The dependent class by Glen Meakem

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 07-12-2009


Local legend, Glen Meakem,  writes an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about the comparison to what we have spent on wars as compared to entitlements.

Since the beginning of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in 1964, American taxpayers have spent $16 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars) on support programs for low-income people.

In contrast, American taxpayers have spent a total of $6 trillion (again in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) on all of America’s wars combined.

In return for the $6 trillion America invested in wars, we earned individual and national liberty, an end to slavery, a unified country across the North American continent, victory over multiple totalitarian tyrants and a more secure world.

But what have we earned in return for our $16 trillion investment in poverty programs?

Considering where our current national debt sits at, it is not hard to see that we would not have any debt without the entitlement programs. It would be my guess as well, that we wouldn’t have anywhere near the tax level we have, the government control over out lives, or our current vulnerability (economic and currency collapse) that can be exposed by China any time they choose.

In 1964, there were approximately 36 million people in America receiving aid. By 2007, that number had increased to 39 million. And the amount we are spending per person — in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars — increased from $1,516 in 1964 to $16,840.

Under President Obama’s policies, by 2014 American taxpayers will be spending $1 trillion per year on welfare programs.

Today, people on government assistance in America receive free cash, food, housing, medical care and even cell phones. The standard of living of America’s poor has increased dramatically since 1964. But family breakdown, crime and dependency have exploded.

In 1964, only 7 percent of American children were born into single-parent homes. Today, 40 percent are born to unwed mothers. Children raised without their biological fathers living in their homes are much more likely to be poor and abused than children raised by their mom and dad. This is true across all racial and ethnic groups.

While I don’t think this is completely the fault of welfare, there is no doubt the destruction of the black family has been caused by welfare programs, specifically the incentivization of having more children to receive more money.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 64 percent of children with unmarried parents and 31 percent of children with divorced parents grow up in poverty. But only 8.4 percent of children in two-parent families grow up poor.

Taxpayer-funded welfare in America is marketed by liberals as a “safety net.” But in reality it has become a multigeneration way of life.

I wouldn’t call it a way of life. It is imprisonment. You are imprisoned in your government squalor, and you are punished by any action you take to get out of it.

We need all American adults of able mind and body to contribute to our society by working (inside or outside the home), supporting their own families, and raising their own children. More women and men must step to the plate by getting and staying married.

In the coming years, once conservatives regain control of our government, we must enact policies that enable American adults to take responsibility for their own futures and their own children. We can afford the time and money to win “a war of necessity.” What we cannot afford, what is truly unsustainable, is our growing culture of dependence.

via The dependent class – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

I agree with Glen’s general article, but this is where conservatives start heading in the wrong direction. We do not need to “enact policies that enable American adults to take responsibility for their own futures and their own children.” All we need to do is take away the incentives of not taking responsibility for you and your children. To do that, we should set a path to end all entitlement programs. I know we couldn’t do it cold turkey, but we should set a plan to do it over the next decade. We should make people understand that no one owes them anything, and that they will need to take care of themselves and their families. Families, neighors, and churches will pick up the slack for those who can’t fend for themselves. This is how it used to be done, and people were much better off.

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