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Keeping the Poor in Poverty
National Review ^ | October 13, 2010 | Michael Tanner

Posted on 10/16/2010 3:03:09 PM PDT by upchuck

School choice, lower taxes, job creation: These, and not welfare payments, are what would really help the poor.

In his autobiography, former British prime minister Tony Blair recounts the political epiphany that caused him to break with the old-style class-warfare–based Labour Party that he had grown up with. “In a sense they wanted to celebrate the working class,” he writes, “not make them middle class.”

In many ways, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats appear to have the same attitude about the American poor.

They talk frequently about the poor. They lavish programs upon them. (Last year the Obama administration increased spending on means-tested and other anti-poverty programs by $120 billion, to a total of just under $600 billion.) But they seem curiously indifferent — if not actually hostile — to proposals that might actually reduce poverty in America.

For example, few things are as important in helping people escape poverty as education. High-school dropouts are more than twice as likely to end up in poverty as those who complete at least a high-school education. They are less likely to find jobs, and if they do their wages will be low. In inflation-adjusted terms, wages for high-school dropouts have declined by more than 23 percent in the past 40 years. In an increasingly competitive world economy, where success requires advanced skills and technical knowledge, that situation is only going to get worse. As the Department of Education warns in a typical government understatement, “In terms of employment, earnings, and family formation, dropouts from high school face difficulties in making the transition to the adult world.”

Yet Obama and the Democrats, in thrall to the teachers’ unions, steadfastly resist proposals to give parents more control over their children’s education. Washington, D.C., has a public-school system that, despite spending more per child than almost any other system in the nation, still has a dropout rate of more than 50 percent. Yet one of the first actions of the president and congressional Democrats was to kill the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offered vouchers to permit poor children to opt out of the city’s rotten public schools.

Across the country, efforts to increase parental choice are met with a wall of Democratic obstructionism. Choice, we are told, is a threat to the “education system.” But which is really more important, the “education system” or poor children?

And, of course, nothing is more important in fighting poverty than jobs. Yet the Obama administration is overtly hostile to the entrepreneurs and job creators in our economy. The wealthy are demonized rhetorically. Every other day seems to bring a new proposal to raise their taxes. Just look at the barrage of political commercials and presidential speeches that sneeringly denounce the Bush “tax cuts for the rich.” But, as former Texas senator Phil Gramm once noted, “No one ever got a job from a poor man.”

We can’t expect to create more jobs if we punish the type of activity that creates jobs. That means that if we wish to fight poverty, we must end those government policies — high taxes and regulatory excess — that inhibit growth and job creation. We must protect capital investment and give people the opportunity to start new businesses.

Along similar lines, one of the great advantages to reforming Social Security with personal accounts is that it would enable low-income Americans to save and accumulate wealth. But don’t count on Democrats to lessen their opposition to the idea.

Believers in the free market often seem defensive when the topic is poverty. They shouldn’t be. Nothing has done as much to lift people out of poverty as capitalism and free markets. All one has to do is look around the world to realize that those countries that provide the most economic freedom have less poverty than those that are still mired in socialism and government control.

Compassion is more than talking about the plight of the poor or giving them just enough money to make poverty a bit more comfortable. Real compassion is about creating the conditions that will enable the poor to get out of poverty.

That’s the point that Tony Blair understood. It’s a lesson that Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats should learn.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: capitalism; compassion; conservatives; democrats; entrepreneurs; freemarkets; jobcreation; jobs; obama; payments; poor; poverty; socialsecurity; welfare; work

1 posted on 10/16/2010 3:03:11 PM PDT by upchuck
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To: upchuck

We also need to bring back the ideals of hard work and getting their hands dirty to build a self respecting society. No more ‘starting at the top’ nonsense.

2 posted on 10/16/2010 3:07:24 PM PDT by Niuhuru (The Internet is the digital AIDS; adapting and successfully destroying the MSM host.)
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To: upchuck

Obama and pals are overtly hostile to America, period.

3 posted on 10/16/2010 3:10:58 PM PDT by hershey
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To: upchuck

The democrat party has always been the Party of Slavery since its foundation. It is just more sophisticated nowadays.

The first thing Obama did after seizing power was to destroy the lottery driven small District of Columbia Scholarship Program, to keep ghetto poor kids out of the exclusive priivate school where his own kids are sent.

Obam then proceded to systematically and maliciously destroy the economy in order to create a permanent unemployed hopeless underclass, dependent on a few crumbs teh disgusting democrats might throw from time to time..

4 posted on 10/16/2010 3:20:15 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Character is defined by how we treat those who society says have no value.)
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To: FormerACLUmember

You describe Zero as a typical limousine liberal. “I got mine, and I’m kicking the ladder away”.

5 posted on 10/16/2010 3:43:00 PM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO! I salute you with the soles of my shoes!)
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To: upchuck

Capitalism isn’t perfect but it is the best. Socialism always fails, always.

6 posted on 10/16/2010 3:47:51 PM PDT by VRWC For Truth (Throw the bums out who vote yes on the bailout)
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To: upchuck

Another essential ingredient in success is morality and ethics, within a strong family unit. School choice, lower taxes, and job creation are all well and good, but unless children are raised with an appreciation of moral forthrightness and legal ethics, either they won’t be able to take advantage of these things, or they won’t be able to sustain them over generations.

7 posted on 10/16/2010 4:17:19 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: upchuck; All

Take confort, in a few short weeks, you will see a political earthquake that will make “1994” look like an ordinary rainstorm.

8 posted on 10/16/2010 4:22:59 PM PDT by Biggirl (GO UCONN FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!! :)=^..^=)
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To: Niuhuru
We also need to bring back the ideals of hard work and getting their hands dirty to build a self respecting society.

But, but, but......

That means we would have to stop paying moochers for NOT working.

That's so mean spirited.


9 posted on 10/16/2010 4:32:25 PM PDT by Iron Munro (The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. -- Edmund Burke)
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To: upchuck

Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who said something like, “we declared war on poverty, and poverty won?”

10 posted on 10/16/2010 4:57:30 PM PDT by susannah59
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To: upchuck

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, the black caucus, and Charley Rangle, come to mind as the keepers of the gate who throw crumbs thier way

11 posted on 10/16/2010 8:14:06 PM PDT by ronnie raygun (The tides coming in)
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To: susannah59
Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who said something like, “we declared war on poverty, and poverty won?”
I believe so . . .

So what we actually need to do is to declare war on the notion of poverty as a condition in which Americans stay.

People were wiped out by Katrina, financially - but by now I venture that most of them are in about the same circumstances as they were before the storm hit. More in debt, probably, but living about the same lifestyle and with about the same prospects.
Thomas Sowell points out that the "income quintile" distribution so beloved of "liberals" is singularly unedifying because in the real America the same individual's income will vary - mostly increasing - over their working lifetime.

And certainly that is a desirable thing, giving room for hope for all. But even if everyone had the same income trajectory, starting out at age 20 earning $30,000 annually and retiring with an income of $80,000, the liberals' beloved "bottom quintile" of income would still exist - and have only half the income of the "top quintile." In the real America, much like the "liberal" wet dream America of identical prospects for all, the bottom quintile of the income distribution is loaded with young people just starting out. And of the people who were in the bottom quintile ten years ago, more are now in the top quintile today than are still in the bottom quintile.

Sowell calls the idea that policy should be crafted according to the conditions of the few who remain permanently in the bottom quintile the "wino veto" of policy which is realistic for American society generally.

So actually it was not so much that poverty won, but that the idea of "poverty" as a permanent condition has been so successful for "liberals."

12 posted on 10/17/2010 3:01:14 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: upchuck

Detroit Plantation, New Orleans Plantation - you get the idea. Vote for us and we’ll keep giving you crumbs.

13 posted on 10/17/2010 5:53:48 AM PDT by RoadTest (Religion is a substitute for the relationship God wants with you.)
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