Nearly 1 million Ontarians are on social assistance, but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of attention they get.

Yes, that’s an enormous number of people. No, it doesn’t translate into 1 million votes.

Low-income people tend toward lower election turnouts, poor children aren’t voters, and welfare families can’t afford campaign donations. But the bigger reason why poverty remains a low priority for politicians is the cost — political and fiscal.

Allocating too much money for welfare risks antagonizing other voters who fret about waste or dependency. And who want their own needs and entitlements taken care of first — like hydro rate reductions, child-care subsidies, or middle class tax cuts.