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How Poverty Grows



Sometimes, poverty is hidden inside the kitchen. A husband and wife argue over which bills they can pay. The children are asleep after another dinner of mac & cheese.

Sometimes, poverty is on display as skinny children in India or Mexico beg for rupees or dineros. In Utah, poverty is on exhibit up and down major streets. Payday loans, pawn shops and title-loan companies are more plentiful than fast-food restaurants.

How can Utah legislators drive to the Capitol past these totems of poverty and desperation and not attempt to alleviate poverty in their state? How much does the state’s dominant religion contribute to poverty with its encouragement of large families and its requirement of 10 percent tithing? The church tries to enforce all of this with threat of hell or reward of the celestial heaven.

What is the responsibility of the local chambers of commerce or the state’s recruitment of businesses if they use Utah’s low wages to entice businesses to relocate here? How much are elected officials influenced by the lobbyists of pawn shops, payday loan and title-loan companies? These predatory businesses require lax restrictions, high interest rates and desperate citizens.

Utah powers congratulate themselves for not having a state lottery and having severe restrictions against liquor and pornography. In my opinion, “sinful” states are more moral than a state that has so many businesses that prey on the disadvantaged.

A state GOP powerful enough to launch an expensive fight to wrest federal lands from the U.S. government and a church powerful enough to send unpaid teenage salespeople all over the world can surely help eliminate the need for these predatory businesses that only survive because of desperate citizens.