With a National Debt Reaching $18 Trillion, Progressives Still Pine for Another Government ‘War on Poverty’
Apparently progressives are not satisfied with a national debt that’s inching frighteningly close to $18 trillion. They’re still pining for another government “war on poverty,” based on the belief that individuals should not have to help themselves, because the almighty state has the money to take care of everyone’s needs.
The U.S. media is eager for war. And while its target is Iraq, activists have a golden opportunity to reframe this into a debate about spending priorities. On issue after issue—education, housing, health care, transportation, student debt—the American people are being shortchanged because Beltway wisdom says that the U.S. cannot “afford” solutions. Yet if we can send hundreds of millions of additional dollars to Iraq, the money is there for tackling poverty, inequality, and key domestic needs.
Is the United States still trapped in the mindset that led Lyndon Johnson to sacrifice his War on Poverty for a war in Vietnam that he knew could not be won?
That question is best answered with the following from FoxNews.com:
In 2012, the federal government spent $668 billion to fund 126 separate anti-poverty programs. State and local governments kicked in another $284 billion, bringing total anti-poverty spending to nearly $1 trillion. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.
Over, the last 50 years, the government spent more than $16 trillion to fight poverty.
Yet today, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty. That’s scarcely better than the 19 percent living in poverty at the time of Johnson’s speech. Nearly 22 percent of children live in poverty today. In 1964, it was 23 percent.
How could we have spent so much and achieved so little?
The answer to that is easy – you don’t solve social problems with giveaway programs. Handouts are only effective until they run out, then those who accept the handouts simply want more handouts. No lessons are learned, no skills are acquired, no work ethic is established.
By the way, is it a coincidence that the total spent to fight poverty over the last 15 years is almost identical to the size of our massive national debt?