Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Judging polices on intentions rather than results

We have so many "feel good" policies that drain us dry, and should be a warning, but our leaders never learn, and perhaps the citizen-voters don't either. Virtually every transfer of wealth program in the War on Poverty failed a the macro level, and struggled at the micro. Like Head Start. The government's own studies at year 50 showed almost no advantaged for the thousands invested in each child. But it feels good, hope never dies, and the program will continue to be a bloated, over-sold, under achieving with good intentions so you can get back to your nice life. These programs make politicians wealthy, they get them reelected. These programs provide millions of jobs for the middle class bureaucrats and their staff who run them, from the grant writers, to suppliers and operators, to social workers to the low income who are hired in to staff them.

This article is 22 years old--but not much has changed. https://fee.org/articles/why-the-war-on-poverty-failed/

I remember the Harrington book that launched LBJ's war. I was so excited we could end poverty in my life time. However, the standard for poverty simply went up to accommodate a perpetual lower class. Then we went to "gap" instead of material wealth. Or looked at ZIP codes. Then we judged all by race, color and ethnicity, not actual need. And in all the administrations since LBJ, only the Trump years made an actual, real dent and improved the lives of millions without robbing Peter to pay Paul. And that was just too scary for leaders of both parties--loss of power, sound the alarms!

"The welfare state is self-perpetuating. By undermining the social norms necessary for self-reliance, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future. President Obama plans (2014) to spend $13 trillion over the next decade on welfare programs that will discourage work, penalize marriage and undermine self-sufficiency."

And scholars will always disagree. The Accomplishments and Lessons of the War on Poverty | Scholars Strategy Network

No comments: