Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Why Obama's Plans to Fight Poverty Will Fail
Nothing could be more misguided than to renew this “tin-cup urbanism,” as some have called it. Starting in the late 1960s, mayors in struggling cities extended their palms for hundreds of billions of federal dollars that accomplished little good and often worsened the problems that they sought to fix. Beginning in the early nineties, however, a small group of reform-minded mayors—with New York’s Rudy Giuliani and Milwaukee’s John Norquist in the vanguard—jettisoned tin-cup urbanism and began developing their own bottom-up solutions to city problems. Their innovations made cities safer, put welfare recipients to work, and offered kids in failing school systems new choices, bringing about an incomplete, but very real, urban revival.There is much more. Read the whole thing.
The War on Poverty, motivated by such toxic ideas, transformed welfare from temporary assistance into a lifelong stipend with few strings attached. As everyone knows, welfare rolls then skyrocketed, increasing 125 percent from 1965 to 1970 alone, and an entrenched generational underclass of poor families emerged.
In 1968 . . . 13 percent of Americans were poor,” wrote Charles Murray in his unstinting examination of antipoverty programs, Losing Ground. “Over the next 12 years, our expenditures on social welfare quadrupled. And in 1980, the percentage of poor Americans was—13 percent.”
An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study found that most European countries spend between 55 percent and 70 percent of what the U.S. does per student, yet produce better educational outcomes. If some urban school systems are failing children, money has nothing to do with it.
What explains this conundrum are the local policies that have helped make housing unaffordable. In a study called “The Planning Penalty,” economist Randal O’Toole points out that half a century ago, when many cities were still gaining population, almost all of them boasted a healthy stock of affordable housing. Yet starting in the 1970s, cities began aggressively limiting and directing housing growth, enacting rules for minimum lot sizes and population density that produced significant cost increases for builders, who passed them on to consumers. In Trenton, New Jersey, O’Toole estimates that the city-imposed planning penalty adds $49,000, or 17 percent, to the median cost of a home in a city where the population has shrunk from 130,000 in the 1950s to 85,000 today. In nearby Newark, a city pockmarked with empty lots that has lost some 170,000 residents, the planning penalty is $154,000, adding 41 percent to median home value.
The liberal social programs have created an underclass dependent on government for housing, food, clothing and all other sustenance. Liberal politicians love to point their fingers at big business, conservatives and whomever else they can while it is really the liberal politicians who are at fault. The advantage for the liberal politicians is that they have created for themselves a dependable, dependent voting block who obligingly live marginal existences.
Even the Bible (Christ Himself) said the poor will always be with us.
More than anything, the War on Poverty is an excuse to give government more and more control over your life. Control over the wage earners by forcefully taking their money and giving it to others. Control over the "poverty stricken" by making them dependent on government.
For the most part intelligence effects income but I've known some very hard working people of mediocre intelligence with good common sense who have done quite well.
I remember when my dad paid his house off. It was his third house, but the only one he ever stayed in until the end, and paid off. He burned the mortgage with glee. It was a great feeling for him, and it rubbed off on his kids. It took him 30 years and he never made a late payment. Pretty cool, I thought. You know, my dad was a great guy.
Why can't people understand, that the more you give something away with no strings attached, the more people come to rely on it and expect more of the same.
Maybe we need to move back away from so much urbanization?
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