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?

Dear voter: You are being scammed, conned and deceived

dyc-tax-protest-7_359154aIn a recent letter to the American people, the Libertarian Party wrote that the voting population in this country are being raked over the coals, drained of their hard-earned money and systematically dumbed down through big government political initiatives disguised as genuine assistance.

“By blending tax hikes with (alleged) government spending cuts, they try to convince you that they’re all part of one scary package. That both things are bad,” Libertarian Chair Geoffrey J. Neale wrote.  “To add injury to insult, their phony “fiscal cliff” doesn’t include a dime of actual government spending cuts. Just pretend reductions in future spending.”

Tax increases alone should raise awareness from the American people.  “On New Year’s Day, what did Big Government politicians actually vote for?  They voted to rip you off an average of $800 a year MORE — a 2 percent increase in your Social Security payroll tax. While they bragged that they were doing you a favor.  They raised a pile of other taxes as well, including taxes on estates, higher incomes, investment income, health care, and businesses.”

The letter cites new tax increases will amount to over $600 billion in new government revenue while doing little to curb spending and enact meaningful reform to account for our nation’s unemployment problem.

Read the entire letter: http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/fiscal-cliffhanger-a-study-in-government-fear-mongering.

Your kids are not entitled to my money, job or quality of life

Let’s be frank: your kids are not entitled to a good job.  They are not entitled to a college education, a big house, a steady income or a stress-free life.  They also are not entitled to my money (or anyone else’s) or supposedly “free” healthcare, a free lunch or free car.  Your kids are not entitled to anything.

Well, except to one thing: the opportunity to work hard, stay motivated and build themselves a quality of life that they can be proud of.  This means tearing their faces away from their cell phones, computers and video game consoles long enough for them to observe and embrace reality as we know it.  For good or for bad, this is the world that we live in, and the sooner our children come to grips with that, the sooner they will become productive members of society.

According to a continuous yearly survey among our nation’s young people, our kids feel more entitled, more superior, more “great” than ever.  Why?  Perhaps because social media outlets provide kids with an area in which to build themselves up into something they aren’t.  The number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers is worn like a badge of honor, and the term “follow” alone makes it appear as if people are worth following.  What a wonderful sense of greatness that must create for our nation’s youngsters.  Heck, adults too.  People want to follow me!

Or, maybe it is due to the dumbing down of our nation’s education curriculum or teaching directly to statewide standardized tests.  Are our kids really learning, or is our nation simply pushing our youngsters through the educational process as fast as it can?

Although test scores are below what they once were, students feel they are superior to their classmates of yesteryear in subjects like math and writing.  Why?  What makes our kids feel they are superior to anyone?  The answer is simple: our entitlement culture.  Give a trophy to a little league team that came in last place, and there’s no wonder our nation’s kids feel they can do no wrong.  Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, and very rarely do those who receive those rewards actually pay for them.

“Producers must outnumber consumers or societies collapse. Eventually, the money runs out.”

Worse, we have an elite political class that spends their entire career convincing our population that they are entitled to something.  Lost a job?  No, problem, you’re entitled to taxpayer money until you find another one.  Living in “poverty”?  No problem, the taxpayers are here to help you through monthly welfare checks.  Retired?  Again, no problem, taxpayers will fund your Social Security payments long after you’ve already exhausted your lifelong contributions.  No problem, the taxpayers are here.

The truth of the matter is our society cannot function unless it maintains a large population of productive contributors to the economy, those who build businesses and employ people, those who research new medications to cure our ails and those who plan, build and maintain our city infrastructures so when you flush your toilet at home, it’s no longer your “business”.  Producers must outnumber consumers or societies collapse.  Eventually, the money runs out.

As our government continues to ask our country’s entrepreneurs to shoulder the majority of the burden of funding these entitlements, the incentive to do business shrinks.  Business creates wealth, not government.  If Washington D.C. creates a culture where businesses no longer flourish in this country, wealth creation slows, companies stop hiring and – yes – government revenue sinks.  The effect is felt everywhere.  California, for example, is experiencing an exodus of the state’s more wealthy residents because of excessive taxation.  As a Wall Street Journal article so aptly put it, if you soak the rich, you lose the rich.  And who creates jobs in this country?

Parents need to teach their children that our society only works when people make it work.  Societies fail when too many people believe they are entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labor.  Ask virtually any 3rd grader what they want to be when they grow up, and I bet none of them say a “deadbeat”.

Unfortunately, that desire is learned.