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.