The Federal Government has sixty-eight individual poverty programs. It is said. Because no one really knows, a fact we should be grateful for because if we really knew Obama would say we need sixty-nine or seventy-nine, maybe a hundred and nine. Years ago our town gave out free cheese. I discovered this new entitlement when I arrived home from work one evening and was confronted by the sight of a laughing wife and half of a giant wheel of cheddar cheese laying on the kitchen table. It was this hundred pounds of cheese or nothing she said because the workers down at the Rec Center were desperate to get rid of it and any hapless vehicle that drove into the parking lot got one of these shoved in their trunk.
It was very good cheese and needless to say the kids ate a lot of baked macaroni for the next couple of weeks even after we unloaded most of it on my mother-in-law next door and friends.
Later we found out that the Federal government had been subsidizing cheese makers, there was an overabundance at the refrigerated warehouses and so the Department Of Agriculture was for all intents and purposes dumping it on town and city governments. It happened again the following year but on the third a woman called and said my wife should protest, circulate a petition, call our congressman’s number to complain, make the government realize that there was a groundswell of protest growing. “Why?” my wife asked. “Because” the woman, “we’re not getting our cheese this year and poor families depend on it.”
“Because” the woman said, “they say, that there isn’t any more. That the farmers aren’t producing as much milk or the cheese makers aren’t making as much or something. But what difference does that make? The government should have thought of that before they let us run out. Get more somewhere.”
My wife shook her head. “not that I’m not in favor of free cheese and it was very good cheese, but if there isn’t any more there isn’t any more and we’ll just have to suck it up.”
Yet many former cheeses recipients agreed with the woman and she managed to assemble quite a few of them in a public protest to which the local Congressman sent a representative.
Now Conservatives are very familiar with, and forever lament, the fact that programs such as the great cheese giveaway in the nineteen seventies create constituencies but the fact is that they don’t in the first instance, they create the need – then the constituency.
Thathat by and large there is no need prior to the Left-Wing Liberal social program and the fact is easily proved by examining just a prominent three:
Unemployment Insurance – See Henry Hazlitt and many other authorities, the USA was always a labor poor country that is, there was always a shortage of labor which is why wage rates were so high when compared to the rest of the world and so actual unemployment was about 1%. But after unemployment insurance the new normal was 5%.
Poverty – See Thomas Sowell and many other authorities, – Poverty is a very fluid definition because while it includes income it does include assets however by the government’s very restricted definition, it was decreasing prior to the beginning of the War On Poverty and had been for some years. After the war on poverty was implemented it began to increase.
Aid To Families With Dependent Children or AFDC – Again see Thomas Sowell and many other authorities – Where were the millions of single mothers now supported by AFDC prior to the passage of this legislation by FDR. Answer they didn’t exist. They were married with permanent fathers and providers in the home. Indeed AFDC was sold not as a program for single never married mothers but for widows!
Okay if the purported need for these programs didn’t exist – what was their purpose, indeed what is the purpose of any of social program?
It is simply this to create, by definition, more of the very problem it purports to address and so in the process, create a larger voting constituency for the Left-Wing Liberal.
Let’s lay it out:
The purpose of Unemployment Insurance is to increase unemployment.
The purpose of Disability Insurance is to increase disabilities
The purpose of Food Stamps is to increase malnutrition.
First the cheese then the need.