Posts Tagged ‘War on Poverty’

The One Failed War Leftists Won’t Quit

Friday, November 16th, 2012

War Without End

I was born in the 1960s, just as Congress and Lyndon Johnson launched a new war.  The war raged on, and the amount of money spent was unprecedented. Never before had so much money been thrown at a war, but the enemy refused to relent.  Money bled out of our treasury, and the futures of so many young Americans were wrecked.  The cost to the nation was measured in its tragic affects on our culture, as well as our financial standing, and since that war commenced, America has never been the same.  In most cases, the left can’t wait to shut down a failed war once it’s taken up by Republican Presidents, but this war was different.  This was a war they would continue to wage, despite all of the evidence that they were making no ground against an intransigent and intractable enemy. Failure didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered.  Infiltrations?  No matter.  Destroyed morale?  Just another burden to be borne by the American people.  Ladies and gentlemen, no war in history has cost so much or produced so little as the war commenced in earnest by President Johnson, and yet no war in American history has seen such a commitment of resources.  Naturally, I speak not of Vietnam that ended in the 1975, but instead of the counterproductive “war on poverty” that continues to this day, with no hint of success in sight.

In the five decades of the declared “War on Poverty,” there hasn’t been a President who hasn’t spurred it along, and there hasn’t been a Congress that did not act to expand it.  We have spent money in the range of some $15-20 Trillion on the various means-tested entitlement and welfare programs over that period.  It’s fair to say the number is at least on par with our current national debt, and yet for all the screaming by Democrats over the cost of the war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan, neither approach the colossal sum poured into the welfare systems and programs of this nation.  In fact, you can combine the total of defense and war spending over that same period and not arrive at an equal sum.  My question for Democrats, as well as for “compassionate conservatives” is simply this:  When do you admit that this war had been a complete and utter failure, more fruitless than any you’ve enlisted our country to fight?

At this late date, we have more people in poverty, and enrolled in these poverty programs than ever before.  If the purpose of these programs had been to give people a “hand up,” how long ago should we have expected them to take it?  One in six Americans is receiving food-stamps.  One in six!  One in seven is enrolled in Medicaid.  More than half the nation’s children receive free or reduced-price lunches and breakfasts at school, all funded by federal dollars.  The number of people living in government-furnished or government-financed housing is outrageous.  If the United States had been involved in a war stretching across the span of a half-century, yielding no improvement in the state of our security, the leftists in this nation would be terminally apoplectic.  We can’t so much as deploy troops to battle terrorists without the left losing its collective hive-mind.

If one were to view warfare as an investment in the future of a county, one could justify the first Gulf War on the basis that it at least restored the free flow of oil at market prices that permitted the nation to enjoy most of a decade of relative prosperity.  If you evaluate the so-called “War on Poverty” by the same criteria, a serious economist would note that it had only made the nation poorer.  In real terms, we have more people in poverty, and a system that is designed to increase the number who will languish in that state.  In truth, most of the people receiving the bounty of the welfare state are living as well as people who earn 150% of the poverty level, and we now provide hand-outs of every description to so many people that they have begun to outnumber producers.

If it is the standard policy of Democrats and their cohort leftist groups to abandon a failed war, why are they not protesting on the streets?  Why are they not screaming and chanting and having die-ins on the streets, not wearing the garb of massacred civilians, as is their usual ploy, but instead wearing the clothing of all those who work for a living?  That’s who they’re killing.  The people being rewarded by this system are not the people who’ve earned it.  Instead, the people who earned the bounty that is being redistributed are being victimized by the Democrats, but also by their friends who are the self-described “compassionate conservatives” in the Republican Party.  Is their compassion with the money of others so thoroughly blinding that they are now unable to see what it is they have wrought?  Rather than elevate people from poverty, giving them the needed “hand up,” what they have accomplished is to create a permanent underclass that largely only fits that definition to the extent of their earnings, but no longer by their standard of living.

The wretched tragedy of this failed War on Poverty might be forgiven if one were to believe it had been the accidental consequence of good intentions, but it is not.  No rational person can evaluate the failed results that have characterized our national effort to reduce poverty, ten years in, twenty years in, or thirty years in, somebody ought to have recognized that this is not working.  It can’t work, in fact, but if you support programs of this sort after you’ve watched their perennial failures for the span of a half-century, one can scarcely conclude that the advocates of such a system had been motivated by benevolence.  While the “War on Poverty” has been a thorough failure, their other war has been a rousing success:  The entirety of this system is part of the extended political warfare against the American people.  The idea is to break us, and it’s working, so that at long last, they have succeeded in making us vulnerable to every conceivable threat.  If the real goal isn’t to cure poverty, but instead to impoverish the American people both in material and liberty, the war of the statists against America has been a rousing success.  We believed they were fighting a war on poverty, but the lengthening line of economic corpses tells another story. There will be no flag-dropped coffins in this war, and no one will salutes its victims, eventually to be measured in the tens or hundreds of millions in shattered dreams and wasted lives.   Too generous and trusting to perceive the objective of their attackers, most Americans didn’t understand that all along, it had been a war for poverty.

Theirs.

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