Thanks to progressivism, we’ve lost the “War on Poverty”

August 1, 2014
"Defeat"

“Defeat”

The War on Poverty was launched in 1964 under Lyndon Johnson with the best of intentions: through massive spending and extensive welfare programs, the government would eradicate poverty in America and make people self-sufficient. Like I said, a worthy goal.

It has also been an utter failure. In 1964 we declared war on poverty, and poverty won.

As the chart above shows, poverty was in deep, rapid decline in America after World War II without any government help, just the natural processes of a growing, prosperous economy. It looked well on its way to elimination, perhaps. Then, in the mid to late-60s, it leveled off and, save for an occasional bump up, has stayed right around fifteen percent.What happened?

In 1964, with the start of the War on Poverty, progressives and other economically illiterate do-gooders wound up trapping people in poverty, rather than helping them out of it. As Robert Rector at The Signal writes:

Johnson did not intend to put more Americans on the dole (1). Instead, he explicitly sought to reduce the future need for welfare by making lower-income Americans productive and self-sufficient.

By this standard, the War on Poverty has been a catastrophic failure. After spending more than $20 trillion on Johnson’s war, many Americans are less capable of self-support than when the war began. This lack of progress is, in a major part, due to the welfare system itself. Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future. Reforms should focus on these programs’ incentive structure to point the way toward self-sufficiency. One step is communicating that the poverty rate is better understood as self-sufficiency rate—that is, we should measure how many Americans can take care of themselves and their families.

Emphasis added.

What was it Ronald Reagan said?

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

One would think that, faced with all the mounds of evidence that government programs don’t lift people out of poverty, Progressives, who claim to be devoted to “progress,” would see the war on poverty has been a failure and that the programs should be reformed or discontinued and something else tried, something like less government intervention.

But, no. Few ever will be that honest, because to say government failed to reorder society as desired would be to admit that the central tenet of progressivism, a faith in the power of technocrats to manage a vastly complex society, was wrong.

Meanwhile, that core 15% remains trapped in poverty, addicted to government “crack” and walking a road paved with good intentions.

PS: Note the sharp climb back up to 15% at the end of that chart. It starts soon after the Democrats take over Congress in 2006 and undo the 1990s Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, then accelerates under Obama. Coincidence? I think not.

RELATED: Cato economist Dan Mitchell has often written on the same topic. Here’s a post he wrote on the failures of the War on Poverty and another on the “redistribution trap.” That latter is must-reading.

Footnote:
(1) Many criticize that assertion, with some justification. See for example Kevin Williamson’s “The Dependency Agenda.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare success! New Medicaid enrollee turned down by 96 doctors

April 9, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?

Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:

“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.

That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?

This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.

Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?

Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.

Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.

RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Aborted babies incinerated to heat British hospitals

March 24, 2014
"The new god of medicine?"

“The new god of medicine?”

Just horrifying:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

It didn’t happen in every UK hospital –one was appalled to learn another had been shipping its fetal remains to the first hospital to be burned– but that something like this could happen at all is nauseating. And not just for the callous treatment of human remains, like a fiery version of Soylent Green, but the miserable treatment of the parents, too. Remember, an abortion may be performed for medical necessity, not just to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t the parents in at least these cases be treated with more respect and empathy?

There have been a number of horror stories coming out of the UK National Health Service involving poor care or downright abusive treatment of patients and their families, almost all of them traceable in their origin to the dynamics of a government-run healthcare system. Oxford bioethicists have even argued in favor of post-natal abortion (1), on the grounds that a newborn isn’t capable yet of attributing value to its own existence, and thus can’t feel the loss of it.

And now this, the new fires of Moloch.

Footnote:
(1) What most of us in the real world would call “infanticide” and “murder.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood marketing BDSM to teens?

February 27, 2014
Teach the children

Teach the children

I’m pretty open-minded, but this is a bit much, even for me:

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)–which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012–has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.

“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.

“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.

Lifestyle choices are, of course, within broad boundaries an adult’s private affair. But through the age of 18, teens are the legal responsibility of their parents; I have to wonder how many would be happy to discover Planned Parenthood encouraging their teens to explore “alternative lifestyles” under the guise of “sexual health.” And why is my (hypothetical) child’s sex life, which I should hope he or she didn’t yet have, the business of an abortion mill, anyway?

The other question I have, one that’s not hypothetical at all, is why my tax money is going to support this?

Video at the first link.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time the Left has been caught showing teens how to have safe, alternative sex. Warning, it’s pretty graphic.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Instead of a Government-Guaranteed Income, How About a Practical Plan to End the Washington Welfare State?

December 20, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Hmmm… Block-granting the entire welfare state to the states to allocate as they need, then gradually eliminating it — a federalist approach. I like it.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

The welfare state is a nightmare.

Programs such as Medicaid are fiscal catastrophes. The food stamp program is riddled with waste. The EITC is easily defrauded, even sending checks to prisoners. And housing subsidies are a recipe for the worst forms of social engineering.

The entire system should be tossed in the trash.

But what’s the alternative? Some libertarians argue that we should eliminate the dozens of Washington programs and replace them with a government-guaranteed minimum income. I address this issue in an essay for Libertarianism.org.

Some libertarians argue that the state should provide a minimum basic income, mainly because this approach would be preferable to the costly and bureaucratic amalgamation of redistribution programs that currently exist. It’s hard to disagree with the notion that the current system is a failure. The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner has produced a searing indictment of the modern welfare…

View original 702 more words


#Obamacare: at last, CNN finds someone thrilled with it!

November 2, 2013

At long last, we’ve found people genuinely excited by our new, state-run healthcare system: strippers, escorts, dominatrices and other sex-workers!

Only in California, my friends, and only in San Francisco:

A burlesque dancer dressed as a nurse taunts her co-performer with a toy syringe, dangling the medicine seductively in an act that’s meant to reflect the cat-and-mouse game of U.S. healthcare. They shimmy and eventually end up topless.

The risqué performance was part of an Obamacare registration drive last week in San Francisco, dubbed the “Healthy Ho’s Party.”

Organized by “Siouxsie Q,” a Bay Area sex worker, the event was meant to encourage other sex workers to enroll in the new insurance exchanges. It was a rousing success: Nearly 40 men and women attended and almost all of them filed enrollment paperwork.

In the all-cash, off-the-books sex industry, workers can be particularly high risk and insurance is often out of reach. Many sex workers — a broad term that can refer to a number of services, including sexual massage, prostitution, and escort and dominatrix work — consider themselves self-employed entrepreneurs who can’t afford to purchase healthcare. But that could all change with the Affordable Care Act.

The article then continues with the usual pro-Obamacare tale: insurance for “Siouxsie” and her partner was too big a chunk of their income, plus, given the risks of their “professions,” coverage was more expensive or often unobtainable altogether. With guaranteed coverage and publicly funded subsidies, plans become affordable. Yay!

Well, not so fast. First, as the article notes, subsidies kick in for incomes under $46,000. Many of these women have “regular jobs” — the sex trade is extra income. The article strongly implies that this latter income isn’t being reported. So, there’s a strong possibility of one degree or another of fraud here. But, hey, Obama doesn’t care; they’re not verifying income, anyway.

Second, before jumping with joy, these ladies and gentlemen would be well-advised to check into co-pays, deductibles, and just who is included in their new network, since all of these are already being recognized as problems. (And, to be clear, Obamacare critics have been warning of this for years.) It’s not for nothing that one person described the low-cost plans as “garbage.”

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Finally, I need to deal with one truly egregious statement that’s indicative of much that’s wrong these days:

“I really do think access to healthcare should be a human right, and I’ve been so brainwashed to think it’s such a privilege,” a sex worker and activist known as “Maxine Holloway” said.

Sorry, Maxine, but healthcare is neither a right nor a privilege: it is a commodity, the fruits of the labor of other people (doctors who have to pay to attend medical school, companies that make the medical instruments, &c.) that is traded for the fruits of still other people’s labor — the money they earn.

Nothing you pay money for is an inherent, natural right. To declare health care a “right” everyone is entitled to, you have to take from someone else, if need be by force, their property, whether it is their time and labor, or the products they produce. Force them to sell something for less than what it is worth or to provide it “free,” and you are effectively stealing from them, even enslaving them. For the government to demand that taxpayers pay far more than they need to for insurance in order to subsidize your medical procedures is no different than a medieval lord taking a farmer’s grain crop and giving it to his favorites.

Look at it from another point of view: assume that one day sex is declared a human right, and that you, as a sex-worker are required to provide it at less than what you think your services are worth, which is analogous to what happens to a doctor under Medicare. (1) Would you be happy with that, Maxine? Would you think it right? Or would you feel oppressed and used?

Put it this way: What the government gives you, it can easily take. Or force you to provide.

PS: For the record, I have nothing against the “sex trade,” as long as all participants are adults engaging in it of their own free will. I suppose this is one place where the “libertarian” part of my self-description as a “conservative with libertarian leanings” comes into play — individualism, liberty of contract, free enterprise and entrepreneurialism, &c. Or, put another way, within broad bounds, it’s none of government’s (or my) business. In fact, I suspect that Siouxsie and Maxine and their friends are far more honest about what they do than the Obama and his team have ever been about their intentions. Given my choice of people to hang around with…

via ST

Footnote:
(1) This is a mistaken analogy on my part, for practices aren’t required to take Medicare and Medicaid patients. Doing so is voluntary on their part, much like pro bono work by attorneys. For a Democrat proposal that would change this, though, see this…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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