War on Poverty Lost, Time to Move On


by Susan Stamper Brown

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving for our blessings, we should not forget to remember the growing number of Americans who struggle to make ends meet and who do not have the opportunity to share a meal around the table with family and friends.

It is a fair question to ask why a nation who put a man on the moon in 1969, has not managed to make a dent in the war on poverty declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. If spending billions of dollars creating and administering federal programs hasn’t worked after four decades, might it be time to raise the white flag and admit it’s time to try another approach – Something like, “God helps those who help themselves”– maybe?

Before you dump your coffee onto your newspaper or keyboard, it would be wise to understand that political Conservatism has a compassionate arm that not only offers a hand out to those genuinely in need but a helping hand up when it cuts away the governmental shackles and pulls individuals up to stand and succeed on their own two feet.

The Left embraces a sort of plantation slavery mentality that breeds dependence upon government programs. And those programs almost always fall to abuse, corruption and inefficiency. A University of Virginia research paper helped explain how the War on Poverty failed to help the “hard core” poor but instead helped “Legions of doctors, lawyers, farmers, grocers, hospital administrators, medical professionals, social welfare professionals, and politicos” who “built homes, businesses, and careers through parts of the War on Poverty.”

More times than not, when Washington gets involved, we end up with inflated bureaucracies and those really needing help fall through the cracks – or the ladder rungs.

Back in 2007, Senator Barack Obama told a group in Spartanburg, SC that he would “…put the rungs back on that ladder to the middle class…This responsibility is one that’s been missing from Washington for far too long…” The key here is not the promise to repair “the ladder,” but that Obama and Progressives enjoy a twisted version of reality that includes a belief that huge government bureaucracy is the cure-all to end all human maladies, which instead knocks away additional ladder rungs and increases welfare rolls.

Food stamp program (currently called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) participation increased by a record-breaking 5 million people during President Obama’s first year and a recent USDA report breaks it down monthly to show a steady climb from 29,258,947 people in August 2008 to 42,389,619 in August 2010. The Heritage Foundation said Obama’s proposed 2011 budget doubles food stamp spending from $39 billion to $75 billion and also requests the expansions to be made permanent.

Additionally, many now in the middle class will lose their footing when the rungs are knocked off beneath their feet according to a U.S. Commerce Department report, “Census Bureau to Develop Supplemental Poverty Measure.” Some currently considered as middle class will be downgraded to the poverty level and be given the “opportunity” to have the government snap shackles of dependence around the wrists of those who were formerly making it on their own.

America has had over 40 years to figure out that the government cannot win the war on poverty. Our economy cannot handle an increased welfare state and quite frankly, it’s un-American. It’s time to cut away the shackles and allow Americans to do what they do best – to help each other by helping themselves.

Copyright 2010 Susan Stamper Brown

One Response to War on Poverty Lost, Time to Move On

  • There is recorded an incident in the Gospels which is note-worthy.

    A woman had entered the room, broken-open an expensive perfume, and poured it on Jesus’ head.

    Judas, who was stealing money from their common treasury (sounds just like a 21st century bureaucrat), said that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.

    Jesus replied that the woman was anointing him for his up-coming death. He left off by saying, “…the poor you will have with you, always”.

    In trying to eliminate poverty, the US Government, along with every other government of the world, has thrown trillions and trillions of dollars at the problem. But, the poor we still have. As Jesus said, “the poor you will have with you, always”.