Old issues. Old prescriptions.
Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 9/11/15
For more than 50 years, the United States government, mostly but not completely at the behest of the Democrats, has been obsessed with two issues: poverty and minimum wage.
It is a provable fact that almost the entirety of the U.S. national debt is attributable to welfare spending. Take away the nearly $19 trillion spent on anti-poverty programs since 1965, and you more than wipe out the debt owed by the U.S. Treasury.
Yet the spending has been for naught. The U.S. poverty rate in 2015 stands essentially unchanged from 1965, the year that Lyndon Johnson’s alphabet soup of Great Society/War on Poverty programs were enacted.
As to minimum wage, the raising of which say its proponents helps “hard working Americans join the middle class,” has done no such thing. The middle class in America has shrunk since the last time the minimum wage was increased.
Somehow, however, the Democrats have failed to notice any of this. Hilary Clinton is out on the campaign trail talking about “giving less-fortunate Americans the help they need” despite the fact that none of the prior “help” has done anything to make things better. She’s talking about raising the minimum wage despite clear evidence that unemployment among young workers – particularly young minority workers – goes up with each increase.
What Democrats either don’t know or fail to acknowledge is the fact that there is only one truly effective anti-poverty program and it’s called a good-paying job. And there is only one way to raise wages for workers and that is to grow the economy. All other ideas for addressing poverty and for increasing wages are doomed from the start.
No society – not even the wealthiest society in all of human history – can provide its citizens a comfortable, fulfilling life by transferring wealth in the form of welfare payments. If you’re on welfare you’re never going to live much more than a low-end-of-the-mediocrity-scale sort of life. Yes, you’ll be fed. Yes, you’ll have some sort of a roof over your head. Yes, you’ll probably have cable TV and air conditioning. But your life will still pale in comparison to people with good jobs attained through education and hard work.
All of this to say that the best – really only – anti-poverty program is the one you provide for yourself.
With respect to wages, they cannot be set by politicians. Wages are nothing more than the going rate for labor and the going rate for anything is set by the marketplace. The only way to get real wage growth is to grow the economy – which creates demand for workers which puts upward pressure on the price for their labor.
Raise wages by fiat and in too many cases, you wind up dropping workers to the real minimum wage, which is $0.00 per hour.
If you want sound policy regarding wages and poverty, look for the candidate talking about growing the economy and encouraging small business. Hint: you won’t find any among Democrats.