With all the pain and suffering in the world, it can be hard to sleep at night. Luckily for liberals, they have a clear conscience because they spend a lot of time complaining that other people don’t pay enough in taxes. There really is no more noble act.
The only problems are that raising tax rates does not bring in more revenue, and anti-poverty programs have not done any good at all.
In 1966, the War on Poverty’s first year of implementation, the poverty rate was 14.7%. In 2011, the rate was 15.1%. In 2011, we spent $668 Billion on welfare programs. More remarkable than the lack of effectiveness is the lack of efficiency. The poverty threshold for a family of 3 is $18,530. However, total welfare spending (federal + state + local) for a family of 3 is $59,233.
If we just gave them the money we spend on the programs, they would be solidly middle-class. I guess they’re too stupid to decide for themselves what to do with the money, they need the smart people in government (the ones that spend $59,233 per family of 3) to guide them.
But maybe this is because evil Republicans have cut programs for the poor and told poor little orphans that they should DIE IN THE STREET. Unfortunately, this isn’t true and many Republicans have been just as stupid about these programs. The spending has consistently and steeply gone up.
But if we stopped any of these programs, all poor people would DIE IN THE STREET. Despite shrill screams of “racist!” (because liberals think only black people collect welfare) when this argument is made , evidence shows that when things like unemployment benefits end, recipients are magically able to find jobs. In Denmark, they tracked when unemployment recipients found employment. They were offering 5 YEARS of benefits. Then they reduced that to 4 years. Here is what they found:
Curious, that. Extending unemployment benefits extends unemployment. Maybe Benjamin Franklin wasn’t just being a racist jerk when he said
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. — I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Aside from programs for the handicapped and genuinely disabled, if the government must spend all this money on welfare, at least do it via Milton Friedman’s idea of a negative income tax. Mathematically, with the amount we spend, poverty should be completely wiped out. The government’s arrogance that they must direct the lives of the poor leads to hugely wasteful spending and terrible results.