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It was embarrassing for my mother, but I’ll always remember her determination to get off welfare and get a job. After one journey to the market when I was 10, she said to me, “Every time we go to the store, I am so ashamed. I’ve got to get a job. I may not be home with you as much, but I’ll be making my own money again, and I’ll be in charge of my life. Remember. Tammy, never let yourself get into a situation where you have to rely on the government so you can live your life. It’s not worth it. It’s killing me.”

My mother wasn’t a political woman, and she had no idea how political that statement really was. In fact, it was a demand for the more natural state of personal freedom and independence. For her, it was brought home when her situation became apparent to other people and, therefore, to herself. While I’m glad she had that safety net, she wanted better, and she knew it was possible.

It’s a powerful thing to know, really know, that things are bad and that you need to make a change. It’s also why politicians are determined to make sure today’s poverty is hidden not just from the public, but from the poverty-stricken themselves.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News and PJTV contributor.