The War on Intelligence

stu·pid

adj \ˈstü-pəd, ˈstyü-\

Definition of STUPID

1
a : slow of mind : obtuseb : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless mannerc : lacking intelligence or reason : brutish
2
: dulled in feeling or sensation : torpid <still stupid from the sedative>
3
: marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting :senseless <a stupid decision>
4
a : lacking interest or point <a stupid event>b : vexatiousexasperating <the stupid car won’t start>
— stu·pid·ly adverb
— stu·pid·ness noun
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

 

Blogging is easy when you copy/paste. No pictures today. Heavy stuff.

I get flack from some of you when I write about what is considered to be a drop in the federal cesspool of spending. A million here, a few hundred thousand there, doesn’t make a big difference in the overall spending. So today I am going after a big one. Maybe you will stop complaining.

How about $15,200,000,000,000.00. That’s $15 trillion for those of you that got lost counting zeros. A lot of money. It works out to spending $9,902.53 every second for 48 years.

Every second.

Or $594,151.62 every minute….

For 48 years.

In 1959, 22.1% of Americans lived in poverty. Enter in LBJ’s famous “War on Poverty” in 1964. An admirable idea as no one wants to see anyone live in poverty. The Imperial Government felt that it was their responsibility to confiscate money from the remaining 77.9% and redistribute that wealth to the 22.1%.

By 1969, the poverty rate had dropped to 13.7%. So it must be working. The population in 1969 was 198,059,959 according the Census.gov. So 27,134,215 Americans were still living in poverty. But that is less than the 38,682,626 that were living in poverty in 1959.

Now, we could argue the definition of poverty and what other influences were involved in the decrease, but for the sake of brevity let’s give the IG the entire credit for the 8.4% decrease in percentage of population or the 11,548,412 fewer people living in poverty.

But that would be a stretch.

Since 1964, $15 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty means-based welfare. Means-based welfare is defined as meeting a certain criteria to qualify. That’s a lot of money.

In 2010, 15.1% of the population was considered living below the poverty line. So $15 trillion later we have increased the percentage of population by 1.4%. Now, that number is deceptive. Because the population has grown as well. In 1969, 13.7% of the population meant 27,134,215 people. In 2010, 15.1% of the population means 46,621,936 people are considered to be in poverty. So not only did we spend $15 trillion, but added 19,487,701 people to those already living in poverty.

I’d say we lost the war. It’s almost as if the United Nations Peacekeeping Force was responsible for planning and fighting this war. At least France surrenders. The UN simply loses.

Now is when we talk about the idea of “good money after bad.” We spent $15 trillion with no change. More people living in poverty then when we started regardless of how you look at the data. Simply throwing a lot of money at the problem is not doing anything positive. So what will?

Easy answer. Freedom. Remove the oppressive yoke of an over dominant and omnipowerful Imperial Government and teach the poor that their own success is in their hands; that they can be successful. Remove the glass ceiling of taxation from the poor and tax consumption, not productivity. See, here’s a nasty secret the IG doesn’t want you to know. At a certain income threshold, the disposable income goes down considerably. The poor are given thousands of dollars annually for being poor. Not only do they pay nothing in taxes, they actually get a check for being poor. Factor in all the free health care and you have a pretty substantial compensation package for doing nothing.

But……. Once they cross the poverty line, those welfare checks stop. The tax checks stop. AND they have to start PAYING taxes… Not to mention the fact that they have to start paying for their health care along with the health care of the people still poor.

Someone making $24,000 a year has more disposable income than someone making $60,000 a year after you factor in all the welfare. So where is the incentive? Let me get this straight, I do nothing all day. Live in free (or heavily subsidized) government housing, I get money automatically added to my WIC and foot stamp debit card, I get checks at tax time, and all I have to do is nothing? Why would I get a job? Why would I care….

Poverty will never be cured until the poor have incentive to be successful. And this country has spent $15 trillion in federal, state, and local taxes fighting a battle that it won’t win nor will ever win because the system encourages poverty.

Then again, promising poor people more free stuff or claiming “the other candidate” will take free stuff away is an easy way to keep in office. But that would be cynical of me.

What would you do with $15 trillion?

Links:

Poverty 2008-2010

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/people.html

Poverty 1959/1969

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/census/1960/index.html

20008 population

http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/2000s/vintage_2008/index.html

20008 population

http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/2000s/vintage_2009/index.html

2010 population

http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb10-cn93.html

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