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Jul 12, 2012

War on Poverty; Hebrews 13:8

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever"

In the John Singleton, Bob Howard book “Rip Van Australia” written back in 1977, the following point was made about Aboriginal welfare spending:
… Total outlays on Aboriginal affairs rose nearly threefold in two years of Labor government. The department of Aboriginal Affairs doubled to 1450 staff, but actual payments to Aboriginals increased relatively modestly from $5 million to $9 million, to a level of $80 per Aborigine, or about $400 per family. But if the whole of the budget for Aboriginal Affairs ($160 million) had been simply paid to Aborigines, they would have got $1500 each, man, woman, and child.

The average Aboriginal family would have been above the average white family’s earnings in Australia without any of them having to lift a finger. The fact that Aborigines are not the richest people in Australia is a measure of the extent to which the money supposedly spent on their behalf is drawn off into administration, research and services.
Let's step forward to America in the present.

In the current “Liberator Online” James W Harris quotes a recent Cato Institute policy analysis by Michael Tanner, which states that with the expenditure of almost a trillion dollars per year on fighting poverty, little has been accomplished in around fifty years since the War on Poverty was officially declared:
  • Total welfare spending in constant 2011 dollars (including state and local funds) has risen from $256 billion in 1965 to $908 billion today. Yet the poverty rate remains very close to 1964, when it was 19 percent and falling rapidly. It never fell below 10.5 percent, and this year, it is expected to be roughly 15.1 percent -- and climbing.
  • In 2011, there were 126 different federal antipoverty programs administered by seven different cabinet agencies and six independent agencies.
  • Federal, state and local governments spend fully $20,610 for every poor person in America -- $61,830 per poor family of three. The poverty line for a family of three is $18,530. So, in theory, poverty -- as defined by the government's own figures -- should have been wiped out many times over.
  • It gets worse: Over the next 10 years, federal and state governments are projected to spend $250,000 for every American currently living in poverty. That, of course, is enough to make each impoverished family of four… millionaires.
"Throwing money at the problem has neither reduced poverty nor made the poor self-sufficient," Tanner concludes. "Our current $1 trillion War on Poverty is a failure.”
Sending out cheques to all of the poor people in the US would be an absurd proposition and would cost a fortune to administer even if it were attempted in the future. The current effort is not only absurd, it is also counterproductive.

Were the 908 billion dollars left in the public’s pockets or not borrowed against future generations, thus assuring their poverty, the result would be a massive boost to the economy of the United States with investment and the job market taking off. The result would not end poverty, but would be the most effective method of reducing it as close as possible to zero.

In government; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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