Barack Obama and members of his administration continue to speak myths about poverty. Stephen Moore of The Heritage Foundation corrected some of these myths in his article entitled “Unraveling the Poverty Myths Obama Is Promoting.”
One of the myths promoted by Mr. Obama is a complaint that “folks on the left” are blamed for wanting to “pour more money into social programs, and don’t care anything about culture or parenting or family structures….” Moore pointed out that the federal government has spent more than $22 trillion on the War on Poverty since 1964.
Another myth promoted by Mr. Obama is that the Baltimore riots were caused by Republicans who refused to spend and borrow “even more money on his social programs.”
Moore quoted Mr. Obama: “It is a mistake for us to suggest that somehow every effort we make has failed and we are powerless to address poverty. That’s just not true. First of all, just in absolute terms, the poverty rate when you take into account tax and transfer programs, has been reduced about 40 percent since 1967.”
Moore then explained, “There are two problems with this defense of the welfare state. First, the official poverty was falling before 1965 and at a faster rate than after the Great Society got rolling in the mid-1960s. This official poverty rate has remained virtually stagnant since the War on Poverty began.
“Second, the decline in poverty that Obama is boasting about is only after taking into account tax credits and government handouts and welfare benefits. When excluding these programs there has been little progress at all.
“Redistribution may have raised the material living standards of some of the poor. But it has not increased self-sufficiency.
“The original purpose of the welfare state was to lift people into self-sufficiency, not to create a permanent underclass dependent on taxpayers. Lyndon Johnson told us when he started these programs that `the days of the dole are numbered.’ We have passed day 18,000.
“Obama also wants it both ways. He says over and over, even in this speech, that the biggest problem with the economy is income inequality because the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. So if the poor are getting poorer, how have his social programs worked to reduce poverty?”
This is a very good question. How do the social programs increase self-sufficiency -- and therefore wealth – if the gap between wealthy and poor continues to grow? The answer is obvious. The social programs do not help people; they only continue to keep people on the government plantation!