In your recent editorial “Our View: GDP growth alone won’t fix child poverty” (Oct. 7), the argument is made that poverty is largely due to a shortage of such programs as the Child Tax Credit and food assistance. As you conclude, “Fully funding programs that help poor families gain regular nutrition and health care … is not only the best way to help poor children – it may be the only way.”

It may be the only way, and then again it may not be. That analysis is based completely on what is called the victim mentality, the assumption that one’s problems are due entirely to outside forces.

Missing is any mention of personal responsibility, that a person who is in poverty can do something to lift himself or herself up. For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 21.2 percent of families headed by a single person are below the poverty line, while just 4.7 percent of families headed by married couples are below the poverty line. This would suggest that getting married before having children, or remaining married, mitigates poverty. Individuals can accomplish this without government assistance.

It is ironic that presenting a perspective that lacks any mention of responsibility may, in and of itself, reduce any attempt at being responsible. In other words, your editorial against poverty may, by its implicit message, be contributing to that exact problem.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

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