Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Plan to Eliminate Poverty.....immediately

Contrary to what you may have heard, as a Libertarian I do not hate poor people. For one thing, I used to be one. If I harbor any broad based hatred for a particular socio-economic class it would probably be the nouveau riche, but that's another story. I don't generally blame the poor for their poverty. While some are indeed poor because of the choices they make in life, most are poor for a variety of complicated reasons, many beyond anyone's ability to control. I wish poverty upon no one. In a perfect world, there would be none. But a really great man once said that we would always have the poor with us, so I have always taken him at his word.

This doesn't mean that we should not try to help poor people stop being poor. It doesn't even mean that our government should not try to help poor people stop being poor. It's just that every time we start having a discussion about poverty fighting programs in America, the left presents the issue as the greedy vs. the needy. If only the right could find an ounce of compassion, a thimble full of empathy, a drop of charity, then all would be well. But, consider this:

According to the latest data from the House of Representatives budget committee, there are no less than 92 federal programs designed to help the poor. In total these 92 programs tip the scales with a whopping $799 billion dollar annual price tag. Now, that's a lot of compassion! On a related note, there are currently 46.7 million Americans living "in poverty." Poverty here is defined for an individual as less than $11,700 a year, meaning that a family of four is considered "poor" if their total annual income is less than $46,800. I have no idea who decides all of this, but I will not challenge any of these numbers because it would do no good. I will accept them as true and move along.

Now, here's where my dander gets up. I am a simple man. I hold no ill will against my fellow man, with the exception of Yankee fans, so before you go flying off the handle excoriating me for my lack of compassion, empathy and charity, consider this. If the federal government wrote an $11,700 check and simply presented it to each and every one of the 46.7 million poor people in these United States, they could effectively wipe out poverty. Give every family of four a check every year for $46,800. Wipe out poverty. As a bonus, the cost of this wealth transfer would come to $547 billion dollars....saving the American taxpayer a cool 252 billion dollars every year. 

See, the problem with poverty isn't compassion, empathy or charity. The problem isn't that we are too greedy, that we lack the will to do what it takes to help people overcome it. The problem is that the left has convinced the world that it takes 92 federal programs run with zero accountability to get the job done. Those 92 programs then get to be administered by compassionate, empathetic and charitable leftists until the end of time. The trouble is, since LBJ's Great Society and its war on poverty began, we haven't been able to move the needle much. Back in 1966, the US poverty rate was 15% and 28 million Americans lived in it. Today the poverty rate is 15% and 46 million Americans live in it...our Lord and Savior's observation seeming to have been vindicated.

My point in all of this is this...do we really need all 92 of these poverty fighting programs? Are there some among them that do great work and deliver measurable benefits? I'm absolutely sure that there are. But are many of them nothing more than full employment programs for democrats? Wouldn't it be wise to actually do an audit of each of them to weed out the fluff and identify the truly beneficial programs? Then, after we're done there, we can turn our attention to the crony capitalist, bribery infested, money wasting juggernaut that is the defense budget!