Do They Really Think We Are That Stupid?

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about poverty in America.

The editorial states:

Amid all the immigration hoo-ha, maybe you missed the uncritical mainstream media reports of a United Nations study faulting President Trump for poverty in America. Turns out, it’s just more fake news.

An uncritical Reuters headline says it all: “America’s poor becoming more destitute under Trump: U.N. expert”. The Hill’s equally blase headline: “UN poverty official: Trump exacerbating inequality.”

The report — really a first-person narrative — released earlier this month, ripped President Trump for his “contempt” and “hatred of the poor.”

The report cited 18.5 million Americans who live in extreme policy, and massive U.S. defense spending at the expense of social programs.

Only one problem: As Chuck DeVore, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, points out, the data on which the study was based came from 2016.

Whoops.

The editorial continues:

Worse, the U.N. report uses misleading and “wildly inaccurate” Census data to bolster its claims of 18.5 million living in the U.S. under extreme poverty. The real level, as a separate study reveals, is “less than half that.”

In fact, unemployment at 3.8% is a 29-year low. Food stamp recipients in 2017 numbered 42.1 million, 2 million below Obama’s last year and the lowest since 2010.

Somehow I don’t think the definition of poverty in America is the same as the definition of poverty in some other areas of the world.

Policies Have Consequences

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact of some of the changes President Trump is making to federal handouts.

The article first cites changes in welfare:

Earlier this month, the government reported that enrollment in food stamps plunged by nearly 600,000 in one month. Is this part of a broader trend toward greater self-reliance?

…In the months since President Trump has been in office, the number of people collecting food stamps plunged by nearly 2 million.

The same is true for welfare. Enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program dropped 12% last year, to reach 2.3 million.

Better still, the number of workers on Social Security Disability Insurance was down to 8.6 million in March — a decline of more than 100,000 since January 2017, and the lowest level since February 2012.

So far this year, disability applications have averaged 179,000 a month, compared with more than 193,000 a month in 2016. And the number of people dropping off disability rolls is up.

The next area cited is Medicaid:

Even enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP — the health care program for the poor and children — dropped by almost a million in 2017, to 74 million. In contrast, enrollment surged by more than 2 million in 2016. (Medicaid’s rolls could climb gain if additional states decide to expand the program under ObamaCare.)

In other words, millions of people are now free from at least some of their dependence on federal benefit programs.

The article notes that some people judge the success of these programs by how many people take advantage of them–thus a drop in enrollment is seen as a drop in the level of success. Actually, it would be nice if those running the programs actually wanted people to be successful enough not to need the programs. However, if the level of participation in these programs dropped greatly, there would no longer be a need for the giant federal bureaucracy that administers them. It is unrealistic to expect people to do something that in the long run might make their job obsolete.

The article also cites changes in Work Benefits:

ObamaCare, for example, allowed able-bodied childless adults — with incomes above the poverty line — to enroll in Medicaid in expansion states. Because these states are now picking up a bigger share of the expansion costs, many are looking to impose work requirements to stay on the program. There’s also a push to add work requirements for food stamps.

That may seem heartless. But keep in mind that most of these programs have the word “temporary” right in their titles. They were never envisioned as permanent means of support, but a way to cover over rough patches.

The article reminds us that a poverty program is truly successful when there is no one who has the need to enroll in it!

To understand more about poverty in America and exactly what qualifies as poverty, I strongly recommend reading The Heritage Foundation‘s report Poverty and the Social Welfare State in the United States and Other Nations.

 

The American Family

Some thoughts from a blog called The Conservative Millennial:

In the book, Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure, Nick Schulz presents data that shows the deconstruction of the nuclear family since 1960. Not only are people getting married later and less than they used to, in 2009, 41% of all births were to unmarried mothers.

This is significant, because, as explained in a study by Jane Anderson published by the National Institutes of Health, children and society are generally happier, healthier, and more successful when the nuclear family is intact. She points out that as societal norms and perceptions of marriage have changed – from something that’s healthy and beneficial to something that’s constricting and even harmful. Therefore, our culture has evolved to glorifying singleness — and even single parenthood — rather than embracing the nuclear family.

This has led to a higher risk of emotional distress, of psychological immaturity and social and financial immobility for many children who were raised in single-parent homes, which in turn negatively affects societies economically and socially.

This is not to say that this is the sole cause for young people committing acts of violence.  This is to argue that the deterioration of the family has hurt society as a whole, and children, specifically.

…Furthermore, a study by the Social Science Department at UCLA cites a clear link between loneliness and isolation and delinquent behavior. Sociologist Adam Lankford actually argues that lonely, troubled childhoods are a direct cause of more mass shootings.

Fatherlessness, in particular, seems to play a key role in violence among young men. In fact, the majority of school shooters come from fatherless homes. Research by W. Bradford Wilcox suggests that boys who grow up in single-mother homes are twice as likely to commit crimes than those who grow up with a present father. Both sons and daughters are more likely to be depressed without a strong relationship with a father. Broken families, in general, create not only a higher threat of delinquency for children, but also an increased risk of poverty and social immobility. The breakdown of the American family hurts our adolescent who often grow to be hurt adults, which consequently leads to a cycle of pain and violence.

All of this said, correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It is difficult to say, empirically, that the breakdown of family and community causes these horrible acts of violence, but it sure hasn’t helped.

So, if we want to get real about talking about solutions to violence and crime in America, we need to talk about the truth behind these crimes and criminals. The glorification of individualism, of singleness, and of isolation has coincided with our culture’s embrace of moral relativism and rejection of absolute truth is doing more to damage our country and promote discontentment which can lead to violence than it is helping.

Why not start there?