|Country needs policies that prevent poverty|
Hoping to change the subject from health care to income inequality, Barack Obama recently pledged that his administration would “focus all efforts” on addressing a “fundamental threat” to the economy and the American Dream. He went on to warn that this threat from income inequality and lack of upward mobility is the “defining challenge of our time” which “challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”
So it should come as no surprise that this intense national debate coincides with the 50th anniversary of President
Johnson declaring an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Since then, however, it is estimated that upwards of $20 trillion has been allocated for anti-poverty programs which have produced mixed results at best.
On one hand, a vast majority of the 46 million people that the Census Bureau now define as living in poverty enjoy a standard of living today similar to that of the traditional middle class of several decades ago, thanks to an abundance of government-sponsored assistance born out of Johnson’s initiative.
But on the other hand, the original goal of the War on Poverty was self-sufficiency and never the singular focus of fostering higher living standards through an ever-expanding welfare state such as today’s model. Lyndon Johnson’s road map for eradicating poverty, which was never properly followed, primarily addressed “the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.”
Johnson reinforced this vision in his 1964 State of the Union Address, when he stated, “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.” Johnson’s main objective of prevention is not only an indictment of today’s status quo, but reinforces the position of those opposed to yet another government attempt to merely ease the consequences of poverty through more redistribution from the haves to the have nots.
To the contrary, what we are in dire need of today are government policies that prevent poverty in the first place by incentivizing the nuclear family (pair of adults and their children), as well as triggering an explosion of private-sector job creation. Couple those with a crackdown on corruption and crony-capitalism, which are partly responsible for the average incomes of the top 1% rising by a stunning 30% since Barack Obama became president, and we should have a winning combination.
Furthermore, there’s a growing thirst in this country for a resurgence of the uplifting national spirit that’s based in the time-tested American values of personal responsibility, community and self-reliance. That proven formula has a contagious effect and makes everyone more financially equal and upwardly mobile as a natural byproduct.
Prospect Heights, Ill.,
and Eagle River
|Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:48 AM|
|Last Updated on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:07 AM|