Monday, July 22, 2013

Who "Lost" the War on Poverty?

There are an increasing number of people discussing the failure of the War on Poverty to end poverty over the last 50 years. While it is true that poverty still exists, that is not due to the failure to improve the lives of the poor. Instead there are three reasons why there are just as many poor still among us, despite the trillions we have spent, and the millions who have improved their lives.

The first, most obvious, and mostly ignored reason is that we keep importing other countries' poor people, somewhere between 15 and 20 million of them in the last 25 years. That's between 5% and 10% of our population. These people are mostly uneducated peasants unprepared (and often unwilling because they are here illegally) to operate in a modern society. Instead, they bring their native countries' pathologies with them. To make things worse, usually any wealth they accumulate is sent back to their native country to either subsidize the lives of people there, or worse, pay for them to come here also.

The second reason is the breakdown of the family. The breakdown is due to both government policies and cultural shifts. The breakdown of the family over the last 50 years has produced generations of governmental dependence and a permanent culture of failure. In successful cultures, dependence on handouts is seen as disgraceful, or at least embarrassing. In failed cultures, the opposite is true. People who fail to take as many handouts as possible are seen as suckers. A significant number of the poor in the United States today have not only been poor for generations, but the same is true for everyone they know.

The third reason is that we keep changing the goal line. It is entirely possible for people to be considered poor by the government today, that have a standard of living that would have been considered wealthy by the standards when LBJ started his war on poverty. The biggest problem facing the poor in the United States today is obesity!

We need to come to the realization that despite our best efforts, there is always going to be an underclass (especially with open borders) that is ignorant, functionally illiterate, actually hostile to the culture of success, steeped in the culture of victimization, and loudly demanding the government provide them an increasingly higher standard of living. The question is, what do we do with them? I am stumped. While I abhor their solutions and ideology, you have to give the Progressives credit for thinking about this problem back in the 1920's. The modern Left has simply decided to abuse and manipulate this underclass for political power.

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