The War on Poverty has been an unmitigated failure!
Given the evidence, what other conclusion can one draw? Unless . . . unless the objective of the War on Poverty was NOT to decrease the percent of people living below the poverty level. Perhaps the purpose was to sentence generations of Americans to a life of dependency on the government for their basic needs and, by default, build a permanent underclass of voters dependent on government give-aways?
Fifty years and $20 trillion later, can we try something new?
Despite trillions of dollars in spending, poverty is widespread:
- In 1965, the poverty rate was 17.3 percent. In 2012, it was 15 percent.
- Over the past three years, “deep poverty” has reached its highest level on record.
- About 21.8 percent of children live below the poverty line.
Today, the federal government’s anti-poverty programs are duplicative and complex. There are
at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans. For instance, there are
dozens of education and job-training programs, 17 different food-aid programs, and over 20
housing programs. The federal government spent $799 billion on these programs in fiscal year
And a significant challenge today is the decline in labor-force participation.
- The labor-force participation rate has fallen to a 36-year low of 62.8 percent.
- CBO projects the rate will fall to 60.8 percent over the next decade.
A number of factors are causing this decline—changing demographics, slow economic growth. But federal policies are also discouraging work. For example, a rapid increase in disability caseloads has reduced the labor force. But a large problem is the “poverty trap.” There are so many anti-poverty programs—and there is so little coordination between them—that they often work at cross purposes and penalize families for getting ahead.
There are three main factors that contribute to poverty: Family structure, education, and work.
- Family structure – In 1965, the Moynihan Report identified the breakdown of the family as a key cause of poverty within the black community. The same holds true today except it isn’t just the black community that is dealing with the problem.
- Work – The labor force participation rate is at record lows. Less people working equals more people depend on government handouts.
- Education – Without a job, it is difficult to get out of poverty. And without education, it is difficult to find a job.
If you want you and your family to stay out of poverty, stay in school, get married, and get a job!
Of course, I oppose food stamps! It is not the job of government to feed anyone. All food aid should be undertaken by private organizations.
Of course, I oppose government unemployment compensation! It is not the job of the government to pay people to not work. Unemployment insurance should be provided by the private sector just like auto, life, and fire insurance. ~
Of course, I oppose welfare payments! It is immoral to take money from those who work and give it to those who don’t—even when the government does it. All charity should be private and voluntary.
Laurence M. Vance