Scary words, no? Did you know that after 50 years, statistics show that the same relative number of people are poor as when the “War on Poverty” began (Poverty Statistics) ? Over a Trillion dollars spent and no headway whatsoever.
Could it be that the war on poverty uses policies which, rather than help people climb permanently out of poverty, instead perpetuates it? Could it be that, when you strip away good intentions and feel-good ideas, you find no progress at all.
Imagine you are a single mother living in an urban environment. The government provides you with food stamps, WIC , medical assistance, a welfare check. And the assistance increases if you should have another child. What would you do?
During the Clinton term the republican congress voted for and passed the Welfare to Work program, and although Clinton disapproved of it at the time, he later claimed credit for it when he saw the results.
Welfare to work gave that mother hope, showed her that with effort, she could move from a subsidized existence by the state to a better life created by her own hard work.
No, it isn’t easy. And as a privileged white person from the suburbs I certainly do not pretend to know what such a life would be like.
It’s tough when you are on welfare. But when you are born into welfare, when the government tells you that you will never make it on your own (for whatever reason), people believe it and act accordingly.
That means the creation of a self perpetuating welfare state where people trade dreams of excelling for their next check from a bankrupt government. They feel “entitled” to money earned by producers.
Never tell a mother or a child that they can’t make it in this country. It should be a crime to put such an idea in the mind of anyone.
While it’s true that the starting point in life is clearly unequal, it should not be an excuse not to try. Some of our greatest citizens were born in poverty; they simply refused to stay in that zip code.
My dad was one such person. Despite the confiscatory taxes of the Carter administration, despite ever increasing regulations, my dad somehow made a huge success of his restaurant. He saw the government as a hindrance. He wished they would have gotten out of his way.
During my dad’s years running his restaurant he provided many jobs and had many cooks and waitresses that were there almost from the beginning. He saw kids fund their college educations in part due to the money earned working in the restaurant.
The town profited from increased tax revenue, the employees had steady work and a fun, family atmosphere; no one expected anything without first making an effort.
When I began working for my dad, me – the owner’s son – I started by picking up cigarette butts in the parking lot. Later, I washed pots and dishes.
Only after demonstrating that I could, pardon the pun, take the heat, was I promoted to line cook and even waiter.
The pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee of happiness. No on said that life would be a painless exercise of rainbows and great music.
Only hard work, persistence and determination gets you to where you want to go. If you look to the government for a solution, you are looking to a life of subsistence.
My dad looked to no one but himself. He made it. Others can too.