Rebuttal Essay to Lawrence Solomon's Article "To Have or Have Not: Poverty is Really a Matter of Choice"

Essay by Chink182High School, 12th gradeA-, April 2005

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Throughout history, society has faced many challenges and overcome many obstacles. However, a nemesis of society which has never been overcome to this day is poverty. Even in a wealthy country such as Canada, about 3 million or 1 in every 10 Canadians live in a household where getting enough food is a constant worry. There are many who have addressed this issue and many who have tried to come up with a solution but were unsucessful. The majority of poor people, if given the choice would hope for enough money to feel secure, feed their families and put their children through university. They article "To Have or Have Not" by Lawrence Solomon raises some valid arguments to support his claim that poverty is a choice. However, his belief that people choose to be poor may not reflect the majority. Many of his arguments are oversimplified and seem logical until one considers the many factors and different aspects in society which affect poverty.

In the article, Solomon states that "poverty reflects a personal inclination to live for the present rather than save for the future." He supports this statement using two personal examples of people he knows that are deemed poor by society but have chosen to live in poverty. However, his two examples may not be representative of the population below the poverty line. The National Population Health Survey which telephone surveyed some 50000 Canadians randomly, showed that one fifth of those surveyed had to reply on food banks, soup kitchens and other charitable organizations. Furthermore, it is suggested that the survey may be significantly underestimated because of the number of homeless and poor families that would not have phones. More than a third of households with incomes less than $20000 are "food insecure" and must adjust...