Posted: 01/09/14 20:24
by Dave Mindeman
Michele Bachmann couldn't let the anniversary of the LBJ War on Poverty speech go by without lecturing us on "government abuses".
Today, the poverty rate is only slightly below where it was in 1964, and it came with a $20 trillion price tag. What's more, a record 47 million Americans are now receiving food stamps, which is about 13 million more than when the President Obama took office.
One of the saddest results of these last fifty years has been the decay of the American family, as the percentage of children born out of wedlock has risen from 6% to 41%. When government has policies that induce people to either not get married or to bear a child out of wedlock, poverty persists.
The poverty rate in 1964 was 19% - today it is 15%. Although I think all of us would consider that still too high, it is still somewhat better. While some of the programs that were used to combat American poverty failed, there were also some successes. Unfortunately, Bachmann and her colleagues have tried to gut and eliminate all of them.
During the 1960's, one of the greatest concerns regarding poverty was the high number of senior citizens with substandard living conditions. Because of Social Security, the poverty rate for those 65 and older is now about 9%. Without Social Security it would be over 40%. Yet, Rep. Bachmann has supported the Paul Ryan budget answer of gutting Social Security into privatization.
And the Bachmann answer to the high rate of food stamp use is to simply cut the program and put those recipients into the bread lines.
During the first decade of the "War on Poverty", government intervention dropped that 19% rate down to 11% in the mid-70's. But after 12 years of Republican administrations (Reagan and Bush I) from 1980 to 1992 and the call to dismantle the government safety net, poverty was on the rise.
Sadly, Bachmann's only suggestion in her analysis is that we do something about out of wedlock births. A societal item that government can do very little about, but something for which Bachmann never hesitates to give government the blame.
Yes, we still have a poverty problem to fight, but it is fortunate that in the next Congress we won't have Bachmann around to marginalize the effort.