Poverty, the Never-Ending War

  I cannot conceive how we could ever end the war on poverty.  There simply are too many people who depend upon the existence of a poverty class in the United States for poverty to end. Face it, from the county level all the way to presidential cabinet positions, thousands of jobs require there to be a war on poverty.  To have a war on poverty, there must be a poverty class for whom the war must be fought. Since its inception as a pillar of progressive liberal president Lyndon Johnson’s, how to buy votes from a naive population, Great Society Program, the so-called War on Poverty has grown exponentially in both size and cost.  Despite all the growth in programs to combat poverty, and the trillions of dollars spent to end poverty, and development of whole departments of anti-poverty organizations, the Obama Administration reports that there are more people living in poverty than ever before.  Just how can this be?

  To be reasonable, there have been scores of poverty-stricken people in this country who have literally been saved because of the Great Society’s War on Poverty.  That doesn’t, however, even suggest an iota of success. The brutally honest truth of the matter is, there are more people who have become trapped in poverty than were ever saved.  There can be no other explanation.  When the government rewards people for failure to succeed, or worse for not trying to succeed, that is entrapment.  When temporary assistance programs become permanent generation-to-generation ways of life, this is entrapment.  When it is easier to live off government assistance than it is to find work or housing, then entrapment has taken hold.  That, in and of itself, is why no social welfare program has ever been ended, it can’t people become dependent upon them and continually demand more from the politicians who propose them.  Welfare buys votes, especially votes from people who don’t pay taxes to pay for those programs. People who subsist off of poverty programs do not want them to end.  Neither do the politicians who want their votes.

  There is another group of people dependent upon the waging of the war on poverty.  These are the vast army of civil servants who man the ever-expanding bureaucracies of social welfare agencies, both public and private.  Let’s face it, who supports poverty?  No one!  There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people whose jobs depend upon a social welfare services industry paid for in largest measure by taxpayer dollars, or through tax deferred foundations.  When social welfare programs, and don’t ever think that social security isn’t one of them, devour two-thirds of the national budget and even larger amount of many local budgets, there is something wrong.  The General Welfare Clause of the US Constitution had nothing to do with creating and maintaining a dependent poverty class within a welfare state!  When president Bill Clinton declared that his administration reduced the size of the federal government, what he really meant to say was that he reduced the size of the military sufficiently that the growth in the civilian bureaucracy wasn’t noticed.  Most of that growth was for social welfare program administration, people who have a job as long as there are poverty stricken people dependent upon government welfare.

  So, might poverty ever be defeated in America?  Of course it could be defeated, but not without a commitment to end welfare dependency, and not without the wholesale reduction of the size and scope of the social welfare structure, and workforce.  Right now there is no resolve. Maybe there will be, one day, when there are so many people on social welfare that there aren’t enough tax payers to pay for it anymore.

About Charles Carroll

I am a wealthy planter, originally from Maryland, and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. I served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later as United States Senator for Maryland. I was the only Catholic and last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
This entry was posted in Economic Development, Election 2012, Jobs & Workforce Development, Media and Reporting, NC Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Poverty, the Never-Ending War

  1. Anne Kelly says:

    I think your assumption that the poverty situation is not improved much as it could be. I disagree that the politicians are intentionally designing the support systems to prolong the poverty problem. Rather I think there is a more fundamental root cause not addressed by these policies, and the public and the corporations are mostly to blame.

    People want to purchase items as cheaply as possible. And corporations are pressured by investors and/or owners to make the largest profit possible. So each group contributes to the need for cheap labor. If the public forced the politicians to increase minimum wage, and provide minimum levels of benefits, then along with social training programs/education we could bring the poor people out of poverty.

  2. goose says:

    I think you failed economics. for manufactured items your approach would lead to overseas outsourcing. For services, some can’t be outsourced, the increase would just go to inflation and an increased cost of living for everyone rich or poor. The minimum wage has increased many times usually it results in less minimum wage jobs available and the people who were above mimimum wage then feel poorer and they insist on pay raises and this trickles upward through all costs. The ones that get hit and suffer from inflation are those on fixed incomes and savers. The non working poor are part of that group and they suffer with the rest.
    I think poverty is a state of mind todays poor are much better off in every way than my lower working class parents were 50 years ago!

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