Buffalo and Poverty

Almost 30% of Buffalonians live in poverty…the figure is sad…what is even more sad is that there are only two other cities with a population over 250K with a worse rate.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the numbers mirror the overall decline of other aspects of Buffalo…schools…neighborhoods…economy…etc…it also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you are born poor, the likelihood is that you will most likely end up caught in the cycle of poverty with little chance of breaking out of it.

Realistically, large cities always house a bulk of a region’s poor, but Buffalo is also caught in a cycle of sorts…it is still losing people…the economy isn’t getting any better…this translates into the number of impoverished people inside the city to be a growing part of the population…they are generally the ones left behind…they can’t afford to move, etc.

The key to change this cycle is the local economy and leadership…have a growing economy and leadership to push Buffalo in the right direction and things will change…the answer seems simple.

The obstacles though are Albany and what goes on there and how Buffalo/WNY doesn’t have the political will to stand up against what goes on there.  The political climate of this region and state exist in a vacuum…government is run as if it were 40 years ago.  Buffalo’s politics reflect what we see downstate…allegiance to party bosses and political motivations outweigh what should be done to help WNY.

How do we change things when the system is rigged to keep things status quo?  It seems the only time politicians want change is when things hit condition critical…take the budget crisis in Albany.  Will this fix what is fundamentally wrong with Albany…doubt it.

A few years ago both Buffalo and Erie County’s financial woes came to a head…but have either really done enough to ensure a long-term fiscally sound future…state control boards are one thing…re-inventing local government to reflect what the area really needs is another.

This all leads back to Buffalo and poverty…fix local and state government and make the region more attractive to do business in…the poverty rates will go down.

Until then, the cycle continues.

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