Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I found a report, by Robert Rector of the
Heritage Foundation, on the failure of the half-century War on Poverty full of interesting facts, such as the following:
The media frequently associate the idea of poverty with being homeless. But less than two percent of the poor are homeless. Only one in ten live in mobile homes. The typical house or apartment of the poor is in good repair and uncrowded; it is actually larger than the average dwelling of non-poor French, Germans or English.This reminds me of a time, when I was young, that my father served on the board of the parochial school we attended. My parents paid full tuition, although they were not exactly made of money. One of my Dad's tasks as a school board member was to evaluate requests for financial aid, and he often would visit the homes of the applicants in the course of making a recommendation on such requests. In many cases, applicants with larger homes or luxuries that we didn't have ended up being awarded some tuition relief. At least, however, this money came from private charity, rather than government looting, unlike what has been happening on a massive scale for the past half-century.
According to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in his home. Forty percent have a wide screen HDTV and another 40 percent have internet access. Three quarters of the poor own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. (These numbers are not the result of the current bad economy pushing middle class families into poverty; instead, they reflect a steady improvement in living conditions among the poor for many decades.) [bold added]
There are many more eye-opening facts to be gleaned from Rector's article, but I must express disagreement with his conclusion. Neither looting of the productive nor eliminating poverty are proper functions of government. The entitlement state, as an abuse of government power, cannot be "reformed" as Rector advocates, nor should we try. It must be abolished.
On top of that, if the prospect of starving won't move someone to acquire the skills to become self-sufficient, Rector is only fooling himself if he imagines that some government case worker is going to do a better job. And this is not to mention that the work-for-welfare programs he advocates would only add a further misuse of government to this system, whereby the precedent of the government ordering people around is added to that of stealing from them.