Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poverty, opportunity and motivation

I note that the Nuge has some strong views on the 'War on Poverty'.  (Why is everything a 'War On' something or other these days?)  I don't agree with everything he says, but he makes some good points.  Here's an excerpt.

American taxpayers have been conned into spending $15 trillion since 1965 on President Lyndon Johnson’s brownie-point “war to eliminate poverty.”

The results have been pathetically poor. The percentage of poor people in 1965 was roughly the same percentage of poor people in America today, but a staggering $15 trillion has been wasted.

Since 1965, we have fought the war on poverty with all the wrong generals, all the wrong tactics and all the wrong weapons. And it’s costing us $1 trillion a year to continue to lose this war.

What our $15 trillion has bought us is institutional and generational poverty. Reward bad decisions and bad decisions increase. Ya think?

. . .

If our goal is to win the war on poverty, it’s time we changed tactics. Instead of setting another trillion dollars on fire this year, I recommend we slam the financial door shut on pouring more hard-earned money after more bad money with guaranteed despicable results.

. . .

It’s really quite simple. The road from poverty to the middle class is paved with good decisions, willpower, a kick-butt work ethic and an alarm clock. That’s the recipe for wealth and glorious independence.

There's more at the link.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many Americans still have 'a kick-butt work ethic'.  It certainly seems to be missing from many college and university students, as attested to by this interview with Prof. Jack Chambliss.  It's worth watching.

I also can't help noting that the entire US federal deficit is about $15 trillion . . . the same amount that's been wasted on the 'War on Poverty'.  Correlation?  I bet there is.  I'd suggest ending the 'war' in order to deal with the deficit!



Dirk said...

What this country needs is a whole army of teachers like Professor Chambliss.

I have to say that I was sickened by the attitudes expressed by that 80% of his students.

perlhaqr said...


After nearly 50 years of making people increasingly dependent on the State, if you yanked that rug out from under the welfare classes, they'd riot. They (enough of them, anyway) well and truly believe that they have an absolute right to be supported, simply because they are capable of turning O2 into CO2 and food into shit.

I'm certainly not saying that it's correct to continue supplying them, but from a purely tactical point of view, it would be nice if we could come up with a solution that ends the "War on Poverty" without simultaneously triggering what would end up being the destruction of a number of cities and the slaughter of millions.

Don said...

"Fight the war on poverty - kill a poor man!"

- joke from the '60's.

Anonymous said...

The "War on " whatever meme is from the progressive playbook. They discovered long ago (a century?) that they could get away with so much (and get so much more money and power) if they just termed the cause du jour "the moral equivalent of war". So we get the war on AIDS, the war on pollution, the war on ... just name it.


Anonymous said...

The following links lead to a preview of a documentary currently being produced by a man named C. L. Bryant. Bryant is a grandson of former slaves and a former NAACP radical who has seen the light and realized that social entitlements have done more to hurt poor people and particularly the black race than any other social program in the history of the world. He gets it. Highly recommended as Peter would say.

Runaway Slave Movie Teaser 2010 - YouTube



Anonymous said...

And how much money have we poured into the rathole of the DOD since the same time period? Why is it that there is never such a thing as "enough" for the "War" Department, but if we actually spend money on helping people, or trying to help them, it's always a a "waste" of money?

trailbee said...

Guilt and greed works every time. What a great Prof! Converts make the best advertisers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
And how much money have we poured into the rathole of the DOD since the same time period? Why is it that there is never such a thing as "enough" for the "War" Department, but if we actually spend money on helping people, or trying to help them, it's always a a "waste" of money?

April 25, 2012 12:34 PM

The point is that these government entitlements don't actually help anyone. They just enable them to live far below their capabilities for generations.

Peter said...

@Anonymous at 12.34: You have a very valid point - the DoD budget has become just as bloated and misapplied as that for the so-called 'War on Poverty'. I also agree that 'actually spending money on helping people' is a very good thing, and I have no objection to part of my taxes being used in that way. The problem is, it's not being spent on helping people - it's being spent on bloated, inefficient bureaucracies and on lifetime-dependency-creating boondoggles that are basically political patronage rather than effective solutions to the problems confronting the poor. The clearest possible proof of that is that none of the programs of the 'War on Poverty' have actually succeeded in reducing poverty!

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. By that yardstick, the 'War on Poverty' can only be described as insane.