Continuing my series about being poor in America, here's an article by George Will that points out the failure of the exorbitantly expensive "war on poverty".

America's always fast-flowing river of race-obsessing has overflowed its banks, and last Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois's freshman Democrat, applied to the expression of old banalities a fluency that would be beguiling were it without content. Unfortunately, it included the requisite lament about the president's inadequate "empathy" and an amazing criticism of the government's "historic indifference" and its "passive indifference" that "is as bad as active malice." The senator, 44, is just 30 months older than the "war on poverty" that President Johnson declared in January 1964. Since then the indifference that is as bad as active malice has been expressed in more than $6.6 trillion of anti-poverty spending, strictly defined.

The senator is called a "new kind of Democrat," which often means one with new ways of ignoring evidence discordant with old liberal orthodoxies about using cash -- much of it spent through liberalism's "caring professions" -- to cope with cultural collapse. He might, however, care to note three not-at-all recondite rules for avoiding poverty: Graduate from high school, don't have a baby until you are married, don't marry while you are a teenager. Among people who obey those rules, poverty is minimal. ...

Given that most African Americans are middle class and almost half live outside central cities, and that 76 percent of all births to Louisiana African Americans were to unmarried women, it is a safe surmise that more than 80 percent of African American births in inner-city New Orleans -- as in some other inner cities -- were to women without husbands. That translates into a large and constantly renewed cohort of lightly parented adolescent males, and that translates into chaos in neighborhoods and schools, come rain or come shine.

If leftists are really concerned with helping the poor -- rather than maintaining them as a permanent class for means of pandering for votes -- they should focus on teaching and encouraging obedience to those three rules: graduate high school, don't have babies out of wedlock, and don't get married as a teenager. The biggest shortcoming of leftism is that it thinks every problem can be solved with a government policy, and it refuses to admit that problems caused by bad behavior can only be fixed if individual people are willing to change.

Meanwhile, SoCalPundit points to a piece by Rush Limbaugh in which the radio commentator says that leftist policies make people poor.

The reality is that liberal Democrat policies fail and make people poor, and do not do anything about it once that happens. The reality that we’re seeing on the media is 180 degrees different from the reality in the country. In the media and liberal Democrat world, Wal-Mart is evil. Wal-Mart, in the real world, has donated something like $15 million (story | story). In media real world, the pharmaceutical companies are evil and killing people. In the real world, the pharmaceutical companies work very hard to make drugs and medicines that save lives and have extended the life expectancy. They have donated more than $25 million in cash and pharmaceutical supplies. And what about the oil companies? In the media reality, the oil companies are the reason for all evil, it’s why we’re in Iraq, it’s why Bush is in the White House, it’s why Cheney is the vice president, it’s why Halliburton is there. But in the real world, ExxonMobil has pledged $7 million, ConocoPhillips and Shell, $3 million apiece, Marathon Oil, one and a half million, the BP Foundation, one and a half million dollars, and guess where that money came from? It came from profits from gasoline (story). The government already runs the oil business. The government tells oil companies where they can’t drill and where they can, where they can’t ship and where they can, on what kind of ships they can ship their goods and on what kinds of ships they can’t. They tell them what kind of gasoline to formulate for 40 different regions of this country. It’s the government that already runs the oil companies. If I were the oil companies, I would convene hearings and I would bring every member of Congress up and I would start asking them questions, “Why are you trying to destroy this industry?” There are two realities. Unfortunately, the Republicans in Washington buy into the media reality, and they think that’s what the rest of the country thinks.

That's the great irony of (true) liberalism and capitalism: by preserving the individual power to be selfish, we actually do more to promote the common good than could any top-down government program.



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