Readers React: Americans are not as hard-hearted toward the poor as the L.A. Times made them out to be

A homeless man sits on a bench in Brownsville, Texas, on June 21.
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

To the editor: While I agree with The Times Editorial Board that recent actions taken by Congress and the Trump administration show a troubling attitude toward the poor, other parts of your editorial bemoaning the country’s “hardening of the heart” leave me a bit confused.

You cite recent United Nations reports on poverty in the U.S, then go on to say, “Polls suggest that most people disagree that helping the poor is the government’s responsibility.” I read the cited poll, which asked respondents who has the greatest responsibility to help the poor. The poll did not ask if the government has any responsibility.

In fact, about twice as many respondents stated that the government had the greatest responsibility as any other option (the poor themselves, families, churches and charities). Most other results from that poll similarly refute your claim.

Neema Akhtar, Los Angeles



To the editor: The Times reveals our own Great Wall holding people in poverty when it writes in the last paragraph, “The climb out of poverty is steep.”

The poor can receive food stamps, rent vouchers, free or low-cost healthcare and more. Pay up to $40,000 for one year of college? Stay poor and your kid will get a free ride.

If the same safety net was around in the early days of our country, the “go west, young man” fever would have prompted very few people to take the risks that expanded the United States.

Bob Munson, Newbury Park


To the editor: I’m still awakening every morning to process this: The president of the greatest democracy in the world ordered what amounts to the mental abuse and emotional torture of babies, children and their parents — people whose only “crime” was to try to bring their families to a place where rape, enslavement or early death is not their fate.

Instead of refuge, they found the youngest and most vulnerable torn from their arms and put into incarceration. Despite massive pushback by Americans of all stripes, the president and his minions thought nothing of what they had done, and they still don’t.


Our nation has crossed into frightening territory. Once it’s OK for a nation to inflict harm on children and families, it becomes OK for it to do anything else that’s immoral and cruel.

Walter Dominguez, Los Angeles

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