How wide is the path out of poverty?

Ever since Will Smith did the movie about the guy who beat all odds, The Pursuit of Happyness, Conservatives have had a token success story to justify their ‘hard work leads out of the gutter’ theory.

path out of poverty

is the path out of poverty wide enough


Now they are trumpeting Herman Cain’s success story as proof that anyone who is still impoverished is so because of their own inadequacies and laziness, and doesn’t deserved to be helped by the larger society.

Statistics could be helpful here: what percentage of poor people manage to rise above their poverty to become ‘successful’?
– if the answer is 1/10,000 I will say that the ‘path out of poverty is not wide enough’;
– if the answer is 20%, then I will re-think my position.

I believe (based on my life experiences) that the answer is something small like 1 in a million. And if it is so low, what is the appropriate explanation for that one rare success story? Does it prove that, in theory, there does exist a path out of poverty that is available to everyone? Then why don’t more impoverished people use that path? Or could the explanation merely be that of the statistical outlier?
statistical outlier



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