Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For ye have the poor always with you*

Today the Federal Government has 59 major welfare programs and spends more than $100 billion a year on them. What has all this money done? Well, too often it has only made poverty harder to escape. Federal welfare programs have created a massive social problem. With the best of intentions, government created a poverty trap that wreaks havoc on the very support system the poor need most to lift themselves out of poverty: the family. Dependency has become the one enduring heirloom, passed from one generation to the next, of too many fragmented families.

That from President Reagan and his January 1988 state of the union speech.

From 1964 to 2006, it is estimated that between $8-10 billion dollars have been spent on those poverty programs mentioned above by Reagan where we, no doubt, have tacked on two or three more in the two decades since that speech.

Just think of 10 massive Porkulus spending bills spread out the last 45 years or so and spent on the poor alone.

And yet, the Associated Press is freaked out that despite this war on poverty, the President and his party are going to take a beating in November, in part, because the poverty numbers are at near-record highs.

The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Census figures for 2009 - the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency - are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.

It's unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase - from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent - would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

"The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there," Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, "If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle."

(italics, ours)

There's nothing unfortunate about it whatsoever. Is the AP really that dense that they cannot detect a causal relationship between Obama's economic policies and the high unemployment rates and these new poverty numbers? To ask it another way: Precisely what has it been about Team O's economic policies that would lead you to believe that they would actually lower the poverty numbers?

Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint - social constraints prevent the poor from working - will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.

"The Great Recession will surely push the poverty rate for working-age people to a nearly 50-year peak," said Elise Gould, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute. She said that means "it's time for a renewed attack on poverty."

Terrific. Another war. Or more accurately, merely an extension of the 46 year slog in which we are currently.

And what are these social constraints Gould speaks of? As much as the statist fantasy mindset wants to believe, blacks and minorities are no longer facing Bull Connor's fire hoses nor are they denied access to equal public education as they were back in the 50s and 60s. That tired argument no longer holds water and the fact that we currently have a black man in the Oval Office should be the nail in the coffin for "social constraints" as an institutional issue here in America and specific regions of this country.

And from the files of Never let a crisis go to waste:

Beginning next year, the government plans to publish new, supplemental poverty figures that are expected to show even higher numbers of people in poverty than previously known. The figures will take into account rising costs of medical care, transportation and child care, a change analysts believe will add to the ranks of both seniors and working-age people in poverty.

Recall late 2007/early 2008 when an accomplishment-wanting junior senator from Illinois was panicked to get something, anything passed through Congress with his name on it, he latched onto a $845 billion dollar Global Poverty Act which thankfully never became an act.

Given the statist mindset for wanting to "do something" with respect to any and all of society's ills, the release of these new poverty numbers and Obama being rebuffed the first time around, well... you do the math.

As for Us? When we were back in high school in the mid-80s, a Russian film crew came over to do a documentary about poverty in America and particularly in the American inner cities to demonstrate just what capitalist "social constraints" do to blacks and minorities.

The film makers, of course, wanted to show American poverty in the most soul-crushing and bleakest of terms. What the Russian citizens saw instead was... Nike basketball sneakers and color TVs in most of the homes and apartments of the American poor. Russian citizens were more than ready for some capitalist-borne discrimination and poverty.

Folks, time to pull out and declare victory in the war on poverty.

* Matthew 26:11