A gem from my favorite writer that has a special resonance in this economy:
The elites who denounce poverty despise the poor. Their every high-minded, right-thinking “poverty program” proves this detestation — from the bulldozing of vibrant tenement communities to the drug law policing policies that send poor kids to prison and rich kids to rehab to the humiliation of food stamps and free school lunches to the loathsome inner-city public schools where those free lunches are slopped onto cafeteria trays.
The federal government has some 50 different “poverty programs.” Nearly half a trillion dollars is spent on them each year. That’s about $11,000 per man, woman, and child under the poverty line, enough to lift each and every one of them out of poverty. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2011 poverty guideline for a family of three: $18,530.) We call them “poverty programs” for a reason. If ordinary people with down-to-earth common sense were spending that half trillion, we’d call them “modest prosperity programs.”
“Urban renewal” was indeed the unacknowledged crime of the 20th century against poor Americans, destroying functional neighborhoods in favor of slums. The War on Drugs, as supposed racist Ron Paul notes, hits the poor hard and poor minorities hardest. And our broken education system has created generational poverty, hamstringing the one means people might have to escape is clutches.
I don’t think liberals literally hate the poor. But if you had sat down in, say, 1965, and tried to hash out a program that would make sure poor people — and especially poor black people — didn’t lift themselves up, you would be hard-pressed to come up with a better plan than the one that was actually implemented.
Dependence has never and will never create independence. And given the lust for power and worship that is so entrenched in our political class, I suspect the are fine with that.