Moynihan had it right.

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Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 2/13/15

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Fifty years ago, former New York Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was working in the Johnson Administration as Assistant Secretary of Labor. In that role, he authored a report called, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” The report came to be called simply, “The Moynihan Report.”

The report is worth remembering 50 years later for its prescience. Moynihan correctly stated that the increasing breakdown of the black family had profound negative implications for black economic success. Moynihan correctly worried that the welfare programs that would go on to become pillars of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” might exacerbate black family breakdown.

He worried that welfare programs would be an inadequate substitute for a nuclear family and could have the unintended consequence of perpetuating many of the very factors that bring about poverty.

His concerns were well-founded. As subsequent studies of the program called “Aid to Families With Dependent Children,” (aka “welfare”) would reveal, in millions of cases, a husband’s income reduced welfare benefits paid to the mother by more than what the husband could earn. As a result, marriage was dis-incentivized. Women of child-bearing age were effectively paid to keep men out of the house.

We are now paying the price. Over 70 percent of black children born today are born to unwed mothers. That has had a profound impact on poverty rates, dropout rates, drug use, gang involvement and criminality.

The overwhelming majority of young black males who wind up in jail come from fatherless homes. The majority of young black girls from fatherless homes go on to bear fatherless children. Growing up without a father in the home is the common denominator among kids who drop out of school, join gangs, abuse drugs, commit suicide or die as the result of a homicide.

When you control for fatherlessness, the difference in the poverty rate for black children and white children is statistically insignificant.

Liberals of the day denounced the Moynihan report, calling it “blaming the victim.” A half century later, despite convincing evidence of the report’s fundamental correctness, liberals still make that assertion. They resoundingly reject the idea that in 2015 poverty is much more a cultural problem than a political one.

But a dispassionate look at the data reveals that Moynihan – a Democrat – had it right.

It is an interesting coincidence that since 1965, the United States has spent approximately $17 trillion on anti-poverty programs – an amount almost identical to the balance on the national debt. And yet, for having borrowed from our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, poverty rates are essentially unchanged from 1965 and poverty continues to disproportionately affect black households.

In the absence of any real progress in the “War on Poverty” in a half century, cool heads might say that it’s time to engage in a conversation aimed at changing the very strategy of that “war.”

Dusting off the Moynihan Report and re-reading it could be the very thing to get the conversation started.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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7 Responses

  1. pk says:

    People believe what they want to believe.
    Look at Ferguson for today’s example.
    I always wondered who did any studies on negative consequences, here it is & it shows what results of an actual study bring: nothing!!
    The rest of the stats are correct.

    It may be a cultural thing & related to Blacks opinion of themselves historically speaking, but that was never studied here in relationship to this study.
    My question is why only blacks when there are all types of people who hit the kids & need help??
    Is it more acceptable for Blacks to receive ‘help’?
    I know many Whites who go on welfare but get off of it fast.
    Why the difference?

  2. L Miles says:

    Paul, I agree that the “The Moynihan Report” is worthy of a re-examination to try to discredit the abominable “War on Poverty.” The “War on Poverty” as originally proposed by the Progressive Johnson Administration is itself a huge LIE that was intentionally created to bring about the result that has occurred in the last 50 years. Anyone with a brain could have predicted this result if an objective analysis of the weaknesses of human nature had been employed. This is not rocket science. Johnson and his Democrat followers were flaming Liberals that were willing to sacrifice Virtue on the Altar of Political Expediency.

    Any plan to insert a heavy handed “Government Aid” program to replace the “Individual Responsibility” necessary to maintain a healthy “Nuclear Family” (as defined by the Virtuous Principle of Children being reared by their Mother and Father, together, as an INDEPENDENT and God blessed union), was always doomed to failure.

    This bogus “War on Poverty” can only be the most CORRUPT exercise of subversive Government power in the history of mankind, given its cost ($17 Trillion) and disastrous consequences. The result is that 95% of the black population votes Liberal Democrat 100% of the time while believing that MORE government aid is still the answer. Only FDR and his Progressive acolytes could dream of such a successful strategy! The black population has been enslaved by the Democrat Party and its Marxist goals of ultimate serfdom. They vote as the Master commands as he continues to bribe them with false promises without accountability. The next group of dupes to be enslaved is the illegal alien population that is currently immune from the immigration laws of this country. All of this is a deliberate and tyrannical plan to eradicate the principle of the American culture that was built on Individual Prosperity brought about by the Unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as granted by our Creator, not the Government.

    The famous quote by Lord Acton, the British historian, who said in 1887: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” is a simple predictor of the demonic results of ANY violation of the eternal Truth of Virtue that is blessed by Individual Liberty and Responsibility as granted by our Creator and enshrined in the Constitution. Please refer to the following link.

    http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-2-number-6/power-corrupts

    When this Truth is supplanted by Government coercion and tyranny, no matter how cleverly camouflaged by the false promise of “good intentions,” then everyone should conclude the obvious Truth that corrupt and Evil men will have succeeded in becoming the substitute Masters that will grant Rights to their enslaved followers. In effect, these Masterminds will have won their strategic “War on Liberty” and would become the self-worshiping idols of the 21st Century. Where is their condemnation and exposure of enslaved or repressive societies throughout the rest of the World: Communist, Fascist, Islamist, Marxist, etc? Why do they want to roll back the industrial revolution and prosperity brought about by the Free Market and individual Liberty of the last Century with junk science?

    No amount of Truth will ever change the minds of these Statists. We must defeat them with the ideological arguments that expose their LIES (built on nonsense) that are at odds with the history of human nature. A prosperous society can only be sustained when our Rights as defined by the Creator are paramount and no alien philosophy is allowed to supplant those Rights. It is time to get rid of Political Correctness and expose these enemies of Liberty as Evil and malevolent men that want to eradicate the American culture and return our society to the tyranny and serfdom of the Middle Ages where they become our rulers, devoid of mercy or wisdom.

  3. Daf says:

    This is a test comment – please do not approve it.

  4. What I can never understand is that, with the consequences of government intervention–clearly making a bad thing both worse and permanent–why do Democrats and liberals in general continue to insist that such “solutions” must continue. $17 billion down and counting. And nothing to show for it!

  5. Linda E. Montrose says:

    As with anything done in the name of helping people with government assistance, it has done nothing but tie people to the government teat!
    Which, by the way, is exactly what it was intended to do by the liberals who are so fond of “helping” people. When a liberal says to do something “for the children” or to help the senior citizens, you can bet it will have the opposite effect. The only thing it “helps” is to keep the liberals in power and us poorer!!!

  6. C M Solomon says:

    “. . . . . it’s time to engage in a conversation aimed at changing the very strategy of that “war.”

    I don’t accept the premise that a genuine “war” was ever underway from the beginning. Citing evidence that it didn’t work does not expose the fundamental problem. There is always another approach that the Left can float that will be similarly flawed. We have to expose the LIE of the Left that “Virtue can’t be trusted to solve the issue at hand.”

    This “war” was always a ruse to give credibility and sympathy to a Liberal/Socialist/Marxist cause that was intended to gain tyrannical control over a large segment of the American population by creating institutionalized dependency. This ruse was created to immunize the Left from criticism since anyone in the Conservative camp that protested would automatically be branded as selfish, uncaring, and wishing to keep the unfortunate, forever poor.

    This ruse is a common trick that the Left ALWAYS uses to disarm and demonize any criticism that would come from the Right that believes in individual responsibility and freedom in order to rise above poverty by exercising our Constitutional Rights to secure happiness and prosperity. This has been the legacy of the American heritage since its founding.

    As our founders have said many times, the Constitution and the American way of life can only succeed when the population consists of a people that honor moral and virtuous living. Until the real intent of this ruse is exposed as a violation of the laws of human nature to gain success by rugged individualism that built this country, the Left will always succeed in a new “war” scheme to advance its cause of Big Government domination of the population.

  7. C M Solomon says:

    At the risk of having too much to say about the tactics of the Left, I have decided that a single word describes perfectly the President, and all the followers of his Marxist ideology, i.e., the entire Democrat Party and the gargantuan federal bureaucracies that dominate our culture at the expense of Liberty as defined by the Constitution. The Republican, big government, crony capitalist sympathizers are also descriptive by this same word.

    That word is “counterfeit.” These deceivers are experts as selling bankrupt ideas, devious tactics and evil ideologies as being of high value when the TRUTH is that they are WORTHLESS and harm everyone. The Left holds to a virulent ideology that is a sweet tasting POISON, a “counterfeit” elixir to enslave humanity at the expense of the advancement of our Rights to pursue prosperity as free men.

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