March 27, 2023

Why Are People Still Poor?

The Washington Post says it’s your fault, you horrible capitalist.

The Washington Post recently published an article describing an interesting phenomenon, namely that the U.S. is ranked number 10 in the poverty rate out of 37 countries. (These 37 countries are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.) The U.S. has a poverty rate similar to Estonia, which has a significantly smaller economy. How can such a rich country such as ours still have such a distressingly high amount of poor citizens?

Using the book sources of The Poverty Paradox by Mark Robert Rank and Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond, the Washington Post article seeks to illustrate that Americans don’t understand poverty and are complicit in maintaining the cycle of poverty in the U.S. These credentialed authors (they work for Washington University and Princeton, respectively) blame the poverty problem on many things like wage stagnation, taxes that are more likely to benefit the rich, and an oversaturated pool of qualified workers.

Americans who are not poor are complicit in the cycle of poverty because they invest in the stock market or have 401(k)s. These financially responsible actions are incentivizing companies to continue the cycle of poorly paying their low-income workers. The middle and upper class are also guilty of paying for convenience (i.e., shopping around for the best deal or paying for luxuries like food delivery). This type of capitalistic pursuit is feeding into the poverty model.

In other words, the poor are poor because of societal obstacles in their way. Lack of personal responsibility, fiscal restraint, and/or hard work have nothing to do with it.

Ultimately, the Post article ends with the aggrandizement of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” saying:

Indeed, the War on Poverty declared by Lyndon Johnson in 1964 was in many respects a success. Thanks to its programs, the poverty rate fell 27 percentage points for Blacks and 24 points for Latinos between 1970 and 2017, according to the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This particular study actually cites Biden’s American Rescue Plan from 2021 as the means for further reducing poverty in the United States. That’s laughable.

Since then, we, the American people, have seen the “good” that this economic “reform” has done for the country. The American Rescue Plan was an economic boondoggle that was exploited by the fraudsters and caused the inflation we now endure. Not only that, but it endorsed ideological indoctrination in the education sector. Billions of taxpayer dollars were stolen. Millions of children were cheated out of a real education. And the Left has the audacity to talk to us about how the middle class is the problem.

This is not the first Washington Post article to extol the glories of LBJ and the War on Poverty. Our Mark Alexander wrote a scathing evisceration of LBJ’s Great Society and the damage it has done back in 2014:

The Democrats’ so-called “War on Poverty” voter initiative quickly morphed into a war on individual responsibility and self reliance, a war on free enterprise and ingenuity, a war on family and faith, a war on education and accountability, a war on inner city and rural achievement alike, and a war on economic sustainability and financial solvency. That all combines to form a multi-front war on the foundation of Liberty — Constitutional Rule of Law — by largely superseding the former with unconstitutional political mandates.

On top of that, the irresponsibility of governmental entities are impoverishing us all. Those in power believe in modern monetary theory, which, in simple terms, means we can spend as much as we want — and just print more money to cover it. This idiotic theory could only have been thought up by someone who has never had to balance his own checkbook. Printing more money decreases the overall value of the dollar, causes inflation, and stagnates the economy as we are seeing happen in real time.

Setting this aside, however, people can still make a living even in times like these. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of individuals to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, make responsible financial decisions, pursue education (libraries are free, and, to paraphrase Steel Magnolias, “an ounce of [credentialism] is worth a pound of manure”), and fight to break the cycle of poverty.

Many poor remain poor because they do not know how to break the cycle of poverty. You don’t know what you don’t know. However, those who are determined to get out realize that it’s going to take hard work, perseverance, responsibility, and being savvy with the money they do have. They may only barely make it above the poverty line, but the example they set for their children — pushing them toward a better life and better opportunities — is breaking the cycle. This is the tenor of every successful immigrant story. It is as American as apple pie.

Though the Post article didn’t come out and explicitly say it, it advocates for equity of outcomes and an economic system that would make it equal for everyone (hello communism). It’s not the economic system itself that is ultimately to blame. What keeps people trapped is a lethal combination of poor life choices and allowing the government to be their sugar daddy.

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