Skip to comments.Sowell: Fact-Free Liberals: Part III
Posted on 01/21/2014 9:51:29 AM PST by jazusamo
Since this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty," we can expect many comments and commemorations of this landmark legislation in the development of the American welfare state.
The actual signing of the "war on poverty" legislation took place in August 1964, so the 50th anniversary is some months away. But there have already been statements in the media and in politics proclaiming that this vast and costly array of anti-poverty programs "worked."
Of course everything "works" by sufficiently low standards, and everything "fails" by sufficiently high standards. The real question is: What did the "war on poverty" set out to do and how well did it do it, if at all?
Without some idea of what a person or a program is trying to do, there is no way to know whether what actually happened represented a success or a failure. When the hard facts show that a policy has failed, nothing is easier for its defenders than to make up a new set of criteria, by which it can be said to have succeeded.
That has in fact been what happened with the "war on poverty."
Both President John F. Kennedy, who launched the proposal for a "war on poverty" and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who guided the legislation through Congress and then signed it into law, were very explicit as to what the "war on poverty" was intended to accomplish.
Its mission was not simply to prove that spending money on the poor led to some economic benefits to the poor. Nobody ever doubted that. How could they?
What the war on poverty was intended to end was mass dependency on government. President Kennedy said, "We must find ways of returning far more of our dependent people to independence."
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The War on Poverty was intended to create a class of people permanently dependent on the government. It worked, just like President Johnson said it would. Combined with Senator Kennedy’s immigration bill, and a couple of really nice timebombs from the New Deal, and this country is in serious jeopardy.
If it ‘worked’ why did America elect and RE elect a ‘gimme more freebies’/’I'm SO exploited and under served’/’How come I can't go to Disneyland every year’,etc. candidate who never opened his mouth except to ‘re educate’ his whining base on how cheated, disenfranchised and otherwise locked into the 'have-not', indolent, victimhood mentality they have permitted themselves to BECOME!?
I still remember when Lyndon Johnson said (paraphrasing) We’re going to take from the Haves and give to the Havenots.
It seems the Havenots have really multiplied.
Borderline losers, who MAY have been functional and productive given the proper incentive... instead, became have nots because government neutralized the stigma and made it EASY for one and all to steal from taxpayers for a living.
A little tough love on the order of ‘get up off your able-bodied a&^’ and go to work... would have gone a lot further.
True, but incomplete. The murder rate peaked in the 80s and has been declining since.
The numbers aren't in yet, but it is quite possible 2013 will post a record low rate, below 1960.
Do liberals also come in Low-Fact and Reduced-Fact?
Ha! Interesting question, I think the true liberal goes for the No-Fact. :-)
“True, but incomplete. The murder rate peaked in the 80s and has been declining since. The numbers aren’t in yet, but it is quite possible 2013 will post a record low rate, below 1960”
I am suspicious of those numbers. My guess is under-reporting, perhaps by defining murder down.
Those are the official FBI statistics. Tampering with them is of course a possibility, but would require decades-long coordination.
Murder rate trends are long-term, much longer than any presidency. Declining from a high in the early 30s to around 1960, then up to a high in the 80s, then generally down since. Why or how any group would cook the books to show such a trend is a mystery. Since the Left wants to ban guns, they would have an incentive to exaggerate murder rates, not minimize them. Though they might perhaps have other incentives that would outweigh this one.
One possible explanation for some of the drop in murder rates is that somebody has to actually die for it to be counted. Attempted murder that fails isn’t counted. While assault rates have declined since 1990, they haven’t dropped nearly as much as murder rates.
So it seems reasonable to me that improvements in emergency medicine account for some significant percentage of the decline in murder over the last 25 years or so, possibly 25% or even 50% of the drop.
Just as similar techniques have produced an even more spectacular decline in combat deaths in our wars. If we were operating with Vietnam-era medicine in Iraq and Afghanistan, we might be closing in on similar death numbers as the Vietnam conflict produced.
“Those are the official FBI statistics. Tampering with them is of course a possibility, but would require decades-long coordination.”
Those statistics are *reported*to* the FBI by many agencies, including city police and county sheriffs.
Mayors and sheriffs have a vested interest in reporting declines in murder rates, even if they have to fudge the books to do it. They don’t have to coordinate with the FBI to do that; they just have to send the FBI the cooked books.
“Why or how any group would cook the books to show such a trend is a mystery.”
I hope we just solved that mystery.
“While assault rates have declined since 1990, they havent dropped nearly as much as murder rates.”
Assault rates, I think, are also under-reported, for the sake of making slum dwellers look better.
“So it seems reasonable to me that improvements in emergency medicine account for some significant percentage of the decline in murder over the last 25 years or so, possibly 25% or even 50% of the drop.”
That does indeed seem reasonable. Combine that with under-reporting, and you’d probably come out with a net increase.
“If we were operating with Vietnam-era medicine in Iraq and Afghanistan, we might be closing in on similar death numbers as the Vietnam conflict produced.”
Have there been 58,000 potentially fatal wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan? Wounds that would have been fatal in Viet Nam?
Good questions. 58,000 died in Vietnam, 155,000 were wounded severely enough to require hospitalization. Dead were thus 27% of the total severe casualties.
Iraq and Afghanistan combined have about 6,800 dead and 51,000 wounded. Dead around 11% of the total.
So presumably if we’d had deaths at the same proportion as in Vietnam, they would total about 16,000. Got these numbers at various places on the web, so don’t know if they’re apples to apples.
A lot less than the Vietnam total, you are right. But then I think we had a LOT more men on the ground in Vietnam.
So what were their incentives for showing an increase from 1960 to 1990?
The numbers reported are public record. While I'm willing to consider the possibility, I just doubt any such massive under-reporting.
President Kennedy said, "We must find ways of returning far more of our dependent people to independence. . . . When Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation he declared: "The days of the dole in our country are numbered."Barak Obama deliberately reversed the reforms of the Gingrich Speakership which actually did reduce the welfare rolls.
Conservatives want to win the war, which can only be done by conservative means. The Democrats want the issue, and the dependent voters.