When Lyndon Baines Johnson announced his War on Poverty in 1964, I wonder if he expected we’d still be waging it 50 years later?
We’ve now spent over $20 trillion on the War on Poverty, and what have we got to show for it? A welfare system that has been institutionalized into one of the country’s main industries, the creation of a new, permanent, underclass of non-contributing members of society, and the destruction of the black family: in short, a system that does more to perpetuate the existence of poverty than eliminate it. You could call it collateral damage.
By the way, that $20 trillion we’ve spent so far exceeds our $17 trillion national debt. In fact some would argue that it IS our $17 trillion national debt and if not for the “Great Society’s” “war on poverty,” The US would be debt free with a $3 trillion surplus. Butt that’s another topic.
While many have suggested that the best way to end this War is to declare victory and get out, like Big Guy did in Iraq (never mind Fallujah...nothing to see there), others like Shirley Jackson Lee, have an alternate solution: let’s call it something other than what it is. Instead of calling transfer payments “welfare” let’s call them something else – like “transitional living funds.” She said these transitional living funds should be considered “huge safety nets — not handouts.” Because making people feel better is more important than actually solving the problems creating the need for welfare, excuse me, “transitional living expenses.” Because when you can make people feel better they’ll vote for you forever.
The real question left unanswered – indeed - not even asked, is what would that poverty line graph look like if we had spent that $20 trillion on things to grow the economy rather than on things that just grow a perpetual dependent underclass?
Alas, once you get off the right path, it becomes increasingly harder to find your way back to the harbor, and the rising tide.
I’m thinking we could use a little more wisdom around here, and a lot more integrity. Because I’m not sure we are on the right path, or even looking for it very hard.
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Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network