Real solution

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Studies have shown that conservatives are more likely to take money from their own pocket to give to charity than are liberals. So, can you offer us a viable way to win the War on Poverty?

Contrary to how they are portrayed by the liberal media, politicians and activists, most conservatives DO want to help solve such problems. What conservatives don't like is money being wasted by the government, and many "solutions" instituted in the War on Poverty have done more harm than good. The programs have incentivized single parenthood to where it is now about 80% in some inner cities, for example, and they have fostered the multi-generational government-dependent lifestyle rather than actually solving anything. Some of these points I have made before, but this is what I have learned as a community leader and as a journalist since I first reported on welfare programs in 1973, nearly 45 years ago.

1) Interviews with numerous recipients in Tampa public housing all told the same story. The boyfriends were sneaking in at night, fathering children, and sneaking out a back window after daybreak so the women would not risk their welfare benefits.

2) No one bothers to sneak anymore because no one's checking. I know one working Hispanic woman (wages $15-$20/hour) who claimed child-care benefits for about 10 years to the tune of $50,000-$70,000 by simply lying on the application and leaving off the form her live-in boyfriend (father of her children who later became her husband) and, thus, his income. I know this from the mom and from another daughter who received over $10,000 of that money for baby-sitting for her sister. But the "take what you can get" mentality has become so prevalent that no one feels guilty about it anymore, and the welfare bureaucracy does very little verification.

3) This attitude has also spread from the cities to the many small towns. One of the recipients I interviewed in sparsely populated Eastern Washington was a young white woman elected as president of her college's association of students. She willingly confessed to me that her boyfriend regularly bought her and their son food and clothing, which she did not report. But at least she was grateful for welfare benefits (some for which she did not qualify) because they helped her feel "independent."

4) Both political parties use taxpayers' money to essentially buy the votes of their supportive constituents, which is a major reason why the U.S. is in such deep debt -- and not just with the $20 trillion if official bonded debt but much more with the tens of trillions of dollars it has promised government workers in retirement benefits. Clearly, however, those suffering from welfare dependency support the Democratic Party, which controlled Congress for most of 60 years, from the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s until the 1990s. As welfare dependency grew, that party rarely if ever instituted regulations to get people off of welfare and into the work force. A few good Democrats, such as Sen. Patrick Moynihan (D - N.Y.), fought for reform but were ignored by their own party. One of the few efforts the Democrats made was to fund Planned Parenthood to stem the growing birthrate of inner city teenagers by teaching young women how to avoid pregnancy and by offering them free birth control. It didn't work, however, because the teenagers WANTED to get pregnant so they could get their own apartment and also feel "independent." Democrats knew from that failed effort in the 1970s that the multi-generational welfare lifestyle had already become institutionalized, and they did nothing about it.

5) Finally in the 1990s the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress and passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which limited people to 7 years of welfare for the rest of their lives and required able-bodied recipients to get a job, an internship or training in order to get a job. And it provided child-care and educational funding for those recipients to make possible those efforts to wean themselves from welfare. As people became aware of the new requirements, the number of people receiving welfare dropped to about half of what it had been. Those who did not apply apparently did not want to work in exchange for the benefits or were secretly working already. Why else would they not apply?

6) Some of those who did agree to begin training were clearly implementing a strategy of passive resistance. Besides my work as a journalist, I was on the board of directors of a non-profit organization that received federal funds to help the poor to help themselves. It had done a lot of good work, including helping women who had not accepted the welfare lifestyle to begin in-home child-care services for the children of other working women. However, when the agency tried to provide training for multi-generation recipients who were just agreeing to be trained in order to keep their benefits, the trainers (all liberal Democrats) returned to our board extremely frustrated. The agency employees reported that they could not even get the women to answer a phone in such a manner as to get a receptionist job. Clearly the women could do that if they wanted, but they didn't want to.

7) Implementation of welfare reform, however, was turned over to the state welfare agencies, again mostly run by liberal Democrats. And in most parts of the U.S., the reforms were not ultimately enforced, so the welfare rolls began increasing again. Ten years after the reforms were passed, I interviewed a regional welfare director in Washington State, for example, who admitted to me that since the reforms were passed, not ONE person had EVER been kicked off welfare in that liberal state, even if they refused to comply with the requirements and were just sitting at home watching TV all day.

8) Obviously, a good education is important for people to be able to get off welfare and gain an income that sufficiently provides for their needs. However, along with the breakdown of the family unit especially in the inner cities, has come a spread of gangs, an increase in violent crime, and the disruption of educational efforts. A friend who worked for many years in the Baltimore school system says it was difficult for anyone to learn anything in that environment because of the chaos and anti-authority attitude there. People outside their community are not the ones causing them to fail. It is the inner city, anti-authority culture that has developed during these past six decades. Among my conservative friends, I don't know any who are racist. I'm sure there are some, but I don't know any. However, while these friends don't hate people because of their color, many of them DO hate the inner-city culture that has developed and which, I believe, is reflected in the anti-flag protests by American football players and other professional athletes over the past few months. Conservatives love those African Americans who have overcome their obstacles to become good contributing citizens, but conservatives are very tired of those who whine and whine but don't themselves do anything to effect positive change other than to blame other people.

9) I would also note that studies showed that billions of federal dollars spent on education over those same decades could not be shown to have accomplished any statistical difference. That was why the Republican administration under George W. Bush proposed and instituted the No Child Left Behind Act, which demanded that schools receiving federal aid begin showing some scholastic improvement among ALL students of every color, economic class, ethnicity and disability. Again, such a dramatic change had never been undertaken by the Democrats. As I worked under contract with the Washington State Migrant Education Program, I wrote extensively about the failures of NCLB. However, as the Democrats regained control of Congress, the liberal education leaders in the state begged their party's elected officials in D.C. NOT to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, but to keep the core of the program and make improvements because it was still better than anything ever instituted before Bush.

10) Meanwhile, liberal professors at universities have fostered the persecution, anti-white, anti-capitalism and political correctness attitudes among students of color. Studies have shown that universities in America have four times as many liberal or Democratic professors than conservative or Republican professors, and at some of the most prominent universities and especially in the social sciences, the ratio of liberals to conservatives is more than 20:1. A Kazakh friend of mine spent one semester at Michigan State University. In one of her classes, she reflected to her classmates that African Americans seemed to still be angry about slavery, although it ended a century and a half earlier, and that she felt that America was now a place where someone willing to work hard could succeed. Her classmates and professor took offense at this. She was required to apologize to the class, even though she feels she said nothing incorrect or improper. Indeed, there are literally hundreds of millions of people around the world who agree with my Kazakh friend and would risk their lives for the opportunity to go to America to pursue the American Dream. Many of those are people of color, including Africans, who are some of the most successful foreign students attending U.S. universities. A group of African Americans recently protested, demanding that their university DECREASE the number of African students! I believe they felt that those African students brought with them that same belief and attitude that my Kazakh friend expressed. They were grateful for their opportunity and believed strongly that they could succeed if they worked hard. That conflicts with the liberal and inner city paradigm.

11) The anti-authority and persecuted cultural perspective is reflected in the conflicts between black communities and police officers trying to enforce the laws there. The local residents and their national leaders rush to judgment whenever officers are accused of using excessive force. Riots break out, looting occurs, and hate is fostered. There are undoubtedly some racist police officers and some "bullies" among those who enter that profession. But recent studies by liberal researchers have shown that black suspects are NOT shot and killed by police officers more often than those of other races. They are more often treated harshly by police officers, but they are also more likely to resist arrest. Inner cities are often very violent places with a much higher rate of violent crime, but the vast, vast majority of those crimes are black-on-black, not white-on-black. Again, the anti-authority culture has made things much worse. Most people agree that the anti-white and anti-authority attitudes have become worse over the past decade, but even before that the award-winning "60 Minutes" news program interviewed African American children just coming out of their church Sunday school class and found that none of them would report a crime or provide evidence of a crime to police officers. It did not matter if the officer was himself black because he would be shamed with the "Uncle Tom" label. The TV program noted that the crime solve rate in most inner cities, consequently, is only about 10%, in contrast with a 50-60% solve rate in the suburbs. While African Americans are far more likely to be in prison than whites, and some are undoubtedly in prison for crimes they did not commit, this low solve-rate statistic suggests that there should be MORE of them in prison, not fewer.

12) All these things considered, I would ask liberal African Americans, including black athletes, what do they specifically propose in order to solve these problems. I honestly can't think of any more solutions that don't require much more honest and positive involvement by the African Americans themselves -- especially those in the inner cities. One conservative leader expressed the need for an inside-out solution in this way: "You can't take people out of the slums until you take the slums out of the people." How would that be done?

I kind of lean towards knocking down the slums and dispersing all of the inhabits across the smaller cities, the villages and the rural areas of America. But I doubt they would support that solution, either.

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 October 2017, 02:05 AM