Thursday, December 20, 2012

Poverty has won the War On Poverty

Libertarians are often caricatured as uncaring bastards who would throw their grandmothers out on the street if Granny ever stops harvesting her percentage of the wheat crop.  But it really is possible to be in favor of Granny's continued existence in her old age, while opposing John Boehner and Barack Obama being her means of support.

Libertarians generally oppose wealth redistribution by force, therefore we dislike Uncle Sam’s welfare schemes.

Statists claim it’s because we’re greedy. (We are greedy. You are greedy.  We all want more than we have. Lots more. Unlike the Statists, though, we want you to have more also, so you'll spend it on what we produce. We know that your success doesn’t require our failure.) But greed isn’t the reason we oppose mandatory government welfare programs.

Here’s the real reason, folks: Government welfare isn’t an effective method for fighting poverty.  In fact, it looks like welfare is keeping poverty alive. 

Check out the chart, from Economist Daniel Mitchell’s International Liberty website.  LBJ’s War On Poverty was the equivalent of spreading top-notch fertilizer on a weed patch. Poverty was dying until Washington D.C. got involved in killing it.  Incredible, isn't it? 

Folks, poverty was disappearing !!  Dropping like VHS sales!!!  But when anti-poverty programs appeared, poverty stabilized between 11-15%.   How much would you give to learn what woulda happened if the War On Poverty had never been declared????  Think of the fifteen trillion or so that they've spent on anti-poverty programs.  Do you think that might have been better spent by producers rather than D.C. looters? 

People are poor because they can't be productive.  (Or in a few cases, won't be productive.)  Yeah, some prosper because of lotteries, and a few eventually claw their way out and prosper because of handouts. But most of the poor get stuck, generation after generation after generation, sitting by the mailbox waiting on the goodies from Uncle Sugar.

When Washington demonizes success (especially from the entrepreneurial side as opposed to the sports/arts/entertainment side) and demands an ever-increasing cut of the profits from any business or individual, the productive members of society are left with less and less to spend on other things, like employees. George Soros, Warren Buffett, and dotcom jillionaires might be political numbskulls, but their instincts on how to spend money are far superior to John Boehner’s and Barack Obama’s. Let ‘em keep more of their money and the jobs will follow.

If we were to cut the U.S. tax burden in half, poverty in the U.S. would die. There would be a sprinkling of unemployed disabled people who could easily be provided for by using pre-LBJ methods. In that era, we had thousands and thousands of civic, fraternal, and church benevolence funds in place that we’ve almost forgotten how to administer.

We could easily end poverty.

But we’re too compassionate to even consider doing so. 

Note to self:  Create another chart showing how Islamic Extremists were dying off until our government got involved in trying to kill them. 


Tim said...

I was just about to write this post, and you beat me to it.

My questions to those of you who support the government:

How long are you going to continue to support a government that fails at everything that it does?

How many years, and trillions of dollars, will it take before you realize that the government is too thoroughly incompetent to achieve anything good?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

It kinda reminds me of the infamous chart that The Obamessiah's economists put out at the beginning of the economic "crisis".

There was an arc showing the unemployment rate.
There was a really scary arc showing what the unemployment rate would be like with no Stimulus Package.
There was a friendly, harmless looking arc showing what the unemployment rate would be like WITH a Stimulus Package.
The result after Congress passed the porkulus package?

An Unemployment Rate worse than anything projected by anyone.

But the Statists just smirk and talk about how much WORSE it coulda been without government involvement.

Truly amazing.

Dr Ralph said...

Consider the source of the little graph you base all this off: Daniel Mitchell, yet another Libertarian economist whose entire academic career was spent in public schools -- high school AND college. Funny how so many of these guys have gotten a great education at public institutions, and end up sucking the teat of George Mason, another publicly funded institution.

Before worshiping before his chart, I suggest (yet again) you re-read Huff's "How to Lie With Statistics." Someday you'll thank me.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor,
I use that the info in that link all the time (mostly to debunk our government's claims about the unemployment rate).
Please let me know where this chart has gone wrong.

Also, I grew up as a recipient of goodies from The Farm Bill. I now oppose this type of corporate cronyism with every fiber of my being. I also went to public schools for a while, and went to a public university. But somehow, I can handle the guilt and still be a libertarian.
Dwight Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex that the government was slowly getting into bed with. He hated it. And yet he still cashed his paychecks.
Ron Paul worked all day every day for a smaller government. He still took the checks.
You can work to improve something and still be opposed to some of its practices.
I don't want my employer to open up a manufacturing center in North Carolina. But I still sell them my time and effort all the same.

And please let me know what's wrong with that chart....

Dr Ralph said...

The "War on Poverty" was announced in 1964 by LBJ, who left office in 1968. Why does Mitchell claim it started in 1968, when Nixon was elected? Plus, where did he get his numbers? He provides no context and the previously pointed out sloppiness certain doesn't reassure me as to his competence and/or trustworthiness.

Why should I trust his good intentions? I dare say he wouldn't trust mine.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

If you look at the chart, poverty "stabilized" in about 1964.
Data came from here, unless I'm mistaken: