Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A different approach to poverty

Here British Conservative Leader David Cameron pits himself against Gordon Brown, Labour's PM-in-waiting. As political speeches go, it's really not bad.

"We desperately need new thinking if we're to tackle the problems of multiple deprivation.

We can't keep pulling the same levers and hope for different results.

We can't keep growing and growing the welfare state.

We must realise that Gordon Brown's ever-growing state cannot win the war on poverty on its own.

Gordon Brown says that only the state can guarantee fairness.

One look at his record exposes the hollowness of his claim.

If life in Calton and Drumchapel is his definition of fairness, I suggest he rethinks his guarantee."

Then he draws on the work of William Galston....

That much was demonstrated by William Galston, the liberal academic who inspired the Clinton-era welfare reforms.

His genius was to relate facts and figures to real lives lived by real people in the real world.

For instance, he found that three questions hold the key to whether an American citizen avoids poverty:

Did you finish high school?
Did you marry before having children?
Did you have children after 20?

He found that of the people who did all three, only 8% were poor; but of those who failed to do all three, 79% were poor.

....to sketch a plan for Britain. Worth a read.

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