Progress in war on black poverty due to civil rights, not welfare

Progress in war on black poverty due to civil rights, not welfare

Current poverty stats generally show the same 15-17% rate of Americans living in poverty today as were when President Lyndon Johnson launched his war against it 50 years ago. But the rate for Blacks has been nearly cut in half from 27% in 1964 to around 14% today; so Democrats are out in force claiming success due to spending of over $9 trillion on food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare.

Not so fast. Such a conclusion assumes that the only factor in determining who is in poverty is how much the government spends on government-run efforts. The Democratic Party has fostered the view that “caring” about the poor is at all times determined by whether one supports the latest bill they propose to increase such expenditures, no matter the manifest epic failure of their policies for the past five decades.

But President Johnson signed some other bills in 1964 and 1965 that have more to do with the relative improvement of blacks on this narrow metric; and the most effective tactic in the War on Poverty was first employed 225 years ago when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, not when LBJ shamelessly employed white guilt to excess to kick the black man out of the house and make Uncle Sam every child’s daddy 50 years ago.

Free market capitalism, private property rights and economic liberty as unleashed by limited government is what soon made the United States the most prosperous nation on Earth in the early 1800s and through today. And granting those full citizenship rights to blacks is what enabled them to reduce their poverty rate to a level more in line with other Americans.

Sadly, the Democrats have been waging war against wealth creation and economic liberty for over seventy years, and especially so in the Age of Obamanomics, so that now a record number of Americans have been poor for record lengths of time:

Although the president often rails against income inequality in America, his policies have had little impact overall on poverty. A record 47 million Americans receive food stamps, about 13 million more than when he took office.

The poverty rate has stood at 15 percent for three consecutive years, the first time that has happened since the mid-1960s. The poverty rate in 1965 was 17.3 percent; it was 12.5 percent in 2007, before the Great Recession.

About 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the federal government defined in 2012 as an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four.

President Obama’s anti-poverty efforts “are basically to give more people more free stuff,” said Robert Rector, a specialist on welfare and poverty at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“That’s exactly the opposite of what Johnson said,” Mr. Rector said. “Johnson’s goal was to make people prosperous and self-sufficient.”

Liberal Democratic Party policies make more people poor by design so that they can then buy votes with welfare checks. And while Republicans, as they have for the past fifty years, agree to a safety net for the truly needy; they are then called heartless whenever they want to increase such spending less than Democrats do. With Dems its always more, more and more. And when that doesn’t work, the obvious answer is…even more government spending.

The GOP rightly declares LBJ’s and the Democratic Party’s war a failure:

The best tactic today in the war on poverty would be to throw Democrats out of Washington, D.C.

Mike DeVine

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson


Mike DeVine

Mike DeVine

Mike DeVine is a former op-ed columnist at the Charlotte Observer and legal editor of The (Decatur) Champion (legal organ of DeKalb County, Georgia). He is currently with the Ruf Law Firm in Atlanta Metro and conservative voice of the Atlanta Times News.

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