PostHeaderIcon Helping The Poor

I am having blog-withdrawal problems and must contribute something – however, continuing to point out the myriad wrongdoings of the Obamanation and his administration is boring and repetitive. Add to that the fact that I have lost nearly all passion for things political and I am left with the nearly overwhelming need to say something despite having nothing very inteeresting to say.

Then, voila, last evening I found a subject – although nothing really earth shaking. Congressman Paul Ryan was commenting that after several decades and trillions of dollars spent, US government programs to help those in poverty had not worked. (Imagine that!)

Finally, something to dispute, and from a conservative mouth to boot!

No doubt many (if not most) of you agree with the congressman’s assessment. At one time, so did I. Then I realized that my perspective was far too limited. For sure, our government’s policies have not only NOT helped with our own poverty problems, they have exacerbated them. (Read several past contributions from yours truly explaining how our “war on poverty” is actually a “subsidy on poverty” and the known fact that when government subsidizes something, it causes that thing to expand, not contract.)

Anyway, what is my point? Simply this… United States anti-poverty programs, coupled with insane levels of regulation at all levels of government, further coupled with stupid attempts to (over)tax corporations, even further coupled with the insanity that is ObamaCare, taken all together, have (and are) lifting untold millions out of abject poverty. The problem (if, like me, you care to label it such) is that the people in question are mostly located in Asia and the Sub-Continent.

Why is this so? Two primary reasons:

First, the programs that constitute our “war on poverty” provide powerful incentives for our own people not to work. Indeed, they provide equally powerful incentives to not even prepare themselves for any possibility of working.

Second, the insane regulations combined with the equally insane levels of corporate taxation provide powerful incentives for American corporations to move manufacturing work, especially the jobs with lower skill requirements, to other countries where wages are low and there is a ready supply of workers who are highly motivated to work. Sadly, most of the jobs thus “outsourced” are the very jobs best suited to the low skill idlers in the United States who, without the “anti poverty” programs would be highly incented to pursue them.

The sad reality of this situation is that, had our government simply done NOTHING, the probable outcome would be far superior to the actual outcome that we now struggle with. Imagine that, a cost-free, effort-free program being infinitely superior to the complicated, dysfunctional, immoral programs that our corrupt, pandering “leaders” refuse to even consider altering, much less abolishing.

Worse yet, this article merely speaks to the costs and dysfunction involved with the current approach. I made no attempt to even mention the direct damage being done to our fellow citizens. These programs are deliberately squandering the very lives of millions of our sisters and brothers in ways that would be criminal if done by powers outside the walls of government. Perhaps I will attempt to address the human tragedy deliberately caused by these programs in a future article. For now,

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

10 Responses to “Helping The Poor”

  • Larry Andrew says:

    Troy….while many will, I think your analysis is hard to dispute. facts are facts even tho many try to spin them in different ways. I have always had a problem with the Head Start program which is a favorite of the left but which no discernible benefit can be identified no matter how many studies are done. It just seems like it should be a good thing so we keep doing it.

    the problem I see with Ryan and the gop is that they are ineffective in producing real outcomes that can work. While it is difficult for all people to compromise, it is the way to make progress towards policy goals…otherwise, we are always fighting ideology and never getting anywhere. I think the fiscal environment is ripe for making progress and we should go ahead and give up a few programs and policies we despise as a way to eliminate others. Cut D of E funding but give up eliminating it for now. Cut some welfare programs but fund workforce training. Cut corporate subsidies in exchange for some additional funding for certain programs, etc., etc.

    Eventually, we should try for a cap on spending so that choices are forced and we move away from always adding. Cut defense…cap it as a % of gnp or the budget or some other measurement that makes sense and force choices. Why not cut troops in exchange for more drones? Why not cut US Europe defense spending in exchange for helping them with energy costs?

    Point is, Ryan and others can study all they want but the reality of the political environment is controlling, not logic.

  • The interesting thing to notice is that they have not taxed us nearly enough to pay for all their largess to the shiftless sheeple who keep voting for them. What is going to happen when their phony fiat currency is collapsed by Russians and Chinese (soon) when they stop using it… or even accepting it in payment for their goods? When the world stops using our little green IOU’s for international trade, the party will be over. â—„Daveâ–º

  • daedalus says:

    The immorality & dis-functionality of federal welfare programs have been promulgated by many over the years. Direct critics such as Alexis de Tocqueville, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand & Frederick Hayek jump to mind. The question is, why do these programs still exist? The only answers that I know of are that:-
    The public (government) educational system is responsible, in general, for indoctrinating young minds. I have been told that fresh-out-of-college students tend to be very collectivist in their attitudes but tend to change to a more individualist view as they age. As I have indicated before it must be very difficult (not impossible) for a teacher in a public school to advocate the benefits of a free and open market when teaching on a socialized platform.
    Another problem source is the ethics of altruism. This comes not just from religious institutions but also from collectivist ideology via August Comte.

    The word “altruism” (French, altruisme, from autrui: “other people”, derived from Latin alter: “other”) was coined by Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, in order to describe the ethical doctrine he supported. He believed that individuals had a moral obligation to renounce self-interest and live for others. From Wikipedia under Altruism(ethics).

    Larry, the benefits of early education have been known at least since the days of Madame Montessori (who was somewhat of a collectivist to the best of my recollection). I suspect the problems with head start are procedural and content driven.
    The opposition is always espousing “ideology” too. Two steps forward, one step back might be OK as long as the “two steps” are going in your direction. Two steps forward in medical care would be to dump O’Bama care, Remove the government from all medical care then step back to allow military medical and Veterans programs. I am not suggesting using a hatchet, but moving in the appropriate direction with an eye to undoing some of the mischief caused by past interventionism in medicine.
    Defense is one of the reasons “limited government” is advocated to avoid the chaos of anarchy. It has to be sufficient to protect us from foreign aggression and protect individual Americans wherever we have treaties to that effect and in international areas. Insofar as it is possible, without serious damage to the US, our government should protect our citizens according to our own national law.
    The reality of the political environment is power (control of others). If logic serves the politicians cause, he uses it. That is why the checks and balances were placed in our government. Time has eroded some of the checks, appointment of Senators for example. Revolution can reset government, but cannot be counted on for reform.

    • John, Maria Montessori was not a collectivist, and her method of education was the opposite of such. It is all about empowering the individual to educate himself at his own pace, and was endorsed by Ayn Rand herself. See my old post five years ago on the nexus between these two women: Ayn Rand & Maria Montessori It also has some interesting quotes worth reviewing. â—„Daveâ–º

    • Larry Andrew says:

      Daedalus…you hit on the problem here and made my point, I think. Our system of decision-making is controlled by interest groups, lobbying and money, mostly focused at the central government. Taxes and fees keep going up because there seems to always be an effective interest group in the way of reform or elimination of an ineffective program or policy. That makes it easier for policy makers to add programs with “new” money than to replace.

      Whether at the Federal, state or local level, I have come to believe that the only answer is to cap spending and revenue to force choices as the political system is too corrupted to make any headway otherwise.

      Your two-step forward, one-step back comment also makes my point that in that it seems to only be an acceptable way forward if the net reduction is in programs supported by an ideology which gets us nowhere.

      My experience suggests to me that, early on, the important thing is the net cut, not what it is, within reason. We need to spend some time actually producing some cuts, whatever they are and getting used to a process that works.

      Ignoring defense lobbyist supported programs that are not necessary or keeping open outdated, useless bases or funding Europe defense because they won’t fund it themselves does not mean we will not support spending for effective defense programs. Many of the defense programs exist because they are in reality jobs programs and their elimination will have too great an impact on a local economy. Defense contractors have figured that out and have spread the production factories for various hardware and technology around the country so that an elected official in, say, California, who wants to cut something can only cut a portion. Cutting the whole thing would require the support of a whole bunch of elected officials who would be cutting jobs in their communities.

      I don’t know this for fact but suspect that the more we reduce actual support personnel and troops, the more we would reduce various welfare costs like food stamps, etc. due to the number of military and related families that need to supplement their income with federal welfare dollars.

      If we can continue effectively using technology and special forces in place of bodies, in the same manner the private sector does, we can and should do so.

      • Larry Andrew says:

        This is a very long way for me to say that we need to just cut, cut and cut some more until it becomes an acceptable part of the process and we get used to choosing between programs within limits.

  • Troy says:

    How nice to see so many of the old gang responding. I will try to shake some of the rust out of my old brain and find other ways to stir our collective pot.


    • Agreed; although “our collective pot” might be an unfortunate word choice. 🙂

      I wasn’t really finished with the debate over “rights” we were having before our attention was diverted by our medical issues…

      Also, I recently acquired the Kindle edition, and reread “Atlas Shrugged” for at least the sixth time. The forward by Leonard Peikoff is well worth the read and available for free in the ‘Look Inside’ sample at Amazon. I signed up for membership on “The Objective Standard” website about a year ago, and have recently been enjoying many articles and videos by professor Craig Biddle et al in their archives. Any discussion of Objectivism itself would be interesting to me, and I promise to contribute.

      I have not given up on thinking and philosophy… just the boring L/R Kabuki Dance of the Incumbrepublocrats. â—„Daveâ–º

  • For a sobering discussion of the upshot of our realigning the world with our Progressive policies, see: â—„Daveâ–º

  • Mut says:

    A really good illustration of how what Troy is saying is true is Obamacare. Obamacare encourages one to work less. Why is this? If you are in a state that has expanded Medicaid, you get on Medicaid and essentially get medicine, etc. for free as long as you are working at or below 138% of the poverty level (I think that’s the number if I remember rightly). However, the minute you work above that threshold, you have to buy insurance that is essentially worthless on the modern medical market. Thus, you have FAR more incentive to work less/make less than you do to work more/make more if you are working part-time and thus have no health insurance.

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