Thom and All:
while being born into poverty is a recipe for intergenerational poverty, it should be considered that poverty is also an institution. Here is a definition from Websters for "institution:
in·sti·tu·tion [in-sti-too-shuhn, -tyoo-]* any established law, custom, etc.* A well established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of culture
Institutions remain in place because, inspite of the horrible damage they may do for many, they also benefit others. The Institution of Poverty remains in place with the use of racism, sexism (including LGBTQ), ageism, classism and disablities. While it is illegal to discriminate against most of these "isms", it is perfectly legal to discriminate against anybody if they are poor for housing, jobs, even entry to public buildings. The Institute of Poverty replaces all these "reasons" for discrimination and can simply now put it down to someone being in poverty and pretend it is not because they are a person of color, the wrong sex, disabled, or senior.
Poor people are far from the "burden" they are consididered to be. Many people ask, "How many jobs has a poor person ever made?" The answer is "Lots!" Poverty is Big Business for cheap labor, as a matter of fact, for many TANF recipients they are forced to work for free alongside opaid workers in for-profit companies, Poverty is a job creator for people managing people in poverty as "gatekeepers" in both government and mega-non-proftis. Poverty is a massive Cayman Islands for the rich to hide their $Millions in mega-non-profits and foundations. In every single state the poor pay the highest rate of taxes than any other class (check out your state here: http://www.itepnet.org/whopays ) . In other words the upper classes depend upon the poor in order to maintian their own class status.
While it is painful to admit, let's just face it; in a capitalistic society, poverty would *not* exist unless somebody can make money from it. Until we can admit it is an institution like sexism and racism is and slavery was, we will not be able to tackle the issue. Period.
My 2 cents
Cat in Seattle
Board member of POWER; http://www.mamapower.org