The Government Wasn’t Intended to Be a Charity, Much Less to Take Money From You and Give It to Others

By Mike Miller | 12:30 PM on January 02, 2023 – for Red State

With visions of Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion omnibus dancing in my head, I have a question for my Democrat friends and people who reap the benefits of my largess: How much of my money belongs to you and why? 

To further the point as we continue, I want to begin with three quotes that perfectly encapsulate the reality of today’s Democrat Party. The first comes from noted Austrian-British economist Friedrich A. Hayek:

There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is the condition of a free society, the second means as De Tocqueville describes it, a new form of servitude.

The second is from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, a devoted socialist:

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

And the third comes from the wisdom of economist and political commentator Thomas Sowell:

I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.

The left fully understands Shaw’s observation, ignores that of Hayek, and wants zero to do with addressing the stark reality of Dr. Sowell.

In an opinion piece for the Patriot Post, former television personality and political commentator John Stossel began with this quote from James Madison:

Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.

Stossel then recounted his views on charity —  and the evolution of views on the role of the federal government:

I’ll donate to the Doe Fund, a charity that helps ex-cons find purpose in life through work. “Work works!” they say. It does. Doe Fund graduates are less likely to go back to jail.

I’ll donate to Student Sponsor Partners, which helps at-risk kids escape bad “public (government-run)” schools.

SSP sends the kids to Catholic schools. I’m not Catholic, but I donate because the Catholic schools do better at half the cost. Thousands of families break the cycle of poverty thanks to SSP.

When I was young, I assumed government would lift people out of poverty. “Government programs, a ‘war on poverty’ will give a leg up to the poor,” said my Princeton professors. I believed. But then I watched the programs fail.

Now I understand that government actions do as much harm as good. Sometimes, much more harm.

I cannot stress more how Stossel’s last two sentences are correct.

How many decades have Democrats promised to “lift people out of poverty”? Six. How has that all worked out? Terribly. The very people the Democrats pledged to help are worse off, today — and I’m not simply talking financially. 

President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 War on Poverty has been an abject failure for nearly 60 years, as noted in a 2014 report from the Heritage Foundation:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. In January 1964, Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.

Last year [2013], the government spent $943 billion dollars providing cash, food, housing and medical care to poor and low-income Americans. (That figure doesn’t include Social Security or Medicare.)

More than 100 million people, or one-third of Americans, received some type of welfare aid, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. If converted into cash, this spending was five times what was needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S. The U.S. Census Bureau has just released its annual poverty report.

The report claims that in 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were poor. Remarkably, that’s almost the same poverty rate as in 1967, three years after the War on Poverty started. How can that be? How can government spend $9,000 per recipient and have no effect on poverty? The answer is – it can’t.

Again, that was more than ten years ago. And guess what?

The poverty rate in February 2022 stood at 14.4 percent, with more than 3.4 million more children living in poverty than in December 2021. Moreover, total welfare costs rose from $1,363 per person in poverty in 1966 to $27,823 per person in 2021. That totals $111,291 for a family of four even though the Poverty Threshold for such a family in 2021 was $27,740.

My conclusion: No further experimentation is necessary. While robbing Peter to pay Paul might gain the Democrat Party the undying support of Paul, Paul is getting poorer, not richer — and so are his kids.

There’s an interesting term to describe the above: Learned helplessness, which is described as:

Learned helplessness is a state that occurs after a person has experienced a stressful situation repeatedly. They come to believe that they are unable to control or change the situation, so they do not try — even when opportunities for change become available.

And the not-so-secret secret of the Democrat Party?

Democrat elites have understood the above since at least the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, and it’s far more front-and-center today than it’s ever been. A quick trip through Chicago’s Southside, or any similar distressed area in any Democrat-controlled city in America proves it. The real objective of the Democrats is not to “lift people out of poverty.” If they did? Say “Buh-bye” to the Democrat base. Why?

Why would any sane American who succeeds vote Democrat? Why would a successful voter willingly stand by while the federal government robs him or her to pay Paul? Why would a financially sound American who’s charitably minded rather allow the government to redistribute his or her money rather than contribute to the charities of his or her choice? All questions are rhetorical.

The Bottom Line

As a decent, moral country — contrary to what the Democrat Party is doing its damnedest to program low-information voters to believe — we have an obligation to take care of American citizens who cannot take care of themselves by any other means. However, we do not have an obligation to take care of those who will not take themselves.

Learned helplessness, compliments of the left, notwithstanding.

2024 matters. Let’s not screw it up.

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