It was supposed to be "prosperity versus poverty" because it was a matter of "right versus wrong." In reality, however, it was liberal government spending versus conservative free-market enterprise with some noteworthy results.
Excluding the figures for 2013, government in the United States since 1964 spent more than $16T to win the war on poverty. Despite this massive investment, today 15% of of people in the United States continue to live in poverty with 22% of children living in poverty.
$16T for those meager results?
The Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, Michael Tanner, believes these outcomes are the result of a failed concept: The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable rather than giving people living in poverty the tools that will help them escape poverty.
A correct concept, Tanner argues in a FoxNews op-ed, would shift the nation's antipoverty efforts away from government programs that provide money or goods and services to those living in poverty and toward efforts that create the conditions and incentives that will make it easier for people to escape poverty.
It's the traditional concept of "teach them how to fish rather than give them a fish."
To this end, Tanner proposes three "keys":
- Finish school: Reform the failed public school system to encourage competition and choice.
- Do not get pregnant outside marriage: End current welfare programs that subsidize out-of-wedlock birth.
- Get a job and stick with it: Terminate government policies--in particular, high taxes and regulatory excess--that inhibit growth and job creation. Fewer than 3% of the nation's full-time workers are poor, compared to ~25% for those without a job.
Obviously, the so-called war on poverty and the concepts behind it have failed. What was promised didn't deliver. As Walter E. Williams puts it: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do. And that is to destroy the black family.” Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell concurs: “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
Yet, the true believers continue to push their failed concept irrespective of the data indicate. It's time to adopt a concept that will work to end poverty in the United States.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Michael Tanner's article, click on the following link:
"War on Poverty at 50 -- Despite Trillions Spent, Poverty Won."