The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday concerns the war on poverty. The Unites States of America has been fighting the war on poverty since 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his War on Poverty initiative. The initiative was to use the full force of the U.S. Government to intervene and provide all manner of welfare for those in need. Since that time, the initiative has grown to “70 welfare programs to aid the poor and has spent $22 trillion.” Yet, we have more poor among us now than we did in 1965.
Glenn Beck produced four programs about the War on Poverty. Part 1 was about the Founders’ thoughts on how to help the poor. The article paraphrased Benjamin Franklin of what he observed when he lived in France during the 1760s. He “observed that the more public provisions made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves and the poorer they became. On the contrary, the less done for them and the more they did for themselves, the richer they became.”
As Beck points out, there is “no mention of the federal government caring for the poor.” The Founders were more interested in using the taxes of the people for the benefit of the nation. Beck states that the poverty rate in 1776 was 90 percent and decreased to 14 percent before the government decided to help the poor.
The article closes with this statement: “It’s one of the greatest success stories in the history of mankind. There’s no denying the Founding Principles of personal responsibility, coupled with freedom, opportunity and capitalism, brought great prosperity to this nation and lifted millions out of poverty.”
One of the problems with human nature seems to be a willingness to allow others to do for us whatever they are willing to do. We can see it in children: As long as parents are willing to meet all their needs without requiring any work out of them, the children will sit by and allow their parents to do so. If the parents require the children to work for what they get, the children are capable of doing the work. The same is true of the government-run welfare system. People are willing to take all the money and services that the government will hand out. They are not so anxious to stay on welfare when they are required to work for what they receive.
The Founders had it exactly right. The government should not be subsidizing laziness. If an individual or family needs help, they should first look to themselves and then to their families. Neighbors and church members can assist, but the government should stay out of it. The people who are capable of working to supply their needs will be better off without the government handouts.