Every Friday I have a brief conversation with Lockwood Phillips that airs on 107.1 WTKF some time between 6 and 7 pm. This week we talked about the Cloward-Piven political strategy. This strategy was developed by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven at Columbia University in May 1966. A description of the strategy was posted in the magazine “The Nation” with the title, “The weight of the poor: A strategy to end poverty.” I think ending poverty is a wonderful idea, although I don’t think it is possible. Deuteronomy 15:11 says, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” If you believe the Bible, we will always have poor people; it is our responsibility to treat them kindly and help them–not enable them to stay in poverty.
So what is the Cloward-Piven strategy to end poverty? It is a political plan to overload the U.S. public welfare system so that it collapses and then replace it with a system that provides a guaranteed annual income for everyone. Theoretically this will end poverty. Some of the people who have espoused this strategy are Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, and George Soros. Many of these people were very instrumental in the political career of former President Barack Obama.
So let’s look at where our welfare system is now (the figures below are from 2015):
- Roughly $1 trillion annually is given to more than 107 million Americans who receive some type of government benefits–not including Social Security, Medicare or unemployment
- Before President Obama took office there were 26 million recipients of food stamps. In 2015, there were 47 million. The number peaked in 2013, at 47.6 million. In July 2017, the number was 42.6. Economic policies make a difference.
In 2012, Forbes posted the following about President Obama’s welfare society:
- An increase of 18 million people, to 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps;
- A 122 percent increase in food-stamp spending to an estimated $89 billion this year from $40 billion in 2008;
- An increase of 3.6 million people receiving Social Security disability payments;
- A 10 million person increase in the number of individuals receiving welfare, to 107 million, or more than one-third of the U.S. population;
- A 34 percent, $683 billion reduction in the adjusted gross income of the top 1 percent to $1.3 trillion in 2009 (latest data) from its 2007 peak.
And let’s not forget new entitlements like Obamacare, which will result in government expansion and expenditures by 2022 to the tune of:
- Federal expenditures on Obamacare will total $2.3 trillion, a $1.4 trillion increase from the program’s initial estimates;
- The combination of budget cuts and sequestration will reduce defense spending by $1 trillion, while total government spending will increase by $1.1 trillion;
- Taxes will be increased by $1.8 trillion;
- Yet, the national debt will increase by another $11 trillion.
The Heritage Foundation summarized well: “In 1964, programs for the poor consumed 1.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964 and consumes over 5 percent of GDP. Spending per poor person in 2008 amounted to around $16,800 in programmatic benefits.”
How will illegal immigration impact these numbers? What is the current financial situation of California? Do we want the financial situation in California to become the financial situation of America?
There are people in our government working behind the scenes to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy. The honestly believe that taking money from the people who earn it and giving it to the people who did not will end poverty. Most of the people working toward this goal are quite well off and somehow figure that their wealth will not be impacted. I guess if they succeed and are in control, it is possible that their wealth will not be impacted. Good luck to the rest of us.