Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 30, 2017
One of my Progressive friends and I recently discussed the pros and cons of Liberal socio-economic policies. During that discussion my friend questioned my empathy for the less fortunate stating: “”There are a lot of arguments as to why we are short and where the jobs are but the fact remains we have people who cannot survive. I simply don’t understand how making people’s lives miserable somehow makes my life better. Their plan (conservatives) is akin to just yelling ‘Get a Job.’”
It is disappointing that liberals believe, or at least profess to believe, that those with different policy opinions are somehow less empathetic than they are. Inherent in their view is the belief that government and governmental programs improve the lives of the less fortunate. This decades old view had the potential for being correct during the 1960s when the great experiments were initiated. But history has since made its judgment and it concludes the programs have been a failure.
Posted is a graph of the US poverty rate since 1960, but prior to Obama and Trump. Going back a few years helps remove the current partisan political rancor. These numbers and the trajectory of this graph indicate that the poor have fared worse under Progressive policies initiated in the 1960s through the Great Society programs. Many these programs continue to this today.
While this graph does not answer the question of cause and effect, it at least raises a red light. At best, these unacceptable results emanated from bad socio-economic policy. The alternative is that things have turned out just as the political-elites designed. Conclusion; those who promoted the feel-good economic policies of the past five decades, both Democrats and Republicans, own the results. Continuing these Progressive policies will offer the same trends, which will also give the political class the ability to grab more power through offering economic solutions for problems their policies created.
It is time for society use object results instead of feel good talking points to determine public policies. However, this logical approach would usurp power from the ruling political class, which they will not give up easily.
Posted in economics | Tagged: Government, Great Society, Policies, Political Elites, Poverty, Program | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 7, 2017
Since the early 1960s liberals have promoted the narrative that people on the Left are more compassionate than those on the Right. This proposition was based on a motion, not empirical evidence. It emotionally seems right that the government should give to those in need. Conversely, those who would withhold government’s largess from the less fortunate lack compassion.
While a governmental safety net has been a part of American society since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration, it advanced significantly under President Lyndon Johnson. Given we are now a half-century into Johnson’s Great Society, it is reasonable to determine efficacy of the programs.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley recently published some important statistics since the initiation of the Great Society:
- In 1962 the percentage of the Americans receiving government assistance in the form of cash transfers was about 12%. Today this has nearly doubled to 21%.
- In 2012 over 48% of Americans resided in households receiving some form of government benefits. This number was only 30% in 1983.
- By 2011 the US published property rate remained flat compared to 1965. During the same period, US governmental expenditures on poverty rose by 900% per receiving person (after inflation adjustments).
- The Heritage Foundation marks 2014 as the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s Great Society. They calculated that federal government spending increased by 16 times, adjusted for inflation, for means tested welfare during this period.
Cause and effect are often difficult to prove. However, in the case of the Great Society Programs and their offspring, the evidence seems convincing that at the very least, much of the spending was wasteful and have not benefited those most in need over the long-term. At the same time, these programs significantly benefited certain industries that serve the programs and distributed their benefits. Those industries offer significant resistance to fundamentally changing governmental spending habits.
Posted in Progressives | Tagged: Entitlements, Great Society, Johnson, Poverty, Welfare | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 28, 2014
On October 27, 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a speech that was prophetic. In this 30 minute speech, video below, Reagan said: “A government cannot control an economy without controlling people.” Now, 50 years later it is evident that the government controls much of the People’s lives. This is done through tens of thousands of regulations, a bloated government employment payroll, and handouts to tens of millions making them dependent and beholden to the government.
Reagan also said: Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we’re denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we’re always “against” things—we’re never “for” anything.” It is far worse today. Those that dare to question Progressive dogma are not only castigated or stifled by political correctness, but also harassed by the government as exemplified by the IRS audits.
Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech was in support of then candidate for president, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was then on the receiving end of unfair Leftist attacks that claimed him radical and a war-monger. Shortly thereafter, Goldwater was stumped by Lyndon Johnson who then went on to accelerate a war in Vietnam costing over 50,000 American lives. In addition, Johnson initiated the Great Society programs that were supposed to end poverty in the United States. After spending over trillion since, these efforts have proved abject failures. However, those programs and those that work for the government industry still profit nicely from the programs.
It is instructive to compare the words and deeds of Ronald Reagan to those of our current President. Barack Obama. Ronald Reagan is appropriately remembered for ending the Cold War. It is likely that Barack Obama will be remembered as being the president who finally made Jimmy Carter, who was made a one-term president by Reagan, look competent.
Posted in President Obama, Ronal Reagan | Tagged: 1964, Freedom, Goldwater, Government, Great Society, Reagan, Speech | 1 Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 20, 2012
Last week, the New York Times published a troubling story about parenting. Currently, more than half the children born in the United States to women under 30 years of age occur outside of marriage. This trend is increasing in various demographic areas, with minorities having significantly higher single mother birth rates. An exception to this trend is women who graduate college who overwhelmingly are married before giving birth.
To this Blog, the issue is not one of morality, but of economics and child well-being. According to the same Times article, research has determined that children born outside of marriage are more likely to do poorly in school, suffer emotional issues, and be raised in poverty. The article quotes Susan L. Brown of Bowling Green State University who found that children born to married couples “experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioral outcomes.”
The conclusion that children of married couples on average do better than those born to single mothers requires little more than common sense. Childrearing is a complex and expensive task requiring nearly 20 years or more of commitment. It is logical that adults unwilling to commit to each other will be less likely to commit the complexities of children rearing. Both type commitments require significant compromises in adult living.
Progressives often point to the importance of the role of government in resolving individual and societal needs. The trillions spent since the Great Society of the 1960s has not stopped the downward spiral of the needy who were supposedly the beneficiaries of these programs. These failings show at the least the government’s inability to help those in need. Further study would likely show that the programs have exasperated the unproductive behavior, actually hurting those individuals supposedly served.
A society’s most valuable assets are its children that will be its future. History will not be kind to the Baby Boomers, the generation that put its own personal needs above that of its children.
Posted in Government Handouts | Tagged: Baby Boomers, Bowling Green State University, Children, Great Society, Single Mothers, Susan L. Brown | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 1, 2012
The “welfare state” is more than a state of mind. It is a philosophy by which the state makes citizens wards, dependent on it for all manner of things relating to subsistence.
Feudal England had its castles whose lords offered the peasantry food and protection in return for subservient behavior. While this system was rejected generations ago, is has been replaced by one just as repressive to the masses, the welfare state. In the welfare system, the political elites who are modern-day lords, drill into the less fortunate their inability to progress in society without the assistance of their new lords. Initially, the political elites implement programs that sound humanitarian, but in reality increase the power of the elites by making more citizens dependent on their handouts.
While it is staggering to consider the trillions spent on antipoverty programs since President Johnson’ Great Society its own, it becomes criminal given the fact that the same Progressives claim that the current American poverty rate has never been higher in. Where did all these funds go? Who actually benefited from them? These are questions that the proponents of the programs never ask.
Shortly after President Roosevelt’s New Deal and the growth of the intrusive government began, there were those in the United States who feared the outcome of the welfare state. Their fear’s have been proven correct. The poem below, initially published in 1949, was sent in by Blog reader Carl. We had certainly traveled down the slippery slope in the last six decades.
Posted in Welfare | Tagged: Fuedal, Great Society, New Deal, Poverty, Proressives, Welfare, Welfare-state | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 20, 2011
This Blog has previously reviewed the narcissistic behavior often exhibited by President Barack Obama. Last week in an interview for CBS’s 60 Minutes, the President took his narcissism to a new level when asked by Steve Kroft to rate his performance. The President responded by saying: “I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln, …. just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.” Curiously, that while the video posted below was included on CBS’s website, the network edited out of the televised broadcast. Clearly it was over the top for even this Leftists news network.
The President’s pronouncement is remarkable at various levels. First, he includes two of his most Progressive predecessors in a category of greatness. While there is a small argument for putting Franklin D. Roosevelt in this category, that is a tenuous one at best. However, attempting to claim greatness for Lyndon B. Johnson stretches credibility. His responsibility for the Viet Nam debacle, as well as the total failure of his Great Society programs should earn his place as one of the worst American presidents of modern time. Obama’s pronouncement otherwise shows a distorted view of history and reality.
The President’s narcissism is most apparent when he places himself in the category of Abraham Lincoln. As president, Lincoln kept the nation from splitting apart and ended slavery. Obama does not yet have one piece of domestic legislation that has proved successful or withstood the test of time. On the foreign policy front, he has no accomplishment of note besides increasing America’s troop level in Afghanistan and supporting the overthrow of Libya’s Kaddafi.
It is apparent that President Obama is out of touch with realities on the ground. This week the Blaze.com published a piece titled “50 Facts About the US Economy that Will Shock You“, link provided. The President needs a reality check and must take partial responsibility for at least some of these “facts”, partial list posted below. While many of the problems started before Obama was elected president, their heredity comes from the Progressive policies of his predecessors, especially Lyndon B Johnson. In addition, given the trillions that Obama has spent attempting to address the country’s economic challenges and their utter failure, his culpability in not resolving these problems grows by the day.
Either Obama is unaware of the facts below or believes his policies have not contributed to them. Neither indicates a president that has the right to claim greatness.
Facts About the US Economy:
- 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or living in poverty.
- If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.
- There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population.
- In 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. This past July, only 81.2 percent had a job.
- The Federal Reserve announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011.
- New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a new all-time record low in 2011.
- Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever with total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent in the last five years.
- A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7 percent) than has ever been measured before.
- One out of every seven Americans is now on food stamps and one out of every fourAmerican children is on food stamps.
- 48.5 percent of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983it was below 30 percent.
- The U.S. government has accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama took office it was just 10 trillion dollars.
Posted in President Obama | Tagged: 60-Minutes, Abraham Lincoln, Afghanistan, CBS, FDR, Great Society, Libya, Lyndon Johnson, narcissism, Obama, Steve Kroft, Viet Nam | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 13, 2011
A few days prior to the President’s jobs speech to the joint session of Congress, Michael Boskin, an economics professor from Stanford University, wrote an interesting piece on Obama’s policies. He correctly points out that the President came into office with the Country facing huge economic problems. However, the President’s policies outlined by Boskin below have exasperated these problems.
- Stimulus Package – over $825 billion.
- Public-Private Investment Partnership – government purchased toxic assets from banks.
- “Cash for Clunkers” – Subsidized auto purchases.
- Home-buyers Credit – Subsidized home purchases.
- Auto bailouts – for GM and Chrysler.
- Foreclosure relief – Multiple versions offered to home owners.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts.
- New financial regulation – FinReg.
- Health-care reform – Obamacare.
- Energy subsidies – Green energy.
- Record spending and budget deficits that have led to exploding US debt.
This list of policies implemented by the President is impressive in breadth and width. However, the results do not match, as evidenced by Obama’s latest call (demand) for action of the Congress that includes still more governmental stimulus spending.
Boskin also lists some of the dubious records achieved since Obama became president that includes:
– First US debt downgrade.
– Highest Federal government spending since WW-II; 25% of GDP.
– Largest Federal government budget deficit since WW-II; 10% of GDP.
– Highest Federal debt spending since just after WW-II; 67% of GDP.
– Lowest employment since 1983; 58% of working population.
– Highest long term unemployment rate since before WW-II; 46%.
– Slowest job growth after 26 months of the start of a recession since WW-II.
– Lowest home ownership rate since 1965; 60%.
– Lowest percentage of taxpayers since Federal income tax was initialed; 47%.
– Highest rate of governmental dependency in US history with 47% of Americans receiving at least one Federal government benefit.
The United States has radically changed since the initiation of President Johnson’s Great Society programs of the mid 1960’s. What was once a country built on the individual and self-reliance has morphed into a society that too often looks to the nanny-state for handouts. Along the way we have created an industry that thrives on supplying the services offered by the government that is just as greedy and dangerous as the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned America of over 50 years ago. President Obama has added to this industry in historic proportions. It is evident that he is not done yet even though the policies have not brought about improvement to the economy or society.
Posted in Governmental Intervention, President Obama | Tagged: Bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, Chrysler, Debt, Deficits, Downgrade, Employment, Fannie Mae, FinReg, Freddie Mac, GDP, GM, Great Society, Green Energy, Home Buyers, Lyndon Johnson, Michael Boskin, Military-Industrial Complex, Obama, Obamacare, Private Investment Partnership, Recession, Stimulus | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 15, 2011
As the Civil Rights movement gained traction in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, many that favored segregation moved from the Democrat to Republican Party. This was referred to as the GOPs “southern strategy” as the South did an about face on party affiliations. The history led to the GOP as being portrayed as less sensitive to the needs of the African-American community than Democrats. An argument can be made, in fact, that the opposite was true. For example, the Great Society programs promoted by Democrats did not put a dent in poverty for African-Americans. Also, important social structures within the community were ruined by the programs creating a large perpetually dependent class.
While the portrayal of Republicans as insensitive the African-American community had some legitimacy in earlier decades, it has long since lost any semblance of reality. However, that has not stopped the Left from using the claim of racism to pursue its political agenda for its special interest groups.
There was benefit to Republicans as a result of the Left’s false narrative. The GOP was forced through hyper-sensitivity to the claim to cleanse itself of those that had even a tinge of racist behavior. On the other hand, the pass on racism that Democrats and their Leftist allies received during this same period has led to a Party that is loaded with racist and radical elements. The past week highlighted two examples.
President Obama has received broad support for his handling of the Osama bin Laden hit. The President took significant risk approving a special-ops raid when he could have had a B-2 bomber drop a radar control bomb through the smokestack of bin Laden’s hide-a-way house. The fact that America was willing to risk blood to take out bin Laden, mano-a-mano, sent a powerful message to radical Islamists. This lifting of America’s stature in the world has sent the radical Left into a tizzy.
One of the revered ones from the radical Left is Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics from MIT. He has castigated America for the “political assassination” of the “unarmed victim, Osama bin Laden. He also questions weather bin Laden was complicit in the 9/11 massacre. Chomsky has in the past also spoken favorably of the Khmer Rouge and Hezbollah.
Of Obama’s bin Laden takeout, Chomsky asks, “how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s.” Mr. Chomsky, that rhetorical question is irrelevant. When one starts a war there are winners and losers and for both there are consequences. Bin Laden received his consequence earlier this month.
Of Chomsky, bin Laden said in 2007: “Among the most capable of those from your side who speak on this topic [war in Iraq] and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war,” and, “Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the mafia.”
It is not surprising to read of the lovefest between Chomsky and bin Laden. They are kindred spirits with similar fascist philosophies. What s surprising is how popular Chomsky remains within Leftist circles. Chomsky is the recipient of over 20 honorary degrees from institutions that include Harvard, Cambridge and the University of Chicago. He is also in high demand for commencement speeches. The fact that the Democrats have not disavowed association with Chomsky shows the fascist side that resides deep within the Party.
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., Known as Common
First lady Michelle Obama invited rapper Common to attend a poetry event at the White House, the peoples’ house. This invitation rightfully created controversy given some of Common’s lyrics and beliefs that include:
- A poem calling metaphorical for the burning of President George W. Bush: “Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button/Killing over oil and grease/no weapons of destruction.”
- In a 2000 album, Common included “A Song for Assata,” glorifying Shakur, formerly Joanne Chesimard, even though Shakur was convicted in the 1973 murdering a New Jersey state trooper. Shakur escaped and is living under political asylum in Cuba.
- In 2008 words praising racist Pastor Jeremiah Wright, “What I picked up from the pews…was messages of love. Anything that was going on against that love he would acknowledge and expose. He’s been a preacher that’s helped raise one of the greatest political figures in the world, and hopefully, the next president. He’s also raised one of the greatest rappers in the world.” How lame!
As President Obama once said: “words have meaning”. Evidently the President and Michelle Obama do not accept this reality when it comes to Leftist rants. After the negative publicity on the White House’s Common invitation started, presidential spokesman Jay Carney said: “While the president doesn’t support the kind of lyrics that have been raised here, we do think some of the reports distort what Mr. Lynn stands for more broadly in order to stoke controversy. He is within the genre of hip hop and rap in what’s known as a conscious rapper. The fact is, Mr. Lynn has participated in other events in the past, including lighting the Christmas tree. I believe he’s a multi-Grammy award-winning artist and he’s been invited to this event about poetry.”
Does the President really believe that lighting a Christmas tree or receiving Grammy awards justifies the type of hate that Common has spewed in the past? Unfortunately many Progressives, including the mainstream media, offer passes to radical and racist behavior if it comes from the Left. To these folks the ends justify the means, a common belief for radicals of the 1960’s. The difference today is that these radicals now have access to the White House.
Posted in Racism, Radical Left | Tagged: African-Americans, Columbia University, Common, Democrats, George W. Bush, GOP, Great Society, Harvard, Hezbollah, Jeremiah Wright, Joanne Chesimard, Khmer Rouge, left, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Michelle Obama, MIT, Noam Chomsky, Osama bin Laden, Racists, Radicals, Rapper, Republicans, Shakur, Southern Strategy, University of Chicago, White House | Leave a Comment »