at ease. Oftentimes a person standing in line to apply for food stamps--or subsidized housing or to participate in a local food pantry program, etc.--does so with their head hanging in shame. To give them the opportunity to work, to provide some service--no matter how small--in exchange for the help they receive would not only wash away the stigma of applying for such programs but encourage more participation from those who can afford to; donating food to a local pantry, being willing to work with HUD with their rental properties, etc.