People aren't poor because they're lazy

Poverty is caused by a number of issues, primary among them unemployment or low-wage employment — not laziness or lack of personal responsibility. Far from it. Those exist, but it's safe to say the "working poor" work long hours often at two or more jobs for subsistence-level compensation.

Because of their income, or lack of it, the poor cannot afford health care, making them more susceptible to disease and less likely to work full or part-time. The remedy is not welfare hand-outs of the past, meager and demeaning as they are, or welfare reform, which does nothing to ensure a living wage for newly hired workers.

A living wage shouldn't be too difficult for a corporation to pay its workers when its officers make hundreds of times what their employees take home. If, for whatever reason, a corporation cannot, or will not pay a fair wage then, the earned income tax credit (negative income tax), will kick in to provide a living wage, giving the worker dignity and the means to support a family.

Lee Lears, Annapolis

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