Advertisement - story continues below
All poverty is local. Poverty consists of poor people, not statistics. There is no single body of the poor. They are individuals and families. Therefore, the Federal Government should not be allowed to address the issue of poverty because it is too far removed from local issues. The Federal government is impersonal, and thus incapable of compassion. Although it is run by people, those people are far removed from poverty. In fact, too many politicians end up far richer after being in government than most people who actually work for a living. This is evident in the inordinately generous pensions they award themselves and the extraordinary benefits and perquisites that often attend them for the rest of their lives.
The Federal government cannot be compassionate because governments are not people, per se. They are gigantic machines driven by people with agendas. And make no mistake about it; ALL politicians and bureaucrats have agendas. Their agendas are different. Bureaucrats merely want to keep their jobs and benefits. Politicians want power and all the perquisites that go with it. They make policy largely based on self-interest, the perpetuation of their jobs and their continued empowerment. In preference, those who run the Federal government would easily and gladly forsake American people, whom they purport to represent, rather than yield power. In a 2013 article appearing in American Thinker, author Lawrence Sellin put it succinctly:
The federal government has become such a system, an entity unto itself operating outside of Constitutional constraints and unaccountable to the American people.
The United States is now controlled by a Democratic and Republican ruling class that transcends government and sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral or intellectual right, and, only reluctantly, any civil right to do so.
The Federal Welfare program is one of the most bloated means by which politicians perpetuate their hold on certain voting blocs.
Federalizing poverty as a political issue began with Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” which started the most massive vote-buying scheme among the group that LBJ and other Democrats thought was most susceptible to handouts: black Americans. On the surface, Johnson’s intentions may have seemed logical and compassionate, claiming that to lift black Americans out of poverty would take special efforts beyond their capability at the time. In a 1964 speech, he said: “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others.’”
Advertisement - story continues below
Johnson’s real sentiments, however, were not so compassionate. In his own words, quoted in a biography of Johnson by Ronald Kessler, Johnson said: “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference…” Presumably, through welfare dependency, he claimed: “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic the next two hundred years.” While the authenticity of these quotes is argued, the sentiment expressed in them in inarguable. Before Johnson’s presidency, black Americans were largely Republican. After Johnson, they have voted consistently for Democrats by large margins.
Notwithstanding the demeaning nature of the Democrats’ attitudes toward black voters, welfare among black people is pervasive. The black family has been destabilized with an out-of-wedlock birth rate reaching 73%, triple pre-1963 levels. Aid to Families with Dependent Children—in other words, mothers without husband providers, has discouraged marriage because AFDC is less likely to be awarded to families with two parents in which the father is the breadwinner. As a result, fatherless homes leave children, especially boys, without strong male guidance to keep them from criminal behavior rampant in ghettos. In 2010, blacks (approximately 13% of the U.S. population) accounted for 48.7% of all arrests for homicide, 31.8% of arrests for forcible rape, 33.5% of arrests for aggravated assault, and 55% of arrests for robbery. Also as of 2010, the black poverty rate was 27.4%, meaning that 11.5 million blacks in the U.S. continued to live in poverty despite generational welfare. By comparison, children raised in two-parent homes are far more likely to stay in school and to live better lives as adults. These statistics alone should be enough to convince anyone that Federal welfare has had a devastating effect on black Americans.
Welfare is not exclusive to black Americans. In fact, more non-black Americans receive welfare than blacks. However, in places like Baltimore, where the black population outnumbers non-blacks and where liberal Democrats have controlled the political landscape, the social situation in densely black neighborhoods is dire. Dependent citizens are reliable voters to the class that feeds their dependency, but unreliable in embracing any changes that would better the economy, reduce crime and improve other vital social conditions. I live in Baltimore and can tell you that if one wants to see the concrete results of generational welfare, one only needs to take a ride through one of these neighborhoods. The effects are undeniable.
Advertisement – story continues below
If welfare is honestly intended as a leg up, it should be local, short-term and tied to a work training plan. If the damage is to be repaired and poverty truly reversed, it should be abolished on the federal level and returned to local control.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.