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50 years ago we declared war on poverty, spent $20.7 trillion, and lost. So now the President is trying again. Only this time he’s calling it a war on income inequality because a war on poverty only appeals to folks who are poor while a war on income inequality appeals to just about everyone except, maybe, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.
 
Now you’d think the President would start by attacking the root causes of the income inequality. But politics doesn’t work that way. Because what politicians are interested  in is votes – and taking money from one group of folks and giving it to another is a proven plan that works at the ballot box.  But like a lot of modern politics it does little to fix the root of the problem.
 
The other day in the newspaper Robert Rector reported there are now 80 means-tested welfare programs that take $916 billion from one group of folks and give it to 100 million other folks. Despite that poverty rates haven’t dropped but, on the other hand, poverty is not what it used to be. Today, our typical poor soul lives in a house or apartment in good repair with air-conditioning and cable TV that is larger than the house of an average non-poor soul in France, England or Germany. He has a car, TVs and a DVD player. There’s a fifty-fifty chance he has a computer. A one in three chance he has a big flat screen TV. And, thankfully, a big majority of today’s poor are not undernourished and didn’t endure a day of hunger over the previous year.
 
Still, no one doubts there are still people who need a helping hand – which led Mr. Rector to a surprising fact: Fifty-one years ago, the year before we declared war on poverty, 6% of America’s children were born out of wedlock. Today 41% of our children are born out of wedlock. Now, why on earth should a child’s mother and father not marrying make a farthing’s difference when it comes to how much a child earns when he (or she)  grows up?
 
The answer’s a mystery but statistics don’t lie and they say children raised in single parent homes are four times more likely to be poor, and children who grow up without a father at home are 50% more likely to be poor when they grow up.
 
It sounds illogical but the numbers say more traditional families mean less poverty. But for a politician in pursuit of votes that turns a simple political opportunity into a knotty intellectual problem.
 
One more fact: Today when a mother on welfare has the good fortune to fall in love with a man who has a job and marries him she loses her benefits. Now, in a way, that’s logical. But if you’re a single mother who may be losing, say, $10,000 in benefits it’s also 10,000 reasons not to marry the man of your dreams.
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dap916
# dap916
Friday, January 24, 2014 3:23 PM
WOW! Carter, that was one of your very BEST Front Page posts EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your partner-in-crime Gary has just GOTTA hate your presentation here.

I saw a post on another blog site where someone said that in his SOTU address, Obama will no doubt make "income inequality" the major theme in that address and that he will do what almost every liberal/democratic politician does and tell us how government must spend a great more money to treat the symptoms of that illness rather than doing something to cure the disease that causes it.

Your post here goes directly to that point. Excellent. Can't say that enough.
Choo
# Choo
Saturday, January 25, 2014 2:18 AM
Strange how it all just recycles. I guess there will always be the capitalist and the socialist. The capitalist will work and create wealth, and the socialist will use the coersive power of governments to steal their wealth. I always knew we could get along just fine without the socialist, only they can't get along without the capitalist. Also funny how if you live long enough you see former total socialist nations trending back to capitalism and capitalist nations trending socialist. I understand why the former socialist nations go back to capitalism, it creates wealth, but for the life of me I don't understand capitalist nations trending socialist. Guess that's the eternal question.

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