Poverty Nonsense

Walter E. Williams, CNS News, October 16, 2012

Here’s a recent statement frequently suggested by leftist academics, think tank researchers and policymakers: “People were not just struggling because of their personal deficiencies. There were structural factors at play. People weren’t poor because they made bad decisions. They were poor because our society creates poverty.”

Who made that statement and where it was made is not important at all, but its corrosive effects on the minds of black people, particularly black youths, are devastating.

There’s nothing intellectually challenging or unusual about poverty. For most of mankind’s existence, his most optimistic scenario was to be able to eke out enough to subsist for another day. Poverty has been mankind’s standard fare and remains so for most of mankind. What is unusual and challenging to explain is affluence—namely, how a tiny percentage of people, mostly in the West, for only a tiny part of mankind’s existence, managed to escape the fate that befell their fellow men.

To say that “our society creates poverty” is breathtakingly ignorant. In 1776, the U.S. was among the world’s poorest nations. In less than two centuries, we became the world’s richest nation by a long shot. Americans who today are deemed poor by Census Bureau definitions have more material goods than middle-class people as recently as 60 years ago.


Maybe the professor who made the statements about poverty—who, by the way, is black—was thinking that it’s black people who have been made poor by society. One cannot avoid the fact that average black income today is many multiples of what it was at emancipation, in 1900, in 1940 and in 1960, even though average black income is only 65 percent of white income. There is no comparison between black standard of living today and that in earlier periods. Again, the statement that “our society creates poverty” is just plain nonsense.

What about the assertion that “people weren’t poor because they made bad decisions”?

The poverty rate among blacks is 36 percent. Most black poverty is found in female-headed households, but the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994 and stands today at 7 percent. Today’s black illegitimacy rate is 72 percent, but in the 1940s, it hovered around 14 percent. Less than 50 percent of black students graduate from high school, and most of those who do graduate have a level of academic proficiency far below that of their white counterparts. Black men make up almost 40 percent of the prison population.

Here are my several two-part questions: Is having babies without the benefit of marriage a bad decision, and is doing so likely to affect income? Are dropping out of school and participating in criminal activity bad decisions, and are they likely to have an effect on income? Finally, do people have free will and the capacity to make decisions, or is their behavior a result of instincts over which they have no control?



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  • Defiant White

    QUOTE:  People weren’t poor because they made bad decisions. They were poor because our society creates poverty.

    This is true.  Blacks are not competitive to begin with . . . but it’s also true that Southern whites stomped all over blacks and helped keep them poor.

    Any WN who tries to deny that is a fool and a liar and you’ll be made fun of (rightly) by liberals.

    BUT . . . and here’s what WNs need to add . . . that’s not the complete story.  You can’t just say that whites kept down the blacks . . .

    Whites stomped on blacks because experience taught that blacks are dirty, violent animals who can’t function in white society.  They’re excluded from participation ALL OVER THE WORLD for the same reason.  That’s why Haiti (where blacks have ruled without whites for 200 years) is such a sh*thole.

    Blacks ARE excluded today for the same reason:  They’re stupid, lazy, violent and useless.    Yes, the tiny percentage of GOOD blacks who migfht make it in business and society are often excluded along with the other 99%

    That’s why we need to separate and go our own way.  Both races will be better off for it.

    • The black middle class exists because the government creates jobs where nothing has to get done. The black middle class is made up mostly of people who have these jobs. Some of the other black middle class jobs are the one who have the AA positions in companies. These jobs end up being the same thing, positions where nothing useful actually gets doen. It’s usually some silly position in “human resources”.

  • B

    Our society creates poverty every time it rewards a woman who has a baby she can not afford in the first place with a welfare check.

  • The thing that blacks in america will NEVER understand is that they are completely 100% OWNED by the federal government, in much the same way that plantation masters owned slaves.  The only difference is that instead of picking cotton and cooking, the modern black slave’s job is to destroy.   Destruction of the Western world via insanely high crime rates, miscegenation and collapse of the major cities is the role of the modern american government owned black.  The federal government pays these people to remain poor (relatively speaking of course).  The federal government has the blacks right where it wants them and the blacks have no idea that they are pawns.  The federal government dictates how they act because they feed and clothe Tolkien’s orcs.  The Federal Government is basically Sauron at this point.  It directs its gaze on the White world and the orcs form up to launch war upon it.

  • Intelligence is directly related to wealth. High IQ= more cash. not very difficult to understand.

    • Screamin_Ruffed_Grouse

      Good, but oversimplifyed. There are variables. My wife & I both have IQs north of 140, but that hasn’t stopped each of us from making decisions which have resulted in a less than optimal financial life, currently. To be fair tho, if we had the average IQ of blacks, we’d likely be worse stil, and by far.

      • perhaps it should be stated differently. High IQs usually equate to being the high earners in each profession. Some professions have much more earning potential. Some professions have a historically very low earning potential until a person with a high IQ performs it.One example would be “radio talk show host”- before Rush Limbaugh, such people made little money. AM radio was considered dead. There are some people who make a lot of money doing some things when most people don’t make any money doing those things.

      • And that’s what I’m talking about- in general it’s impossible for the black race to succeed on their own, with an average 80 IQ. And as for the poverty nonsense, I always remind people that crime actually went DOWN during the Great Depression, since the country was majority White. During our next Even Greater Depression/Collapse, we will not fare so well. Having cities that are majority black or hispanic means we’re going to be living in a Twilight Zone episode.





    • Lee

      I agree.  The simple fact is that the higher the IQ, the more opportunities you will have.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to see any Mensa members living in Section 8 housing and drawing a welfare check.  Conversely, someone with an IQ of 80 isn’t going to be a nuclear power plant operator – Homer Simpson excluded…

      I fully believe that IQ drives a lot of things.  Culture for one.  Behavior for another.  And for centuries, there was a natural order of things.  However, in the past 50 years, the failed welfare policies have disrupted this natural order.  We have given the low IQ, non-producers the means to live a parasitic lifestyle.  They will eventually kill the host if left unchecked.  With 49% paying no income taxes, we are almost to that point.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Steve Sailer at VDARE.com has a succinct, sophisticated  formula for reducing poverty.  The government must:

    A) Not let in so many poor foreigners?

    B) Encourage American poor people to have fewer children, especially not at young ages?

    C) Encourage American non-poor people to have more children, especially at younger ages?

    FOOTNOTE: To increase poverty, reverse Sailer’s recommendations (which happens to be official U. S. government policy). 

  • Detroit_WASP

    People are not dumb because the are poor.   They are poor because they are dumb.

  • For a lot of blacks, poverty is all they know. For women, their mother and grandmother had kids out of wedlock, so they continue to follow the family tradition of having kids out of wedlock and living on welfare. They have role models when it comes to marriage because for the most part, no one in their family has ever been married. It seems that the only blacks who marry are the well educated and financially well off. Whereas, with whites and Asians, the majority of adults tend to marry and raise families and have lower rates of illegitimacy than blacks or Latinos.

    • MBlanc46

      Black girls are pregnant in their teens. Black boys are involved in gangs by the time they’re junior high school age. Even those who have the intelligence to escape the ghetto are thoroughly enmeshed in ghetto behavior by adulthood. It’s both nature and nurture.

  • Detroit_WASP

    to remember.


    People are not dumb because the are poor.   They are poor because they are dumb.


    The people that never came up with the wheel, indoor
    plumbing or a written language are NOT intellectually equal to the people that
    split the atom, put a man on the moon and cured polio. 

    It would be silly…even stupid to think they are equal.


    Smart and hard working are not bad things.  Don’t apologize for either.


    Stupid and lazy are bad things.  Don’t be afraid to point that out.


    “The power of accurate observation is commonly caused
    cynicism by those who haven’t got it” 
    – George Bernard Shaw

  • “People were not just struggling because of their personal deficiencies. There were structural factors at play. People weren’t poor because they made bad decisions. They were poor because our society creates poverty.”

    To misquote Filp Wilson: “The blue-eyed devil made me do it”.

  • C_C_Conrad

    I think that people, even whites, are constantly pulled in two directions.  Nature pulls in one direction and logic pulls in the other.  For example, nature says have more sex & multiply.  A few thousand years ago that was fine but in today’s society this will guarantee failure.   A mind must be controlled by reason & logic if one is to succeed.  People with low IQ’s cannot apply reason or logic to their everyday lives as well as those with higher IQ’s.   Here is a point that you should not miss – the proper choice of a good mate helps to ensure children that are smarter & healthier.  That means they will be more inclined to be reasonable and logical.  This natural eugenics. 

    For those that have read Jack’s War, take a close look at the analogy of Jack & Libby. 

  • youhavetherighttoremainsilent

    i know, off topic but i was not going to vote but after watching this debate i am going to make the effort to go and  vote for romney because he made the effort. i am suddenly a big romney fan. he really gave his all.

    • Wow. You are convinced by one debate? How about look a little deeper. I’m voting Obama because a victory for him will be best long term. A Romney win will just keep the cycle of Democratic and Republican puppets going with no positive change whatsoever. If Obama wins I think it will help people actually wake up from their liberal comas and see reality.  Also, it opens up the door quite nicely for Rand Paul in 2016.  

      • Oh I get it. So if your finger is bleeding, open up your wrist to really get the blood flowing then it you’ll get more attention in the emergency room. If of course you don’t die first. Good logic you got going there.

        • Romney and Obama are virtually the same. While I do think Romney would do less damage to the country over the next 4 years than Obama, I think that difference is trivial compared to the polarization 4 more years of Obama will bring. Don’t make inaccurate analogies. 

          • Bon, From the Land of Babble


            With all due respect, because I think you are a great poster:

            I am writing this from a state where my vote for president doesn’t matter.  Where the democrat contender for senator refuses to debate her republican opponent because she is ahead by 20 points.  

            The republicans have been rendered irrelevant in perpetuity.

            By the time 0bama is done with another 4 years, it won’t matter, there won’t be anything “to wake up to” — he will use EO to amnesty 20+ million illegal aliens who will then have the “right” of family reunification to bring in even MORE democratic voters.  Do I think Romney will do this?  NO.

            If re-elected, lame-duck Obama will most likely “nominate” one or two new justices for SCOTUS.  Do you think he’ll select another Scalia or those similar to the ones he’s already appointed — uber lefties like Sodamayor and kagan who believe that discrimination against White children is OK.   Yes, Romney may nominate the same types — but I already KNOW 0bama will because we have his record.

            SCOTUS has tremendous power over Americans and the appointments are for life.

            We will have 4 more years of utterly incompetent, White -hating Eric Holder who believes racist black thugs intimidating Whites at voting venues in violation of Federal Laws is OK.  He also openly told a congressional committee that Hate Crime Laws do not protect White Americans.  He armed Mexican drug cartels with high powered weapons so he could implement more gun control against White Americans.  

            After all Holder is on record as stating:  “It is wrong to carry a gun.”

            We have a head of homeland security, Napolitano, who declared that the border areas are safe and believes the greatest threat to America is returning U.S. veterans:   Returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country, she said. Some of them indeed want to do what happened in Oklahoma City.

            Shameful indeed.

            I will not vote for another 4 years of an anti-White, anti-American big-government regime to lord over Amerikans with an iron fist. 

            Do I want Romney as my president.  NO.  

            But I want the far worse 0bama even less.


          • You make some good points, especially about the Supreme Court and amnesty. I still have to think about it some more.

  • Jethro Gunter

      “To proclaim oppression and still expect to find the oppressed equally
    represented among those with historic achievements and contributions is
    almost a contradiction in terms.”-Thomas Sowell

  • libertarian1234

    “People weren’t poor because they made bad decisions. They were poor because our society creates poverty.”
    “Maybe the professor who made the statements about poverty—who, by the way, is black—was thinking that it’s black people who have been made poor by society.”
    Of course that’s what he was thinking.
    Blacks can’t truly succeed economically as a group in a society based on meritocracy, such as capitalism. 

    In fact, they can’t really succeed much in any manner outside of mud huts and villages and they don’t do too well there either, because they’ve lived a stone-age existence for five thousand years without developing a written language or even the wheel.

    Instead of constantly spinning their wheels trying to change  societies they have migrated to they really should filter back to Africa where they don’t have to keep whining about racism and oppression as illegitmate excuses for being unable to compete and fit in to other cultures.


  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    In today’s Amerika, hard work is deeply penalized through satanic taxes while government dependence is greatly rewarded.  It is ridiculous that we have three and four continuous generations of welfare recipients who are content to live off of the government and use the so-called safety net as a hammock.  As of now, 49% of all Americans live in a home that receives some form or government benefits.

    Someone has to pay for all of this and the 0bama economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone.

    Federal housing assistance has increased by 42% since 2006.  The government pays for cell phones, cell phone service and deeply subsidized home Internet service.  The Low-Income Gasoline Assistance Program, introduced in Congress will give “qualifying households” money for gas. In California, mandatory auto insurance is deeply discounted by the government.  16 million Americans are about to be added to the Medicaid rolls via obamacare.

    There are 47 million more Americans on food stamps since 0bama became president — but that’s Bush’s fault, right?  Or perhaps this is 0bama’s way of “leveling that playing field” that he kept mentioning during last night’s debate. 

    If 0bama is re-elected, he will use EO to amnesty 20+ million illegal aliens giving them full rights to the American welfare and medical systems — along with preferences over and above your White children.  One more SCOTUS appointment and AA will be permanently set in stone.

    ‘This is what 0bama considers the Amerikan Dream.  For the pogency of the Whites who created this system, it has become their worst nightmare.

    Any objections you cold-hearted racists?  Your job is to work hard to feed the government entitlement programs or to provide cannon fodder for its unending overseas wars.


  • Negroes are poor because of immorality not because of racism or capitalism.  Those that think so cannot comprehend why there are poor whites.  If some 13 year old slut shits out another baby just to get a raise in welfare, they are locked into poverty until all the welfare benefits kick in.  When I lived in Seattle, San Francisco and NYC, I noticed that the rich and the welfare whores where the only ones who were having babies.

  • kjh64

    What is the definition of poverty for those that claim 36% of Blacks are poor? I have been around a lot of Blacks and I have yet to see ANY that are poor. Seriously, they ALL have the latest cell phone, preferable a blackberry,  i-pods,computers, jewelry and bling, nice clothes, weaves, drive nice cars, are ALWAYS eating out etc. This includes all of the single moms with their well fed kids dressed in little Tommy Hilfiger sports outfits. Poor my you know what.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Blacks are indeed slaves of the democratic party, despite what Hildabeast says.

    Blacks also don’t “get” that Whites are the best friends they’ve ever had and ever will have.
    When we Whites are reduced to an insignificant minority, lorded over by Asians or Hispanics our wealth and homelands gone, what do you think will happen to blacks?

    I know of no other group that despises blacks as much as Asians do, with Hispanics a close second.

    Our demise will be catastrophic for them.



  • William Allingham

    I think that humans are composed by two aspects: the animal one and the human part. I believe that when our animal face shows we all can be very similar. Some people focus on this aspect to argue that because of that; all human groups are the same, but they ignore the human aspect, that which makes us care for accuracy, for planning, that sees an advantage on cooperation and thus being kind to others. In those things human groups differ very significantly so we could say that we all have the same potential for doing wrong but not the same potential for doing good.

  • Sloppo

    Blacks and whites have very different rates of criminal violence.  The category of criminal violence with the greatest disparity between the black and white races might be interracial sexual assault.  According to USDOJ statistics, blacks commit that offense at a rate greater than 1000 times higher than whites.  It is difficult for me to understand how someone can believe black men rape white women because of their financial poverty.  Moral poverty could cause that, but not financial poverty.

  • Heinrich24

    This basically the standard Conservative line which ignores the racial-genetic factors that truly explain the bulk of the problem. While the liberal “education” establishment and immigration as well, have certainly exacerbated the problem, they in and of  themselves are NOT the problem.

  • Jed Sant Devi


    The long and the short of it all is that the Obama Agenda is based on a massive redistribution of wealth from the shrinking White population to the increasing millions of Black and Brown people. The few Black and Brown yuppies who have good paying jobs and who actually pay some taxes, need an asterisk because the vast majority of Black and Brown yuppies got their jobs thanks to racial quotas –at the expense of a White person, who must spend additional months looking for work until he or she gets a lower-paying second rate job.

  • I can speak to accounting, as I work for a fairly large national public accounting firm.  I’ve run across very few black CPA’s (I live outside of DC so I’m not in an un-diverse area), and the ones that I have met act white, so to speak. 

    Please note that I use the term CPA literally – folks outside of the profession tend to use CPA and accountant interchangeably, but that is not correct.  All practicing CPA’s are accountants, but not all practicing accountants are CPA’s.  Normally, I would not split hairs, but it is important  for a discussion like this – I am referring to people who are accountants and have passed the CPA exam, something that is not easy to do. 

    Not all accountants are CPA’s, and this describes most of the black accountants I have dealt with.  They usually work in private industry (i.e. not in public accounting) doing bookkeeping, project accounting, or payroll.  Those are not easy jobs, but not at the same level of intellectual rigor and effort required to work in public practice.

    • Only a CPA can sign off on an audit.  That’s the big difference between a CPA and just a plain ordinary accountant.

      Speaking of:


      Pay close attention to that article, Crystal Evans.  We have mildly sparred on this issue in the past.  The other side of this coin is that what isn’t being outsourced to India is being insourced using mainly Indian and Filipino H-1B visas.

      • Yes, it is true there are few differences between the types of things CPA’s and accountants that are not CPA’s are allowed to do by law or by professional standards.  But if you’re looking to do some estate planning or understand what happens from a financial standpoint if you sell or restructure your business, you’ll probably pick John the CPA over Quantrell the bookkeeper.   

        The point I was trying to make is more about the characteristics of the people who have the ability to, and are willing to put in the work to obtain their license and do the things necessary to maintain it, versus those that don’t bother.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in my line of work I don’t meet too many blacks who fall into the first category, and a lot who fall into the second one.    

        • Most black accountants are little more than bookkeepers. Your’e right in that people prefer actual CPAs to non-CPA accountants for a reason, because of the educational and testing and experience requirements that CPAs must have. And there’s no affirmative actioning your way around it.