War on Poverty has failed

There is a very good article by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute titled The dignity deficit: Reclaiming Americans’ sense of purpose.  The piece speaks of the improbable Trump victory and postulates the win came about because of the anger of those citizens left behind economically in America.  This thesis explaining Trump’s win is not unique, many political pundits have offered the same.  However, Brooks extends the story by going back to LBJ’s War on Poverty. Brooks highlights in his article the plight of a poor Kentuckian named Tom Fletcher. Fletcher, despite government assistance (welfare) is never was able to escape poverty.

In 1966, when the War on Poverty programs were finally up and running, the national poverty rate stood at 14.7 percent. By 2014, it stood at 14.8 percent. In other words, the United States had spent trillions of dollars but seen no reduction in the poverty rate.1

There are millions more Tom Fletchers that Twenty trillion dollars of government largess has not helped and they voted in November, 2016.

The solution to poverty is to go back to fundamental economic principles. If you want more of something, then do not tax it. However, this axiom is ignored by statists and we have many Americans being left behind. The solution is simple, stop taxing the fruits of labor (wealth) and you will see more fruit.

The same principle holds true for government regulations that stifle labor and subsequent wealth generation. If you you want less friction on labor which will lead to more wealth creation, stop unnecessary regulation of the actions that generate wealth.

  1. Brooks, Arthur C. “The Dignity Deficit: Reclaiming Americans’ Sense of Purpose.” American Enterprise Institute. Foreign Affairs, 13 Feb. 2017. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
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