Monday, August 31, 2015

Human needs aren’t nearly as important to the average liberal Democrat as sustaining a poverty-stricken political fiefdom

 … the United States is, for better or worse, a European-style welfare state that just happens to be located across the ocean
deplores Benny Huang.
Whether our massive welfare spending is a good thing or a bad thing is a very debatable point. I know some people would say that money spent on “human needs”—as if that’s all it ever goes to—is money well spent. I would counter that “human needs” aren’t nearly as important to the average liberal Democrat as sustaining a poverty-stricken political fiefdom. They buy power with other people’s money and expect the rest of us to stand in awe of their supposed generosity.

 … The poor in my state of Massachusetts, however, live pretty well on the dole. I was not at all surprised to discover that only Hawaii and the District of Columbia offer more robust benefits packages than the Bay State.

Come to Massachusetts’ post-industrial inner cities and you’ll see satellite dishes sprouting like mushrooms from the government-subsidized housing. No one would be caught dead without their iPhone. They spend almost three hundred dollars a month on their pack-a-day cigarette habit and they prefer top shelf liquor. That’s how “poor” people live in Massachusetts. It’s not exactly a “Feed the Children” commercial.

 … It’s a form of national suicide, a rather peculiar phenomenon that deserves some explanation. Ever since the Watts riots happened fifty years ago this summer, American politicians have sought to “invest” in poor inner city neighborhoods. As “investments” go, it’s been about as lousy as buying confederate currency in 1864. The War on Poverty was launched the same year that Watts went up in flames but that didn’t prevent Detroit and Newark from burning in 1967. Nor did it prevent the nationwide urban conflagration of April 1968. Looting and rioting returned to Los Angeles in 1992. Ferguson exploded in 2014, followed by Baltimore in 2015, followed by more Ferguson rioting on the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s attempted murder of Darren Wilson.

Paying people not to riot clearly isn’t working.

  … facts absolutely never penetrate the liberals’ bubble. They revel in asking snappy questions that contain the implicit assumption that we as a nation have almost no social safety net to speak of. Here are a few:
“Why is that we always have plenty of money for the military but not for basic human needs?” Answer: the military budget, though expensive, has been constantly decreasing, adjusting for inflation, since the end of World War II. We call on today’s military to do more with less. Welfare on the other hand is always growing. The inflation-adjusted $22 trillion that we’ve spent in the War on Poverty is more than three times the combined cost of all wars since the Revolution. The War on Poverty is undeniably the most expensive we’ve ever waged, and the longest.

“Why can’t we be more like Europe?” Answer: We are like Europe. Our welfare state is on par with theirs and it’s killing us.

“Why do people go hungry in a country as rich as ours?” Answer: Very few actually do, but even those who don’t have enough to eat can’t blame a lack of programs or appropriated funds. There are state, federal, and local programs, not to mention private charities.

A rational discussion cannot begin with an irrational premise. The idea that somehow our country adheres to a philosophy of rugged individualism is absurd. We hand out other people’s money like it’s going out of style. Our social safety net is deep and wide. The moment we acknowledge this stubborn fact is the moment we can begin a useful dialogue. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.