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.

This is what statists want for us

One of the economic models the statists, especially those on the left, would like the United States to follow is Euro or Democratic Socialism.  This movement, while not pure Marxism, is a state led economy with cradle to grave welfare and can be described officially as:

“Social democracy is an ideological stance that supports a broad balance between market capitalism, on the one hand, and state intervention, on the other hand. Being based on a compromise between the market and the state, social democracy lacks a systematic underlying theory and is, arguably, inherently vague. It is nevertheless associated with the following views: (1) capitalism is the only reliable means of generating wealth, but it is a morally defective means of distributing wealth because of its tendency towards poverty and inequality; (2) the defects of the capitalist system can be rectified through economic and social intervention, the state being the custodian of the public interest […]”. 1

These statists who dream of making America more like Europe have been somewhat successful however, many free market supporters have often fought the statists’ efforts since the origins of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  In this epic battle, more often than not, the statists have not won and America has kept at least some vestige of free markets and thus a growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, since the mid 1990s Europe has embraced more statism and their economic progress has been greatly retarded as show in the Euro Area’s paltry GDP growth in the chart below which shows GDP Growth Rate in the Euro Area averaging only 0.37 percent from 1995 until 2016. 2

The question is, do we really want to become more like Europe?


  1. Heywood, Andrew (2012). Political Ideologies: An Introduction (5th ed.). Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-36725-8.
  2. “Euro Area GDP Growth Rate 1995-2016.” Euro Area GDP Growth Rate 1995-2016. Trending Economics, 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016. <http://www.tradingeconomics.com/euro-area/gdp-growth&gt;.

Do we have socialist influences in our economy and should we follow them?

With the death of Fidel Castro and the end of an era, thoughts turned to the failure of his brand of socialism within Cuba.  In announcing his death, the left in America’s media downplay his brutality against political foes and his economic failures thrust upon the Cuban people in their reporting. This oversight is intentional and is taken as to not diminish Castro’s legacy and their desire for America to become more socialistic in a similar manner of Castro.

Few in the media offer opinion as to what will happen in Cuba going forward and Cuba’s future direction is anyone’s guess, but the Cuban people will likely continue to demand more economic and political freedom.  If this happens, information will be kept beneath the surfaces as it does not fit the lefts’ message for America.

In America, those in the media and on the far left side of the political spectrum seem to have a romantic view of Castro and continue to target the benefits of state controlled economies despite documented failures.  This is their continuous attempt to move America and its economy away from free markets and into the arms of the state.

This dash towards the state is ever evolving but for the foreseeable future, it appears America will not quickly adopt a ‘pure socialist’ ‘Castro like’ society however, our nation has been drifting towards an intermediate step called Democratic Socialism which is a more palatable variant of socialism to the many American people who adhere to the left’s view and even to many who do not but are becoming alienated by America’s current crony capitalism.

Democratic Socialism is well understood and has been documented by academics and in the common mass media as a panacea for all those who experience it.  In the later, the mainstream media thrusts Scandinavia forward as model America should and must follow if we as a nation are to achieve something akin to Maslow’s  Self-Actualization for our nation.

Democratic Socialism can be defined as:

the term indicates, combines democracy and socialism. Politically, it involves a commitment to popular, constitutional rule and the protection of basic rights. Economically, it involves an equitable distribution of the community’s wealth. Democratic socialists maintain that key aspects of economic life must be publicly owned or socially controlled to ensure this equitable distribution. Socially, democratic socialism involves the belief that all human beings, in a cooperative community, should have the opportunity to fulfill their good and creative potential. There are many sources of democratic socialism, including the Judaic-Christian tradition’s concern for the poor, the nineteenth-century utopians, Marxist thought, revisionists of Marxist thought, the Fabian socialists in England, and the trade union movement.1

Reading this definition one can easily see Democratic Socialism at work today entrenching itself deeper within America’s economic and political systems. For example, government forced redistribution of income and wealth is common and growing. Millions of lower income Americans are treated to a plethora of publicly funded government programs and have become dependent on these programs for their very existence. A headline form the US Census Bureau states how large this Democratic Socialistic practice already is:

21.3 Percent of U.S. Population Participates in Government Assistance Programs Each Month

Democratic Socialism is also well entrenched and controlling large sectors of our economic system.  Our medical, education, transportation, and energy industries come to mind as they are already highly controlled by the state.    The the factors of production in these economic sectors are regulated and controlled. Obamacare is a prime example of the states’ hands in healthcare.

Land, Labor, Capital, and Enterprise and managed by the state in other areas and its grip within these areas are growing rapidly.  During the last eight years, government regulation of our economy has grown significantly:

see https://libertarian57.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/is-this-democracy/  for details.

The question America must ask given the reality of Democratic Socialism’s penetration  within the nation is do we want to continue down this path or is there a better alternative.
1. Riemer, Neal. “The Challenge of Politics: An Introduction to Political Science, 3rd Edition.” Barnes & Noble. Cqpress, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.