We never should have allowed welfare to be confused with charity
Here we are, halfway through the transformative presidency of a President who cares so very much about "income inequality," and the number of people in poverty just hit a forty-year high. Maybe a fifty-year high. Half a century of the War on Poverty, trillions of dollars redistributed, and we've lost ground.
I suppose a liberal game for defending this disaster would argue that the War on Poverty made poverty more bearable. It certainly doesn't look much like "poverty" anywhere outside the Western world. But a great deal of that high standard of living is the result of general economic and technological progress, not the "generosity" of the welfare state. Further, the "poverty line" is computed without including the staggering value of government benefits, which can easily eclipse the income of a low-wage worker. Studies have found people below the poverty line with more disposable income than working families considerably above it.
That state of affairs has nothing to do with caring for the truly indigent, or giving temporarily disadvantaged people a hand when they desperately need help. A hand back into what? Where are the jobs, especially the entry-level jobs? The jobs that used to represent a realistic ladder out of poverty are either disappearing, or becoming less dependable, less remunerative part-time work, hardly worth the sacrifice of generous Food Stamp Nation benefits. Crank the minimum wage up again, and the last few rungs of that ladder out of poverty will be set ablaze.
Instead of lifting people out of poverty, the Left is extending welfare further into what used to be an independent middle class. Those ObamaCare subsidies, doled out to facilitate the purchase of Barack Obama's super-expensive mandate-inflated health insurance, will hardly be restricted to the dirt poor. Families earning close to six figures will qualify for them, and need them.
When our grandparents were drafted into the War on Poverty, were they told the objective would be to make poverty more comfortable, or less common? Well-run private sector charities, particularly those administered by religious organizations, have vastly superior records of getting money to the people who really need it, and changing their lives in a positive way. America made a horrible mistake when it allowed the Left to confuse charity with welfare.