Friday, 10 January 2014 10:08

Welfare Hits Record Levels After 50 Years of War on Poverty

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Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson announced the “War on Poverty” during his first State of the Union speech. Under the Obama administration, however — five decades, countless unconstitutional federal welfare programs, and more than $20 trillion later — poverty levels remain largely unchanged even based on official numbers, and dependence on government has reached unprecedented new heights.

In reality, Americans’ economic fate is far worse than even bogus government statistics would suggest. Even more troubling is that analysts say the trends look set to accelerate as Washington, D.C., intensifies its failed efforts to supposedly achieve “victory” in the “war” while the Federal Reserve conjures ever greater quantities of currency into existence.

Since Obama took office, 13 million more Americans have become dependent on food stamps, with the numbers now hitting a record 47 million — about a third more than when he was sworn in. In 2007, there were 26 million recipients. Spending on the scheme has more than doubled just since 2008. The explosion of the program, along with other welfare schemes, has resulted in countless commentators and critics labeling Obama “the Food Stamp President.”

By 2011, Census Bureau data released last year showed that the number of Americans receiving means-tested federal welfare benefits outnumbered those with year-round full-time jobs. Almost $1 trillion annually goes to the programs, with over 100 million Americans receiving some sort of benefits — not including Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment. Under ObamaCare, with its massive subsidies even for those earning many times more income than the poverty level, dependence is expected to surge even further.

As the number of Americans dependent on government was growing, so were the ranks of the unemployed. As a Fox News report pointed out, in 1964, when Johnson declared “war,” almost nine in ten men between 18 and 64 years old were employed. By 2012, less than three-fourths of adult males in their prime working years had jobs. Obama and some members of Congress are now working to drive those numbers even higher with a proposal to prohibit employment at any wage under $10 per hour, all but ensuring more dependence on government if the scheme is approved.

Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2011, a shocking one third of Americans slipped below the federal poverty line for at least two months, data show. Under the Obama administration, the Washington Post, citing the recession, noted that persistent, chronic poverty rose from three percent to 3.5 percent even as many more Americans experienced brief periods under the official line — currently $23,492 per year for a family of four. Also, the median amount of time spent below the poverty level surged from 5.7 months to 6.6 under the current administration.

Federal measures of how many Americans are below the official “poverty line” are largely meaningless, according to critics — especially because politicians can simply move the goal posts if they think it will advance their agenda. Making the data even more troubling is the fact that the line is raised annually based on the government’s deeply flawed and widely criticized measure of “consumer price index,” or CPI, which critics say drastically underestimates the real erosion in the dollar’s purchasing power caused by central bank machinations.

The official measure of “inflation,” which very poorly purports to measure price increases rather than expansion of the currency supply, also does not take into account the fact that production costs are going down in real terms. As labor productivity and technology advance, of course, it takes less effort and less work to produce goods and services. In other words, the economic misery being foisted on Americans by government and central bankers is far worse than official numbers aimed at camouflaging the problem would suggest.

In fact, in real terms, an analysis by Gold Standard Institute President Keith Weiner published by Forbes shows that Americans are losing ground at a rate wildly beyond what official statistics reveal. “The bottom line is that, in terms of gold, wages have fallen by about 87 percent,” he noted. “To get a stronger sense of what that means, consider that back in 1965, the minimum wage was 71 ounces of gold per year. In 2011, the senior engineer earned the equivalent of 63 ounces in gold. So, measured in gold, we see that senior engineers now earn less than what unskilled laborers earned back in 1965.”

Even using the extraordinarily flawed criteria established by Washington, D.C., however, reveals that there were some 36 million Americans under the poverty line when the “war” was launched. Today, with the population having grown significantly, the ranks of poor, as defined by federal bureaucrats, have grown to almost 50 million. Using another methodology, data shows that, even relying on deceptive official measurements, the number of Americans with non-welfare income below the poverty line has grown from 26 percent in 1967 to around 30 percent in 2012. Analysts said the data suggests it is becoming harder to break free from poverty, too.

Unsurprisingly, Obama and much of the Democrat Party are calling for more of the same failed policies — raising the minimum wage to over $10 per hour, for example, along with more borrowing and more spending on welfare programs. One Democrat in Congress even proposed re-naming welfare to “transitional living fund.” On the 50-year anniversary of one of American history’s most radical shifts in the role of government, Obama was busy pleading with Congress to put the public even deeper into debt to extend unemployment benefits further — again.

Despite five decades of the War on Poverty and $20 trillion spent, with no sign of victory in sight, Obama said the "war" must be stepped up. “In fact, if we hadn't declared ‘unconditional war on poverty in America,’ millions more Americans would be living in poverty today,” Obama claimed in a factually challenged speech marking the 50th anniversary of the so-called war. “Instead, it means we must redouble our efforts to make sure our economy works for every working American.” Among other schemes, he proposed “expanding access to education and healthcare.”

Another expansion of unemployment benefits, costing taxpayers more than $6 billion, is at the top Obama’s agenda. Conservatives, though, promptly lashed out. “The mere fact that we're talking about extending unemployment benefits again is a proclamation that the economic policies of this administration are failing,” observed Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.), who is working with other House Republicans to rein in some of the vast federal welfare juggernaut and encourage looking for work in exchange for taxpayer funds.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of America’s War on Poverty, it’s clear we are instead locked in a battle of attrition that’s left more people in poverty than ever before,” noted Southerland, who chairs the Republican Study Committee’s Anti-Poverty Initiative. “The Big Government ideas of the past aren’t working. History has taught us that bigger budgets aren’t going to solve America’s poverty challenges.”

Other GOP lawmakers jumped on board the government “anti-poverty” bandwagon, although mostly without offering serious solutions. Instead of real reforms, prominent Republicans called for tinkering with existing Big Government strategies — supposedly to deal with poverty and perpetually growing dependence on a ballooning government that is foisting ever greater amounts of debt on already-struggling taxpayers. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, called for “fundamental change” in the war. Most of his actual policy proposals, though, fell far short of that ambitious statement.

“Our current government programs offer, at best, only a partial solution,” Rubio claimed. “They help people deal with poverty, but they do not help them escape it.” While he proposed shifting some of the federal welfare schemes to state governments, the Florida Republican also advocated “streamlining most of our existing federal anti-poverty funding into one single agency.” Indeed, under Rubio’s proposal, state governments would merely administer the federal welfare regime. Despite some better ideas — reducing the national debt, simplifying the tax code, cutting regulations, and more — he also implicitly accepted the statist Democrat talking point about “income inequality” being a “problem” for politicians to address.

Liberty-minded Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), meanwhile, suggested that freedom was the real solution to poverty. “For more than 200 years, the United States — through trial and error, through good times and bad — has waged the most successful war on poverty in the history of the world,” he said, blasting Obama's vision of government as the supposed "solution” to all problems. “This discredited mindset — which insists collective action can only mean state action — is itself a kind of poverty. It rejects social solidarity in favor of political coercion, and voluntary communities for professional community organizers.”

Of course, Obama is hardly the only one responsible for the ongoing problems plaguing the U.S. economy. Congress, of course, must approve all funding. Plus, the current administration has merely followed the decades-old bi-partisan pattern of perpetually expanding the cost, size, power, lawlessness, and intrusiveness of the federal government.

In fact, even though Washington, D.C., has played a crucial role in the ongoing impoverishment of America — and Obama has certainly poured plenty of fuel on the fire — the single most important culprit has unquestionably been the privately owned Federal Reserve cartel established by Congress 100 years ago. However, by granting the banking cartel a monopoly on debt-based currency and allowing it to conjure infinite amounts of it into existence to be repaid with impossible-to-pay interest attached, the federal government retains ultimate responsibility.

In the end, like virtually all of the unconstitutional “wars” lawlessly declared by presidents — on drugs, terror, cancer, foreign countries, and more — the unconstitutional “war” on poverty has been a miserable failure. True solutions, though, are hardly complex: Restore honest money and free markets while allowing private charity to aid those in need. Ending government incentives that encourage out-of-wedlock births would help, too.

Most Americans already want to slash federal government spending, polls show. If voters insist on welfare, though, state and local governments would certainly be a better alternative — not to mention the only constitutional option absent a properly ratified amendment to the U.S Constitution. Still, with honest money and free markets, abundant prosperity would drastically reduce the need for charity and welfare in the first place.

Fifty years after Johnson declared that “we shall not rest until that war is won,” Americans have suffered more than enough under successive war-mongering administrations and currency-destroying central bankers waging war on the value of the U.S. dollar — and in turn, fleecing the public. Perhaps it is finally time for a new type of war: A war on counter-productive and unconstitutional government wars. Then, the tide of poverty could be truly reversed.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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8 comments

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Sunday, 12 January 2014 04:08 posted by Michael Dalene

    Using the federal poverty level of 1964 ($12,000) as a basis, after adjusting for inflation anyone earning under $112,000/year (2013 frn) is below Poverty...

    Using Data I saw in a Documentary today on TV and from the cites (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/16/156688596/what-americans-earn) and (http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm)...

    In 1964 the Poverty scale was app. $12,000.

    In 2013 it is app. $27,000.

    If you use the latest statistical years (2010) the adjusted for inflation amount of 1964 dollars in 2010 dollars exceeds $84,000. Which means that had Inflation been a factor in determining the Poverty Rates the percentage of households living in poverty in 2010 would exceed 69.3%...

    ... adjusted for inflation that $12,000 in 1964 would exceed 112,000 in 2013 dollars.

    Amazing how the Poverty rate only inflated 225% (from $12-K to $27-K) over 50 years while the ACTUAL INFLATION RATE exceeded 930%?...

    Basically, a $10 bill is worth less than a $1 bill was 50 years ago!...

  • Comment Link Ted Makogon Saturday, 11 January 2014 13:47 posted by Ted Makogon

    Too late now, if you already have 50 million depending on welfare, you will have to pay it indefinitely... Unfortunately, there is no such thing as indefinitely... Wait a minute, the President can only serve two terms! After that, it is not his problem! Can Obama keep paying the welfare for another 3 years? He will find the means. After that -- does he care? Not the kind of man he is.

    When the decision-maker (the President or collectively Congress, Senate, etc.) has no mechanism which would make him responsible for his decisions, why do you expect him to be responsible for them?

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Saturday, 11 January 2014 05:05 posted by Michael Dalene

    Two Overt specifications of federal and State Treason:

    *** FEDERAL TREASON *** AMENDMENT XVI: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

    As inarguable PROOF that the 16th Amendment is NOT a tax on individuals I SUBMIT an excerpt from Article 1, Section 2, para. 3: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union,..."

    NO WHERE DID THE 16th AMENDMENT AUTHORIZE A DIRECT 'INDIVIDUAL' TAX; at best, it could ONLY calculate personal incomes in levying a tax upon the State.

    STATE TREASON: Excerpt from ARTICLE 1, SECTION 10: "No State shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;...

    If such DEBTS as taxes and fines or other 'debts' owed the State(s) are in fact and law "Legal Debts" they can only be discharged by payment in gold and/or silver coin. Since every State, with the knowledge and consent of Congress (the prez, Supreme Court, etc., etc.) accepts Federal Reserve Notes are they:

    1. Acknowledging the so-called 'debt' is NOT a legal debt owed to the State and therefore not subject to Constitutional Law; or

    2. Violating Constitutional Law with the full knowledge and consent of the US government?

    IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER? Though the second offense is quite severe in it's nature and implies Conspiracy between the States and the United States, the First offense is "by use of government force (an Overt) Act of War against the United States Constitution and the Rights of ALL American and US citizens" and is defined as TREASON under Article 3, Section 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort..." (-excerpt).


    Illegally seizing persons and property for "failure to pay" an unlawful debt or deprive any Citizen their God-given, inalienable Rights is AN ACT OF WAR AND TREASON to which every Voter and (voluntary) Taxpayer is by extension, GUILTY!?

    Ask Yourself: If any of government or nation or power on Earth were to do to us as our own governments do, WOULD YOU NOT BEAR ARMS AGAINST THEM? You would, if you were IN FACT a Loyal and Patriotic American; so why not against the Tyranny and Oppression of your own government(s)....

    THOSE OF WHOM OUR VERY CONSTITUTION(s) WERE MEANT TO DEFEND US AGAINST?

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Saturday, 11 January 2014 03:13 posted by Michael Dalene

    This comment: "Perhaps it is finally time for a new type of war: A war on counter-productive and unconstitutional government wars" would have been better stated if the word "wars" had been omitted...

    Perhaps it is finally time for a new type of war: A war on counter-productive and unconstitutional government (s).

    Funny thing about Welfare and government assistance that most everyone refuses to accept, but is Gods' Truth is--- that there is not a person in this nation that hasn't received government 'Welfare' in one or more forms; not from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich...

    Name just One person or corporation in this nation that hasn't received one or more forms of Welfare? Everyone has, and if you disagree, just think where YOU, your, job, your company- the Economy as a whole would be--- if the government (We the People) had not bailed out the Bankers?

    Not that I agree, but the Communist Cancer which is the United States has grown too Big for radical, surgical removal without killing the Body-whole!

    THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (AS IT EXIST) MUST BE ABOLISHED... doing so would be rather simple... in the 21st Century, technology---- which they value so highly, relegates the US gov to the annals of archaic history...

    Put the Power back in the States, where the People can more easily "March in Force Against Them" then a myriad of unorganized groups against a highly Centralized, un-Constitutional Terrorist regime which hides behind the Flag and survives only under "Color of Law."

    NO GOVERNMENT OF THIS NATION HAS THE LAWFUL, CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO GOVERN... one only need read the US Constitution or their respective State Constitution to determine that FACT!!!

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Friday, 10 January 2014 21:38 posted by Heidi Preston

    Direct from the Beige book- " Contacts across many Districts continue to voice concerns about future cost increases attributable to the Affordable Care Act and other types of federal regulation. "

    Also from the Beige book- "Manufacturing activity continued to expand in most Districts, with gains noted in the motor-vehicle and high-technology industries. Manufacturers in many Districts expressed optimism about near-term growth prospects. Demand for professional business services experienced stable to moderate growth, especially in computer technologies. Freight volume showed signs of strengthening. Reports on retail spending were positive. Looking forward to the holiday shopping season, retailers reported being hopeful, but cautious"

    These stats don't sound all that "promising" especially since High Tech and Motor vehicles is the best performing and manufacturing is not going to return so we are stuck in 'Optimism mode.

    Globalism gotta love it.

  • Comment Link Rocky Friday, 10 January 2014 21:32 posted by Rocky

    LBJ knew exactly what he was doing, he was buying votes for the Democrats forever and his plan has worked brilliantly ! He was not the first or the last to sell his soul and his country for money, power and votes.

  • Comment Link Tionico Friday, 10 January 2014 19:38 posted by Tionico

    The answer is simple: if you support something, you'll end up with more of it. We've supported poverty and unemployment, so we have more of it... a LOT more.

    The inverse is true, as well: stop supporting it, you will have less of it.

  • Comment Link Nora Friday, 10 January 2014 18:15 posted by Nora

    Yes, get rid of the phony war on poverty and those that orchestrate it. We are in deep trouble if they aren't dealt with and America put back to work.

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