As I sit here this morning reading about the Chicago teacher strike and watching my daily dose of MSNBC, I realize that there is one component to the poverty problem that goes unmentioned, and one that is actually at the root of the problem, but an uncomfortable and politically incorrect fact, so it’s no surprise why it is glossed over. And that root of the problem is …….. irresponsible parenting. MSNBC was showing a chart on the material items that the “poor” in America own, a chart of which we have all seen and one that shows that over half, in fact nearly 80% of what all “poor” households own and that is – microwave ovens, tv’s, cars, computers, cellphones, etc., so it is not a lack of material items that poor children are deprived of. What they are deprived of is a responsible parent, or preferably PARENTS, in the plural. We, as a society, have spent trillions of dollars on welfare programs over the last couple of decades, and current welfare spending is at record levels, including free breakfast and lunch programs at schools, increases in unemployment benefits, increases in job training programs, increases in WIC benefits to single mothers, and continued increases in pay and benefits to teachers, as evidenced by the tentative agreement in Chicago, so we now have teachers who should be well motivated and equipped to properly instruct our children. What we have, is a lack of responsible parents. Parents of whom will choose to stay married, only have children that they can afford, make sure that their children are up, fed and ready for school, make sure that their children are home safe at night, fed, and have their homework done, and make sure that their children understand the consequences of making bad decisions. You can not smoke pot, drink alcohol, do drugs, have promiscuous unprotected sex, tattoo your entire body, pierce every orifice, and neglect your studies and expect to lead a very productive life. We can spend all the money in the world on poverty programs, and we can have all the government panels in the world addressing the problem, but unless and until we address this simple truth, nothing will change.