Losing the war on poverty

After trillions of spent dollars on our government’s supposed “War on Poverty”, what exactly does the United States have to show for it?  Millions still live in poverty (although the definition of “poverty” in the United States includes ownership of flat screen TVs, cable/satellite television service and high speed Internet) despite the enormous toll the war has had on the American people’s tax dollars.

Every year, the government spends more than a half-trillion dollars on programs designed to “end poverty”.  10s of trillions of dollars later, we find ourselves no better off than the year before.  Consider the following analysis by Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, who wrote recently:

In 2012, the federal government spent $668 billion to fund 126 separate anti-poverty programs. State and local governments kicked in another $284 billion, bringing total anti-poverty spending to nearly $1 trillion. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.

Spending on the major anti-poverty programs increased in 2013, pushing the total even higher.

Over, the last 50 years, the government spent more than $16 trillion to fight poverty.

Yet today, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty. That’s scarcely better than the 19 percent living in poverty at the time of Johnson’s speech. Nearly 22 percent of children live in poverty today. In 1964, it was 23 percent.

How could we have spent so much and achieved so little?

The answer lies in government involvement.  Propping people up with government anti-poverty programs succeeds at keeping people in poverty with a consistent and dependable monthly check.  Consider this: what how motivation would you have to find a job if your unemployment benefits do not run out until 2015?

“Fewer than three percent of full-time workers are poor, compared to nearly 25 percent for those without a job. Even an entry level, minimum-wage job can be the first step on the road out of poverty,” Tanner wrote.

Will our government ever learn?  Better yet – will the American people make them learn?

Unemployment fraud largely ignored by media

A show of hands, please – how many knew of the nearly $3.3 billion the government overpaid in unemployment benefits due to fraudulent claims in fiscal year 2011 alone?  My guess … probably not many, and that is a large part of the problem of government corruption and how little Americans know of the true cost of our nation’s social entitlement layer of spending.  If knowing is half the battle, then we may have already lost.

Reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and largely ignored by the media, fraud accounted for billions of taxpayer dollars spent on claims made my people of all income levels, mostly due to unreported extraneous income that would have disqualified them from some, or all, of taxpayer benefits.  Americans – your friends and neighbors – are actively and intentionally gaming the system to extract more of your hard-earned tax dollars, and they are doing it right under your noses.  If you are a responsible adult who works for a living, you are getting screwed.  We are all getting screwed.